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VOL. I, 

Preparing for publication. 

THE BEPUBLIC of PLATO. With a revised Text and 
English Notes. By the Rev. B. JOWETT. 

The following DIALOGUES are also in course of preparation 
on the same plan. 

Oriel College. 


JAMES RIDDELL, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College. 

THE THE^ETETUS. By the Eev. L. CAMPBELL, M.A., late 

Fellow and Tutor of Queen s College. 













The riaht of translation is reserved. 






% Wiotk b affotitonatdg 

January 1859. 


No one who is acquainted with Sophocles or Thucydides 
in the volumes of Dindorf or Bekker, would be willing 
to reprint the text of those authors as it is to be found 
in editions of two centuries ago. No apology is there 
fore needed for laying aside the " Textus Receptus " of 
the New Testament. 

The text of Lachmann, which has been adopted 
instead, has many claims to be considered as the most 
perfect that has hitherto appeared. It is the first, most 
consistent, and, with one exception, the only recension 
of the New Testament, drawn entirely from the earliest 
manuscripts and authorities. It is the work of a scholar 
of the highest genius, and of the greatest knowledge 
and experience as an editor. Any advance which can 
hereafter be made in the text of the New Testament is 

A 4 


not likely to be as great as that by which Lachrnann is 
separated from previous editors. 

The merits of Lachmann s text would have been more 
generally acknowledged, had he distinctly stated the 
principles on which it was based. Like other great 
editors, he either could not, or would not, fully explain 
his method of procedure. The peculiarities of his 
edition, so far as they can be gathered from his preface, 
are as follows : 

I. He aims at reproducing the text, not as it ought 
to be, but as it was : that is, not as it may be supposed 
to have come from the autograph of the writers them 
selves, but as it actually existed in copies of the fourth 

II. The text which he seeks to restore is based (a) on 
the most ancient Greek manuscripts. 

(/3.) On citations of Origen. 

(y.) On the most ancient Latin manuscripts, both of 
the Vulgate and of earlier versions. These, especially 
the versions older than the Vulgate, are considered as 
the representatives of an original Latin text, agreeing 
with that known to the translator of Irenasus and to 


Tertullian ; and which before the time of Jerome had 
passed from Africa into Gaul and Italy ; the stream of 
testimony thus parting into two heads " Yetus Afra, 
and Yetus Itala." 

(8.) On citations of the most ancient Latin Fathers ; 
that is, the translator of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Cyprian, 
Lucifer and Hilary. 

Widely separated as these Fathers are by country, 
the latest of them is not divided from the earliest by a 
greater interval of time than two centuries. The same 
remark applies to the manuscript authorities , also ; 
within a short time they are spread over a wide space. 
The one class of testimonies falls between the second 
and the fourth century; the other (with scarcely an 
exception) between the fourth and the sixth ; and the 
value of both is greatly increased by distance, that is, 
by their combining the testimonies of different churches 
and countries. 

Lachmann s text might be briefly described as the 
text of the most ancient and most independent au 
thorities ; the proof of independence being remoteness 
of origin, or in other words, agreement or disagreement, 
of Eastern (that is, Alexandrian) and Western (that is, 


Italian or African) manuscripts. With the exception 
of a single manuscript of the Epistles of St. Paul, his 
Western authorities are exclusively Latin. 

The principles which Lachmann applied to the selec 
tion of readings cannot be more briefly stated than in 
his own words. His summary of degrees of certainty 
is as follows: (1.) Nothing is better attested than that 
in which all authorities agree. (2.) The agreement is 
of less weight if part of the authorities are silent or 
defective. (3.) The combined evidence of witnesses 
brought together from different countries in favour of 
a reading is a stronger testimony than that of witnesses 
from some particular locality, either carelessly or de 
signedly differing from one another. (4.) But the 
testimonies must be considered to be doubtfully balanced 
when witnesses from countries wide apart stand opposed 
to others equally distant in locality. (5.) Headings 
are uncertain which are uniformly the same in one 
country, and uniformly different in another. (6.) Read 
ings are of slender authority as to which not even the 
same country presents a uniform testimony. 

These rules are not equally observed by Lachmann 
in both editions. In the smaller one he professed to 


follow the Eastern, that is, the Alexandrian authorities, 
wherever they agreed ; and only where they disagreed 
to balance them by the consent of the West. Somewhat 
more weight is given to the latter element in the larger 
edition, which contains his more matured judgment; 
but the increased value is not such as to make any con 
siderable difference in the selection of readings. 

Lachmann, as has been already remarked, was the 
first who based the text on the most ancient authorities, 
solely on grounds of evidence, without regard to doc 
trinal considerations, or claims of authority, and irre 
spective even of the meaning of the words. The result 
has shown that the most ancient text is also in every 
other sense by far the best. 

It is obvious that the principle of " the most ancient 
and widely diffused text " might be carried yet further 
by a comparison of the Oriental versions, which are 
either prior or represent a text which is prior to the 
fourth century. It would seem as if both they and the 
Latin versions, so far as they are regarded as containing 
the evidences of a more ancient text, must also be main 
tained as superior in authority to the Greek manuscripts 
themselves. Lachmann has not carried out his prin- 


ciple to this extent ; probably because the materials are 
too slender, and the manner of using them too uncertain 
and difficult, to justify him in doing so. 

The various readings of the third edition of Robert 
Stephens, 1550, are placed under the text ; they will be 
found to agree very nearly with the Textus Receptus 
and the authorised English translation. The latter is 
added on the opposite page with slight corrections; 
which, where they are occasioned by variation of read 
ing, are marked by numbers referring to the autho 
rised text, which is retained underneath ; and by 
asterisks where they are the corrections of supposed 

The author of this book is under great obligations to 
several German theologians, especially Usteri, F. Baur, 
Ewald, Neander, Winer, Tholuck, Olshausen, Fritsche, 
Meyer, and in the essay on Philo, to Gfrorer. The 
plan of the work, which excludes the mention of former 
commentators, renders it necessary that he should state 
explicitly the nature of these obligations. He is indebted 
to the writers named above for numberless references, 
for a great portion of his materials, and for several 
thoughts and observations; which latter, not having 


been taken directly from their works, he would find it 
impossible to separate from his own remarks, or to 
assign to their original owners. 

He need hardly say that he is far from always agreeing 
with writers who differ so widely from one another as 
the distinguished persons whose names have been men 
tioned : he is not the less sensible of the debt which he 
owes them. 

The author has to thank many critics, unfavourable 
as well as favourable, for the attention which they have 
bestowed on his work. He regrets that the publication 
of the new edition has been delayed by other occupa 

January, 1859 






INTRODUCTION ........ 3 

Genuineness of the First Epistle 18 

Thessalonica 30 

Date and Place of Writing 34 

Subject of the Epistle 37 


Evils in the Church of the Apostolical Age 86 


On the Belief in the Coming of Christ in the Apostolical Age . 108 
Is it possible for the Same Word to have Two Meanings in the 

Same Passage ? 125 



Genuineness of the Second Epistle 143 

Time and Place of the Second Epistle 150 

CHAPTERS I. Ill 154 

On the Man of Sin 178 

On the Probability that many of St. Paul s Epistles have been lost 1 95 

On Paley s Horae Paulina 202 




INTRODUCTION . . . .... 231 

Galatia ..... .... 237 

Subject of the Epistle . . . ... . . . .239 

Genuineness of the Epistle . . . . . . 245 

Time and Place of the Epistle 248 


On the Chronology of St. Paul s Life and Writings . . . 272 


On the Character of St. Paul 351 


Paley on the Galatians 396 

On the Quotations from the Old Testament in the Writings of 

St. Paul 401 

St. Paul and the Twelve 417 

St. Paul and Philo 448 




VOL. I. B 




THE greater number of the Epistles of St. Paul may be arranged 
conveniently in two groups : the first comprehending the Galatians, 
Corinthians, Romans ; the second, the Epistles of the Imprisonment, 
including under this term the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and 
Philemon. At either end of the series, and at a distance from the 
rest, may be placed the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, and the 
Pastorals, the first of which is shown by internal evidence to bear the 
earliest, while tradition and internal evidence alike assign to the latter 
the latest date in the list of St. Paul s writings. 

Reading the Epistles in chronological order, many will be tempted 
to trace in them a gradual development of idea and doctrine. Others, 
again, will seek to impress upon them the same fixed type of truth 
held from the beginning, " the faith once delivered to the saints." 
Could a person lay aside previous conceptions, and resign himself to 
the letter of the text, he would not find either of these views sup 
ported by an examination of the Epistles themselves. There is no 
system which is presupposed in them ; nor can any be constructed 
out of them without marring their simplicity. They have almost 
wholly a practical aim, and are fragmentary and occasional. Or 
dinary letters arise out of the incidents of the day ; so these have to 
do with real events and feelings passing between the Apostle and 
the churches. There is a growth in the Epistles of St. Paul, it is 
true ; but it is the growth of Christian life, not of intellectual pro 
gress, the growth not of reflection, but of spiritual experience, 

B 2 


enlarging as the world widens before the Apostle s eyes, passing 
from life to death, or from strife to peace, with the changes in the 
Apostle s own life, or the circumstances of his converts. There is a 
rest also in the Epistles of St. Paul, discernible not in forms of 
thought or types of doctrine, but in the person of Christ himself, 
who is his centre in every Epistle, however various may be his modes 
of expression, or his treatment of controversial questions. 

A general comparison of the first with the second of the two 
groups of the Epistles which have been mentioned above, will show 
the nature of this rest and of this progress in the teaching of the 
Apostle. The course of events wrought on his life, which in turn passed 
into his writings. Such an one as Paul the aged, the prisoner of 
the Lord, regarding the strife of the world and of the Church from 
his cell at Caesarea or Rome, is another man from the same Paul, 
when immersed in the strife itself, bearing the cross of Christ from 
place to place in contests and trials everywhere, from the Jews, 
from false brethrenUet in unawares, from the fickleness of his own 
converts, ever " ready to affect others rather than himself," yea, 
and from those that " seemed to be pillars," the Apostles at Jerusalem. 
No person under such different circumstances would write and express 
himself in exactly the same way. There is one mode of expression 
we naturally adopt when near, another at a distance one in the 
fulness and vigour of life, another in the near approach of death 
one in joy, another in sorrow one in sympathy with others, another 
when at variance with them. Change of sphere will often produce 
a corresponding change in the style and cast of our thoughts. What 
we have long or often meditated upon, we express differently from 
what flashes upon us for the first time ; what comes to us sealed by 
the experience of many years, assumes a different character in our 
minds from what with equal confidence we believed and acted upon 
in the fervour of first conviction. 

These are the kind of differences which separate the first from the 
second of the two main divisions of the writings of St. Paul. In 
the Epistles of the Imprisonment we have shifted the scene, and are 
arrived at a new stage in the Apostle s life, a stage in which he 
has entered into rest, and can no more be ruffled by the current of 


human affairs. He seems to be no more striving for a principle, 
but to have established it, and to look back upon it ; the new rela 
tions of things, which are at first struggling into being, at length 
adjust themselves in a divine order, no longer as the elements of 
controversy, but as parts of the whole counsel of God. His mind is 
filled with the image of the Church, as of a temple having many 
parts, " an habitation of God through the Spirit," Eph. ii. 22. He 
is already " sitting in heavenly places," with his converts, Eph. i. 3. 
Now that the Apostle is withdrawn from the field of his labours, the 
powers of good and evil seem idealised to him ; he sees the com 
munities among which his life had been spent, at a distance, more 
as they ought to have been, less as they actually were ; he wrestles 
not " against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against 
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against 
spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places," Eph. vi. 12. He enters 
more and more into communion with Christ, " in whom dwells all 
the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. ii. 9.; "he fills up that 
which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh, for his 
body s sake, which is the Church," Col. i. 24. The conflict 
of the law no more stirs in him ; the cloud of evil overshadows him 
no more : he is dead and risen with Christ, and translated into his 
kingdom, CoL i. 13., iii. 1. Not only circumcision, but all other 
ordinances are ready to vanish away, Col. ii. 20. 23. Earthly ties 
are transfigured before him into the likeness of Christ and his Church, 
Eph. v. 32. And the person of Christ himself seems to assume, not 
a more intimate relation to the individual soul, but a more universal 
relation to mankind and to the world. 

So we trace the workings of the Apostle s .mind in the later years 
of his life, as his ministry is drawing to a close, and he wearing out 
in his Master s service. A different image is presented to us by the 
Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, Romans an image (in the 
two first especially) of much greater trial, and sorrow, and per 
plexity "without are fightings, within are fears" lest he himself 
" should run in vain," lest other men " should build up the things 
that they had pulled down." And before this there is a prior stage, 
in which he is on the threshold of the conflict, and not wholly (shall 

B 3 


we say ?) aware of the great thoughts which were hereafter, by the 
will of God, to spring up within him. Such is the inference which 
we are led to draw when, from the perusal of the later Epistles, we 
turn to those which are universally agreed to be first in date, the 
Epistles to the Thessalonians, and read them not as " dead words," 
but as witnesses of the Apostle s mind and life. 

It is a comparatively short period of time which can be allowed 
not more than four or five years at the utmost between the date of 
the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, written from Athens or Corinth, 
and the Epistle to the Galatians, written probably during the 
Apostle s stay at Ephesus or in its neighbourhood. More than half 
the Apostle s ministry had already elapsed ere he set his hand to this 
the first of his extant writings, one among many, as he implies in a 
passage in the Second Epistle, iii. 17., and therefore not to be looked 
upon too curiously, as part of a scheme which was to be completed 
in the series of Epistles. It is a fragment, the earliest we possess, of 
the Apostle s life and the History of the Church. Nothing is gained 
for the interpretation of the Epistle, by attempting to combine it 
artificially with his later writings. No such connexion could have 
been present to the mind of the Apostle. The real light which 
they receive from one another is that of contrast. Two writings of 
the same author could not be more different than the Epistles to the 
Thessalonians and that which follows next in order, the Epistle to 
the Galatians. The latter is fervid and abrupt, full of interrogation 
and argument, and abounding in allusions to the Old Testament ; it 
has the tone of one speaking with authority ; parts of it are written 
under what may be termed the feeling of persecution (vi. 14 18.), 
the subdued, painful sense that " he bore in his body the marks of 
the Lord Jesus." The Epistles to the Thessalonians are perhaps the 
least impassioned, and most regular in style, of any of St. Paul s 
Epistles : they contain no single quotation from the Old Testament, 
and very few questions ; they are not argumentative at all ; they 
advise rather than command ; nor are they marked by any of the 
Apostle s deepest and most inward feelings. 

The difference of subject is quite as marked as the difference of 
style. There is no mention in the Thessalonians of the great 


question of circumcision and uncircumcision of faith and works 
of the relation of Jew and Gentile of union with the mystical body 
of Christ of death unto life of the mystery of past ages, that had 
been now revealed. All that we are accustomed to regard as pecu 
liarly characteristic of the Apostle, the great themes of his other 
Epistles, are wanting here. Instead of them, we find him dwelling 
on the immediate coming of Christ, with whom "we that are alive" 
are to meet in the air, in a manner unlike his allusions in other 
places, either to a future life, or to the union of the believer with 
Christ. Many times he returns to the same subject, of which he 
had spoken to them "while he was yet with them," 2 Thess. ii. 5. ; 
and this not merely in general outline, but in detail, for he had 
told them of the coming of Antichrist, and of " that which let." 
It was the leading thought of his mind at that time, The gospel 
which he preached in both Epistles might be described, not as the 
Gospel of the Cross of Christ, but of the Coming of Christ. 

It would be hard indeed to suppose that St. Paul, when he wrote 
the Epistles to the Thessalonians, could have felt and thought ex 
actly as the same St. Paul in writing the Epistle to the Romans or 
the Galatians, or to maintain that in the former case he purposely 
reserved and kept back what in the latter he was commissioned to 
reveal. Such a supposition would involve the further difficulty that 
in the later Epistles he also withheld what in the earlier formed 
the substance of his teaching. Are we to conceive that "the man of 
sin," and "that which let," which he had preached to the Thessalo 
nians, even before he wrote to them, was still latent in his mind 
throughout his subsequent ministry? that he Was daily living in 
expectation of them, but that no occasion arose in his later writings 
for him to speak of them to his converts? More naturally we 
should imagine that the Epistle to the Thessalonians was separated 
from the Epistles which immediately followed it by a difference 
greater in degree, but the same in kind with that which separated 
the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Corinthians from 
the Epistles of the Imprisonment. We should argue that the same 
Apostle, in the style of whose letters we see a remarkable correspon 
dence to the circumstances of his life, may have yet gone through 

B 4 


further changes which may account for the greater difference; that 
he who constantly received visions and revelations of the Lord, who 
spake with tongues more than they all, could hardly have remained 
stationary in his view of Christian truth ; that one whose life was 
spent in conflict with his own nation, must in the course of that 
conflict more and more have laid aside the garb of Judaism, " the 
weak and beggarly elements " of the law. We should observe, as 
worthy of note, that the greater part of the interval between the 
composition of the Galatians and the Thessalonians was spent by 
the Apostle in three of the most cultivated cities of the world, 
Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus. And we should infer that in the 
short period of three or four years, surrounded as the Apostle was by 
So many influences, pouring himself out daily in prayer and exhor 
tation to all the Churches, perhaps coming in contact more nearly 
than before with the Alexandrian learning, such a change might 
very well have taken place as divides the Thessalonians from the 
later Epistles. 

That some change did -take place in the Apostle himself, is not a 
mere a priori theory based upon the common nature of the human 
mind ; nor is it merely an a posteriori result derived from the exa 
mination of the Epistles when arranged in chronological order ; it is 
implied further in a passage of the Apostle s own writings: "Yea, 
though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now 
henceforth know we him no more," 2 Cor. v. 16. It is hard to conceive 
that in this passage the Apostle is speaking of the time before his 
conversion. His state then could not have been described in so 
gentle a manner ; nor could the term, "knowing Christ according to 
the flesh," have been applied with any propriety to Paul the perse 
cutor of the Church; nor would such an allusion have had any 
meaning to the disciples of Corinth, nor will the connexion allow 
us to suppose that he is speaking, in his own person, of Christians 
generally. The context shows that he is speaking of himself, not of 
his converts, and not of what happened in those days when " he per 
secuted the Church ignorantly through unbelief," but of his manner 
of preaching either among the Corinthians themselves or among 
others, from whom report was brought to them. There was a 


Judaising party at Corinth, who maintained that in a special sense 
they were the divsciples of Christ, and of whom elsewhere the 
Apostle says that he is as much Christ s as they are, 2 Cor. x. 7. 
He had been led beyond them, or they had gone back from him ; 
and he was conscious of the chasm which separated him from them. 
It seemed to him an increasing chasm; he acknowledged a time 
when he had more nearly approximated to their Judaising tenets, 
or, in other words, had known Christ according to the flesh. What 
ever softening the skill of interpreters may introduce into these 
latter words, even though compared with 1 Cor. ii. 2. ("I determined 
not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him cruci 
fied "), they must still have a meaning ; that meaning is that there was 
something which the Apostle had left behind him, which he had once 
thought, and no longer thought, to be a part of the faith of Christ. 

But what was the nature of this change in the Apostle s 
preaching ? How did " Christ according to the flesh " differ from 
that Christ which the Apostle, when writing the second Epistle 
to the Corinthians, was seeking to infuse into the hearts of 
his converts ? Could there have been a time when he preached a 
Christ of the Jews only, and not also of the Gentiles ? Such a sup 
position is contradictory to all that is told us of the Apostle in the 
Acts, and to all that he tells us of himself in the Epistles. From 
the first moment of his conversion he was the Apostle of the 
Gentiles. He could never have taught that Christ was the Christ 
of the Jews only, or that without circumcision there was no entering 
into covenant with God. However naturally such a meaning may be 
assigned to the words " Christ according to the flesh," it is so incon 
sistent with the whole tenor of the Apostle s life, as to compel us to 
adopt a different interpretation. 

The remarkable expression in the Second Epistle to the Corin 
thians is not absolutely isolated, but derives confirmation from other 
places in the writings of the Apostle. Some time before, in writing 
to the Galatians he says (v. 2.), "And I, brethren, if I yet preach 
circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of 
the Cross ceased." These words certainly imply that St. Paul had 
once preached what his opponents declared to be the doctrine of the 


circumcision. That he was conscious also of a certain progress in 
his life, " forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth 
to those things that are before," is manifest from such passages as 
Phil. iii. 13., Eph. iv. 13, 14. That there was a difference in his 
mode of preaching to the Jew and to the Gentile to the weak and 
to the strong he himself asserts, where he says, "To the Jews 
became I as a Jew ; " and, (i I, brethren, could not speak unto you as 
unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ." Compare 
1 Cor. ii., Heb. vi. 1 3. It may be remarked also, that long after 
wards, in writing to the Philippians, he has described that period of 
his life in which he first preached in European cities (though more 
than fourteen years after his conversion) as " the beginning of the 
Gospel," iv. 15. 

All these passages have some bearing, more or less near, on the 
expression which we are considering, " If we have known Christ 
according to the flesh ; " they do not, however, enable us distinctly 
to determine its meaning. We could not, indeed, expect that the 
Apostle should allude more clearly to a change which was half 
concealed from himself, and which it was needless for him to detail 
to his converts. The allusions, though obscure, are real ; but they 
throw us back again on the connexion of the words in the Second 
Epistle to the Corinthians itself, for their interpretation. Now it is 
observable that, in the original passage, the Apostle is not speaking 
of the admission of the Gentiles, or of the universality of the Gospel, 
but of " death with Christ." " We thus judge, that if one died for all, 
then all died; and that he died for all, that they which live should not 
henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them 
and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the 
flesh : yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, henceforth 
we know him no more." And the rest of the chapter speaks of " the 
absence from the body which is presence with the Lord," of the "house 
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (v. 1 8.), "of Christ 
becoming sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God 
in him," v. 21. 

To this is opposed the knowledge of Christ according to the flesh, 
which cannot consist with the inward witness of such things, which 


in modern language might be described as unmystical, unspiritual, 
different from that communion of his life and death which is the 
leading principle of the Apostle in his later teaching. In general 
terms it may be explained as the knowledge of Christ, in a more 
Jewish and less Christian manner, more from without and less 
from within, a knowledge of him, the opposite of that which St. 
Paul speaks of in his later Epistles, as " the life hidden with Christ in 
God;" such as St. Paul had himself had in "the beginning of the 
Gospel ;" such as he imparted to his converts, " when he was not able 
to speak unto them as unto spiritual but as fleshly, as babes in Christ," 
1 Cor. iii. 1. More than this, the connexion of the words will not 
justify us in assuming. But here the Epistle to the Thessalonians 
comes in to supply the deficiency. For if we find allusions in the 
Epistles to the Corinthians to a change in the Apostle s teaching ; if, 
further, a change is traceable in his extant writings, and if dates are 
consistent, it can hardly be thought fanciful or far-fetched to bring 
one into connexion with the other. 

That such a change is capable of being traced has been already in 
timated. Both Epistles to the Thessalonians, with the exception of 
the personal narrative and of a few practical precepts, are the ex 
pansion and repetition of a single thought "the coming of Christ." 
It was the absorbing thought of the Apostle and his converts, quick 
ened in both by the persecutions which they had suffered. It does 
not follow that with this expectation of Christ s kingdom there 
mingled any vision of a temporal rule over the kingdoms of the earth ; 
it did not even imply the hope suggested in the question of the 
Apostle s, " Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel." 
But there was that in it which fell short of the more perfect truth. 
It was not, " the kingdom of God is within you ; " but " lo here, 
and lo there." It was defined by time, and was to take place 
within the Apostle s own life. The images in which it clothed itself 
were traditional among the Jews ; they were outward and visible, 
liable to the misconstruction of the enemies of the faith, and to the 
misapprehension of the first converts, imperfectly, as the Apostle saw 
afterwards, conveying the inward and spiritual meaning. The king 
dom which they described was not eternal and heavenly, but very near 


and present, ready to burst forth everywhere, and by its very nearness 
in point of time seeming to touch our actual human state. After 
wards the kingdom of God appeared to remove itself within, to with 
draw into the unseen world. The earthen vessel must be broken 
first, the believer unclothed that he may be clothed upon, and 
mortality swallowed up of life. He was no longer " waiting for 
the Son from heaven:" but "desirous to depart and be with Christ," 
Phil. i. 23. Such is the change, not so much in the Apostle s belief 
as in his mode of conception, a change natural to the human mind 
itself, and above all to the Jewish mind, a change which, after it had 
taken place, left the vestiges of the prior state in the Montanism 
of the second century, which may not improperly be regarded as the 
spirit of the first century overliving itself. Old things had passed 
away ; and behold, all things became new. And yet the former 
things the material vision of Christ s kingdom have ever been 
prone to return : not only in the first and second century, but in 
every age of enthusiasm men have been apt to walk by sight and 
not by faith. In the hour of trouble and perplexity, when darkness 
spreads itself over the earth, and Antichrist is already come, they 
have lifted up their eyes to the heavens, looking for the sign of the 
Son of Man. 

We do not pretend precisely to draw the line between the earlier 
and later teaching of the Apostle. Some elements of the earlier mode 
of thought may be traced in the later Epistles, but, as it were, ready to 
vanish away, and attaching themselves less to the substance and more 
to the form of the Apostle s writings. When the things spoken of are 
such as "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the 
heart of man to conceive," it would be an error to dwell too much on 
the manner in which they are presented to us. Neither is it pos 
sible exactly to describe the nature of the Apostle s preaching " in 
the beginning of the Gospel," or to determine how much of it may 
have been based upon popular or traditional beliefs of the Jews, or 
what it had in common with the Montanism of the second century. 
The only sources from which we can gather even a conjectural 
answer to questions like these, are the Epistles to the Thessalonians 
themselves, the difference of which from the later Epistles is too 


plain to be mistaken. Not that they are wanting, any more than the 
words of Christ in the Gospels, in the essential elements of 
Christian Truth, but they have less of the peculiar teaching of the 
Apostle. Whether the passage in the Second Epistle to the Corin 
thians be connected with them or not, this difference remains the 

The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, though agreeing with 
the First in its general character, yet points in the direction of the 
later Epistles. It speaks, indeed, of the day of the Lord, under the 
same outward imagery ; but it defers its advent : the course of 
this world is to go on for a time ; the daily occupations of life .are 
to be pursued ; the day of the Lord is not at hand in any such sense 
that sudden confusion should arise ; even if a letter under the Apos 
tle s hand had said, or seemed to say (ii. 2.) the opposite of this, the 
converts were not to be shaken in their minds. It is in this respect 
that it agrees with the later writings of St. Paul, viz., in withdrawing 
the mind from an expectation of an immediate as well as outward 
coming of the Lord Jesus. 

That our Lord should have been called King of the Jews, that the 
early expectation of the disciples should have been the restoration 
of the kingdom to Israel, that St. Paul should in his two first 
journeys have been carried before Roman governors as an enemy to 
Csesar, that he and his fellow teachers should be designated as 
"they that turned the world upside down," affords a general confir 
mation of the view proposed in these remarks. True it is, that ac 
cusations may be utterly false, but more generally they have a 
colour of truth ; there is something which, though in one sense 
false, supplies groundwork and support to the accusation. It is 
hardly likely, for example, at Thessalonica itself, that the Jews 
would have said, " These all do contrary to the decrees of Csesar, 
saying that there is another king, one Jesus," had the Apostle 
spoken only of a kingdom not of this world. It is remarkable, that on 
his third journey the persecution of the Roman governors has 
wholly ceased. Neither at the places which he then visited, nor on 
his trial at Jerusalem, is any suspicion urged of his teaching con 
trary to Caesar. 


Not to weary the reader with pursuing the subject of this digres 
sion into conjectures, we shall briefly sum up the inferences which 
have been drawn ; 

1. That the difference between the earlier and later preaching of 
St. Paul was analogous to the difference which separated him from 
the Apostles of the circumcision, though not absolutely the same with 
it, as from the first St. Paul was set apart as the Apostle of the 
Gentiles. As they were the Apostles of the circumcision to those 
of the circumcision, so he might, in this earlier part of his course, 
have been described in his own words as the Apostle of the circum 
cision to the uncircumcised, the Jew to Gentiles. 

2. That though the period of St. Paul s life here referred to is 
almost wholly unknown to us, it is indicated by himself in 2 Cor. 
v. 16., and may be fairly gathered from Gal. v. 11., that there was 
such a period, when he knew Christ according to the flesh, and 
might be thought to be a preacher of the circumcision. 

3. That the earliest of his extant Epistles shows a corresponding 
difference from his later ones. Not that the expression " according to 
the flesh " need be applied to the Epistles themselves, or that in the 
language of the Reformer they are Epistles of straw. But the change 
that is implied in these words gives them a natural place in the life of 
St. Paul. Admit in him, what the Apostle himself acknowledges, 
a spiritual growth ; and there is a point at which the Epistles to 
the Thessalonians fitly come in. They are no longer an excrescence 
on the Gospel which he preached, but a stage of it. They are not 
parts of a supernatural design, the pattern of which is to be re 
stored after many ages, but simple and easy words going from one 
man s heart to touch those of others. 

Supposing, then, that there was a time when the Apostle, in his 
own language, knew Christ according to the flesh (that is, more in 
a Jewish and less in a spiritual manner), a new light breaks on the 
Epistles to the Thessalonians. The difference of subject which 
distinguishes them from the other Epistles of St. Paul, is only 
what we should expect. They are full of practical precepts, and in 
this respect remind us of the Epistle of St. James ; other portions 
of them approach more nearly than any other part of the New 


Testament to the book of Revelation, the first vision of the Church 
descending from heaven to earth, the image of the hope and faith of 
the earliest believers. They breathe the spirit of the earlier chapters 
of the Acts of the Apostles, in which the Apostles of Jerusalem are 
described as waiting for their Lord, watching the signs of those 
things that were coming to pass upon the earth. They say nothing 
of justification by faith and not by the works of the law, or of the 
mystical union with Christ, or of the Church which is his body ; but no 
more does the earliest narrative of the primitive Church, or the 
Epistle of St. James, or the book of Revelation. They exhibit the 
Revelation of Christ in an external form, " descending from heaven 
with a shout/ " in flaming fire taking vengeance ; " also as present 
and immediate "for we which are alive shall be caught up to meet the 
Lord in the air." Such figures recall to us the prophecies of Daniel. 
Lastly, they set before us the likeness of a Gospel, simple, moral, 
practical, looking to Christ as its author and finisher, but not yet 
entering into the deepest recesses of the human soul, nor in open 
antagonism with the law, nor reading the Old Testament as the 
allegory of the New. 

All this is unlike the. other Epistles of St. Paul, and has therefore 
been made a ground for doubting the genuineness of the Epistles to 
the Thessalonians. According to the view here taken, the very 
difference from the other Epistles tends in some degree to establish 
their genuineness, because it is a difference of a kind for which we 
are prepared by the remarkable expression which St. Paul uses 
respecting himself, "If we have known Christ according to the 
flesh, yea henceforth know we him no more." It is a difference 
that he himself indicates as it were by chance in another of his 
Epistles ; and the earlier lesson as well as the later has been preserved 
to us. 

Biblical criticism is, from the very nature of its subject matter, 
peculiarly liable to the error of stating as a certainty that which 
is no more than a probable conjecture. Anything short of certainty 
seems hardly worth having ; and yet when facts are few and con 
clusions brought from afar, uncertainty will always remain. The 


scantiness of our materials in the present instance is sufficient to 
warn us against too great a confidence in any hypothesis whatever. 
We have been stepping from one fragment to another ; no one can 
tread firmly on such a footing. It would be equally erroneous to 
maintain the absolute certainty of the connexion which has been 
suggested, as to object to the attempt to trace such a connexion on 
grounds of doctrine. Whether the conjecture offered be sound or 
otherwise (and the peculiarity, it may once more be observed, of 
the Epistles to the Thessalonians, as well as the meaning of 2 Cor. 
v. 16., are quite independent of it), it cannot be refuted on grounds 
of doctrine. Objections of this kind lie without the range of an 
historical inquiry. That St. Paul saw the truth more clearly at one 
period of his life than another, is simply a statement of his own. It 
is a fact of the same nature as his greater enlightenment than the 
Apostles at Jerusalem, or the preparation of John the Baptist for 
Christ s coming, or the relation of the Old Testament to the New. 
As in the world, so in the individual, we witness the formation of 
the Gospel, the preparations for it, the anticipations of it. If it be 
hard to imagine an inspired Apostle growing in the knowledge of 
Christian truth, it would be still harder (would it be more reverent?) 
to imagine him standing still. To deny differences of thought arid 
character in the first teachers of Christianity, or in any one of 
them, at different times, or to deny the still greater differences of 
ages and states of society, renders the Scripture unmeaning, and, 
by depriving us of all rule of interpretation, enables us to sub 
stitute, for its historical and grammatical sense, any other that we 

The perception of this growth and self-enlarging power of the 
truths of the Gospel, either as seen in the lives of the Apostles, 
or in the after history of the Church, is not inconsistent with the 
conviction of its Divine origin. All admit premises of which this 
is the conclusion. Those who shrink from such a view, should ask 
themselves which precept of the Gospel it takes away ? or what duty 
of life it renders them unable to fulfil? That can hardly be a 
dangerous interpretation of Scripture, which leaves Christian prac- 


tice unimpaired. Do the Epistles of St. Paul become more valuable 
to us if we deny that there is a progress in the Apostle s life, or less 
so if we affirm it ? No words with which we may overlay them, or 
doctrines which may be maintained respecting them, can make them 
other than they are. The only way to increase their value, either 
to the cause of the truth or to our own souls, is to seek to discover 
nothing in them but the meaning of their author. 

VOL. I. 



THE First Epistle to the Thessalonians is not deficient in external 
evidence for its genuineness. It is quoted by Irenaeus, Clement, and 
Tertullian ; is named in the Muratori fragment ; and had a place 
among the ten Pauline Epistles, which were admitted into the Canon 
of Marcion, by whom it was ranked fifth in the list of St. Paul s 
writings. Like all the other books of the New Testament, it is said 
to have been corrupted by him, or rather, if Epiphanius may be 
trusted (Hereses, p. 371.), he left nothing of the original. The 
question of the relation of Marcion to the canon of Scripture is 
obscure, and one which, as we have no means of determining it 
from the Epistle to the Thessalonians, it would be out of place to 
discuss here. The fact, however, that he inserted the Epistle in 
his canon, is a proof that a writing under this name, identified by 
quotations of Irenaeus, Clement, and Tertullian, as the one which 
we possess, must have been received as a genuine work of St. Paul, 
at least as early as the middle of the second century. 

It is not in consequence of any deficiency of external, but, as is 
supposed, of internal evidence, that doubts have been raised of late 
years respecting the genuineness of the Epistle. In some respects it 
has been thought too like, in others too unlike, undoubted writings 
of the Apostle, for us to maintain that it is from his hand. The 
critic by whom these difficulties have been chiefly urged, is Dr. 
Baur, of Tubingen, whose objections may be regarded as a summary 
of all that can be said on that side of the argument.* They may be 
conveniently arranged under the following heads : 

i. Absence of individuality, and of doctrinal statements. 
* Baur, Paulus, pp. 480 492. 


ii. The tone of a later age discernible in ii. 14 16. 
iii. Inconsistency with the Acts of the Apostles, in relation to 

some points of fact, 
iv. Perpetual reference to the events recorded in the Acts of the 

Apostles, indicative of the sources whence the Epistle was 

v. Verbal similarities to passages in the other Epistles of St. Paul, 

leading to a suspicion of designed imitation, 
vi. Discrepancies from the other Epistles in modes of thought, 

especially traceable in iv. 13 18. 

i. Absence of individuality (eigenthumlichkeit) and of doctrinal 
statements. " It is made up of nothing but wishes, instructions, ad 
monitions contains no doctrinal subject matter at all, with the 
single exception of the mention of the coming of Christ, iv. 13 18." 

There is a difficulty in meeting such objections as these, because, 
whatever real weight they may have, they ultimately resolve 
themselves into the impression of an individual critic, who, if he 
be gifted with the faculty of writing clearly, easily masters the judg 
ment of his reader. Sometimes they come to us with overwhelming 
force ; at other times we wonder that we can have been influenced 
by them at all. How an author ought to have written, is a ques 
tion in which imagination has a wide range ; a meagre induction 
gathered from a few short works, is not a sufficient criterion of how 
he must have written everywhere and at all times. Baur s ob 
jections labour under the fallacy of presenting one side of 
the question only. Grounds of suspicion are endless ; and in 
answer we can only accumulate the probabilities opposed to them. 
On the same ground with Baur, it may be argued with great truth, 
that the very absence of individuality agrees with the incidental 
character of the Epistles. Why should we expect them all to 
bear marks of " originality ? " Might not the Apostle write as a 
man writes to his friends, without seeking to impart any new truth? 
Does not the First Epistle to the Thessalonians arise naturally from 
a real occasion the return of Timothy with news respecting the 
converts an occasion just similar to that of the Second Epistle 

c 2 


to the Corinthians? Is not one doctrine enough in the space of 
five short chapters ? And is the disproportion between the doc 
trinal and practical sections any greater than in the case of some 
of the other Epistles ? 

Slight as these presumptions are, they may be fairly placed in the 
scale against an argument such as Baur s. If it were admitted that 
the absence of doctrinal ideas makes the Epistle unworthy of 
St. Paul, it makes it also a forgery without an object. 

ii. The tone of a later age discernible in chap. ii. 16.: "For the 
wrath is come upon them to the uttermost ; " which is supposed to be 
an after-reflection on the destruction of Jerusalem. 

To the Apostle, reading the future in the present, the state of 
Judea at any time during the last thirty years before the destruc 
tion of the city, would have been sufficient to justify the expression, 
" wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." The fearful looking 
for of judgment was natural, not only to Christians, but to Jews 
themselves, to Josephus as well as to St. Paul. The passage must 
not, however, be strained beyond its natural meaning, The word 
opy/7, wrath, in other places (Rom i. 18. ; ii. 8.) refers at least as much 
to final impenitence and hardness of heart, " the spiritual wrath of 
God," as to temporal judgments. And the connexion in which it 
occurs here, " forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they might 
be saved to fill up their sins alway," shows the Apostle to be speak 
ing, not of punishment, but of reprobation. 

iii. Inconsistencies with the Acts of the Apostles in some points 
of fact. These are: (1.) The statement of the Acts that Silas 
and Timotheus, after being left behind at Berea, came up with the 
Apostle at Corinth, after he had left them (Acts, xviii. 5.), com 
pared with the fact recorded in the Epistle that Timothy was sent 
back from Athens to Thessalonica, 1 Thess. iii. 1. ; and (2.) The 
impression conveyed by the Acts, xvii. 1. 5., that the Thessalonian 
Church was of Jewish origin, compared with the impression con 
veyed by 1 Thess. ii. 14. that it was Gentile ; (3.) The statement that 
the persecution which the Thessalonians endured was of their own 


countrymen, which is nevertheless recorded in the Acts to have 
been stirred up by Jews. 

What reconciliation of these opposite views is possible will be 
considered in a note on Paley s Horse Paulina?. It is sufficient here 
to observe, that the discrepancies alluded to, are not greater than 
those between the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Ga- 
latians, in the account of the council. If these latter discrepancies 
have never led any critic to doubt the Epistle to the Galatians, 
neither is there any reason why similar discrepancies should be as 
sumed as fatal to the Epistle to the Thessalonians. 

Another objection is based on the indications afforded by the 
Epistle, that the Church to which it is addressed had been already 
long established. Their faith is known in every place, i. 9. ; they 
had a regular Church government, v. 12. ; and some of their mem 
bers had died since the Apostle s visit to them, iv. 13., although, ac 
cording to the narrative of the Acts, but a few weeks, or at the most 
afewmonths, could haveelapsed. Compare Acts, xvii.l 8..xviii.l 5. 

The answer to this objection is to be sought, in the peculiar 
circumstances of the early Church, in which a year might be said 
to be like a day, and a whole life to be crowded into the moment of 
conversion. Men living in expectation of the coming of the Lord 
lost their measure of time ; every hour was fraught to them with 
feelings and events. Nor must the language of the Apostle himself 
be too strictly interpreted when speaking of the Church, as seen 
by the eye of faith and love idealised before him. Compare 1 Cor. 
i. 9. especially as contrasted with the after tone of the Epistle ; Rom. 
i. 8. Further it may be observed, that some kind of organisation was 
established by St. Paul, immediately on his first declaration of the 
Gospel everywhere among the new converts, Acts, xiv. 23. ; and 
that nothing is implied in the word Trjooiora/zej oi but what must have 
existed in the Jewish Synagogue, and would naturally spring up in 
the Christian Church. The death of even one or two members of 
the Church might be sufficient to suggest the inquiry what became 
of the departed. 

iv. Reference to the events recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, 
indicative of the sources whence the Epistle was compiled. 

c 3 


Baur supposes the forger of the Epistle to have had before him, 
either the Acts of the Apostles themselves, or earlier documents 
from which the Acts of the Apostles were compiled. The Epistle 
appears to him to add nothing to the events narrated there. 

Opposite probabilities are : (1.) The natural manner in which the 
events referred to are introduced. To go back to what happened 
while he was yet with them, is quite in character with the writings 
of the Apostle. In 1 Thessalonians, as in the Epistle to the Gala- 
tians, he recalls his converts to the moment of their first conversion ; 
as in the Corinthians he appeals to the witness of his own life, and 
awakens their sympathies by the mention of persecutions which he 
suffered for their sakes. There is scarcely one of his Epistles which 
has not several allusions of this kind. Hence there is no sort of im 
probability that many such might occur in the Thessalonians. But, 
on the other hand, it must be observed, (2.) That these resemblances 
to the Acts relate only to the persecution which the Apostle had en 
dured at Philippi (ii. 2.), to the persecution of the Thessalonian 
Church (ii. 14.), and to his own stay at Athens ; and, (3.) That the 
discrepancies just noticed are of themselves opposite probabilities. 
For is it likely that a forger, carefully reading the Acts of the 
Apostles when compiling his Epistle, could have committed so clumsy 
an error as to send back Timothy and Silas, not from Corinth, but 
from Athens ? or would he have lighted upon so crude an invention 
as to send back Timothy at all, to satisfy the longing desire of the 
Apostle about his converts, when Timothy had just come from the 
place to which he was sent ? Or again, is it probable that he would 
have fallen into the inconsistency of representing that a Gentile 
which the Acts rather intimates to have been a Jewish Church? 
Or, that persecution as raised by Gentiles, which the Acts informs 
us originated with Jews ? The greatest carelessness must be attri 
buted to him, to account for such oversights. But the greatest in 
genuity would have been required to imitate the style and topics of 
St. Paul, as he must be supposed to have done. It is a refinement 
not to be thought of, that he purposely differed from the Acts of the 
Apostles, with the view of concealing the sources from which his 
information was derived. 



v. The next argument of Baur is of a more subtle kind, and can 
only be justly appreciated by a careful comparison of the passages 
on which it is based. He thinks that in 1 Thessalonians he can 
trace a repetition of the same thoughts that occur elsewhere in the 
writings of St. Paul ; or, in other words, he supposes the Epistle to 
be a sort of cento ingeniously made up from other places. 

The instances given by him are as follows : 

1 Thess. i. 5. 

TO EvayyiXiov ijpaiv OVK iyEvtjdri 
Trpog vpdg iv Xoyw povov, dXXd 
Kal iv SvvdpEi, Kal iv TtvEvpaTi 
dytw Kal iv TrXrjpofyopia TroXXrj. 

i. 6. 


6r)T Kal TOV Kvplov, 
\6yov iv $\l\l>ei TroXXrj 

i. 8. 


acpi" vfj,(t)V yap e^ j^rjTai o \oyog 
TOV Kvpiov ov H.OVQV kv Trj Ma^t- 
Sovia Kal kv Trj A^a / ct, aXXa Kal kv 
Travrl TOTTW r; Tr/orig vpuiv / irpoc; 
TOV $tbv iL,eXr]Xvdev, wore 
i)fJLa XaXelv TI. 

ii. 410. 

4 aXXa KaOwQ 
VTTO TOV -S fou TUffTEvdrjvai TO svay- 
ye Xtov, ovrwe XaXovfAtv, ovy^ &G 
avdpu)7roig apeffKOVTEQ, aXXa [rw] 
9^60) rw ($OKi[jiaovTt Tag Kapfiiag 
rjuuiv. 5 ovTe yap TTOTE iv Xoyw KoXa- 

1 Cor. ii. 4. 

Kal 6 Xoyoc pov Kal TO K^pvypd 
pov OVK iv TTEiOolg crofyiag Xdyotc, 
dXXd iv a7ro(5aet TTVEVUCLTOQ KOI 

xi. 1. 

uijJirjTai pov ytveffOe, KaQatQ fc^iyw 

Rom. i. 8. 

>/ iriffTiQ V/J.CJV fcarayyeXXtrat iv 
oXo) rw K0fffj.a). 

1 Cor. ii* 4. see above. 

1 Cor. iv. 34. 

i CE EIQ iXa-^iffTOV iffTiv tva 
v<p vjJi&v avaKpiduj r) VTTO avdpuiTri- 
vrjc rjuepag dXX ovdi ifiavTov dva- 

(OV^EV yap ipavTu) ffvvoida, 

KEiag iyEvyOripEV, /ca0wg o idaTE OVTE dXX OVK iv TOVTU $$iKai(i)pai), o 
iv 7rpo(f>dffi 

vaKptvwv p Kvptog 

c 4 


1 Thess. ii. 410. 

Tvg, OVTE 
TTWV %6av, OVTE a(j) vjjitiv ovre air* 
a\\(t)v, SvvapEvoi iv fiapti Eivai 
we "XpiaTov cnroffToXoi, 7 dXX 
EyvrjOr)[jLv VIITTLOL EV f*ff(t) vpwv 
we EO.V rpofyoQ $a\7rr) ra 

TEKVCt, 8 OUrwe 6fJ,lp6fJLVOL V 

EV^OKOV^EV fjLETaftovvai vfjdv ov po- 
vov TO evayylXiov rov Seov, aXXa 
Kalrcig eavTa>v 
roi r/yuTv Ejvi]Qr]Te. 9 
yap, d$X(poi, TOV KOTTOV >/^uwv KCL\ 
rov [jLO^dov VVKTOQ Kcu rjpEpag ip- 
ya^o^jiEvoL Trpog TO prj 
TLVCL vjjiGJv EKrjpv^afjiEy tg 
ro evayyiXiov TOV SEOV. 10 VJJ,E~IQ 
teal 6 S EOQ, a>e bffiwQ Kdl 
/cat a jutjUTrrwg vfjdv 


ix. 15. 

eyw c"e ov Kiyjprjuai. OV^EVL TOV- 
Twv, ovKEypa^acETcivTa, iva ovrwe 
ylvrjTat EV EJJLOL KaXov yap /.tot 
dirodavEtv, f/ TO Kav 

2 Cor. ii. 17. 

ov yap kffUEV we 01 TroXXot 
XEVOVTEC; TOV \6yov TOV ^eoO, a XX 
we % EiXiKpivEiag, a XX we EK SEOV 
KaTEvivavrt SEOV EV ^otorw XaXoi7- 

V. 11. 

Et^dree ouv TOV fyu&ov TOV Kvpiov, 

dvdpljJTTOVQ TTEldofJiEVy $0) C 7T(f)a.V- 

pwjueQa* eXTT/^w e Kal iv rate crvv- 

VU&V 7T(b 

xi. 9. 

fait iv TTCLVT! d&apfj kuavTov v 

That these are striking similarities is not to be doubted. The 
whole question turns upon the point, Of what nature is the simila 
rity ? 

There is one kind of resemblance between two passages which 
indicates that one of them is an imitation or transcript of the other, 
while another kind proves them only to have been the production of 
the same mind. Even exact verbal agreements do not necessarily 
show more than that the same words have been used twice over by 
the same person. St. Paul, when writing nearly at the same time to 
the Ephesians and Colossians, might to both Churches repeat the 
same topics expressed in the same words, without this repetition 
necessarily shaking the genuineness of either Epistle. On the other 
hand, the portion of the Second Epistle of St. Peter and of the 
Epistle of St. Jude which is common to both is such as to demand a 
different explanation. 


Which of these two alternatives we adopt, will depend chiefly on 
what we know of the author. The recurrence of the same thoughts 
or topics in two different works, may or may not be a presumption 
against the genuineness of both or either of them. Whether it is so, 
depends on some prior considerations which must be first brought 
into view. 

i. Is it the way of an author to repeat himself? If we were able 
to say no, a strong presumption would be raised against the genu 
ineness of a work which seemed to be but a repetition of his 
other writings. But if he were in the habit of repeating himself, 
the repetitions would be no disproof of the genuineness of the work 
in which they occurred. 

They would be a slight presumption in its favour, or even a con 
siderable one if made in a manner which was characteristic of the 

ii. The argument from similarity against the genuineness of one 
of two writings has a very different force when applied to a classi 
cal author or to the fluent rhetorician of a later age, and to a writer 
like St. Paul, whose style is constrained and vocabulary limited. 
Great masters of language are never at a loss for words ; it is other 
wise with those who are stammering in a foreign tongue. 

iii. Similarities in words and terms only are not a presumption 
in favour of forgery, but rather the reverse, in the case of two works 
bearing the name of the same person. The forged book in ancient 
times was not a tessellated work of phrases and expressions derived 
from other writings of the supposed author. "Whole passages were 
interpolated with an object, or perhaps without one, as they chanced 
to be remembered. But nothing would have been gained by 
stealing words. 

Now, it must be observed : (1.) That the parallel which we have 
quoted in no instance extends to whole verses, like that of St. Jude 
and St. Peter ; (2.) That they occur in a writer who, in his un 
doubtedly genuine Epistles, is remarkable for such repetitions. 
Not to mention the parallelism of the Ephesians and the Colossians, 


the very passages, which we have already quoted from the two 
Epistles to the Corinthians, closely resemble similar expressions in 
the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans. Compare 1 Cor. ii. 4., 
iv. 3, 4. with Gal i. 10. ; or 2 Cor. xii. 7. with Gal. iv. 14. ; or 
Rom. xiv. with 1 Cor. viii. ; or the deferred intention in 2 Cor. xiii. 
1. with Rom. i. 13. ; or the unwillingness to enter on another man s 
labours in Romans xv. 18 24. with 2 Cor. x. 14 16. ; or Gal. 
iii. 6 12. with Rom. iv. 3 11. Almost every Epistle of St. Paul 
has a network of thoughts and expressions derived from the rest. 
And hence we infer that the passages in the Thessalonians quoted 
by Baur are rather to be regarded as an indication of the genuine 
ness than of the spuriousness of the Epistle ; because they are quoted 
in the manner in which St. Paul repeats himself ; and, (3.) They 
are not of a kind which a forger could easily have invented. 

It might be truly said of the early Ecclesiastical forgeries that 
nothing could exceed the readiness with which they were received ; 
but, on the other hand, nothing could exceed the clumsiness of their 
falsification. They made no attempt to imitate the style of the 
author whose name they bore ; they commonly carried on their face 
the object with which they were written. A forgery so ingenious 
as the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, containing so many latent 
resemblances to the genuine writings of the Apostle, would be 
unique in Ecclesiastical literature. 

Paley remarks, that a writer of the second century would never 
have thought of attributing to St. Paul the expectation of the imme 
diate end of the world, which had already been refuted by the 
course of events. Put in a slightly different point of view, the ar 
gument is perfectly just. He who may be supposed to have written 
the First Epistle to the Thessalonians in the second century, was 
probably a believer in the immediate advent of Christ. But what 
ever may have been his own belief, he would have felt the anachro 
nism of putting into the mouth of one long since dead, words that 
implied that he would be alive when it took place. And the whole 
spirit of such a belief would have led him to have supported it by 
present immediate inspiration rather than by the testimony of an 
Apostle who had himself fallen asleep. 


Lastly. Many positive evidences may be urged in favour of the 
genuineness of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians. Among 
these we reckon the last of Baur s objections. 

vi. The discrepancy in subject and modes of thought from the 
other Epistles, as accounted for in the preceding essay. Without 
laying greater stress on this argument than it deserves, we pass on 
to enumerate other internal evidences that the Epistle is St. Paul s. 
Such are : 

(1.) The desire to see the face of his converts, iii. 6. 10., and de 
layed intention to come to them, ii. 18. Compare Rom. i. 13., 
xv. 22. ; 1 Cor. xvi. 1. ; 2 Cor. i. 16., xiii. 1. ; Phil. i. 8. ; Philem. 22. 

(2.) The lively sympathy with them throughout the Epistle. 
Such passages as ii. 17., iii. 5. 10., are good instances of this. He 
is taken from them in presence, not in heart ; he lives if they stand 
fast in the Lord ; they desire to see him, even as he them. These 
expressions show the same sort of reciprocity between the Apostle 
and his converts as is traceable in the Second Epistle to the Corin 
thians. In both there is the same sensitiveness to every human as 
well as spiritual consolation, the same loneliness when separated 
from them, and the same joy at the good news of Titus and 
Timothy. Compare 1 Thess. ii. 17., iii. 6., with 2 Cor. vii. 5. 7., 
ii. 12, 13. ; also Phil. iii. 25. 29. ; Col. i. 7, 8. Yet great as is the 
similarity of thought, there is no similarity of language, such as that 
into which an imitator would naturally have fallen. 

(3.) The frequent and characteristic mention of himself. As in 
the Galatians he perpetually recurs to the time when he was yet 
with them. It is through himself, in the remembrance of himself, 
that he would implant in them the image of Christ. And yet that 
which he especially seeks to recall, is the very absence of any claim 
or pretension on his part. He did not seek praise when he might 
have done so ; he did not receive the maintenance to which, as an 
Apostle, he had a right, 2 Cor. xi. 9., xiii. 13, 14. Does not this 
remind us of him who did glory and did not glory, seeming, as it were, 
to assert and deny himself at once ? And yet the favourite word 
no where occurs in the First Epistle to the Thessalonians. 


(4.) The delicate manner in which reproof and admonition are 
conveyed, as what they already knew and practised, and had no need 
that the Apostle should teach them, iv. 9., v. 2. 

(5.) The germs of thoughts and of precepts which may be traced 
in a more developed form in later Epistles (compare remarks at 
p. 3.). Thus the practical exhortations at the end of the Epistle, 
are more fully worked out in the twelfth chapter of the Romans ; 
the figure in v. 8. is expanded in Eph. vi. 13 17. A slighter ex 
ample of the same growth is traceable in the expression " Whether 
we wake or sleep we may live together with him," in v. 10., com 
pared with the common phraseology of the Romans, Galatians, and 
the later Epistles. Another is the reference to the heathen origin 
of the Thessalonians, in i. 9. ; compare 1 Cor. xii. 2. ; Eph. ii. 11. ; 
Gal. iv. 8. ; also the mention made of the relation of the Church to 
those that are without, iv. 12. (compare Col. iv. 5. ; Cor. vi. 1.) as 
well as of unity within, v. 13. A similar growth is observable in 
the allusion to the duty of the Church to support the teachers of 
the Gospel, when placed side by side with the larger manner in 
which the same subject is treated in 1 Cor. ix. ; 2 Cor. xi. 8, 9. ; 
xii. 13. In all these instances there is the kind of difference that 
we should expect to find between a thought or precept often dwelt 
upon and frequently repeated, and the same thought expressed for 
the first time in few words by a comparatively unpractised writer. 

It has been objected against the genuineness of this Epistle, that 
it contains only a single statement of doctrine. But liveliness, 
personality, similar traits of disposition, are far more difficult to in 
vent than statements of doctrine. A later age might have supplied 
these, but it could hardly have caught the very likeness and por 
trait of the Apostle. The strength of this argument is considerably 
increased when it is placed side by side with another of a wholly 
different kind, derived from mannerisms of style and language. 
Such are : 

(1.) The expansion and association of words traceable in passages, 
such as i. 26, 7, 8. ; "Going off upon a word " or thought, ii. 18., v. 
4.; "harping back upon one," ii. 1.; cf. i. 9., iii. 5.; cf. 1.; elucidation 
of one expression or one verse by another in apposition with it, 


as in i. 9., iv. 3. 6. ; the aggravation and accumulation of language in 
such passages as i. 2, 3. 5. 8. ; the apparent unmeaningness of some 
emphatic expressions, ii. 5., iii. 11. v. 27.; the recurrence of the 
same forms of speech and thought at the commencement of successive 
verses and paragraphs, i. 9., ii. 1., ii. 3. 5., ii. 7. 11., iii. 1. 5., often 
traceable at a great distance, as in i. 6., ii. 14. ; play of words, iv. 9. ; 
exaggeration, iv. 10. ; climax, ii. 8., i. 5., in the latter passage with 
the favourite ov povov d\\a Kai ; negative and positive statements of 
the same thought, ii. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. ; interrogative and positive 
statements, ii. 19, 20. 

(2.) Peculiarities of another class, found in the Epistles to the 
Thessalonians as well as in other writings of St. Paul, are the fol 
lowing : 

The play of words dedoa/jaoy/cda, ^oKipa^ovn, in ii. 4. ; the 
paradox in i. 6., iv SXtyei TroXX?/ fjiera x a l<* irvev/ioroc nylov (com 
pare Col. i. 24. ; 2 Cor. vii. 10., viii. 1.); the mixed metaphor respect 
ing the day of the Lord in v. 5., also in the same passage the double 
use of KrXeTrnje, fcXeVrae (compare Rom. xiii. 12. ; 1 Cor. iii. 15. ; and 
the inversion of thought in Rom. vii. 1 7.); the substitution of the 
present for the future, in iii. 19. (compare Rom. ii. 16.) ; verbal 
antithesis of prepositions, i. 5., iv vp.1v It vjudc, iv. 7. ini ttKadapvlfy 
a\X iv ayiao-juw, ii. 3. OVK EK TrXavrje ovde iv f)oXw ; pleonasms as in 
i. 3., ii. 9., v. 23. ; repetition of -yap in several successive verses, 
i. 8 ii. 1. ; use of yap in question, ii. 19., iii. 9. ; resumption of 
sentence after a digression with ia roi/ro, iii. v., iii. 7. ; the use of 
the double Iva, iv. 1. ; peculiar uses of words and expressions such as 
EvayytXiov for the preaching of the Gospel, 1 Thess. i. 5. ; aywv, 
Col. iii. 1. ; 1 Thess. ii. 2., to express the passionate earnestness of 
his feelings towards his converts ; yap* */ ffre^avog, 1 Thess. ii. 19. ; 
Phil. iv. 1., said also of his converts ; Iva pri tTrtgapw, 2 Cor. iii. 5. ; 
SvvapEvoi iv (3apEi elvai, 1 Thess. ii. 6., of his burdening the Church 
with his maintenance. Compare also the following : 

cnrwv ry ffaj^ian, Trapuv le rw TrvevjjLari ; 1 Cor. V. iii. iv TrpoawTru 
Koi nn iv KapSiq., 2 Cor. V. 12. TTjOoo-wTrw ov KapSiq, 1 Thess. ii. 17. 

Such intricate similarities of language, such lively traits of cha 
racter, it is not within the power of any forger to invent, and, least 
of all, of a forger of the second century. 



THESSALONICA, called in more ancient times Halia, Emathia, 
and Therma, now Salonichi, was a populous city, the capital 
of one of the Roman divisions of Macedonia, situated at the north 
east corner of the Thermaic Gulf. It was celebrated for 
its commerce and for the luxury of its inhabitants. Many 
notices of its history occur in classical authors ; none of them, how 
ever, are such as connect with the subject of the Epistle. From 
the Acts of the Apostles we learn that there was a synagogue in the 
place, which may fairly be regarded as an indication of a large 
population of Jews (Acts, xvii. 1.). The first Christian Church 
there was founded by St. Paul, on his second Apostolical journey, 
after being shamefully entreated at Philippi, the first European city 
in which he preached the G-ospel. The Epistle (1 Thess. ii. 14.) 
seems to imply that the predominant element was a Gentile one; the 
Acts of the Apostles, on the other hand, chiefly mentions Jewish 
proselytes. Whether heathen converts are also included in the 
words of Acts, xvii. 4., according to Lachmann s reading (r&v re 
arE^ojjLevMv Kal EXA.j/rwi TrXijdos TroXu), is uncertain. The first visit of 
St. Paul to Thessalonica was probably the occasion on which the 
Philippians (Phil. iv. 15, 16.), "in the beginning of the Gospel . . 
sent once and again to his necessity." Once more at least, the 
Apostle visited Thessalonica, in the year which preceded his last 
journey to Jerusalem. 

It is not one of the objects of the present work to enter minutely 
either into the history of the cities to which the Epistles were 
addressed, or into the local features of the country in which they 


were situated. To fill the mind with historical pictures or descrip 
tions of scenery, will not in any degree help us to feel as the Apo 
stles felt, or think as they thought, any more than the history of the 
reign of George the Third, or a description of the scenery of 
Somersetshire or Cornwall, would enable us to understand the life 
and character of Wesley or Whitfield. Interesting as such pictures 
may be, they tend to withdraw us from a higher interest, which 
is to be found only in the private character of the Gospel narrative 

It is not in the first, but in the second century, that the Church 
comes into contact with the world. The life of Christ and his 
Apostles stands in no relation to the public history of their time. 
None of the great events of the world appear to touch them ; no 
edict of the Roman emperors, with the single exception of the 
command of Claudius that the Jews should depart from Rome, has 
the least effect on the fortunes of the infant communion. Even in 
this case, we arrive at no other result than that Aquila and Priscilla 
met with St. Paul at Corinth, and may conjecture of the possible 
influence of the dispersion of so many Jews throughout the empire. 
No name of any Christian convert in the New Testament can be 
certainly identified with the name of any one known to us from 
profane history. 

Neither are the descriptions of particular cities or countries at all 
more instructive. The fact, that at Thessalonica there were many 
thousand Jews, is of very slight importance in connexion with an 
Epistle addressed to Gentiles ; it is not more than a probability, that 
we can trace in the erring Galatians the spirit of the worshippers of 
Cybele or of the followers of Montanus. No amount of research 
into the history of the time, would inform us of the first question 
respecting all the Epistles, whether they were addressed to Jews 
or Gentiles. 

Such historical or topographical inquiries are of interest to the 
antiquarian ; they are like the relaxation of foreign travel after 
severe study: but they have no real connexion with the inter- 


pretation of Scripture ; and they tend to withdraw the mind from 
the true sources of illustration of the Epistles, and the true nature 
of the earliest Christianity. They lead us away from the internal 
relation of all Jewish and heathen thought to the truths of the 
Gospel, to a relation between the Church and the world which is 
purely accidental and external. They tend to give a national and 
historical character to Christianity, ere yet it appeared to the eye of 
man as a phenomenon of history. It is not the least danger of such 
inquiries that they fill up the void of materials by innumerable 

The traveller in Greece or in Asia who has followed in the foot 
steps of the Apostles, who has beheld with his own eyes the same 
scenes that were looked upon by St. Paul and St. John, is loth to 
believe that he can add nothing to our knowledge of the Seven 
Churches, or of the labours of the Apostle of the Gentiles. Those 
scenes have a never-dying interest ; but it is for themselves alone. 
Fain would we imagine the sight upon which St. Paul looked, when 
standing on Mars Hill, he beheld " the city wholly given to 
idolatry ; " fain would we see in fancy the desert rocks of the sea 
girt isle, on which St. John gazed when he wrote the Apocalypse. 
But we must not transfer to the ancient world our own impressions 
of nature or of art. Of that sensibility to the beauties of scenery, or 
of that romantic recollection of the past, which are such remarkable 
characteristics of our own day, there is no trace in the writings of 
the New Testament, nor any reason to suppose that they had a place 
in the minds of its authors. 

Taking the other aspect of the subject, we are far from denying 
that the birth of Christianity is the most interesting of historical 
facts ; but its interest is also for itself alone : it is not derived from 
any political influence which the Gospel at first exercised, or from 
any political causes which may have favoured or given rise to it. 
In the vastness of the Roman world, it is as a small isolated spot, 
the light, as it were, of a candle, which must be sought for, not in 
the court of Caesar, nor amid the factions of Jerusalem, but in the 


upper chamber in which the disciples met when " the number of the 
names together was about an hundred and twenty, and the doors 
were shut for fear of the Jews." It is one of those minute facts 
which escape the eye of the contemporary historian, and must not be 
drawn before its time into the circle of political events. Its first 
greatness is the very contrast which it presents with the greatness of 
history. Strange it is to think of the contemporary heathen world, 
of Tiberius at Capreae, of the Roman senate, of the solid framework 
of the Roman empire itself. But when this first feeling of surprise 
has passed away, we become aware that the page of Tacitus, or even 
of Josephus, adds nothing worth speaking of to our knowledge of the 
earliest Christianity. The most remarkable fact supplied by them is 
their unconsciousness of its importance. 

VOL. I. D 



NEITHER the date at which the First Epistle to the Thessalonians 
was written, nor the place from which it was written, can be deter 
mined with exact certainty ; but little doubt can be entertained that 
it must have been written either at Athens or Corinth, and there 
fore either before the Apostle went to Corinth or during the 
eighteen months stay in that city which closes his second Apos 
tolical journey. The only other possible supposition, that it was 
written from Asia Minor, is not, indeed, directly contradicted by 
any fact mentioned in the Epistle, but is inconsistent with its 
general tone and character ; for, from 1 Thess. iii. 6., it is obvious 
that the Epistle was written shortly, if not immediately, after the 
return of Timothy (" But now, when Timotheus came from us to 
you "). But Timothy was sent to Thessalonica during the Apostle s 
stay at Athens, after which intervened the eighteen months sojourn 
at Corinth. Hence, if the Epistle was written from Ephesus or 
some other place in Asia Minor, the Apostle would be referring, in 
the expression just quoted, to what had taken place two years 
before. But no one would use such an expression, or refer so pre 
cisely to his feelings at the time as St. Paul does in the preceding 
verses (iii. 1 5.), if he were speaking of what was separated from 
him by so long an interval. 

Still we have not determined whether the Epistle was written 
from Athqps or Corinth. In the examination of this question, 
another is involved, which will be more fully discussed elsewhere. 
The third chapter of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians is com 
monly thought to be, in some particulars, inconsistent with the 


corresponding passage in the Acts. In the Epistle, Timothy 
appears to be sent back from Athens, while, in the Acts, he is left 
behind at Berea (Acts, xvii. 14., " But Silas and Timotheus abode 
there still "), and comes up with the Apostle again at Corinth after 
he has left Athens. (1.) This discrepancy has been regarded by 
Paley as an undesigned coincidence, the Epistle, as he conceives, 
supplying a circumstance (viz., the return of Timothy from Athens 
to Thessalonica) which makes statements in the history more na 
tural and probable. For a fuller investigation of this question, and 
an examination of the difficulties in which Paley s hypothesis is 
involved, the reader is referred to the note on the Horae Paulinas. 
(2.) It may be further maintained that the discrepancy itself is not 
real, but apparent ; for it is not expressly asserted that it was from 
Athens that Timothy was sent back. St. Paul s solitude at Athens 
might be the consequence of Timothy s visit ; but the sending may 
have been from Berea to Thessalonica. And it might be further 
suggested, that the words "but Satan hindered me," in ii. 18., re 
ferred to the persecutions which prevented the Apostle himself 
returning from Berea to Thessalonica. This is a possible hypo 
thesis ; but it must be admitted to run counter to the first and most 
obvious meaning of the words of the Epistle. (3.) We may suppose 
an inaccuracy in the Acts, the writer of which may not have known 
of the lengthened stay of the Apostle at Athens. 

Taking the language of the Epistle only, our natural inference 
would be, that the time at which it was written was not long after 
the conversion of the Thessalonians, very shprtly after the Apostle 
had sent Timothy from Athens, and immediately after the return 
of Timothy from visiting his converts. Whether, on the return 
of Timothy, St. Paul was at the same place from which he sent 
Timothy, or not, at Athens, that is, or at Corinth it would be 
idle to inquire. He may have been at Athens, he may have been 
at Corinth ; he may have returned from one to the other, he may 
have been in the neighbourhood of either. This is the real, though 
not very precise, result of an examination of the Epistle itself. A 

D 2 


probability or two might be added from a comparison of the Acts ; 
but we shall do better to confine ourselves to the natural meaning of 
the Epistle, without seeking to form a tortuous harmony by the un 
certain insertion of additional circumstances derived from other 
sources. The statements of the Epistle are a real confirmation of 
the narrative of the Acts ; and the degree of coincidence in the 
narrative of the Acts is a sufficient evidence that the Epistle must 
have been written on the second Apostolical journey. 



LIKE the other writings of St. Paul, the First Epistle to the Thessa- 
lonians may be divided into two parts : the one personal, the other 
doctrinal or practical. The one relating to them, chap, i., and to 
himself, chap. ii. and iii. ; the other comprising practical exhorta 
tions, iv. and v., to sanctification, to quietness, to obedience, to peace, 
combined with instruction as to the coming of Christ, iii. 12., and 
the duty of watchfulness against his appearing. 

An epistle is apt to appear to us irrelevant if we ask too precisely 
for its object. It is not a treatise, nor a sermon, nor necessarily 
written with any particular design, or confined to a particular sub 
ject. It is the natural outpouring of the Apostle s soul to those 
whom he esteems " very highly in love for Christ s sake." It says 
much of them in thankfulness for their conversion ; it says much of 
himself to awaken their sympathy. The exact bearing of each 
verse on a particular end, is not to be considered. The best lessons 
and the highest truths are often taught in the most indirect manner, 
arising many times from the most incidental occasions, gleaming 
through natural affection, suggested often by .commendation rather 
than by rebuke of the persons to whom they are addressed. Nothing 
can be more indirect, or occasional, than most of the Epistles of 
St. Paul : they seem to have hardly any set purpose ; they are the 
fragments or remains of his life, not the exposition of his system. 
Unmeaning they can only appear when we judge them by a modern 
standard, and when, losing sight of him and his converts, we attempt 
to elicit from them notions of philosophy, or revelations of the 
unseen world. 

D 3 


It does not detract from the value of the First Epistle to the 
Thessalonians to say that it is without an object. That is, it has no 
other object but to confirm their faith and remind them of what 
they owed to the Apostle, as a motive for their continuance in the 
lesson which he had taught them. The greater part of it is a 
simple narrative of "his manner of entering into them" and its 
results. As though he had said, "Remember who it was who 
showed you these things; who spoke to you disinterested words; 
who drew you towards him with cords of love, as a nurse among 
her children, as a father with his sons." The burden of the first 
three chapters is his love to them and theirs to him ; his anxiety to 
hear of them and to see them. But love cannot abstain from ex 
hortation ; not that it has new commands to give, or fresh lessons 
to impart, but the very excess of love pours itself forth in thrice- 
told admonitions and consolations. Trite precepts are repeated by 
the Apostle as by a parent, not because his children know them not, 
but in the hope that this time they may strike home upon them 
with some peculiar force or influence. 

From the personal narrative which, in the first half of the Epistle, 
he has made the vehicle of his instruction, he passes on to a more 
general lesson. There is no peculiar appropriateness in the manner 
in which the topics of the fourth and fifth chapters follow one 
another. They are, first, purity ; secondly, love of the brethren ; 
thirdly, the state of the departed, and the coming of Christ; fourthly, 
peace and order ; these are followed by particular and apparently 
disjointed precepts. It is not impossible to trace a connexion of the 
second and fourth with the third in the series ; for affection for one 
another may have led to an inquiry " concerning them which are 
asleep," and the belief in the approaching Advent, with which the 
anxiety about the dead was connected, was probably the source of 
disorder in the Church. Compare 2 Thess. ii. 2. But however 
interesting such an association may be, we cannot feel certain that 
it had any real existence in the Apostle s mind. More naturally we 
may suppose that, as in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, he 


writes without connexion, as the several subjects occur to him, or 
may have been suggested by the news of Timothy, as in the former 
case by certain of the household of Chloe. 

The subject which stands out most prominently in this latter por 
tion of the Epistle, is the state of the departed. The formula with 
which it is introduced reminds us of the similar formula at the com 
mencement of the tenth chapter of the First of Corinthians, " More 
over, brethren, I would not have you ignorant ;" which, in the same 
way, forms a transition to a fresh topic. It is closely connected 
with that which is the under current of the whole Epistle, the near 
approach of the coming of Christ ; and probably arises out of some 
inquiry made of the Apostle by those who were sorrowing for lost 
friends or kinsmen, who seemed to them not only to have passed, 
like the Israelites of old, from the presence of God, but from the 
hope of Messiah s kingdom. 

The ground of consolation is the same as that of 1 Cor. xv. 21., 
" Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of 
the dead;" 1 Thess. iv. 14., "If we believe that Jesus died and rose 
again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will Christ bring 
with him ; " though the form is different. It is the object of the 
Apostle to do away with the dreary thought which we infer the 
Thessalonians to have entertained, that they were for ever separated 
from the dead. Their heaven was on earth, where they were 
expecting the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle com 
forts them with the assurance that, even if they should not go to 
the dead, the dead should return to them ; that in that kingdom 
they were not to be parted, but together, the living with the dead 
and both with Christ. 





IIATAO2 Kal ^tXovaws Kal TijJiodeos, rrj KK\rjcria 1 
Sea-(ToXoviK.o)v iv $ea> Trarpl Kal Kvpia) Irjcrov yjp terra). 
X&/H9 vpA,v Kal elpTjvT) [0,770 Oeov Trarpos rjjjitov Kal Kvpiov 

I. Hav\OQ KCU SiXouavoc KO.I Ti- 
, Paw/ awt? Silvanus and Ti- 
motheus.~\ St. Paul omits the title 
of Apostle, either because he had 
not yet assumed it, or because his 
name here, as in the Epistle to 
thePhilippians, is associated with 
others; or in accordance with the 
absence of the tone of authority 
which generally marks the Epis 
tle. The manner and the steps by 
which he came to be recognised 
as on a level with the Twelve, and 
" not a whit behind the chiefest 
of the Apostles/ can no longer be 
traced. In the Epistle which fol 
lows next in chronological order 
we find him earnestly asserting 
his claim to apostolical authority, 
and appealing to the success of his 
teaching as the seal of his mission. 
Whether the enforcement of such 
a claim in the Galatians, or the 
omission of the titlein the Epistles 
to the Thessalonians, can be re 
garded as indications that there 
was a time at which his apostle- 
ship was not universally recog 
nised, or the right to it asserted 
by himself, are questions which 
may be suggested, but cannot be 
satisfactorily answered. Probably 
the name Apostle, which in its 
general sense was used of many, 
was gradually, and at no definite 
period, applied to him with the 
same special meaning as to the 
Apostles at Jerusalem. Cf. 2 Cor. 

viii. 23. ; xi. 5. ; 1 Cor. iv. 9. ; 
Eom. xvi. 7., and below, ii. 6. He 
is not mentioned with the Twelve 
in the book of the Revelation 
(c. xxi. 14.). 

Silvanus is the Silas of the Acts, 
first mentioned in chap. xv. 22. 
32., as a chief man and a prophet 
among the brethren at Jerusalem. 
He was sent down to Antioch on 
a mission relating to the disputes 
about circumcision. After his mis 
sion was fulfilled he remained with 
St. Paul, whom he accompanied 
on his second Apostolical journey. 
The last mention of him in the 
Acts is found in xviii. 5., on the 
occasion of his overtaking the 
Apostle at Corinth, where he 
joined him in preaching the Gos 
pel (2 Cor. i. 19.). Once more 
the name occurs, in 1 Pet. v. 12. 
If it be the name of the same 
person, he must be supposed to 
have left St. Paul, and to have 
followed St. Peter to Babylon 
(v. 13.). < 

That Silvanus here as elsewhere 
is placed before Timotheus, may 
be considered as what Paley terms 
an " undesigned coincidence " 
(though a slight one) with the 
narrative of the Acts, in which 
Silas is spoken of as a leader in 
the church at Jerusalem before 
the call of Timothy. 

Timotheus is mentioned in Acts, 
xvi. 1 . as " the son of a certain 



PAUL, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the Church of 
the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord 
Jesus Christ ; Grace unto you, and peace [from God our 
Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ]. 

woman which was a Jewess, and 
believed ; but his father was a 
Greek." It was at Lystra, in Ly- 
caonia, St. Paul met with him, on 
his second Apostolical journey 
(whether after a previous ac 
quaintance on his first journey 
or not, is not stated), and, intend 
ing him to go forth with him, had 
him circumcised, to obviate the 
prejudice with which, as a preach 
er of the Gospel, he might be re 
garded among the Jews, in con 
sequence of his half Gentile ex 
traction. He accompanied Paul 
on his two journeys into Greece, 
was probably with him at Phi- 
lippi andThessalonica(thoughnot 
expressly mentioned as sharing 
in the persecutions of the Apostle 
and Silas), and certainly at Co 
rinth (Acts, xviii. 5.). On the 
occasion of St. Paul s last journey 
he sent on Timothy from Ephesus 
into Macedonia (Acts, xix. 22.). ; 
thence to Corinth (I Cor. iv. 
17.); from which latter place he 
returned and met the Apostle on 
his journey thither, in Macedonia 
(2 Cor. i. 1.). He was with him at 
the time of writing the Epistle to 
the Romans, that is, in Corinth 
or its neighbourhood (Rom. xvi. 
21.); was sent forward to Troas 
on his return through Macedonia 
(Acts, xx. 5.), and reappears as 
the companion of St. Paul dur 
ing his imprisonment at Rome 

(Phil. i. 1.; Col. i. 1.; Philem. 1.). 
The last mention of his name oc 
curs in Heb. xiii. 23. : " Know 
ye that our brother Timothy is 
set at liberty." 

No one so much as Timothy 
bore the image of St. Paul him 
self : " He worketh the work of 
the Lord, as I also do." (1 Cor. 
xvi. 10.) " For I have no man 
like minded, who will naturally 
care for your state." (Phil. ii. 
20.). " As a son with the father, 
he hath served with me in the 
Gospel " (22.). 

TYJI tKKXrjaiq, to the church, ] 
Thess., Gal., Cor. ; but ro/c ayioic 
* K\r)TO~i ayioiQ, in Romans, 
Ephesians, Philippians, and Co- 
lossians. It cannot be inferred 
from this difference of expres 
sion, that the latter Epistles 
were addressed to private per 
sons, as Philippi and Ephesus 
were quite as likely to have lu.d 
regular Churches as Galatia and 
Thessalonica. Yet it is remark 
able that the change of form 
should occur in all the later 
Epistles ; perhaps because to the 
Apostle, in his later years, the 
Church on earth seemed already 
passing into the heavens. The 
word KxXr?crm (church) is used 
in the LXX. forthe congregation, 
indifferently with o-ui aywy/y (con 
gregation). It is found also in 
the Gospel of St. Matthew ; in 




TrdvTorc irepl 

vpwv, 2 

i Add 

the Epistles of St. John and St. 
James, as well as in the Epistle 
to the Hebrews and the Book 
of the Eevelation. It could not, 
therefore, have belonged to any 
one party or division of the 
Church. In the time of St. 
Paul it was the general term, 
and was gradually appropriated 
to the Christian Church. All 
the sacred associations with 
which that was invested as the 
body of Christ, were transferred 
to it, and the words, ffwayuyri 
and iKK\rjffia, soon became as dis 
tinct as the things to which 
they were applied. The very 
rapidity with which iKK\r)<ria 
acquired its new meaning, is a 
proof of the life and force which 
from the first the thought of 
communion with one another 
must have exerted on the minds 
of the earliest believers. Some 
indication of the transition is 
traceable in Heb. ii. 12., where 
the words of Ps. xxii. 23., "in 
the midst of the church will I 
sing praise unto thee," are adop 
ted in a Christian sense ; also in 
Heb. xii. 23., where the Old and 
New Testament meanings of 
tKK\r](ria are similarly blended. 

ev Ssw Trarpt, in God the 
Father] is closely connected 
with the preceding words. All 
things in their highest aspect, 
churches, individuals, the ac 
tions, feelings, and words of men, 
are in God and Christ ; they 
pass out of themselves into union 
with the Divine nature; they 
rest in God, have their place in 
Him, " take up their abode " in 

Him (compare John, xiv. 10. 20. ; 
Phil. iv. 2. ; Eph. vi. i.). The 
nearest approach in classical 
Greek to this " Christian " signi 
fication of the preposition kv is 
its use with the person (iv <ro/, 
tfjioi, tavrf) in the sense of " in 
the power of." Language of 
this sort can hardly be said to 
exist among ourselves ; it is only 
repeated from the New Testa 
ment. Yet so it was the early 
Church thought and felt. 

Xp l vfuv Kcuelpfivri, graceunto 
you and peace.~\ The Christian 
form of salutation being, an 
adaptation of the Greek 
united with the Hebrew 

OLTTO $eov Trarpoc; IIJJL&V KOI Kvpov 
Irjffov XJOIOTOV, from God our 
Father, and the Lord Jesus 
Christ.^ These words are omit 
ted by about half the MS. autho 
rities, and are probably interpo 
lated from the salutations of 
other epistles. It may be ar 
gued, that either their omission 
or insertion was occasioned by 
the iv e&5 Trarpi, which pre 

A similar omission or insertion 
(probably the latter and arising 
from the same cause) occurs in 
Rom. viii. i. ; Matt. vi. 13., and 

2 10. Few passages are more 
characteristic of the style of St. 
Paul than that on which we are 
entering. First, as it is the over 
flowing of his soul in thankful 
ness for his converts, about whom 
he can never say too much. Se 
condly, in the very form and 
structure of the sentences, which 


2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making 

3 mention of you at* our prayers ; remembering without 

seem to grow under his hand, 
gaining force in each successive 
clause by the repetition and ex 
pansion of the preceding. A clas 
sical or modern writer distin 
guishes his several propositions, 
assigning to each its exact rela 
tion to what goes before and fol 
lows, that he may give meaning 
and articulation to the whole. 
The manner of St. Paul is the 
reverse of this. He overlays one 
proposition with another, the se 
cond just emerging beyond the 
first, and arising out of associa 
tion with it, but not always stand 
ing in a clear relation to it. Thus 
in the passage which we are con 
sidering, adiaXetTrrwQ fJtvrjftoyev- 
in ver. 3., is a repetition of 
aTovfjiev iravTore and fjiveiav 
/, in ver. 2. Again, with 
reference to the latter words 
themselves, it is not clear whe 
ther yuvet av 7roiovfj.evoi is an ad 
dition to, or a limitation on, ev- 
Xapiffrovfj.ev. A little lower down, 
ver. 5., the clause on TO evay- 
yc Xiov, ic. r. X., is a sort of after 
thought on rt)v EK\oyi]v. In like 
manner, whether in the words 
KOI vfjLEie pipriral, in the 6th verse, 
the Apostle carries in his thoughts 
the preceding otdare, or not, is 
uncertain. Ver. 8. is an ampli 
fication of ver. 7., and in ver. 8. 
itself the language of the second 
clause is varied from that of the 
first, without any variation of 
meaning ; in v. 9. the words, Sov- 
\eveii -vw HOVTL KCU ctXrjQtvw, are 
an extension of the preceding 
e-rcsffrptyare vposrov $ebv CLTTO r&v 
EtSwXwv. At the commencement 
of chap. ii. we appear to break 
off and pass on to a new subject, 

and yet are but resuming the 
thread of ver. 5. and 6. in the pre 

Leaving the form, let us go on 
to the substance. The Apostle is 
full of thankfulness to God for 
the conversion of the Thessalo- 
nians, which has brought forth 
such unmistakeable fruits of righ 
teousness. These are just in 
accordance with the manner of 
their reception of the Gospel, the 
manner in which he preached 
and they believed. It seemed to 
have a peculiar power over them, 
received with joy amid persecu 
tions; they were as burning and 
shining lights in all that land. 
Their conversion was in all men s 
mouths, who could not help, of 
their own accord, telling even the 
Apostle himself how these idola 
ters had come to the knowledge 
of the true God ; and how they, 
like the other disciples, had 
learned to sit waiting for the day 
of the Lord. In such manner 
does the Apostle, in the excess of 
his affection for them, not with 
out knowledge of the way in 
which to approach human nature, 
transform the language of compli 
ment into a spiritual lesson. 

2. ev)(apt0Tou/iej , we give 
thanks. ~\ The plural, as in chap, 
ii. 13. 17. 18., iii. 1., is most natu 
rally explained by being referred 
exclusively to St. Paul. The per 
sonal feelings of thankfulness as 
here, the desire to see them 
(ii. 18.), the sense of weakness 
(iii. 1.), can hardly refer to others 
than himself. 

TraiTore, with 
Compare 2 Thess. ii. 13. 

l TTCLVT(t)V Vfjltil , /Or all of 




dyaTTTjs, Kal rrjs vTro/xo^? r^s eXTuSos TOV Kvpiov rjfJLOJv 
Irjcrov xpicrTov efJLTrpocrOev TOV Oeov Kal iraTpos rjjjLOJV 
etSdre9, dSeXc^ot ??y 0/7777/^01 VTTO Oeov, TT)I> efcXoyr)^ vfjiojv, 4 
on TO evayyeXcoz rjfjLaiv OVK lyevijOrj irpbs VJJLOLS iv Xdycj 5 
dXXa KOL iv Swa/xei Kal iv 7n>ev/xaTi ayioj Kal iv 

you.~\ Forgetting none ; such is 
our never failing habit. 

fjiveiav Troiovpevot, making men 
tion. ] Either (1.) we give thanks as 
often as we make mention of you or 
remember you in our prayers; or 
better (2.), we give thanks in 
prayer; the second clause only de 
veloping, not limiting, the first. 

7T r<Dj> TTjOoffeu^wj , at our pray- 
ers.]t7rtnot "iii"or "among," but 
"at," in the sense of "at the 
time of," " during ; " as in the use 
with the participle tVt Kvpov /3ao-t- 
XEVOVTOQ. The expression iv 
ralg K^offEv^cuQ, which occurs in 
Col. iv. 2., aywyt^o^ueroe vTrep 
vfjitiv kv ra~iG Trpofftvycuc changes 
the point of view, though hardly 
the sense ; the preposition iv re 
presenting a closer relation be 
tween the substantive and the 
verb without any idea of time. 

3. Here, as in 1 Cor. xiii., 
faith, hope, and love meet to 
gether in one. 

rov epyov r/jjc irioreuG, work of 
faith,~\ has been variously ex 
plained as meaning the reality of 
your faith, or the fact of your 
receiving the Gospel, or the work 
ing of your faith. Better your 
work of faith, that is, the Chris 
tian life which springs from faith. 
(Comp. 2 Thess. i. 11.) 

TOV KOTTOV TYJQ ayaTr^c, labour of 
love.~\ The labour which love 
undergoes, a love that avoids no 
sacrifices and shuns no toils for 
the good of others. Such as their 

own Jason had shown amid per 
secutions, in Acts, xvii. Comp. 
Heb. iii. 10. : " For God is not 
unrighteous to forget your work 
and love which ye have shewed 
towards his name, in that ye have 
ministered to the saints and do 

vTTopovrJG TrJQ e\7r/Boc, patience 
of hope."] The patience which is 
sustained by hope. (Comp. Eom. 
iv. 18., viii. 24.) Remembering, 
the Apostle would say, your faith, 
hope, and love ; a faith that had 
its outward effect on your lives ; 
a love that spent itself in the ser 
vice of others ; a hope that was 
no mere transient feeling, but 
was content to wait for the things 
unseen, when Christ should be 
revealed. Compare v. 10. ; also 
2 Thess. iii. 5. t?g TYIV VTTOJJLOVYIV 
TOV xpHrTov ; and Apoc. ii. 2., 
where the first triplet of words 
occurs in the same order ; olca TO. 
f pya <rov KCU TOV KOTTOV /cat T^V 

VTTO^.Ovi]V (TOV. 

It is most natural to explain 
all the three genitives in the 
same way, " your work springing 
from faith, your labour spring 
ing from love, your patience 
springing from the hope " of the 
coming of Christ, although it is 
true that patience and hope oc 
cur in a different order in Rom. 
v. 4. Were it not for the parallel 
ism, hope might be taken either as 
the source of patience or the mode 
in which it shows itself; and yet 


ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and 
patience of hope of* our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight 

4 of our God * and Father ; knowing, brethren beloved of* 

5 God, your election, that * our gospel came not unto 
you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy 
Ghost, and in much assurance ; as ye know what man- 

the lover of grammatical niceties 
might argue that the parallelism 
is destroyed by the words that 
follow, TOV Kvpiov rjpair Ir)<Tov\pL<r- 
rov, which cannot equally apply 
to all which precedes. 

epTrpoaOev TOV Seov KOL TrciTpoQ 
?//iwj , in the sight of God and 
our Father. ] These words may 
be either connected with pvrjpo- 
vevovTEQ, "remembering you in 
the presence of God our Father ; " 
and regarded as answering to 
" making mention of you in our 
prayers," in the preceding verse ; 
or the Apostle may intend to ex 
press that their faith, hope, and 
charity were in the presence of 
God, and had gone up before 
Him. (Cornp. note on ver. 1.) 
The latter is confirmed by the 
order of the words and the com 
mon use of language in St. Paul 
(Rom. iv. 17., xiv. 22.). 

4. VTTO Seov is to be taken with 
as 2 Thess. ii. 13. : 
VTTO Kvpiovj cf. Eccl. 
xlv. 1. 

i)o r TYJV *rXy^x, knowing 
your election."] Either (1.) know 
ing that ye are elect, the proof 
of which is the power with which 
the Gospel came to you ; or (2.) 
knowing the manner of your 
election, of which the following 
verse serves as a further elucida 
tion. Compare o icciTf TYIV E KTO^OV 
OTL ov Ktvfi yeyovei , ii. 1. ; and /3Xf- 


K. T. \. 1 Cor. i. 26. ; Rom. 

xiii. 11. The idiomatic usage of 
on after a substantive in the accu 
sative and the resumption of 
elcoTEQ in oiSare in ii. 1., where a 
similar construction follows, are 
in favour of the second mode of 
construing the passage. The 
Apostle calls to mind their, re 
ception of the Gospel, which 
showed that they had received 
the Spirit and were elect of God. 
Compare Gal. iii. 1. 2., for a 
similar appeal, though in a different 
spirit, to the hour of conver 

5. TO evayyiXiov >/ftwj , OUT 
Gospel."] Our preaching of the 
Gospel. Compare Rom. xvi. 25. ; 
Gal. ii. 7. 

f.yeri]6r]. Either(l.)didnotcome 
unto you, without emphasis, as 
below, v. 5 ; or (2.) did not take 
effect, come to pass, as in 2 Kings, 
xvii. 23., OTL OVK eyerijOr] rj /3ovX>) 
auTov. Compare also eyevydrj Hv 
Ufy in 2 Cor. iii. 7, 8. 

fV Xo yw judVo* , in ivord only^\ 
is to be referred to the influence 
of his preaching on the Thessa- 
lonians. Our preaching was not 
a mere word with you. 

iv cwa/jifi, in power.~\ But had 
a power over your hearts, and 
was followed by gifts of the Spi 
rit. Compare 1 Cor. ii. 4., OVK 
vofylag Xoyoic, ct\X iv 
3-fou : also 1 Cor. iv. 19. 
It has been said that the words 
" in the Holy Spirit " could only 
refer to the Apostle s mode of 



TT\7)po<f)Opia 7ro\\fj, KaOcos otSare OLOL lyevrfOrjiJLev iv v 
SL vju,a?, /cat v/x-eis /u/Aiyral r]p.a)v eyevijOrjTt Kal TOV Kvpiov, 6 
Sefa/x,o>oi TOV \6yov Iv OXiifjei 7ro\\fj jnera )(apas Tr^eufcaros 
aytov, (Scrre yevecrOat. i5/>ia,g rvTro^ 1 Tracriv roi? TncrTevovcrw 7 
; T7? MaKeSovia /cal e^ r^ 2 ^A^ata. d< VJJLOJV yap ef^^rai 8 
6 Xoyos TOV Kvpiov ov povov ev rrj MoLKt&ovla Kal iv rfj 2 
a, dXX 3 iv TravTi TOTTM rj TTICTTIS vpwv rj Trpos TOV 6tbv 

1 rvirovs. 

2 Omit eV TV. 


preaching, not to the gifts by 
which it was accompanied, and 
which were beyond his power 
to produce. But does the Apostle 
thus separate himself from the 
Spirit working in him ? rather 
lv TrvEvfjLaTi ayiy implies the 
communion of the Spirit with 
himself and them, or, in other 
words, the inspiration of the 
speaker caught by the hearers, 
whose acceptance of it was the 
evidence of its spiritual power. 

iv 7rA77po0opt TroXXr/ in much 
assurance J\ also refers to the 
Apostle first, afterwards to his 
converts. According to the two 
principal meanings of TrXr/po^OjOtw, 
to fulfil or to assure, the word 
TrXrjpo^ofjia in this passage may 
have two senses, either (1.) assu 
rance, or (2.) fulfilment ; though 
from the Apostle blending him 
self and his converts they can 
hardly be kept distinct. 

The preposition iv is equally 
translatable by the English 
* in," with all the four substan 
tives which precede. Yet a 
slight change of meaning is per 
ceptible : from the " manner " 
with the two first to what may 
be termed the closer relation of 
"inherence "in the third (cf.v. 2.), 
and the weaker one of result or 
accompaniment in the fourth. 

For still more various uses of iv 
in the same sentence, compare 
2 Cor. vi. 4 7. 

/caOwc otc)ar, as ye know.~\ In 
the preceding words the Apostle 
has been describing the effect of 
his preaching on the hearts of 
his hearers : " It came to you 
not in word merely, but in 
power." It was a mutual influ 
ence, "so we preached, and so 
ye believed." In what follows, 
the Apostle expresses this more 
clearly. "Ye know what we 
were among you for your sakes 
(oC vfJia.Q\ and ye followed our 
example, and the Lord s." KaOue 
oiSciTE contains also a faint oppo 
sition to eldoTEQ. We know the 
manner of your election, as ye to 
whom we appeal bear witness of 
our behaviour among you. 

6. KOI v/ztt, in the next verse 
may be regarded, either as a 
continuation of the preceding 
oi ot, or as a new sentence. Com 
pare 1 Cor. xi. 1. : yu^uTyrcu JJ.QV 

kv $\i\lsei TToXXj/, in much af 
fliction.^ Compare the words of 
Christ, Matt. v. 11.; Luke, vi. 
22. ; Mark, x. 30. The narrative 
of their persecutions is given in 
Acts, xviii., arising, as in most 
places, from the enmity of the 


ner of men we were among you for your sake ; and ye 
became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received 
the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy 
Ghost : so that ye were an ensample l to all that believe 
in Macedonia and in 2 Achaia. For from you has * been 
sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia 
and in 2 Achaia, but 3 in every place your faith to God- 


2 Omit in. 

3 Add also. 

The suffering that comes from 
without, cannot depress the 
spirit of a man who is faithful in 
a good cause. It is only when 
" from within are fears " that 
the mind is enslaved. For in 
the spiritual world joy and 
sorrow are not two, but one. 
The servant of Christ feels a 
sort of exhilaration at the con 
trast between himself and the 
world, similar to that of the 
soldier on the battle field, in the 
presence of danger and death. 
He is not like another man, but 
at once above and below others ; 
he has the sentence of death in 
himself, and is yet more than a 
conqueror. It is this peculiarity 
of the Christian character that 
the Apostle expresses by "joy 
of the Holy Ghost," " glorying in 
the Lord," " fulness of consolati 
on : " "rejoicing in his sufferings, 
and filling up what was wanting 
of the afflictions of Christ in his 
flesh." See also the alternations of 
feeling in 2 Cor. vi. 10.: "As 
sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing." 
Herein too the Thessalonians 
were "followers of St. Paul as 
he was of Christ." Compare 
John xii. 23., " The hour is come, 
that the Son of man should be glo 
rified ; " and the double character 
of the discourse in the folio wing 

VOL. I. E 

chapters which precedes our 
Lord s passion. 

XOjOci TrvEVfJiciTOQ ayiov is a 
stronger expression for x a p vvev- 
yuarto/, 01* lv Trvf.vjj.arL ayiu. 

7. It is an over-curious refine 
ment on the use of the article in 
this passage to say that it has 
a collective force. Better with 
the Authorised Version, " All 
that believe." Compare Rom. x. 
12., 1 Cor. i. 2. 

8. a0 vp&v yap g ^^rcu, for 
from you has been sounded out.~] 

Not you became preachers of the 
Gospel to others, or you were an 
example to others, or, beginning 
with you first, I preached to 
others ; but from you first the 
word has made itself felt, as it 
were, with the sound of a trum 
pet, and your conversion was so 
remarkable that it attracted the 
eyes of men : the light shone 
upon all Macedonia and Achaia, 
and in all other places. 

MaK f^or/a Kat A^a/a, Macedo 
nia and Achaia. ] The proconsu 
lar divisions of Greece under the 

ev 7ravr\ TOTTU), in evert/ placed] 
How could it be said, that the 
faith of the Thessalonians was 
known everywhere? It has 
been sometimes attempted to re 
move this difficulty by taking 



wcrre p,r) yj)dav fytw ^/xas 1 \a\tlv TL. Avroi 
yap Trepl r^^v aTrayyeXXovcriP, oTroiav euroSoz ecr^o/xe^ 
vrpbs vjJias, Kal TTWS e7r<TT/)ei//aTe TT^OS rw $eo> aVo ra>i> 

vov avrov K TMV ovpavvv, ov Tyapev K rwv v 
TQV pvo^tvov rjfJias airo rfjs 

3 Omit 

ov novov (not only) with s//x^" 
rot (for from you lias not only 
been sounded out), which is ob 
jectionable, however, both upon 
the ground of the order of the 
words and the poorness of the 
sense. It is better to admit that 
the language of St. Paul, uttered 
in the fulness of his heart, is not 
to be construed strictly, any 
more than where he says, in like 
manner, that the faith of the 
Romans was known over the 
whole world (Rom. i. 8.), or that 
the Gospel of which he was a 
minister was preached to every 
creature under heaven. He 
means x in other words, that not 
only in Greece, but in Asia, 
wherever there were believers, 
the news of the Thessalonian 
conversion had spread, or rather 
must have spread ; he had no 
need to speak of them, for the 
report of them had preceded him 
on his way. 

It is not necessary that these 
latter words should be connected 
with kv Karri TOTTW ; the meaning 
would be assisted if, instead of 
adopting Lachmann s punctu 
ation, the clause, wore /^?) yjitiav 
i\iv //juac \a\tiv n, were sepa 
rated by a colon from l^eX^XvO^r, 
and closely joined with the fol 
lowing verse. 

9. Ai>Toi } they themselves J\ They 

whom you might expect to be 
asking questions of us, come 
instead to us, and tell us of your 
friendly reception of us and 
of your conversion. For a si 
milar turn of expression, com 
pare John xvi. 27. Here, as 
elsewhere in the New Testament, 
more frequently than in classical 
Greek (Rom. ii. 26., &c.), CIV-OQ 
is used with an imperfect ante 
cedent, to be supplied from the 

OTroiav ei<ro?or, what an en 
trance ive had to you^\ i. e. with 
what success we preached the 

KO.I TTWC 7T<7Tpe\l>a.T, and how 
ye turned. ] And how ye turned 
from idols to serve the living God 
of Jew and Gentile. Compare 
Gal. iv. 8. : " Howbeit, then, 
when ye knew not God, ye did 
service to them which by nature 
are no gods." Yet in both 
Churches there must have been 
a Jewish as well as a Gentile 
element, Acts, xvii. 4. ; Gal. iv.9. 

SovXevuv, ta serve."] Infinitive 
of the object, a use of it which be 
comes more and more frequent in 
the later language, until, by a sort 
of reaction, as if the vague sense of 
the mood were not worth keeping, 
it is superseded by Ira with the 

10. It appears remarkable that 


ward is spread abroad ; so that we need not to speak any 
9 thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of 

entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to 
10 God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to 

wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the 

dead, Jesus, which delivereth* us from the wrath to come. 

St. Paul should make the essence 
of the Gospel consist, not in the 
belief in Christ, or in taking up 
the cross of Christ, but in the 
hope of his coming again. Such, 
however, was the faith of the 
Thessalonian Church, such is the 
tone and spirit of the Epistle. 
Neither in the Apostolic times, 
nor in our own, can we reduce all 
to the same type. One aspect of 
the Gospel is more outward, an 
other more inward; one seems to 
connect with the life of Christ, 
another with his death ; one with 
his birth into the world, another 
with his coming again. If we 
will not insist on determining the 
times and the seasons, or on know 
ing the manner how, all these dif 
ferent ways may lead us within 
the veil, The faith of modern 
times embraces many parts or 
truths ; yet we allow men, accord 
ing to their individual character, 
to dwell on this truth, or that, 
as more peculiarly appropriate 
to their nature. The faith of the 
early Church was simpler and 
more progressive, pausing in the 
same way on a particular truth, 
which the circumstances of the 
world or the Church brought be 
fore them. 

TOV pv6jj.vov >//*ac, which de 
liver eth us.~\ The Saviour from 
the wrath that is coming and now 
is (comp. ii. 16. ; 2 Thess. i. 8.) ; 
not so near in Rom ii. 5. ; v. 9. ; 

more general yet no less certain 
in Eph. v. 6. ; Col. iii. 6. So, even 
before the preaching of the Gospel, 
John the Baptist : " who hath 
showed you to flee from the wrath 
to come?" The wrath of God was 
coming upon the Jewish people 
and all mankind ; the world was 
closing in upon them, as life and 
its hereafter on ourselves. 

II. The personal narrative 
which follows, may be compared 
with that in the Galatians, i. 11. 
to ii. 14. Alluding to the spirit 
in which he preached to them, 
he glances, for an instant, at 
the persecution which he had 
just before endured at Philippi, 
and which had not deterred him 
from speaking the truth boldly, 
though at Thessalonica too the 
conflict was hot. He had spoken 
as to God and not to men, with 
out covetousness, or guile, or 
flattery, or vain glory, or any 
such thing. He had given up 
his right to support as an Apo 
stle from the excess of his love 
to them; a love, which would 
fain have made him lay down 
his life for their sake. They 
must surely remember how they 
had seen him toiling day and 
night to get his own livelihood ; 
they were the witnesses (and there 
was a higher witness) of the inno 
cence of his life, and of his gen tie 
and fatherly admonitions to them. 

Then changing the person, he 

E 2 



AvTol yap oiSare, aSeX^oi, TTJV eicroSoz rjfJLOJV ryv 77/505 2 
on ov Kevr) yzyovzv, aXXa l TrpoTraOovres KOLL v/3pL- 2 
#0)5 otSare e^ $1X17777015, l7rappr)o-Lao-dp.0a iv TOJ 
\a\rjo~ai 77^005 v/>ca,5 TO evayyeXtoz^ TOV ^eov e^ 
77oXXc5 dyco^t. ^ yap 77apdfcX^crt5 ^JJLOJT/ OVK IK TrXdvrjs 3 

1 Add /caf. 

gives thanks to God as at first, 
for their reception of the Word 
of God; they had become fol 
lowers of the Churches in Ju- 
dea, and stood in the same 
relation to their own country 
men, as these did to the Jews. 
The persecutions that they suf 
fered, did but recall the thought 
of what these latter had done to 
the Lord Jesus, and to their own 
prophets ; enemies, as they were, 
of God and man, forbidding to 
preach to the Gentiles that they 
might be saved. Their evil was 
tending to a consummation, and 
the wrath of God was fulfilled 
upon them. 

In the verses which follow, 
there appears to be an abrupt 
transition to the longing desire 
that the Apostle had to see them, 
and the efforts that he had made 
to accomplish this purpose. The 
15th and 16th verses are a digres 
sion which may be regarded as 
an outburst of indignation at the 
Jews. As in conversation we 
sometimes ask, " What leads an 
other to say that ? "so here we can 
but guess the secret thread of as 
sociation which carries on the 
mind of the Apostle from one 
topic to another. The real con 
nexion in what follows may pro 
bably be the persecutions of the 
ThessalonianChurch, j ust slightly 
touched upon in verse 14., which 
quickened the Apostle s desire to 
see theni ? and increased his sense 

of loneliness in being parted from. 
them. This thread reappears 
again in the following chapter, iii. 

1. avTol yap o t^arf, for ye your 
selves knowJ\ After narrating 
what he knew himself, and what 
others told him, the Apostle goes 
on to appeal to their own con 
sciousness. As though he said : 
" I need not quote other, for you 
yourselves are my best witness 

es." The words 

and etcro- 

Sov are a connecting link with 
verses 5. and 9. of the preceding 

OTI ov xevf] ytyovf.V) that it was 
not in vain."] Compare for the 
form of the sentence, Gal. i. 11.: 
yi wpi^it) $ V^LU* , aSeXfyoi, TO evay- 
yi\wv TO evayy\i(rdev VTT epov, 

OTI OVK e<TTl KO.T* afOpOJTTOJ . K J tj 

refers both to the power of the 
Apostle s preaching, and to its 
effect on the mind of the hearers. 
Compare 1 Cor. xv. 10. 58. ; also 
Gal. ii. 2. In the words that fol 
low the opposi t ion i s imperfect ; for 
the effect of the Apostle s preach 
ing what it was as contrasted 
with what it was not is inferred 
from his boldness. 

2. But although we had suf 
fered before, and been injuriously 
handled at Philippi, as need not 
to be told you, we were bold in 
our God, to speak to you the 
Gospel of Christ, amid much con 
flict: e7rapprj(naffap.e6a XaXfjffai^, 



2 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto 

2 you, that it was not in vain : but 1 after that we had 
suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye 
know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak 

3 unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For 

1 Add even. 

ffai. Compare Eph. vi. 20. ; and 
for iTrapprj/Tiacrapeda kv rut $ty, 
Acts, ix. 28. 

kv TroXXw aywrt, with much 
contention!} Corresponds to ?rpo- 
TraOoyrec, and alludes to the tu 
mult mentioned in the Acts, xvii. 
5., and to the Apostle s feelings 
in it : " But the Jews which 
believed not, moved with envy, 
took unto them certain lewd fel 
lows of the baser sort, and ga 
thered a company, and set all 
the city on an uproar, and as 
saulted the house of Jason, and 
sought to bring them out to the 
people." The Apostle means to 
say, that they were not deterred, 
by persecution at Philippi, from 
preaching boldly atThessaloniea, 
though there was persecution too 
there. For a reference to a simi 
lar scene recorded in the Acts, 
compare 2 Cor. i. 8 10. In both 
it was an inward struggle as well 
as an outward one ; as in the 
Epistle he says, though in an 
other spirit, " Without were 
fightings, within were fears." 
The word aywV is used else 
where in the New Testament 
only for a mental or spiritual 
conflict (comp. Col. ii. 1., ?/X<- 
KOV ayoh a )(w Trtpi VJJLWV^. Here 
it glances also at the outward 

3. // yap TTapd.K\r](riQ i]^a>r, for 
our exhortation^} " For we had 
truth to support us, and we spoke 
as the ministers of God." Or as 

the Apostle has expanded the 
thought: For our exhortation 
did not arise from erring fancy, 
nor from impure motives, nor 
was it uttered in craft. This 
was the reason why we were 
bold to preach. Compare a 
similar train of thought in Rom. 

1. 15, 16. : OVTO) TO KO.T jLl TTjOo - 

Bufjov Kai v TOIQ iv Pwjur? evuy- 
ye\i(Tuv6ai. ov yap eTraiff-^vt opai TO 
tvayyeXiov ^vva^LQ yap Seov kanv 
i awTtjplav TravTt rig 7rtffTvovTi. 

The two senses of TrapajcXT/o-tc, 
exhortation and consolation, so 
easily passing into one another 
(compare ver. 11.), are suggestive 
of the external state of the early 
Church, sorrowing amid the evils 
of the world, and needing as its 
first lesson to be comforted, and 
not less suggestive of the first 
lesson of the Gospel to the in 
dividual soul of peace in be 

* aKadapffiac, ofuncleanness.~\ 
May be explained in this place 
byTrXtoj f& a (ver. 5.) as elsewhere 
TrAeore^m by atcaQcLptTia, Eph. v. 
3. It is, however, more probable, 
that it is used in its original 
sense, the same sense in which 
the Apostle says, 2 Cor. vii. 2., 

Many passages in the New 
Testament lead us to infer, that 
there existed, in the age of the 
Apostles, a connexion between 
the form of spirituality and licen 
tiousness. It is this of which the 

E 3 



uSe e f aKaOapo-ias ovSe 1 eV SoXo>, dXXa KaOus SeSo/a/xd- 4 
a VTTO TOV Oeov TTKTTevBrjvai TO euayye Xio^ OVTWS 
L>X d>5 av9pM7roi<$ dpecr/coi Tes, dXXd [rco] 0e(5 
ra> SoKipd^ovTi ra? /capStas 07/^0^. ovre yap Trore e^ Xdyw 5 
/coXa,Kia9 lyevijOrjiJiev, Ka@a)S ot Sare, ovre e^ irpo(j)do-L 

ias (Oeos jadprus), cure 

oure d?r 

elmi o>9 xpio~Tov aTrocnroXoi, dXX 3 eye^ 

1 O^Tf. 

^ /3dpi 
ez/ 7 

Apostle declares his innocence, 
and with which elsewhere he up 
braids the false teachers. Com 
pare iv. 7. ; Tit. iii. 8. ; James iii. 
13. ; 1 Tim. vi. 3. ; Jude, 418. 
For the construction supply l\v 
or iv-t : it is not clear at what 
point of the sentence the tense 

4. But as God has tried us, 
and entrusted us with the Gospel, 
we do not betray our trust, even 
so we speak not as pleasing men, 
that is, but the God who trieth 
us. ovrwc \a\ovpe ^ refers both to 
jca^wc ^e^oKt^afr^eda and to the 
oi/^ we which follows. The Apo 
stle means to express two things : 
first, that he spoke as one tried 
by God and found worthy to be 
entrusted with the Gospel ; and, 
secondly, that, as God tried him, 
it was to Him he sought to be 
accepted, and not to man. Com 
pare for the meaning, 1 Cor. iv. 
3. ; Gal. i. 10. : for the expres 
sion, 1 Cor. vii. 25., j/Xe^t roc 
VTTO xvpiov TTiaroq f.lvai ; Rom. i. 
28. : and for the use of ou-wc, 
1 Thess. ii. 8. (j?u:a[jiafrpi)a 
is not simply equivalent to >yia*- 
but rather to 

rat, 1 eapac //^ > our hearts.^ 
Either here, and below, v. 8., the 
attraction of the plural verb 

has led the Apostle to use the 
plural noun instead of the singu 
lar in other words, he con 
tinues the metaphor of the plural ; 
or he silently includes his com 
panions, although what precedes 
and follows is too individual 
to refer to any one but himself. 

5. ovre yap Trore kv Aoyw aAct- 
Keias lyej i itirjfjiev, for neither at 
any time.~\ For the form of the 
expression, compare 1 Tim. ii. 
14., // yvi Y] E^aTrarYjOelffa evirapu- 

; 1 Cor. ii. 3.,tV . . . 
) and below, v. 7. ; 
also chap. i. 5 , where the prepo 
sition means " in the state of." 
" We did not," says the Apostle, 
" use words such as flattery uses, 
or pretexts, such as avarice." 
That this is the true sense of the 
genitive is proved by its being 
the only one applicable to both 
members of the sentence. The 
word 7rpo(/>ctcric in the second 
clause is a slight variation of 
Xoyoe the previous one. 

6. Why should the Apostle so 
repeatedly repudiate the imputa 
tion that he sought glory of men? 
He was one of those who instinc 
tively know the impression pro 
duced by his character and con 
duct on the hearts of others. 
What was the motive of this 
" vain babbler " Avould be a com- 


our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor 
4 in guile ; but as we were approved* of God to be put in 

trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing 

men, but God which proveth* our hearts. For neither 
s at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a 

cloke of covetousness ; God is witness : nor of men 
6 sought we glory, neither of you, nor of others, when we 

might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 

mon topic of conversation in the 
cities at which he preached. 
" To get money, to make himself 
somebody," would be the ordi 
nary solution. Against this the 
Apostle protests. His whole life 
and conversation were a disproof 
of it. It may have been that he 
was aware also of something in 
his manner which might have 
suggested such a thought. It 
was not good for him to glory, 
and yet he sometimes " spake as 
a fool." Rightly understood this 
glorying was but an elevation of 
the soul to God and Christ, or at 
worst the assertion of himself, in 
moments of depression or ill- 
treatment, but to others he might 
have been conscious that it must 
have seemed a weakness, and 
may have been made a ground of 
imputations from his adversa 

The words ^VVCL^VOL tv (3apt 
elvai have been referred in dif 
ferent senses either to what pre 
cedes, or to what follows. In 
the first case the sense would be, 
although we might have been 
oppressive to you with our glory 
ing and claims. But even though 
the words be thus humoured in 
the translation, the antithesis is 
not quite sound. Without wholly 
losing sight of what has preced 

ed, it is better to connect them 
with what follows. The Apostle 
means to say that he might have 
oppressed them with Apostolical 
claims and pretensions. He might 
have commanded where he en 
treated ; he might have " come to 
them with a rod," and he came to 
them " in love, and in the spirit 
of meekness" (1 Cor. iv. 21.); 
he might have claimed the right 
of support from them as an 
Apostle of Christ, and he waives 
it for their sake. Compare 1 Cor. 
ix. It is true that this last point 
is not referred to until after an 
interval of two verses, in ver. 9. 
But nothing is more in the 
Apostle s manner than to drop a 
thought and resume it ; and the 
words kv fiapet cl^m, repeated in 
the ercCapfjkeu of v. 9., afford a 
sufficient indication of what was 
in his mind. And the existence 
of the allusion is further con 
firmed by the use of the same or 
similar expressions, in reference 
to the same circumstance of his 
waiving his right to support. 
So, eiriape~i)>, 2 Thess. iii. 8. ; 
, 2 Cor. xii. 16. : com 

pare uapfj e^iavrov v^lf tr//pr/o-a, 
in 2 Cor. xi. 9. 

7. But we were not what we 
might have been while among 
you, but were gentle, or were 

E 4 



jaecrco VJJLOJV, o>g eaz^ 1 rpo^os Odkiry ra eavrrjs re/era, ovrwg 8 
2 vfjicjv evSoKovpev /xeraSowai v/uj ov povov TO 
TOV 0eov, a\\a KCLL rag eavTwv ifjv^as, Sidri 

ayaTrrjTol lyevrjOyTe? p.vrj}JiOVVT yap, aSeX^ot, TCW 9 

KoVoz f]jJia)v Kal TOV p.6^0ov WKTo^ Kol T^/i^/xis Ipya^o- 

p,evoi, irpos TO /XT) iTTifiaprjcraL TIVOL v 

4 Add 

children, as a nursing mother 
with her own children. As in 
Gal. iv. 19., the Apostle repre 
sents himself under the image of 
a mother, as below, v. 11., and 
1 Cor. iv. 15., under that of a 

Lachmann s reading VIITTIOI 
may perhaps have arisen out of 
the preceding iyev^Qrjfiey. It is 
supported, however, by a pre 
ponderance of authorities, the 
confusion which it appears to 
occasion in the image, being 
rather in favour of its genuine 
ness than the reverse, as such 
confusions occur elsewhere. Com 
pare k-XfTr-^c and K\ITTTCIC, v. 2. 
4. ; Trpoffojirov and Trpotrwrw, in 
ii. 17. The Apostle would say 
" To children I became as a 

oi>Tu)Q is here a particle not of 
inference, but of comparison, and 
belongs neither to bpeipopE^oi nor 
(.vdoKovfjiev, but to the previous 
clause "in this manner," that is, 
as a nurse cherisheth her own 
children. bpeipoperoi = ipeipo- 
^ue^of, of which, though a very 
ancient reading existing in all 
the uncial manuscripts, it is pro 
bably a pseudo-form, supported 
perhaps by an imaginary deriva 
tion from bpov and iipeu . 

ivdoKovuev is the imperfect, 
this verb being generally used in 

the New Testament (as in Gal. 
i. 15. ; 2 Cor. v. 8., and elsewhere) 
without the augment, which, 
however, has been almost inva 
riably inserted in one or more 

TCIQ envr&y ^/u^at; is by some 
regarded as a Hebraism for F.UV- 
TOVQ. It is better referred to 
the willingness of the Apostle to 
lay down his own life for them, 
peraSovvat referring, though not 
with equal propriety, to both the 
words which follow it. On the 
plural, see v. 4. 

9. -yap refers to the whole 
of the previous sentence. The 
Apostle gives the proof of his 
consideration for them. WKTOQ 
Kal >/^ifpac, continually. 

The question arises in this 
verse, how the statement of St. 
Paul s working with his own 
hands, agrees with the narrative 
of the Acts, according to which 
he remained at Thessalonica but 
three weeks. We cannot meet 
the difficulty by saying that, 
though he preached in the syn 
agogue only during three Sab 
bath days, yet that his stay may 
have been much longer, because 
the spirit of the narrative im 
plies that, after a short stay 
there, the unbelieving Jews 
drove him forth (Acts, xvii. 
19.). If we regard the ge- 


7 But we were 1 babes among you, even as a nurse che- 

8 risheth her own* children : so being affectionately de 
sirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto 
you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, 

9 because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, 
brethren, our labour and travail : 2 labouring night and 

1 Gentle. 

2 Add for. 

neral character of this portion of 
the Acts to be inaccurate, we 
may say that its author was not 
acquainted with the real circum 
stances of St. Paul s stay at 
Thessalonica. If, on the other 
hand, we consider its minuteness 
as a guarantee for its accuracy, 
we may suppose the Apostle to 
have commenced his intended 
course of life at Thessalonica, 
and that it was suddenly inter 
rupted by the stirring up of per 

It throws a singular light on the 
life of St. Paul, which reflects it 
self in some degree on the early 
Church, to observe that his labours 
as a preacher of the Gospel were 
not the sole business which en 
gaged him, but were added to his 
daily occupation. Such, at least, 
we know to have been his custom 
at Corinth, at Thessalonica, at 
Ephesus, and probably elsewhere. 
Of the twelve hours of the day, 
perhaps not more than one, of the 
seven days of the week, perhaps 
only the Sabbath, was devoted to 
the exercise of his spiritual call 
ing. It is natural to ask, what 
motive could have led him, a 
man of station and education, 
unused to toil, brought up in the 
school of a Rabbi, at an age when 
the bodily frame refuses to per 
form any new office, to submit 
himself to manual labour ? Was 

it that he desired to set the ex 
ample of Christian life, as well as 
to teach Christian doctrine, to 
show that there was no opposition 
between the Gospel and the daily 
course of the world ? Or may it 
have been to identify himself with 
the poorer members of his flock ? 
or to provide for their necessities? 
or as a religious exercise to keep 
under his body, and bring it into 
subjection ? or to distinguish him 
self from the strolling soothsayers 
who wandered over Greece and 
Asia, " telling some new thing " ? 
or to draw a line between himself 
and the Judaizing teachers ? or 
from necessity, or, as we should 
say, to preserve his independence? 
Whatever higher motives led the 
Apostle to toil for his bread, 
the last-mentioned one falls in 
with that peculiar sensitiveness 
respecting the charge of receiv 
ing money, which is traceable in 
the Second Epistle to the Corin 
thians, both in reference to him 
self and Titus receiving support 
from the Church, as in reference 
to the collections for the saints. 
In the Second Epistle to theThes- 
salonians, iii. 4., another motive is 
also indicated, the desire to set 
an example to his converts. A 
third motive, that of charity, is 
mentioned in the discourse to the 
elders of the Church of Ephesus. 
(Acts, xx. 34.) 



a>s 11 

TO evayytXiov rov Oeov. v/xet? pdprvpes /ecu 6 0e6s, to 
a>? ocriws KOI oi/ccuo)? /cal djae/XTrrct)? v//,a> rot? TT 
eye^T/^jLte^, KaOdrrep otSare, a>? eVa eKacrrov 
irarrjp rlwa eavrov TrapaKaXovvres v/m? Kal ir 

KOI p.apTvpovjJiei Oi ets TO Trepnrareiv 1 
ets T? eavrov 

TOU 12 

Kal Sta TOUTO Kal rjjJieLS ev^apicrrov^ev TO> Oew dSta- 13 

, 6Vt 7rapa\af36i>Tes \6yov aKofjs Trap" ra^^v rov 
e^ao~^ ov Xoyoi> dvOpojirtov aXXa KaOa 
\6yov Oeov, 09 Kal IvepyeuTaL iv vfiv TOI? 

10. we b<riu)Q Kal c)t/ccuwc, not 
how religiously towards God 
and justly towards men, but how 
holily and righteously. Like our 
word " righteousness," c^cu we 
implies not only a moral or legal, 
but a religious idea. ape/jTrruQ, 
innocently, so that no one had 
aught to say against us. cyci/ij- 
Orjpey is not a mere verb of ex 
istence, it expresses a state which 
the adverbs further define : " we 
came, behaved, were unto you." 
Compare 1 Cor. xvi. 10. Ira 
d(j)6[3ii)c; yerrjrai Trpot vpaQ. 

TOIQ TTLartvovaiv is without em 
phasis. It would be absurd to 
suppose that the Apostle means 
to say that he was not thus ir 
reproachable to unbelievers, and 
an over-refinement to maintain 
that he specially commends him 
self to the judgment of believ 
ers as such. Yet the introduc 
tion of the pointless word may 
have arisen from the desire to 
reciprocate, that is, to speak in 
praise of them as well as of him 

The dative is governed by 

the verb and adverbs together ; 
ciKaioi vjJiiv i /EyrjOrjjjitv vplv ; 
whether it has the sense of " to " 
(dat. com.), or " in the opinion 
of," is not quite certain. The 
first is favoured by the words 
which follow, which speak not of 
what the Thessalonians thought 
of the Apostle, but of what he 
did for them ; also by the appeal 
w/^fTe paprvpEQ which precedes. 
The second is the more idioma 
tic construction. The English 
version here, as in many other 
places, allowably avoids the 
doubt by an ambiguous word, 
" among." 

11. is an expansion of the pre 
ceding. From the general the 
Apostle passes on to the parti 
cular. As if he had said "I 
appeal to you individually for the 
truth of this." " Each one I con 
soled and comforted as though I 
had been a father with his chil 
dren." Compare Trepl Trarrw^ 
vfj,u)j , i. 2. 

For the construction of this 
and the succeeding verse, we must 
supply iytt rjdrifu) , which may be 




day, because we would not be burdensome* unto any of 
you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are 
witnesses, and God also, how holily and righteously* and 
unblameably we behaved* among you that believe : 
as ye know how we exhorted and comforted and 

12 charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 
that ye would walk worthy of God, who calleth * you 
unto his kingdom and glory. 

13 And for this cause we * also thank God without ceas 
ing, because, when ye received the word of God which 
ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, 
but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually 

equally connected with the con 
junction, or with the participle. 
Or the second we may be regard 
ed as arising out of the we in 
v. 10., which has been repeated 
from the fear of weakening the 
emphasis of the sentence. 

era BKCWTOV.] The double ac 
cusative cannot be explained by 
apposition ; the instances Col. ii. 
13., Eph. ii. 1. 5., quoted in sup 
port of this, are not in point. 
Better to say with Erasmus, that 
it is " balbuties Apostolicae 
charitatis, quse se verbis humanis 
sen temulenta non explicat." 

TOV $eov TOV xaXovi TOc.^ Here, 
as elsewhere, the " calling " is 
ascribed, not to Christ, but to God. 
The beginning of the work of 
salvation is his attribute. The 
present participle with the article 
is used for the substantive, and 
has no notion of time any more 
than in Gal. v. 8. 

?oar.] Compare Romans iii. 
23., v. 2. 

13. /cot m TOVTO, and for 
this cause.~\ And because of all 
this, because God thus enabled 
us to preach to you, we give him 
thanks without ceasing. The 

clause which follows is a further 
explanation of why the Apostle 
was thankful, m TOVTO referring 
to the verses both before and after. 
What had been at first the ground, 
now becomes the subject matter 
of thankfulness. It is true that 
it would be tautology to say : 
" Because I preached to you with 
success, I give thanks because ye 
received my preaching." But a 
very slight change of phrase, or 
difference in point of view, is 
sufficient to expand the second 
6Y i into a new reason. There arc, 
in fact, two grounds of thankful 
ness, although so closely con 
nected together as to be insepara 
ble, First, his success in preach 
ing ; secondly, their reception of 
it in the true conviction that it 
was the word of God. For the 
"double face" of cut TOVTO and 
similar expression?, compare 2 
Cor. xiii. 10. ; liom. iv. 16. 

Xtr/ov -Sect/.] As the Divine 
word : not the word which tells 
of God, but the word of which 
God is the author. 

oe teal erepyuTai. ] Which proves 
itself by its operation in you who 
believe it. 



OVCTLV. vfjiets yap /xi/x^rcu eyczT^iyre, a8e\<f)oi, T&V IKK\TJ- u 
<ri(i)v rov Oeov rcov ovcra)v Iv rfj lovSatct iv ^otcrrw I??o~ou, 

on ra at/rot 1 eTra^ere /cal 

VTTOT&V I8ia)v 

)$ KOI avTol VTTO rwv s Jot>Scua)z> 



, /cat 

IOJV, KO)\v6vTQ)V 
1 Tauro. 

TOP Kvpiov 15 


rots Wvww \a\rjo~ai tVa 16 

2 Add i 

14. The object of the parallel 
which follows, is not to meet the 
objection that might be made 
against the Gospel, that the Jews 
\vho were its natural adherents, 
rejected it, still less to warn the 
Thessalonians against Judaizing 
teachers. It was a thought that 
arose naturally in the Apostle s 
mind as he recollected the perse 
cutions which the Thessalonians 
had endured at the hand of the 
heathen rulers, as the Church of 
Jerusalem from the Jews, Reduced 
to its simplest form, the train of 
ideas is : " The word of God 
showed its power in you, for it 
enabled you to endure persecu 
tion." But this latter clause is 
expanded by the Apostle into: 
" For ye, brethren, followed the 
example of the Churches in Judea 
(such, at least, was the result), 
for ye have suffered from your 
countrymen, what they have from 

15. Who, as they persecuted 
you, also slew the Lord Jesus, 
and the prophets ; and going on 
in the same course, persecuted us, 
and are the enemies of God and 
man. Compare the words of the 
Apostle at Antioch in Pisidia, 
Acts xiii. 27. : " For they that 
dwell at Jerusalem, and their 
rulers, because they knew him 

not, nor yet the voices of the 
prophets, which are read every 
Sabbath-day, they have fulfilled 
them in condemning him." 

TOV Kvpwv [r](rovv, the Lord 
Jesus."] Him whom they were 
bound to serve. The word wpiog 
seems to be added, partly to ex 
press the reverential feeling of the 
Apostle, partly also to heighten 
their guilt. 

rove Trpo^T/rac.] Compare, for 
a similar feeling, St. Stephen s 
words, Acts, vii. 52. ; and our 
Lord s, Matt, xxiii. 31. 37. 

The digression is remarkable ; 
the Apostle "goes off" upon the 
word Jews, it would seem at first 
sight, inappropriately, for it was 
not the Jews who had persecuted 
the Thessalonians. Some have 
supposed that the fact of the 
Thessalonian persecution having 
been stirred up by Jews, as re 
corded in the Acts, was present 
to his mind, and that this roused 
the outburst which follows. Yet 
there is a strangeness in the 
Apostle speaking of "their own 
countrymen " when he is thinking 
of the Jews. It is safer to seek 
the motive of the digression in 
the general statement of the pas 
sage itself, "forbidding us to 
speak to the Gentiles that they 
may be saved." 


H worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, be 
came followers of the churches of God which in Judaea 
are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like 
things of your own countrymen, even as they have of 

is the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the 
prophets 1 , have persecuted us ; and they please not 

16 God, and are contrary to all men : forbidding us to 
speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill 

Their own prophets. 

Wherever the Apostle had gone 
on his second journey, he had 
been persecuted by the Jews ; and 
the longer he travelled about 
among Gentile cities, the more 
he must have been sensible of 
the feeling with which his coun 
trymen were regarded. Isolated 
as they were from the rest of the 
world in every city, a people 
within a people, it was impossible 
that they should not be united 
for their own self-defence, and 
regarded with suspicion by the 
rest of mankind. But their inner 
nature was not less repugnant to 
the nobler, as well as the baser 
feelings of Greece and Rome. 
Their fierce nationality had out 
lived itself; though worshippers 
of the true God, they knew him 
not to be the God of all nations 
of the earth ; hated and despised 
by others, they could but cherish 
in return an impotent contempt 
and hatred of other men. What 
wonder that, for an instant, the 
Apostle should have felt that this 
Gentile feeling was not wholly 
groundless? or that he should use 
words which recall the expression 
of Tacitus : " Ad versus omnes 
alios hostile odium"? Hist. v. 

For the feelings which the 

Apostle entertained towards his 
countrymen at a later period, 
compare Rom. x. 1 . : " Brethren, 
my heart s desire and prayer to 
God for Israel is, that they may 
be saved." Yet, both states of 
mind may have existed together ; 
the one on the surface, called 
forth by passing events ; the 
other in his " heart of hearts/ 
deep and silent. 

16. It has been urged thatfcwXv- 
6i/rwr, having no copulative con 
junction, must be connected with 
ivavTiw, which mode of taking 
the words is supposed to soften 
the language of St. Paul to 
wards his countrymen, by con 
fining it to those who had op 
posed the Gospel ; " the enemies 
of God and man in that they 
hinder us," &c. Such a mode of 
construction destroys the balance 
of the clauses, and is ill suited 
to the impassioned style of the 
passage. As in the expression 
of Tacitus, the first words are 
general and not limited by the 
particular case of their hindrance 
to the Apostle s mission. What 
follows is an afterthought, in 
which the motive of the Apostle 
drops out, and which could not 
be connected by a conjunction 
because it is not precisely parallel 



, ts TO a,vair\r)pa)crai avrcov ra? d/xaprias TTOLVTOTZ. 
Se ITT aurou? rj opyrj eis reXo?. 

Se, dSeXc^oi, dTrop^a^KT^eWe? d^> L /^&JZ Trpo? 17 
Kaipov a>pas Trpooranra.) ov /capSia, TrepiO croTepa)? ecnrov- 
TO Trpocrwirov V\LU>V ISelv iv TroXkfj i 

with the preceding. The agree 
ment of the words with the de 
scription in the Acts of the usual 
course of persecution, is the more 
remarkable from the apparent 
disagreement in this particular 

16. It has been maintained 
that this verse must have been 
written after the destruction of 
Jerusalem. (See Introductory 
Essay, on the Genuineness of 
the Epistle.) Had it been so, it 
is probable that allusions to the 
destruction of Jerusalem would 
have appeared elsewhere in the 
Epistle, and that this very 
passage would have spoken mo: e 
plainly. In all ages, without 
the gift of prophesy, men have 
been prone to read the signs of 
evil in the world. There was 
enough in the outward state of 
the Jewish people, as we read 
the narrative of it in Josephus, 
or in the impenitency and ob 
stinacy of the Jewish nature, as 
it revealed itself to the Apostle 
from within, to be the shadow of 
events to come. Yet the lan 
guage of the Apostle seems to 
indicate, not that they were ac 
tually suffering or to suffer pun 
ishment, but only that they had 
reached their final point of re 
probation from whence there is 
no more a way back. 

elg TO expresses, not the object, 
but the object and the result 
blended together in one ; the 

natural event, as the Apostle re 
gards it, in the order of Provi 

di a.7r\r}pwffai rac apaprlac, to 
Jill up their sins.~\ Compare 
Genesis, xv. 16. : For the 
iniquity of the Amorites is not 
yet full." In the beginning of 
sin and evil it seems as if men 
were free agents, and had the 
power of going on or of retreat 
ing. But as the crisis of their 
fate approaches, they are bound 
under a curse ; and the form in 
which their destiny presents it 
self to our minds, is as though it 
were certain, and only a question 
of time how soon it is to be ful 
filled. We look at them from 
without, and watch the double 
necessity in themselves, and in 
the course of events which is 
meeting in one ; or sometimes the 
ordinary events of life seem to 
become to them only occasion 
and material of evil. The same 
abstract truth finds a deeper and 
more religious expression in the 
Old and New Testament, as in 
this passage St. Paul thinks of 
the Jews as hardened in their 
impenitence ; the cup was filling, 
their opposition to the Gospel 
was the drop which made it run 
over. TrajTore, before Christ, at 
the time of Christ, after Christ. 

<^0a/vV $e fcV avrovc // dpy? /.] 
>/ Jpy>), either the long-expected 
wrath, or the wrath consequent 
upon their sins ; compare Rom. i. 


up their sins alway. But * the wrath has 1 come upon 
them to the uttermost. 

17 BUT we, brethren, being bereaved* in being taken 
from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, 
were the more abundantly * earnest to see your face with 


18. ; v. 9. ; e^daKe 
or reached them, without the 
classical sense of anticipation, as 
elsewhere in the New Testament, 
and everywhere in modern 
Greek. Here, as in 1 Cor. ix. 
15., the MSS. waver between the 
aorist and perfect. If the aorist 
is to be strictly construed, the 
Apostle must be conceived as 
looking upon the punishment of 
the Jews to be already an his 
torical event. As in some other 
passages, the aorist appears to 
be put for the perfect, but really 
maintains its own signification 
of a point of time. $e marks 
the opposition of the punishment 
and offence. But for all this," 

ftere Xoc, either "continually," 
so as never to cease, or " utterly," 
so as finally to make an end. 
Compare Job, xx. 7. ; Jos. viii. 

17. The spiritual interest of 
the Apostle about his converts, 
is never for a moment separate 
from his human tender love for 
them. Whether the circum 
stances of the Church and the 
world admit of our drawing 
such a distinction now or not, it 
was unknown to those times 
when the believers were a fa 
mily of love. The feeling of 
the Apostle was not a general 
concern for the Churches which 
he had to govern, but a private 
personal love for each one. And 

his not weakened by absence, 
or changing as he moved from 
place to place ; but mindful at 
Corinth of those who are at 
Thessalonica and Rome ; at 
Rome, of those in Asia.] 

j]lje~iQ e, but we,~] is a resump 
tion, after a pause, of verse 13. 

cnropfyavtadti Teg^ has the mean 
ing both of bereavement and 
separation from. The preposi 
tion is repeated according to the 
tendency of Hellenistic Greek, 
perhaps with some additional 
emphasis; cf. Acts xxi. 1. 

TTpoQ Kaipov wpac-3 For a brief 
moment, for the time of an hour. 

TTpoawTro) ov k-ap?iq, in presence, 
not in heart.~\ " It was hardly a 
separation one of faces, not of 
hearts ; but this was the reason 
why,"&C. TrpoawTrw ov Kaptiiy may 

be regarded as a correction of 

TTtplff<TOTf.p<t)C eaTrOvciffa/jer, WCTC 

the more earnest. ] With Kaipov 
dipac, in reference to the very 
shortness of his absence from 
them ; " almost immediately," he 
would say, "we felt the want 
of you, we were so much the 
more desirous to see your face, 
as we were not yet used to miss 

TO TrpoffWTToi vf.iw^ instead of 
vpac, in allusion to 7T|Oo<7W7rw, 
which precedes : " We wanted 
to see you face to face, which is 
the only way in which we were 
separated from you." 



Stem l ^eX^cra/ie^ i\6tiv 77^09 vfjias, eya> fJiV ITauXo9 /cat is 
" Kal 819, /cat e^e:oi//e^ 07^0,9 6 araravas. rt9 yap 07/^0)^ 19 

rou Kvpiov rjjJLOiv I^crou 2 ez^ TT^ avrou Trapovoria ; 

/s eo>/>^ \e N /20 

yap ecrre 17 ooga rjfJiajv Kai 77 ^apa. oio /x^/cert ^ 
crreyo^Te9 et SoACT^cra/xe^ KaTa\L<j)0rjvaL iv * AOrivais ^ovoi, 

1 5iJ. 2 Add xp lffT v- 

18. tort. Because of which 
great desire we were minded to 
come to you. 

per Ilai/Xoc] is emphatic, 
/uev being added with IlavXoc 
to draw attention to himself, not 
necessarily to distinguish his 
earnest wish from that of Timo 
thy and Silas, who might be 
supposed to be joined with him 
in jjdeXiirrafiev. The idiom did 
not admit t]f.ielg nevTIavXoG. Com 
pare 2 Cor. x. 1. ; also Eph. iii. 1. 

Kal is adversative as in English, 
" I wanted to come, and he 
would not let me." It is not, 
however, put for tie ; the oppo 
sition is inferred, not expressed. 
Compare Rom. i. 13. 

6 o-cirardc.] It is not certain 
what the Apostle means by 
these words ; perhaps some ob 
struction, which seemed to be 
thrown in his way in preaching 
the Gospel, such as the perse 
cution of the Jews of Thessalo- 
nica. More probably, however, 
he refers to some inward impe 
diment, analogous to that which 
he experienced when " they as 
sayed to preach the word in Asia ; 
howbeit, the Spirit suffered them 
not.* Acts, xvi. We have no 
other means of judging what was 
the nature of the hindrance, but 
from the probable meaning of an 
expression which is in itself un 

19. For you are our hope and 
joy and crown of glory in the day 

of judgment. As he says else 
where : " Who is weak, and I 
am not weak ? " or, in other words, 
who feels, and I do not feel with 
him? so in this passage, their 
hope is his hope, their joy is his 
joy ; they are his crown of glory 
at the last day. He does not 
mean that he is to be rewarded for 
converting them ; it is a higher 
thought than this which fills 
the Apostle s soul. Remember 
ing that hour on which his mind 
is dwelling, he transfers them to 
it, and is rapt in his love of them. 
Compare, for the time, note on 
Rom. ii. 16. ; for a similar use 
of a figure, 2 Cor. iii. 2., Ye are 
our Epistle;" and for the general 
meaning, 2 Tim. iv. 8. " Hence 
forth there is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness, which 
the Lord, the righteous judge, 
shall give me at that day;" and, 
as the Apostle characteristically 
adds, "not to me only, but to all 
that love his appearing." 

epTTpoffdev TOV f;vpiov.j He 
thinks of them as of all other men, 
as before the Lord, in the face 
of Christ; and thinking of Christ, 
he looks forward to His appear 
ing as already present. Compare 
note, Romans, ii. 16. 

20. V/JLEIQ yap tare >/ ^oa fipn> 
Kal >i x i ] Yes, he repeats with 
earnestness, for ye are our glory 
and our joy. 

The first verses of the third 
chapter are connected with the 


is great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto 
you, even I Paul, once and again ; but Satan hindered 

19 us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? 
Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ 
at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. Where 
fore when we could no longer contain*, we thought it 


seventeenth verse of the preced 
ing ; as elsewhere (compare v. 13. 
of the second chapter) in the 
writings of St. Paul, the connect 
ing particle refers to the whole 
previous subject, and serves to 
recall the reader s mind from a 
partial digression. Even little 
things have an interest for those 
whom we love, and accordingly 
the Apostle dwells minutely on 
the circumstance of his affection 
for them. He could no longer 
contain himself, and therefore 
sent Timotheus to inquire about 
their faith (the pleonasm of the 
expressions, rbv ah\<pbi Kal avv- 
fp-ybv TOV deov (frq/x ^cu KOI TTCI- 
pa.Ka\lffat, may be remarked as 
bearing a trace of the style of St. 
Paul). They were in persecu 
tion ; but that, they knew them 
selves, was their appointed lot ; 
he had told them of it, and they 
had the witness of it in them 
selves. Then resuming and car 
rying on the thought of v. 1. : 
" Therefore he had sent Timo 
thy," to know whether they were 
firm, or whether they had fallen 
before the tempter. A.nd now 
Timothy had brought him the good 
news of their faith and love, and 
of their feelings to him, which 
are the very reflection of his to 
them, he is full of comfort, and 
seems to receive a new life in 
his own trials, at the thought 
of their constancy. How can he 
thank God enough for the joy 

VOL. I. F 

which he feels for them in the 
presence of God, which mingles 
still with the never ceasing long 
ing to see their face and confirm 
their faith ? And then, sepa 
rating his wish into two parts, 
he trusts that God may guide 
his feet towards them ; and that 
whether this is accomplished for 
him or not, he may make them 
feel the same love to one an 
other and towards all men, that he 
does for them, and stablish their 
hearts before him in that which 
is coming and now is, the ap 
pearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Compare the return of Titus, 
in 2 Cor. ii. 13. ; the desire to 
see the Romans, in i. 10. ; the 
sending of Tychicus, in Ephes. 
vi. 21. ; the coming of Epaphro- 
ditus, in Philipp. iv. 18. 

III. (>io refers to the general 
sense of the preceding verses. 
Wherefore, i. e. from our great 
affection for you. 

fi^Kin."] The /a) may be ex 
plained as v giving a subjective 
turn to the meaning : " Where 
fore, feeling that we could," or 
" as those who could no longer." 
oTf yojTeo, containing. ] a-iyt.iv 
means to cover ; hence it acquires 
the two senses of holding in and 
out, both of which enter into 
its metaphorical use. The pre 
sent participle has the force of 
the imperfect, as elsewhere. 

KaraXei^dtirai, K. r. X., to be left, 
&c.] It may be remarked, that 




TipoOeov, TOV aSeXcfrov T^jaoV 1 Kal wvzpyov 2 
TOV Otov iv T<y evayyeXio) rov ^otcrrou, 15 TO crn^pi^aL 
VJJLOLS KOL irapaKaXecrai 2 vtrep Tr?5 mcrrecos u/>caJ^ ro 3 ju/^SeVa s 
cralveo-Oai iv rai? OXiifjecriv Tavrais avrol yap otSare 
ort ets TOVTO KeifJieOa Kal yap ore Trpos v/xa5 ^e^, 4 
TrpoeXeyofJiev vfuv OTL /AeXXojute^ OXi/BecrOai, KaOws Kal 
eyeVcTO /cat oiSare. Sia TOVTO Acayw fJir}KTi o-reyajv e7rejui//a 5 

TO VMVai T7)V TTLCrTiV VfitoV, JJLTJ 770)5 7rLpa<TV VjJLa^ 6 

SiaKovov TOV i^eou Ktti ffvvepybv ^/xwi/. 

these words half agree with the 
Acts, and half with the Epistle. 
For they imply that the Apostle 
was left without companions, and 
yet there is no mention of his 
sending away Silas, who was with 
him at the time of his writing 
the Epistle, but only Timothy. 

Admitting the genuineness of 
the Epistle, and the confirmation 
afforded by it to many of the 
statements of the Acts, we are 
naturally led to speculate by what 
arrangement of events the error 
may be made smallest. 

Suppose Silas only to have 
been left in Macedonia, with a 
charge to join Paul shortly ; 
Paul, impatient to hear of his 
new converts, sends Timothy 
from Athens, who returns with 
Silas. The only incorrectness 
then in the narrative of the Acts 
arises from the ignorance of the 
writer, that Timothy was not 
left behind. The account of the 
Epistle, that Paul was left alone 
at Athens, although he only sent 
away Timothy and although Si 
las and Timothy were with him 
shortly afterwards, as well as 
the tone of the Acts, respecting 
Paul s eagerness that Silas and 
Timothy should follow him, agrees 
with this hypothesis. See the 
fuller discussion of the question 

in note on Paley s Horae Pau 

2. avvepyov TOV Seov, fellow- 
worker.^ Not the fellow-worker 
with us in the service of God, 
but the fellow- worker with God. 
Compare 1 Cor. iii. 9. Stoii -yap 
i(r/j.ev ffvvep-yoi. As in other places 
the Apostle introduces his " true 
yoke-fellows " with titles of ho 
nour ; not, however, as some of 
the Fathers imagine, to express 
the extent of the sacrifice he is 
making for their good, in sending 
away so valued a helpmate as 

zv TU fvayyeX/w.] In preaching 
the Gospel. 

ftc ro ffrr)piaiS] That he may 
strengthen you. 

Trapa.KaXeffai. ] Either to com 
fort, or exhort. In this passage 
the latter meaning seems to agree 
better with ver. 3. 

vtrep riJQ Trtorewc; vpa>i>.~^ virep 
in this and similar passages means 
" about." Yet not excluding also 
the secondary sense of "interest 
in a thing or person." Compare 
2 Thess. ii. 1., one of the few 
places in which the doubtful vtrep 
has not been corrected into Trtpt. 

3. TO f.irj<jE.i a (raivtadai.^ The 
MSS. are almost equally divided 
between ro and rw : the first we 
may explain as the remoter ob- 


2 good to be left at Athens alone ; and sent Timotheus, 
our brother, and fellow- worker with God *, in the 
gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you 

3 concerning your faith, that no man should be moved 
by these tribulations * ; for yourselves know that we are 

4 appointed thereunto, for verily, when we were with 
you, we told you before that we should suffer tribula- 

5 tion ; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this 
cause, when I could no longer forbear, I also sent to 
know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have 

1 Minister of God, and our fellow-labourer. 

ject, either of tTrf/u^ajue^ or of 
TrapafcaXeVatj " we sent him to 
comfort you ; we sent him touch 
ing your not being moved by 
persecutions;" or, "we sent him 
to comfort you about your faith, 
touching," &c. The second has 
been regarded as a Greek trans 
lation of the Hebrew dative; 
better, if explainable at all, as a 
confusion of the reason with the 
object ; " by reason of," i. e. "with 
the view that." craivefrOai, though 
connected with atUtrQai 9 not sim 
ply, moved, but rather moved to 
softness. Compare Soph. Ant. 
1214., Trai^oQ fie aaivet fyOoyyog. 

ir rate $\i^ecrti> rat/rate,] i. e. 
the persecutions which they and 
the Apostle alike endured, of 
which he speaks to them as though 
they were present with him. 

avrol yap otSare.] Not merely 
because the Apostle had foretold 
it, as he says in the following 
verse, but because all Christians 
must have felt the state of per 
secution natural to them, yap 
supplies the reason why they 
ought not to faint ; viz., that per 
secution was not a thing unex 
pected, but the very appointment 
of God respecting them. 

n of 

eiQ TOVTO refers to 
For a similar lax relation o 
the same word, compare Rom. 
xiii. 6. 

4. "For we told you beforehand, 
not of any particular trouble, but 
that we are to be persecuted, as 
has come to pass, and ye know of 
your own experience." The plural 
peXXo/jLer identifies the Apostle 
and his converts with believers 

5. For this special reason (in 
addition to the general love and 
regard I bear for you), feeling 
that I could no longer contain 
myself, I sent to know your faith, 
lest by any means, in time of per 
secution, the tempter should have 
tempted you, and, as a conse 
quence, our labour should have 
been in vain. As though the 
Apostle had said : " And this 
made me anxious to know about 
you, and I could endure the sus 
pense no longer, so I sent." Kayw, 
I also on my part ; in contradis 
tinction to the Thessalonians, of 
whom he had been speaking in 
the previous clause. Compare 
K-ai //jLtetr, ii. 13. /.irj TTWQ is con 
nected with yrwi cu, and implies 
an expansion of the preceding 

F 2 



Kal el? K&SOV yewjTai 6 KOTTOS rjuwv. apn Se 6 

TTpbs T7/xas d< v^wv Kal evayyeXicra- 
Trlcmv Kal TJ]V ayoLTT rjv v/xc3j>, Kal on 9(T 
dyaOrjV TrdWoTe eViTro^oiWes ^as iSeiz> 
KaOdirep Kal ^//-eis v/x/as, Sia rouro 7rapK\rj0r)p,V, dSeX(oi, 7 
e$> u/uz eVl wdcry ry dvdyKr) Kal $Xu//(, l r]p.a)v ia TT)$ 
vfjLuv TTicrrewg, on ^u^ ^MIJLZV lav v/xei? crr^/c^re ez^ Kvpia). 8 
riva yap ev^aptcrrta^ Swa/Ae#a ra> ^ew d^raTroSowai Trept 9 
v/x-w^ CTTI TrdcTTj rfj X^pa y ^aipo^.v Si v/>tas efJiTrpocrOtv 
TOV deov rjiAtov, VVKTOS Kal rjpepas vTrepeKTrepLcrcrov Sed- 10 
ets TO iSeiz^ v/^a>z> TO TTpocrcoTrov Kal Karapricrai ra 

TTICTTCCOS V/AW^ ; avTo? Se 6 ^eo? Kal Traryp u 

thought; "to know your faith, 
whether it might have been 
that " 

6 Trapa^wy, /*e tempter. ] As 
in 1 Cor. vii. 5. : pri impa^rj 
VJJ.CLQ 6 (raraj af. Compare Matt. 
iv. 3. The tempter, as of Christ, 
so of his followers. 

6. apn e , but now,~] is to be 
taken with cm TOVTO irapK\ri- 
Gripe v in the next verse. " We 
were anxious about you, and 
sent Timotheus ; but now that 
Timotheus is returned, and we 
have good news, we are com 

Timotheus came to us and 
brought good news of your faith 
and love, and of your remem 
brance of us, and your having 
a desire to see us, even as we 
have to see you. 

ayaOtjv five tar, a good remem 
brance. ] As with etaric, ffvvsiorjaiQ, 
y/jLtpa. As in the Apostle s view 
of the relation of the believer to 
Christ, the great work of salva 
tion is the identity of one with 
the other, so in the relation of 
believers to each other, they be 

come one, having the same feel 
ings without distinction of ab 
sence or presence ; they rejoice, 
sorrow, are comforted, persecuted, 
triumph with each other. Phi 
losophers have sometimes tried 
to resolve our moral nature into 
sympathy ; far more nearly true 
is this of our Christian feelings, 
which are not so much the ex 
ertion of one man s good will 
towards another, as the com 
munication to many of one 

7- 2m rouro] takes up the sen 
tence after the long participial 
clauses. For this good news. 

apri xapeKXtjOrjutv, now we 
are comforted. Implying that 
the Epistle was written imme 
diately after the return of Ti 
mothy. The Apostle, though 
speaking now of what was almost 
present to himself, still uses the 
historical tense ; possibly, like 
typa^a in 1 Cor. v. 9., and else 
where, in reference to the time 
at which the Thessalonians 
would receive his letter as in 


6 tempted you, and our labour been in vain. But now 
when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought 
us good tidings of your faith and love*, and that ye have 
good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see 

7 us, as we also to see you : therefore, brethren, we were 
comforted in * you, in all our affliction and distress by 

s your faith : for now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. 

9 For what thanks can we render to God again for you, 

for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before 

10 our God ; night and day praying exceedingly that we 
might see your face, and might perfect that which is 

11 lacking in your faith ? Now our God and Father 

he was as one " having the sen 
tence of death in himself : " but 
now in their life he lives. 

9. yap.] For we thank God 
that you do stand, yap express 
ing the reason of what has gone 
before. This the Apostle implies 
in the question, " For how can 
we thank God for you all, for 
all the joy with which we joy 
on your account in the presence 
of our God ? " 

10. Seoperoi] is not to be joined 
with xa/joo/uT, but arises out of 
the idea of his love for them, ex 
pressed in the preceding verse. 
The Apostle lives in his converts, 
he rejoices in their joy, he ex 
ults before God to think of them. 
Only with N this mingles the hu 
man feeling of a desire to see 
them again. 

vTTfpe/cTrepto-crov.] Not as a work 
of supererogation, but only ex 

KaTapTiffcn TU iMTrejO//juara. J To 
fill up what is wanting. Com 
pare Rom. i. 11., and for the ex 
pression, Col. i. 24. Nothing can 
be inferred from this, either 
one way or the other, on the 
duration of the Thessalonian 


?rt iractr] rr 

In ver. 3. the Apostle spoke 
of a tribulation, which he had in 
common with the Thessalonians. 
That was not taken away, but 
only alleviated by the news of 
Timothy. To this he is here 
alluding, and not to his anxiety 
respecting the Thessalonians. 

The second iirl is taken in the 
same sense as the first, " I was 
comforted over you." This com 
fort which he drew from them is 
then passed on to a further object, 
" I was comforted in you, in all 
my affliction ; " as a further elu 
cidation are added the words 
" through your faith." Compare 
2 Cor. vii. 7. and 13. 

8. OTL v\)v wjufr, for now we 
live.~\ The Apostle regards his 
affliction as a sort of death, from 
which he is roused to life by the 
news of his converts. Compare 
2 Cor. i. 810., and Gal. ii. 20., 
for a similar figure. 

vvv refers to the change of 
feeling occasioned by the arrival 
of Timothy. When he thought 
of the persecutions that sur 
rounded him, and the possibility 
of their falling off from the faith, 



Kal 6 Kvpios rjjJLwv I^crovg KarevOvvai rr)v oSov rj 
v/xag. v/xas Se 6 Kvpios TrXeo^acrai Kal Trepicrcreucrat 12 
aydiry ecs dXX^Xovs KOI eis Trdvras, KaOdtrep Kal ^/xei? 
v^as, eis TO crTrjpi^aL V^MV ras KapSias a/xejaTrrous et> 13 

community. The Apostle may 
or may not be referring to 
those special deficiencies of the 
Thessalonian Church which he 
has elsewhere indicated, their 
error about the dead, or their dis 

O.VTOQ e)e 6 S toe, now God 
Himself. ] May God himself 
guide me to you ! avroe is said 
in opposition to the Apostle s 
going there of himself, and the 
hindrances of Satan, which he 
had spoken of before. The 
thought of the Apostle rises na 
turally to God, who can do all 
things ; who, though he now 
seems cut off from them, can 
guide his way to them. 

6 Kvpiog hnwv IijerovQ, our Lord 
Jesus.~\ Christ as well as God 
works in directing the footsteps 
of his ministers. Compare Rom. 
xv. 18. 

12. But whether he grant me 
this request or not, may he make 
you to abound and increase in 
love, The Apostle has availed 
himself, however, of the transi 
tive as well as intransitive sense 
of the two verbs, to give the 
thought another turn. "But may 
the Lord make you to abound and 
exceed in love to one another, 
and towards all, even as we do 
abound and exceed in love to 

6 Ku/uoe.] Whether God or 
Christ is uncertain ; perhaps 
both are included. Compare 
Horn. viii. 9 11., where the 
Spirit of Christ, Christ Himself 
and the Spirit of Him that raised 

up Christ from the dead, occur 
in successive verses as different 
expressions of the same power 
working in the heart of man. 

elg a\\Ti\ovQ.^\ To one another 
your brother members of the 

etc TTcinrac.] To mankind in 

13. <c TO crrrjpilai] may be 
either taken as the end of what 
preceded, " May the Lord ful 
fil you with love to one another, 
to the end that he may establish 
you in holiness," with which can 
be compared such passages as 
" love is the fulfilling of the law ; " 
or the idea of an object contained 
in dg TO or>7pieu may belong to 
the form rather than to the mean 
ing of the sentence. In other 
words, the Apostle might have 
said, "May the Lord make you 
to abound in grace, make you to 
establish your hearts ; " or, with 
much the same sense, "May God 
make you to abound in grace, so 
as to establish your hearts." 

is best taken with 
i, an allusion to which 

latter word is contained in 
favTW Ttjjv ayiur. 

To what extent did the first 
Christians suffer persecution ? 
Much has been said of the tole 
rant spirit of the Roman govern 
ment inclined to let all religions 
sleep peacefully under the shadow 
of its wings. But it is one thing 
to tolerate existing religions, an 
other to sanction a new one, and 
that too not seeking to insinuate 
itself privately, but openly pro- 


himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way 
12 unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and 

abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, 
is even as we do toward you : to the end he may stablish 

fessing as its object the conversion 
of the world. Probably there has 
never been a civilised country 
in which such an attempt at pro- 
selytism would not have been at 
first met by persecution. Every 
page of the Acts of the Apostles 
is a picture of similar persecu 
tions. St. Paul s own account 
of his former life (Acts, xxvi. 11. 
12.), as well as the words of An 
anias in Acts, ix. 13., lead us 
to infer that he was himself the 
agent of a systematic persecution 
in several cities, in which many 
persons were put to death. And 
more remarkable than any part 
of the Acts is the narrative which 
the Apostle "born out of due 
time " gives us of his own suf 
ferings (2 Cor. xi. 2333.), and 
which, amid many other reflec 
tions, suggests the thought, how 
small a part of his life has been 
preserved to us. 

From the state of Christianity 
in the time of Pliny or Tacitus, 
we can scarcely form an idea of 
its first difficulties. Everywhere 
it had to encounter the fierce 
spirit of fanaticism, wrought up 
in the Jew to its highest pitch, in 
the pagan just needing to be 
awakened. The Jews, the false 
brethren, the heretics, the heathen, 
were in league more or less openly, 
at one time or other, for its de 
struction. All ages which have 
witnessed a revival of religious 
feeling, have witnessed also the 
outbreak of religious passions ; 
the pure light of the one becomes 
the spark by which the other is 

kindled. Reasons of state some 
times create a faint and distant 
suspicion of a new faith ; the feel 
ings of the mass rise to over 
whelm it. 

The Roman government may 
be said to have observed in gene 
ral the same line respecting the 
first preachers of the Gospel, as 
would be observed in modern 
times ; that is to say, of matters 
of faith and opinion, as such, they 
hardly took account, except in so 
far as they endangered the safety 
of the government, or led to 
breaches of the public peace. It 
seemed idle to them to dispute 
about questions of the Jewish 
law in Roman courts of justice ; 
but they were not the less pre 
pared to call to account those by 
whose supposed agency a whole 
city was in an uproar. Hence, 
when the really peaceable cha 
racter of the Gospel was seen, 
the persecutions gradually ceased 
and revived only at a later period, 
when Christianity itself became a 
political power. 

Allowing for the difference of 
times and seasons, the feelings 
of the Iloman governors were 
not altogether unlike those with 
which the followers of John Wes 
ley, in the last century, might have 
been regarded by the magistrates 
of an English town. And making 
still greater allowance for the 
malignity and depth of the pas 
sions by which men were agi 
tated as the old religions were 
breaking up, a parallel not less 
just might be drawn also between 

p 4 



Trapovo a TOV 


TOV Oeov KOL vrarpos TALLOW h rfj 
lyjcrov 1 jutera TrdvTW TMV ayicov 

Add xP iffr V 

the feelings of the multitude. 
There was in both cases a kind 
of sympathy by which the lower 
class were attracted towards the 
new teachers. Natural feeling 
suggested that these men had 
come for their good ; they were 
grateful for the love shown of 
them, and for the ministration to 
their temporal wants. There was 
a time when it was said of the 
first believers, that they were in 
favour with all the people (Acts, 
ii. 47.), and that " all men glori 
fied God for that which was 
done"(iv. 21.). But at the preach 
ing of Stephen the scene changes ; 
the deep irreconcilable hostility 
of the two principles is beginning 
to be felt ; " it is not peace, but a 
sword ; " not " I am come to fulfil 
the law," but " not one stone shall 
be left upon another." 

The moment this was clearly 
perceived, not only would the far- 
sighted jealousy of chief priests 
and rulers be alarmed at the 
preaching of the Apostles ; but 
the very instincts of the multitude 
itself would rise at them. More 
than anything that we have wit 
nessed in modern times of reli 
gious intolerance, would be the 
feeling against those who sought 
to relax the bond of circumcision 
as enemies to their country, their 
religion, and their God. But there 
was another aspect of the new 
religion, which served to bring 
home these feelings even yet more 
nearly. It was the disruption of 
the family. As our Lord foretold, 
the father was against the son, 

the son against the father, the 
mother-in-law against the daugh 
ter-in-law, the daughter-in-law 
against her mother-in-law. A 
new power had arisen in the 
world, which seemed to cut across 
and dissever natural affections 
(Matt. x. 34.). Consider what 
is implied in the words "of 
believing women not a few ; " 
what animosities of parents, and 
brethren, and husbands ! what 
hatreds, and fears, and jealousies! 
An unknown tie, closer than that 
of kindred, drew away the in 
dividuals of a family, and joined 
them to an external society. It 
was not only that they were 
members of another Church, or 
attendants on a separate worship. 
The difference went beyond this. 
In the daily intercourse of life, 
at every meal, the unbelieving 
brother or sister was conscious 
of the presence of the unclean. 
It was an injury not readily to 
be forgotten, or forgiven its 
authors, the greatest, perhaps, 
which could be offered in this 
world. The fanatic priest, led 
on by every personal and religious 
motive the man of the world, 
caring for none of those things, 
but not the less resenting the in 
trusion on the peace of his home 
the craftsman, fearing for his 

fains the accursed multitude, 
nowing not the law, but irritated 
at the very notion of this myste 
rious society of such real though 
hidden strength would all work 
together towards the overthrow 
of those who seemed to them to 



your hearts unblameable in holiness before l our God and 
Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with 
all his saints. 

1 God, our Father. 

be turning upside down the poli 
tical, religious, and social order 
of the world. The utterance of 
this instinct of dislike, is heard 
in the words, " These men being 
Jews, do exceedingly trouble our 
city, and teach customs which 
are not lawful for us to receive, 
neither to observe, being Romans." 
Acts, xvi. 20, 21. (Compare, to 
complete the picture, the des 
cription in the previous verses 
of the damsel possessed with a 
spirit of divination, who cried 
after Paul many days, " These 
men are the servants of the most 
High God.") 

These considerations, though 
based only on general principles 
of human nature, are necessary to 
make us understand the under 
current of the Apostolical history, 
as well as to form a just estimate 
of the question which we are con 
sidering. The actual persecution 
of the Roman government was 
slight, but what may be termed 
the social persecution and the 
illegal violence employed towards 
the first disciples unceasing. " Of 
the Jews five times received I 
forty stripes save one ; " who 
would know or care what went on 
in the Jewish quarter of a great 
city ? How precarious must have 
been their fate who, with the 
passions of men arrayed against 
them, had no protection from the 
law ! They were liable to be 
persecuted by the Jews, to suifer 
persecution as Jews, to arm the 
feelings of all nations against 
themselves as the professors of 

an unnational religion. Little 
reflection is necessary to fill up 
the details of that image of peril, 
which the Apostle presents to us 
in all his Epistles. It is the 
same vision which is again held 
up to us in the Book of the Re 
velation, of the common tribula 
tion of St. John and the Churches, 
of the sufferings that were to 
come upon the Church of Smyrna, 
of the faithfulness of Pergamos 
in the days when the martyr 
Antipas was slain, of the two 
witnesses, and of the souls be 
neath the altar, saying " How 
long ? " It is the same which 
reappears in the earliest ecclesi 
astical history, in the narrative 
of Hegesippus respecting James 
the Just. It is the state of life 
described in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews f those who "had not 
yet resisted unto blood, striving 
against sin" (xii. 4.), whose 
leaders seem to have already suf 
fered (xiii. 7. 23.). Except on 
some accidental occasion, such as 
the Neronian persecution, there 
is no reason to suppose that the 
power of Rome was systemati 
cally employed against the first 
disciples of the Apostles. But 
it does not diminish their suf 
ferings, that they were the re- 
suit of illegal violence, such as 
the tumults at Thessalonica, at 
Ephesus, or at Jerusalem. 

Ch. IV. The lesson which the 
Apostle has to teach the Thessa- 
lonians does not admit of any 
great variety of statement or par 
ticularity of detail. It is a lesson 



ovv, dSeXc^KH, epcoTwpev v/zas /cat 7rapaKa\ovp,ev 4 
iv Kvpia) Irjcrov, Iva 2 Kadajs TrapeXaySere Trap ^/x&)z> TO 
TTOJS Set v/iag TrepiiraTeiv Kal apecr/ceu> Otto, KaOws Kal 
TrepLTrareiTe 3 , Iva irepicrcrevrjTe )LtaXXo^. oiSare yap rivas 2 
TrapayyeXia? eSco/ca/Ae^ v/xtz Sia rov KVpiov J^crou. rovro 3 
yap ecrTii> [TO] ^eX^/xa rov #eov, 6 dyiao-^os v/x,<z>, 

oVo TT^S Trovcias, eiSeVat, eKacrrov vuv 4 



which they have heard before, 
which they are now practising, 
and need only to practise more and 
more, which is summed up in one 
word their sanctification ; that 
is to say, first, they are to abstain 
from fornication ; and as a re 
medy for fornication, every man 
is to have his own wife. In 
purity of life they are to be un 
like the Gentiles, not to defraud, 
or invade their brother s right; 
for of all such offences the 
Lord is the avenger. God, who 
called them, called them not to 
lasciviousness, but to holiness. 
And, therefore, he who despises 
this precept, is a despiser, not of 
man, but of God who sanctifies us 
by his Holy Spirit ; a violator, not 
of moral duties only, but of the 
first principle of Christian life. 

"But respecting another part 
of Christian duty, love of the 
brethren, ye need not that I write 
to you. For ye yourselves have 
learned, not of me, but of God, 
to love one another. For ye not 
only know, but practise it to all 
the brethren that are in all Mace 
donia. But though you need not 
my urging, yet I beg of you to 
do it more and more, and (once 
more to repeat a former exhor 
tation) to live in peace, and do 
your own business, that so ye may 

Omit Ka6(i>s Kal 

set a fair example to the heathen, 
and be lacking in no spiritual 

" But as to those who have been 
taken from among you, do not let 
the thought of them be a source of 
disorder in your lives. In this too 
I would not have you to be like the 
heathen, who are without hope. 
For to us the remembrance of 
the dead is bound up with the 
thought of Christ ; and as we be 
lieve that He died and rose again, 
so those that are asleep in Christ 
will God bring with him. For 
hear the exposition of the whole 
matter as Christ has revealed 
it ; we who survive at that day, 
will be after, rather than before 
the dead. For the Lord will Him 
self descend from heaven with a 
shout, and the voice of the arch 
angel and the trump of God. And 
first the dead in Christ will rise 
to be gathered to Him, and then 
we the living shall be caught 
up to meet the Lord in the air. 
And so shall we be ever with Him." 

1. TheMSS. vary between Xoi- 
7rorand7-o XotTroy, "furthermore," 
and " for what remains : " either 
marks a transition, more or less 
emphatic, from the personal to 
the hortatory portion of the 
Epistle, olv connects the verse 
with the preceding mention of the 


4 FURTHERMORE then we beseech you, brethren, 
and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye received 
of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, even as 

2 ye do walk 1 , that ye would abound more and more. For 
ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord 

3 Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctifiea- 

4 tion, that ye should abstain from fornication : that every 
one of you should know how to get * himself his own 

1 Omit even as ye do walk. 

appearance of Christ, "seeing 
then these things, we exhort 
you," &c. 

epw-wjUEJ ,] which in classical 
Greek means only to ask ques 
tions, has here the signification 
of request, entreat, as in Acts, x. 
48. and elsewhere. 

iv Kvpiy. ] Compare the note 
at i. 2. on this and similar 
expressions. St. Paul exhorts 
arid prays them, as he does every 
thing, in their common Lord in 
whom he and they are united in 
one spirit. " We beseech you 
that, as ye have received from 
us, how ye ought to walk and 
please God, or by what manner of 
walk ye should please God, as ye 
do walk, so ye would do more and 

Kal apeffKew. ] Although it is in 
correct to say that KCU is like the 
Hebrew \ taken for ut, yet the two 
ideas, TreptTrarely KCU tipeffKetv &>, 
closely adhere to each other, and 
are equivalent to TO TTWS Trepnra- 
Tovvrac Set dpeffKttv TO) Sey. 

JW] is a resumption of the for 
mer iVa : the words xadiog KCII -rrtpi- 

be regarded as a complimentary 
form for ovrai Trepnrariire. 

2. oiSare yap, for ye know."] 
For ye know what ye did re 

ceive from us (with reference to 
KitOwg KCU 7rap\a/3er in previous 
verse) : the commands that we 
gave you, not of ourselves, but 
through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
The connexion shows that the 
Apostle is not here speaking of 
the truths of the Gospel, but of 
practical rules of life. Yet 
these rules of life, as in 1 Cor. vi. 
19., runup into a single principle, 
which is the gift of the Holy 
Spirit, v. 8. Compare also v. 11., 
where the rule that he had given 
was " that they should get their 
own living." 

3. The Apostle goes on to a 
further explanation of what the 
precepts were. " For this that 
I am about to speak of, is what 
God wills your sanctification." 
This is further defined by the 
clause: UTre^effduiv^iu^ aVo Trj<; 
TTopreiag.^ Compare the decree of 
the Apostles and brethren at Je 
rusalem, that the Gentiles should 
abstain "from fornication, and 
from things strangled, and from 
blood." The reason probably was 
in both cases the same ; the ex 
treme difficulty that there was 
in heathen cities in preserving 
purity of morals among the con 
verts. See note at the end of the 



TO eavTov cr/ceuos KTacrdai Iv dytacr/xo) Kal TifJifj, ^ iv ird- 5 
#et TTiOvfJLia<s KaOdirep Kal ra tOvr) rd JOLT) etSdra rov Oeov, 
TO prj vTrepfiaLvtiv /cat TrXeoz/e/CTetz iv rw TrpdypaTi TOV 6 
dSeX<oi> CLVTOV, Start e/cStAcos l Kvpios Trepl TrdvTOJV TOVTMV, 
Kadajs Kal TrpoeiTrapev vfjilp Kal SiCfJiaprvpafJieda. ov yap 7 
e/caXecrei 17/^0,9 6 #eog evrt aKaOapcria, dXX ez> dytacr/xw. 

1 Add 6. 

4. ro eaurov ffKsvoQ KTavQai, to 
get his own vessel.^ It is doubted 
whether under the image of a 
vessel is meant "the body" or 
"a wife." The meaning of the 
word Krdffdat, and the opposition 
of eavrov to Tropveiac, and also to 
TrXeoveKrelv ro^a^eX^dr, ill ver. 6., 
is decidedly in favour of the 
latter interpretation. Compare 
1 Cor. vii. 2., for a similar op 
position, 3ict e rae iropveiciQ 
CJtaaroc r*/^ tavrou yvvaTfca i^lru). 
For the figure, compare 1 Peter, 
iii. 7. See also parallels in 
Schottgen, which prove the com 
mon Jewish use of VKEVOQ for a 
wife. On the other hand, it may 
be urged that there would be no 
propriety here, as there is else 
where, in the description of the 
"body" under the metaphor of a 
vessel; when in Rom. ix. 21., 
the term (TKEVOQ dpyr/e occurs, this 
is a continuation of the figure of 
the potter ; when in 2 Cor. iv. 
7., the body is called offrpaKivov 
(TKevoc, this is to denote its 
frailty; so in 2 Tim. ii. 20, 21. 
the metaphor is helped by the 
surrounding words. But none 
of these uses shows that axtvoQ 
in this place could simply mean 

The exact force of the whole 
passage may be expressed as 
follows: "This is the will of 
God your sanctification : " by 
this is meant, "your abstaining 

from fornication, your knowing 
how to live chastely in a married 
state." This is opposed to verse 
6., the general sense of which is 
"not to covet another man s 
wife." Two difficulties occur, 
however, in the attempt to dis 
entangle the connexion. First, 
it might seem as if St. Paul was 
enjoining all men to marry. This, 
however, is modified by ver. 6. 
Every man is to have his own 
wife, rather than to defraud his 
neighbour. In other words, the 
precept is not absolute ; but re 
lative to the sin of adultery and 
fornication. The second difficulty 
is the insertion of p) iv TraOet ZTTL- 
dvplac, in ver. 5., because it might 
be said, that though the heathen 
were distinguished from Chris 
tians by immorality, they were 
not so by an abuse of the mar 
riage-bed in particular. But the 
words, kv TraOet tTriflvjume, though 
forming an antithesis to ev aym- 
ff/jia) Kal rijuj/, need not necessarily, 
when applied to the heathen, carry 
us back to Kravdai TO ffKevog. In 
ver. 5. these latter words are lost 
sight of and some general idea 
gathered from them, such as 
"living" iv tradei eiriQvpias. 

et> ayiaoyzw xai r</L/r}.] Com 
pare, as slightly confirming the 
interpretation given above, Heb. 
xiii. 4., ripiOQ a iv 7rd<n; 
also the use of the word dri/mfc- 
i, Rom. i. 24. 


5 vessel in sanctification and honour : not in the lust of 
concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not 

6 God : that no man go beyond and defraud his brother 
in the matter : because that the Lord is the avenger of 
all these things, as we also forewarned you and testified. 

7 For God called us not unto uncleanness, but in sancti- 

5. H.YI iv iradei 7ri0i^u/a, not 
in the lust of concupiscence.^ 
By the word TTO.QOG is implied 
the state of yielding to lust, the 
state in which lust becomes an 
affection of the man. Compare 
Rom i. 26., eie Tradrj cm/note, and 
Vli. 5., TO. TradrjfjLara TUV ap.apriit)r. 

6. TO fj.rj virp&aiviv~] is a fur 
ther resumption and definition of 
ver. 4. The article only gives 
the clause a substantive, instead 
of an infinitive form as above, 6 
aytafffjios fyutuv, which, though a 
substantive, stands in apposition 
with airexeffdat. The Apostle is 
continuing in his former track, 
not passing on to the subject of 
covetousness ; a transition which 
would be inconsistent with what 
follows, and would deprive the 
words iv raj wpay/jiaTt of meaning. 

Another aspect is thus pre 
sented to us of sins of the flesh ; 
the wrong done to our neighbour. 
It is not necessary to suppose 
that any idea of unchastity is con 
veyed by the term "covet," any 
more than in the tenth command 
ment, " Thou shalt not covet thy 
neighbour s wife." The meaning 
exclusively arises from the con 
nexion and application of the 

Iv T 7r|0ayjua7-i, not for iv rivi, 
nor for iv TOVTWTU 7rpa.yjj.aTi, but 
simply in the matter, i.e. of which 
we are speaking, as elsewhere, 
without a distinct antecedent. 
As similarly wanting in a pre 

cise antecedent, compare iii. 3., 
iv ralg SXtyeffiv TO.VTO.IQ, and just 


thoughfV TM TTpayfiaTL is not put, 
usu modesto, for concubitu, yet it 
is probable that the obscurity of 
the passage arises partly from the 
decency in which the Apostle 
clothes it. The expression oc 
curs again 2 Cor. vii. 11. ; also 
with an imperfect antecedent. 

TTEjOt iravTwv TovTd)v, about all 
these things."] That is, all sins of 

KOI 7rpot7rafjiv.~^ /cat = too, 
moreover ; as moreover we told 
you, and, I may say, in still 
stronger language testified to 
vou. Compare TrpoeXeyopev, iii. 

What the Apostle means by dia- 
papTvpeartiai might be illustrated 
by several characteristic expres 
sions in the Epistles, such as Gal. 
i. 20.: "Behold before God I lie 
not ;" 2 Thess. v. 27. : "I conjure 
you by the Lord that this Epis 
tle be read to all the brethren." 
See also Gal. v.3., Eph. iv. 17. 

7. fVi aKadaprria^ for God 
calls us not to uncleanness. ~] Com 
pare 7r* iXevdepia. iK\r]dr]Te, Gal. 
v. 13. The preposition ewl in 
such expressions wavers between 
the senses of object and condition. 
iv signifies the state in which 
men are called (compare Gal. i. 
6.), or which results from their 
calling. It often happens that 
modes of thought vary without 



v d0TL, dXXa TOP Oeov 8 

TO ayiov et 



Ilepl Se T7?5 </>iXaSeX<ias ov 

avTol yap vjnets OeoSiSaKToi ecrre 15 TO ayarrav 
TjXovs 8 Kalyap Troietre avro 19 TrdvTas rov? 
0X17 r]5 Ma/ceSoFta. TrapaKaXovjJLev e 

fjiaXXov KOL ^n\oTip.i(r9oiL 
ra tSta /cal epyd^eaOau rai? 4 yep&lv vp.)v, 
TraprjyyeiXaiJLev, Iva TrepnraTTJTe 


Km 11 


5 Se vjaas dy^oec^ cxSeX^ot, Trepl 

?rpos 12 

- 13 

1 /cal 8Jj/ra rb Trvev/j.a avrov . . ets 

3 Add TOUS. 4 Add iSj 

corresponding variations of mean 
ing ; the same Christian grace 
may be represented indifferently 
as a condition, or an object, or a 
state, or a result. There is no 
need, therefore, to make an an 
tithesis between eirl and kv, the 
inversion of which would not 
have involved any change in the 
sense. The appearance of anti 
thesis arises, partly from the love 
of variety natural to all lan 
guage, partly from an awkward 
ness in the use of language, in 
a late and rhetorical age, by a 
writer who was imperfectly mas 
ter of it. 

8. roiyapovv o a07-wj , there 
fore the despiser (that is, of the 
commands which have preceded) 
despises not man but God, who 
gives to you his Holy Spirit. 
Compare iii. 13. The latter 
clause, rev dt Bovra, K. r. A., is a re 
petition of the reason conveyed 
by tKraXerrev ; it heightens the 
heinousness of the sin, and at 
the same time suggests why it 
was unnatural that the Thessalo- 
nians should commit it. TO 

contains an allusion to iv ctyi- 


9. But (to turn to another 
subject) concerning love to the 
brethren, I have no need to write 
to you ; for that is a lesson ye 
already know, being taught of 
God himself, to the end that ye 
love one another. 

The meaning is not simply, 
" I need not teach you, for God 
himself teaches you ; " but I need 
not teach you, for God teaches 
you effectually. The rhetorical 
turn " I have no need " is cha 
racteristic of the Apostle. Comp. 
v. 12. ; 2 Cor. ix 1. ; Philemon, 
19. te implies at once result 
and object: "For ye give the 
best evidence of having learnt 
it by your actions towards all 
the brethren in all Macedonia. 
Kctl yap, for ye are not only 
taught, but do it ; TroieTre is 
emphatic, avro, SC. TO dyaTrav. 

10. TrapattaXov/iiEV (Jt, but we 
beseech you.~\ The most conve 
nient way of taking these words 
is to separate them from what has 
preceded and connect them with 


8 fication. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not 
man, but God, who 1 giveth unto you his holy Spirit. 

9 But as touching brotherly love 2 we need not to write 
unto you : for ye yourselves are taught of God to 
love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the 
brethren which are in all Macedonia : but we beseech 
you, brethren, to increase more and more ; and to 
study to be quiet, and do your own business, and work 

12 with your 3 hands, as we commanded you ; that ye may 
walk honestly towards them that are without, and may 
have lack of nothing. 

But we 4 would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, 




1 Who hath also given unto us. 
8 Add own. 

what follows : " But we beseech 
you, brethren, to increase more 
and more, and make quietness the 
object of your ambition." Trepia- 
o-fueivmay refer to brotherly love, 
but is not confined to it. 

It is not necessary to suppose 
that in the words that follow the 
Apostle is warning the Thessalo- 
nians against the abuse of charity 
and brotherly love, for which he 
had just before commended them ; 
though it is true that evils would 
soon creep into a society which 
was a family of love. 

11. (f)i\oTi[j.~iadai j]ffv%aen>, 
K. T. X.] These words derive their 
chief illustration from the Second 
Epistle. From both together we 
infer that the Church had fallen 
into disorder, and that some of its 
members had given up their 
daily occupations. This disorder 
may very probably have arisen 
from an expectation of the im 
mediate coming of Christ. See 
note at the end of the chapter. 
Supposing this to be the case, a 
thread of connexion is supplied 

2 Ye need not that I write. 
* I. 

with the new subject, which sug 
gests itself to the Apostle s mind 
at ver. 1 3. The Thessalonians are 
excited and unsettled, and one 
of the causes of their un settle 
ment is the state of the dead. 

12. tVa irepnraTrjrt tv<ryrifji6vii)g~\ 
is a counsel of prudence, not of 
brotherly love. Comp. Col. iv. 
5. ; 1 Tim. iii. 7. ; 1 Cor. xiv. 
24. It is characteristic of St. 
Paul to ask, "What will the 
Gentiles say of us ? " a part of 
the Christian prudence, which 
was one of the great features of 
his life. 

Kal /jir]()ei OG yjpticLV f x^ 7 " 5 -] A 17 ?" 
Zeros is here the neuter. These 
words supply a further reason for 
their working diligently, "that 
they might not be in want." 

13. The Apostle passes on, 
with a formula that he employs 
elsewhere (ov -vcXo^tv e vptig 
ayvotiv, afieXtyoi ), to a new subject, 
the state of the departed. The 
train of thought may possibly 
have been suggested by the pre 
vious exhortation to be diligent 



, l Iva /XT) XvTTrjcrOe /caftus Kal ol XCHTTOI ol p 
l\.7riSa. el yap Tno-Tevopev on Irjorovs airtOavtv Kal u 
Tr], ourws Kal 6 #eos rovs KOLpTjOevTas Sua TOV Irjcrov 
<ji)V avT<. TOVTO yap Xeyo/xe^ iv \6ya> Kvpiov, STL 15 

in their daily occupations, the 
missing link being that their oc 
cupations had been interrupted by 
the expectation of the coming of 
Christ. Compare chap. v. 11, 
12. It may also have been a 
reply to an inquiry, or may have 
originated in the Apostle hear 
ing of the anxiety of the converts, 
who found that a gloom was cast 
upon their faith in Christ, by the 
death of some one of their num 
ber. Their sadness was not as to 
whether or not there was a future 
state, but whether those who 
were already dead should parti 
cipate in the coming reign of 
Christ. To the Jew of old, death 
seemed sad, because it took men 
away from the presence of God. 
Yet more sad must it have ap 
peared to the uninstructed mind 
of the first converts, because it 
took them away in the very hour 
when it seemed good to live, 
" waiting for the Son from hea 

Ou $cX0f*V e v/me a.yvo~n>.~\ 
Comp. Rom.i. 13. ; xi. 25. ; 1 Cor. 
x. 1. ; xii. 1. ; 2 Cor. i. 8., in which 
passages it is used to give em 
phasis to the subject which the 
Apostle is introducing. 

7T|0< T(i)\> Koi[jL<jjjj,u u)y, concerning 
them which are asleep."] A euphe 
mism for the dead which is used 
in the Old Testament and some 
times in classical writers ; more 
than a euphemism in the New 
Testament, which speaks also of 
their awakening. 

KdQitQ Kal ol Xoiiroi, as the 

others.~\ The heathen, as in 
Ephesians, ii. 3., who sorrow as the 
Apostle, regarding them partly 
from his own point of view, says 
of them, or have reason to sorrow 
for their ignorance of the future. 
It would be easy to multiply 
quotations from classical writers 
in illustration of this expression, 
like the words of Theocritus, 
Idyll, iv. 42., i\Tri^eg zv ^cjolanv, 
aviX-rriffToi IE SCLVOVTEC, : or the 
mournful strain of Catullus, v. 4., 
" Soles occidere et redire possent. 
Nobis quum semel occidit brevis 
lux nox est perpetua una dor- 
mienda;" or the life-like touch 
of Lucretius, iii.942., "Nee quis- 
quam expergitus exstat, frigida 
quern semel est vitai pausa se- 
cuta;"or the sad complaints of 
Cicero and Quintilian over the 
loss of their children ; or the 
dreary hope of an immortality of 
fame in Tacitus or Thucydides, or 
the still more dreary acquiescence 
in the belief of a future state as a 
useful terror to man in general, 
by Chrysippus and others ; or 
the trifling dispute in the Ethics 
of Aristotle affecting not the fact 
but a question of words. The 
silence of the earlier books of the 
Old Testament is not less awful ; 
and its language where it speaks, 
though more religious, is in 
many passages hardly more cheer 
ing : " The living, the living, he 
shall praise thee. What profit is 
there in the grave ? Shall they 
that go down into the pit, declare 
thy truth ? " 


KO.I 7TLffTVLV $1 OTl. The 

has shortened the expression. 

ovT()Q.~\ As Christ rose, so shall 
the dead rise through him. Cf. 
Acts i. 11., OVTOQ o IrjfftwQ o ava." 
a0 vjuiUjv elg TOV ovpavbv, 

concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, 

u even as the others which have no hope. For if we 

believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them 

also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that 

A future state, it has been said, 
was discovered by the ancient 
world, like the Copernican system, 
as one guess among many. Rather 
say it was a shadow, a thought, 
a hope, a poetical fancy, to which 
the traditions of ages had given 
a sort of reality. It would be 
idle to talk of it as a subject of 
belief. That the mythology which 
had lost its hold on this world, 
should have retained it in refer 
ence to the shadowy forms of 
another, would be, indeed, in 
credible. Even to Plato it was 
but the idea of an eternal truth, 
before and after, of which mind 
was the confluence, and in which 
the individuality of man faintly 
appeared from time to time. And 
Socrates, at the hour of death, 
knew not whether he was laugh 
ing at himself and others, in 
speaking of a world to come and 
of the souls of just men made 
perfect (Phsedo, 64.). Nor, if 
we argue from the analogy of 
human nature among ourselves, 
is there reason to think that any 
natural terror would make itself 
a consolation. All men are re 
signed to death ; they sorrow in 
deed, but not for themselves, but 
for the loss of friends or children. 

14. The connexion may be 
traced as follows : " I would not 
have you sorrow for the dead, for 
they are one with Christ ; and as 
they are dead with him, shall also 
rise with him." Cf. Rom. viii. 11. 

el -yap Triorevo^i^, for if we be 
lieve.^ In the apodosis, we expect 

VOL. I. 


u $<>.] He that raised up 
Christ from the dead. 

3m rov Ir/ffoO.] Not the mar 
tyrs, as the Apostle is here 
speaking of the whole commu 
nion of the dead, as in v. 15. of 
the living ; nor will the order of 
the thought and the antithesis 
of airidavE and KoiprjOlvTaQ allow 
us to connect t)t O.VTOV with afct. 

According to another ex 
planation, c>ta, which with the 
genitive commonly means the 
instrument, is here used to de 
scribe the state. Comp. Rom. 
viii. 25., xiv. 20. ; 2 Cor. iii. 11. 
Yet in the passages quoted the 
idea of the instrument is not 
wholly lost ; nor do any of them 
apply to a person. It is better 
therefore to say, not that <)ta is 
put for e^> according to the old 
grammatical phraseology ; but 
only to compare them as pa 
rallel expressions. As all things 
are said to be " in Christ," so, al 
though the usage is less general, 
they may also be said to be 
" through Christ," as in Rom. i. 
8., ev\api(TToJ Sid irjvov XpiaTov. 

afci avv avrw.j The dead are 
already risen, and will reappear 
with Christ at his reappearance. 

15. TOVTO yap . ] The Apo- 




77/1619 ol oWes ol TrepiXecTro/xez ot eis TTJV irapovcraiv rov 16 
Kvpiov ov fjirj (J)Odcra)fJiv rous KO 1/^77 Oevras, STL avros 6 
Kvpios eV /ceXevcr/^ari, eV <f>(**vy ap^ayyeXov Kal eV o-aXmyyi 
6eov /cara^crerai 0,77 ovpavov, KGLL ol vtKpoi eV yjpicrTQ) 17 

errei/ra Txeis ot aWes 01 Tre/nXei- 

stle adds emphatically: "And 
this I say to you not of myself, but 
by the word of Christ." It has been 
asked respecting this passage, 
as well as in reference to 1 Cor. 
vii. 10., whether St. Paul is re 
ferring to some special saying of 
our Lord on these subjects, i. e. 
resurrection and divorce, or to a 
revelation which he had received 
from Him. Neither of the pas 
sages supposed to be alluded to 
(Matt. xxiv. 31., or John, v. 25.) 
is sufficiently near in sense to 
make it safe for us to identify 
them ; while a strong negative 
argument may be urged on the 
other side, from the fact of no other 
quotations in St. Paul s writings 
being apparently derived from 
our canonical Gospels. It may 
be further adduced as an argu 
ment in favour of the supposition 
that St. Paul is referring to actual 
words of Christ, that he nowhere 
speaks of any special truths or 
doctrines as imparted to himself. 
When he uses the expression, 
" not I, but the Lord," 1 Cor. vii. 
12., he is speaking of matters f 
discipline, not of doctrine. 

The question suggests a wider 
one, which is equally incapable 
of receiving a precise answer : 
" What did St. Paul know of the 
life of Christ?" Two passages 
only throw any considerable light 
on this subject. First, 1 Cor. xv. 
3 10., in which the Apostle 
describes himself, not only as 
preaching to the Corinthians the 
doctrine of the resurrection of 

Christ, but as dwelling on the mi 
nute circumstances which attested 
it. Had he told them in like man 
ner of other events in the life of 
Christ? Had the parables and 
discourses of Christ interwoven 
themselves in his teaching ? 
Were the miracles of Christ a 
witness to which he appealed ? 

It is instructive to put these 
questions, even though they re 
main without an answer. St. Paul 
must have known numberless 
persons who had followed the 
footsteps of the Lord on earth ; 
and yet the only memorial which 
he has preserved is the short 
fragment, "It is more blessed 
to give than to receive," which 
forms the second of the two quo 
tations alluded to above (Acts, 
xx. 35. Compare 1 Tim. vi. 13. ; 
the mention of the institution of 
the Lord s Supper, in 1 Cor. xi. 
24. ; also Phil. ii. 7., 2 Cor. viii. 9.). 
Had all the things that were 
known of Christ in the days of the 
Apostle been written down, " the 
world itself," it might be said, 
would hardly have contained "the 
books that should be written ; " and 
yet, as far as we can trace, it was 
not the sayings or events of the 
life of Christ, but the witness of 
the Old Testament prophets, that 
formed the larger part of St. Paul s 
teaching, the "external" evidence 
by which he supported, in himself 
and others, the inward and liv 
ing sense of union with Christ, 
the medium through which he 
preached " Christ crucified." 


we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the 

16 Lord shall not prevent them which sleep ; because the 
Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, 
with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of 

17 God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first : then we 

on r/jue7c ol WVTEC;.~] Is St. 
Paul speaking here of his own 
generation only ? or are the 
living at a particular time put 
for the living in general, these 
being spoken of in the first per 
son by way of contrast with the 
dead from whom they are parted ? 
In 1 Cor. xv. 51., if we adopt 
Lachmann s reading, the Apostle 
seems to number himself, not 
among the living, but among the 
dead, at the coming of Christ. 
The mode of thought in the pre 
sent passage is not precisely 
similar, but yet not entirely dif 
ferent. We may consider >//me 
as a figure of the living 

in general, just as ol 
though primarily referring to the 
dead in the Thessalonian Church, 
is also put for the dead in gene 
ral. It is nevertheless true, that 
the words imply the immediate 
expectation of Christ s coming. 
The Apostle could not have said 
" we," if he had had a distinct 
perception that the coming of 
Christ was still far distant. 

ov jj.t] (pBdffwpw, shall not pre 
vent ;] i. e. shall not leave behind 
those that are asleep. 

16. OTl aVTOQ 6 KVplOQ.^ CIVTOQ 

is added to give dignity to the 
coming of Christ. " The Lord 

fceXevo-juart,] with a cry of com 
mand, as of a general to his host. 
The words kv fywvri ap^ayyeXov 
and (.v ad\7rt.yyi Seov are added 
as an epexegesis to express the 

mode of giving the command. 
As in the Old Testament, the 
Lord was to come surrounded by 
his saints, with the archangel as 
the captain of his host, and the 
sound of the trumpet as on Mount 
Sinai. Compare 1 Cor. xv. 52. ; 
Matthew, xxiv. 42.; Jude, 14.; 
where the word adeXoQ also 


Kal ol veKpol kv xpicrro), and the 
dead in Christ.~\ Here, as in 1 Cor. 
xv., the Apostle confines himself 
to the resurrection of the just. 
He does not carry on his thoughts 
to the question what destiny was 
to be reserved for the wicked, 
still less to the further question, 
what was to become of the mul 
titude of the heathen. The first 
act of the last drama, Trptirov, is 
the resurrection of the dead who 
are to meet Christ ; the second, 
the gathering to them of the in 
habitants of the earth. 

Where the things of which we 
are speaking, are such as eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard, neither 
hath it entered into the heart of 
man to conceive, which can only 
be expressed in figures of speech 
and types of the Old Testament, 
it is vain to attempt to define 
exactly the meaning of particular 
words, or to fill up the figures 
by which the general meaning is 
conveyed. Such an attempt is 
like painting a picture of the 
scenes in the Apocalypse, which, 
the moment they are brought to 
gether, are seen to have a pro- 

G 2 


crvv aurois ap7rayr}cr6p,e()a iv *><eXais ets 
TOV Kvpiov eis aepa, Kal OVTCDS TrdvroTe <rvv 
ecrdjute^a. aScrre Trapa/caXeire dXX^Xovs IP rots 18 
Xdyois rovrots. 

phetic and symbolical meaning, common Lord and with each 
not an artistic unity. other, but of the mid-air. Inter- 
17. EIQ TOV dfjoa, into the air.~\ preters go on to ask if he sup- 
The Apostle speaks not of the posed the air to be the abiding- 
earth, or of the heaven, as the seat of Christ s kingdom. Is not 
scene of this first meeting of the this a question about the pro- 
living and the dead with their priety of figures of speech ? Yet 


which are alive and remain shall be caught up together 
with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : 
is and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore 
comfort one another with these words. 

admitting that we are discussing the other hand the air is appro- 

the shadows of those things, and priated to the powers of evil 

not the very things themselves, (Eph. ii. 2.). 

it agrees better with the Apo- Kal ovrwe,] " and thus, after we 

stle s usual language to regard have once met the Lord, shall we 

heaven as the final and everlast- ever be with the Lord." 

ing home of Christians, while on 



WERE we, with the view of forming a judgment of the moral state 
of the early Church, to examine the subjects of rebuke most fre 
quently referred to by the Apostle, these would be found to range 
themselves under four heads : first, licentiousness ; secondly, dis 
order ; thirdly, scruples of conscience ; fourthly, strifes about doctrine 
and teachers. The consideration of these four subjects, the two 
former falling in with the argument of the Epistle to the Thessa- 
lonians, the two latter more closely connected with the Romans and 
the Galatians, will give what may be termed the darker side of the 
primitive Church. 

1. Licentiousness was the besetting sin of the Roman world. Ex 
cept by a miracle, it was impossible that the new converts could be 
at once and wholly freed from it. It lingered in the flesh when the 
spirit had cast it off. It had interwoven itself in the pagan religions ; 
and, if we may believe the writings of adversaries, was ever reap 
pearing on the confines of the Church in the earliest heresies. It 
was possible for men " to resist unto death, striving against sin," 
yet to fall beneath its power. Even within the pale of the Church, 
it might assume the form of a mystic Christianity. The very 
ecstasy of conversion would often lead to a reaction. Nothing is 
more natural than that in a licentious city, like Corinth or Ephesus, 
those who were impressed by St. Paul s teaching should have gone 
their way, and returned to their former life. In this case it would 
seldom happen that they apostatized into the ranks of the heathen : 
the same impulse which led them to the Gospel, would lead them 
also to bridge the gulf which separated them from its purer morality. 


Many may have sinned and repented again and again, unable to 
stand themselves in the general corruption, yet unable to cast aside 
utterly the image of innocence and goodness which the Apostle had 
set before them. There were those, again, who consciously sought 
to lead the double life, and imagined themselves to have found in 
licentiousness the true freedom of the Gospel. 

How the consciences of men were aroused to the sense that sins 
of the flesh were really sins, may be seen by the manner in which 
the Apostle speaks of them. His tone respecting them is very dif 
ferent from that of moralists, or of common conversation even among 
serious men in modern times. He says nothing of the distrust 
which they infuse into society, or the consequences to the individual 
himself. It is not in this way that moral evils are presented to us 
in Scripture. Neither does he appeal to public opinion as condemn 
ing them, or dwell on the ruin involved in them to one half of the 
human race. True and forcible as these aspects of such sins are, they 
are the result of modern reflection, not the first instincts of reason and 
conscience. They strengthen the moral principles of mankind, but 
are not of a kind to touch the individual soul. They are a good 
defence for the existing order of things ; but they will not purify 
the nature of man, or extinguish the flames of lust. 

It is a new and hitherto unheard of language in which the 
Apostle denounces sins of impurity. They are not moral evils, but 
spiritual. They corrupt the soul; they defile the temple of the 
Holy Ghost; they cut men off from the body of Christ. Of mora 
lity, as distinct from religion, there is hardly a trace in the Epistles 
of St. Paul. He cannot appeal to public opinion, for public opinion . 
does not exist ; the Gospel itself has to make the standard to the leve ^ 
of which it will raise the world. Fornication and uncleanness were 
mildly, when at all, censured by heathen philosophy. From with 
in, not from without, the nature of sin has to be explained; as it ap 
pears in the depths of the human soul, in the awakening conscience of 
mankind. Even its consequences in another state of being are but 
slightly touched upon, in comparison with that living death which 

G 4 


itself is. It is not merely a vice or crime, or even an offence against 
the law of God, to be punished here or hereafter. It is more than 
this. It is what men feel in themselves, not what they observe in 
those around them ; not what shall be, but what is ; a terrible con 
sciousness, a mystery of iniquity, a communion with unseen powers 
of evil. 

All sin is spoken of in the Epistles of St. Paul, as rooted in human 
nature, and quickened by the consciousness of law ; but especially is 
this the case with the sin which is more than any other the type 
of sin in general fornication. It is, in a peculiar sense, the sin 
of the flesh, with which the very idea of the corruption of the flesh 
is closely connected, just as, in 1 Thess. iv. 3., the idea of holiness 
is regarded as almost equivalent to abstinence from the commission 
of it. It is a sin against a man s own body, distinguished from all 
other sins by its personal and individual nature. No other is at the 
same time so gross and so insidious; no other partakes so much of 
the slavery of sin. As marriage is the type of the communion of 
Christ and his Church, as the body is the member of Christ, so the 
sin of fornication is a strange and mysterious union with evil. 

But although such is the tone of the Apostle, there is no violence 
to human nature in his commands respecting it. He knew how 
easily extremes meet, how hard it is for asceticism to make clean 
that which is within, how quickly it might itself pass into its oppo 
site. Nothing can be more different from the spirit of early ecclesi 
astical history on this subject, than the moderation of St. Paul. 
The remedy for sin is not celibacy, but marriage. Even second 
marriages are, for the prevention of sin, to be encouraged. In the 
same spirit is his treatment of the incestuous person. He had com 
mitted a sin not even named among the Gentiles, for which he 
was to be delivered unto Satan, for which all the Church should 
humble themselves ; yet upon his true repentance, no ban is to sepa 
rate him from the rest of the brethren, no doom of endless penance 
is recorded against him. Whatever might have been the enormity 
of his offence, he was to be forgiven, as in heaven, so on earth. 


The manner in which the Corinthian Church are described as 
regarding this offence before the Apostle s rebuke to them, no less 
than the lenient sentence of the Apostle himself afterwards, as well 
as his constant admonitions on the same subject in all his Epistles,, 
must be regarded as indications of the state of morality among the 
first converts. Above all other things, the Apostle insisted on purity 
as the first note of the Christian character ; and yet the very ear 
nestness and frequency of his warnings show that he is speaking, 
not of a sin hardly named among saints, but of one the victory over 
which was the greatest and most difficult triumph of the cross of 

2. It is hard to resist the impression which naturally arises in 
our minds, that the early Church was without spot, or wrinkle, or 
any such thing ; as it were, a bride adorned for her husband, the 
type of Christian purity, the model of Apostolical order. The real 
image is marred with human frailty ; its evils, perhaps, arising more 
from this cause than any other, that in its commencement it was a 
kingdom not of this world ; in other words, it had no political ex 
istence or legal support ; hence there is no evil more frequently 
referred to in the Epistles than disorder. 

This spirit of disorder was manifested in various ways. In the 
Church of Corinth, the communion of the Lord s Supper was admi 
nistered so as to be a scandal ; " one was hungry, and another was 
drunken." There was as yet no rite or custom to which all con 
formed. In the same Church, the spiritual gifts were manifested 
without rule or order. It seemed as if God was not the author of 
peace, but of confusion. All spoke together, men and women, ap 
parently without distinction, singing, praying, teaching, uttering 
words unintelligible to the rest, with no regular succession or 
subordination (1 Cor. xiv.). The scene in their assemblies was 
such, that if an unbeliever had come in, he would have said they 
were mad. There is no other Church into which we have the same 
particular insight ; but it is not likely that more regularity was 
observed in the Galatian Church, which was distracted between 


St. Paul and the false teachers, than in the Corinthian, which still, 
though in disorder, acknowledged his authority. In the Church to 
which the Epistle of Jude is addressed, the worst heretics are de 
scribed as joining in the love feasts of its members, " feeding without 
fear." The Second Epistle of Peter uses nearly the same words to 
the Jews of the dispersion. (Jude, 12. ; 2 Pet. ii. 13.) 

Evils of this kind in a great measure arose from the absence of 
Church authority. Even the Apostle himself persuades more often 
than commands, and often uses language which implies a sort of hesita 
tion whether his rule would be acknowledged or not. The freedom 
with which the Church of Corinth challenges particulars in his life 
and conduct (1 Cor. ix.) reminds us rather of the license of a modern 
congregation in censuring a minister of the Gospel, who was under 
its control, than of the position which we should expect an Apostle 
to have held in the minds of the first converts. The diverse offices, 
the figure of the members and the body, do not refer to what was, 
but to what ought to have been ; to an ideal of harmonious life and 
action, which the Apostle holds up before them, which in practice 
was far from being realised. The Church was not organized, but 
was in process of organization. Its only punishment was excommu 
nication, which, as in modern so in primitive times, could not be 
enforced against the wishes of the majority. In two cases only are 
members of the Church " delivered unto Satan " (1 Cor. v. 5. ; 1 Tim. 
i. 20.). It was a moral and spiritual, not a legal control that was 
exercised. Hence the frequent admonitions given, doubtless, be 
cause they were needed : " Obey them that have the rule over you." 

A second kind of disorder arose from unsettlement of mind. Of 
such unsettlement we find traces in the levity and vanity of the 
Corinthians ; in the fickleness with which the Galatians left St. Paul 
for the false teachers ; almost (may we not say ?) in the very passion 
with which the Apostle addresses them ; above all, in the case of the 
Thessalonians. How few, among all the converts, were there capable 
of truly discerning their relation to the world around ! or of sup 
porting themselves alone when the fervour of conversion had passed 


away and the Apostle was no longer present with them ! They had 
entered into a state so different from that of their fellow-men, that it 
might well be termed supernatural. The ordinary experience of men 
was no longer their guide. They left their daily employments. The 
great change which they felt within, seemed to extend itself without 
and involve the world in its shadow. So " palpable to sense " was 
the vision of Christ s coming again, that their only fear or doubt was 
how the departed would have a share in it. No religious belief 
could be more unsettling than this : that to-day, or to-morrow, or 
the third day, before the sun set or the dawn arose, the sign of the 
Son of man might appear in the clouds of heaven. It was not 
possible to take thought for the morrow, to study to be quiet and get 
their own living, when men hardly expected the morrow. Death 
comes to individuals now, as nature prepares them for it ; but the 
immediate expectation of Christ s coming is out of the course of 
nature. Young and old alike look for it. It is a resurrection of the 
world itself, and implies a corresponding revolution in the thoughts, 
feelings, and purposes of men. 

A third kind of disorder may have arisen from the same causes, 
but seems to have assumed another character. As among the Jews, 
so among the first Christians, there were those who needed to be 
perpetually reminded, that the powers that be were ordained of 
God. The heathen converts could not at once lay aside the licen 
tiousness of manners amid which they had been brought up ; no 
more could the Jewish converts give up their aspirations, that at this 
time " the kingdom was to be restored to Israel," which had perhaps 
been in some cases their first attraction to the Gospel. A com 
munity springing up in Palestine under the dominion of the Romans, 
could not be expected exactly to draw the line between the things 
that were Caesar s and the things that were God s, or to understand 
in what sense " the children were free," in what sense it was never 
theless their duty to pay tribute. The spirit of those Galileans " who 
called no man Lord," must have sometimes found its way into the 
early Christian Church. When men are " wrestling against princi- 


palities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in heavenly places," 
they do not find it easy to reconcile their course of action with the 
bidding of those " who sit in Moses s seat." That one of the chief ap 
prehensions of the Apostle was this tendency to rebellion, is proved 
by the frequency of the exhortations to obey magistrates, and the 
energy with which he sets himself against it. 

3. The third head of our inquiry related to scruples of conscience, 
which were chiefly of two kinds ; regarding either the observance of 
days, or the eating with unclean or unbelievers. Were they, or 
were they not, to observe the Jewish Sabbath, or new moon, or 
passover? Such questions as these are not to be considered the 
fancies or opinions of individuals ; but, as mankind are quick enough 
to discover, involve general principles, and are but the outward 
signs of some deep and radical difference. In the question of the 
observance of Jewish feasts, and still more in the question of going 
in unto men uncircumcised and eating with them, was implied the 
whole question of the relation of the disciple of Christ to the Jew, 
just as the question of sitting at meat in the idol s temple was the 
question of the relation of the disciple of Christ to the Gentile. 
Was the Christian to preserve his caste, and remain within the 
pale of Judaism ? Was he in his daily life to carry his religious 
scruples so far as to exclude himself from the social life of the 
heathen world ? How much prudence and liberty and charity was 
necessary for the solution of such difficulties ! 

Freedom is the key-note of the Gospel, as preached by St. Paul. 
" All things are lawful." " There is no distinction of Jew or Greek, 
barbarian or Scythian, bond or free." "Let no man judge you of 
a new moon or a Sabbath." " Where the spirit of the Lord is, there 
is liberty." And yet, if we go back to its origin, the Christian 
Church was born into the world marked and diversified with the 
features of the religions that had preceded it, bound within the 
curtains of the tabernacle, coloured with Oriental opinions that 
refused to be washed out of the minds of men. The scruples of 
individuals are but indications of the elements out of which the 


Church was composed. There were narrow paths in which men 
walked, customs which clung to them long after the reason of them 
had ceased, observances which they were unable to give up, though 
conscience and reason alike disowned them, which were based on 
the traditions of half the world, and could not be relinquished, how 
ever alien to the spirit of the Gospel. Slowly and gradually, as 
Christianity itself became more spread, these remnants of Judaism 
or Orientalism disappeared, and the spirit which had been taught 
from the beginning made itself felt in the hearts of men and in the 
institutions of the Church. 

4. The heresies of the Apostolical age are a subject too wide for 
illustration in a note. We shall attempt no more than to bring 
together the names and heads of opinion which occur in Scripture, 
with the view of completing the preceding sketch. 

There was the party of Peter and of Paul, of the circumcision and of 
the uncircumcision. There were those who knew " Christ according 
to the flesh ; " those who, like St. Paul, knew him only as revealed 
within. There were others who, after casting aside circumcision, 
were still struggling between the old dispensation and the new. 
There were those who never went beyond the baptism of John ; 
others, again, to whom the Gospel of Christ clothed itself in Alex 
andrian language. There were prophets, speakers with tongues, 
discerners of spirits, interpreters of tongues. There were seekers 
after " knowledge, falsely so called ; " " spoilers of others with philo 
sophy and vain deceit," " worshippers of angels, intruders into things 
they had not seen." There were those who looked daily for the coming 
of Christ ; others who " said that the Resurrection was passed al 
ready." There were some who maintained an Oriental asceticism in 
their lives, " forbidding to marry, commanding to abstain from meats." 
There were individuals, like Hymenaeus and Alexander, who had 
" made shipwreck of their faith ; " like Phygellus and Hermoge- 
nes, who had " turned away " from St. Paul ; like Diotrephes, 
the leader in the Church of Ephesus, who refused to "receive" 
St. John. There were national differences, Jewish Sectarian ten- 


dencies, heathen systems of philosophy; stones of another work 
manship built into the fabric of the Christian Church. There 
was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, the synagogue of Satan, who 
" said that they were Jews, and are not," " the woman Jezebel, 
which calleth herself a prophetess." There were wild heretics, 
"many Antichrists," "grievous wolves, entering into the fold," 
apostasy of whole churches at once. There were mingled anarchy 
and licentiousness, "filthy dreamers, despising dominion, speaking 
evil of dignities," of whom no language is too strong for St. Paul or 
St. John to use, though they seem to have been separated by no 
definite line from the Church itself. There were fainter contrasts, 
too, of those who agreed in the unity of the same spirit, aspects, and 
points of view, as we term them, of faith and works, of the Epistle to 
the Romans and the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

How this outline is to be filled up must for ever remain, in a great 
degree, matter of speculation. Yet there is not a single trait here 
mentioned which does not reappear in the second century, either 
within the Church or without it, more or less prominent as favoured 
by circumstances or the reverse. The beginning of Ebionitism, 
Sabaism, Gnosticism, Montanism, Alexandrianism, Orientalism, and 
of the licentiousness which marked the track of some of them, 
are all discernible in the Apostolical age. They would be more cor 
rectly regarded, not as offshoots of Christianity, but as the soil in 
which it grew up. We are surrounded by them, in the Epistles of 
St Paul, as truly as the Israelites were surrounded by their enemies 
when they first took possession of the Promised Land. They are 
not errors which arose when men began to speculate on the truths of 
the Gospel : Gnosticism, in particular, would be more nearly de 
scribed as the mental atmosphere of the Greek cities of Asia, a con 
ducting medium between heathenism and Christianity, in the magic 
light of which all religions faded and reappeared. None of them 
pass away at once ; some even acquire a temporary principle of 
life, and grow up parallel with the Church itself. As opinions 
and tendencies of the human mind, many linger among us to the 


present day. Only after the destruction of Jerusalem, with the 
spread of the Gospel over the world, as the spirit of the East moves 
towards the West, Judaism dies away, to rise again, as some hold, 
in the glorified form of a mediaeval Church. 

Such is the reverse side of the picture of the Apostolical age ; 
what proportions we should give to each feature it is impossible to 
determine. We need not infer that all Churches were in the same 
disorder as Corinth and Galatia ; or like Sardis, in which only " a 
few names had not defiled their garments ; " nor can we say how far 
the more flagrant evils were tamely submitted to by the Church 
itself. There was much of good that we can never know ; much 
also of evil. The first Christians stood alone in the world : many 
of them were ready to venture their lives for the faith ; most of them 
had probably suffered persecution a difference between ourselves 
and them than which none can be greater. And perhaps the 
general lesson which we gather from the preceding considerations 
is, not that the state of the primitive Church was better or worse 
than our first thoughts would have suggested, but that its state 
was one in which good and evil exercised a more vital power, were 
more subtly intermingled with, and more easily passed into, each 
other. All things were coming to the birth, some in one way, 
some in another. The supports of custom, of opinion, of tradition, 
had given way ; human nature was thrown upon itself and the 
guidance of the Spirit of God. There were as many diversities 
of human character in the world then as now ; more strange in 
fluences of religion and race than have ever since met in one ; a 
far greater yearning of the human intellect to solve the problems 
of existence. There was no settled principle of morality inde 
pendent of and above religious convictions. All these causes are 
sufficient to account for the diversities of opinion or practice, as 
well as for the extremes which met in the bosom of the primitive 



on 2 

Ilepl Se ra)V yjpovtov Kal TUIV Kaipwv, dSeXc^oi, ov 

VIM.V ypdfao-Qac avrol yap aKpifltos oiSare 
r)fjipa Kvpiov o>s AcXeVn?? eV VVKTI OVTOJS e/o^erat. orav 3 
[Se 1 ] Xeycocrw, Elprfvr) Kal dcr^aXeta, rdre cu<^>iSios avrots 
cocnrep rj a>Slj> r^ eV yao~Tpl e^ovcr^ 

The Apostle had been speaking 
of the coming of Christ in the 
clouds of heaven. The question 
would naturally arise in the minds 
of theThessalonians, "When shall 
these things be ? " But this they 
already know as far as it can be 
known. (Compare the turn of 
iv. 9.) And all that can be known 
is that " The day of the Lord 
cometh as a thief in the night." 
The world is lying in darkness, 
asleep, ready to be surprised. 
But they are the children of the 
day, having a light within anti 
cipating the dawn ; they may not 
be asleep, they cannot be sur 
prised ; they are to arm them 
selves as soldiers of Christ, taking 
the breastplate of faith and the 
helmet of salvation ; for to salva 
tion they are appointed through 
Christ Jesus, with whom they are 
one in life and death. 

Many characteristics of St. 
Paul are crowded in this passage. 
First, the rhetorical turn, ov 
Xpdav tx ETm Secondly, the subtle 
transition in the use of the meta 
phor of the day of the Lord to 
the moral lesson that they are 
to walk as children of the day. 
(Compare Rom. xiii. 1 14.) 
Thirdly, the imagery of v. 8. 
(compare Ephes. vi.) ; also the 
going off upon the word ffwrripia, 
which is made the link of the 
following verse. Fourthly, the 
thought of our identity with 
Christ, in which is still retained 

the allusion to sleeping and 
waking. And lastly, in the llth 
verse, the resumption of the pre 
cept which closes the preceding 

Led by some hidden train of 
association, either because the 
expectation of the day of the 
Lord had caused disorder among 
them, or as a sequel to the pre 
cept, that they should walk soberly 
as children of the light, the Apo 
stle goes on to exhort his converts 
to obey those who are set over 
them in the Lord. Then follow 
(as towards the close of several 
Epistles) isolated precepts suc 
ceeding each other in order, some 
times of meaning, sometimes of 
form, passing from the particular 
to the general, or from the gene 
ral to the particular, and ending 
with a final prayer for their sanc- 
tification, by the God who can 
heal disorder, and can and will 
preserve them blameless against 
the day of the Lord Jesus. The 
Epistle concludes with the salu 
tation of the brethren, the charge 
that the Epistle should be read 
to all, and the benediction. 

V. 1. ov *pdav tyiT^ye have no 
need.~\ Perhaps because the Apo 
stle had told them, or because 
the sudden coming of Christ was 
a universal belief with the first 
converts. So in modern times 
a preacher might say, " There is 
no need for me to speak to you of 
the uncertainty of life." ypa 0- 



5 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have 

2 no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know 
perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief 

3 in the night. But 1 when they shall say, Peace and 
safety ; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as 
travail upon a woman with child ; and they shall not 

1 For. 

crdai, impersonal for Ira 
a lax usage in later Greek, which 
may be compared with the re 
verse use of i ret with the subjunc 
tive instead of the infinitive, 
both arising from the same cause, 
the growing indefiniteness of the 
latter mood. Compare iv. 9. 

2. fjpepa Kvpiov, the day of the 
Lord^\ Neither the day of death 
to individuals, nor the time of 
the destruction of Jerusalem, nor 
in the common sense the end of 
the world. More truly should we 
say that the Apostle meant all 
these, ere they had separated 
themselves from the indistinct 
future. It was the day spoken of 
by the prophet Joel, referred to 
by St. Peter in the Acts, and 
prophesied of by Christ himself, 
in which the destruction of Jeru 
salem was to be followed by the 
sign of the Son of man in the 
clouds, and in which wars and 
tumults, as well as natural con 
vulsions, were to herald the end 
of the world. It was the day of 
revelation, in which the Apo 
stle was to receive his reward 
and the work in the hearts of 
his converts to be completed. 
(2 Thess. ii. 2. ; 1 Cor. i. 8., v. 5. ; 
2 Cor. i. 14.; Philipp. i. 6. 10., 
ii. 16.) 

d>e /cXeVrrje j vfcrt, as a thief in 
the night,~] is emphatic. From this 
and similar figures arises the 


notion which the early Church 
entertained in common with the 
Jews, that the Messiah would 
come on the vigil of a Pascal 
festival. The words explain 
themselves. Yet they suggest 
also a passing commemoration 
of those who regarded them not 
as a figure, but as a fact ; who 
have watched with " their lamps 
lighted" in every age, at many 
altars, in all lands, waiting for 
their Lord. 

3. OTO.V c)e Xcyuffcx, but when 
they shall say.~] It, if genuine, 
expresses the opposition of the 
fact to their expectation. " But 
they shall be saying peace and 
safety when sudden destruction 
comes upon them." By an awk 
wardness of expression itis joined 
to the protasis of the sentence. 

The signs of the end of the 
world are described elsewhere to 
be such as would arrest and 
amaze men : here " the kingdom 
of God cometh not with observa 
tion ; " yet it is not said, as our 
Saviour adds, " the kingdom of 
God is within you." In different 
passages of Scripture, and even 
in the same passage, the com 
ing of the kingdom of God is 
described to us under contradic 
tory aspects. It is near, it is 
not near ; visible and invisible ; 
marked by signs, and yet dis 
cernible to God only. It is in 



ov jjir) K(f>vyG)a-iv. i5//,eis Se, dSeXc^oi, OVK ecrre IP cncdrei, 4 

Iva v/x,as rj r)p,epa a>g KXeVras 1 /caraXa/fy* Traces yap 2 5 
wo! <J)O)TOS ecrre /cai vtoi rjpepas. OVK ia^v VVKTOS 

CT/COTOVS. apa ow ^77 KaOtvScopev a>9 ot XOITTOI, dXXa 6 

Kal vridxti^zv. ot yap KafevSo^res VVKTOS 7 

KadevSovcnv, Kal ol /xe^vcr/cd/xe^ot VVKTOS p,0vovo~w ^ets 8 

fyius as 

the clouds of heaven and in the 
human soul at once. And every 
where the thoughts are drawn off 
from the over-curious considera 
tion of its form and manner to 
the practical lesson which may 
be gathered from it. 

4. vfic tQ c), afieXtyoi, butye, bre 
thren J] There was another point 
of view in which the day of the 
Lord might be regarded. Though 
it would break in with a sudden 
light upon the heathen world, to 
the Christian the light which it 
brought would be that which was 
already shed abroad in his heart. 

iVa.] Not, that " the purpose 
of God may be fulfilled, of coming 
suddenly on you," which seems 
far-fetched, but simply denoting a 
consequence, "for the day of the 
Lord to come upon you." 

K\i-KTaQ,~] The reading of 
Lachmann has equal or rather 
greater MS. authority (A. B.) 
than fc\7T7-7, which is the read 
ing of the " Textus Receptus " 
(A. Ci. f. g. v.). The question re 
mains somewhat uncertain when 
argued further on grounds of in 
ternal evidence. 

On behalf of Lachmann may be 
urged the old canon of the more 
difficult reading; the copyist was 
far more likely to repeat the same 
case which had occurred in a pro 
verbial expression just quoted than 
to alter it. The change in the 
figure itself is also rather in 

2 Omit yap. 

favour of the accusative 
For St. Paul transposes figures of 
speech in other places, as, for ex 
ample, Rom. vii. 1 6., where the 
imnge begins with the law dying, 
and ends with men dying to the 
law ; or 1 Thess. ii. 7. and 17.; or 
2 Cor. iii. 1618. The echo of 
the word is still in his ears ; to 
avoid repetition, he changes its 
use. Lastly, the reading 
gives a point lo viol 0wroc. 

5. irdvTf.Q yap vfjicig viol 
EffTE^for ye are all the children 
of light.~\ The Apostle strength 
ens and expresses more generally 
what had been said in the pre 
vious verse. Ye, brethren, are 
not in darkness; for ye are all 
sons of light and sons of day. 

6. As children of the light, let 
us be children of the light in our 
life and conversation. Others 
sleep; but we must watch. 
Others may be drunken ; but we 
must be sober. The Apostle 
gives a similar turn to " the day 
of the Lord," in Rom. xiii. 12.: 
"The night is far spent, the 
day is at hand: let us therefore 
cast off the works of darkness, 
and let us put on the armour of 
light. As in the day, let us walk 
soberly." Compare also, for a 
parallel association of ideas, what 
we may venture to term the 
irony of our Lord to his disciples, 
in John, xi. 9.: Are there not 
twelve hours in the day? If any 


4 escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that 

5 day should overtake you as thieves 1 : for 2 ye are all 
the children of light, and the children of the day. We are 

e not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not 

sleep, as do others ; but let us watch and be sober. 

7 For they that sleep sleep in the night ; and they that 

s be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us who 

1 A thief. 

man walk in the day, he stum- 
bleth not, because he seeth the 
light of this world." 

In like manner the Apostle, in 
what follows, appeals to the com 
mon customs of mankind : "It 
is not the manner of men to sleep 
in the day." 

7. 01 yap KaQevZoi TeQifor they 
that sleepJ] Night and day co 
exist. They are separated, as it 
were, rather by place than by 
time. The night of the world is 
the day in the believer s soul. 
In the words, ol yap KaQzvdovrec, 
is implied a latent allusion to the 
state of the heathen. Compare 
with the whole passage, Eph. v. 
8. : " For ye were sometimes 
darkness, but now are ye light 
in the Lord: walk as children 
of light." 13. "But all things 
that are reproved are made mani 
fest by the light: for whatsoever 
doth make manifest is light." 
14. "Wherefore he saith, Awake 
thou that sleepest, and arise from 
the dead, and Christ shall give 
thee light." 

Dropping the simile in such 
passages, their general meaning 
may be said to be, "let us be 
what we are." There are two 
great modes in which the Chris 
tian state is represented to us in 
Scripture, which, as in this pas 
sage, readily pass into each other: 

8 Omit for. 

the first, as it may be termed, 
progressive, in which believers 
are spoken of as going on to 
perfection, as having faith and 
bringing forth its fruits, as not 
having yet attained; the second 
what may be called anticipatory, 
in which the change of state is 
already fulfilled in them; they 
are the children of the light, 
they are one with Christ, and 
they need only to be awakened 
to the consciousness of what they 
truly are. Their final assurance 
rests rather on looking at what is 
present or past, than in looking 
forward to what shall be. Out 
of this point of view arise prac 
tical precepts, the same in sub 
stance, though different in form 
from the preceding. 

8. St. Paul goes on to describe 
the believer under his favourite 
image of the soldier. This has 
been already suggested by the 
mention of watching and sobriety. 
The weapons with which he is 
armed are faith, hope, and cha 
rity. There is no particular ap 
propriateness in the several figures 
by which they are described, 
which in Ephesians, vi. 11 17., 
are varied. The word ffurr)- 
piag seems to be used with a 
double allusion : First, as a con 
tinuation of the martial image. 
Secondly, in a Christian sense, 

H 2 



Se rjfjiepas cWes VTJ(j>a)p,V, eVSvcrajaevoi 6a>paKa Trtcrreco? 
Kal ayaTnjs Kal Trepifce^aXcu az eXTTiSa cram^ias, ort ov/c 9 
etfero ^fta? 6 #eog eis opyrjv, dXX 5 eis TrepnroLrjcriv crcoT^/Ha? 
Sea rot) Kvpiov rjp.a)v Irjcrov ^OICTTOU, rov aTroOavovros 10 
VTrep rjiMcov, Iva eire ypyyopufjiev cire KaOevStojJiev apa crw 
aurc? 77<rcd/xei>. Sio Trapa/caXeire dXX^Xovs, Kal ot/coSo/Aeire 1.1 
els TOZ/ eW, Ka6a)$ Kal Troietre. 

Se Vjita?, aSeXc^oi, etSeVat rous KOTrtw^ras e^ 12 
crra^vov^ vfJLwv tv Kvpico Kal vovOerovvras 
, Kal rjyelcrOai auroug UTrepefCTrepicrcrajs 1 e^ dyaTrrj Sta 13 


which is more fully drawn out in 
the succeeding verse. 

The remembrance of Isaiah 
lix. 17. is in the Apostle s mind : 
Kcti el eSvcraro ^iKaioavvriv wg 0w- 
pcifcct fcai TrepiKefyaXatav erwrr/p ov 
7rt rf/c K(pa\rjg. It is remarkable 
that the expression in Eph. vi. 
14., 6u)paKa fiiKatoffvvrjc;, is nearer 
the language of the prophet than 
OwpaKa Tn orewe in this passage. 
A connecting link between the 
words of Isaiah and of the Epis 
tle to the Ephesians is found in 
Wisdom, v. 19. 

. 9. on OVK edero. The connexion 
turns upon the word o-wrryjom, 
"Because God has appointed us 
unto salvation," which the Apo 
stle expresses, first, negatively, 
because God has not appointed 
us for wrath, i. e. for punishment, 
and then positively, but for the 
attainment of salvation, through 
our Lord Jesus Christ. 

means to make to remain over, 
to save, set apart, and in the 
middle also to acquire. In some 
passages, Trepuroirjvic also has the 
idea of making to survive, as in 
Heb. X. 39., EIQ TrepiTroirjffiv rije 

; in 1 Peter, ii. 9., 
TreptTroirjmv; and Eph. i. 14., 
eiQ a.7ro\vrpu)fftv rfJQ TrepiTroiriae- 
we, it means "making or being 
made a possession," with an al 
lusion to the use of TrepiTroteTr, 
of the chosen people, in Is. xliii. 
21.; cf. Mai. iii. 17. Here, as in 
2 Thess. ii. 14., the word is taken 
generally in the sense of posses 
sion, and absolutely ; that is, 
without reference either to our 
acquiring or God s giving sal 
vation. The words 3ta TOV Kvpiov 
are to be taken with 


who died for us."] There is a 
double allusion in this verse: 
First, the more general thought 
so often repeated in the Epistles 
of St. Paul, of the identification 
of the Christian with his Lord, 
" who died for us, that whether 
in life or death we may live with 
him;" which sometimes assumes 
the relation of opposition, at other 
times of sameness, either "he 
died on our behalf that we may 
live," or "he died and rose again, 
that with him also we may die 
and rise again." But further, 


are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of 

faith and love ; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 

9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to* obtain- 

10 ing of salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for 
us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we may live together 

11 with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and 
edify one another, even as also ye do. 

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which 
labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and 

13 admonish you ; and to esteem them very highly in love 

the mode of expression is coloured 
by what has preceded. Instead 
of saying, "whether in life or 
death we may live with him," the 
Apostle says, "whether we wake 
or sleep, we may live with him." 
He recalls what he had been 
saying before. "If we believe 
that Jesus died and rose again, 
then also they which sleep through 
Jesus will God bring with him." 
He died for us, that it might 
make no difference whether we 
live or die, or as it is here ex 
pressed, that whether we are 
awake or asleep, at "his coming 
we may together live with him." 
apa is to be taken with //<rw- 
/JEV, not with (TVV avru). 

11. eko Trapa/oaXeTre,]] from the 
context (compare iv. 18.) shown 
to be in the sense of "comfort," 
rather than "exhort." The 
Apostle, who had half concluded 
at the end of the last chapter, 
here finally terminates the sub 
ject of the advent. 

e!e rov fVa,] one the other ; 
like <h Trpog >, tV dv0 evbg, in 
classical Greek. (Compare 1 Cor. 
iv. 6.) 

12. Epwra>/*v c), but we beg.~\ 
c) is here said to be a particle 
of transition ; or, in other words, 

the adversative form of sentence 
is so natural to the Greek lan 
guage, that in later Greek it has 
altogether lost its adversative 

elSevat, ] to have respect for, 
like the English word " know " 
in some uses of it. Compare ITTL- 
1 Cor. xvi. 18. 

The three ex 
pressions all equally denote the 
elders : (1.) as labourers in the 
Church ; (2.) as its rulers ; (3.) 
as its instructors. 

iv Kvpiu, ] not as a limitation 
on Trpoiarapivovg, as though with 
allusion to other secular rulers, 
not " in the Lord." The rulers 
of the Church rule in the Lord, 
as the whole Church exists in 
the Lord, as the believer is said 
to speak, Jive, and die in Him. 
Compare i. 2. 

13. Kdi fiyelffOcLt CLVTOVQ 

iv dyo.7rr/ : not /yyt- 
dyaTrr/ (like iytiv iv opyfj, 
in Thucyd. ii. 18.), to hold them 
in love. The idiom is smoother 
and the sense better, if we con 
nect f/ytto-flcu with VTrtpEKTrepia- 
<rw. " We ask of you to esteem 
them highly in love, i. e. loving 
them, for their works sake." In 
these words is implied the double 

H 3 



TO epyov OLVTMV. eipTjveveTe v ecurrois. Traoa/caAov/xei/ Se 14 


i t / \. / \. 

7T/OOS TTCU TaS. 6pOLT. [JiTJ T19 KOLKOV CCZ^Tl /Cd/COV TWt Ct7To8a> 15 

dXXd Trdvrore TO dya9bv StwKeTC eis dXX^Xovs /ecu ei? lg 

TrdvTore ^aipere t dStaXeiTTTcos 
^apto-TetT* TOVTO yap Icmv 1 
ITJCTOV eis v/>ia9. TO Trvevpa JU-T) 

1 Omit 

notion of regard for their autho 
rity and love for their persons, 
as in the expression Bici TO ipyov 
contained a similar two-fold 


, ez/ 17 


allusion to their office and their 
labour of love. The tie which 
binds the believer to the elders of 
his Church is a mixed one, partly 
of duty, and partly of affection. 

eipr]VVTe kv eavTOig = a\X^- 
Xoie*] The Apostle following up 
the train of thought in the pre 
ceding verse, adds a second coun 
sel, of peace with one another. 

14. 7rapaKaXov[j,V ^e.]j For Si 
see above, ver. 12. The Apostle 
continues his exhortation to a 
performance of Christian duties 
in general. 

rove ara*.Tove, unruly.^ Who 
they were we have no means of 
knowing, but from the Epistle 
itself; the same probably, who 
stood in need of the exhorta 
tion in iv. 11. : "That they 
should study to be quiet and do 
their own business, and work 
with their own hands ; " to whom 
the Apostle again returns in 
2 Thess. iii. 12. 

6\iyo4 / v )(ovQ . . dad ev&v, feeble 
minded, weak. } Not unconnected 
with what preceded, as the dis* 
orders themselves might have 
arisen from the weakness of some, 
or the over-conscientiousness of 
others, or the anxiety of a third 

class of persons respecting the 
state of the departed. If in pagan 
times evils had arisen from those 
who had sorrowed without hope 
and with little thought about the 
state of the dead, much more 
would this be likely to be the 
case where men s hearts were so 
moved within them and their re 
ligious anxieties so intense. 

paKpoOvpeiTeTrpoe Trai Tag. ] Com 
pare 1 Cor. xiii. 4. : ?/ aycnrri 
lj,a.KpoOviJ,~i. With this is con 
nected the following precept, in 
which the rule of Christian life 
is still further generalised. 

15. opdre pi ne.] These words 
do not mean, " Take heed of some 
one else ; " but " Let each one take 
heed not to return evil for evil, 
but everywhere pursue after 
goodness, both in relation to the 
brethren and to those without 
the Church." 

It is not strictly true to say 
that Christianity alone or first 
forbade to return evil for evil. 
Plato knew that it was not the 
true definition of justice to do 
harm to one s enemies. The 
Stoics, who taught the extirpa 
tion of the passions, were far 
enough from admitting of re 
venge to be the only one which 
should be allowed to remain. It 
is a higher as well as a truer 
claim to make for the Gospel, 


14 for their work s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. 

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are 

unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, 
is be patient toward all men. See that none render evil 

for evil unto any man ; but ever follow that which is 
16 good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice 
is evermore; pray without ceasing; in every thing give 

thanks : for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ con- 
you. Quench not the Spirit^ despise not 


that it kindled that spirit of 
kindness and goodwill in the 
breast of man (which could not 
be wholly extinguished even to 
wards an enemy), until it became 
a practical principle ; and that it 
preached as a rule of life for all, 
what had previously been the 
supreme virtue, or the mere 
theory of philosophers. 

TO dyaOov, good,~\ in the sense 
of goodness. The opposite of 
evil inflicted on another. 

16. TTCLVTOTE ^aipT f rejoice 
evermore."] Philipp. iv. 4. Why 
should this be a duty ? Did St. 
Paul himself always rejoice ? In 
one sense, yes ; as he knew that 
all things are working together 
for good. And not only so, but 
he gloried also in tribulation ; 
evermore, he was as sorrowful, 
yet alway rejoicing. So the 
Christian is to have a better mind 
of joy, even in sorrow. There is 
no unmixed evil in this world, 
and it is his duty to appropriate 
the good in all things. 

17. ddiaXeiTTTWQ Trpoffev^EffOs, 
pray without ceasing. ] A precept 
like the last, capable of fulfil 
ment in idea rather than in fact. 
" It is the Spirit that quickeneth, 
the letter profiteth nothing." The 
true idea of prayer is prayer in 
Spirit, as the old saying has it, 

" laborare est or are" not the re 
peating of long prayers, but the 
diligent service of God, and the 
silent reference of all our actions 
to Him. Eph. vi. 18. 

18. kv TTCLVTI. ] The Apostle 
adds another precept, which 
may be regarded as uniting 
in one the last two : " Give 
thanks in everything." TOVTO yap, 
K. r. X. Compare iv. 3. These 
words may be referred to all 
the three previous clauses : re 
joice alway, pray without ceasing, 
in everything give thanks. For 
the will of God is, not that you 
should sorrow, but that you should 
be fulfilled with a spiritual joy. 

19. TO Trvivfj-a pri ffevi>vT, 
quench not the Spirit.~\ The first 
grace which Christians received 
was like a new spirit, coming 
down from heaven, as it is de 
scribed, in the form of fiery 
tongues and sitting upon each of 
them. It was not a power which 
by long effort they created in 
themselves ; but one which over 
powered them, which was already 
kindled in them, though it might 
be extinguished. In this passage, 
the word rrrevfjia includes the 
power itself and the spiritual 
or supernatural gifts which ac 
companied it. 


ii 4 



Se l SoACtjuta^ere, TO KCL\OV 21- 

, a?ro Tra^ros eiSovs Trovypov dire^ecrOe. auras Se 22 
6 $eos TT^S elpyjvrjs dyiacrat v/^ds oXoreXeis, /cat o\OK\r)pov 
vjjL&v TO Trvev^a Kal rj ^JV^rj Kal TO cra>/x,a djue/^7TTCt>9 e*> TT? 
Trapovcria TOV Kvpiov rjp,a>v l^crov yjpio~Tov 



Omit Se . 

despise not prophesyings.*\ The 
essential part of the gift of pro 
phecy was, not the foretelling of 
future events, but the delivery of 
spiritual oracles. In no place is 
the term prophet applied to con 
temporaries of the Apostles, in 
the modern sense of the word. It 
was Jeremiah, Ezekiel, &c., the 
elder prophets only, who foresaw 
the distant future. Yet prophesy 
ing is not exactly synonymous 
with preaching or teaching. As 
the gift of tongues required in 
terpretation, so prophecy was sub 
jected to discerners of spirits, 
1 Cor. xv. 29.; 1 John, iv. 1. 
See below, ver. 21. When it is 
said that " the spirits of prophets 
are subject unto the prophets," 
these very words imply also that 
they were apt to be beyond 
the prophet s own power. In 
an eastern country, in the hour 
of ecstacy or conversion, such 
manifestations would be likely to 
be very different from the forms 
which they would exhibit among 
colder tempers. That weakness 
or imposture would easily mix it 
self up with them is self-evident, 
even if it were not indicated in 2 
Thess. ii. 2. ; 1 John, iv. 1. Hence 
the Apostle, while exhorting his 
converts not to despise them, as 
elsewhere he places them first 
among spiritual gifts, 1 Cor. xiv. 



8 Omit Kai. 

1., adds in both places the ex 
hortation to try them. 

21, 22. The general meaning 
of these two verses may be para 
phrased thus : " Discern between 
good and evil ; choose the good, 
avoid the evil." Yet the English 
translation, " try all things," na 
turally suggests thoughts very 
unlike those of the first century. 
However apt their application 
may sound, the true meaning is 
not " make a rational inquiry into 
all things." The organ of discern 
ment was of another and a spiri 
tual kind. In 1 Cor. xii. 10., St. 
Paul speaks of a gift of the dis 
cernment of spirits, and it is in 
a similar connexion the precept 
occurs hereafter ; the Apostle has 
been speaking of prophecy and of 
the spirit, as in the Corinthians 
the discerning of spirits is spoken 
of with immediate reference to 
the spiritual gifts. Bearing in 
mind, that the whole state of the 
first believers was extraordinary 
and spiritual, we shall find the 
meaning in both passages much 
the same. The distinction of right 
and wrong, no less than of matters 
of faith was to them a discerning 
of spirits. Let us imagine a com 
munity of prophets, agitated by 
every various spiritual impulse, 
yet remaining men of a common 
nature with ourselves, and liable 


21 prophesyings. But 1 prove all things; hold fast that 

22 which is good ; abstain from every kind* of evil. 

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and 
may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved 
blameless in the coining of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 

Brethren, pray for us too. 2 Greet all the brethren 

1 Omit but. 

to mistake merely physical effects 
for spiritual power ; what extra 
vagancies must have been the 
result, what mixed good and evil 
must have blended together under 
the name of the spirit ! To se 
parate and distinguish this among 
those who held the name of Christ, 
and yet may have sometimes min 
gled with it "the doctrines of de 
vils," must have been the chief 
office of a discerner of spirits in 
the first century. It is this dis 
cernment of spirits that is partly 
spoken of in the words Travra 
So K i pa ere. 

22. ctTro TTO.VTOQ i()ovg, from 
every kind of evil."] This is op 
posed to the previous clause, 
both together forming subdivi 
sions of iravra SoKipa^eTE, which 
is the closing precept : " Try all 
things ; hold fast the good, abs 
tain from evil." The antithesis is 
natural in a writer so fond of anti 
thesis as St. Paul. Compare Rom, 
xii. 9 21. The punctuation of 
Lachmann is therefore preferable 
to that of the Textus Receptus, 
and of the Authorised Version. 

eltioQ = kind rather than ap 
pearance, TrovrjpoV) though with 
out the article, is probably a 
substantive, as in Gen. ii. 9. 

23. Still the Apostle is think 
ing of the coming of Christ, 

2 Omitioo. 

against which he prays that thejt 
may be preserved, not only in 
soul and spirit, but in body. 
Had he a distinct thought at 
tached to each of these words? 
Probably not. He is not writing 
a treatise on the soul, but pour 
ing forth, from the fulness of his 
heart, a prayer for his converts. 
Language thus used should not 
be too closely analysed. His 
words may be compared to simi 
lar expressions among ourselves : 
e. g. " with my heart and soul." 
Who would distinguish between 
the two? Neither did the age 
in which St. Paul lived admit of 
any great accuracy in speaking 
of the human soul ; nor does the 
fluctuating use of such terms in 
other parts of Scripture imply any 
precise or exact distinction. Who 
could define the difference be 
tween soul and spirit in the Alex 
andrian, scholastic, or any other 
philosophy ? least of all should 
we attempt to do so in Scripture, 
which no more anticipates the 
metaphysical distinctions of later 
ages than their discoveries in 
astronomy or geology. 

24. It is faithfulness on God s 
part that man perseveres to the 
end, and yet not unfaithfulness 
"if some do not believe " (Rom. 
iii. 3.). 


roi5 dSeXc^ous Trdvras iv (^tX^/xart ayia>. 

Kvpiov, dvajyvoMrOrivaLi Tr)v lma TO\r)v Travw rots 

e H ^apts rou Kvpiov TjiJitov 177 cro v ^ptcrrov 

1 Add 071045. 2 

27. A similar direction to this, guage ? did he doubt the good 

viz., to interchange their own faith of the rulers of the Church ? 

Epistle with that to the Laodi- was there some real occasion for 

ceans, is given to the Colossians a doubt? or was the expression 

(Col. iv. 16.). But why does St. "I conjure you by the Lord" a 

Paul use such vehemence of Ian- customary form with him ? or is 


27 with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that 
this epistle be read unto all the l brethren. 

ss The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 
Amen. 2 

1 Add "holy." 

8 Add the first Epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens. 

it that he is not completely ground for doubting the genuine- 
master of his words, or that they ness of the Epistle, as the Apostle 
had not such force to him as they uses elsewhere strong forms of 
have to us ? Whatever be the speech, where they appear to us 
reason, the use of such an expres- unnecessary; as, for example, Gal. 
sion cannot be regarded as any i. 20. 



" Neither shall they say, Lo here ! or, lo there ! for, behold, the kingdom of God 
is within you" (Luke xvii. 21.). 

THE belief in the near approach of the coming of Christ is spoken 
of or implied in almost every book of the New Testament ; in the 
discourses of our Lord himself, as well as in the Acts of the Apostles ; 
in the Epistles of St. Paul no less than in the Book of the Revelation. 
The remains of such a belief are discernible in the Montauism of the 
second century, which is separated by a scarcely definable line from 
the Church itself. Nor is there wanting in our own day a dim and 
meagre shadow of the same primitive faith, moving around, and 
sometimes within, the pale of our own communion. There are still 
those who argue, from the very lapse of time, that " now is their 
salvation nearer than when they believed." All religious men have 
at times blended in their thoughts earth and heaven ; while there are 
some who have raised their passing feelings into a system of doctrinal 
truth, and have seemed to see in the temporary state of the first con 
verts the type of Christian life in all ages. 

The influence which this belief exercised on the beginnings of the 
Church, and the manner in which it is interwoven in the writings of 
the New Testament, render the consideration of it necessary for the 
right understanding of St. Paul s Epistles. Yet it is a subject from 
which the interpreter of Scripture would gladly turn aside. For it 
seems as if he were compelled to allow " that St. Paul was mistaken, 
and that in support of his mistake he could appeal to the words of 
Christ himself." Nothing can be plainer than the Apostle s meaning ; 


he says, that men living in his own day will be " caught up to meet 
the Lord in the air ; " and yet, after eighteen centuries, the world 
is as it was. The language which is attributed in the Epistle of St. 
Peter to the unbelievers of that age has become the language of 
believers in our own : " Since the fathers have fallen asleep, all 
things remain the same from the beginning." No one can now be 
looking daily for the visible coming of Christ any more than, in a land 
where nature is at rest, he would live in expectation of an earthquake. 
Not " the hardness of men s hearts," but the experience of eighteen 
hundred years has made it impossible, consistently with the laws of 
the human mind, that the belief of the first Christians should con 
tinue among ourselves. 

Why, then, were the traces of such a belief permitted to appear 
in the New Testament ? That is a question which we debate with 
ourselves the moment the difficulty is perceived, which receives 
various answers. There are some who say, " as a trial of our faith ; * 
while others have recourse to the double senses of prophecy, to divide 
the past from the future, the day of judgment from the destruction 
of Jerusalem. Others cite its existence as a proof that the books of 
Scripture were compiled at a time when such a belief was still living, 
and this not without, but within the circle of the Church itself. It 
may be also regarded as an indication that we were not intended to 
interpret Scripture apart from the light of experience, or violently 
to bend life and truth into agreement with isolated texts. Lastly, 
so far as we can venture to move such a question of our Lord him 
self, we may observe that his teaching here, as in other places, is on 
a level with the modes of thought of his age, clothed in figures, as 
it must necessarily be, to express " the things that eye hath not 
seen," limited by time, as if to give the sense of reality to what 
otherwise would be vague and infinite, yet mysterious in this respect 
too, for of " that hour knoweth no man ; " and that, however these 
figures of speech are explained, or these opposite aspects reconciled, 
their meaning, breaking through the horizon of earth, has been the 
stay and hope of the believer in all ages, who knows, nevertheless, 


that the Apostles have passed away, and no " sign has yet appeared 
in the clouds," and that " the round world is set so fast that it cannot 
be moved." 

The surprise that we naturally feel, when the attention is first 
called to this singular discrepancy between faith and experience, is 
greatly lessened, by our observing that even the language of Scrip 
ture is not free from inconsistency. For the words of our Lord 
Himself are not more in apparent contradiction with the course of 
events, than they are with other words which are equally attributed 
to Him by the Evangelists. He who says " This generation shall 
not pass away until all these things be fulfilled," is the same as he 
who tells his disciples " of that hour knoweth no man ; no, not the 
angels of God, nor the Son, but the Father." Is it reverent, or irre 
verent, to say that Christ knew what he himself declares that he did 
not know ? Place, as well as time, is described in language equally 
uncertain. For Jerusalem is the scene of the coming events ; and 
yet, " wherever the carcase is there will the eagles be gathered to 
gether." And once again, in words which are for all time, the Saviour 
says, " The kingdom of God cometh not with observation ; neither 
shall they say, Lo here, or, lo there, for, behold, the kingdom of God 
is within you." The same uncertainty is faithfully reflected in the 
Epistles of St. Paul. For, at first, he is waiting for and hastening to 
the day of the Lord ; then he anticipates a falling away ; in the course 
of years he grows up into a higher truth, that " to depart and be 
with Christ is far better." Even in our own ways of thinking we 
may trace parallel inconsistencies. For at one time the kingdom of 
heaven seems to us to be beyond the stars, at another time to have 
its dwelling-place in the heart of man. Conceptions both of time and 
space become indistinct as we enter into the unseen world. Whether, 
" if God would make windows in heaven, this thing might be," we 
cannot tell. But neither Scripture nor reason allow us to pass the 
limits of our own faculties in the conception of another life. 

But instead of regarding this or any other fact of Scripture as a 
difficulty to be explained away, it will be more instructive for us to 


consider the nature of the belief and its probable effect on the in 
fant communion. In its origin it was simple and childlike, the belief 
of men who saw but a little way into the purposes of Providence, 
who never dreamed of a vista of futurity. It was not what we should 
term an article of faith, but natural and necessary, flowing imme 
diately out of the life and state of the earliest believers. It was the 
feeling of men who looked for the coming of Christ as we might look 
for the return of a lost friend, many of whom had seen him on earth, 
and could not believe that he was taken from them for ever. Those 
who remembered the Lord would often say one to another, "Yet a 
little while, and we do not see him ; and again a little while, and we 
shall see him." And sometimes, as years rolled on, they would ask the 
question which they had once asked in his lifetime, " What was this 
that he said? we cannot tell what this was which he said. * Let us 
imagine them, "with their lamps lighted and their loins girded," in 
the spirit of our Lord s discourses, waiting for his appearing. The 
night is far spent, the day is at hand ; already they see the streaks 
of the morning light. And then again the light fails and fades ; it 
was the light as of a distant city : the hour is not yet come ; their 
own wishes had made them fancy it nearer than it was. Time 
passes ; one by one the fathers fall asleep ; at last, " a lingering star 
with lessening ray," the beloved Apostle, alone remains ; the saying 
goes forth " that that disciple should not die ; " and the daylight 
indeed appears, but it is the light not of another world but of this. 
So we may trace in a figure the thoughts of the first disciples re 
specting the coming of the Lord, towards whom they yearned, and 
the end of the world ; the course of events silently rebuking them 
and saying, " It is not for you to know the times and the seasons 
which the Father hath put in his own power." But the belief in the 
expectation of the coming of Christ has other aspects also which are 
equally interesting and important. It was the beginning of the 
church. It was the feeling of men who, in the_language of St. Paul, 
were "baptized into one body and drunk of one spirit ;" the kingdom 
of God creating itself in the heart of man, when, in modern language, 


it was still an idea and not an outward institution, the liquid ore, 
as it were, melted by the heavenly flame, but not cast in the mould. 
It was the feeling of men who had an intense sense of the change 
that had been wrought in themselves, and to whom this change 
seemed like the beginning of a greater change that was overflowing 
on the world around them. It was the feeling of men who looked 
back upon the past, of which they knew so little, and discerned in it 
the workings of the same spirit, one and continuous, which they felt 
in their own souls ; to whom the world within and the world with 
out were reflected upon one another, and the history of the Jewish 
race was a parable, an " open secret," of the things to come. It was the 
feeling of men who were living not amid the aspirations of prophecy, 
but in the hour of its fulfilment ; who clothed their own times in its 
glorious imagery ; to whom the veil that was on the face of Moses 
was done away in Christ. It was the putting of the garment of the 
old dispensation upon the new. It was the feeling of men who were 
saying, Lord, how long? whom their own sufferings assured that there 
was a righteous judge who would not always delay. It was the feel 
ing of men who were living far above and away from earth, in a 
spiritual kingdom, who scarcely thought either of the past or the 
future in the eternity of the present. 

Let those who think this is an imaginary picture recall to mind 
and compare with Scripture, either what they may have read in 
books or experienced in themselves as the workings of a mind sud 
denly converted to the Gospel. Such an one seems to lose his 
measure of events and his true relation to the world. While other 
men are going on with their daily occupations, he only is out of 
sympathy with nature, and has fears and joys in himself, which he 
can neither communicate nor explain to his fellows. It is not that 
he is thinking of the endless ages in which he will partake of 
heavenly bliss ; rather the present consciousness of sin, or the present 
sense of forgiveness and of peace in Christ, is already a sort of hell 
or heaven within him, which excludes the future. It is not that he 
has an increased insight into the original meaning of Scripture; rather 


he seems to absorb Scripture into himself. Least of all have persons 
in such a state of mind distinct or accurate conceptions of the world 
to come. The images in which they express themselves are carnal 
and visible, often inconsistent with each other, scarcely intelligible 
to minds which are not in sympathy with them, yet not the less the 
realisation to them of a true and lively faith. The last thing that they 
desire, or could comprehend, is an intellectual theory of another life. 
They seem hardly to need either statements of doctrine or the reli 
gious ministrations of others; their concern is with God only. 

Substitute now for a single individual, the three thousand who 
were converted on the day of Pentecost, the "multitude of Jews that 
believed, zealous for the law ;" conceive them changed at the same 
instant by one spirit, and we seem to see on a larger scale the same 
effects following. Their conversion is an exception to the course of 
nature ; itself a revelation and inspiration, a wonder of which they 
can give no account to themselves or others, not the least wonderful 
part of which is their communion with one another. The same Divine 
power, which originally formed men into nations, forms them into 
a church now, and almost literally gives them a new language and 
a new speech. They come into being with common hopes and fears, 
at one with each other, separated from mankind at large, in new rela 
tions to their own country and kindred. They see God looking 
upon themselves and other men, not, as heretofore, " winking at the 
times of that ignorance," but distinctly conscious of all their acts. 
What they feel within themselves spreads itself over the world. All 
men are in the presence of God : good and, evil quicken into life 
beneath His searching eye ; there is a fellowship of the saints on one 
side, and a mystery of iniquity on the other. They do not read 
history, or comprehend the sort of imperfect necessity under which 
men act as creatures of their age. The same guilt which they ac 
knowledge in themselves, they attach to other men ; the same judg 
ment which would await them, is awaiting the world everywhere. 
In the events around them, in their own sufferings, in their daily 
life, they see the preparations for the great conflict between good 

VOL. I. I 


and evil, between Christ and Belial, if, indeed, it be not already 
begun. The circle of their own life includes in it the destinies of 
the human race itself, of which it is, as it were, the microcosm, seen 
by the eye of faith and the light of inward experience. This is what 
the law and the prophets seem to them to have meant when they 
spoke of God s judgments on his enemies, of the Lord coming with 
ten thousand of his saints. And the signs which were to accompany 
these things are already seen among them, " not in word only, but 
in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance." 

To us the preaching of the Gospel is a new beginning, from which 
we date all things, beyond which we neither desire nor are able to 
inquire. To the first believers it was otherwise ; not the beginning 
of a new world, but the end of a former one. They looked back to 
the past, because the veil of the future was not yet lifted up. They 
were living in "the latter days," the confluence of all times, the 
meeting-point of the purposes of God. They read all things in the 
light of the approaching end of the world. They were not taught, 
and could not have imagined, that for eighteen centuries servants 
of God should continue on the earth, waiting, like themselves, for the 
promise of His coming. They were not taught, and could not have 
imagined, that after three centuries the Church, which they saw 
poverty-stricken and persecuted, should be the mistress of the earth, 
and that, in another sense than they had hoped, the kingdoms of this 
world should become the kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ. 
Instead of it they beheld in a figure the heavens opening, and the 
angels of God ascending and descending ; the present outpouring 
of the Spirit, and the evil and perplexity of the world itself, being 
the earnest of the things which were shortly to come to pass. 

It has been often remarked, that the belief in the coming of Christ 
stood in the same relation to the Apostolic Church that the expecta 
tion of death does to ourselves. Certainly the absence of exhortations 
based upon the shortness of life, which are not unfrequent in the Old 
Testament, and are so familiar to our own day, forms a remarkable 
feature in the writings of the New Testament, and in a measure seems 


to confirm such an opinion. And yet the similarity is rather apparent 
than real ; or, at any rate, the difference between the two is not less 
remarkable. For the feeble apprehension which each man entertains 
of his own mortality, can bear no comparison with that living sense 
of the day of the Lord which was the habitual thought of the first 
Christians, which was not so much a " coming " as a " presence " to 
them, as its very name implied (Trapovaia). How different also was 
the event looked for, no less than the anticipation of it ! There is no 
thing terrible in death ; it is the repose of wearied nature ; it steals 
men away one by one, while the world goes still on its way. We 
fear it at a distance, but not near. Only in youth sometimes it seems 
hard to die ; the language of old men is, " I have lived long enough." 
But the day of the Lord was an inversion of the course of nature ; 
it was a change, not to the individual only, but to the world ; a scene 
of great fear and great joy at once to the whole Church and to all 
mankind, which was in its very nature sudden, unexpected, coming 
" as a thief in the night, and as travail upon a woman with child." 
Yet it might be said to be expected too, for the first disciples were 
sitting waiting for it "with their lamps lighted and their loins girded." 
It was not darkness, nor sleep, nor death, but a day of light and life, 
in the expectation of which men were to walk as children of the 
light, yet fearful by its very suddenness and the vengeance to be 
poured on the wicked. 

Such a belief could not be without its effect on the lives of the first 
converts and on the state of the Church. While it increased the 
awfulness of life, it almost unavoidably withdrew men s thoughts 
from its ordinary duties. It naturally led to the state described in 
the Corinthian Church, in which spiritual gifts had taken the place 
of moral duties, and of those very gifts, the less spiritual were 
preferred to the more spiritual. It took the mind away from the 
kingdom of God within, to fix it on signs and wonders, " the things 
spoken of by the prophet Joel," when the sun should be turned into 
darkness, and the moon into blood. It made men almost ready to 
act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, from the sense of what they 

i 2 


saw, or seemed to see, in the world around them. The intensity of 
the spiritual state in which they lived, so far beyond that of our 
daily life, is itself the explanation of the spiritual disorder which 
seems so strange to us in men who were ready to hazard their lives 
for the truth, and which was but the natural reaction against their 
former state. 

It is obvious that such a belief was inconsistent with an established 
Ecclesiastical order. A succession of bishops could have had no 
meaning in a world that was to vanish away. Episcopacy, it has 
been truly remarked, was in natural antagonism to Montanism ; and 
in the age of the Apostles as well, there is an opposition, traceable 
in the Epistles themselves, between the supernatural gifts and 
the order and discipline of the Church. Ecclesiastical as well as 
political institutions are not made, but grow. What we are apt to 
regard as their first idea and design, is in reality their after develop 
ment, what in the fulness of time they become, not what they 
originally were, the former being faintly, if at all, discernible in the 
new birth of the Church and of the world. 

Nor is it unreasonable to suppose that the meagreness of those 
historical memorials of the first age which survived it, has been the 
result of such a belief. What interest would be attached to the 
events of this world, if they were so soon to be lost in another ? or 
to the lessons of history, when the nations of the earth were in a few 
years to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ? Even the nar 
rative of the acts and sayings of the Saviour of mankind must have 
had a different degree of importance to those who expected to see 
with their eyes the Word of life, and to us, to whom they are the 
great example, for after ages, of faith and practice. Among many 
causes which may be assigned for the great historical chasm which 
geparates the life of Christ and his Apostles from after ages, this is 
not the least probable. The age of the Apostles was an age, not of 
history, but of prophecy. 


Passages in St. Paul s other Epistles bearing on the Belief in the 
Coming of Christ. 

1 Cor. i. 7, 8. So that ye came behind in no gift ; waiting for the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall also confirm you unto 
the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus 

iii. 13. Every man s work shall be made manifest : for the day 
shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire ; and the fire shall 
try every man s work of what sort it is. (?) 

iv. 5. Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come. (?) 

vi. 2. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ? 

vii. 29 31. But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it re- 
maineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none ; 
and they that weep, as though they wept not ; and they that rejoice, 
as though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they 
possessed not ; and they that use this world, as not abusing it ; for 
the fashion of this world passeth away. 

x. 11. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: 
and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the 
world are come. 

xv. 12. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, 
how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead ? 

51. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. Com 
pare Lachmann: We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be 

2 Cor. i. 14. We are your rejoicing, even as ye also are our s in 
the day of the Lord Jesus. 

iii. 18. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the 
glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to 
glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 

2 Cor. v. 1 10. For we know that if our earthly house of this 
tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not 

i 3 


made with hands, eternal in the heavens Therefore, 

we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in 
the body, we are absent from the Lord : (for we walk by faith, 
not by sight :) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be 
absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Where 
fore we labour that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted 
of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ ; 
that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to 
that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 

Rom. ii. 15, 16. Their conscience also bearing witness, and 
their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another ; 
in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ 
according to my gospel. 

xiii. 11, 12. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time 
to awake out of sleep : for now is our salvation nearer than when we 
believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand : let us there 
fore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of 

Eph. i. 3. Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly 
places in Christ. 

ii. 4 6. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love 
wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quick 
ened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved ;) and hath 
raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in 
Christ Jesus. 

iv. 30. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are 
sealed unto the day of redemption. 

Philipp. i. 23. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to 
depart, and to be with Christ ; which is far better. 

iii. 11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of 
the dead. 

20, 21. For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we 
look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile 


body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according 
to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto 

iv. 5. The Lord is at hand. 

Col. i. 5. For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, 
whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. 

12, 13. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us 
meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light : who 
hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us 
into the kingdom of his dear Son. 

And now "the fathers have fallen asleep, all things remain the same 
as at the beginning." More clearly than in former times, we see 
the discrepancy between the meaning of Scripture and the order of 
events which history discloses to us. The fact stares us in the face. 
We feel no satisfaction or security in attempting to conceal it ; we 
cannot do so if we would. It is right, therefore, that we should be 
assured, that even if the apostles were mistaken, " our faith " is not 
" vain." Our hope of life and immortality is not taken away, 
because the language of St. Paul in some passages seems to fix 
the times and the seasons which our Saviour, in his last words on 
earth, tells his Apostles, " it is not for you to know." 

The subject of the preceding essay may be considered apolo 
getically ; that is, with a view to meet objections in two ways either 
as affecting theology, or belief and practice. 

I. Most of the difficulties of theology are self-made, and ready to 
vanish away when we consider them naturally. They generally 
arise out of certain hypotheses which we vainly try to reconcile with 
obvious facts ; often they are the opinions of a past day lingering on 
into the present. The belief of St. Paul in the immediate coming 
of Christ is not at all different from what we should have expected, 
or in any degree inconsistent with the laws of the human mind, or, 
again, unlike the analogy of prophecy and of religion generally. It 

i 4 


was a natural interpretation of the old prophetic writings. Our 
difficulty is really of a different kind how to reconcile such a belief 
with the infallibility of the Apostle. He never claims this infalli 
bility ; it is we ourselves who love to ascribe it to him. It is true 
that the Apostle, if infallible, could not have erred respecting the 
end of the world ; and if we could prove that he was infallible, we 
might deny that he was in error. But the ascription of infalli 
bility to him involves further and almost endless difficulties. For 
it seems, to use an expression of Bishop Butler s, as if "there 
would be no stopping," until revelation was wholly different from 
what it is. Its truths should no longer be expressed in human lan 
guage, or under the limitation of human faculties ; they must have 
dropped from heaven ; that is, have found their way into the world 
out of the course of nature, unconnected with history, in no relation 
to the thoughts of men, and therefore powerless to assimilate the 
human heart to themselves. 

Not in this way has it " pleased God to reveal his Son in us." 
The New Testament came through the Old; it did not rudely 
break with the former Dispensation. It appropriated the figures of 
the law, it clothed itself in the imagery of the prophets. It was 
preached to the poor, and therefore it was on a level with the modes 
of thought which prevailed in the age in which it was given. It 
is foolish to admit this in words, and to deny the inferences which un 
avoidably flow from it. The lesson which it taught was pure and 
divine, and so far as it was connected at all with facts of history, 
historically true : but it was not supernaturally guarded against 
error. It left the Jewish belief in Messiah s kingdom as it had 
been before ; only it purified, sanctified, spiritualised it. Herein 
is the great difference between what, without detracting from 
the divine character of Christianity, we may be permitted to call 
the error of the Apostles and erroneous assumptions of modern 
interpreters of prophecy respecting the end of the world. The 
first was natural, arising out of the circumstances and modes 
of thought of the first Christians ; the other is an intrusion into 


the unseen future, which experience has shown to be irreverent 
and unmeaning. The difference is of the same kind as between 
voluntary error and the unavoidable imperfection of human know 
ledge in a particular age or country. 

But neither is the New Testament to be interpreted apart from 
the course of events. The world is left to itself to clear up as it goes 
on ; many lessons even in divinity are only learnt by experience. 
Time may often enlarge faith ; it may also correct it. The belief 
and practice of the early Church, respecting the admission of the 
Gentiles, were greatly altered by the fact that the Gentiles them 
selves flocked in : " the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, and the 
violent took it by force." In like manner, the faith respecting the 
coming of Christ was modified by the continuance of the world 
itself. Common sense suggests that those who were in the first ec 
stasy of conversion, and those who after the lapse of years saw the 
world unchanged and the fabric of the Church on earth rising 
around them, could not regard the day of the Lord with the same 
feelings. While to the one it seemed near and present, at any mo 
ment ready to burst forth ; to the other it was a long way off, 
separated by time, and as it were by place, a world beyond the 
stars, yet also having its dwelling in the heart of man : as to our 
selves, it is a world inseparably bound up with our consciousness 
of a Divine Being. Not at once, but gradually did the cloud 
clear up, and the one mode of faith take the place of the other. 
Apart from the prophets, through them, beyond them, springing up 
in a new and living way in the soul of man; corrected by long ex 
perience, as " the fathers " one by one " fell asleep," as the hope of the 
Jewish race declined, as ecstatic gifts ceased, as a regular hierarchy 
was established in the Church, the belief in the coming of Christ was 
transformed from being outward to becoming inward, from being 
national to becoming individual and universal, from being Jewish to 
becoming Christian. 

II. It would be a serious error to rest our belief in a future 
life or judgment to come on those expressions of our Saviour or of 


St. Paul, which, as we are taught by time, have not received a literal 
fulfilment. An argument is sometimes used as a sort of lever to 
force our assent to the letter of Scripture, or of Church teaching, 
when it is too plain that the letter kills. The argument is of this 
kind ; it seeks to connect what is accidental and superficial with 
what is essential, in the hope that we may be compelled to accept 
both from the fear of rejecting both : " Believe this, believe also that ; 
if you do not believe that, you cannot believe this." Such an argu 
ment we may conceive, in reference to our present subject, taking 
the following form ; it would say, " If you will not believe literally 
that we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, why believe 
that we shall be judged at all? If the Apostle erred respecting the 
time of Christ s coming, might he not have erred also respecting the 
fact of his coming?" So it is thought that we shall be won back 
again to consider the question by such lights only as tradition or 
authority supply, and prudently keep away from the letter of the 

No doubt it would be possible to draw, from the storehouse of me 
taphysical theology, distinctions and modes of expression which 
would " skin " or conceal the weak place. It might be said that the 
words of St. Paul had an ideal or symbolical meaning that they 
become true to the individual as he passes out of life that to the 
religious mind the end of the world is ever going " Die Weltge- 
schichte ist das Weltgericht." The matter has been stated here without 
any of these attempts at disguise or concealment. Does it therefore 
follow that our life is really bounded by the horizon of earth ? or 
that the belief in a world to come has passed away, because the 
language in which St. Paul described it, is seen to be taken from 
Jewish prophecy ? 

The belief in a future life is not derived from revelation, though 
greatly strengthened by it. It is the growing sense of human nature 
respecting itself. Scarcely any one passes out of existence fearing 
that he will cease to be ; perhaps no one whose mind may be re 
garded as in a natural state. Absurd superstitions, even the painful 


efforts to get rid of self, in some of the Eastern religions, indirectly 
bear witness to the same truth. They seem to say, " Stamp upon 
the Soul, crush it as you will, the poor worm will still creep out into 
the sunshine of the Almighty." Nor is the consciousness of another 
life a mere instinct which, however distorted, still remains : to those 
who reason it is inseparably connected with our highest, that is, with 
our moral notions. We feel that God cannot have given us capaci 
ties and affections, that they should find no other fulfilment than they 
attain here ; that he cannot intend the unequal measure of good and 
evil which he has assigned to men on earth to be the end of all : nor 
can we believe that the crimes or sins which go unpunished in this 
world, are to pass away as though they had never been ; that the 
cries of saints and heroes, and the work of the Saviour himself, have 
gone up unheard before his throne. That can never be. Equally 
impossible is it to suppose that creatures whom he has endowed with 
reason are, like the great multitude of the human race, to be sunk 
for ever in hopeless ignorance and unconsciousness. It is true that 
the nature of the change which is to come over them and us is not 
disclosed : " The times and the seasons the Father has put in his 
own power." Had it been otherwise, immortality must have over 
powered us ; the thought of another state would have swallowed up 

And this sense of a future life and judgment to come has been so 
quickened in us by Christianity, that it may be said almost to have 
been created by it. It is the witness of Christ himself, than which 
to the Christian no assurance can be greater. - He who meditates on 
this divine life in the brief narrative which has been preserved of it, 
will find the belief in another world come again to him when many 
physical and metaphysical proofs are beginning to be as broken 
reeds. He will find more than enough to balance the difficulties of 
the manner " how " or the time " when ; " he will find, as he draws 
nearer to Christ, a sort of impossibility of believing otherwise. When 
we ask, " How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they 
come," St. Paul answers, " Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not 


quickened except it die ; " when we raise objections to the narrative 
which has been preserved of our Saviour s discourse respecting the 
last things and the end of the world, may not the answer to this 
as well as to many other difficulties be gathered from his own 
words " It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth 
nothing ; the words that I speak unto you they are Spirit, and they 
are truth?" 

There was a sense in which our Saviour said that it was better 
for his disciples that he should be taken from them, that the Com 
forter should come unto them. There is also a blessing recorded in the 
Gospels on those who had not seen and yet had believed. Is there 
not a sense in which it is more blessed to live at a distance from those 
events which are the beginning of Christianity, than under their 
immediate influence, to see them as they truly are in the light of 
this world as well as of another? If it was an illusion in the first 
Christians to believe in the immediate coming of Christ, is it not a 
cause of thankfulness that now we see clearly ? Of truth, as well as 
of love, it may be said there is no fear in truth, but perfect truth 
casteth out fear. The eye which is strong enough to pierce through 
the shadow of death, is not troubled because the golden mist is dis 
pelled and it looks on the open heaven. 

And though prophecy may fail and tongues cease, though to those 
who look back upon them when they are with the past, they are dif 
ferent from what they were to those who melted under their influence, 
the pure moral and spiritual nature of Christianity, the " kingdom of 
God within," remains as at the first, the law of Christian love be 
coming more and more, and all in all. 



Note on 1 Thess. ii. 2.; 1 Cor. ii. 10 16.; Rom. vii. 9 viii. 3., viii. 19 22., and 

other places. 

THE word dywV, in 1 Thessalonians, ii. 2., has been variously ex 
plained of the inward conflict and of the outward persecution which 
the Apostle underwent in preaching the Gospel at Thessalonica. 
Reasons are adduced from the context, and from the use of the 
word in other places, in favour of either interpretation. The 
opinions of commentators may be urged on both sides of the question. 
In the next verse a doubt of the same kind occurs respecting 
another word, Trapa/cX^te, which here, as TrapaKaXe iv, in iii. 2. and 
elsewhere, admits the sense either of consolation or exhortation. The 
observation of these and similar instances leads to the general inquiry, 
whether it is possible for the same Greek word to have two meanings 
in the same passage the one primary, the other secondary ; the 
one expressed, the other implied ; the one presenting itself in front, 
the other not far behind? whether, instead of saying "it must 
mean this or that," it may not be reasonable also to include both 
senses, either because the word which is the subject of controversy 
has no corresponding term in another language, or because it is not 
denned by use, or because the idea which it is intended to convey 
may be incapable of being described with perfect accuracy and 
clearness ? 

The inquiry here suggested is of considerable importance in the 
interpretation of the New Testament. Though it relates only to a 
small class of words, those words are characteristic ones and of 
common occurrence ; such are, w>/ (Life), Qavarog (Death), fi/nepa 
(the Day), KnVie (Creature), irvev^a (the Spirit), Kvpiog (the Lord), 
(the Comforter), and, above all, ropog (the Law). The 


word ayu)v (Contention), already quoted from 1 Thess. ii. 2., and 
TreirXrjpdJKevai, in Rom. xv. 19., afford lesser examples of the same 
indefinite or uncertain use. 

This uncertainty in the meaning of words is not confined to the 
New Testament. Similar instances may be remarked in modern 
languages and also in classical writers. If a statesman were to say, 
in writing to a friend of some political measure which was the crisis 
of his fate, " that it was a great struggle," he might mean a great 
struggle to himself and to his own feelings, or a great struggle of 
parties or opinions ; it might have been also a struggle in which 
violence had been resorted to. It is possible that all these three 
associations were passing through his mind at the time he wrote 
down the word. Some light might be thrown by the context of the 
sentence, or by other parts of the letter, on the true sense. But 
language is not always used with the degree of exactness necessary 
in such cases to enable us to determine the meaning or associations 
of meaning which the writer had in his mind. Probably a critical 
analysis of the words would only lead to the conviction that the 
person who used them was not distinctly conscious of their import 
to himself. 

An illustration from a modern writer will throw some further 
light on the nature of the question which is here raised. The 
author of the " Fragment on Government " criticises the confusion 
into which Blackstone has fallen respecting words such as " Society," 
" State of Nature," and others, which he affirms his opponent to have 
used in different senses in the same paragraph. Yet the ordinary 
reader would not have discovered this. To a mind not under the 
influence of an "illogical logic," Blackstone appears to be in the 
right, and his critic in the wrong, because the latter has not allowed 
for that natural play of language which conducts us from one aspect 
of a complex idea to another. He is busy pulling to pieces the 
several expressions, when he ought to be content with the substan 
tial meaning of a whole passage. He exacts more of words than they 
are able to bear. He would have language perfect in the logical sense, 


in the attempt to accomplish which, he loses more than he gains, by 
losing its poetical element. Logic ruling absolutely over style and 
thought, the imagination and feelings would be dried up into the 
understanding. The words denoting our higher ideas would lose 
their associations ; and the ideas which are denoted by them be re 
duced to the dead level of objects of sense. St. Paul himself could 
only be regarded as an illogical writer, whose leading terms " chop 
and change " their significations, whose train of thought cannot be 
reduced to syllogisms, whose bursts of affection are not " logical pro 

Variations of meaning may be observed to be greater than usual 
in certain classes of words and in particular stages of language or of 
philosophy. The student of the Ethics of Aristotle has often been 
puzzled with the numerous senses of the words dpxfj, rtXoc, rove, 
aiadrjffic, acxpia, fivvafjLig, tyvffic, avveaiQ, and others. He attempts in 
vain to introduce order and fixedness into the flux of meaning. He 
feels that no English term is equivalent to any of them. The fact is 
that philosophy is creating their meaning ; they are in various stages 
of the transition from common use to a technical signification. Some 
of them die out (ethical science is afterwards found to have made, 
or rather borrowed, more words than it wants) others pass into the 
philosophical language of Greece, and are carried down the stream 
of human thought. Aristotle himself would have found the same 
difficulty that we do in explaining their meaning in the terms of 
other systems or of later times. They are a part of his mind ; he 
is not above them, but in them. The great .master of metaphysics 
is under the influence of language, while organising it for his use. 

Owing partly to the decline of the Greek language itself, as well 
as to the imperfect command over it possessed by the writers of the 
Epistles, the variation in their use of terms is greater and more 
striking than in classical writers. The instrument is more inade 
quate to the greatness and novelty of the thought ; the expression 
more tentative, and therefore more uncertain. The life of words 
which " is not quickened except it die," becomes a conducting 


medium from one Dispensation to another ; the Gospels and the 
Epistles are the translation of the law and the prophets. Merely in 
a philological point of view this is extremely curious. Many 
obscure significations of terms are thus drawn out ; chance phrases 
have a new light thrown upon them ; the Spiritual world is peopled 
with material images which are not wholly "transfigured," but retain 
also their first material notion. Language is growing, winning for 
itself a meaning. The phenomenon which has been just described in 
the history of Greek philosophy may help us to understand the still 
more remarkable development to which the Gospel gave birth. 
Only in this latter case it was not a philosopher, the force of whose 
mind stamped a new impress on the counters of knowledge, but 
apostles and prophets, who poured out the faith of Christ among the 
common people. It might be said of the first believers, in another 
sense from that in which the text is commonly applied, that "they 
spake with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." Their 
mind was changed, and that framework of the mind which language 
is, adapted itself to the change. Common terms passed out of re 
ceived uses into higher and spiritual ones ; they became inspired, 
sanctified, glorified. Imagine, first, the conversion of St. Paul, the 
intellect as well as the heart melting under the influence of the 
revelation which he had received ; imagine such an one with a scanty 
knowledge of Greek, deriving something from the philosophy of his 
time, but much more from the Greek version of the Old Testament 
Scriptures, striving to express the unutterable things which he knew 
and felt : you have before you, as it were in process of creation, the 
germ of the theological diction of after ages. 

As it is in vain to look for a regular order of government during 
the first half century after Christ, it would be a mistake also 
to expect that the language in which the Gospel was first ut 
tered had a perfectly fixed and settled meaning. The age of the 
Epistles of St. Paul might be described as the age before system, in 
which there was no rite or usage to which words conformed any 
more than institutions. This is one of the many points in which we 


would fain imagine the first century more like ourselves than it 
really was. We have a difficulty in conceiving a beginning of the 
Christian society, or the mind of Christ in his first followers ; 
and we ascribe to the fluctuating elements the definite form which 
they could only have received from use and tradition. The same 
error reappears in another sphere, in the fixedness which is attributed 
to words when employed for the first time in Christian senses. For 
language itself also partakes of the plastic nature of the New Crea 
tion. It is relative to the first believers. Listening multitudes 
hung upon the lips of the first teachers without stopping to dis 
tinguish the application of terms from their original sense, or figures 
from realities. Much of the comparative inaccuracy of spoken dis 
course has passed into the written word also. The Apostle St. Paul 
often uses the terms wy, davaroc, fjptpa, in such a way that it is hard 
to say where the figure ends, and the meaning of the figure begins ; 
or he employs general, where we should expect specific words ; or 
specific, where we should expect general ; or he places a connecting 
particle in such a double relation, that we are uncertain whether it 
refers to what precedes, or to what follows, and incline sometimes to 
think that both constructions were intended. His love of " parallels 
and conjugates," and antitheses,, leads him to make distinctions where 
there is apparently no difference, or to identify terms which we should 
naturally distinguish. Two or three favourite words he plays upon 
as though he could never have enough of them ; their original 
idea is almost allowed to evanesce in the transpositions which 
they are made to undergo. The want of an expression often occa 
sions the repetition of an old one, the echo of which was ringing 
in his ears from a previous verse, where perfect clearness would have 
required a new term for a new idea. Another source of uncertainty 
is the continuance of the old or common meaning of a word side by 
side with the higher or ideal one, the latter, too, being susceptible 
of several gradations, as in the word v6poc, which are almost indis 
tinguishable from one another. No doubt these difficulties are 
increased by the uses of theological terms in later times, which 
VOL. I. K 


often slightly (or even considerably) vary from the use of the same 
terms in Scripture, and which, even where they are in general the 
same, have this difference, that they are more narrowed and fixed 
than in the Scriptural use. For example, many as appear to be 
the senses or applications of the word " law " in St. Paul, we 
may observe in modern Calvinist divines a meaning which is 
different from them all, and which is used with great preciseness. 
Nor must one other source of confusion be omitted, a sufficiently 
obvious one, yet often forgotten the difference between Greek 
and English ; some words which have one consistent meaning 
in the Greek appearing to have two meanings in English even 
in the same passage, because the Greek word has no single cor 
responding English one. The numerous significations which are 
attributed to a word in a lexicon to the New Testament are 
commonly more than the truth and less ; that is, they add on 
associations which are not contained in it, while it is impossible 
for them to give a conception of its unity and sphere. The ease 
and absolute certainty with which we translate words describing 
objects of sense from a dead language into a living one, must not 
lead us to imagine that we can have equal certainty, whether in 
philosophy or religion, in representing the things "which eye hath 

not seen." 

The first causes of this fluctuation of meaning are peculiar to the 

New Testament, and arise out of the circumstances of its authors : the 
last-mentioned difficulty is common to the interpretation of parti 
cular classes of words in all dead languages. Even the scholar finds 
it an endless task to put his mind back as a " little child " into the 
position of the Greek. It remains to show by examples that the un 
certainty spoken of is not an imaginary phenomenon, but a real one, 
and, if so, an important element in the interpretation of Scripture. 
And first as to the fact (compare Rom. vii, 21. viii. 3.) : 
" I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present 
with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man : 
but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of 
my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is 


in my members. O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death ? I thank God through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, 
but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no con 
demnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after 
the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in 
Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the 
flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and 
for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." 

It would be impossible exactly to define all the modifications of 
meaning which the word law undergoes in this passage : in ver. 21., 
according to the most probable explanation, it is used for a rule, 
or, as we should say. universal fact ; in ver. 22, 23., for the law of God, 
with an allusion to the law of Moses ; also for the necessary force 
of evil ; in ver. 23., a distinction in its meaning is aimed at 
where it is hard to see a difference ; in viii. 2. 3 it is used for the rule 
or rather power of the Gospel ; in viii. 3., probably for the Jewish 
law only, as certainly in vii. 1. Compare also the paronomasia of 
the " Law of Faith," in iii. 27. Which of them would the Apostle 
have adopted as the original signification ? Doubtless the law of 
Moses ; yet he would not have been conscious of all the inflections 
of meaning through which he had allowed the word to pass. Nor 
would he, or those to whom he is writing, have understood our 
difficulty in understanding him. 

It is true that many English words, such as " law, church, princi 
ple, constitution, society, nature," might go through several changes 
of meaning in the same chapter or section of a book. We might 
speak of a good principle, or of a principle of action, or of nature 
in the sense of a higher or lower nature, or of the Church in the 
sense of the Church visible or invisible. But the use of language 
in the passage of the Epistle exceeds these bounds : whatever play 
or inaccuracy of phraseology may be allowed among ourselves, we 
should not describe " the law of England " and " the law of nature " 

K 2 


under the same general term " the law " in the same passage; at any 
rate, the connexion would clearly mark that we were speaking of 
two laws, not of one. ISor, if the particular term " law of England " 
had preceded, should we use the general term law in a new connexion 
in the next sentence, as the Apostle appears to have done in Rom. viii. 
2, 3., where he speaks first of " the law of sin and death," and then of 
" the law "KUT fox>} , in the next verse. And although some of the 
instances quoted appear at first sight like the application of a 
general term to a new subject, yet the application is so peculiar as 
to amount to a variation of meaning. No similar application of the 
word rojuoe could have occurred in classical Greek. 

Two other instances one of latitude in the signification of the same 
words, the other, illustrative of the same uncertainty of different words 
with the same meaning occur also in Romans, viii. 

19 23. " For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for 
the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made 
subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath sub 
jected the same in hope. Because the creature itself also shall be 
delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty 
of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation 
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only 
they, but ourselves also," etc. 

Here the word " creature " has had many meanings assigned to it 
by interpreters, and has really more than one. It may refer to the crea 
ture considered from within, in which sense it is a personified human 
nature, which is the best explanation of it in ver. 19. ; or to the 
creature considered from without, as the figure of a former dispen 
sation, which is the sense to which it inclines in ver. 20,21.; or to the 
creation collectively, in the idea of which man has nevertheless the 
principal part, as in ver. 22. That this last, however, is not to be 
pressed too strictly, may be inferred from ver. 23., in which the 
believer is spoken of, from another point of view, as distinct from the 
previous circle, which included, or seemed to include, all the world. 

9 11. " But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that 


the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now, if any man have not the Spirit 
of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead 
because of sin ; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in 
you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your 
mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." 

Here the Spirit of God is first spoken of as dwelling in man ; 
then the spirit of Christ takes its place ; then in v. 10. a further 
transition is made from the Spirit of Christ to Christ himself, 
and in ver. 11., we return to the Spirit of God, that is, "of him who 
raised up Jesus from the dead ; " as if, in the Apostle s mind, the 
difference of expression was nothing, or at least only served to de 
scribe the different aspects of the same idea. Compare 1 Thess. iii. 
11, 12., for a similar uncertainty in the use of the word Kvpiog. 

Another remarkable instance of fluctuation or transition of meaning 
occurs in 1 Cor. ii. 10 16., where the Spirit of God, which searcheth 
all things, is afterwards spoken of as the Spirit in the heart of man, the 
possession of which by those who are Spiritual enables them to judge 
all men. Compare Romans, viii. 26, 27. [" Likewise the Spirit also 
helpeth our infirmities : for we know not what we should pray for 
as we ought : but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with 
groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the 
hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh 
intercession for the saints according to the will of God."], where 
the Spirit is also described as crying through us to God. 

Language like this would hardly be used ^y a modern preacher 
or writer. He would speak of the Spirit dwelling in the heart of 
man, or a man praying to God by the help of the Spirit, or of the 
Spirit praying for man, but he would not blend in one the acts of 
the Spirit and the acts of man. 

Another example touching a different circle of ideas occurs in 
1 Corinthians, xv. 55. When it is said "the sting of death is sin, 
and the strength of sin is the law," the connexion of the previous 
verses shows that death is to be taken literally ; and yet death, 


with which sin is connected in other places, as in Romans, vii. 5. 
1113., is not temporal but spiritual death. Compare 2 Cor. 
v. 14. : "If one died for all, then all died," where the word died 
is applied to Christ in one sense, to mankind in general in 
another. So in Rom vi. 1 9., the idea of resurrection is blended 
with that of renewal. 

The passage of St. John s Gospel, v. 2028., in which the resur 
rection is spoken of in terms which imply a spiritual resurrection, 
and then again most clearly a literal one, and the second sense in 
which the word Comforter is used, as the Spirit of truth who " shall 
guide men into all truth," are additional illustrations of the same 
subject. (John xiv. xviii.) 

Altogether the ambiguities or double senses of words in the 
Epistles may be arranged under the following heads: 

1. Words in themselves unambiguous, which nevertheless become 
ambiguous in a particular context, either from their indenniteness or 
from the associations which intrude upon them from the connexion 
or from their use in other passages. 

Instances of this class are aywr, in 1 Thess. ii. 2. ; TreTrXrjpwKevcu, 
in Rom. xv. 19. ; evayyiXiov, Rom. i. 9. ; florae, in Rom. vi. 12. ; 
o-w^ua, in 1 Cor. xi. 29., Rom. vii. 4., Col. ii. 16 23. ; Kplpci, in Rom. 
xiii. 2; Kpiw, in Rom. xiv. 13. ; atrap^ri, Rom. xi. 16.; j/i , Rom. xiv. 
5. ; K-X?/<rtc, 1 Cor. vii. 20. ; TT OTIC, 1 Cor. xii. 9. Some of these 
may be termed " growing words," that is, words which have not yet 
attained a fixed use in the Christian vocabulary. 

2. Words which have no precise or even near exponents in English, 
which fall asunder into two English words, and the sphere of which 
includes ideas which are distinct to us, yet to the mind of the first 
disciples nearly equivalent and closely connected. Instances of this 
class of words are TrapaKaXlw and its derivatives, ciadrjKrj, Trapowuij 
7f /\oc, cu<i , t&fty, and probably TrXeovefya. 

3. Words like vopos or KTICTIC, which pass through many meanings 
" in quick succession of light ; " these meanings are, however, so 
closely connected that the transition from one to the other is often 


4. Words like W/, tiavaroc, fjpepa, Trvei/jLia, in the use of which two 
ideas, really distinct and having only a metaphorical connexion, 
are blended in the writer s mind, as, for example, temporal life and 
death with spiritual life and death, or renewal with resurrection. 

These ambiguities are not an occasion of any real or great uncer 
tainty in the Apostle s meaning. No one can doubt that he held 
sin to be the source of moral evil in the world, or that in a literal 
sense he believed in the resurrection. But his double use of words 
requires that we should interpret his Epistles in a large and liberal 
spirit. We cannot restrict him to the rules of the Aristotelian 
logic. The observation of this phenomenon, instead of inflicting an 
injury, is really of great benefit in the interpretation of Scripture ; 
for it fixes our thoughts on the general meaning, and withdraws 
them from remote and uncertain conclusions based upon an over- 
minute analysis of the letter of the text. 

" It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching," says the 
Apostle, " to save them that believe." It pleased God, we may say, 
in broken words and hesitating forms of speech, with no beauty or 
comeliness of style, to give a rule of life, not for one nation only, but 
for all mankind, not for the refined thinker only, but for the 
poorest and meanest, to reveal a truth of which the Greek was 
unconscious, and for which the language of Plato would have been 
no fitting temple. 

x 4 







THE Second Epistle to the Thessalonians may be regarded in two 
points of view: (1.) as continuing the First Epistle; (2.) as diverging 
from it, and in one respect forming a link of transition to the later 
Epistles. It defers the Advent of Christ, and yet presents a more 
vivid and detailed account of the manner and circumstances of it. 
More fully in the Apostle s mind, he seems to remove it further 
from him, the nearer objects intercepting the more distant future. 
He sees the vision of " the things that are shortly to come to pass," 
through the symbols of the old prophets ; not, however, as in the 
Book of Revelation, in an extended picture with many divisions 
and compartments, but with one scene only, the rise and fall of 
Antichrist. When the hindrances of Antichrist are taken away, 
when Antichrist himself has come, then, and not till then, the Lord 
shall be revealed. 

It was thought by Grotius, and it is also the opinion of Ewald, 
that what is termed the Second Epistle must have preceded the 
First. The best arguments by which this opinion can be defended, 
are the references in the Second Epistle to the teaching of the 
Apostle while " he was yet with them," and the absence of any 
allusions to the First Epistle. (See note on ch. ii. 2.) These grounds 
are far from being conclusive. It is improbable (observe, however, 
2 Thess. ii. 15.) that a previous Epistle could have interposed 


itself between the visit of the Apostle and chapters two and three 
of the First Epistle. (Compare Acts, xvii., xviii.) The allusions to 
the conversion of the Thessalonians also mark the First Epistle as 
commonly received to be the earlier of the two. But the opinion, 
though probably an error, may serve to remind us that, in one 
sense the Second Epistle anticipates the first ; that is to say, it is 
based on the lesson which the Apostle had taught the Thessalonians, 
while he was yet with them, ii. 5. The subject of Antichrist was not 
new to them ; they had been told who was meant, and what withheld 
him now, that he should be revealed in his own time. Whereas, 
in the former Epistle, he had led their minds exclusively to the 
heavenly vision, " the saints meeting in the air with Christ, and the 
dead whom he would bring with him." 

Something like a definite object is indicated in the second chapter 
of the Epistle. That object seems to have been to inform the con 
verts, or rather to remind them of what they already knew, re 
specting the coming of Christ and the previous revelation of Anti 
christ, and " that which let." It might, indeed, be questioned here, 
as in Rom. ix. to xi. compared with i. viii., whether the first chapter 
is introductory to the second, or the second supplementary to the 
first. But the particularity of the second chapter, and the nearness 
of that "which already worketh," as well as the earnestness of the 
Apostle s language, tend to show that what is in form subordinate, 
is really the centre of the Epistle. As in 1 Cor. x., the thought which 
is nearest the Apostle s heart is overlaid with what is merely intro 
ductory to it. 

But whether there is or is not any doubt about the primary object 
of the Epistle, the mind and feelings with which the Apostle wrote 
are plainly impressed upon it, and hardly less so the state of the 
Church to which it was addressed. The aspect in which the Gospel 
presented itself to the Apostle, was not unlike that in which it was 
described by John the Baptist : " He shall burn up the chaff with 
fire unquenchable." Within the Church it might be possible to think 
only of the elect, whose prayers and hopes seemed to bring the day 


of the Lord nearer and nearer, until the horizon of earth melted away 
in the clouds of heaven. But it was impossible to turn away the 
sight from the aspect of the world itself, especially that portion of it 
which was on the confines of the Church, whether the Jewish perse 
cutors, who harassed the Apostle in every city, "who pleased not 
God, and were contrary to man," or the wild forms of heresy or 
licentiousness which at one moment seemed to set themselves with 
giant force to arrest his course ; at another time, by seductive in 
fluences to steal away the hearts of his converts. In the distance, 
too, were the heathen world mingling in the vision of sin ; ripe for 
the revelation of wrath, no less than for the revelation of mercy. 
(Compare Rom. i. 8.) 

The whole of the Epistle, like the Epistles of the imprisonment, 
is written under what may be termed u the feeling of persecution ; " 
that is to say, the sense of resignation, on the one hand, to the pre 
sent will of God ; on the other hand, a sure and certain hope that 
" times of refreshment " were at hand. Such was the feeling of the 
Apostle himself, and he implies the existence of a similar feeling in 
the Church to which he was writing. Sadness and consolation, hope 
and fear, the array of glory and of terror, were present with them 
or passing before them. They were not living the common life of 
other men ; they did not see with the eyes of other men. 

A life thus divided between this world and another was naturally 
liable to become a life of excitement and disorder. Times of per 
secution needed extraordinary religious supports ; the withdrawal 
of those supports, the momentary clouding of the heaven above, 
would from time to time lead to reaction. Those who sat " waiting 
for the day of the Lord," and in this very expectation perhaps ne 
glecting their employments, had lost that quietness of mind which 
is given by daily occupation. The perils of such a state were not 
unknown to the Apostle. It might at any time pass into its op 
posite, the very good that was in it becoming only material for evil. 
Half organised as the Church was then, the only means of avoiding 
such dangers was to withdraw from the disorderly, in the hope that 


the shunning of their society might have a moral influence on them. 
And yet even this gentle discipline must be exercised with mo 
deration, in the remembrance that a brother was a brother still. More 
urgently, and as a lesson more congenial to himself, does the Apostle 
seek to impress upon them his own spirit, the spirit of honest in 
dustry, the spirit of peace and order, which is at once his benedic 
tion and admonition to them. 



THE second Epistle to the Thessalonians is not deficient in ex 
ternal evidence of its genuineness. As in the case of the former 
Epistle, the doubts that have been raised respecting it are based 
solely on an examination of its language and contents. They may 
be summed up under the following heads, the consideration of which 
will tend to establish the genuineness of the Epistle, as well as to 
throw light on its character and object: 

i. Inconsistency with the First Epistle, in deferring the coming 

of Christ, 
ii. Doctrine of Antichrist, which is said to be an anachronism, 

either as indicating a later Montanist origin, or as betraying 

an allusion to later historical events, 
iii. The absence of situation and circumstance, as well as of traits 

of individual character, 
iv. The token at the end of the Epistle, which is the sign in all 

the Epistles, 
v. Likeness to, and difference from, the style of St. Paul. 

i. Inconsistency with the First Epistle in deferring the coming 
of Christ, 1 Thess. v. 2., " Yourselves know perfectly that the day 
of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night ; " 2 Thess. ii. 3., " That 
day shall not come except there come a falling away first." It may 
be replied, that no argument against the genuineness of writings 
of St. Paul is more unsafe than that from supposed inconsistency. 
No writer is more apt to present us with opposite views of the same 
subject, even in the same Epistle, or to modify one side of a precept 


or of an argument by the other. (Compare the treatment of the 
question of meats offered to idols in 1 Corinth, viii. ; or of the inces 
tuous person in 1 Cor. v. ; 2 Cor. vii. ; or of the rejection of the Jews 
in the Epistle to the Eomans.) The coming of Christ is a subject 
in which such a difference is most likely to appear, because it is 
future, and therefore necessarily indistinct. And the difference 
between the two passages is just similar to that which occurs else 
where, even in successive verses of the same chapter and in the dis 
courses of our Lord himself. See Essay on the Belief in the imme 
diate Coming of Christ, and on the Man of Sin. 

ii. Doctrine of Antichrist : (1.) Supposed to indicate a later Mon- 
tanist origin. To this it may be answered that the doctrine of Anti 
christ is not Montanist, but Jewish, and in its general outline is 
found in the writings of Philo and the Rabbis, no less than in those 
of Paul and John. (Comp., though later, 2 Esdras.) Even were there 
no express proof of its existence, it might have been safely conjec 
tured, from the analogy of prophecy, to have followed the belief in Mes 
siah s kingdom. Or, (2.) to betray allusions to later historical events ; 
that is to say, Nero, who is to come again, is Antichrist j and the 
space between the death of Nero and the destruction of Jerusalem 
is the exact interval into which the composition of the Epistle fits. 

The fuller answer to both objections will be found in the Essays 
on the Belief in the Coming of Christ and on the Man of Sin. Here 
it will be sufficient to remark that the prophecies of the New Testa 
ment do not relate to particular events, but to the state of the world 
in general. They are not political but spiritual. They take a distant 
view of history, and read it by a light of good and evil which they 
themselves cast upon it. It would be contrary to general principles 
to assign any minute historical meaning to a particular passage. 

iii. The absence of situation and circumstance, and of traits of 
individual character. 

One Epistle has not as many historical allusions as another, or 


there is a difference of length in different Epistles. But the short 
ness of an Epistle, or the absence of historical allusions, does not prove 
it to be spurious ; it only lessens or does away with a single proof 
of genuineness. In this case it may be argued further, that the tone 
of the Epistle agrees with what we gather from the Acts respecting 
the Spirit and feelings of the earliest believers, living " amid the 
things spoken of by the prophet Joel ; " and that the early date 
of the Epistle offers a general coincidence with its Old Testament 
and prophetic character. Some value may be also attributed to the 
connexion of the First and Second Epistles. Arguments which are 
comparatively slight may be fairly set against slight objections. 
Lastly, considering the deep feeling which throughout marks the 
Epistle, it cannot be said to be devoid of character. 

It is the opinion of Ewald (Die Sendschreiben des ApostelsPaulus), 
" that none of the writings of the New Testament have so much of 
the living freshness of the first age of the Gospel, or present so 
vivid a picture of the hopes of the first believers, as the Epistles to 
the Thessalonians. Their chief subject is the Apocalyptic vision in 
its first native power working on the minds of men, not yet formed 
into an artistic whole, as in the Book of Revelation. In other 
respects also a coincidence may be observed between the contents of 
the Epistle and the earlier stages of the Apostle s life. Circumstances 
have not yet drawn out the sense of the opposition between Judaism 
and the Gospel. He preaches love and not faith ; the words 
righteousness and justification never occur. He is contending 
with Jews or heathens (1 Thess. ii. 14 16.J , Jewish Christians 
(2 Thess. iii. 2. ?) have not yet appeared on the scene." (Pp. 13 18.) 

iv. The token at the end of the Epistle, which is the sign in all the 

It is argued that at this date there were no forgeries, and therefore 
no reason for guarding against forgery, and that the Apostle had as 
yet written but one Epistle. 

This is the strongest objection urged by Baur against the genuine- 
VOL. I. L 


ness of the Epistle. In answer it may be remarked : (1.) That the 
autograph salutation occurs in 1 Cor. xvi. 21. and Col. iv. 18. ; that 
it would require minute observation to have remarked this, and yet 
the Epistle to which it is supposed to be transferred, exhibits no 
imitation either in words or train of thought of those Epistles. (2.) 
That it is most probable that the words of Gal. vi. 11., "Ye see in how 
large letters I have written to you with my own hands," are similarly 
a sign of the genuineness of that Epistle. It is true that to appeal to 
the allusion in 2 Thess. ii. 2. itself, as a proof of the existence 
of forged epistles in St. Paul s time, would be a circle. (3.) But the 
consistency of that allusion with the token of salutation, and the 
slightness of it, are presumptions of the Epistle having arisen from a 
real occasion. (4.) The readiness to practise forgery and pious fraud 
in an age when such forgeries were apt to be thought innocent and 
laudable, can hardly be estimated. Compare Rev. xxii. 18 19. 
Lastly, the incidental character of the Epistles we have, leads us 
naturally to suppose that there were others also, which have not come 
down to us, and gives a rational meaning to the words " in every 
Epistle," even though occurring in one of the first of those extant. 

v. Likeness to, and difference from, the style and writings of 
St. Paul. 

The likeness is supposed to be such as betrays an imitator ; the 
difference, such as renders it impossible that the epistle could have 
been written by St. Paul. But, on the other hand, it may be retorted 
that the difference is no greater than might naturally be expected in 
the same author writing at different times; and the likeness of a 
kind such as indicates the hand, not of an imitator, but of St. Paul 

(1.) The examples of difference of style and language are very 
uncertain. The following expressions are quoted in confirmation 
of the objection * : 

; Baur, Paulus, pp. 489, 490. 


1. EvyapLaTtiv <ty Xo/ij>, i. 3., ii. 13., especially in the first passage, 

where it is weakened by KadwQ ai6v ianv. 

2. vnepavtavei rj iriffrig vptiv, i. 3., is said to be inconsistent with 

Karapriffai TO. vorp?;juara rfjg iriarewQ vfjiujv in 1 Thess. iii. 10. 

3. aipe~i<rdai, used of election in ii. 13. 

4. .vat e$ia rovro, for ta rouro, ii. 11. 

5. Forced construction of i-n-iffTevBr] TO jjiapTvpiov 

i. 10. 

6. iraaa evdoKia aya.Qii)ffvrr]Q^ ipyov 7r/0TWC> i 

rijg 7raj0ov<r/ac, ii. 8. ; ^e^effdai Tt)i> aya7rr)v rijc; aX^Qet ac, ii. 
10. ; a%tu)ffr) rrjQ K\i]ffeb)t; t i. 11. ; KttkoJroteiv, iii. 13. 

Objections of this kind are, for the most part, matters of taste or 
feeling, about which it is useless to dispute. It may be observed on 
No. 1., that although evxaptffruv fye/Xojtkev, i. 3., ii. 13., does not 
occur elsewhere in the writings of St. Paul, it cannot be regarded as 
unlike his style. The form of duty is one which all thoughts na 
turally take in his mind. He is under obligation, compulsion, &c., to 
do many things. Nor can any pleonasm or dilution of language be 
regarded as an evidence of the spuriousness of a writing of St. Paul s 
age if it be not rather, as far as it goes, a proof of its genuineness. 
This latter remark strictly applies to No. 2., which reminds us of the 
amplification of language which occurs at the commencement of his 
other Epistles. Neither is the supposed inconsistency in this last- 
mentioned passage with 1 Thess. iii. 10. so great as the dif 
ference in tone of 1 Cor. i. 59. and the rest of the Epistle, the 
wavering and variation of which are characteristic of the 

On No. 3. it may be observed, that although the word alp(.~i<rdaL 
nowhere occurs in the New Testament in the sense of election, it 
has this sense in Deut. xxvi. 18., whence it is not unreasonable to 
suppose that St. Paul, or any other writer of the New Testament, 
may have transferred it to his own use. No. 4. There is no more 
objection to KOI before 3ta TOVTO than to any other pleonastic use of 
KM, such, for example, as that in Col. ii. 13. No. 5. Compare Rom. 

L 2 


iv. 9. for a similar use of iiri. No. 6. Compare Eph. i. 5. for a pleo 
nastic use of evdoKia : Eph. i. 3. 8. for a similar use of Trag. In 
stances do not occur precisely parallel with the remaining examples ; 
still, neither the want of clearness of expression in some of these, nor 
the pleonastic character of others, are at all inconsistent with the 
style of the Apostle. 

(2.) Against such supposed dissimilarities, it is fair to set also the 

resemblances in manner and phraseology to the Apostle s writings. 

The following are characteristically, if not exclusively, St. Paul s : 

The pleonastic and vehement mode of speaking of the faith and 

love of his converts, in i. 3., as elsewhere, at the commencement 

of his Epistles, yet, as in the Corinthians, passing into reproof of 

some at the close of the Epistle. 

The antithetical turn of thought in ver. 6, 7., and real, though 

latent, parallelism with Phil. i. 28, 29. 

The mode of connecting iv^aaQijvai with the word iv Sofy in 
i. 10. ; the echo of evfoZaffdrjvai in ivtiofacrdfj, ver. 12. ; the 
verbal connexion of i-n-Lffrevdr} with Trtorcuo-arrtv in ver. 10. ; the 
reciprocal expression iv vfTtv /ecu v^elg iv avrw in ver. 12. 
The tva in i. 11., and the more remote OTTWC in ver. 12., like Rom. 
vii. 13. 

The anacoluthon in ii. 3. 

The expression in ii. 3., \d\ TIQ UJJ.O.Q iairar^0]|, like the warning in 

Eph. v. 6., fJir)de.~iG vfJiCLQ aTrararw KEVOIQ XoyotQ. 
The recurrence to his visit to them, as in Cor., Gal., Phil., 1 Thess. 
The following parallelisms : 2 Thess. ii. 7., porov 6 rare xwj , participle 
without a verb; so Rom. xii. 16, 17. 19. 2 Thess. ii. 10., rolg 
; so 1 Cor. i. 18., 2 Cor. ii. 15. 2 Thess. ii. 12., 
[ev] rrj aSiKiy ; Rom. i. 32., crvvevdoKovcri TOIQ 7rpa<r- 

The defective antithesis in ii. 12. 

The expressions 2 Thess. ii. 13., ev^apiff-elv Travrorej compare 
1 Cor. i. 4., ev^apiffrCj rw S ew pov TTCLVTOTS. 2 Thess. ii. 15., 
apa ovr, a(!)\(j)oi ; SO Rom. viii. 12., apa ovv, adeXfyoi ; Gal. iv. 


31., apa, adeXfyol. 2 Thess. ii. 16., 7rapuK\r]ffiv. . . KOI e \7rt3a; 

Rom. XV. 4., Ttje TT apa.K\rf ff0)Q T&V ypatywv rrjv \7rioa e^w^er. 

2 Thess. iii. 2., tva pvcrdtipEv ; Rom. xv. 31., iva pvaOti. 
The juxtaposition of TcapaKaXtiv and (TT^ I^LV in ii. 17. as in Rom. 

i. 1], 12. 
The echo of sound, rather than of sense in TTIOTIC and TTIOTOC, in 

iii. 3., and of Trio-roc in TreiroiQa/jLey in ver. 3, 4. ; compare Rom. 

xii. 13, 14. 
The expression in 2 Thess. iii. 6., Trapayye XXo/uy . . . iv OVO 

TOV Kvplov ; SO 1 Cor. vii. 10., Trajoayye XXw oi//c yw aXX 6 Kv 
The words ov^ on OUK exo/zev i%ov<riav 9 iii. 9., which occur also in 

1 Cor. ix. 4., there as a part of the main argument, but here 
incidentally ; also the passage which follows, and the use of the 
word 7riap7o > cu just before, in the same sense as aap*/e, 2 Cor. 
xi. 9. 

The sudden alternation from the language of severity to that of 
love, in iii. 14, 15. ; compare 1 Cor. v. and 2 Cor. ii. 6. 

2 Thess. iii. 13., exKor^o ijre KaXoTroiovvTec. So Gal. vi. 9., TO 

$ KaXoV TTOLOVVTEQ p.1] {.KKa^HJ fJLf. V. 2 TllCSS. iii. 16., 6 KVplO eiplJVTJ^y 

towards the end of the Epistle. So Rom. xvi. 20. ; 2 Cor. 
xiii. 11.; Gal. vi. 16. 

The play of words (iii. 11.), /Jirjdev epya^ojueVovc, dXXa 
. Compare Rom. i. 20. 28., ii. 1., &c. 

L 3 



THE Second Epistle to the Thessalonians affords of itself no indi 
cation of time or place. But when taken in connexion with the First 
Epistle, it must be presumed to have been written not earlier,* but 
later, as the First Epistle immediately refers to the Apostle s first 
visit to Thessalonica, and this in a way hardly consistent with the sup 
position that a previous Epistle had intervened. The First Epistle 
was written sometime during the Apostle s eighteen months stay in 
Corinth and its neighbourhood. How long afterwards the Second 
Epistle followed, we can only judge from so precarious an argument as 
the degree of connexion between them. Are the circumstances and 
state of feeling described in the Second Epistle sufficiently different 
from those in the First to require a considerable interval ? or so 
similar as to imply a short one only ? 

It is at least doubtful whether the Apostle in ii. 2. is referring 
to his former Epistle. (See note.) Leaving the discussion of this 
verse, therefore, as having nothing to do with our present subject, 
the points of connexion which the. two Epistles present are the 
following : 

(1.) The persecutions which are still continuing. 

(2.) The expectation of the coming of Christ; which, in the Second 
Epistle, has taken a new turn ; the former anxiety about the 
departed having passed away, and a general unsettlement 
of mind having taken its place, arising out of a belief of 
the nearness of the great event. 

(3.) The disorder of the Church, and interruption of daily occu 


From such data we cannot form any certain conclusions, The 
second of the above-mentioned points of connexion implies some, 
the first and third not a very long interval. The circumstances of 
the Church seem to be the same in both Epistles, but the state of 
feeling to be rapidly changing. The First Epistle presents us with 
the picture of an early Christian Church, within a few months, at 
latest, from its conversion. The Second presents us, though -in 
uncertain outline, with the picture of the same Church a few months 
later, with some of its features aggravated, others softened, so far 
as we can indistinctly trace them in the exhortations of the Apostle. 
The same persons who first preached the Gospel at Thessalonica, 
Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus, are still together, as they are 
joined in the superscription of the Epistle. 

These considerations, together with the improbability of supposing 
the Epistle to be contemporaneous with any of the later writings of 
St. Paul, lead to the inference that it was sent from Corinth or its 
neighbourhood, during the latter part of the Apostle s eighteen 
months stay there. 

i. 4 




IIATAOS Kal Si\ovavos Kal Tijno#eos rfj KK\7j(ria Setrcra- 1 


X^PLS VJJAV Kal elpTJvr) OLTTO Otov Trarpbs [^w^] Kal Kvpiov 2 
Irjcrov yjpi<TTOv. 

Evxapi(7Ti^ o(j)LXop,ev TCO 0(o TrdVroTe irepl v^a)v, 3 
d$\(j)0i, Ka0a)$ d^iov ICTTIV, STL VTrepav^dvei TI TTicrrts v^v 
Kal TrXecW^ei rj aydirri ivos KOLCTTOV Travrw v^u>v et? 



I. The substance of the first 
chapter may be summed up as fol 
lows : The Apostle commends 
the Thessalonian converts, for 
their increasing faith and the love 
which draws them closer to one 
another amid persecutions. This 
commendation he utters in the 
form of a thanksgiving on their 
behalf, in which, as elsewhere, 
the power of expression falls 
short of the fulness of his heart. 
The patience with which the 
Thessalonians endured their suf 
ferings is a source of pride to 
him in the churches of God. 
Those very sufferings of theirs 
are a manifestation of the righ 
teousness of God; their object 
being to make them worthy of 
the kingdom of God. For they 
must be considered as part of a 
whole, the present balancing 
with the future ; the state of 
believers here alternating with 
that of their enemies in the 
world to come. " Son, thou in 

thy life hadst thy good things 
and likewise Lazarus evil things, 
but now he is comforted, and thou 
art tormented." This is the 
law of compensation, in God s 
dealings with the heathen and 
the despisers of the Gospel, in 
the day when they shall pass 
away for ever from his presence, 
and his saints who have believed 
the word of the Apostle, shall 
magnify him. For which end 
the Apostle prays without ceas 
ing, that God may make them 
worthy of their calling and the 
name of Christ be glorified in 

1, 2. Compare notes on the 
salutation of the First Epistle, 
which is the same, with the ex 
ception of the words, UTTO $ov 
Kal Kvpiov Irjauv 

here no longer doubtful. 

3. v^apiorrej/ ^eo^ufr, we 
are bound to thank.~\ The plural 
may be intended to include Sil- 
vanus and Timotheus, or we may 



1 PAUL, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the Church 
of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord 

2 Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our 
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

3 WE are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, 
as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceed 
ingly, and the love* of every one of you all toward 

t each other aboundeth ; so that we ourselves glory in 

consider St. Paul as already mak 
ing the transition and using the 
plural of himself only, as else 
where. Compare 1 Thess. i. 2. 

KcidwQ aiov, as it is meet. ] The 
apparent tautology of these words 
("we ought to do it as we ought") 
it is proposed to obviate by con 
necting them closely with the 
clause which follows : " We 
ought to give thanks always for 
you, and the reason which makes it 
meet that we should give thanks is 
the exceeding abundance of your 
faith." To this it may be objected, 
that the proposed connexion of 
the clauses is unnatural and the 
meaning poor. It is better to 
regard the words Ka dwc at,iov 
ka-iv as an emphatic repetition 
of the preceding, " we ought to 
give thanks, as is worthy ; " a^iov 
expressing a higher degree of 
the same notion than d^t/Xo/uev 
it is not merely an obligation, 
but a noble and worthy thing, a 
freewill offering as well as a duty : 

" it is very meet, right, and our 
bounden duty." 

kvoq . . . vp,G)v,~\ of every one 
without any exception ; et e aXX/j- 
Xoue, to be taken with ?/ ayuirrj. 
wore iijJiOLQ avrovG not intended 
to indicate that in general 
a man should not glory, but 
merely that the excess of their 
faith and grace was such that it 
reflected itself even on others, 
and made Paul also himself glory 
on their behalf in other Churches. 
The emphasis on j/juag avrovcinay 
be thought to intimate that, how 
ever natural it is for a person to 
boast of himself, it is unnatural 
for others to boast of him ; " in 
your case, however, it is not you 
who boast of yourselves, but we 
ourselves who boast of you." Yet, 
in a writer like St. Paul, we can 
not certainly say that this ap 
parent point is more than a false 
emphasis or awkwardness of ex 

4. EV Tulg K K X?7<7/atf.] That is, 



TOV Oeov virep rrjs V7rop,ovfjs v 
iv Traoriv rot? Stwy/^ot? v^v Kal TCU9 OXiifjecnv ats di/e- 
-^ecrOe, eVSeiy/^a r^? St/ccua? icpicreco? roG #eov, 19 TO Kara- 5 
^LwOrjvaL vjJLa<s r^s ySacrcXeta? TOT) #eov v?rep ^9 /cat Tracr^ere, 
ei Trep SiKaiov wapa #ea> avTaTro oovvai rot9 6\ifiovcrw vfjias 6 
p2v TO 19 #Xi/3o/xeVoi9 avecriv jJLeff r^^v iv rfj 7 


TOL9 8 

Trvpl (f)\oy6s. 


in Corinth and the neighbouring 
towns, vrro^ovtig, in allusion to 
persecutions; <kwyjuo7e and $\l\f;- 
mv may be distinguished, as par 
ticular and general, as persecu 
tions and trials. ale avt-%crd, 
" wherewith or wherein ye en 
dure ; " or for wv, by a somewhat 
unusual attraction, " which ye 
endure." According to the first 
explanation the nearest analogy 
for the dative after avi^EaQe is 
that of verbs of satisfaction and 
dissatisfaction, ffTepyeu*, \a\7rwQ 
$pEii>, and the like ; it is simpler, 
however, to supply iv from the 
antecedent clause. 

5, 6. The Apostle transfers 
himself to a new point of view. 
Their present persecution was a 
proof of God s justice, for it was 
a token that God would give 
them a place in His kingdom, if, 
on the other hand, the punishment 
of their enemies hereafter was 
in accordance with the just judg 
ment of God ; for the relative 
position of both would be altered 
in the world to come, the order of 
another life being itself an inver 
sion of the order of this. Good 
and evil, now and hereafter, are 
diametrically opposed. Thus we 
have two arguments : 

They suffer now : therefore, 

Their enemies will suffer here 

Their enemies will suffer here 
after: therefore, 

They will be comforted here 

But are such arguments really 
valid ? it will be asked. They 
are arguments of the same kind 
as those in the eleventh chapter 
of Romans : " If the root is holy, 
how much more the branches? 
if the rejection of the Jews is 
the salvation of the world, how 
much more their restoration?" 
In other words, the substance is 
real, but the form is dialectical 
or rhetorical. A near parallel to 
the present passage is furnished 
by Phil. i. 28.: "And in nothing 
terrified by your adversaries : 
which is to them an evident token 
(tV^eifrc) of perdition, but to you 
of salvation, and that of God ; " 
words which at the same time 
express the feelings with which 
the heathen must have often 
looked upon the sufferings of the 
first Christians. 

eWfiyjua is said to be put in 
apposition with the idea of afflic 
tion or endurance in the previous 
verse. According to this mode 
of connecting the sentence, it is 
probably the accusative case ; if 


you in the churches of God for your patience and faith 

in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 
5 which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of 

God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of 
G God, for which ye also suffer : seeing it is a righteous 

thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that 

7 trouble you ; and to you who are troubled rest with us, 
when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven 

8 with his mighty angels, in flame 1 of fire taking ven- 


taken with the subject of avi^tofQe 
(quasi OVTEQ vc)ty/ia), it would 
be in the nominative. Whether 
the nicety of the grammatical 
construction was in the Apostle s 
mind or not, there can be little 
doubt that tVctety/^o. refers to the 
idea of the previous sentence, 
not to the nominative case of 
avi^eaQe. In the sufferings of 
the converts, the Apostle sees 
by implication the sufferings of 
their enemies ; and these reflect, 
as in a glass, their own happiness. 
Viewed in this light, their very 
suffering is a manifestation of 
the justice of God. 

(.Ig TO KaTa^id)dfjvai vjuag.]] etc, 
the result, as in 2 Cor. viii. 6., or 
the object, or both. It is the re 
sult and end of their persecution, 
that they may be counted worthy 
of the kingdom. Compare Luke, 
vi. 23. 

vTTfjO ?7C K cu Traff^ere^ suggests 
the reason and pledge of their 
election to the kingdom of God. 

t i 7T|0 SiKaiov ] is taken up from 
SiKaias Kpiarewc, " since it is just 
with [God to punish your ene 

7. av6<rte], remission of suffering 
in the future kingdom of Christ, 
" where the wicked cease from 
troubling, where the weary are 
at rest." 


p.tT ayyeXwv 
a Hebraism like viol 
upX OVT Svva/jiewG in the LXX. 

8. iv tyXoyi Trujooc, in flaming 
fire.~\ Compare Exod. iii. 2., Dan. 
vii. 9, 10., Is. xxix. 6. 

The Gospel " of the coming 
of Christ " is clothed in language 
taken from the Old Testament. 
"The flame of fire" and the 
punishment of the wicked, " from 
the presence of God and from 
the glory of his might," are lite 
rally expressions of Isaiah (ii. 
10. 19.21., andxxix. 6., xxx. 27.), 
as the description of the man 
of sin in the next chapter is in 
part also borrowed from Ezekiel 
and Daniel. The array of His 
saints is also an image familiar 
to the prophets. (Comp. Jude, 
ver. 14.) Almost we may fancy 
we hear Elias saying by the 
mouth of John the Baptist, "He 
shall thoroughly purge his floor 
and burn up the chaff with un 
quenchable fire." And yet that 
which most distinguishes the 
truth of Christ even from Evan 
gelical prophecy is not wanting. 
They who are to be " glorified 
in Christ" in company (/t0 //^uwr) 
with the Apostles and prophets, 
are not the chosen people, but 
a heathen community. That 
earlier Gospel of St. Paul "which 


eiSdcn, Oeov KOI rots ^TI viraKovovcrw rco evayyeXtw rov 
Kvpiov rjfjiwv Irjcrov [^tcrroG], om^es iKrjv TIO-OV&IV 9 
o\49piov l altoviov a/7ro TrpoorcoTTOV TOV Kvpiov Kal 0,770 TTJS 
80^-77? rrjs IOT^VO? avTov, orav e\0rj lv8oacr0rjvaL ev rot? 10 
dyiois avTov Kal OavjJLao-OrjvaL iv 7ra<Tiv rots Tricrreucracrtz/ 2 , 
on T7LCTTvdr) TO [JiapTvpiov rjjjia)v efi vjnas iv rf} 

ei? o Kal Trpoarev^ojJieOa TraVroTe Trepl 
aia>crr) rfjs /cX^crea)? 6 ^09 TI^V Kal 
evSoKiav ayaO(*)crvvr)S Kal epyov Trio^Tea)? iv Sv- 

Iva \\ 

was not another," had a kind of 
Old Testament force and sim 
plicity. Its phraseology was 
yet unformed ; it embodied in 
vision of sense the " things that 
eye hath not seen ; " the Apostle 
when he preached it was " drunk 
into the Spirit " of the old pro 
phets of Israel. But it was a 
Gospel for the Gentile as well 
as the Jew ; it spoke of faith in 
Christ and salvation through 
his name ; it witnessed to the 
Apostle s own call and that of 
his converts ; it was " very 
near," though it seemed also " to 
bring down Christ from above." 

Tolg jj.ii elSofftv $eov Kal rdlg p)} 
vircu:ovovaiv.~\ Seeming to inti 
mate the Gentiles, who know 
not God, and the Jews, who are 
a disobedient race. 

9. O.TTO 7rpo<TW7rov.] CITTO here pro 
bably has a mixed or double 
notion ; " at " or " because of "and 
" away from " in one ; it marks 
the cause of separation. Com 
pare the use of aVo irpoa-coTrov in 
Is. xix. 16., and the description 
of the day of the Lord in Isaiah 
ii. 10. 19. 21. (jdffEviynavTEQ E\Q 
TO. o-TTi/Xcua . . . ctTro 




dpavorai T)]v yr]v\ from which 
this passage is taken, and where 
the same words (ctTro . . . avrov) 
are thrice repeated. 

r>7c of/e rfjr, layvoQ avrou.] 
Taken from the passage just 
quoted. Not the glory which is 
the creation of his power, but his 
mighty glory, the glory which 
overpowers men at his appearing, 
as of the sun travelling in the 
greatness of his strength (com 
pare TO KpaTOQ TT) ^O^Cj Col. i. 
11. andver. 7., ^LET dyy\wv ovv 
afj.ewQ CIVTOV). This is confirmed 
by the next verse, the thought 
of which is caught up from the 
word 2oa in the preceding. 

10. OTCLV EXOy, when he shall 
come~] (sc. wore) to be glorified. 
r rote ayioiQ refers, not to angels, 
but to the spirits of departed 
saints, who are the array in which 
the Lord comes (Zech. xiv. 5., 
Jude, ver. 14.), while believers 
everywhere look on with joy 
and wonder, tr, neither "by" 
nor " in the midst of ; " it is 
expressive rather of the union 
of Christ with those who are 
the manifestation of his glory. 
As the Father is said to be 
glorified in the Son, John, xiv. 
3., so is the Son said to be 


geance on them that know not God, and that obey not 

9 the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall be 

punished with everlasting destruction from the presence 

10 of the Lord, and from the glory of his power ; when he 
shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be 
admired in all them that believe because our testimony 

11 *to you was believed in that day. Wherefore also 
we pray always for you, that our God would count 
you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good plea 
sure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power : 

glorified in his saints. Compare 
eyKav%aa6ai iv vjjuv, ver. 4. 

ore lirurrcvdij TO paprvpiorfipiij) .^ 
The most natural explanation of 
these words is to regard them as 
a mere epexegesis of Tnarevaacnv. 
" To be marvelled at by all be 
lievers, because you believed us;" 
the clause on iiriaTtvOr) being in 
tended to connect the previous 
clause ev -a<nv TO~IQ TriaTtvaaaLV 
with the Church at Thessalonica, 
to which the Apostle had 
preached. " When he comes to 
be glorified in his saints, and 
wondered at, among all believers, 
because of the success of the 
Gospel, whereof I am a minister." 

f.(j> vfjiUQ is commonly said to 
be joined with paprvpior; " unto," 
not, as in the parallel expression 
(Luke, ix. 5.), "against." For 
the use of I?, compare the Home 
ric K Xtog e?r avtipwirovc;. In such 
forms of speech e-rrl is hardly 
distinguishable from EIQ ; it may 
perhaps be said to convey an 
idea of diffusion, elc of directness, 
both equally implying the ten 
dency to an object. 

It is not, however, certain that 
</> vfjias is to be taken with 
rather than with iin- 
In the latter case ETTI- 

UQ may be said in the 
same way as in Col. i. 6., evaj- 
yeXiov rov -nupovroQ elg v^uac, the 
idea of "extending" or "coming," 
which is wanted in the verb, being 
imperfectly expressed by the pre 
position. So TTtTroiOaper f.q> vpac, 
2 Thess. iii. 4., and 2 Cor. ii. 3. 
Compare also Apoc. vii. 15., 
(TKrjrwffet iir* avrovc. 

kv TTJ ripepa tKUVQ is usually 
connected with j^oa<70r>cu; the 
order of words favours its being 
construed with tTriffrevOr], Com 
pare note on Rom. ii. 12. 

11. fig 6 .] " For which end ;" 
the thought being further carried 
on in the words that follow Ira 

o7/, and assisted by r?)c 
Compare ii. 14., els o 
, and Col. i. 29., etc o 


K-a/.] Which shall be, and to 
which end we pray also. 

rijQ /cA/jo fwe.] The calling of 
man by God is the first act, and 
beginning of a Christian life. 
But the acts of God may be 
viewed also as unchangeable. 
and therefore as the end rather 
than the beginning of the work ; 
in the beginning the end also is 
implied. In this passage it is 
not as the act of God that j[:A/<rig 


i, OTTOJS IvSo^acrQfj T0 oVo/xa TOV Kvpiov ^^MV I^o-ov 12 
^ VIM.V KOL vjjieis iv avroj Acara TT^V yapiv TOV 


EpaiTojfJitv Se v/xa9, dSeX<(H, vTrep TT^S Trapovcrias rov 2 
Kvpiov TJJJLOJV Irjcrov ^picrrov KOLI r^L^v TruTvva.ya)yr}S CTT 
avrov, eis TO /XT) ra^ew? cra\V0rjvai vjaa? CXTTO rou *>oo9 2 

is used, but as the state which 
results from that act. Comp. note 
on 1 Thess. iii. 7. 

TrXripuffr) iraffctv evdoxiar aya- 
Q(oavvr)c, fulfil all the good plea 
sure of his goodness. ] It has 
been doubted, in reference to the 
last two words, whether they al 
lude to the Thessalonians, or to 
God the Giver ; or evtioKia to 
God, ayaOiiMTvt r) to them : (1.) 
all gladness in well doing ; or, 
(2.) (as in the English version) 
all the good pleasure of his good 
ness ; or, (3.) all his good plea 
sure in their righteousness. 
It is improbable that the Apostle 
would have distinguished the will 
of God in itself from the working 
of it in the heart of man. As 
with ZiKaiocruvrj, yrwert, ayctTrr/, he 
uses mixed modes of thought, 
blending in one the cause with 
the effect. The believer is sepa 
rated by so thin a film from the 
Spirit of God that the operation 
of the one is often in Scripture 
transferred to the other, and 
language wavers in its meaning 
between the two or seems to 
comprehend both. See Essay 
in vol. ii. on the Abstract Ideas 
of Scripture. 

12. OTTWC tV<W;ttff0j/, that may be 
glorified.~\ That is, that the Lord 
may be glorified in you, and ye 
in him. The words TO ovopa TOV 
Kvfjiov are not precisely equivalent 
to o Kvpwc. They recall the lan 
guage of the Old Testament 

which the Apostle naturally 
uses to express the glory of " His 

II. " I beseech you, brethren, as 
an advocate for the truth respect 
ing the coming of Christ (or 
simply as touching the coming of 
Christ), that ye be not soon shaken 
by any impulse from within, or 
word, or letter of any, as though it 
were what I taught you, that the 
day of the Lord is at hand. For 
ye remember what I said, while 
I was with you, that the Apostasy 
must first come, that so the ad 
versary, the son of perdition, may 
be revealed, who is to seat him 
self in the Temple of God. And 
you know what it is that hinders 
his being revealed, and reserves 
him for his own time. For al 
ready he is working unseen, and 
shall appear when the hinderer is 
taken away. Then shall be the 
revelation of the power of Satan 
on earth, the image of the true, 
with all manner of falsehood and 
imposture, and power of delusion 
to those who will be deceived, in 
the deception of whom God him 
self shall assist, that they may be 
all brought into judgment. 
"Him," the Apostle adds by an 
ticipation in the eighth verse, 
<{ the Lord shall destroy with the 
breath of his mouth and the ma 
nifestation of his presence." 

" From the lost, brethren, we 
turn to you who are saved, having 
so much the more need to give 


12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glori 
fied in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of 
our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

% NOW we beseech you, brethren, concerning* the com 
ing of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together 

2 unto him, that ye be not soon shaken from * your mind, 

thanks for you, who are the first 
fruits of the Gospel, whom God 
hath called by our preaching to 
the inheritance of the kingdom 
of Christ. Wherefore also I ex 
hort you to stand firm and hold 
fast what has been delivered to 
you. And may our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and God our Father, who 
loved us and gave us consolation 
far beyond our temporal suffer 
ings, comfort and strengthen 
you ! " 

1 10. is suggested by the 
mention of the judgment in the 
previous chapter, and has re 
ference to opinions existing in 
the Thessalonian Church. They 
had suffered persecution and 
this led the Apostle to the 
thought, that the judgment of 
God would be upon their enemies, 
in the day of the Lord. But a 
sort of counter-thought arises in 
his mind, that this coming of 
the day of the Lord was the 
very subject upon which he had 
to warn them to be calm, and 
not think, day after day, that the 
course of the world was to be 
interrupted. " God is about to 
take vengeance on your enemies 
and that speedily " would be the 
natural sequence. But the Apo 
stle goes on to teach them, 
that in- fact "it would not be 
speedily," for an increase of evil 
must come first. And he pro 
ceeds to recall to their minds 
the lesson which he had taught 

VOL. I. 

while yet with them, respecting 
the man of sin and " that which 

1. fpwroi/ier, "we beseech, "] as 
in Phil. iv. 3. and elsewhere in 
the New Testament. 

inre jo.] Not as in the English 
version "by," as though a formula 
of adjuration. There would be 
no point in saying "I beseech 
you by the day of the Lord, not to 
suppose that the day of the Lord 
is at hand, virep, in this passage, 
may be taken, either (1.) as 
equivalent to Trfpt, as in 2 Cor. 
i. 6. 8. ; 1 Thess. iii. 2. ; where, 
however, as in most of the pas 
sages in which vwep is said to be 
put for 7Tp<, the original idea is 
partly retained ; or better, (2.) in 
the common use of " on behalf 
of," as though the Apostle were 
pleading in the interest of that 
day, that the expectation of it 
might not be a source of disorder 
in the Church. 

T//IWV 7rtervmywyf/.[] Compare 
1 Thess. iv. 17. : " Then we 
which are alive and remain shall 
be caught up together with them 
in the clouds." 

2. ffaXevOrjvai VJJLUQ CITTO rov roo, 
that ye be not soon shaken from 
your mind,"] or so as to lose your 
mind. Comp. Rom. ix. 3,, ava- 
0ejua etvai . . . UTTO rov -^pLffrov. 

pr}T c)td TTvevparoQ, by spirit.^ 
Do not let any spiritual influence 
take possession of you, and unset 
tle your mind. -Krtv^a^ not in that 


Sict Tr^ev/xaros /ATjre Sia \6yov 
81 lTri<TTO\rjs, a>9 oY THJLMV, 0)9 on ivi&Tr)K.ev 07 ^/xepa rov 

Kvpiov? pri ri9 v/xas l^aTTaTujcry Kara /x^Sei a rporrov, on 3 
eaz/ /AT) eX^]7 17 a/Trocrracria Trp&TOv Kal a7TOKa\v<j>Ofj 6 



sense of the word, in which all 
Christians are partakers of it, but 
rather with reference to the ir 
regular manifestations of the 
spirit, as of " a rushing mighty 
wind," carrying men whither 
they would not. 

prjre rUa Xoyov, by word,~\ may 
be connected, either with what 
precedes, or with what follows ; 
either, be not moved by any spi 
ritual manifestation, nor by word 
spoken of argument or exhorta 
tion ; or, be not moved either by 
word pretending to come from us, 
or by letter pretending to come 
from us. According to the first 
explanation, Trrtvaarog is opposed 
to Xdyov, as the supernatural ec 
static impulse to ordinary in 

p/re Si f e TrioroX^c, by letter."] Do 
these words relate to a miscon 
struction of the former Epistle, or 
to a forgery ? In favour of the first 
supposition may be urged: (1.) 
the coincidence of the subject ; 
(2.) the improbability of any one 
forging an Epistle from St. Paul, 
at a time when he was himself 
living and writing to the Church 
of Thessalonica ; (3.) the allusion 
in ii. 15., whether to the Epistle 
in which it occurs, or the previous 
one, is uncertain ; (4.) the addi 
tional improbability of his pass 
ing over such an offence, with so 
slight an allusion. On the other 
hand, the Apostle does not com 
plain of a misunderstanding or 

misrepresentation of his words, 
but appears to disown the Epistle 
itself: and the former Epistle 
could not easily have given rise 
to such a misconstruction as is 
here implied. The most probable 
hypothesis is that the Apostle is 
not referring definitely to any 
particular speech or Epistle, but 
to the possibility only of some one 
or other being used against him. 
Many may have passed between 
them, and what inferences might 
be drawn was uncertain. We 
might translate the whole passage 
thus : "be not quickly moved 
either by spirit or words or letter, 
as though these expressed our sen 
timents." TrvevparoQ is half con 
nected with, and half forgotten in, 
the words <)t ?/juwV. (Comp. ver., 
15.) oe on is a confusion of two 
constructions, d>e fvEffrrjKvias and 
on ivearrjKe ; also of subjective 
and objective, we implying the 
former, on the latter, as in 2 Cor. 
xi. 21., /caret ciTifiiav Xfyw, w OTI 
i]fjiEiQ i](jQ(.vi]aa^.f.v^ where, as here, 
it may be translated " as though," 
"under the idea that." 

3. Kara ju^cteVa TJOOTTOJ , by this 
or any other means. 

on iav pi} e\dy, except there 
come,"] is an anacoluthon. "Let 
no man deceive you, because ex 
cept there come a falling away 
first," t crra?i}<rp may be taken 
in a pregnant sense, in which case 
on will mark the subject of the 
deception. " Let no man deceive 


or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by 
letter as from us, as that the day of the Lord 1 is at 

3 hand. Let no man deceive you by any means : for ex 
cept there come the* falling away first, and the man* of 

4 sin be revealed, the son of perdition ; who oppose th and 

1 Of Christ. 

you, saying that that day will 
come, except there come the fall 
ing away first." But, owing to the 
length of the sentence, the latter 
end of it forgets the beginning. 

?/ aTTOorao-m, the falling away,~\ 
either that of which he had 
spoken to them while he was yet 
with them, or the falling away 
which was the common belief of 
Christians or which in his own 
mind was inseparable from the 
coming of Christ, which was to 
follow. For the use of the 
article, compare Apoc. xx. 3., 
a^jOi TeXecrOrj ret ^i\ia err]. - Of 
what nature was this falling 
away ? What vision of apostasy 
rose before him as he wrote this ? 
Was it within or without ? per 
manent or passing ? persecution 
by the heathen, or the disor 
ganisation of the body of Christ 
itself? Was it the transition of 
the Church from its first love to 
a more secular and earthly state, 
or the letting loose of a spiritual 
world of evil, such as the Apostle 
describes in Eph. vi. 12. ? So 
ideal a picture cannot properly 
be limited to any person or in 
stitution. That it is an inward, 
not an outward evil that is de 
picted, is implied in the name 
apostasy. It is not the evil of 
the heathen world, sunk in gross- 
ness and unconsciousness, but 
evil rebelling against good, con 
flicting with good in the spiritual 
world itself. And the conflict is 

of the same nature, though in a 
wider sphere, as the strife of good 
and evil in the heart of the indi 
vidual. It is that same strife, 
not as represented in the seventh 
of Romans, but at a later stage, 
when evil is fast becoming good, 
and the remembrance of the past 
itself is carrying men away from 
the truth. 

fcut orTTo/oiXv^OjJ.^ Antichrist, 
like Christ, is to be revealed : 
the outside is to be stripped off, 
and he is to be seen as he is. 

6 avQpwiroQ ri]Q a/.tajOr/ac.J The 
impersonation of sin. Compare 
Rom. vi. 6., 6 TraXaiog avSpwiroQ. 

b vloQ rfJQ aTrwXtt ac.jj Not who 
brings others to perdition, but 
who is perdition himself and the 
son of perdition, the image of 
self-destroying evil. Compare 
for the expression, though there 
applied to an individual, John, 
xvii. 12.; also alpiaeig aTrwXemc, 
in 2 Peter, ii. 1., and ATroAAiW, 
in Rev. ix. 11. There is no 
reason to^ suppose that the de 
scription of the text refers to 
an individual, any more than the 
prince of this world spoken of 
by our Saviour ; the prince of 
the power of the air, in the Epi 
stle to the Ephesians ; or the beast 
and false prophet, spoken of in 
the Book of Revelation. As 
Christ is a person, so evil is im 
personated as his antagonist. 

4. 6 avTiKtinevoQ, the opposer,"] 
the same whom St. John calls 

M 2 


KOLL vTrepaipopsevos, eVl TTOLVTOL Xeyd/xe^o^ Oeov 17 
ware CLVTOV ets TOI> vaov rov 0eov l KaOicrai 

eavTov on ecrTLV $609. ov ^Tj^ovevere on en, u>v Trpos 
; Kal vvv TO 

ravra eXeyo^ v 

otSare, ets TO a7ro/ca- G 

1 Add ws e<k 

Antichrist, here more indefinitely 
and generally expressed "the 
accuser of the brethren," Rev. 
xii. 11.: not Satan himself, ac 
cording to whose power he is de 
scribed as working in ver. 9., yet 
scarcely distinguishable from 

vTTEpaipopevoe eV* Travra Xeyo- 
HEVOV SEC! , who exalteth, fyc.~\ 
The image is taken from the de 
scription of Antiochus Epiphanes, 
in Dan. xi. 36. : Kal Trorijffet Kara 
TO OtXrjjuo. avTov Kal o fia 

Travra Oeov Kal \a\rjffec vjrt- 
fca Kal eVt Travrag QEOVQ rdv 
avrov ov avvi]ai. Com 
pare also Dan. vii. 25. ; Kal 
Aoyovg TrpoQ TOV v^iarov XaXrjffei. 
" There are gods many and lords 
many," and over all in his inso 
lence does he place himself. 
Xsyopevov seems to be added as an 
euphemism, to avoid setting the 
heathen gods in the same rank 
with Jehovah. 

o-e gaoyia, object of reverence, ] 
used in Acts, xvii. 23., for idols. 

Kctdiffai here, as commonly in 
the New Testament, used intran 

?e TOV vaov TOV 0ov, in the 
temple of God. ] Either : (1.) the 
temple at Jerusalem ; or, (2.) the 
Christian Church ; or, (3.) more 
truly both, the one being the 
image of the other, as in our 
Lord s words, " Destroy this 
temple." The use of the image 
may have been suggested by the 

recent attempt of Caligula to 
place his statue in the Temple, as 
well as by the common practice 
of deifying the Roman emperors. 
" In medio mihi Csesar erit, tem- 
plumque tenebit." Compare Dan. 
ix. 27., eVt ro {p6V TO /33e\i y/za 
TrjQ EprjfKjjaewc, quoted by our 
Lord in Matt. xxiv. 15. Anti 
christ, 6 avTtKtipevot;, is not with 
out, but within the Church, 
usurping the place of God. The 
Jewish Temple being regarded 
as the symbol of the Christian 
Church, or of the world itself, 
that other temple of God, the 
man of sin, is the personified and 
concentrated might of evil pos 
sessing it by force. See Essay 
on the Man of Sin. 

lavTOV OTL ianv 

These words carry on the thought 
which has preceded. He sits in 
the temple of God, and openly 
declares himself to be God. Wo 
are not to imagine a person 
suddenly coming forward and 
claiming divine honours. This 
would be, not a mystery of ini 
quity, but an absurdity. What 
the Apostle is speaking of is a 
form of evil springing out of the 
state of the world itself, to which 
mankind are ready to give ho 

5. Comp. 1 Thess. iii. 4. This 
that I am telling you may sound 
strange. But do ye not remem 
ber that ye have heard it before 
from me by word of mouth, when 


exalteth himself over* all that is called God, or 
that is worshipped; so that he 1 sitteth in the 

5 temple of God, shewing himself that he is God, Re 
member ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told 

6 you these things? And now ye know what with- 
holdeth, that he* may be revealed in his proper* time. 

1 Add as God. 

I was yet with yon. I do but 
hint to you now what I then told 
you more fully. Or we may trace 
the connexion in a slightly dif 
ferent way. How is it that you 
have taken up these extravagant 
notions about the immediate 
coming of Christ ? Have you 
forgotten what I told you about 
the manifestation of Antichrist 
and the interval which must pre 
cede? Comp. 1 John, ii. 21., 
where the Apostle refers in the 
same way to the knowledge which 
his converts had of the appear 
ance of Antichrist "I wrote 
not unto you, because ye know 
not the truth, but because ye 
know it." 

6 Kal rvv, and now. ~] Not of 
time, but of transition, and con 
necting both with what precedes 
and what follows: "And now 
when you call to mind what I 
told you, you know further what 
hinders Antichrist, even as Anti 
christ hinders the coming of 

t iQ TO a.7roKa\v(()9fjvai 9 that he 
may be revealed.^ The coming 
of Antichrist, like that of Christ, 
has its appointed time. Men 
were looking for the day of the 
Lord, but it was not yet ; Anti 
christ must first come. They 
would look for Antichrist, but 
it was not yet. 

That TO naTiv refers to the 

hindrance of Antichrist is plain 
from o Kare x&jj in the succeeding 
verse. As in the case of Anti 
christ itself, the change of gen 
der indicates that the hindrance 
spoken of may be regarded in 
differently as a thing or as a 

"That which letteth" has been 
variously explained to mean the 
prayers of Christians, or the 
ministry of the Apostle himself, 
or the Roman empire, about the 
destruction of which the Apostle 
expresses himself in dark and 
enigmatic terms ; or, more gene 
rally, the purpose of God to delay 
its appearance. That the Roman 
empire was a limit to the anarchy 
and licentiousness of the world 
is a natural view to us. But we 
no not find anywhere else in the 
writings of St. Paul any similar 
view, nor is it easy to see how 
the Roman empire could be said 
to curb ^or restrain forms of 
spiritual evil, although it might 
seem to stand between the world 
and the papacy, or between the 
world and the irruption of the 
barbarians. Compare Essay on 
the Man of Sin. 

The subject admits also of 
being regarded in a more general 
way. Again and again, in Scrip 
ture occurs the idea of an order 
and series of events, not to be 
anticipated in the providence of 

M 3 



avTov iv TO> lav TOV Kaipu. TO yap pvcrTrjpiov 17817 
Trjs avof.iia<$ JJLQVOV 6 Acare^o)^ dpTi ews IK jutecrov 
Kal TOT6 a7TOKa\v^)6ricr.Tai 6 avo^o^, ov 6 Kvpios 8 
ise\L l TM TrvevfJiaTL TOV crTO/xaTO9 avTov Kal /car- 
apyijo-ei Trj iiTK^avtia Trjs irapovcrLas avTov, ov ecrrlz^ 77 9 
TrapovcTia KOT ivtpyeiav TOV crara^a iv Trdo-rj Svz^a/xet Kal 
cr^/aeiois Kal Tepa&iv iftevSovs Kal iv irdory aTraTrj 2 clStKia? 10 
roi9 aTroXXv/^eVot?, a,^^ wi^ Trjv dydiTrjV Trjs aXrjdeias OVK 

eis TO o-a)07Jvai avTovs. Kal Sia TOVTO Tre/xTrei 3 n 

2 Add T^S. ^ 

God. Thus our Saviour says : 
"It is not for you to know the 
times and the seasons which the 
Father hath put in his own 
power." The Gospel itself comes 
" in the fulness of time." There 
is a fitness of times and seasons, 
preparations and tendencies go 
ing before, and the final event 
following them. As in the Old 
Testament, "the iniquity of 
the Amorites is not yet full," so 
in the New, God is described 
as waiting and interposing hin 
drances that the order of Provi 
dence may not be inverted. 

7. TO yap pvffrrjpiov 1/077 r *7 
a> oju/ac.j/uv0T/;|Oioj is here opposed 
to a7ro/ca\v00/?vat, as 17^77 ... to iv 
TO) eavTov Ktupy* fJLVffrrtpiov rfJQ dvo- 
/utae does not differ from aTToaraam, 
except as it expresses the hidden 
spiritual character of the wick 
edness about to come upon the 
earth. (Comp. for the expression 
1 Tim. iii. 16., i/rr eiac p,vffrr)ptor 9 
as it were, in connexion with the 
secret counsels of God.) Comp. 
1 John, iv. 3.: "This is that 
spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye 
have heard that it should come ; 
and even now already is it in 
the world." 

Not (1.) for 

the mystery of iniquity already 
works, but only as a mystery, 
until he that now hinders be taken 
out of the way, with a stop after 
povov ; thus, 7/^/7 and povov agree 
but ill together, and a false em 
phasis is laid on ^varijoiov. It is 
better to take puvov with the fol 
lowing clause, and supply EVTI. 
(2.) For the mystery of iniquity 
already works, only he who now 
letteth will let. (Comp. Gal. ii. 
10. 1 jiovov Tdv Trrwwr LVCL 

For the general sense of the 
passage, comp. 1 John, ii. 17.: 
" As ye have heard that Anti 
christ shall come, even now there 
are many Antichrists whereby 
we know that it is the last time." 
Hidden in the bosom of the earth 
and of the world, the power of 
Antichrist is already stirring, a 
mystery still, even as the be 
liever s life is hidden with Christ 
and God. The depth of evil as 
of good is discerned by the spi 
ritual eye before it is seen by 
other men. 

8. KCIL Tore."] And then when 
he that letteth is taken out of the 
way, that lawless one shall be 
revealed. Yet not to have a 
long reign on the earth. Before 


7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work : only 
there* is he who letteth now, until he be taken 

s out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, 
whom the Lord shall slay 1 with the spirit of his mouth, 
and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 

9 whose coming is after the working of Satan with all 

10 power and *lying signs and wonders, and with all de- 
ceivableness of unrighteousness for* them that perish; 
because they received not the love of the truth, that 

11 they might be saved. And for this cause God doth 


describing his appearance, the 
Apostle, as it were by way of 
consolation to the Church, anti 
cipates his destruction. 

rw TrvevfJCtTi rov arcifjiaTOQ avrov] 
is a poetical expression taken 
from the Old Testament. It im 
plies, first, the power of God, as 
in Psalm xxxiii. 6., where it is 
said, the host of the heavens 
were made " by the breath of his 
mouth ; " secondly, the wrath of 
God, as in Isaiah, xi. 4., where 
nearly the same expression oc 
curs as in this passage: "He 
shall smite the earth with the 
rod of his mouth, and with the 
breath of his lips shall he slay 
the wicked." 

rr\ e7ri(f)ai elq. TIJQ Trnpovmag ctv- 
TUV, with the brightness of his 
coming.^ The word eVi^areta 
may either express the reality 
and vividness of his coming, or 
may be considered as meaning 
the " mere apparition of his pre 
sence ; " as Bengel says Appa- 
ritio adventus ipso adventu prior 
est vel certe prima ipsius ad 
ventus emicatio, uti 

3_10. The Apostle having 
anticipated the overthrow of anti- 

Christ, returns to the description 
of him, whose presence will be, 
yea, and now is, according to the 
working of Satan, with all false 
power and all false signs and 
wonders (-^acrr) and \jjevfiovQ both 
refer to all the substantives), and 
in all unrighteous deceit to the 
lost, because they did not receive 
the truth for their salvation. In 
the words ddiK. rolg aVoXAv^ue rotc 
the dative implies that the false 
hood has a natural and congenial 
effect on them. It is a falsehood 
apt to deceive them. Yet the 
cause of this is in themselves, 
because they have not received 
the truth in love they have not 
learnt to love the truth. The 
expression, not receiving the love 
of the truth, does not imply any 
higher degree of alienation from 
the truth than the simpler form 
of words, "not receiving the 
truth." It is a periphrasis agree 
able to the Apostle s mode of 
speech, but not equally so to our 
own idiom. 

11. c)ia TOVTO.~] "He that hath 
to him shall be given, and he 
that hath not shall lose even that 
which he hath." According to 
the view of the Apostle, God not 

M 4 


eis TO TTtcrrevcrai aurov? 


avrots 6 #eos ivlpyeuw 

TOJ ifsevSei. tVa Kpi9o)criv Trdvres ol JU/T) Trtcrreucrai Tes rfj 12 

aXrjOeia dXX euSoK^cra^Tes [e^] TT^ aStKta. 

ev^apicrTeii ra> ^e&j Tra^rore Trepl 13 
dSeXc^o! 7}ya7T77jLteVot VTTO Kvp iov, on etXaro v/xas 6 
iirap ^p 1 t? cra)Tr)piav ev dyiao~/xa) IT vev pharos KOI 
a\rj@Las, ets o eVaXecrez Tjjuta?, 8ia rov euayyeXtou 14 

69 TTepiTTOirjO Ll 8o^9 TOV KVpLOV T^JLCOJ^ ifJCTOV 

apa ovv, aSeXc^oi, o-r^/cere, /cat Kparelre rag 15 
? as eStSd^^re et/re Std Xdyov etre St eTTto-roX^s 
avros 8e 6 KvpwsriiJiwv l^crous o 2 ^/Dtcrros /cat [6] 10 

2 Omit 6. 

(2.) As sitting in the Temple 
of God, setting himself above all 
other religions, and founding a 
new one. 

(3.) As delayed for a time by 
some thing or person. 

(4.) As immediately preceding 
the coming of Christ. 

13. ttpelg <[,] sc. St. Paul, 
speaking of himself in the plural. 
As in chap. 1. the punishment of 
the wicked recalls the Apostle to 
the salvation of his converts ; 
ver. 13. and 14. contrast with 11 
and 12. Trt crrfi aXrjOeiaQ answer 
ing to TTiffrsvaai -^tvfiei. 


Compare Horn. i. 8. 

cfropx^r, firstfruits,~\ B. G. v., 
that is, in comparison with the rest 
of the world. Comp. James, i. 18.; 
Rom. viii. There is considerable 
MS. authority (A. f. g.) in favour 
of ttV dpxijz, from the beginning, 
which is the reading of the Textus 
Receptus ; SO, Trpo rdv atw^on , TTJOO 
ica7-a/3o\>7e Koa/jov. According to 
this reading, St. Paul regards the 
election of his converts as exist 
ing from the beginning in the 
counsels of God ; he transfers 

only, in our phraseology, permits 
sin, but even causes it as a punish 
ment for previous sin. Comp. 
Rom. i. 24., also x., and Essay on 
Predestination. He hardens Pha 
raoh s heart; He puts a lying 
spirit into the mouth of Ahab s 
prophets. He designedly de 
ceives those who deceive them 
selves. So Isaiah, Ixiii. 17. : rt 
ETrXarrjffaQ //juag Kvpte OLTTO TYIQ bdov 
ffov, cff/cXijpvvac TO.Q fcapc/a^ //juwr. 

To soften Tre juTret into the sense 
of " permits to go," or elg TO TTL- 
arevarca into a mere result, is 
contrary to the use of language, 
as it is to the form of thought, in 
the age of the Apostles. 

12. "iva. k piOuJmv Trdvrec.^ 
There are altogether three stages 
mentioned : First, they would 
not receive the truth ; therefore, 
secondly, God sent them a delu 
sion that, thirdly, they might be 
punished for their unbelief. 

The prophecy of the man of 
sin may be summed up under the 
following heads : 

(1.) The man of sin is de 
scribed as an apostasy, that is, as 
arising within the Church. 


send 1 them strong delusion, that they should believe a 

12 lie : that they all might be damned who believed not 
the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

13 BUT we are bound to give thanks always to God for 
you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God chose 
you 2 a firstfruits to salvation through sanctification of 

14 the Spirit and belief of the truth : whereunto he called 
you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our 

15 Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and 
hold the lessons which ye have been taught, whether by 

iG word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ him- 

Shall send. 

2 God hath from the beginning chosen you. 

them to the invisible world. It 
would be natural to say, I thank 
God "that you received the 
word of truth." But the Apostle 
regards them as long ago ad 
mitted into the church, even from 
eternity, as though the purpose of 
God respecting them must have 
always been. 

iv aytaap.b) Trvevfiarog /ecu Triarei 
aXifflcme,] expresses, not the in 
strument by which God works, 
but the state into which he trans 
forms those whom he chooses. 
We may regard the expression as 
another instance of St. Paul s 
"mixed modes," blending the 
word of God in itself with the 
word of God in the human heart. 

14. EIQ 6 , unto all which,"] sc. 
<e ffdtTqpiav eV aymtr^uw 

, T. \. 

Trepnroirjcrtv c)o?7e]] is a re 
sumption of <e aurrjpictv in the 
previous verse. " To the ob 
taining of the glory of the Lord ; " 
like Trepnroirjviv o-wr^pt ac, in 1 
Thess. v. 9. Or Trtp 171-0/17 o-ie ma y 
be taken passively (comp. Mai. 
iii. 17., 1 Pet. ii.9.), and ^o^c as a 
Hebrew genitive " for a glorious 

possession." The first of these 
two explanations agrees best 
with the connexion. 

15. It might seem as if, when 
election is spoken of, God had 
already done all, and nothing was 
left for man to do. The opposite 
inference is that of the Apostle. 
Unconscious of what we should 
term the logical inconsistency, 
he immediately adds " Stand 
fast therefore;" be not shaken in 
mind or troubled, and hold fast 
what I taught you, either by word, 
or by Epistle. You might be 
shaken if you did not know the 
purpose of God towards you ; but 
knowing it, be therefore at rest. 

16 17 V . The same thought is 
continued in reference to the 
trouble and fear of the Church : 
" Be not soon shaken in your 
minds, but stand fast ; and may 
our Lord Jesus Christ and God 
the Father, who loved us, com 
fort your hearts and stablish you 
in all you do and say! " 

7rapd.K\r]<nv cuum ar,] " a COnso- 
lation that reaches to the life 
that now is, and to that which is 
to come." 


TTOLTrjp rjfJLwv, ayamo-as rjfJLas Ka 

Kal eXTuSa ayaOrjv iv ^apin, TrapaKaXecron, v 
jcapSia? KOL (rnypifair 2 ev TravTi tpyw KCU Xoya) 3 a/ya$a). 
To \OITTOV Trpoo-ev^eo-Oe, dSeXc^oi, Trepl THLMV, Iva 6 3 
Xdyos roi) Kvpiov Tpe^y Kal Soa??Tcu KaOajs Kal irpbs 
, Kal Iva pvcrO^^ev OLTTO T^V OJTQTTMV Kal irovrjpwv 2 



mcrris. TTKTTOS Se ICTTIV 6 3 


The Greek philosopher spoke 
of wisdom as an larpeia i^u^Cj as 
we speak of the Gospel as re~ 
medial to the ills of human 
nature. St. Paul uses stronger 
language ; with him the Gospel 
is a consolation. Within and 
without, the Christian is suffer 
ing in this evil world (tV TM 
TTOpforwrt cilioi i TTOJ r/pw). The 
Gospel makes him sensible of this 
state, and at the same time turns 
his sorrow into joy. If his suf 
fering abounds, his consolation 
much more abounds ; and God, 
who is spoken of under many ti 
tles as the Author of the Gospel, 
has this one especially in the 
writings of St. Paul, that he is 
the God of all consolation. (Rom. 
xv. 5. ; 2 Cor. i. 3.) 

III. The Epistle as usual con 
cludes with exhortation. 

For what remains, says the 
Apostle, pray for us, and yet not 
for us, but for the success of the 
Gospel; and for us also, that we 
may be delivered from persecu 
tion, for all men have not faith. 
But though men are faithless, 
God is faithful who will streng 
then and deliver you from the 
evil. And we have faith in the 
Lord, that ye will do as we ex 
hort you, and may he guide your 
hearts to love God and abide 
patiently in Christ! 

Now what we do exhort you 

to, brethren, by the name ye 
bear, is this, to withdraw from 
the authors of disorder among 
you, who walk not according to 
the instructions they received of 
us. For ye know how far from 
disorder our walk was. We did 
not eat our bread for nothing, 
though we might have done so ; 
but we worked with our own 
hands, partly for your example, 
partly to prevent our being bur 
densome to you. The reason 
why we say all this is, that we 
hear a report of certain disorderly 
members of the Church, who may 
be said to mind every body s 
business but their own. Such 
we exhort and desire in the Lord 
Jesus to w T ork peaceably and get 
their own living. But ye, bre 
thren, be not weary of setting 
the better example. And if there 
be others who will not follow it, 
and disobey this our present com 
mand, mark and avoid them, and 
yet remember that they are not 
enemies, but brethren. And may 
the author of peace give you 
peace always everywhere ! 

Trpovtv-^effOe . . . 7T(n i]fj.(op, pray 
for us.~\ But for what ? that the 
word of God may run and be 
glorified. It is after the manner 
of the Apostle, to put that as a 
wish for himself, which was a 
wish for the furtherance of the 


self, and God 1 our Father, which hath loved us, and 

hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope 
17 through grace, comfort 2 and stablish your hearts in 

every good work and word. 3 
3 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the 

Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it 

2 is with you: and that we may be delivered from the 
*strange and wicked ones : for all men have not faith. 

3 But God 4 is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep 

1 Add even. 

3 Word and work. 

2 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you. 
4 The Lord. 

i.] Comp. Acts, xiii. 4., 
" And when the Gentiles heard 
this .. they glorified the word of the 
Lord : " and for rjoe x??, Ps. cxlvii. 
15., twg ra-^ovg cpujj.elrai 6 \oyof. 
So, 2 Tim. ii. 9. : 6 Aoyog rov 
Seov ov diderai. 

2. KCLI tVa pvadujjiEi , and that 
we may be delivered.] The first 
thought of the Apostle was for 
the success of the Gospel ; then 
followed the shrinking of the 
flesh from the dangers which 
awaited him. 

The same shrinking of the 
flesh is traceable elsewhere, in 
Eom. xv. 31. ; 2 Cor. i. 8, 9. It 
was not a fear of death, nor was 
it merely the wish to be pre 
served for his master s service ; 
but a natural human feeling, 
which, in later life, had passed 
away. (Phil. ii. 17. ; 2 Tim. iv. 
7.) It may be not unreasonably 
connected with his bodily pre 
sence, which his adversaries said 
was weak and his speech contemp 
tible. (2 Cor. x. 10.) In this pas 
sage the adversaries to whom 
he refers are not his opponents 
at Thessalonica, which he had 
left, but at Corinth, where he 
probably was at this time, the 
false brethren of the Second 
Epistle to the Corinthians. The 

words themselves indicate that 
he is speaking of those who are 
in a certain sense Christians. 
For why should he say ov yap 
TTttj rwj >/ irtffTic, of mere heathens 
or mere Jews ? It would be 
like saying, "Pray God to deliver 
me from my enemies, for all men 
are not Christians ; " or, " Pray 
God to deliver me from Jews 
or heathens, for they are uncon 
verted;" a self-evident remark, 
which it would be unmeaning to 
attribute to him. We are, there 
fore, led to infer that the words re 
late to the false brethren, the appa 
rent friends, but secret enemies, 
such as those who came, in Gal. 
ii., to spy out the liberty of the 
Gospel, and were not separated 
by any marked line from the dis 
ciples. Supposing this view to 
be the true one, we may para 
phrase as follows : " Pray God 
that we may be delivered from evil 
men ; for not all professors are true 
Christians." Cornp. Rom. xv. 31. 
TUV oVoTrom] Hesych., aroTra 
eVa, eriore SE aroiror rbv 
Kctl e.K&ffjtov 9 Kal 

The article defines 
them as the class of the Apostle s 

3. Though men are unfaithful, 


, 09 o-Trjpigei v/^as /cat <vXafet oVo TOV Trovrjpov. 
aiJiv Se eV Kvpua) Ifi u/x,as, ort a 7rapayye\\op,v 4 
/cat eVot^craTe /ecu] 2 Trotetre /cat Trot^crere. 6 Se 5 
KOLTtvOvvai vfjitov ras /capSta? ets TT)^ ayaTnqv TOV 

/Cat 65 TTp 3 VTTOlJLOVrjV TOV -^piCTTOV. 

Se T^at^, aSeX^ot, eV oVojaart TOV Kvpiov 6 
Irjcrov ^pLcrTov, crre XXecr$at uju,a? CXTTO TTOLVTOS 
aSeX<o> dra/crws TrepiTraTovvTOs /cat ^ /cara r^ Trapd ooo LV 

2 Omit uaj wat 

yet God is faithful. Compare 
Rom. iii. 4. Though there are 
false brethren who have not the 
faith, yet God is faithful, and 
will deliver you from the evil. 
The connecting link between this 
verse and the preceding is formed 
by the two words 7r/<mc and TTO- 
vrjpoc. The Apostle, more anx 
ious for others than for himself, 
changes the person, and passes 
suddenly from the thought of his 
own danger to that of the Thes- 

Commentators are not agreed 
whether TOV Trorrjpov is to be taken 
as neuter or masculine ; and whe 
ther, in the latter case, it refers 
to Satan or the man of sin, or is 
a collective name for bad men in 
general. The transition from 
the plural in the preceding verse 
to the singular is certainly pos 
sible : the form of Antichrist 
may be again for a moment rising 
before the Apostle s eyes. But it 
is simpler to take the words as a 
neuter, " from evil." (Compare 
Matt. v. 39., vi. 13.) It is an evil 
common to himself and them, the 
evil of persecution, and from 
which, feeling for them rather 
than for himself, he prays that 
they may be delivered. 

4. TreTToiOaper $e cV/cvp/w.] Here, 


as elsewhere, the Apostle speaks 
of believing, hoping, doing all 
things in Christ. We lead an 
ordinary life, as well as a reli 
gious one ; but with the Apostle 
his ordinary life is his religious 
one, and hence he uses religious 
expressions in reference to all 
that he says and does. 

t^ vfiag"] expresses that this 
confidence, though in the Lord, 
reaches also to the Thessalonians 

It is characteristic of St. Paul 
to admonish under the form of 
praise. As in familiar language, 
we say, * I am sure you will 
do it," with the meaning, " You 
ought to do it ; " so the Apostle 
is confident of his Thessalonian 
converts, meaning thereby to sta- 
blish them in the faith. 

5. " I am confident," the Apostle 
has just said, "you will do and are 
doing what I bid;" and yet, with 
a sort of happy inconsistency, he 
adds, "May God perfect you! " 
They are to trust as he trusts, also 
to themselves; and still he prays 
God to guide their hearts into 
the love of God and the imita 
tion of the patience of Christ, in 
waiting for his appearing. Comp. 
1 Thess. i. 10. 

Genitive whether 


4 you from evil. And we have confidence in the Lord 
touching you, that ye both do and will do the things 

5 which we command you and ye have done. 1 And the 
Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into 
the patient ivaiting for Christ 

6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from 
every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the 

1 Omit and ye have done. 

of object or subject, whether 
"patient waiting for Christ, or 
patience which Christ gives," 
uncertain. Compare vnat^ot) %pi- 
elprjvr) ^JOIOTOW, inrojj.ovr] Ttjg 

6. From the ft 
of the fourth verse, the Apostle 
passes on to particular instruc 
tions; kv ovofjLCiTi rov Kvpiov //^ioh , 
"I solemnly enjoin you." 

The remaining paragraph of 
this Epistle is important, as bear 
ing on the degree and manner of 
authority which the Apostle ex 
ercised over the Churches. It 
seems to have been of a mixed 
kind, partly official and partly 
moral, springing from the sense 
of what the Apostle had done 
for the Church, in bringing them 
to the knowledge of the Lord 
Jesus, yet also claimed by him as 
a right. In any voluntary so 
ciety like the early Christian 
Church, the enforcement of such 
an authority must have depended 
on feeling and opinion. There 
was no other way of enforcement 
in the last resort but the separa 
tion of the individual offending, 
or, rather, the separation of the 
society itself from the individual. 
Of this we find several traces, not 
in the set form of excommunica 

tion or exclusion from the Lord s 
supper (although such exclusion 
was doubtless implied in it) ; 
rather it is a counsel or sentence 
of the Apostle, more or less formal 
in different cases, intended to 
exert a moral, and apparently 
even a physical effect, and not 
always given where it appears 
to have been deserved. The in 
cestuous person is to be delivered 
to Satan, not that he may perish 
everlastingly, but for " the de 
struction of the flesh, that the 
spirit may be saved in the day of 
the Lord." So Hymenaeus and 
Philetus, "that they may learn not 
to blaspheme." In the Galatian 
Church, on the other hand, not 
withstanding the rebellion against 
the Apostle s authority, nothing 
is said of his opponents ceasing 
to be the Church. In the Phi- 
lippians, ne tolerates those who 
preach " Christ of contention." 
To the Thessalonian Church he 
says, that if there are any wild 
enthusiasts neglecting their daily 
occupation, they are to hold no 
communication with them, as he 
wrote to the Corinthians, " not to 
keep company with fornicators." 
But it is remarkable that, in the 
Epistle in which this very precept 
occurs, he says nothing of the 


TJV 7rape\d/3eT l Trap rjfJLcov* avrol yap otSare TTOJS Sei 7 
/xc/4elcr0cu TJ/xag, ore, OVK r)TaKT7J<ra[JiV iv vfjiiv, ouSe 8a)peav 8 

dprov (f)dyofJLe^ Trapd TLVOS, dXX e^ KOTTOJ Kal 
VVKTOS Kal rip.epa<f Ipya^o^voi, 77/305 TO JUT) Itri/Baprjcrai, 
rwa vpwv ov-% on OVK e^o/xe^ lovo-iav, dXX Iva ea/uTovg 9 

15 TO fJLljJLeLCrdai 7?/Xag. Kal JOLp OT T^ICI 10 

, /x^Se e 

aTaACTcog, /x^Se^ epyai^ofjievovs, dXXa 
TOIS e TOIOVTOI? irapayyeXXofJiev Kal Trapa- 12 
Ka\ov[JLv iv Kvpia) ITJO-QV ^pio~Ta> 3 , iVa /XCTO, ^crv^tas 
ipyatp^evoi TOP iavTwv aprov i<jQiu>viv. v/xeig e, dSeX^oi, 13 
/caXo7rotou^T9. ei 8e Tt? ov^ vTraKovtu TW it 
8ia rrjs eTTto-ToX^?, TOVTOV cr^/xetoucr^e /XT) 

, OTL et Tig or; 
yap nvas Trepnra- 11 


2 vu/cro /cal 

expulsion of those who main 
tained that the Resurrection was 
passed already. 1 Cor. xv. 12. 

ffrlXXevQat v/,tdc OTTO Trctiroe . . . 
ctrcUrwc.J Compare vTrocrrlXXeiv 
eavror, Gal. ii. 12. 

rarar^xwapct&xrtv, according to 
the lesson.~\ As in ver. 10. he 
says, " While we were yet with 
you, this we commanded you, 
that, if a man will not work, 
neither let him eat." Comp. 1 
Thess. iv. 11, 12. 

7. In exhorting you not to be 
idle and walk disorderly, we do but 
exhort you to follow our example, 
who were not disorderly among 

TroJc ^7 fjijjielffOai IJ/J.CLQ and OTL 
owk , K. T.\.~\ Both follow o idare: 
" Ye know how ye ought to 
imitate us ; ye know that we 
were not disorderly." The latter 
clause may be considered as an 
explanation of TTMQ. 

8. Neither were we idle nor 
ate our bread for nothing, [re- 

5ta TOV Kvpiov TJ/XCOV i 

ceiving it] at the hands of any, 
but we ate it, toiling day and 
night that we might not be a 
burden to any. Comp. 1 Cor. ix., 
where the Apostle speaks in the 
same tone. He might claim sup 
port of them, but he would not ; 
and the very fact of his not doing 
so they seem to have turned into 
a charge against him, of not being 
an Apostle. So here he guards, 
in the following verse, against this 
being construed into a giving up 
of his authority. 

9. ov\ OTL OVK Eyo^iff?.^ I do not 
mean to say that I have no right 
or power to claim support from 
you, but I give up the right that I 
may be an example to you. ov% on 
is a restriction on what preceded. 

10. Kai ynp, for even."] For 
while we were with you, we gave 
you precept as well as example, 
to the effect, that if one would not 
work, neither let him eat. The 
Kui connects with the 6th and 7th 
verses ; while the yp gives the 


7 lesson* which ye 1 received of us. For yourselves know 

s how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves 

disorderly among you ; neither did we eat any man s 

bread for nought ; but wrought with labour and travail 

night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any 

9 of you: not because we have not power, but to make 

10 ourselves an erisample unto you to follow us. For 2 when 
we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any 

11 would not work, neither let* him eat. For we hear 
that there are some which walk among you disorderly, 

12 busy* only with what is not their own business. Now 
them that are such we command and exhort in the 3 
Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and 

13 eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary 
u in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by 


2 Add even. 

By our. 

reason or proof of what preceded. 
We exhort you, and while we 
were with you we exhorted you, 
which last is also the proof that 
it was only as an example we 
wronged ourselves. 

There is a distinction between 
the minister and the hearer . of 
the Gospel, the clergy and the 
laity, the Apostle and the disci 
ple ; and St. Paul, as a preacher 
of the Gospel, makes himself as 
the hearer " to win some." 

11. For we hear that there 
are some among you who walk 
disorderly, doing nothing but 
what is useless, busy only with 
what is not their own business. 
Comp. Quintilian : "Afervenuste 
Mallium Suram multum in agendo 
discursantem, salientem, manus 
jactantem, togam dejicientem et 
reponentem, non agere dixit sed 
satagere." Compare also Plato s 
definition of liKatoavvr] raeavrov 
, in Rep. iv. 


Q is opposed to 
, as f.avru)v aprov to}%t.v 
t, " without raising a 

13. pi) f-/Ka^r](rr)r KaXoTroiovt 1 - 
ree.] After rebuking some for 
giving up their daily employ 
ments, for not eating in the sweat 
of their brow, he passes on to en 
treat those who had not incurred 
the reproof, to continue as they 
were, not to be weary of well 

14. This verse has received 
three explanations, the first two 
of which need only be mentioned 
to be set aside : (1.) Indicate 
this man to me by letter, which 
is equally objectionable, on the 
ground of the sense and of the 
language. Even though e>ia rfje 
iTTLffroXrjQ might mean " by the 
letter in which you answer 
this," the words pfj avvava- 
piywadai (the true reading) would 
not cohere. Such a request seems 


avrw, Iva IvrpaTrfj* Ka p.r] ws 


rjyelcrde, dXXa vovOerelre a>g dSeXc>dz>. avros Se 6 Kv 

lpTJvrjs SOT*? v/xu TT)^ elpT/jvrjv Sia TTCLVTQS iv iravrl 
2 6 Kvpios ju-era TTOVTW v/xai^. 
*O dcTTracr^o? TT; C/AT? X 61 / 3 ^ IlavXov, o ICTTLV o"r]^^iov iv 17 
Trdcrrj lirLcrToXrj. O 
Irjorov yjpi<TTOv juera ird 

8 Add npos 

also to be out of character with 
the simplicity of the Apostolical 
age. (2.) Set a mark on this 
man by the Epistle, i. e., pointing 
out what precept in the Epistle 
he has disobeyed, which is over- 
refined and farfetched. The ob 
vious explanation is the true 
one : " Set a mark upon this 
man with a view to holding no 
intercourse with him;" the words 


" to our 

ia TTJQ 

word as communicated 
in this Epistle," being taken with 


15. k-cu is used here as a weaker 
a, this verse being really ad 
versative to the preceding. The 
meaning is : " Hold no inter 
course with the man, but do not 
count him as an enemy, but ad 
monish him as a brother." The 
flaw may have arisen from the 
antithetical negative and positive 
form of ver. 15. Or the Apostle 
may not feel the first thought 
and afterthought to be inconsis 
tent ; or Kai may be used from a 
mere awkwardness of language in 
consequence of the coming a X>.. 



this epistle, note that man, and have no company with 

15 him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as 

1 6 an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. And* may 
the Lord of peace himself give you peace always every 
where. 1 The Lord be with you all. 

17 The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is 

18 the token in every epistle : so I write. The grace of 
our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 2 

1 By all means. 

2 Add The second epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens. 

16. CLV-OQ <) ] partly expresses 
the earnestness of the Apostle s 
prayer, and is in part opposed to 
peace obtained by merely human 
efforts. " Have peace among 
yourselves, and may the Lord 
liimself give you peace!" a vale 
diction not without a latent allu 
sion to the disorder of the Church. 

17. 6 ao-Tracy/we.] See note at 
the end of the Epistle to the Ga- 
lations. 6 refers to the sentence 

preceding, and not to the word 
uaTrcKTpoc, comp. ii. 14. 

iv Truer] e7riff~o\rj. See Essay 
" On the Probability that many 
of St. Paul s Epistles have been 

18. pera TTCLVTUV vpior,^ not 
with the disorderly members, as 
well as with those who walk or 
derly, but as above (i. 3.), pleo 

VOL. I. 




WHETHER the prophecy of the man of sin is fulfilled or unfulfilled, 
whether it is to be explained from the immediate circle of 
the Apostle s life, or from the distant future, whether it relates 
to an individual or to an idea, to the Pharisees or to the Gno 
stics, whether "the man of sin" himself be Nero as Chrysostom 
imagined, or the impersonation of heresy as Theodoret and others, or 
the pope as the reformers, or the reformers as the pope, or Mahomet 
as the Greek Church, or the Emperor Caligula as Grotius, or Titus 
as Wetstein, or Simon Magus as Hammond, or Simon the son of 
Gioras as Usteri and Le Clerc, or Cromwell as Englishmen who 
were his subjects sometimes said, or the French revolution, 
or Napoleon, as the last generation, or some embodiment or power of 
evil which is yet to come, as was the opinion of several of the 
Fathers, and is also that of some modern writers ; whether " that 
which letteth, and he which letteth, and will let until he be taken 
out of the way," is the Roman Empire, which was likewise a com 
mon opinion of the Fathers, or the German Empire, as was main 
tained by the early opponents of the papacy, or the purpose of God 
that the Gospel should be first preached, as was held by Theodore of 
Mopsuestia and Theodoret, or the outpouring of spiritual gifts 
as Chrysostom inclined to think, or Nero as Wetstein, or Vitellius, 
who was proconsul of Judea in Caligula s time, as Grotius, or Elijah 
the prophet, who "must first come" according to the Jewish belief, or 
St. Paul himself as a recent interpreter ; whether the temple of God 
is the Christian Church or the temple at Jerusalem, or both, or neither, 
that is to say some temple hereafter to be built, or the temple of 
the human soul, a figure which the Apostle elsewhere employs ; 


whether the coming of Christ be His coming to judge the world at 
the last day, or the anticipation of that judgment on the Jews in the 
destruction of Jerusalem, or the one the lesser, the other the greater 
fulfilment of the same prediction ; are some of the principal ques 
tions which in ancient or modern times have been raised by inter 
preters respecting the second chapter of the Second Epistle to the 

Most of these questions maybe set aside, as having no real bearing 
upon the interpretation of the Epistle. They are not found but 
brought there. When it is remembered that at this period of his life, 
as the words of the Epistle imply, St. Paul himself expected " to 
remain and be alive " (1 Thess. iv. 17.) in the day of the Lord, and 
that he expressly states that the coming of Christ was to be preceded 
by Antichrist, and that the coming of Antichrist was again re 
strained by that which let, it is clear that the vision of the future 
must be confined within narrow bounds, that is, within ten, twenty, 
or thirty years at the utmost, if it be not that the acts of the drama 
are contemporary, or certainly very near, " for the mystery of ini 
quity already worketh." It is not, therefore, in the wider sphere of 
the history of the world, but in the life of the Apostle, in the 
cities of Asia or Judea, perhaps at Rome in the days of Caligula or 
Nero, that we must look for the events, or shadow of events, which 
form the basis of the prophecy. 

It is necessary to warn the reader, that we are not about to add 
another to the multitude of guesses which exist alrea^j. Our 
inquiry will relate rather to the style and structure of the prophecy, 
than to the opinions of interpreters respecting the facts which 
may be regarded as its fulfilment. The real facts may not have 
been recorded; they may have been too minute to be observed by 
us ; they may also have been transfigured before the spiritual eye, 
until they are no longer recognisable as historical events. What 
we are attempting is not the solution of a riddle, or the reading of a 
hieroglyphic, but the comparison of one part of Scripture with 

N 2 


another ; and the comprehension of it, if possible, not in the letter 
but in the spirit. 

And although it is true that there may be a disadvantage in ex 
cluding from our consideration all those topics from which the study 
of this remarkable passage has hitherto derived its interest and zest, 
let us pause to remember also how many dangers are avoided. We 
shall run no risk of attributing an exaggerated importance to the 
history of our own time. We shall be under no temptation to point 
the words of St. Paul against an ancient enemy. We shall have no 
inclination to adapt the proportions of lesser events to the main 
event or figure which we make the centre of our system. We may 
hope to escape the charge which has been brought against writers 
on these subjects, that they explain " history by prophecy." There 
will be no fear of our forging weapons of persecution for one body 
or party of Christians to use against another. We shall be in no 
danger of losing the simplicity of the Gospel in Apocalyptic fancies. 
Our own opinions, perhaps even changes of opinion, will not be im 
posed on others as an interpretation of Scripture, with a degree 
of authority which is only the veil of their extreme uncertainty. 
All these reproaches, however unconsciously and innocently they 
may be incurred by good and learned men, are injuries to the truth 
and dishonours to the word of God, 

" The man of sin " is not a mere detached prophecy. It formed a 
leading subject of the Apostle s teaching. He introduces it with 
express reference to the fact, that on his visit to the Thessalonians 
he had warned them of it ; and this not only in general terms, but 
with special mention of the times of his appearing, and the influ 
ences by which his revelation was withheld. " Remember ye not, 
that when I was yet with you I told you these things?" What he 
had told them is contained in the description which precedes, and 
which is definite and precise; that man of sin, "the son of perdi 
tion ; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called 
God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple 


of God, shewing himself that he is God." All this was not new to 
the Thessalonian converts ; they even knew of that which withheld, 
that he might be revealed in his own time. The Apostle adds a 
few other traits in the verses which follow; "whose coming is after 
the working of Satan, with all power and lying signs and wonders, 
and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish." 

The sources of our information are so limited, that we are able 
to pronounce at once, that we know of no person or power existing 
in the lifetime of the Apostle, to which most of the above features 
will apply. We cannot say that " the man of sin " was Caligula, 
whose reign had terminated about twelve years before this ; or 
Nero, who had just mounted the imperial throne, or Simon the son 
of Gioras, the leader of the fanatics at Jerusalem, who had hardly 
come forth into public view ; still less Vitellius, Vespasian, or Titus. 
Such guesses are only more probable than the wider ones, because 
they relate to persons who were actually or almost within the 
horizon of the Apostle s eye ; but they are inconsistent with the 
general character of the prophecy, and offer no remarkable coinci 
dences with its details. In any succession of historical events, it is 
possible to find war and peace, order and anarchy, a king and a 
usurper, a lawless force and a restraining power. General resem 
blances of this kind prove nothing ; the good and evil of every age 
find an expression in the language of prophecy. In times of crisis 
or revolution men naturally apply the words of the Apostle to 
themselves. Even the quiet tenor of ordinary life has been " set on 
fire" by the torch of enthusiasm. But we must not confuse the 
original meaning of the prophecy with the application of it which 
is on the lips of the preacher after 1800 years. The vision of 
evil which the Apostle saw was around and very near him; it 
hung like a cloud over the first age of the Church ; it cannot be 
dispersed in generalities; we look in vain for it in the distant future. 

If, confessing that no known person or event agrees with the 
description of the prophecy, we try another method, and interpret 
the second chapter of the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians en- 

N 3 


tirely from itself, we shall probably infer that, by the terms " man 
of sin," " son of perdition," St. Paul has in view a real person, and 
that by his " sitting in the temple of God" is meant literally his en 
thronement in the temple at Jerusalem. The grossness of the delu 
sion which is attributed to his followers falls in with such an inter 
pretation. The word "apostasy " is a further indication that the new 
God or teacher stands in some relation either to Judaism or Chris 
tianity. He is not a mere ordinary individual coming forth from 
the crowd and practising an imposture, any more than he is a statue 
of wood or stone, but the author or symbol of some new form of 
spiritual evil; a false Christ or false prophet, a Simon Magus, an 
Elcasai, or a Barcochab. The way has been preparing for him, 
underground in the hearts of men ; he is waiting for his appointed 
hour. The founder of a false religion, claiming divine honours, an 
nouncing himself as the new God of the Jewish Temple, influenc 
ing the minds of men by every sort of magic art and spiritual de 
ception, would most adequately correspond to the description of 
the Apostle. Such a one, he would seem to say, was to exist for a 
short time, and then vanish away, not before the superior power of 
truth, but before the actual force of Christ and his angels, in flaming 
fire taking vengeance. 

Natural as such an interpretation may appear, it would probably 
be erroneous, and for this reason, that, like many other interpreta 
tions of prophecy, it would rest too much on the words themselves, 
without considering the style of the language or the parallelisms in 
St. Paul s own writings. The first question respecting all pro 
phecies is, whether the language of them is figurative or literal, or 
how far figurative and how far literal. Figurative language will 
commonly detect itself, as in the trumpets, vials, numbers, of the 
Book of Revelation. The very symmetry of it will indicate its true 
nature. Events in history are not carried on by sevens, or by 
twelves ; nor are they exactly limited by periods of time. Nor are 
the powers of nature or the kingdoms of this world divisible into 
four or ten. Accordingly, in such instances, we readily separate the 


framework and compartments of the picture from the life and 
motion of the figures. But there are other passages in which the 
form and the thought are more closely united, in which the garment 
clings to the person, and cannot be put off without destroying the 
life of the prophecy. Interpretation of prophecy will, in these cases, 
be an imperfect analysis of what it is really impossible to analyse. 
Especially will this be so where the figures are traditional, and 
have acquired from use and familiarity a sort of permanent and 
apparently historical character. The vision of events themselves is 
then circumscribed by the circle of prophetic symbols. 

Taking in this important element, we find in Ezekiel and Daniel, 
in the discourses of our Lord respecting the end of the world, in the 
Epistles to the Thessalonians and to Timothy, as well as in the 
Epistles of St. Peter and St. Jude, and in the Book of Revelation, a 
series of images of the evil which was to come upon the world in 
the latter days, all together furnishing a sort of chain of prophecy 
between the Old Testament and the New, which gradually extends 
and seems to pass from the realms of history into the spiritual and 
unseen world. One of the first links in this chain is Ezekiel s de 
scription of Gog and Magog, the symbol of the tribes of the North, 
whom God will bring against the land of Israel, that he may be 
glorified in their destruction (xxxviii. 16, 17.). This prophecy, 
which is the beginning of many others, itself implies that it was 
not uttered by Ezekiel for the first time: "Art thou he of whom 
I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israe;, 
which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee 
against them ? " (Compare Jer. ii. iv.) The minds of the Jewish 
prophets in Babylon had been led to dwell on the powers of the 
North, since the Scythian tribes had spread themselves over Asia. 
Where could they find a more striking image of the power of God 
than in this mighty people, "covering" the world "like a cloud," 
and suddenly, like a cloud, passing away, which had probably in 
Josiah s reign overspread Palestine itself? They had almost been 
seen by Ezekiel in the days of his youth, and the remembrance of 

N 4 


them had stamped themselves for ages on the Eastern world. His 
prophecy of them is little more than history, inspired only by the 
consciousness that there is One that ruleth among the children of 
men. There is no indication that Gog is other than a person, the 
chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Nor is there apparently any 
form of spiritual evil that is symbolised in him ; he is but the 
great enemy of Israel, who comes up with all his hosts against the 
people of God. 

Later in the series are the prophecies of Daniel, respecting the 
little horn and the kings of the North and South (vii. and xi.), which, 
though retaining a certain degree of resemblance to the prophecy of 
Ezekiel, present also a striking difference. It is a difference in spirit 
as well as in style and subject. We seem to have advanced another 
step in the revelation of God to man ; with the vision of the king 
doms of this world mingles also the vision of the final judgment. 
Every one admits and loves to trace the connexion between the 
evangelical prophecies, as they are often termed, and the Gospel 
itself. But perhaps it has not been equally observed that the Apo 
calyptic prophecies are also a link of connexion between the Old 
Testament and the New. As the former anticipate the moral and 
spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ, so do the latter anticipate 
the universality of the Gospel. No two books of the Old Testament 
itself bear a closer resemblance to each other, than the book of 
Daniel, the Apocalypse of the Old Testament, and the book of 
Revelation, which may be termed by its Greek name the Apocalypse 
of the New. Were the one placed at the end of the Old Testament, 
and ths other at the beginning of the New, they would seem, more 
than any of the canonical writings, to bridge the chasm which 
separates, or appears to separate, the two parts of the Sacred 
Volume. Both alike differ from the older prophecies, in extending 
the purposes of God to all time and to all mankind. The earlier 
history of the Jews was itself a kind of prophecy, the earlier pro 
phecies were a kind of history of the Jews and their neighbours. 
There was a time when other nations seemed to be out of the way, 


and only occasionally to share in the mercies and judgments of God. 
But now the prophet lifted up his eyes east and west, north and 
south, to all countries of the earth, and saw in the history of the 
world the prelude to the final judgment. 

This is the kind of difference which separates the two prophecies 
of Daniel from that of Ezekiel respecting Gog and Magog. The 
one is a part of the history of the Jews ; the other is a prophecy of 
the latter days, an anticipation of the judgment to come. That of 
Ezekiel is the germ of the other, and stands in the same relation 
to it, as the vision of the dry bones, in the same prophet, to the 
description of the general resurrection in the seventh and twelfth 
chapters of Daniel, or the vision of the Temple and the portions 
of the tribes, to the new Jerusalem and the 144,000, in the Book 
of Eevelation. In Ezekiel we have not yet burst the bonds of the 
temporal dispensation ; in Daniel we already pass within the vail 
into another world. They occupy different places in Jewish history, 
the very dispersion of the Jews in Asia and Egypt tending to break 
down the force of local feelings, and leading them to include all 
nations within the circle of God s providence. 

Parallel with this enlargement of the symbols of prophecy is the 
new and nobler meaning which is given to the worship of the 
tabernacle and to the Jewish history, in the Epistle to the Hebrews. 
A light is shed on both, derived, perhaps, from a wider experience 
of mankind, yet not the less coming down " from the author and 
father of lights." First the prophets, then the law, become instinct 
with the life of the Gospel. The only difference is that in prophecy 
the new takes the place of the old, in a more gradual and less per 
ceptible manner. The law is done away in Christ ; the temple made 
with hands is destroyed, that another temple, not made with hands, 
may be raised up ; and the discourses of Christ respecting the end of 
the world, gather together in one all the threads of Old Testament 

Thus, through the whole of the books of Scripture, from the 
earliest to the latest, the spirit of prophecy might be said to be 


changing with the increasing purpose of God to man. But though 
the spirit changed, the imagery remained the same. The two pro 
phecies which have been referred to, present more than one minute 
similarity with the second chapter of the Second Epistle to the 
Thessalonians ; as, for example, the insolence and impiety of the king 
" who shall exalt and magnify himself above every God,* xi. 36., 
which may be compared with 2 Thess. ii. 4., " Who opposeth and 
exalteth himself above all that is called God or worshipped," and 
" the pollution of the sanctuary of strength, and the abomination of 
desolation standing in the holy place," xi. 31., quoted by our Lord, 
which recalls " the man of sin sitting in the temple of God ; " also 
the words " have intelligence with them which forsake the holy 
covenant," which are a periphrasis for " the apostasy." It is not 
quite certain, nor is it important for our object to know, what was 
the original meaning of the passages of Daniel ; but whether they 
allude to the kings of Syria and Egypt, or in part also to the Romans, 
or relate to some unknown course of events, their original meaning in 
the Book of Daniel has no necessary connexion with their use and 
application by the Apostle. We might say, in the language of 
Bossuet, that St. Paul spoke by the spirit of Daniel, as St. Peter 
spoke by the mouth of Joel on the day of Pentecost, or as St. John 
himself spoke by the spirit of Ezekiel in Rev. xx. 8., where the 
names Gog and Magog are retained, though the meaning is gene 
ralised. Many other instances may be found in which the general 
subject is changed, though the ornaments remain. The same symbols 
which once referred to the Temple or to the tribes of Israel, are 
again employed, without any precise meaning, of the Church and 
the world at large. 

It does not, therefore, follow, that, because the words of the pro 
phecy of Daniel, or of our Lord, refer to the Romans, that they 
necessarily received this explanation from St. Paul, any more than 
in the Book of Revelation, because mention is made of the hundred 
and forty and four thousand of the tribes of Israel, it follows that 
salvation was first to be given to the house of Israel. The forms of 


good and evil are idealised in the language of prophecy. The same 
images are handed down from one generation of prophets to another ; 
but the state of the world, which is symbolised by them, may change 
and become different. As in the interpretation of prophecy, many 
successions of events have, in different ages of the world, been thought 
to correspond with the words of Daniel, or of the Apocalypse ; so 
with the prophets themselves, there is a growth and adaptation of 
the same prophecy to various stages of human history. Not only 
are there many mirrors of the meaning of prophecy in the history of 
the world, but more than this the last prophecy is itself, as it were, 
the glass through which the prophet looks forward into the future. 

Hence the imagery of a prophecy in the New Testament will not 
be the clue to its true nature. Nay, it may be very far removed 
from it, sometimes even absolutely opposed to it. For it may refer 
to what is literal and historical, but the thing signified in the New 
Testament may be spiritual and ideal. Ordinary quotations from the 
Old Testament are to be explained by their context in the New 
Testament, not by their place in the Old. The same rule is appli 
cable to the prophecies of the Old Testament when transferred to 
the New. In both, the spirit has commonly taken the place of the 
letter, the evangelical truth has lighted up the prophetic symbol. 
So that the true key to the interpretation of a prophecy of St. Paul, 
is not the meaning of the same imagery in the Old Testament, but 
the character of his own writings, " Non, nisi ex ipso Paulo, Paulum 
potes interpretari." The special sense is to be gathered from 
those points which he has distinct from the .Old Testament, rather 
than those which he has in common with it. We do not feel certain 
that the man of sin, sitting in the temple of God, is more than a 
personification of the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel 
the prophet ; suggested, perhaps, by the worship of the Emperor 
which St. Paul had seen in the cities to which he had travelled, or 
by the attempt of Caligula, a few years previously, to place his 
statue in the temple at Jerusalem. But he that "letteth, and will 
let, until he be taken out of the way," and the lying signs and 


wonders, with which the man of sin was to be accompanied, are 
traits which are peculiar to the Apostle, some of which are found 
elsewhere in his Epistles. Here, then, whether we are able to 
discern it or not, is something which we may naturally look for, not 
in the clouds of heaven, but in the history of the Apostolic age. 

In many other places of the New Testament, and even of the 
writings of St. Paul himself, mention occurs of strange forms of 
evil. It is observable that all of them are spiritual. There are 
differences in the description of them, not unlike the difference 
which we may suppose to have existed between the author of the 
Epistles in which they are spoken of, St. Paul, and St. John ; but 
they nowhere convey the impression that they represent political 
changes or revolutions in the kingdoms of men. The one Apostle 
is, as it were, hastening, amid many impediments, to the coming of 
the day of the Lord ; the other is calmly waiting for the events that 
must shortly come to pass. Both seem to feel the evil of the world 
as a sign of " the last time ; " the one, near and present, as if 
involved in the conflict ; the other, far off, separated from it rather 
than warring with it. Already there are many Antichrists, says 
St. John, and " Antichrist is he that denieth the Father and the 
Son." So in the first Epistle to Timothy, iv. 1 3., it is said, " that in 
the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to 
seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils speaking lies in hypocrisy, 
having their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, 
and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to 
be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know 
the truth." Compare 2 Tim. iii. 1. The Apostle appears to ap 
prehend the same danger in Col. ii. 8. 16. And in the Second 
Epistle of Peter, ii. 1., iii. 3., there is the same pervading idea 
of the latter days, in which " false prophets shall rise up, who 
privily shall bring in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that 
bought them." The evil of which the New Testament prophecies 
speak, is not the idolatry of the heathen, nor the conquests of great 
Empires, but the apostasy of sometime believers, or the fanaticism of 


the Jews. Of something of this kind, not of Roman governors, or 
Jewish high priests, the Apostle is speaking when he says : " We 
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against 
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against 
spiritual wickedness in heavenly places." The temporal Antichrist, 
like the temporal Israel, has passed into a spiritual one. 

Such passages are a much safer guide to the interpretation of the 
one we are considering, than the meaning of similar passages in the 
Old Testament. For they indicate to us the habitual thought of the 
Apostle s mind ; " a falling away first," suggested, probably, by the 
wavering which he saw around him among his own converts, the 
grievous wolves that were entering into the Church of Ephesus, Acts 
xx. 29. ; the turning away of all them of Asia, in 2 Tim. i. 15. 
When we consider that his own converts, and his Jewish opponents, 
or half converts, were all the world to him, that through them, as it 
were in a glass, he appeared to himself to see the workings of human 
nature generally, we understand how this double image of good and 
evil should have presented itself to him, and the kind of necessity 
which he felt that Christ and Antichrist should alternate with each 
other. It was not that he foresaw some great conflict, decisive of the 
destinies of mankind. What he anticipated far more nearly resem 
bled the spiritual combat in the seventh chapter of the Romans. It 
was the same struggle, written in large letters, as Plato might have 
said, not on the tables of the heart, but on the scene around ; the 
world turned inside out, as it might be described ; evil as it is in the 
sight of God, and as it realises itself to the conscience, putting on an 
external shape, transforming itself into a person. 

Separating the prophecy, then, into two parts, its external form 
and internal meaning, the one part is to be explained from the Old 
Testament ; that is to say, it is the repetition of the images of Ezekiel 
and Daniel, which naturally receive a more precise character from 
the associations of the time in which St. Paul lived ; while the other 
part, or inward meaning, is to be illustrated by other passages in St. 
Paul s own writings, in which he speaks of the perilous times of tho 


latter days ; of false prophets transforming themselves into Apostles 
of Christ ; of Satan transfigured into an angel of light ; of religious 
licentiousness ; of all them of Asia falling away from him. Of all 
these opponents of the Gospel the man of sin is the concentrated 
image ; they are already working, but are at present underground, 
not yet bursting forth to envelope mankind. Gnosticism, or Oriental 
ism, or Judaism, the evil of the world as it awoke to the conscious 
ness of higher truths, the swarming heresy of an age of religious 
excitement, and the persecution of the followers of Christ and his 
Apostles, all probably, as in the Book of Revelation, mingled in the 
vision " of the things that should shortly come to pass." 

The personification is characteristic of the Apostle and his age. 
Sin, the law, faith, love, the old man, the new man, are all personified 
by him. The figure under which he speaks of " the man of sin," 
" the son of perdition," is really of the same kind, though apparently 
different. What are to us abstractions are to the Apostle persons, 
" living creatures with hands and feet." No difference in ways of 
thought can be much greater than this : it is one for which it is 
difficult to allow enough in the interpretation of Scripture. Frag 
ments of prophecy and the prophetic manner of conception are 
always coming in, even where the general style of the writing is 
prosaic and matter of fact. 

There are other traces in this passage (shall we say of the mode 
of speech or of thought ?) of the Apostle and his age, as for example 
in its alternating or antithetical character. The coming of the 
Lord and the revelation of the man of sin, Christ and Antichrist, 
are opposed to each other by a sort of necessity, as the revelation 
of wrath and mercy, the law and faith, Adam and Christ, in the 
Epistle to the Romans. Like the shadow and light, they are 
never separate, equally dividing the world or following one another. 
And the symbols of the Old Testament itself receive a new colour and 
association from passing events, such as the worship of the emperors, 
and in particular the attempt of Caligula to place his statue in tjie 
temple at Jerusalem. Lastly, it was a current belief of the times 


in which the Apostle lived that the coming of Messiah was to be 
preceded by the coming of Antichrist, to whom the prophecies 
respecting Gog and Magog were referred by the Rabbis. (See the 
passages quoted in Gfrorer, Jahrhundert des Heils, part ii. 257 
259.) Nor is there any trace that the Apostle regarded this 
Jewish belief as a new revelation to himself. There is reason to 
think that he did no more than receive it from his contemporaries. 

Thus there are altogether four elements which enter into the con 
ception of the man of sin : (1.) the traditional imagery of the elder 
prophets ; (2.) the style of the Apostle and his age ; (3.) the im 
pression of recent historical events which supply the form ; (4.) the 
state of the world and the Church, and the consciousness that, where 
good is, evil must ever be in aggravated proportions, which supply 
the matter of the prophecy. 

Still we have not made a nearer approach to the true interpretation 
of " him that letteth," an expression on which no light is thrown, 
either by the writings of St. Paul, or by the symbolical language of 
the Old Testament. We cannot err in supposing that it intimates St. 
Paul s belief that the coming of Antichrist was not yet. Though 
already working, it was restrained by a superior power. The Thes- 
salonians were exhorted not to be troubled in mind, as though the 
day of the Lord was at hand, for it was to be preceded by the mani 
festation of the man of sin. But it was still further delayed by the 
interposition of " him that letteth." So far all is consistent. Christ, 
Antichrist, the restrainer of Antichrist, are the triple links of the 
chain by which the world is held together. In what person or thing 
to find the last of the three is the point of difficulty. 

No stress can be laid on the use of the masculine, " him that 
letteth," because it is immediately followed by that of the neuter, 
" that which letteth," and may be accounted for by parallelism with 
the man of sin in a preceding verse. More truly might it be argued 
that the use of the neuter excludes the idea of a person. Nero 
might have been 6 Kari^ov, but could not have been TO Kariyov. The 
double use of the masculine and the neuter in some degree favours 


the interpretation of the prophecy which identifies the Roman empire 
with the restraining power. For some interpretation seems to be 
required which is applicable to a thing as well as to a person, as, for 
example, in the case of the Roman empire, TO rare xov and 6 KaTi-^wv 
may contain an allusion to the empire and to the emperor. A more 
important circumstance than this strikes us in the examination of the 
passage : it is the apparent secrecy which the Apostle observes in 
speaking of the restraining power. It is an enigma which he will not 
reveal, which he had explained while he was yet with them, and dare 
not now write " with pen and ink." It reminds us of the number of 
the beast in the Book of Revelation. It recalls the words of Daniel, 
xii. 10. : " None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise 
shall understand." It quickens our curiosity to know what that 
power could have been, which was contemporary with the Apostle, 
and which he would not openly mention to his converts. 

Two answers suggest themselves ; conjectures, it is true, because 
it is impossible to do more than form conjectures which may be 
consistent or not inconsistent with the spirit of the prophecy ; but 
they are not, however, to be rejected on that ground, if nothing 
better can be offered. The first is the Roman empire ; the second, 
the Jewish law. According to the view which separates the tradi 
tional form from the substance of the prophecy, it would be no fatal 
objection to the first of these two interpretations, that the figure of 
Antichrist himself is taken from the image of the Roman emperors 
sitting in the temples as gods, while he that letteth is again the Roman 
emperor regarded from a new point of view. More real is the dif 
ficulty of supposing that St. Paul could have expected that, within 
a few years, the solid frame of the Roman empire was to break up 
and pass away. It is unlikely that he should have even taken the 
kingdoms of this world into the horizon of his spiritual vision. To 
say that the heresies of the Ebionites or Nicolaitanes were restrained 
by the continuance of the Roman government, would be far-fetched: 
the two are not " in pari material It might remove this difficulty 
if we could suppose the revelation of the man of sin to represent the 


rebellion of the Jews, but would leave the original one, how to 
account for the mystery which the Apostle observes about him which 
letteth. More natural is it to explain " that which letteth " as the 
Jewish law, the check on spiritual licentiousness which for a little 
while was holding in its chains the swarms of Jewish heretics, who 
were soon to be let loose and sweep over the earth. Whatever other 
objections may be entertained to the last of the two interpretations, 
it has, at any rate, the advantage of consistency. It does not confuse 
the spiritual and historical, or take us away from the world of the 
human heart of which the Scripture speaks, to the world of objects 
and events. 

Good and evil seem often to lie together flat upon the world s 
surface. At other times they start up, like armed men, and prepare 
for the last struggle. There is a state in the individual soul, in 
which it has entered into rest, and has its conversation in heaven, 
and is a partaker of the kingdom of God. There is a state also 
in which it is divided between two, not unconscious of good, but 
overpowered by evil, living in what St. Paul terms the body 
of death. There is a third state in which it is neither conscious 
of good nor overpowered by evil, but in which it "leads the life 
of all men " acting under the influence of habit, law, opinion. All 
these three states have their parallels in the history of the 
world. In all of them, whether in the individual or in the world, 
whether arising out of the purpose of God or the nature of man, 
there sometimes seems to be a kind of necessity which will not 
suffer them to be other than they are. The first is that state for 
which the believer looks when the kingdoms of this world shall 
become the kingdoms of God and Christ. The second is that state 
of the world, seen also to him, but unseen to men in general, in 
which, in the language of prophecy, "the wicked is revealed," in 
which the elements of good and evil separate and decompose them 
selves, in anticipation of the final judgment. The third is that fixed 
order of the world in which we live, which surrounds us on every 
side with its restraints, social, legal, moral, which, if it be not very 

VOL. I. O 


good, is not very evil ; which " letteth and will let " as long as human 
nature lasts. Such "a let" to the evil of men was the Roman 
empire ; such " a let," even when it had lost its inspired character, 
was the law of the Jews. Whether either of these, or both of them 
combined in the same way that in the Book of Revelation Rome and 
Jerusalem combine to form the image of the last enemy, suggested 
to the Apostle the thought of " that which let ; " whether the poli 
tical order of the world, which was typified by them, seemed to him 
for a time to interpose itself against the manifestation of the man of 
sin, is uncertain. Such is a natural adaptation for us to make of the 
words of the prophecy ; it is also a consistent interpretation of them 
when translated out of the symbolism of Ezekiel and Daniel into 
more general language. To suppose that there is to be some greater 
deluge of evil than any that has already poured over the world, at 
the fall of the Roman Empire, or in the tenth century, some louder 
shriek of the human race in its agony than at the destruction of 
Jerusalem, to be heard again at the expiration of two thousand years, 
adds nothing to the credibility of the Apostle. Least of all can we 
imagine him to refer to a "gigantic " development of the human in 
tellect, which is at present believed to be held with a chain by the 
governments of mankind. Such opinions draw us away from the 
healthy atmosphere of history and experience into the unseen future ; 
they project to an unimaginable distance, what to the Apostle was 
near and present. No test can be applied to them ; their truth or 
falsehood, when we are in our graves, we shall never know. They 
gain no additional witness from the willingness of their authors to 
stake the inspiration of Scripture on the historic certainty of the 
event. So long as we delight to trace coincidences, or to make 
pictures in religion ; so long as the human mind continues to prefer 
the extraordinary to the common, such interpretations of prophecy, 
in forms more or less idealized or refined, adapted to different age 
or capacities, will never fail. But the Spirit of prophecy in every 
age lives not in signs and wonders, but in the divine sense of good 
and evil in our own hearts, and in the world around us. 



tV Traa-fj tiria-ToXf) "In every Epistle." 2 Thess. iii. 17. 

THESE three words, dropping out by the way, open a field for reflec 
tion to those who maintain the genuineness of the Epistle in which 
they occur, because they imply, or at least make it probable, that St. 
Paul wrote other Epistles, which were never reckoned among the 
Canonical books, and of which all trace must therefore have disap 
peared in ecclesiastical history, even in that early age in which the 
Canon was beginning to be fixed. 

Other expressions in the writings of the Apostle lead to the same 
inference. In the second chapter of the Epistle from which they 
are taken, which it is important to observe is almost the earliest of 
those extant, and the words of which cannot therefore refer to the 
Epistles which are familiar to us, he twice speaks of " a letter as 
from us," as a common and possible occurrence (ver. 2. 15.). In the- 
Second Epistle to the Corinthians, x. 10., the Apostle supposes his 
adversaries to say " that his letters are weighty and powerful ; " to 
which he replies in the next verse, * Such as we are in word by 
letters when absent, such will we also be in deed when we are 
present." Is it likely that the Apostle is here referring to the First 
Epistle only ? The words of 1 Cor v. 9., " I wrote unto you in the 
Epistle," probably allude, notwithstanding the tense, to the letter 
which he was writing at the time, and have, therefore, nothing to do 
with our present inquiry. But the general character of both 
Epistles to the Corinthians leads to the conviction that he was in 
habits of correspondence with the teachers of the Church of Corinth. 
It appears also from 1 Cor. xvi. 3. that he was intending (although 

o 2 


the intention in this instance was not fulfilled) to send messengers 
with letters of introduction, as we term them, to the Church at Je 
rusalem; letters of Christian courtesy, of which one only, the 
short Epistle to Philemon has been preserved to after ages. Simi 
lar occasions must often have occurred in the course of a long life 
and ministry ; St. Paul did not cease to be St. Paul in his feelings 
towards others, because what he wrote in the privacy of the closet 
was not destined to be read afterwards by the whole Christian world. 
Once more, in the Epistle to the Colossians, iv. 16., the Apostle en 
joins the Churches of Colossae and Laodicea to interchange the letters 
which they had received from him. It is only a conjecture, and one 
which is not favoured by the similarity of the Epistles to the Colos 
sians and Ephesians, that the Epistle here referred to as the Epistle 
to the Laodiceans is the extant Epistle to the Ephesians. Here then 
are signs of another lost Epistle. The allusion in the Second Epistle 
of St. Peter, iii. 15, 16., " Even as our beloved brother Paul also, ac 
cording unto the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you ; as 
also in all his Epistles, speaking in them of these things ; in which 
are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned 
and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their 
own destruction," may be mentioned also, though it has only a general 
bearing on our present subject. 

(ii.) The character of the Apostle is a further presumption on the 
same side of the question. He who lives in himself the life of all 
the Churches, who is praying for his converts night and day, and 
who allows no other concerns to occupy his mind, of such an one 
is it reasonable to suppose that, during his whole ministry, to all his 
followers in many lands, he would write no other Epistles but those 
which have come down to us ? One might have thought that every 
year, almost every month, he would have found some exhortation to 
give to them ; that he would have received news of them from some 
quarter or other touching divisions which required healing, or per 
secution under which his children needed comfort, or advances of the 
truth which called for his counsel and sympathy. One might have 


thought that his affection for them, and his extreme (may we call it ?) 
sensitiveness to their feelings towards himself, would have led him to 
make use of every opportunity for writing to them or hearing from 
them. He who had no rest in his soul until he had sent Timothy to 
know their state, could not have borne to have passed a great portion 
of his life without knowledge of them or intercourse with them. But 
if so, the Canonical Epistles or Letters cannot be the only ones of 
which the Apostle was the author. For, including the Pastoral 
Epistles, their number is but thirteen, not one in two years for the 
entire active portion of the Apostle s life, and these very unequally 
spread over different periods. Of the first ten or fifteen years no 
Epistle is extant ; then two short ones begin the series ; after an 
interval of some years succeeded by another short one : then in a 
single year follow the three larger Epistles together, more than half 
the whole : lastly, in the years of his imprisonment, we have not 
much more than a short Epistle for every year. Is it likely that 
there were no others ? or are we suffering ourselves to be imposed 
upon by the fear of disturbing a natural but superficial impression? 

(iii.) The Epistles which are extant, with the exception of the 
Epistle to the Romans, are unlike the compositions of one who in 
his whole life, wrote only ten letters. They are too lively and draw 
too near to the hearts of men. Those especially to the Thessalonians, 
Corinthians, Galatians, and Colossians (compare Philemon) imply 
habits of familiar intercourse between the Apostle and the distant 
Churches. Messengers are passing from him to them, and he is mi 
nutely informed of their circumstances. There is no trace of ig 
norance on the Apostle s part of what is going on among them. There 
is none of that natural formality which grows up in letters between 
unknown persons. Would the Apostle have written to a Church 
which he only addressed once in his life in a style which is more like 
talking than writing ? and without the least allusion anywhere to 
the singularity of the circumstance of his writing to them ? 

But if, as the allusions which have been mentioned and the reason 
of the thing, and the style of the extant Epistles themselves, lead us 

o 3 


to suppose, St. Paul wrote other Epistles, which have not been 
handed down to us, then many reflections arise in our minds, some of 
which have an important bearing on the interpretation of Scripture. 

1. It has been observed that within a single year of his life the 
Apostle wrote the Epistle to the Romans and the two Epistles to the 
Corinthians, which are in quantity equal to more than half the whole 
of his Epistles, and not much short of a seventh portion of the entire 
New Testament. Nor is it certain that these were the only Epistles 
written by him in the same year : the reverse is more likely. Now 
suppose we take this as the criterion of the probable amount of his 
lost writings, and that during each year of his ministry, which ex 
tended over a period of at least twenty-five years, he wrote an equal 
quantity, though it would not be true to say that " the world itself 
would not contain the books that would have been written," yet the 
result would have been a volume three times the size of the New- 
Testament. There is nothing extravagant in this speculation, al 
though there is no proof of it ; the allusions to lost Epistles make 
the idea extremely probable. Nor would any one think it extrava 
gant if the Apostle had not been one of the Canonical writers, 
whose writings we are accustomed to regard as supernaturally pre 
served to us. 

2. Suppose, further, that in a distant part of the world, in some 
Syriac, or Armenian, or ^Ethiopic transcript, or even in its original 
language, buried in the unexcavated portions of Herculaneum or 
Pompeii, one of these lost Epistles were suddenly brought to light : 
with what feelings would it be received by the astonished world ! 
The return of the Apostle himself to earth would hardly be a more 
surprising event. There are minds to whom such a discovery would 
seem to involve more danger than the loss of an Epistle which we 
already have. It is not impossible that it might be suppressed or 
ever it found its way to the Christian public. Suppose it to escape 
this fate ; it is printed and translated : with what anxiety do men 
turn over its pages, to find in them something which has a bearing 
on this or that controverted point ! If touching upon disputed 


matters, is it too much to conceive that it would not find equal ac 
ceptance with disputants on both sides supposing that it favoured 
one of them rather than the other ? Time would elapse before the 
new Epistle would find its way into the language of theology. There 
would be no Fathers or Commentators to overlay it with traditional 
interpretations. It is strange but also true that it could never re 
ceive the deference and respect which has attached to those more 
legitimate Epistles in the possession of which the Christian Church 
has gloried for above eighteen centuries. And some one standing 
aloof might ask whether any article of faith which such an accident 
might disturb could be necessary to salvation. 

3. Another supposition may be raised of the discovery not of one 
but of many lost Epistles of St. Paul, which suggests a new question. 
Would the balance of Christian truth be thereby altered ? Not so. 
A moment s reflection will remind us that the servant is not above 
his Lord, nor the disciple above his Master. If we have failed to 
gather from the words of Christ the spirit of the Gospel, a new Epistle 
of St. Paul would hardly enlighten us ; if we are partakers of that 
spirit we have more religious knowledge than it is possible to ex 
haust on earth. The alarm is no sooner raised than dispelled. The 
chief use of bringing the supposition before our minds is to remind 
us of the simplicity of the faith of Christ. It may help to indicate 
also to the theological student the nature of the problem which he 
has to consider in the interpretation of Scripture, at once harder and 
easier than he at first supposed, easier because simpler, harder 
because beset with artificial difficulties. Wej*e the Epistles bearing 
the name of St. Paul not ten but thirty in number, a great change 
would take place in our mode of studying them. Is it not their 
shortness which provokes microscopic criticism ? the scantiness of 
materials giving rise to conjectures, the fragmentary thought itself 
provoking system? Words and phrases such as "justification by 
faith without the works of the law" could not have had such a 
powerful and exclusive influence on the theology of after times 
had they been found in two only out of thirty Epistles. Theories 

o 4 


and constructions soon come to an end when materials are abundant ; 
ingenuity ceases to make an attempt to fill up the blanks of know 
ledge when the mind is distinctly conscious that it is dealing not 
with the whole but with a part only. 

4. No difference is made by the supposition which has been raised 
respecting the extant Epistles considered as a rule of life and practice. 
Almost any one of them is a complete witness to the Author and 
Finisher of our faith ; a complete text-book of the truths of the 
Gospel. But it is obvious that the supposition, or rather the simple 
fact, that Epistles have been lost which were written by St. Paul, 
is inconsistent with the theory of a plan which is sometimes attri 
buted to the extant ones, which are regarded as a temple having 
many parts, even as there are many members in one body, and all 
members have not the same office. A mistaken idea of design 
is one of the most attractive errors in the interpretation of 
Scripture no less than of nature. No such plan or unity can be 
really conceived as existing in the Apostle s own mind ; for he 
could never have distinguished between the Epistles destined to 
be lost and those which have been allowed to survive. And to at 
tribute such a plan to an overruling Providence would be an 
arbitrary fancy, involving not inspiration, but the supernatural se 
lection and preservation of particular Epistles, and destructive to all 
natural ideas of the Gospel. It is a striking illustration of what 
may be termed the incidental character of Christianity, that (not 
without a Providence in this as in all other earthly things) some 
of the Epistles of St. Paul, in the course of nature, as if by chance, 
are for ever lost to us ; while others, as if by chance, are handed 
down to-be the treasures of the Christian world throughout all ages. 

5. There is no reason to suppose that those Epistles of St. Paul 
which have been preserved were more sacred or inspired than those 
which were lost, or either more so than his discourses in the syna 
gogue at Thessalonica during " three Sabbath days," at Athens, at 
Corinth, at Rome, or the other places in which he preached the Gospel. 
The supposition of the lost Epistles indefinitely extends itself when 


we think of lost words. Of these it might be truly said, " that if they 
were written every one, even the world itself would not contain the 
books that should be written." The writings of the Apostle, like 
the words of our Saviour, are but a fragment of his life. And they 
must be restored to their context before they can be truly under 
stood. They do not acquire any real sacredness by isolation from 
the rest. It would be a loss not a gain to deprive the New Testament 
of its natural human character, instead of receiving a higher and 
diviner meaning, it would only be reduced to a level with the sacred 
writings of the Asiatic religions. " So Christ and his Apostles 
went about speaking day after day," is a truer and more instructive 
thought than " these things were formally set down for our instruc 
tion." Nor does it really diminish the power of Scripture to 
describe it, as it appears to the eye of the critical student, as a 
collection of fragmentary and occasional pieces. For these frag 
ments are living plants ; the germ of eternal life is. in them all ; 
the least of all seeds, when compared in bulk with human lite 
rature, they have grown up into a tree, the shade of which covers the 




JNo one can read books on the Evidences of the Christian Religion, 
written in the last century, without feeling that he has difficulties 
which are not met by them, and that points of view occur to him, 
which were not within the scope of vision that presented itself to the 
writer. This may be partly accounted for, from their being written 
in the spirit of the advocate rather than of the judge ; weak points, 
as in pleading before a j ury, are often concealed ; the reader is 
scarcely expected to go out of his way to consider seriously the 
other side of the case. Our confidence is further weakened by ob 
serving that they are apt to shift with the metaphysical or theolo 
gical schools of the age, and that some of the evidences which are in 
repute at home have scarcely any value in other countries. Another 
cause of this want of satisfaction is the growth of modern criticism, 
which had hardly in the last generation come into contact with the 
facts of Scripture, and which, as it has gradually crept over the rest 
of history, begins to approach more and more nearly the sacred ter 

Modern criticism, in the sense here meant, may be described shortly 
as the spirit of historical inquiry. This spirit of inquiry has re 
ceived a great impulse in our own country and in Germany from 
the researches of Niebuhr and Grote, whose method, whatever abate 
ments may be made of some of their statements, will influence all 
future histories of the ancient world. That is to say, the old traditional 
history can never return ; positive results may often be small and 
disappointing ; the great result is the knowledge that of early times 


we are destined to know less, in the absence of contemporary accounts, 
than we had once hoped and believed, the little that we do know, 
perhaps more clearly. This result has been arrived at in three 
ways : first by showing the inconsistency of testimony; secondly, by 
discrediting, chiefly on grounds of internal evidence, the genuine 
ness of documents or authorities ; thirdly, by indicating the manner 
in which, though false, conceptions of historical fact, and even fic 
titious writings, may without falsehood have sprung up, in the 
course of nature, during unknown ages, by the workings or im 
pressions of the mind itself. 

As the truths of Christianity have an historical as well as a doc 
trinal part, they cannot be wholly unaffected by that which affects 
all other history. They are drawn in by the application of prin 
ciples which were not intended for them, and which might not have 
been so generally admitted, had their application been foreseen. 
Lessons which have been learnt in the study of profane history, are 
not forgotten in the perusal of the Sacred Volume. Fresh suppositions 
arise respecting the narrative of Scripture; discrepancies hitherto 
unobserved begin to be detected ; what formerly lay flat upon the 
page is reconstructed with more or less ingenuity or probability 
into a lively edifice. Some old things are about to disappear, some 
new ones to appear. The date and authorship of the books of 
Scripture are made to pass a trying ordeal. It is natural under 
such circumstances for us to turn to our former defenders of the 
faith, and inquire how far under their protection we can still find a 
safe abiding place ; whether the old armour of controversy has been 
superseded by new modes of warfare. 

Paley s Horae Paulinas has been, and always will be, to our own 
countrymen one of the greatest bulwarks of historical Christianity. 
Yet its present value must be in a measure determined by the result 
of the inquiry which has been just now suggested. We turn over 
the leaves of the work, not without anxiety to know how much must 
fall before the subtle shafts of German criticism. We want to see 
how far the author had in view the doubts of our own age as well 
as of his. If the theory against which Paley is contending had been 


one, not of total, but of partial disbelief, would the arguments which 
he uses have equally held good ? especially if it had been a theory 
which attacked the genuineness of the books of Scripture themselves, 
which dismembered them into parts, and which tended to discredit 
the external evidence by which they were maintained ? 

" Though some is taken, much remains." True it is that Paley 
never contemplated the dismemberment of the Acts of the Apostles 
into original documents ; it is true also, that he did not estimate the 
comparative value of the coincidences which he found in different 
instances in the same or different writings. All the Epistles and 
every part of the Acts were placed by him on the same level of au 
thenticity and genuineness. It is true, further, that the very clear 
ness of his style has given him a fallacious advantage with the reader, 
and that the extreme improbability of the hypothesis which he is 
combating, leaves an appearance of triumph that would not be jus 
tified by anything short of such an hypothesis. Lastly, it may be 
granted that the omission of many of the discrepancies in the Epistles, 
and the absence of effort to regard the subject as a whole, and esti 
mate the collective force of objections, place him in the rank of 
apologists, and not of impartial writers. 

But after making all these deductions, it must be conceded that 
no author has done as much as Paley in the Horae Paulinae, to raise 
up a barrier against unreasoning scepticism, and to place the Epistles 
on an historical foundation. The ingenuity of his arguments, the 
minuteness of the intimations discovered by him, the remoteness and 
complexity of his combinations, leave the impression on the mind, of 
absolute certainty, in reference to the great Epistles to the Koreans 
and Corinthians, and of high probability, in reference to most of the 
others. And even though some of his defences may be untenable, 
it is true also, that other lines of argument first indicated by him, 
admit of being carried farther than he has carried them. Such are 
those from undesigned coincidences of style and of character, that 
is from similarities which, with a previous knowledge of the style 
and character of an author, are capable of being recognised and ap- 


predated ; and yet are so latent and complex, that no forger could 
have invented them. 

The two chapters on the Epistle to the Thessalonians contain 
together nine different heads. Some of them afford the least favour 
able specimens of Paley s reasoning. All are indebted for a part 
of their force, to the perspicuity of the writer, which flatters the 
reader into intelligence, and makes him ready to admit what he can 
so easily understand. To estimate a criticism on Paley s writings 
fairly, his arguments and those of his critics should be reduced to 
their naked form ; otherwise the controversy will insensibly dege 
nerate into a comparison of the styles of two writers, not of the 
value of their arguments. 

Bad reasons on behalf of a received opinion or an established 
authority, have often hitherto found more favour than good ones 
against it. Many persons like to throw into an argumentative or 
rhetorical form what on other and perhaps good grounds they have 
made up their minds to receive. But the time has passed for ex parte 
inquiries and statements, whether about the evidences of Christianity 
or any other historical subject. It is the interest of every one to see 
how we really stand. Christians are not partisans of a side who are 
bound to support what other Christians have said ; it is no point of 
honour with us to defend ground because it has been once taken in. 
Many of the evidences of Christianity are rather a burden than a 
strength to it. Let us know the truth, and " the truth will make us 
free." Without hesitation, therefore, though not without reverence 
for so great a name, a brief examination will be attempted of that 
portion of Paley s work which relates to the Epistles to the Thessa 

No. I. 

"!T is known to every reader of Scripture, that the First Epistle 
to the Thessalonians speaks of the coming of Christ in terms which 
indicate an expectation of his speedy appearance : * For this we say 
unto you by the word of the Lord that we which are alive and 
remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which 


are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a 
shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God : 
and the dead in Christ shall rise first : then we which are alive and 
remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. . . . But 
ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you 
as a thief." (iv. 15, 16, 17., v. 4.) 

" Whatever other construction these texts may bear, the idea they 
leave upon the mind of an ordinary reader is, that of the author of 
the Epistle looking for the day of judgment to take place in his own 
time, or near to it. Now, the use which I make of this circumstance 
is, to deduce from it a proof that the Epistle itself was not the pro 
duction of a subsequent age. Would an impostor have given this 
expectation to St. Paul, after experience had proved it to be erro 
neous ? or would he have put into the Apostle s mouth, or, which 
is the same thing, into writings purporting to come from his hand, 
expressions, if not necessarily conveying, at least easily interpreted 
to convey, an opinion which was then known to be founded in mis 
take ? I state this as an argument to show that the Epistle was 
cotemporary with St. Paul, which is little less than to show that it 
actually proceeded from his pen; for I question whether any ancient 
forgeries were executed in the lifetime of the person whose name 
they bear, nor was the primitive situation of the Church likely to 
give birth to such an attempt." 

It is argued that no impostor would have put into the mouth of 
St. Paul, an expectation of the coming of Christ, which experience 
had shown to be false. Rather say, he would have put into the 
mouth of St. Paul anything which it came within the reach of his 
ingenuity to devise, and which was likely to make the Epistle cre 
dited as a genuine work of the Apostle. His general aim would be 
to support his own opinions by the name and authority of St. Paul. 
Whether a particular statement was likely to have been made by St. 
Paul, he would only consider in so far as might seem to affect the 
verisimilitude of his forgery. 


Still the argument holds, if stated differently ; for the impostor 
must have had an object, and that object or part of that object must 
have been to spread a belief which was shared by himself in the 
immediate coming of Christ. In other words the Epistle must have 
been written by a Montanist or Millenarian. But a Montanist or 
Millenarian, believing in the present outpouring of the Spirit, would 
not have had recourse to the writings of a century before to prove, 
what, at the time they were written, he could not suppose to have 
been true. No one in our own day who maintained the immediate 
coming of Christ would support his opinion by that of Joseph Mede, 
who died more than 100 years ago, and fixed the end of the world 
during his own lifetime. The Montanist, though not rejecting the 
written word, had in himself a surer witness, and he would have 
felt the inappropriateness of appealing, on such a subject, from 
the present to the past. No one who had a sufficient motive 
to forge, would have cared to attach his forgery to the name of 
an Apostle. 

That no ancient forgeries were executed in the lifetime of the 
person whose name they bear, is more than can be safely affirmed. 
That forgeries came into existence soon after the death of the person 
whose name they bear, is certainly proved by the example of the 
Shepherd of Hernias, the Clementine Homilies, and some of the 
Apocryphal Gospels. Neither an interval of a hundred years, nor 
a distance of a hundred miles requires to be interposed. It is cer 
tainly true, that the primitive situation of the Church in the year 
50, so far as we are acquainted with it, was unlikely to give birth 
to such an attempt ; that the same improbability would have existed 
in the year 100, is more than we can maintain. 

No. II. 

" OUR Epistle concludes with a direction, that it should be publicly 
read in the Church to which it was addressed : I charge you by 
the Lord, that this Epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The 
existence of this clause in the body of the Epistle is an evidence 


its authenticity ; because to produce a letter purporting to have been 
publicly read in the Church of Thessalonica, when no such letter in 
truth had been read or heard of in that Church, would be to produce 
an imposture destructive of itself. At least, it seems unlikely that 
the author of an imposture would voluntarily, and even officiously, 
afford a handle to so plain an objection. Either the Epistle was 
publicly read in the Church of Thessalonica during St. Paul s life 
time, or it was not. If it was, no publication could be more au 
thentic, no species of notoriety more unquestionable, no method cf 
preserving the integrity of the copy more secure. If it was not, the 
clause we produce would remain a standing condemnation of the 
forgery, and one would suppose, an invincible impediment to its 

" If we connect this article with the preceding, we shall perceive 
that they combine into one strong proof of the genuineness of the 
Epistle. The preceding article carries up the date of the Epistle to 
the time of St. Paul ; the present article fixed the publication of it 
to the Church of Thessalonica. Either, therefore, the Church of 
Thessalonica was imposed upon by a false Epistle, which in St. 
Paul s lifetime they received and read publicly as his, carrying on a 
communication with him all the while, and the Epistle referring to 
the continuance of that communication ; or other Christian Churches, 
in the same lifetime of the Apostle, received an Epistle purporting 
to have been publicly read in the Church of Thessalonica, which 
nevertheless had not been heard of in that Church ; or lastly, 
the conclusion remains, that the Epistle now in our hands is 

Nothing can be apparently more conclusive than this statement, 
though really fallacious. The root of the fallacy seems to lie in the 
supposition that the moment the forged writing appeared, it would 
be subject to critical investigation, and that the first place it would 
be brought to would be the Church of Thessalonica itself. VThereas, 
the whole history of forgeries shows that they wandered about the 


world, coming and going nobody knew whence or whither, and that 
the concealment of their origin was not an impediment to their 
success. The Epistle to the Thessalonians, we will suppose, sud 
denly made its appearance at Rome or Alexandria, in the year 120. 
It fell, as its author intended, into the hands of those who were pre 
disposed to its doctrine and gladly caught at its authority. Would 
any one think of writing to the Church of Thessalonica to ask 
whether the Epistle had been read there during St. Paul s lifetime ? 
And if we could suppose such an inquiry to be made after an interval 
of fifty years or more, who could say whether it had or had not been 
once read, in accordance with the Apostle s direction ? A parallel 
case will throw light on the question which we are considering. 
Suppose a lost book of statutes to reappear suddenly, would it be 
thought to militate against its genuineness that a provision was 
found in it that the whole book should be read once a year ? And 
suppose, further, this book to be a forgery, would the occurrence of 
such a provision tend to create the slightest suspicion respecting it ? 
Would it have been any reason for doubting the genuineness of the 
Book of the Law, in Josiah s time, that it contained a command that 
it should be read by the king ? 

It is highly improbable, as Paley remarks, that the Church of 
Thessalonica could have been imposed upon by a false Epistle in 
St. Paul s lifetime ; but there is no improbability in the circumstance 
that other Churches and individuals may have read, not perhaps 
during the lifetime of the Apostle, but soon after, an Epistle pur 
porting to be addressed to the Church of Thessalonica, which never 
theless had not been heard of in that Church, and that such Epistle 
may have been gradually received as genuine ; and therefore it is by 
other arguments than these that the conclusion must be proved, that 
the Epistle now in our hands is a writing of St. Paul. 

No. III. 

" BETWEEN our Epistle and the history the accordancy in many 
points is circumstantial and complete. The history relates, that 
VOL. I. P 


after Paul and Silas had been beaten with many stripes at Philippi, 
shut up in the inner prison, and their feet made fast in the stocks, as 
soon as they were discharged from their confinement, they departed 
from thence, and, when they had passed through Amphipolis and 
Apollonia, came to Thessalonica, where Paul opened and alleged that 
Jesus was the Christ, Acts, xvi. 23 xvii. 1 3. The Epistle written 
in the name of Paul and Silvanus (Silas), and of Timotheus, who 
also appears to have been along with them at Philippi (vide Phil. 
No. IV.) speaks to the Church of Thessalonica thus : Even after 
that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye 
know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the 
Gospel of God with much contention. ii. 2. 

" The history relates, that after they had been some time at Thessa 
lonica, The Jews which believed not ... set all the city on an uproar, 
and assaulted the house of Jason (where Paul and Silas were), and 
sought to bring them out to the people. Acts, xvii. 5. The 
Epistle declares, When we were with you, we told you before that 
we should suffer tribulation ; even as it came to pass, and ye know. 
iii. 4. 

" The history brings Paul and Silas and Timothy together at Co 
rinth, soon after the preaching of the Gospel at Thessalonica : And 
when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia (to Corinth), 
Paul was pressed in spirit/ Acts, xviii. 5. The Epistle is written in 
the name of these three persons, who consequently must have been 
together at that time, and speaks throughout of their ministry at 
Thessalonica as a recent transaction : We brethren being taken 
from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the 
more abundantly to see your face with great desire. 1 ii. 17. 

" The harmony is indubitable ; but the points of history in which it 
consists, are so expressly set forth in the narrative, and so directly 
referred to in the Epistle, that it becomes necessary for us to show, 
that the facts in one writing were not copied from the other. Now, 
amidst some minuter discrepancies, which will be noticed below, 
there is one circumstance which mixes itself with all the allusions in 


the Epistle, but does not appear in the history anywhere ; and that 
is of a visit which St. Paul had intended to pay to the Thessalonians 
during the time of his residing at Corinth : Wherefore we would 
have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again ; but Satan hindered 
us. ii. 18. Night and day praying exceedingly that we might 
see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith. 
Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct 
our way unto you. iii. 10, 11. Concerning a design which was 
not executed, although the person himself, who was conscious of his 
own purpose, should make mention in his letters, nothing is more 
probable than that his historian should be silent, if not ignorant. 
The author of the Epistle could not, however, have learnt this cir 
cumstance from the history, for it is not there to be met with ; nor 
if the historian had drawn his materials from the Epistle, is it likely 
that he would have passed over a circumstance, which is amongst the 
most obvious and prominent of the facts to be collected from that 
source of information." 

The harmony is indubitable ; nor is there any reason for supposing 
that the writer of the Acts has taken his materials from the Epistle, 
or the writer of the Epistle from the Acts. And minute agreement in 
two documents or narratives which have no verbal resemblances, and 
in which nothing can be proved anywhere to be copied in one from 
the other (that is, in this instance, in any part of the Acts from any of 
the Epistles), is an almost certain proof of their truth and accuracy 
in passages where they agree. But the omission by the author or 
editor of the Acts, not of a fact, but of an intention which is alluded 
to in the Epistle, cannot be considered as any additional proof of 
that which hardly needs to be proved at all. It does not follow, as 
Paley maintains, that if the historian had " drawn his materials from 
the Epistle " he would have mentioned the circumstance, because the 
intention is spoken of as never taking effect in the Epistle itself. 
Suppose that, in the biography of a traveller, or rather, to put a case 
more exactly parallel, in a few pages of scattered memorials of travel, 

p 2 


no mention occurred of a design which was never carried out, and 
yet which the letters of the traveller at one period of his life show 
him to have entertained and also to have abandoned, that would not 
tend to prove the authenticity of either, or to guarantee their inde 
pendence of each other. It would require many such omissions before 
any inference could be drawn from them. As well might we say 
that the omission of some untrue statement which may be found 
in a contemporary authority would prove the trustworthiness of 
a history. 

No. IV. 

" WHEREFORE, when we could no longer forbear, we thought it 
good to be left at Athens alone ; and sent Timotheus, our brother, 
and minister of God, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning 
your faith: . . . but now when Timotheus came from you unto us, 
and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, . . . we were 
comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith/ 
iii. 17. 

" The history relates, that when Paul came out of Macedonia to 
Athens, Silas and Timothy stayed behind at Berea: The brethren 
sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea ; but Silas and Timo 
theus abode there still. And they that conducted Paul brought him 
to Athens. Acts, xvii. 14, 15. The history farther relates, that 
after Paul had tarried some time at Athens, and had proceeded from 
thence to Corinth, whilst he was exercising his ministry in that city 
Silas and Timothy came to him from Macedonia. Acts, xviii. 5. But 
to reconcile the history with the clause in the Epistle which makes 
St. Paul say We thought it good to be left at Athens alone ; and 
sent Timotheus unto you, it is necessary to suppose that Timothy 
had come up with St. Paul at Athens ; a circumstance which the 
history does not mention. I remark, therefore, that although the 
history does not expressly notice this arrival, yet it contains intima 
tions which render it extremely probable that the fact took place : 
First, as soon as Paul had reached Athens, he sent a message back 


to Silas and Timothy, for to come to him with all speed/ Acts, 
xvii. 15. Secondly, his stay at Athens was on purpose that they 
might join him there: Now while Paul waited for them at Athens 
his spirit was stirred in him. Acts, xvii. 16. Thirdly, his depar 
ture from Athens does not appear to have been in any sort hastened, 
or abrupt. It is said, * after these things, viz. his disputation with 
the Jews, his conferences with the philosophers, his discourse at 
Areopagus, and the gaining of some converts, he * departed from 
Athens, and came to Corinth. Acts, xviii. 1. It is not hinted that he 
quitted Athens before the time that he had intended to leave it ; it is 
not suggested that he was driven from thence, as he was from many 
cities, by tumults or persecutions, or because his life was no longer 
safe. Observe then the particulars which the history does notice ; 
that Paul had ordered Timothy to follow him without delay, that he 
waited at Athens on purpose that Timothy might come up with him, 
that he stayed there as long as his own choice led him to continue. 
Laying these circumstances, which the history does disclose, to 
gether, it is highly probably that Timothy came to the Apostle at 
Athens ; a fact which the Epistle, we have seen, virtually asserts, 
when it makes Paul send Timothy back from Athens to Thessalonica. 
The sending back of Timothy into Macedonia accounts also for his 
not coming to Corinth till after Paul had been fixed in that city for 
some considerable time. Paul had found out Aquila and Priscilla, 
abode with them and wrought, being of the same craft ; and reasoned 
in the synagogue every sabbath day, and persuaded the Jews and 
the Greeks. Acts, xviii. 1 5. All this passed at Corinth before 
Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia. Acts, xviii. 5. 
If this was the first time of their coming up with him after their 
separation at Berea, there is nothing to account for a delay so con 
trary to what appears from the history itself to have been St. Paul s 
plan and expectation. This is a conformity of a peculiar species. 
The Epistle discloses a fact which is not preserved in the history ; 
but which makes what is said in the history more significant, pro- 

r 3 


bable, and consistent. The history bears marks of an omission ; the 
Epistle by reference furnishes a circumstance which supplies that 

Here the discrepancy turns on the circumstance that, according to 
the Epistle, Timothy joined the Apostle at Athens ; but according 
to the narrative of the Acts, at Corinth. The undesigned coincidence 
is supposed to consist in the omission, in the Acts, of the return of 
Timothy from Athens to Thessalonica, which is thought to be inti 
mated, however, in the command of Paul, that " they (f. e. Silas and 
Timotheus) should come speedily to him," or, according to the true 
reading, " as speedily as possible " a command which, unless we 
assume such a journey, must have been neglected. 

Paley has here lost sight of the natural view of the narrative of 
the Acts. For no one would have found there the shadow of incon 
sistency, but for the discrepancy with the Thessalonians. Let us see 
how the case stands : Paul waited for Timothy and Silas at Athens, 
not because he expected that they would come up with him there, but 
because he expected them somewhere. The length of his stay, either 
at Athens or Corinth, before he was overtaken by Silas and Timotheus, 
cannot really be inferred from the narrative. And even granting 
that the narrative does tacitly imply an interval of a few weeks in 
which St. Paul was alone, sufficient time must also be allowed for the 
messengers of Paul to go from Athens to Berea, and for Timothy to 
return from Berea to Athens. Acts, xvii. 15. And, lastly, suppose 
that for some reason unknown, Timothy and Silas were delayed, does 
it follow that, unless the delay were considerable, the author of the 
Acts would necessarily have mentioned so minute a circumstance ? 

But for the sake of argument, let us assume the inconsistency to 
exist, which Paley imagines that he has discovered in the Acts, and 
what must be the inference ? It must be admitted, that the writer 
of the Acts either knew, or did not know, that the return of Timothy 
from Athens to Thessalonica actually took place. If (1.) he did 
know, it would be unnatural for him to have expressed himself 


as he has done respecting the circumstance of Timothy and Silas 
coming up with the Apostle at Corinth. Two statements refer 
to each other : first, the command to follow quickly ; secondly, the 
fact that at a certain point of his journey the Apostle is overtaken 
by his friends. But the situation, as it existed in the author s mind, 
was very different from this. Timothy and Silas first rejoined the 
Apostle, not at Corinth, the point mentioned, but at Athens, whence 
they returned to Thessalonica, and finally reached Corinth. Would 
any one who knew this have omitted it, when the omission must 
necessarily lead to a false impression ? Paley should have considered, 
not only what was necessary to make the narrative intelligible or 
probable, but what was necessary to make the writer or editor of 
the Acts consistent with himself. (2.) But again, if he did not know, 
the intimations themselves vanish. For in using these words, " Whilst 
Paul waited for them at Athens," " he sent a message back to Silas 
and Timothy to come to him with all speed," he must be supposed, 
on Paley s view of the subject, to be saying something, the bearing 
of which he did not perceive ; to have spoken, not of himself, but on 
the authority of some other writing or narrative which he misunder 
stood or misquoted But it is not likely that, with a narrative before 
him which mentioned the fact of Timothy s return from Athens, the 
compiler should have retained these intimations, and have omitted 
the very circumstance which was necessary to make them consistent 
with the rest of his history. 

Our inference, therefore, must be that the method of meeting 
the supposed inconsistency proposed by Paley, while it assumes 
the inconsistency for the sake of meeting it, leads into a further 

Once more, Paley does not observe that, even admitting his hypo 
thesis, a discrepancy still remains ; because in the Epistle which is 
addressed from " Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus," only Timothy 
is spoken of as sent from Athens ; whereas, to reconcile the Epistle 
with the Acts, Silas as well as Timothy must have undertaken the 
double journey. 

p 4 


The possible hypotheses respecting this subject are the follow 
ing : 

1. Timothy and Silas, having been left behind at Berea (accord 
ing to the Acts), join the Apostle at Athens (not according to the 

2. Silas, who alone is mentioned in the Acts as having preached 
at Thessalonica and Berea, is left behind at Berea, and Timothy 
follows the Apostle to Athens, whence he is sent back by him to 
Thessalonica. We may further suppose Timothy and Silas return 
ing together from Thessalonica to Corinth, and then overtaking the 
Apostle. This mode of explaining the two accounts reduces the 
discrepancy to a minimum. The writer of the Acts knew that 
Silas and Timotheus were together at Thessalonica and Berea, and 
were together when they overtook the Apostle at Corinth ; what 
he did not know, was only that they were separated during the 

3. Another mode of escape is, to avail ourselves of the usual re 
source of harmonists, and repeat the event. The Epistle must then 
have a later date assigned to it. But a date much later than the 
Apostle s visit to Thessalonica is inconsistent with the contents 
of the Epistle itself. 

The comparison of the Acts and the Epistle suggests a further 
objection. For Timothy is stated in the Epistle to have been sent 
back from Athens, at which place the Apostle had determined to be 
left alone. 1 Thess. iii. 1. 5. But at a later period the Apostle is 
not at Athens, but at Corinth and Ephesus, as we learn from the 
eighteenth chapter of the Acts. 

4. Or possibly by the words " we thought it good to be left at 
Athens alone ; and sent Timotheus," in the Epistle (iii. 1, 2.), may 
be meant only, sent Timotheus from Berea; a sense just admissible 
in the words, but hardly consistent with the context. 

Whichever way of diminishing the difficulty be adopted, it still 
remains slight, but un explain able, and cannot be by any ingenuity 
converted into an undesigned coincidence. Any mode of explanation 


which, like Paley s, does away the natural meaning of the author of 
the Acts, or like No. 4. of the Epistle, which dives beneath the 
surface to pick up what is really on the surface, is in its tendency 
far more dangerous than the simple admission of the existence of a 
discrepancy, because it introduces into Scripture a hypercritical and 
unreal method of interpretation, which may be anywhere made the 
instrument of perverting the meaning of the text. 

No. V. 

"<FoR ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God 
which in Judea are in Christ Jesus : for ye also have suffered like 
things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews. 
ii. 14. 

" To a reader of the Acts of the Apostles it might seem, at first 
sight, that the persecutions which the preachers and converts of 
Christianity underwent, were suffered at the hands of their old ad 
versaries the Jews. But if we attend carefully to the accounts there 
delivered, we shall observe that, though the opposition made to the 
Gospel usually originated from the enmity of the Jews, yet in almost 
all places the Jews went about to accomplish their purpose, by 
stirring up the Gentile inhabitants against their converted country 
men. Out of Judea they had not power to do much mischief in any 
other way. This was the case at Thessalonica in particular : * The 
Jews which believed not, moved with envy, set all the city in an 
uproar. Acts, xvii. 5. It was the same a short time afterwards at 
Berea : When the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the 
word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, 
and stirred up the people. Acts, xvii. 13. And before this, our 
Apostle had met with a like species of persecution, in his progress 
through the Lesser Asia : in every city * The unbelieving Jews 
stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against 
the brethren. Acts, xiv. 2. The Epistle therefore represents the 
case accurately as the history states it. It was the Jews always who 
set on foot the persecutions against the Apostles and their followers. 


He speaks truly therefore of them, when he says, in this Epistle, 
they both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have 
persecuted us ; . . . forbidding us to speak unto the Gentiles. ii. 15, 16. 
But out of Judea it was at the hands of the Gentiles, it was of their 
own countrymen, that the injuries they underwent were immediately 
sustained : Ye have suffered like things of your own countrymen, 
even as they have of the Jews/ " 

This is not a fair representation of the circumstances referred to. 
The fact is that there is a difficulty which arises from the discrepancy 
of the Acts and the Epistle ; the first impression of the Acts being 
that the converts of Thessalonica were Jews persecuted by Jews, or 
at any rate that the element of Jews and Jewish proselytes was a 
principal one in the Church, and the Jews actively engaged in the 
persecution, or rather the main authors of it ; while the only con 
struction that can be put upon the Epistle is, that they were Greeks 
persecuted by Greeks (1 Thess. ii. 14.), as the Jews of Palestine, 
with whom they are compared, had been persecuted by Jews. This 
discrepancy might find a reconcilement, were we more fully ac 
quainted with the circumstances of the case, but cannot be regarded 
as an undesigned coincidence. Compare Horae Paulinas, chap. v. 
No. V. 

No. VI. 

" THE apparent discrepancies between our Epistle and the history, 
though of magnitude sufficient to repel the imputation of confederacy 
or transcription (in which view they form a part of our argument), 
are neither numerous, nor very difficult to reconcile. 

" One of these may be observed in the ninth and tenth verses of the 
second chapter : For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail : 
for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable 
unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are 
witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we 


behaved ourselves among you that believe. A person who reads 
this passage is naturally led by it to suppose that the writer had 
dwelt at Thessalonica for some considerable time ; yet of St. Paul s 
ministry in that city, the history gives no other account than the fol 
lowing: That they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue 
of the Jews ; that, as his manner was, he went in unto them, and 
three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures ; . . . that 
some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas. The 
history then proceeds to tell us, that the Jews which believed not . . . 
set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, where 
Paul and his companions lodged ; that the consequence of this outrage 
was, that the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night 
unto Berea. Acts, xvii. 1 10. From the mention of his preaching 
three sabbath days in the Jewish synagogue, and from the want of 
any farther specification of his ministry, it has usually been taken for 
granted that Paul did not continue at Thessalonica more than three 
weeks. This, however, is inferred without necessity. It appears to 
have been St. Paul s practice, in almost every place that he came to, 
upon his first arrival to repair to the synagogue. He thought himself 
bound to propose the Gospel to the Jewsjirst, agreeably to what he 
declared at Antioch in Pisidia ; it was necessary that the word of 
God should first have been spoken to you. Acts, xiii. 46. If the Jews 
rejected his ministry, he quitted the synagogue, and betook himself 
to a Gentile audience. At Corinth, upon his first coming thither, 
he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath ; and when the Jews 
opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he departed thence, expressly 
telling them, from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. . . . 
And he continued there a year and six months. Acts, xviii. 6 11. 
At Ephesus, in like manner, for the space of three months he went 
into the synagogue ; but when divers were hardened and believed 
not, but spake evil of that way, he departed from them and separated 
the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus ; and 
this continued by the space of two years. Acts, xix. 8, 9, 10. Upon 
inspecting the history, I see nothing in it which negatives the sup- 


position that St. Paul pursued the same plan at Thessalonica which 
he adopted in other places ; and that, though he resorted to the 
synagogue only three sabbath days, yet he remained in the city, and 
in the exercise of his ministry amongst the Gentile citizens, much 
longer, and until the success of his preaching had provoked the 
Jews to excite the tumult and insurrection by which he was driven 

" Another seeming discrepancy is found in the ninth verse of the 
first chapter of the Epistle : For they themselves show of us what 
manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God 
from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his 
Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which 
delivered us from the wrath to come/ This text contains an 
assertion that, by means of St. Paul s ministry at Thessalonica, 
many idolatrous Gentiles had been brought over to Christianity. 
Yet the history, in describing the effects of that ministry, only 
says, that some of the Jews believed, . . . and of the devout Greeks 
a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. Acts, xvii. 
4. The devout Greeks were those who already worshipped the 
one true God ; and therefore could not be said, by embracing 
Christianity * to be turned to God from idols. 

" This is the difficulty. The answer may be assisted by the fol 
lowing observations. The Alexandrian and Cambridge manuscripts 
read (for r&v re ffe^opevwv EXXrivwv TTO\V TrXrjdos) TWV r-e ffeopli (t)V KUI 
EXXjjj wv TroXv TrXi/floe. In which reading they are also confirmed by 
the Vulgate Latin. And this reading is in my opinion strongly 
supported by the considerations: First, that ol ffe6pevot alone, *. e. 
without "EXXrjvec, is used in this sense in this same chapter, Paul 
being come to Athens, $t\lyTO p.ev ovv kv ry avvaytj-yrj roTc 1ov3cu oc 
KOI TOIQ ae&onivoig. Secondly, that trg^o/zevot and "EXXrjveg nowhere 
come together. The expression is redundant. The ol a^operoi 
must be "EXXrpce. Thirdly, that the KOI is much more likely to have 
been left out, incuria nianus, than to have been put in. 

Or, after all, if we be not allowed to change the present reading, 


which is undoubtedly retained by a great plurality of copies, may not 
the passage in the history be considered as describing only the effects 
of St. Paul s discourses during the three sabbath days in which he 
preached in the synagogue ? and may it not be true, as we have re 
marked above, that his application to the Gentiles at large, and his 
success amongst them, was posterior to this ? " 

The Epistle says, that the Apostle laboured with his own hands 
(ii. 9, 10.), implying, therefore, that he remained at Thessalonica for 
some time. But the Acts state that he preached there three sabbath 
days. Paley argues, " but he may have stayed longer, because he did 
did so in other places." But this is not the spirit of the narrative ; 
nothing can be inferred from what he did at other places where he 
was not driven out by persecution, as to what he did at this where he 
was. It might be argued, however, in favour of the genuineness of 
the Epistle, that its account is indirectly confirmed by the Philippians, 
in which it is stated, that in Thessalonica they sent once and again 
to the Apostle s necessity. 

The fallacy of Paley s argument lies in the rejection of the 
prima facie meaning of the Acts. St. Paul may have stayed 
longer, and may have converted Gentiles ; but would the author of the 
Acts have expressed himself as he has done, had he been aware of 
this protracted stay ? That is the point which is not in any degree 
met by accumulating instances that may tend to prove his practice 
in other places. Paley s mode of dealing with these passages is as 
if in ordinary conversation we took the words of a truth-speaking 
person, and made them mean anything they could mean without in 
volving the speaker in positive falsehood, giving, morever, as the 
reason for our tortuous interpretation of them that he had so ex 
pressed himself at other times. A better answer would be : (1.) 
That the Apostle, even though he remained in a place but for three 
weeks, began by giving a specimen of his way of life. (2.) That it 
by no means follows that he intended to remain but for three weeks, 


as the duration of his stay was cut short by the stirring up of perse 

The second discrepancy Paley seeks to avoid by adopting the 
reading ruiv re ffggo/ieVwv KO.L EXXr/i/om Granting him this, it will 
still not enable us to account for the exclusively Gentile character 
of the Church in the Epistle. 



No. I. 

" IT may seem odd to allege obscurity itself as an argument, or to 
draw a proof in favour of a writipg, from that which is usually con 
sidered as the principal defect in its composition. The present Epistle, 
however, furnishes a passage, hitherto unexplained, and probably 
inexplicable by us, the existence of which, under the darkness and 
difficulties that attend it, can only be accounted for upon the suppo 
sition of the Epistle being genuine ; and upon that supposition is 
accounted for with great ease. The passage which I allude to is found 
in the second chapter of the Second Epistle (ver. 3 8.): That day 
shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of 
sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth him 
self above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he as 
God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 
Eemember ye not, that WHEN I WAS YET WITH YOU, I TOLD YOU 
THESE THINGS ? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might 
be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already 
work : only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the 
ivay. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall 
consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the 
brightness of his coming/ It were superfluous to prove, because it 
is in vain to deny, that this passage is involved in great obscurity, 
more especially the clauses distinguished by Italics. Now, the observa 
tion I have to offer, is founded upon this, that the passage expressly 
refers to a conversation which the author had previously holden 
with the Thessalonians upon the same subject ; Remember ye 
not, that, when I was yet with you, / told you these things ? And 


now ye know what withholdeth. If such conversation actually 
passed ; if whilst he was yet with them, he told them, * these things, 
then it follows that the Epistle is authentic. And of the reality of 
this conversation it appears to be a proof, that what is said in the 
Epistle might be understood by those who had been present at such 
conversation, and yet be incapable of being explained by any other. 
No man writes unintelligibly on purpose. But it may easily happen, 
that a part of a letter which relates to a subject, upon which the 
parties had conversed together before, which refers to what had been 
before said, which is in truth a p9rtion or continuation of a former 
discourse, may be utterly without meaning to a stranger who should 
pick up the letter upon the road, and yet be perfectly clear to the 
person to whom it is directed, and with whom the previous commu 
nication had passed. And if in a letter which thus accidentally fell 
into my hands, I found a passage expressly referring to a former 
conversation, and difficult to be explained without knowing that 
conversation, I should consider this very difficulty as a proof that the 
conversation had actually passed, and consequently that the letter 
contained the real correspondence of real persons." 

Paley characteristically says, that "no man writes unintelligibly 
on purpose," and therefore there must have been some real conver 
sation, which is here referred to. But is not this a fallacy ? He 
appears in this article to confuse the forger and the real author. 
That the real author could not have written unintelligibly on purpose 
is true ; but it by no means follows that the forger would not have 
taken any mode which his ingenuity suggested of making his work 
appear to be a genuine writing. (See No. I.) He might have re 
ferred to pretended conversations, letters, circumstances, with this 
object. He might have written whatever St. Paul could have 
written ; the only limit to this being whether the verisimilitude was 
of a kind which was likely to occur to him. The question which he 
would ask himself would be, not whether what he wrote was unin- 


telligible, but whether any suspicion would be aroused by its unin 
telligibleness. It may easily happen, as Paley observes, that part of 
a letter may be unintelligible from want of information respecting 
allusions contained in it. But this is no confirmation of its truth. 
A. B. forges letters tending to prove he is the heir to an estate ; in 
these letters he alludes to matters which from his statement of them 
can only be half understood. This may be some proof of the inge 
nuity of the forger ; it is no proof of the genuineness of Ihe 

No. II. 

" NEITHER did we eat any man s bread for nought ; but wrought 
with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be charge 
able to any of you : not because we have not power, but to make 
ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. iii. 8, 9. 

" In a letter, purporting to have been written to another of the 
Macedonic Churches, we find the following declaration : 

" * Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the 
gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated 
with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 1 iv. 15. 

" The conformity between these two passages is strong and plain. 
They confine the transaction to the same period. The Epistle to the 
Philippians refers to what passed { in the beginning of the Gospel, 
that is to say, during the first preaching of the gospel on that side 
of the JEgean Sea. The Epistle to the Thessalonians speaks of the 
Apostle s conduct in that city upon his first entrance in unto them, 
which the history informs us was in the course of his first visit to the 
peninsula of Greece. 

" As St. Paul tells the Philippians, that no church communicated 
with him as concerning giving and receiving, but they only, he 
could not, consistently with the truth of this declaration, have re 
ceived anything from the neighbouring Church of Thessalonica. 
What thus appears by general implication in an Epistle to another 
Church, when he writes to the Thessalonians themselves, is noticed 
expressly arid particularly : Neither did we eat any man s bread for 

VOL. I. Q 


nought ; but wrought night and day, that we might not be chargeable 
to any of you. 

" The texts here cited farther also exhibit a mark of conformity 
with what St. Paul is made to say of himself in the Acts of the 
Apostles. The Apostle not only reminds the Thessalonians that he 
had not been chargeable to any of them, but he states likewise the 
motive which dictated this reserve : * Not because we have not 
power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us, 
iii. 9. This conduct, and what is much more precise, the end which 
he had in view by it, was the very same as that which the history 
attributes to St. Paul in a discourse, which it represents him to have 
addressed to the elders of the church of Ephesus : Yea, ye your 
selves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, 
and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that 
so labouring ye ought to support the weak. 9 Acts, xx. 34, 35. The 
sentiment in the Epistle and in the speech is in both parts of it so 
much alike, and yet the words which convey it show so little of imi 
tation or even of resemblance, that the agreement cannot well be 
explained without supposing the speech and the letter to have really 
proceeded from the same person." 

Paley should not have omitted the verse following (Phil. iv. 16.), 
which implies that St. Paul received support from the Philippians 
while at Thessalonica, and is therefore partly inconsistent with his 
working with his own hands. " For even in Thessalonica ye sent 
once and again unto my necessities." 

[No. III. is not reprinted, as the subject of it has been already 
anticipated in the notes on the passage referred to.] 

The defects of Paley s article on the Thessalonians may be sum 
med up as follows : He has no distinctive conception of the nature 


or origin of early forgeries. He tends to confuse the person of the 
forger with the real author, and argues erroneously from one to the 
other. He omits discrepancies. He alters the natural and prima 
facie meaning of the Acts and the Epistles. He bends their exact 
words into agreement with general probabilities. He finds a difficulty 
where there is none, for the sake of introducing an undesigned 
coincidence. He has worked out in separate details a subject which 
can only be regarded philosophically as a whole, in which presumptions 
have to be considered, not singly, but collectively and with reference 
to the entire circumstances of the early Church. 

Paley, like most writers of his age, had no idea of the differences 
of times and countries. He had never formed a conception of the 
mind of the Apostolical age. He is justly chargeable with the error 
of regarding the writers of the New Testament as men who " sat 
down at a desk " to compose a book. He never asked himself the 
previous question ; what existed before the Acts ? out of what 
documents or memorials were they compiled ? He begins with the 
assumption of their integrity, not merely as a whole which was put 
together by a single editor, but as a whole which had no previous 
existence in any of its parts. Given his two witnesses, he then pro 
ceeds to prove the independence of their testimony. But he forgets 
that where the history is fragmentary and the letters short, minute 
points of agreement will be very rare. If they are numerous he 
may reasonably suspect them. The doctrine of chances shows that 
he must have made, not found them. They are not really there, but 
he has acquired the power of seeing them where they do not exist. 
Led away by his own ingenious thought of "undesigned coinci 
dences," he has impressed the notion of them on his own mind and 
that of the reader as a sort of form, by the help of which the Acts 
and the Epistles are to be read. His wonderful power of writing 
enables him to surround with a flood of light appearances which are 
often deceptive. 

Those who may at any time design to continue his work further 
should consider whether a valuable argument has not been already 



weakened by being carried beyond its just limits. Constructive 
evidences of Christianity, wiredrawn out of small materials, share the 
fate of constructive history. The real evidence of the genuineness 
of the Epistle to the Thessalonians is scarcely added to by the ar 
gument from undesigned coincidences, and not at all weakened by its 
omission. Far stronger and deeper is that evidence which is 
derived from the style and character of the Epistle, which in almost 
every verse recalls the manner of the Apostle St. Paul, and which 
in spite of minor discrepancies finds a general support and broad 
foundation in the agreement of the Epistle with the main features 
of the narrative of the Acts. 




Q 3 




Two questions, closely connected with each other, arise in the minds 
of every reader of the Epistles of St. Paul who is desirous of forming 
an idea of the state of the Churches to which they were addressed : 
first, whether the Church was founded by the Apostle himself; 
secondly, whether it was composed of Jewish or of Gentile Chris 
tians. For the answer to these questions, in the case of the Gala- 
tians, our chief attention must be directed to the intimations of the 
Epistle itself; to which a gleam of uncertain information may be 
added from other writings of the Apostle, and the analogy of other 
Churches mentioned in them. The Acts of the Apostles supply 
one or two facts of doubtful import. The latter of the two questions 
unavoidably runs up into a more general inquiry respecting the 
original relations of Jew and Gentile before^ they came together in 
the Christian Church, which will be more fully discussed in another 

The indications of the Epistle may be summed up in a few words. 
On the one hand, the tone of authority which the Apostle adopts, 
as well as particular expressions, such as iii. 2. " This only would I 
learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by 
the hearing of faith ?" ; or iv. 9 19. in which the Apostle speaks of 
their having been converted, not to bondage, but to freedom, and of 

Q 4 


himself as again becoming their spiritual father (comp. 1 Cor. iv. 15. ; 
also Acts xvi. 6.) ; as well as the manner in which he mentions the 
Apostles at Jerusalem in chap. ii. would certainly lead us to suppose 
that the Galatians must have been converted by himself or by his 
followers. And that they were originally Gentiles, is implied in 
chap. iv. ver. 8. : " When ye knew not God, ye did service unto 
them which by nature are no gods." But if they were converts of 
the Apostle, and also Gentiles, how are we to account for their ready 
reception of Judaism, to the repulsive rites of which they seem to 
have been drawn almost by instinct ? That would lead rather to 
the opposite supposition, that they were not Gentiles, but Jews. 
Naturally, it might be urged, when the Apostle s personal influence 
was withdrawn from them, Judaism overlaid Christianity, the law 
prevailed over the Gospel. And this latter opinion is confirmed by 
the fact, that the Apostle argues with them out of the law and the 
prophets, and that in none of his Epistles has the cast of the reason 
ing a more Jewish character. 

Thus on a first view we seem to arrive at opposite conclusions, an 
appearance of inconsistency which will present itself again to our 
notice in the Epistle to the" Romans. One set of presumptions leads 
to the inference, that the Galatians were Gentiles ; or rather the 
text quoted above (iv. 8.) expressly says so. Another set of pre 
sumptions (from which we cannot exclude the almost equally explicit 
statement that they were Jews, chap. iv. 9., and desirous to return 
to " the beggarly elements " around which their hearts still lingered) 
leads to the opposite inference. Out of this dilemma how are we to 
make our escape? (1.) Can we suppose St. Paul himself to have 
been a teacher of the law (compare Introductory Essays on the 
Epistles to the Thessalonians and Romans), and to have once taught 
what he now denounced ? Admitting that at no period of his life 
he wholly ceased to be a Jew (Acts xviii. 18., xxi. 26., xxiii. 6.); 
that there were threads in his doctrine, which entangled him with 
the false teachers (Gal. v. 11.); that there was a time in which he 
spoke of himself as " having known Christ according to the flesh," 


and that constant reference to the authority of the Old Testament is 
difficult to reconcile with his renunciation of the law ; still the ex 
treme antagonism in which he places himself to the Judaisers 
renders it impossible that he could ever have been one of them. 
The Galatians " had begun in the Spirit ;" it is another Gospel to 
which they are "removed;" they had originally received with en 
thusiasm the same lesson which St. Paul is seeking to revive. 
(2.) But if we cannot suppose St. Paul himself to have been a 
teacher of the law, whence did the infection of Judaism arise in the 
Churches of Galatia? It might be suggested that the Galatians 
were first converted by teachers of the circumcision, and afterwards 
reconverted by St. Paul. Yet, in Gal. iii. 2., iv. 19., the Apostle 
implies that they were converted by himself, and, as he expresses it 
in the passage just quoted, " began in the spirit." Or, (3.) shall we 
conceive him to be describing, first, the Gentiles, then the Jews in 
successive verses ? Granting that the Galatian Church, like most 
other Christian communities, may have contained Jewish as well as 
Gentile Christians, still the context shows that those who " served 
them which by nature are no gods," and those who were ready to 
relapse into the weak and beggarly elements of the law, were the 
same persons, iv. 8 10. Nor is there any trace in the Epistle that 
he distinguished the case of the Jew from that of the Gentile in 
reference to the obligation of circumcision ; to all he says alike, " if 
ye be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing." Would this 
have been his language had the Church been divided between Jews 
and Gentiles ? Yet, (4.) once more it might be argued, that Judaism 
and heathenism were regarded by St. Paul as a single prior dispensa 
tion, the two parts of which he is not careful to distinguish, which 
he seems alike to include elsewhere in the expression " elements of 
the world," Col. ii. 8. 20. But no such common point of view under 
which he may have regarded the former estate of Jew and Gentile, 
would have justified him in saying of the Jew: " Howbeit then, 
when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature 
are no gods." 


The most probable mode of escaping these difficulties is the 
following : The Galatians we may suppose to have been a Gentile 
Church, which was first converted to Christianity by St. Paul, but 
previous to its conversion had gone through a phase of Judaism. 
There were three states out of which Gentile converts passed, or 
might have passed, into the acceptance of the Gospel as preached by 
St. Paul: first, heathenism; secondly, a more or less strict prose- 
lytism ; thirdly, Jewish Christianity. The second of these was pro 
bably the state of the Galatian converts. Strange as it may seem, 
it is an undoubted fact that, before the appearance of Christianity 
the religion of the Jews exercised a great and mysterious influence 
over the Roman world. It had already bridged the chasm which 
separated the faith of Jehovah from the wisdom of the Greek philo 
sopher. It was " a schoolmaster," bringing men to Christ, not in 
idea only but in fact. The natural and political force of Judaism, 
even in its most abject state, its simple faith in the unity of God, the 
proselytising spirit of the Jews themselves (Matt, xxiii. 15.), their 
dispersion throughout the world, the diffusion of the Greek transla 
tion of the Old Testament Scriptures, the absorbing power of the 
Jewish Alexandrian philosophy, are sufficient to account for the 
hold which it acquired on the minds of men, standing, as it seemed, 
erect in the decline of the classical religions and the chaos of 
Eastern superstitions. The Roman poets in the age of Augustus 
were perfectly well acquainted with the belief and practices of the 
Jews, which extended to others as well as to their regular prose 
lytes ; a knowledge which is the more remarkable, when contrasted 
with the slender information about the Christians, which is displayed 
by every heathen writer, for the first century and a half after the 
Christian era.* 

Admitting the general fact of the diffusion of Judaism, no people 
were more likely to have fallen under its power than the inhabitants 
of Galatia. A half civilised race of Western origin, in an Eastern 

* See Introduction to Epistle to the Romans. 


land, were peculiarly liable to be influenced by the contagion of the 
Jewish settlers who dwelt among them (1 Peter, i. 1.). Their 
national religion was already mingled with the gods of the nations 
among whom they settled. They did not altogether cease to be 
heathen by becoming Jews, any more than they wholly left their 
ancient Gallic rites for Greek and Phrygian customs. Nor can we 
tell how many elements of Christianity, as, for example, the doctrine 
of a Messiah, may have been included in their Judaising tenets 
(compare Heb. vi. 1., 2 Cor. ii. 5. 16., John iv. 25.). Marked as 
such distinctions appear in language, there could not have always 
been a definite line which separated heathenism from proselytism 
or proselytism from Jewish Christianity, any more than the Gospel 
of the circumcision from that of the uncircumcision. The more lax 
of either class must have insensibly faded into the other ; and 
Judaism itself may have taken new forms when coming into contact 
with semi-barbarous races. Much that we look upon as a corruption 
of Christianity was, in fact, prior to Christianity, inherent in the 
magical or philosophical tendencies of the age, and clustering around 
the name of Christ as a new source of life and power. There was a 
spiritualised Judaism, as well as a Judaised heathenism. In the 
case of the Galatians, we can only infer from the language of the 
Epistle that they could not have been so completely Christians as to 
set aside St. Paul s claim to have converted them ; nor so completely 
Jews as to have lost all remembrance of that former state in which 
they did service " to them that are no gods." 

Supposing then the Galatians to have passed through the gate of 
Judaism to Christianity, there is no difficulty in explaining their 
relapse into Judaism. The Jewish teachers were there before 
St. Paul, and they remained there after his departure : and the 
language of the Old Testament itself, sanctioned by the authority of 
St. Paul, though read in a spirit unlike his, would seem to tell of the 
continued obligation of the law and of the necessity of circumcision. 
He himself, they insidiously said, had at one time preached that 
very circumcision which he now denounced, (v. 11.) By such 


arguments a half-wavering multitude, who had been once ready to 
die for the Apostle, now that he was absent, were shaken in their 
allegiance to his authority. 

The slenderness of our materials will not allow us to complete the 
picture of the Galatian Church. There is not a single figure to fill 
up the vacant space. It is only a probability that, in ch. v. 10., the 
Apostle is alluding to an individual opponent. (" He that troubleth 
you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.") We see the levity 
and inconsistency of the converts ; their confusion of the Gospel with 
the Law; the manner in which dislike of the doctrine of the Apostle 
degenerated into hatred of his person. Fainter traces are also 
discernible of Judaism mingling with heathenism in ch. iv. 9., as in 
Col. ii. 18. ; and perhaps in Rom. xiv. 



A NOTICE of the inhabitants of Galatia will throw a remote light 
on the Epistle to the Galatians. Some have thought to identify 
them with the barbarous people of Lycaonia who first worshipped 
the Apostles and afterwards stoned them. But whatever similarity 
may be traced in the character of the people, Derbe and Lystra 
were not within the district termed Galatia (comp. Acts xiv. 1 . 6.), 
which lay to the north, separated by Paphlagonia and Bithynia from 
the Euxine Sea. It was bounded on the south by Phrygia and 
Cappadocia, on the east by Pontus and Cappadocia, on the west by 
Phrygia and Bithynia, and included in its domain several of the Phry 
gian cities most celebrated for the worship of the mother of the gods. 

The inhabitants of this district were the Gauls of Asia. They 
were the remnant of the great Celtic and Germanic migrations, 
which overspread Greece and Asia Minor at the commencement of 
the third century before the Christian era. Like the Biscayans or 
Hungarians in Europe, they continued the isolated monument of the 
deluge which had passed away. At one time they had been the 
terror of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, and alternately the adver 
saries or the mercenaries of Alexander s successors. They were 
reduced by the Roman Consul, C. Manlius Vulso, in the year 189, 
but retained their separate kings by favour of the Romans, until 
about 80 years before this time, A. c. 26, when Amyntas, their last 
king and the favourite successively of Augustus and Antony, was 
murdered, and the country finally placed under a Roman governor. 

In character they are described as a free impetuous race, ever 
ready to bear arms for themselves or others. For a long time after 
their settlement in Asia, they retained their national and religious 


customs, the latter even including that of human sacrifices. St. 
Jerome (Gal. i. 2.) describes them, even in his own day, as having 
a peculiar dialect, which he compares to the German spoken about 
Treves. Their government in early times was a military aristocracy 
divided into twelve tetrarchies, the respective chiefs of which were 
not hereditary, but elected. The Gauls themselves were appor 
tioned in three tribes, and two subject peoples existed side by side 
with them, the Greeks and Phrygians, to whom they stood in the 
same relation as the Spartans to the Laconians and Messenians. 
Gradually the language and religion of the conquered made an 
impression on the conquerors. That they must have understood 
Greek is proved by the Epistle itself; and their supreme Council of 
three hundred corresponding to the tetrarchies of which Strabo 
(xii. 567.) speaks, was probably of Greek origin. And long before 
this time they had adopted or added to their own religion the rites 
of Cybele, and participated in the worship on Mount Dindymus and 
the gainful occupation of selling the oracles of the Goddess to the 
rest of Asia. 

The chief towns of Galatia were Ancyra the capital, Pessinus, at 
the foot of Mount Dindymus, and Tavium and Gaolasera on the 
Eastern border. From the use of the plural (TU~IQ cjtc\q<mx() we 
may gather that the Churches were scattered throughout the dis 
trict, in more than one village or town. It is impossible to say what 
the names of these Churches were, or whether the Epistle is ad 
dressed to converts who were Gauls, Phrygians, or Greeks by origin. 
Only the tone of the Apostle and the fickleness of those who 
received him " as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus," (comp. 
Acts xiv. 16 19., xxviii. 6.) " and afterwards became his enemies," 
may lead us to conjecture that he is addressing a people subject to 
violent religious impulses, a people such as might have been cele 
brated for their ancient Phrygian and Bacchic rites, amongst whom 
in heathen days extravagant superstition most readily found a home; 
and who, when converted to Christianity, gave birth to Phrygian 
heretics and to the Montanism of the second century. 



THE Epistle to the Galatians may be conveniently divided into three 
sections: (1.) the narrative, which maybe compared with 1 Thess. 
iii. 1 7., and which terminates with the address to Peter in the 
second chapter ; (2.) an argumentative portion based chiefly on the 
Old Testament, and nearly coextensive with chapters iii. and iv.; and 
(3.) a practical section in which the liberty of the Gospel is enforced 
as a rule of life. This division, however, is of no other value than 
as a help to the memory ; for there is no regular plan or structure. 
The Apostle is not composing an essay; he writes because he cannot 
help writing ; because in his own language " he would be straitened 
if he refrained." Even the calmer passages, such as the narrative 
of his visits to Jerusalem, and the arguments from the promise to 
Abraham and his two sons, are interrupted by expressions full of 
vehemence and passion. The Father will speak with his children ; 
the teacher must " change his voice " to his rebellious disciples. 
Their conduct was an injury to himself, and a wrong to the truth 
which he preached. At all events, by some means or other, he will 
stop this Judaism that is creeping over the Church of Galatia, 
which he indignantly feels to be strangely contrary to the Gospel 
which he has taught them. They appear to fancy that he is inferior 
to the Apostles at Jerusalem. That is not the case. Those who 
seemed to be somewhat are, in reality, scarcely his equals; for they 
added nothing to him in the hour of trial, and were wrong when he 
was right. What strange infatuation has come over them ? They 
must begin again, and recall the feelings of their conversion. In 
the law itself they may read their own condemnation. For the law, 


too, spoke of a promise that was made before the law, of the 
righteousness of faith, of the bond and free. He will make an 
appeal to them of another kind. Will they not hear his voice to 
whom they had once shown so intense a love ? Their old affection 
has passed away ; a few designing men have made a prey of them, 
and now they know him no more. He spoke too plainly to them on 
his last visit. What remained but that he should again warn them 
to preserve liberty ; to eschew licentiousness ; to remember that if a 
man was circumcised, he was a debtor to keep the whole law, and 
that Christ would profit him nothing; and yet not to forget, if 
they could receive it, the higher lesson that "in Christ Jesus 
neither circumcision availed anything nor uncircumcision, but a new 

The style and subject of the Epistle to the Galatians may be 
further drawn out by a comparison with the Epistles to the Romans 
and to the Corinthians, with which, in date, it nearly coincides. 
The Epistle to the Galatians exhibits, in a more compendious form, 
and, perhaps, in an earlier stage, the same truths which are more 
fully developed in the Epistle to the Romans. The differences 
between them maybe summed up as follows: 1. The Epistle to 
the Galatians is personal and occasional, while that to the Romans 
is addressed to a Church unknown to the Apostle, and has less the 
character of a letter, and more that of a treatise, than any other of 
the Epistles. 2. The one treats of circumcision as a question of 
practice ; the other of the law as a burden on the heart and con 
science. 3. The argument in the one is partial and fragmentary, 
returning often to " the weak and beggarly elements ; " that of the 
other comprehensive and continuous, extending over all mankind 
and all time; embodying the strife of good and evil in the heart of 
man, and tracing the same strife of death and life in the first and 
second Adam. 4. The Epistle to the Galatians is an argument or 
expostulation with Judaizing opponents ; the Epistle to the Romans 
is an argument or dialogue with self, in which the opponent is only 
a shadow, or idea, the "old man" of the Apostle s own thoughts, 


not the Jewish Christian with whom he is in actual conflict. 
5. In the Epistle to the Romans several topics occur which are 
scarcely touched upon in the Epistle to the Galatians ; such are the 
restoration of the Jews, the state of the heathen world, the mani 
festation of the sons of God, the exhortation to obey rulers, the 
question of abstinence from animal food. On the other hand, they 
have, in common, the following striking points: The doctrine of 
justification by faith, as illustrated by the instance of Abraham ; the 
universality of the Gospel of Christ, in whom is no distinction of 
Jew or Greek, bond or free ; the nature of sin as a trangression of 
the law which is alluded to in Gal. ii. 18, 19., and in iii. 19.; the 
identity of the Christian with Christ, and of the Spirit of Christ 
with the soul of the Christian, as in Gal. iv. 5, 6.; the mention of 
the observance of days and months, Gal. iv. 10.. which are treated 
with a difference corresponding to the difference between the two 
Epistles ; that is to say, in the Romans as indifferent, in the Gala 
tians as hurtful and indicative of further evil ; the exhortations 
against Antinomianism in Rom. vi. and Gal. v. 13.; the sonship of 
the Gospel contrasted with the servitude of the former dispensation, 
Rom. viii. 16., Gal. iv. 6.; the summary of sins or works of the 
flesh, Gal. v. 20., Rom. i. 29. 

The Epistle to the Galatians has also a bearing on the personal his 
tory and life of the Apostle, touching which it may be considered as 
standing in the same relation to the Epistles to the Corinthians that 
it does to the Epistle to the Romans when regarded in reference to 
his teaching and doctrine. Here begins to show itself that difference 
from the other Apostles and antagonism with the Judaizers which 
reappears in the Epistle to the Corinthians, which did not cease 
because the Apostle, during his imprisonment at Rome, was removed 
from the scene of conflict. Here begins that alienation from the 
teaching of St. Paul which in the Acts of the Apostles is foreboded 
by himself (xx. 29.), which was ever going on, and which, according 
to the latest Epistle that bears his name (2 Tim. i. 15.), was finally 

VOL. I. R 


consummated in the cities of Asia towards the close of his life. (See 
Essay on St. Paul and the Twelve.) 

Other points also occur of similarity or connection in the two Epis 
tles. The same character in nearly the same circumstances, using the 
same words, a few months, perhaps a year, sooner or later, appears in 
both. Allusions, more or less plain, occur in both Epistles to the work 
in which the Apostle was engaged at this time, of making a collec 
tion for the saints at Jerusalem (Compare Gal. vi. 6., 1 Cor. xvi. 1., 
2 Cor. ix. 6.) ; and both refer to the division of labour between St. 
Paul and the Apostles of the circumcision (2 Cor. x. 15., Gal. ii. 9.). 
There are differences also suited to the difference of those whom 
he is addressing. It has been often remarked that the Epistle to 
the Galatians is the only one among the Epistles of St. Paul which 
does not open with language of conciliation. It is not " ye are 
enriched in all utterance and come behind in no gift;" but, "I 
marvel that ye are so soon fallen away from Him that called you." 
In the Epistles to the Corinthians he is still on terms with his 
opponents ; he seeks to conciliate, quite as much as to awe, them ; 
he apologises for himself; he speaks to them as to men who had not 
forfeited their claim to that language of Christian courtesy in which 
he delights to address them, and who might be made better by his 
good opinion of them. On the other hand, in the Galatians there 
is a sort of freshness in his indignation : he commences the attack at 
once without caring to defend himself; he knows no middle term, 
and keeps no measures, with them. Yet his heart returns even 
to them ; he is more in sorrow than in anger ; he cannot suppress 
the yearnings of a father towards his spiritual children (iv. 19.). 
Some other differences are also observable in the subjects treated of. 
In the Galatians the Apostle confines himself to the single point 
of circumcision and freedom from the Jewish law (not to be made 
a cloak of licentiousness) ; in the Corinthians he scarcely alludes 
to circumcision, or the Jewish law, but handles a variety of topics, 
relating partly to Church order, partly to his own defence against 
the charges of his opponents. The one is addressed to a civilised 


community, intelligent of arguments, fruitful in opinions, fertile in 
drawing distinctions ; the other to a half-barbarous people, whom it 
was the Apostle s great object to protect from the external rite of 

It is to the second Epistle to the Corinthians that the Epistle to 
the Galatians offers the greatest resemblance. In both there is the 
same sensitiveness in the Apostle to the behaviour of his converts 
to himself, the same earnestness about the points of difference, the 
same remembrance of his own " infirmity " while he was yet with 
them, the same consciousness of the precarious basis on which his 
own authority rested in the existing state of the two Churches. 
Abruptness of style is characteristic of both; the excitement of 
feeling seems to clog the current of ideas. Both Epistles display a 
greater emotion than is to be found in any other portion of his writ 
ings, a deeper contrast of inward exaltation and outward suffering, 
more of personal entreaty, a greater readiness to assert himself; 
all together seeming to tell us what he told the people of Derbe and 
Lystra, that he " was a man of like passions with ourselves," and 
working through the instrumentality of those passions, yet not the 
less approved of God in his high calling. In such passages as 
" Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the 
marks of the Lord Jesus," at the end of the Galatians, or in the 
similar feeling of the verse of the Corinthians, " I think that God 
hath set forth us the Apostles last appointed unto death," we seem 
to trace a momentary reaction in the mind of him on whom came 
" the care of all the Churches." 

The slight allusion to the Churches of Galatia in 1 Cor. xvi. 1. is 
interesting, as an indication that the Apostle did not, at this time, 
break off his connection with them. Had we a second Epistle to 
the Galatians, it might possibly have shown that the first Epistle 
had worked the same " revenge " in them which the first Epistle to 
the Corinthians had effected in the Church at Corinth. In the last 
years of the Apostle s life one of his fellow-labourers is mentioned as 
having "gone into Galatia" (2 Tim. iv. 10.). Such intimations are 

R 2 


straws at which we catch, because we have nothing else. We 
cannot be too often reminded that our knowledge of the Church of 
the Apostles is derived from isolated passages ; it is dotted down 
on particular spots ; it is scattered at intervals over many years. 
No ingenuity can piece together fragments into a continuous and 
connected history of the Christian world in the first century. 



No one has doubted the genuineness of the Epistle to the Galatians ; 
it is not, therefore, necessary to recapitulate at length the evidence 
in its favour. That evidence consists of the testimonies of Patristic 
as well as of heretical writers, from the time of Irenseus downwards, 
going back, that is, to within a century of the date of its composition. 
But here a doubt may be raised respecting the value of the testi 
monies themselves ; for it may be truly urged, that evidence as 
ancient, and as nearly contemporary, can be quoted in favour of 
the Gospel of St. James, the Shepherd of Hernias, the Revelation of 
Peter, and other spurious writings. Why is it, then, that a short 
Epistle like that to the Galatians has been universally acknowledged, 
even by critics of the most extreme school, as a genuine writing of 
St. Paul ? 

The reason of this universal agreement is the internal evidence 
of its genuineness. Considering the number of forgeries, which we 
know to have existed in the second century, and the absence either 
of the spirit or of the faculty of criticism in the early church, we 
cannot set a high value on the testimony of the Fathers, except to 
events which were contemporary with themselves. What they really 
testify respecting the books of the New Testament is to their use and 
authority in their own day as the writings of the authors whose 
names they bear. But if the external testimony to the books of 
Scripture seems to be in this way weakened, the internal evidence 
of the genuineness of many of them may be regarded as greatly 
enhanced. What criticism has restored, though incapable of being 
put in a definite and tangible form, abundantly compensates for 

K 3 


what it has destroyed. If it will not allow us to take our stand 
upon tradition, it supplies us with many new kinds of proof. It 
enables us to affirm that a particular writing, from the richness of 
its style, the mannerisms of thought and language, the minuteness 
of the detail, the consistency, and, sometimes, the very singularity 
of the events recorded in it, must be an original, and not a mere 
imitation. It analyses the character which is proper to an indi 
vidual writer, and can be in no two writers the same. And it 
fortunately happens, that the age least capable of affording reliable 
external testimony, is the age also least capable of feigning the 
marks of a genuine writing. 

The internal evidence for the Epistle to the Galatians is of two 
kinds: First, that from the manner and character of St. Paul: 
secondly, from the allusions to the history. No forger ever made an 
imitation in which were so many secret threads of similarity, which 
bore such a stamp of originality, or in which the character, the 
passion, the language, the mode of thought and reasoning, were so 
naturally represented. No forger, either with or without the Acts 
before him, would have given such an account of the relation of St. 
Paul to the other Apostles as we here find. There was no period in 
the later history of the Church in which such a state of things could 
naturally have been conceived. Least of all could the dispute at 
Antioch, so agreeable to the character of the two Apostles, yet so 
unlike the first thoughts of a later age respecting the earliest 
Christian Church, have been invented in the second century. That 
Origen, as well as Jerome and Chrysostom, can only account for so 
remarkable a passage of history by resolving it into a collusion 
between the Apostles, is a real proof of the improbability of such 
a fiction. 

The close verbal resemblances of the Epistle to the Galatians to 
the Epistles to the Corinthians or the Romans, like those between 
the Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians, may seem to call for 
notice, as being, at first sight, inconsistent with the view here 
maintained. Further consideration will show that they afford an 


additional confirmation of the genuineness of the Epistle (compare 
Introduction to the Epistle to the Thessalonians). It is true that 
mere copying or imitation is generally a proof of the spuriousness of 
one at least of two writings. But there is a kind of resemblance 
also which springs from the mind or pen of the same writer, and 
which is, therefore, an evidence of the genuineness of the writings 
in which the resemblance is found. A person, for example, who 
has not the pen of a ready writer is apt to repeat the same words, 
phrases, sentiments ; it will often happen that at one time or place 
he may have one set of expressions, at another time a different one. 
Such appears to be the case in the Epistles of St. Paul. Similarities, 
not of style but of expression, short sentences repeated and strung 
in a new way, arguments abridged, favourite allusions newly 
pointed these are not the marks of ancient literary imposture. 
Many forgeries exist which are interpolated with genuine passages, 
having all degrees of corruption or depravation. But it may be 
doubted whether there are any which stand in the same relation 
either to genuine or forged writings, as the Epistle to the Colossians 
to that to the Ephesians, or that to the Galatians to those to the 
Corinthians or Romans. The kind of likeness that exists between 
them is, therefore, a proof, so far as it goes, not of spuriousness, but 

R 4 



FKOM the eighth verse of the first chapter of the Galatians, we gather 
that the Apostle was already known by face to the church which he 
was addressing "But though we or an angel from heaven preach 
any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto you, let 
him be accursed : " from the thirteenth verse of the fourth chapter 
we may gather, also, that he had visited the Galatians, not only 
once, but twice " Ye know how, through infirmity of the flesh, I 
preached the Gospel to you at the first" TO irporspov. This inference 
receives some confirmation from verses 15 and 16. of the same 
chapter, where he speaks, first, of the blessedness which they felt in 
receiving him ; and then, secondly, of his having become their enemy 
by speaking the truth to them ; a change which is too great to 
have taken place during a single visit, or at least may be more 
naturally explained by the supposition of an interval. And the 
words (i. 6.), " I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that 
called you into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel," seem to 
imply that a short time only intervened between the second of these 
two visits and the writing of the Epistle. Though, indeed, it may be 
urged, in reference to these latter words, that impassioned language 
is not to be strictly reasoned about. 

Further, the Epistle was written after two journeys to Jeru 
salem, i. 18., ii. 1., and a subsequent meeting with Peter at Antioch, 
ii. 11. Assuming the visit mentioned in Gal. ii. 1. to be the same 
with that commonly called the Council in Acts xv. (see note at the 
end of ch. ii.), we have a point of connection with the history. Ap 
plying the Epistle to the Acts, we find that the two visits to Galatia 


mentioned in the Epistle coincide with Acts xvi. 6. and xviii. 23. ; 
the first, a visit made at the commencement of his second missionary 
journey ; the latter, during what is sometimes called his third journey, 
but previously to his stay at Ephesus. Mention is also made in 
Acts xviii. 22. of St. Paul having been at Antioch, which may 
possibly have been (see notes) the occasion of his meeting with Peter 
in that city. Further, the words of vi. 17., " Henceforth, let no 
man trouble me ; for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," 
afford a presumption that the Apostle had been suffering recently 
the violence of persecution, perhaps in Ephesus (1 Cor. xv. 32.). 
More important than either of these possibilities is the absence of all 
allusion to the last journey to Jerusalem, in the second chapter 
which fixes the date of the Epistle prior to that event. It is 
observable, however, that the second and fourth journeys to Jeru 
salem are also omitted ; though from this omission no other inference 
can be drawn, except that these journeys were not present at the 
time of writing to the Apostle s mind, either because they were un 
important or had no bearing on the subject of which he is speaking. 
Unless, indeed, we adhere strictly to the words of the Apostle, and 
suppose these journeys to have been erroneously inserted by the 
author of the Acts of the Apostles. 

These are all the data for determining the time at which the 
Epistle was written, except the internal evidences from the style 
and character of the Epistle itself, and the state of the church which 
it represents. It is unlike the Epistles of the imprisonment ; it has 
close verbal resemblances, as well as other points of likeness, to the 
Epistles to the Eomans and to the Corinthians (see above) ; like them 
it belongs to a period of trouble and controversy between Jewish and 
Gentile Christians. Thence we infer that it was written before the 
imprisonment of St. Paul at Cesaraea and Rome, and probably about 
the same time with the Epistles to the Corinthians and Romans, the 
date of which is accurately fixed by the allusions in the Epistles 
themselves. Already by a different road we have arrived at the 
same conclusion. For it was shown above that the sending of the 


Epistle must have been preceded by a second visit to Galatia, and 
must have itself preceded the last journey to Jerusalem. That is to 
say. it falls into tint period of the Apostle s life which was passed at 
Ephesus, after bis return thither from Galatia and Phrygia, in 
Macedonia and at Corinth. 

The date of the Epistle to the Gabions cannot be fixed with more 
precise accuracy, whether the order of the Epi=tles of St. Paul is 
Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, as, upon the whole, has been 
the moat jifcralent opinion ; or ] Cor.. Gal.. 2 

-nans, must remain uncertain. The order given 
last has been supported by able and ingenious arguments derived 
from the close verbal resemblances of the Epistle to the Galatians to 
the Epistle* to the Romans and the Corinthians. That order is 
maintained to be the true one, according to which the Epistle to the 
Galatians is placed in tfae closest contact with the others. The 
nataililiiiini which lead to this conclusion, like those of the ( 
sians, and Ephesians, and of the Pastoral Epistles, are indeed a 
remarkable phenomenon in the style of St. PauL But when it is 
remembered that the resemblances of the Epistle to the TVau 
lonians to some of the other Epistles are so close a* to have aroused 
--. : ; -..-- ;rne<3 imitation, notwifctorfbg thai thil tyiafli 
is separated in fumt of time from all the later writings of St. Paul 
by an interval of at least four years, it seems as if no certain 
inference of proximity of date can be drawn for resemblances of this 
kind, and that some other explanation of them is required. CSoe 

246. and infra, conclusion <- on the chronology of St. Paul s 



Tin: main object of the first portion of the Kpistle is to assort the 

independent authority of tho Apostle against tho attacks of the 

Judai/.ers. Tho words, " Paul, an Apostle, not of man, neither by 

man, but by Jesus Christ," are the text of the two first chapters; 

and the narrative which follows is the commentary. He begins by 

denouncing the treason of the lialatians against himself. After the 

burst of his indignation has subsided, the Apostle proceeds to state 

facts illustrative of his Divine mission, and his relation to the 

Twelve. Kir.M, his independence was marked by the manner of his 

conversion; he did not receive the Tiospol through any human 

instrument, but by immediate ro\ elation. His previous education, 

and the well-known circumstance that he had been a persecutor of 

the Church, were a bad preparation for such a call. No one could 

have expected that the Pharisee or /ealot for the law would have 

become the servant of Christ. Nevertheless, it pleased (iod to work 

this change in him. The independence of his mission was further 

marked by the fact that, after his conversion, he did not go np to 

Jerusalem to throw himself into the arms of the Apostles, but away 

from it. and only after long intervals went there at all, and then saw 

but one or two of them, and only for a few days; so entirely were 

his teaching and otttcc his own, for so little was he indebted to 

them. lie had never preached to the Jewish rhurchos ; he was 

unknown to them by face, and only a report had reached them, 

which they received with joy and thankfulness, that the persecutor 

of the (lospel had now become its preacher. 

In the second chapter, with a like object, he describes the freedom 


of his conduct at what is termed the Council of Jerusalem. He 
refused to yield (or, according to another interpretation, declares 
himself to have yielded only from motives of expediency and fear of 
treachery) the circumcision of Titus to the demands of the false 
brethren. He was not overawed by the greatness of the other 
Apostles, whom he met as their equal ; and it was owing to himself 
rather than to them that a successful resistance was made to the 
Judaizing Christians. Yet they parted in love and fellowship ; the 
heads of the Church at Jerusalem reminding him of the wants of 
their poor members, a labour of love in which he was very willing 
to join. They saw that he himself was among the Gentiles what 
Peter was to the circumcision, and they agreed to divide the field of 
labour. Afterwards Peter followed him to Antioch, where, if he 
did not violate the letter, he at any rate forgot the spirit, of their 
agreement. On this occasion he openly resisted him, and boldly 
reasoned with him, as "building up the things which he had pulled 
down." These are the proofs that he was an Apostle, not of men, 
nor by man, and had an authority at least equal to the other Apostles, 
to whom the Judaizers made their appeal. 

II P O 2 FA A ATA 2. 



[CH. I. 


IIATAOS dTrocrToXo? OVK an* avOptoTrw ovSe Si avOpanrov, 1 
dXXa Sia I^croG ^otcrrov /cat #ou Trarpbs TOV e 

1. The Epistle to the Galatians 
is the only one among St. Paul s 
Epistles, in which he omits all 
words of compliment or friend 
ship in the opening verses. In 
other Epistles he begins with 
commendation, and passes on to 
reproof when he has gained a 
hold on the affections of those 
whom he is addressing. Thus, 
in the case of the Corinthian 
Church, though they had grave 
faults, and ought rather to have 
mourned for the sin of the in 
cestuous person, and their many 
divisions and profaneness in cele 
bration of the Lord s Supper, he 
introduces himself to them with 
words of conciliation : " I thank 
my God always on your behalf 
for the grace of God which is 
given you by Jesus Christ, that 
in every thing ye are enriched by 
him in all utterance and in all 
knowledge ; " and so passes on to 
his censure. But in the Epistle 
to the Galatians he adopts a dif 
ferent course, either because it 
was more natural to his own 
feelings, or the actual state of the 
Church was worse or more likely 
to be roused by the severity of 
his tone. 

Most of the salutations of the 
Epistles go beyond the language 
of Christian greeting. In their 
simplest form, they remind us of 
the words of Christ, "Peace I 

leave with you, my peace I give 
unto you." But the Apostle, 
whose mind is full of the mystery 
of the Gospel, adds clause to 
clause, and parenthesis to paren 
thesis, until, as in the Epistles to 
the Romans and the Galatians, 
the salutation is the proem of the 
whole Epistle. The truths of the 
Gospel are never out of place to 
him, and he supposes them to be 
always present to those whom he 
is addressing. 

TlavXoQ ciTrorrroXoe OVK UTT ar- 
6pu)7T(i)r> ovfie Si avOponrov, Paul, 
an apostle, not of men, nor by 
man, but by Jesus Christ.~\ As 
in the Romans, the Apostle be 
gins with the emphatic assertion 
of his authority. The words 
" not of man neither by man " 
are the text of the whole Epistle. 
The first, atro (of), has been sup 
posed to mark the source ; the 
second, 3ia (by), the means : 
" Who have an immediate call 
from God, and am not ordained 
by laying on of hands of any," 
like the subordinate ministers of 
the Apostles at Jerusalem. No 
such nice distinctions are really 
in the Apostle s mind ; he only 
means to say " Paul, in no sense 
a human Apostle." 

Antithesis of prepositions is a 
favourite use of language in the 
writings of St. Paul. In the New 
Testament, and sometimes in 

VEE. 1.] 




1 PAUL, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by 
Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from 

Aristotle, the mind of the writer 
supplies itself with logical or 
grammatical distinctions, which, 
although they are capable of 
being translated and explained, 
and have English words corre 
sponding to them, we may also 
deduct or generalise without in 
jury to the sense. (Compare Aris. 
N.E. iii. 5. 14., vi. 13. 5. ; Rom. 
iii. 30.; 1 Cor. xii. 8.; 2 Cor. iii. 
11.) Distinctions of this kind 
often arise out of an imperfect 
mastery over language ; in some 
instances they may be due also 
to over cultivation of language. 
Often they are modes of emphasis, 
and may be compared in St. Paul 
to the pleonastic accumulations 
of words with which his style 
abounds. Nice doctrinal or meta 
physical considerations have no 
thing to do with them ; they are 
due to intensity of feeling rather 
than to the subtlety of logic. 

HavXoQ, Paul.~] " Saul, who is 
also called Paul ; " Acts, xiii. 9. 
No certain conclusion can be 
arrived at respecting the origin 
of the second name, which may, 
perhaps, need no other explana 
tion than that St. Paul was a 
Roman citizen as well as a " He 
brew of the Hebrews." It is a 
groundless fancy that it was as 
sumed by the Apostle after his 
conversion ; equally so that its 
adoption had any connection with 

the reception of the Gospel by 
Sergius Paulus, which in the nar 
rative of the Acts immediately 
precedes the passage just quoted, 
in which the name is first used. 
The Apostle is called Saul in the 
earlier portion of the Acts, while 
among Jews : the name Paul is 
first given him at the commence 
ment of his more extended mission 
to the heathen. That he bore a 
Gentile name, which he uses in 
all his Epistles, could not have 
been without significance to him 

ctTTOfrroXoe, an apostle.~\ What 
was the nature of the Apostolical 
office, and in what sense was St. 
Paul an Apostle ? In endeavour 
ing to answer this question, which 
has been already touched upon, 
on 1 Thessalonians, we must dis 
tinguish the application of the 
term to St. Paul from its applica 
tion to the Twelve, as well as 
from that wider sense in which 
it was occasionally used of other 
preachers of the Gospel, 2 Cor. 
viii. 23.; Phil. ii. 25. The Twelve 
were the appointed witnesses of 
Christ, " who had been with him 
during all the time that he went 
in and out among his disciples." 
(Acts, i. 21, 22.) Some of them 
appear also to have been the 
" pillars " of the Church at Jeru 
salem, Gal. ii. 9., and to have 
preached in distant countries, in 



[CH. I. 

avrov IK vtK.pu>v, Kal ol CTVV eynoi TTOLVTZS dSeXc^ot, rais 2 
rrjs PaXarias. X^P^ VfiMf KOL elpyvv] cbro deov 3 

accordance with His word. They 
are recognised by St. Paul as a 
separate body, in 1 Cor. xv. 5. ; and 
are mentioned as the " Twelve " 
in Rev. xxi. 14. Their number 
may possibly have had a relation 
to the number of the tribes ; 
Luke, xxii. 30. More than this 
we cannot say. Whatever tra 
dition may have added to their 
history, or modern association 
appended to their name, must not 
withdraw us from the main idea 
of the Apostolical office, which was 
that of an immediate and personal 
relation to Christ in the first 
teachers of the Gospel. 

That in this stricter sense the 
term is not applicable to St. Paul, 
is obvious. It might be said of 
him in his own words, that he 
was an Apostle, "not in the letter 
but in the spirit." To the Ju- 
daizers any addition to the Twelve 
would have been a violation of 
the sacred number appointed by 
Christ himself. The Apostle 
urges other claims to the title, 
1 Cor. ix. 1, 2. : " Am I not an 
apostle ? am I not free ? have I 
not seen Jesus Christ our Lord ? 
are not ye my work in the Lord ? 
If I be not an apostle unto others, 
yet doubtless I am to you : for 
the seal of mine apostleship are 
ye in the Lord." All the lan 
guage that St. Paul uses on this 
subject shows, first, that he did 
place himself on a level with the 
Twelve; secondly, that his call 
to the Apostleship did not, in 
his own mind, rest on some one 
definite act, such as is spoken of 
in Acts, xiii. 2, 3., but partly on 
the revelation to him, at his con 
version ; partly on the fact of his 

having, like the other Apostles, 
seen the Lord ; partly on the suc 
cess of his labours, as well as on 
his own inward intense convic 
tion that this was the work which 
he was appointed to do. It is 
remarkable that the necessity 
which he felt, for the sake of 
truth, to establish his authority 
on an independent basis, does 
not prevent the acknowledgment 
in this passage, ver. 13. ; or the 
still more striking one in 1 Cor. 
xv. 9. : "For I am the least of 
the apostles, that am not meet to 
be called an apostle, because I 
persecuted the church of God." 

ovdt Si* ai/flpwTTov, nor by man."] 
The change from the plural to the 
singular seems to arise from the 
juxtaposition of m I>/<roiJ xpiarov, 
" not of men, nor by man, but by 
Jesus Christ." The word avQpio- 
TTOC is abstract, not concrete ; it is 
not necessary to translate " by a 
man." Compare 1 Cor. xv. 21. 
The preposition Sia (by) is not 
applicable in the same sense to 
all the three words arflpwTrov, 
Xpiarov, Seov, which is another 
reason for not pressing the an 
tithesis of CLTTO and 3m. Sm is 
applied to God, either by attrac 
tion from xpiorou, or in con 
nection with the particular act 
of raising up Christ, or as He 
is the beginning and end of all 
things, including in Himself the 
means. (Compare Romans, xi. 
36., and iv. 7., Lachm.) Chry- 
sostom supposes that, having ap 
plied the word Sia to Christ, the 
Apostle applies it also to the 
Father, lest it should occur to 
any to degrade the Son to the 
rank of a subordinate minister. 

VER. 2, 3.] 



2 the dead;) and all the brethren which are with me, unto 
a the churches of Galatia ; grace be to you and peace from 

This is the mind, not of the Apo 
stolic, but of the Nicene age. 

Seov Trarpoc, God the Father."^ 
Of whom is God said to be the 
father ? of Christ or of mankind ? 
It may be answered that in the 
Old Testament God is the Father 
of the Jewish people ; in the New 
Testament, of Christ, and through 
Him of mankind. Yet the word 
itself does not necessarily involve 
these associations. It may ex 
press the feeling " by which we 
say, Abba Father," without awa 
kening the thought of " sons or 
children." From being relative, 
it becomes absolute. Only in some 
passages, as here, its original idea 
is recalled by the mention of the 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

TOV eyepavroQ O.VTQV EK 
who raised him from the dead.~\ 
As we might say, " God who 
gave his only begotten Son." St. 
Paul extends the same form of 
language to the separate acts of 
our Lord s life: "God who 
raised up Christ," and the like ; 
the whole work of Christ, in all 
its parts, becoming an attribute of 

The conception of the resurrec 
tion of Christ is almost confined, 
in modern times, to the fact, that 
" after three days he rose again." 
In St. Paul it has a much wider 
import ; it is a new life of Chris 
tians as well as Christ, a resur 
rection of the believer at the same 
time with his Lord. Altogether, 
there are four ways in which the 
resurrection of Christ is spoken 
of in the Epistles of St. Paul, the 
ethical or spiritual meaning often 
blending with the literal fact. 
First, the resurrection is spoken 

of as an outward fact, of which 
there were many witnesses (1 Cor. 
xv. 1 6.) ; itself a proof of the 
truth of the Christian faith (ver. 
14, 15.) ; the evidence, or as the 
expression is turned in the Epistle 
to the Romans (i. 4.) the cause 
of the Divine Sonship of Christ. 
Secondly, as an idea or doctrine, 
forming a part, also, or aspect, 
of the inner life of the Gospel. 
According to this way of speak 
ing, it is the source of justifica 
tion, which is said to be related 
to the resurrection of Christ in 
the same manner as sin is said to 
be related to his death (Rom. iv. 
24, 25. ; x. 9.). Thirdly, as the 
figure or condition, almost the 
cause, of the resurrection of be 
lievers, which is identified with 
the resurrection of Christ as the 
Christian is with Christ himself 
(Col. i. 15. 18.). The power 
which raised up Christ is able to 
raise all men ; nor can the head 
be separated from the body, nor 
the " First-born from the dead " 
from those who are his. Fourthly, 
as the figure, or condition, or 
principle of spiritual resurrec 
tion: not only "he died, and 
the third day he rose again," but 
" Christ in you, the hope of glory " 
(Col. i. 27.); and "if we have 
been united in the likeness of his 
death, we shall also be in the like 
ness of his resurrection" (Rom. 
vi. 5.), an image which, in the 
passage just quoted, and in Col. 
ii. 12., is connected with the death 
of baptism. 

These four senses, or points of 
view, in which the resurrection 
of Christ is spoken of, easily pass 
into one another. Compare Rom. 

VOL. I. 




[CH. I. 

Kal KvpCov J]\LMV I^crov X/HCTTOV, rov Sd^ro? ZOLVTOV 4 
irepl 1 TWV aiAapTia>v rjfJLWv, OTHWS e^eX^rat 17/^0,9 e/c rov 2 cua>i>os 

r. aca. 

vi. 4., "That like .as Christ was 
raised up from the dead by the 
glory of the Father, even so we 
also should walk in newness of 
life ;" where, in the first clause, 
the resurrection is literal ; in the 
second, spiritual. 

2. ot avv ep.o\ 
all the brethren which are with 
me."] It is doubted whether St. 
Paul is here speaking: (1.) only 
of two or three of his companions, 
who accompanied him in his jour 
ney ; or, (2.) of his fellow -labour 
ers in general; or, (3.) of the whole 
Church. The first seems too 
small a number for the word 
TtavrtQ (all) ; while the second 
does not appear justified by the 
passages which are cited in sup 
port of it, viz. 1 Cor. i. 1. ; 2 Cor. 
i. 1. ; Phil. iv. 23. A more 
general interpretation is prefer 
able. The words themselves are 
vague and undefined. It is as if 
in a private letter we were to say, 
"All here unite with me," &c.; 
that is to say, not the servants of 
the household, nor friends in the 
neighbourhood, but all whom, ac 
cording to the usual forms of 
speech, it would occur to our cor 
respondent to include in these 

rate KK\r)o-iaiQ TTIQ FaXar/ac, the 
Churches in Galatia,~\ mentioned 
in the Acts, xvi. 6., xviii. 23., on 
the occasion of St. Paul s two 
visits to them ; and in 1 Cor. xvi. 
1., as making a collection for the 
Church at Jerusalem, and in 
1 Peter, i. 1., as having among 
them "strangers of the disper 

3. \cipiQ vp7iv.~^ See 1 Thess. 
i. 1. 

4. TOV %6vTQQ eavrov Trepl r&v 
apaprtuty ///zwy, who gave himself 
for our sins.^ irepi, not virtp, is 

the true reading. It may be 
compared, in this passage, with 
Tttpl apapriag, in Romans, viii. 3., 
the same expression being also 
used by the LXX. for a sin offer 
ing, Lev. vi. 30. ; Ps. xxxix. 6. 

The language of sacrifice in 
the New Testament is borrowed 
from the Old ; it grows naturally 
out of the use of sacrifice in the 
elder world. It may be briefly 
remarked: (1.) that such lan 
guage had already become figura 
tive (almost privative) in the Old 
Testament itself, as when the 
Psalmist said, li. 17., " The sacri 
fices of God are a contrite spirit ;" 
(2.) that the figures which de 
scribe the work of Christ are 
varied, thereby showing that they 
are figures only, and cannot be 
insisted upon as matters of fact ; 
(3.) that the same language of 
sacrifice and death is applied 
almost equally to the believer 
and to his Lord ; (4.) that the 
effect and meaning of this lan 
guage must have been different 
while the sacrifices were being 
daily offered, and now that they 
have passed away ; (5.) that ex 
pressions such as that of the text 
are not so common in the writings 
of St. Paul as another class of 
figures, in which the believer is 
identified with the various stages 
of the life of Christ; (6.) that 
the thing meant by them is, 
chiefly, that he was the Saviour 

VER. 4.] 



4 God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who 
gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from 

of mankind, the victim of sinful 
men, taking their sins upon him 
self in the same sense that he 
took their diseases upon himself 
(Matt. viii. 17.), and also truly 
imparting freedom and forgive 
ness. Lastly, the death of Christ 
is not to be isolated from his 
life, nor the language of the 
Epistles from the language of 
the Gospel. (See Essay on the 

07rd)Q e^eXrjTai tj^dg IK TOV alutroz 
TOV ei tarwroQ Trovrjpov, tJiat lie may 
take us out of this evil world 
present.^ These words contain 
an allusion to the Jewish distinc 
tion of cilwv trfortOc, or cu&y OVTOQ, 
and the atwv /^e XXwv, the times 
before and after the inauguration 
of Messiah s kingdom. But their 
meaning may be said to vary 
as the thing signified by them 
assumes to the believer a more 
inward or outward nature, is 
more past or present. The alwv 
evevTwQ is the world around him, 
from which the Christian with 
draws into communion with God, 
from which he shall be delivered 
finally in the world of glory. It 
is called evil, in the same spirit 
in which the Apostle says in the 
Epistle to the Romans, that "the 
whole creation groaneth and tra- 
vaileth together until now ;" also 
as it is the scene of the believer s 
trials and persecutions, in which 
he is waiting, too, for the re 
demption of the body. 

To this present world of evil 
is opposed the future world, of 
which Christ is the Lord. The 
one is the creation made subject 
to bondage, "full of principali 
ties and powers, and spiritual 

wickedness in heavenly places ;" 
the other is the glorious liberty 
of the children of God. A trace 
of the same thought occurs in the 
word tveffTwffa in 1 Cor. vii. 6. : 
tha Ttjv i)>ffru>(ra.v drayojj , "oil 
account of this present neces 
sity." The mind of the Apostle 
is overpowered by the contrast 
of faith and sight ; the bondage 
and constraint of the world, 
which might well make a man 
go out of the world, and the hope 
of salvation, " which is nearer 
than when we believed." There 
is a tone of suffering and sadness 
expressed in this verse : it is the 
feeling of the close of the Epistle : 
" 1 bear in my body the marks 
of the Lord Jesus." 

The word alwv passes through 
the same change of meaning in 
the new Testament as the Latin 
word " saeculum." First it is used 
for continuance of time, " Thou 
shalt not wash my feet elg TOV 
atwra," for ever ; or with more 
emphasis, as in John, vi. 51. ; 
/7<rrcu tig TOV atwj/a, "shall live 
for ever ;" or still more strongly 
in the plural, of the eternal ex 
istence of God, or the everlasting 
happiness of the blessed, as in 
the Book^of Revelation. In the 
writers of the New Testament, 
as in the Jewish writers, 6 a\i*>v 
OVTOQ, Romans, xii. 2., eVeoTwc, as 
in this place, 6 vvv, as in 1 Tim. 
vi. 17., are opposed to 6 aliov 
ineivoc, Luke, xx. 34., 6 /ueXXwr, 
Matt. xii. 32., px<$jued$, Luke, 
xviii. 20., as present and future, 
as evil and good. 

The idea of 6 alwv OVTOQ is 
further illustrated by Eph. ii. 2.: 
"And you (hath he quickened), 

s 2 



[Cii. I. 


TOV e^ecrrojTos TTovrjpov /caret TO 6e\rjp.a TOV Otov /cat 

, a* rj Sd^a ets rovs ata>z/as ra)^ aitoVMV, afJLTJv. 5 

ra^elws ju,eTaTt#ecr# cbro TOV /ca- 6 

picrTov ets erepov euayyeXto*>, 
o ou/c ecmv aXXo, et ///^ Tti e s etcr(j> ot rapacrcro^T9 v/^tas 7 
/cat 0e Xoz Teg /xeracrTyoei//at TO evayye Xtoi> TOT) ^picrTOv. ctXXa 8 
/cat eaz> ^/xets ^ ayyeXog ef ovpavov evayyeXt^Tai v 

being dead in trespasses and sins, 
wherein in time past ye walked 
according to the course of this 
world, according to the prince of 
the power of the air, the spirit 
that now worketh in the children 
of disobedience," which not only 
gives the associations implied in 6 
aitov TOV k onrfjiov TOVTOV. but assists 
in explaining the change of 
meaning by which aluv comes 
to signify the world without the 
idea of time ; as in Heb. xi. 3., 
" The worlds are framed by the 
word of God ; " or in 1 Corinth, i. 
20. " The disputer of this world." 
Comp. also our uses of " the 
world," for the heavens and earth 
and all things in them ; for this 
present state, as opposed to the life 
to come ; also, in a bad sense, for 
the world, whether within or 
without man, as opposed to the 
kingdom of God ; and in a neu 
tral one, irrespective of good or 
evil, to signify the mass of man 
kind, or the public opinion of 

5. rj oa,] to whom be the 
glory that belongs to Him. 

6. ovrcjQ ra^f wc, so soon,~^ i. e. 
after their conversion (cf. euro 
TOV KoXeffavTos). Quickly and 
slowly are relative terms, and 
cannot therefore be pressed in 
the argument respecting the date 
of the epistle. It may, however, 
be fairly argued from these words 
that the epistle could not have 

been written many years after 
the visits of the Apostle which 
are recorded in the Acts. 

fj.ETaTideffds, ] either middle, 
" that ye are so soon changing," 
or passive, " transferred." 

otTTO TOV KoXecravTOQ v/uac, from 
Him that called you.~] 6 caXeVac 
does not refer to St. Paul, the 
human instrument, but to God 
Himself. Compare ver. 15., Rom. 
viii. 30. The allegiance from 
which they had departed was not 
to the Apostle but to God. 

kv ^apiTi xptffTov, in the grace 
of Christ. ] Interpreters doubt 
whether iv is here instrumental, 
or put for ete, or a confusion of 
EV and IIQ. It is better to re 
gard the whole expression as an 
amplification or variation of tv 
Xpiorw. Comp. ] Cor. vii. 15. : 
kv ce eipi ivr) KK\r)Kv rjpdg 6 $eog. 

elg Erepov evayyt Atoj , to another 
Gospel.~\ Some of the charac 
teristics of this other Gospel may 
be inferred from the Epistle. 
First, it was a Gospel which 
was supposed to rest on the 
authority of the other Apostles 
rather than of St. Paul, as we 
gather from the tone of the first 
two chapters ; secondly, it was a 
Gospel of the Circumcision, which 
required all the converts to con 
form to the law of Moses, and 
observe the times appointed by it, 
as we learn from chap. iv. 10. 
Yet it was not wholly different 



this present evil world, according to the will of God and 

5 our Father : to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

6 I marvel that ye are so soon * transferred from Him. 
that called you in * the grace of Christ unto another 

7 gospel : which is not another ; but there be some that 
trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 

s But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any 

from the Gospel of St. Paul ; the 
name of Christ was doubtless re 
tained in it, or it would not have 
been a Gospel at all (ver. 7.). I* 
would be too much to infer, from 
chap. v. 15. 26., that it was a 
Gospel of licentiousness, as it is 
uncertain whether the Apostle 
is there addressing his own fol 
lowers or his opponents, or both 

7. o OVK iffTLv aXXo, which is not 
another J\ Either, (1.) which 
turning aside is nothing else but 
certain troublers seeking to per 
vert the Gospel of Christ; or, (2.) 
which Gospel is not another 
Gospel (for there cannot be 
two Gospels), but only certain 
troublers who pervert it; ciXXo 
being unemphatic in the first 
way of taking the words, em 
phatic in the second. 

The last is the more probable 
explanation. It seems to have 
arisen, however, from a confusion 
of the former. What the Apostle 
meant to say was, " which change 
of mind," or rather " which Gos 
pel, is nothing else than the work 
of certain troublers," and a mere 
perversion of the true Gospel. But 
the similarity of meaning in aXXo 
and erepov caught his mind in the 
act of framing the sentence, and 
led him to give a new sense 
to aXXo, which occasioned the 
further alteration of ?/ into el p/. 
He may be said to make a denial 

or correction of his former state 
ment in the words o ovKeanv aXXo, 
and to qualify again in the clause 
beginning with el prj. An addi 
tional confusion has arisen from, 
the uncertainty whether o is to be 
referred to ereoov evayyeXiov, or 
to evayyeXiov only. 

Compare for a similar variation, 
without difference of meaning, in 
aXXo and eTepor, 2 Cor. xi. 4. : 
el per yap 6 ep^o^eroQ aXXov Ir/- 
rrovv Krjpvvffei ov OUK eKrjpv^apej^ 
rj Trvevyua eTepov Xaju^avcre o OVK 
eXa^ere. T) evayyeXiov erepov o OVK 
edetaade, fcaXwg ave^ecrde ; also, 
as showing the same kind of ac 
knowledgment that there was a 
Gospel contained even in the 
preaching of his opponents, 
Philip, i. 15. : " Some indeed 
preach Christ even of envy and 
strife ; and some also of good 
will: the one preach Christ of 
contention, not sincerely, sup 
posing to add affliction to my 
bonds ; what then, notwithstand 
ing, whether in pretence or in 
truth, Christ is preached ; " for 
the play of words, Gal. iii. 20. : 
6 <$ fJieffiTfiQ eroQ OVK corn , 6 <)e 
$e.uc elg ear iv ; for the correction : 
el ye /cot tup, iii. 4. ; and for 
el /LII/, 1 Cor. vii. 17. 

8. a\Xa Koi f.av fyucTr, but. 
though we^\ that is, St. Paul. The 
meaning may be paraphrased 
thus : "But even though I my 
self, (not to speak of your false 

s 3 



[Cn. I. 

Trap o evrjyyeXio-dfJLeOa vplv, dvdOepa terra). o>9 vpoeiprj- 9 
KafJLtv Kal dpTL Trd\w Xeyo>, ei rts v^a<; evayyeXi^erai Trap 9 
o TrapeXctySere, avdOt^a terra), dpri yap av9pa>Trovs Treida), 10 
T) rov 9e6v ; r] E,rjTa> dvOpojiroiS dpto-Ktw ; et 1 ert dvdpa)- 
ripto-Kov, -^PLCTTOV SouXos OVK av TJjjirjv. 

a) ot vfjilv, dSeXc^oi, TO evayyeXiov TO vayye\io~0tv u 
VTT e/xov, OTI OVK to~TLV KaTa dvOptoTTOV ov$t yap lya) 12 

1 Add ydp. 

teachers,) or an angel from 
heaven, preach another Gospel, 
let him be accursed." Comp. 
1 Cor. xiii. 1.: "Though I 
speak with the tongues of men 
and of angels;" also, 2 Thess. ii. 
2. : " That ye be not soon 
troubled in mind, neither by 
Spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, 
as by us." Schoettgen gives the 
following parallel from a Rab 
binical comment on Deut. xxx. 
12., the law is not in heaven: 
" Quid sibi volunt hsec verba ? 
Respondet R. Jeremias : Quum 
jam lex nobis de monte Sinai data 
sit non expectamus bath kol." 

irap o other than, besides, ex 
plained by o OVK cffriv ci/\A.o, ei pt i 
TiviQ, K. T. X. 

aradepa t orw, let him be ac- 
cursed.~\ Compare 1 Cor. xvi. 
22.: "If any man love not the 
Lord Jesus Christ, let him be 
anathema:" and Gal. v. 10: 
" He that troubleth you shall 
bear his judgement." 

9. we TrpOEtp/Mx/zei .]] " I have 
said it before, and I say it again, 
let him be accursed." St. Paul 
may be referring either to the 
anathema in the preceding verso, 
as in 1 Cor. v. 9. he refers to his 
own words immediately preced 
ing: "I wrote unto you in the 
Epistle ; " or he may allude to 
his own visit to them, probably 

the second of the two occasions 
mentioned in Gal. iv. 15, 16. 
This latter mode of taking the ex 
pression gives increased force to 
cipTL -rraXiv. " As I have told you 
when present, T say again now." 
Compare for the general mean 
ing the Apostle s address to the 
Elders of Ephesus, Acts, xx. 27. 
29. ; and for 7rpoijO//K ajU6^, 2 Cor. 
vii. 3., where the word appears to 
refer to the previous chapter; also, 
Gal. v. 3., vi. 11.; Eph. iii. 3. 

10. apTi yap avOpwTrovg Tmflw, 
il TOV Seov, for do I now persuade 
men, or God?~] Comp. Matt, 
xxviii. 14., Acts, xiv. 19., for 
the use of 7rf/0w, which applies 
properly to men, but improperly 
to God ; or, in other words, re 
quires a change of meaning be 
fore it can be used in the latter 
connection. It is here nearly equi 
valent to ??roi dptfTK ei^, which 
follows, and may be translated so 
as to preserve the double mean 
ing : " For do I now seek to ap 
prove myself to man or to God?" 

The strong language which 
the Apostle had just used might 
seem to need a justification. But 
the very use of it was an answer 
to a charge which the Judaizers 
brought against him, that of 
want of sincerity. 

A parallel instance of conduct 
among ourselves may serve as an 



other gospel unto you than that which we have preached 

9 unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so 

say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel 

unto you than ye have received, let him be accursed. 

10 For do I now persuade men, or God ? or do I seek to 
please men ? x if I yet pleased men, I should not be the 
servant of Christ. 

11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was 

12 preached of me is not after man. For I neither received 

Add for. 

illustration. A person is accused 
of flattery, smoothness, insin 
cerity; something has led him to 
form an unfavourable judgement 
of others. Presently he thun 
ders out the truth about them, 
adding the comment, " why, I 
would not be charged with want 
of sincerity this time." Accord 
ing to this mode of taking the 
passage, ap-i refers to the pre 
vious verse, perhaps arising out 
of the sound of the previous aprt, 
but not connected with it in 
sense, "for now," i.e. in uttering 
these words ; yap indicating a 
suppressed feeling in the Apostle s 
mind: "you say I am a pleaser of 
men." Comp. 1 Cor. iv. 1 7., 
2 Cor. v. 11. It is not impro 
bable that these words are sug 
gested by actual charges which 
the opponents of the Apostle 
brought against him, such as he 
himself partly admits, " that he 
was to the Jews a Jew, to those 
without law, as one without law; " 
that while announcing the free 
dom of the Gospel, he was also 
preaching circumcision (v. 11.). 

el in cb 0(ju>7roie i jperrKoi , if I yet 
pleased men.~] The Apostle does 
not mean that before his conver 
sion, or at any other time in his 
life, "he had been a pleaser of 

men." The expression, which is 
not free from difficulty, is most 
probably to be taken in a general 
sense ; " If at this time, after all 
that has happened to me, I am, 
or were still, a pleaser of men, I 
could not be the servant of God." 
Comp. Matt. vi. 24.: "No man 
can serve two masters ;" and for 
the use of ert, v. 11. 

The Apostle now resumes the 
thread with which he commenced. 
He was an Apostle, not of man, 
nor by man ; and now he goes 
on to add, the Gospel which he 
preached was not derived from 
the Apostles at Jerusalem, but 
from the revelation of Christ 

11. IY<i>p(<i) IE v/j. n , ] "Now I 
give you to know, I draw your 
attention to the fact," is a fa 
vourite formula of the Apostle, 
occurring 1 Cor. xii. 3. xv., i., 
2 Cor. viii. 1., similar in mean 
ing to the words with which he 
commences 1 Cor. xii. 1.: ov 
v\a vpfiQ ayvozlv. 

Kara ai dpwTrov, human.^ A pe 
riphrasis for avOpuTTirov. With 
this is joined Trnpd ui Opwirov in 
the following verse. 

12. For I did not receive it, 
and was not instructed in it by 
man, but Christ revealed it to me. 

s 4 



[CH. I. 

Trapa av0pa>7rov 7rap\a/3ov avrb ouSe l8iSd^97]V 3 dXXa SC 
a7roKaXvi//ea>s I^croO ^otcrrov* rjKOvcraTe yap rr)v Ipty is 
avacTTpoffyTJv TTOTC iv TCO IovSai cr/xa>, art jca^ 5 v7Tep/3o\rjv 
$ia)Kov rrjv KK\r)criav rov 6eov Kal zTropOovv avrrjv, Kal 14 
irpoeKOTTTOV iv T< lovSai cr/xw virep TroXXovs 
e^ TO) yeVec /iov, TrepicrcroTepajs f^Xc^T?)*? 

[Jiov TTapaSdcrew^. ore Se evSd/oycrez [6 #609] 6 is 

It could not, therefore, be human. 
Comp. Eph. iii. 3.: "How that 
by revelation he made known unto 
me the mystery ; as I wrote before 
in few words." 

Whether the occasion here al 
luded to is Acts, ix. 6., or Acts, 
xxii. 17., the first conversion of 
the Apostle, or the after trance 
in the temple mentioned by him 
in his speech to the Jews, or the 
occasion alluded to in the 2 Co 
rinthians, xii. 4., when he was 
caught up into Paradise and 
heard unspeakable things, or 
some other occasion, is uncer 
tain. He implies in the last- 
mentioned quotation that he had 
many revelations. Comp. Gal. 
ii. 2. In 1 Cor. ix. 1., he speaks 
generally of " having seen the 

The full explanation of the word 
a-rroKaXv^ig, revelation, is beyond 
the limits of a note. It is applied, 
first, to the manifestation of the 
Gospel, as hidden in the bosom 
of eternity, Rom. xvi. 25. Kara 

aTTOKaXv^lV [jLVffTTjptOV "^OVOiQ did)- 

viotg (Tfo-tyr^ueVou; also to the day 
of judgement, Rom. ii. 5.: fjpepa. 
opyi/C KCU aTTOK aXu^ewc SIKCIIO- 
KpiaiaQ rov Oeov , also to the ex 
pected coming of Christ in sucli 
expressions as "revelation of 
the Lord," 1 Cor. i. 7. ; " revela 
tion of the sons of God," Rom. 
viii. 19.; also to the Book so 
termed; also to the gifts of in 

dividuals, one of which is termed 
the gift of revelation. In this 
sense it is placed side by side 
with visions in 2 Cor. xii. 1.: 
" I will come to visions and re 
velations of the Lord." A spirit 
of wisdom and revelation is 
spoken of in Ephes. i. 17. In 
2 Cor. xii. 7. St. Paul alludes to 
the abundance of his revelations; 
and lastly, in Gal. ii. 2., he re 
ceives a particular intimation that 
he should go up to Jesusalem by 

Revelation is distinguished 
from ordinary moral and spiri 
tual influences by its suddenness. 
It is an anticipation of moral 
truth and of the course of ex 
perience. No reason can be 
given why amid Canaanitish and 
Egyptian idolatries, a belief in the 
unity of God should have sunk 
into the hearts of men. No reason 
can be given why truth and jus 
tice should have been Divine 
attributes ages before philosophy 
became conscious of a moral 
principle. No reason can be 
given why our Saviour, himself 
living amid the rites of the Tem 
ple worship, should yet have 
taught a religion purely spiritual, 
which was a contradiction of the 
maxims of the Scribes and Pha 
risees, and an inversion of the 
common religious notions of man 
kind to the end of time. 

It is this anticipation of truth, 



it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation 

13 of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation 
in time past in the Jews 7 religion, how that beyond 
measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 

14 and profited in the Jews religion above many my 
equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly 

15 zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it 

this communication of truth to 
particular persons, or at par 
ticular times out of the course of 
nature, in ways unlike the me 
thods of human knowledge, that 
is termed in the language of 
theology "revelation." It is in 
this sense that we speak of Chris 
tianity as a revelation ; of a 
Mosaic revelation ; of revelation 
as opposed to reason or natural 
religion. The use of the word 
in the New Testament is more 
varied and less conventional. It 
might be explained in the lan 
guage of the Book of Revelation 
as a " being in the spirit at the 
day of the Lord ; " it may be con 
trasted with prophecy as uni 
versal, and not national only ; it 
is relative to the " times of that 
ignorance which God winked at." 
He who was the subject of it 
might, like St. Paul, " be caught 
up into the third heaven ; " he 
might hear a voice whispering to 
him, " My grace is sufficient for 
thee ; " he might receive " lively 
oracles " respecting his own con 
duct or the government of the 
Church ; he might have intima 
tions respecting his " going in 
and coming out." We must not 
suppose that such intimations 
were mere illusions, because they 
no longer occur within the range 
of our own experience. Some 
faint approximation to them may 
be found still in the intuitions of 

the mind respecting matters of 
conduct, or in the suddenness of 
thought itself. 

13. ovSe ydjo.] " For you, who 
know my former life, may well 
believe that it was by nothing 
short of a miracle I was converted. 
I will tell you the whole tale, and 
you will see how unlikely I was to 
have received the Gospel from 
the word of others." 

kv TO) lovdaiffpa), ] not Jewish 
theology, but more generally the 
Jewish religion " Judaism ; " 
compare "Iov(!>aieii> in Gal. ii. 14. 
rov Seov seems to be added here, 
as in 1 Cor. xv. 9., to exaggerate 
his offence. Comp. infra 23. and 
Acts, ix. 21.: o Tropdi/aag ev Iepov- 
ffaXfjfj. TOVQ (.TriKaXovpevovc. The 
imperfect denotes continuance, 
and so emphasis. 

Ver. 14. has the same object as 
the preceding : "And I was, too, 
a learned Pharisee, distinguished 
above my equals, and more than 
ordinarily zealous for the tra 
ditions of the Fathers," iv 
yivet /uov, of my nation. 

T&r TrarpiKtov fjov Trapa^oo-ewj .J 
Not the traditions of the Phari 
sees as opposed to the law, but 
generally all that it was proper 
for a Jew to believe. 

15. ore fie evSoKrjrrei , but when 
it pleased God.~\ Was the sub 
stance of this revelation to St. 
Paul the image of Christ cruci 
fied, or the particular events of 



[Cii. I. 

a(f)opicra<s JJLZ e/c KoiXuxs ju-^rpds JJLOV KCU KaXecras 

aurou aTTOKaXvifjai rov viov CLVTOV iv JJLOL, Iva 16 

avrbv iv TOIS cOvecnv, cv0Q)$ ov Trpocrav- 
crapKi KOI atficm, or5Se aTrrjWov 1 ets lepocroXvjJLa 17 
TOUS TT^O e/^o9 (XTTOCTToXovs, dXXa a7T7J\0ov ets Apa- 
filav, Kal TraXiv VTTCcrrpeifja ets Aa^acrKov. eireira /xera is 
rpta avrj\0ov ei 

His life, or the words which He 
used in discoursing with His dis 
ciples ? Our only grounds for 
answering this question must be 
derived from the Epistles of St. 
Puul, which make no reference 
to any events narrated in the 
Gospel, with the exception of His 
death and resurrection, and the 
commemoration of Him in the 
Lord s Supper (1 Cor. xi. 23.), 
until His coming again, and which 
in two instances at most, 1 Cor. 
vii. 10.; 1 Thess. iv. 15., if at 
all, appeal to words used by Him. 
Comp. also Acts, xx. 35., and 
1 Cor. xv. 17. 

The truth which was revealed 
to St. Paul on the way to Da 
mascus, must have been the truth 
which he preached : Christ, the 
Messiah of the Jews, the Son of 
God, in whom all are one, who 
died and rose again for the sins 
of men, who shall come in the 
day of the Lord. There is no rea 
son to think that historical facts 
were supernaturally imparted to 
him ; for these he appeals to the 
witness of the "Apostles who were 
before him." The revelation of 
which he is here speaking is of 
another kind, moral and spiritual, 
rather than historical, a revela 
tion of Christ in him, as the ex 
pression in this passage implies, 
not external information brought 

2 , /cat 

2 Uerpov. 

to him. It was the first of many 
revelations about himself, 2 Cor. 
xii. 1 9.; Acts, xxiii. 11., and 
about his mission to the Gentiles, 
Acts, xvi. 6. 9., xxii. 17., of 
which he was the subject during 
his whole life. Knowledge came 
to him out of the course of 
nature, " not of man, nor by 
man : " the word of Christ was 
the lightning which " melted him, 
and the mould in which he was 

atyopiffac; ] has a double mean 
ing : first, a literal and physical 
one; secondly, that of which this 
is the figure, a spiritual one : 
" Who took me out of my mother s 
womb, and separated me ; or 
whose separation of me at my 
birth was the image of my sepa 
ration unto himself." EK refers 
to time. For the general meaning 
compare Jer. i. 5. : " Before I 
formed thee in the belly I knew 
thee ; and before thou earnest 
forth out of the womb I sanctified 
thee, and I ordained thee a prophet 
unto the nations ; " and Is. xliv. 
2. ; also note on Rom. i. 1. 

10. cnroKaXv^ai TOV mov.~\ Comp. 
the expression used respecting 
the Galatians : " Before whose 
eyes Jesus Christ was openly set 
forth (-rrpoeypatyi]) crucified." 

i tjuo/,] in my inmost soul, 
not simply for e/zoi. Comp. 



pleased God, who from my mother s womb separated me, 
IG and called rne by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that 

I might preach him among the heathen ; immediately 
17 I conferred not with flesh and blood : neither went 1 1 to 

Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me ; but 

I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus, 
is Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see 

1 Add up. 

\arpevit) ev TU> irvevpaTi pov, Rom. 
i. 9. It was a revelation that 
dwelt in, and became one with, 
the Apostle s thoughts. 

iva vayye\<u>,ucu.] Compare 
the narrative of the vision in the 
temple in Acts, xxii. 17 22. : 
" Depart, for I will send thee far 
hence unto the Gentiles." 

evfa wc.] I straightway went 
away, taking no counsel with 
flesh and blood, evdtws is really 
connected with the second a.7rf]\- 
Qov ; but the Apostle, whose 
thoughts outrun his words, has 
interposed the negative clause, to 
explain his purpose in going 

01; Trpo(ra.vf.Qip.r]v.~\ I did not take 
counsel with. Comp. Diodorus 
Siculus, xvii. 116. : roTc 

t; irf.p TOV 
Luc. Jup. Trag. 1.: ipol Trpocr- 
aradov \a&e /JE crvp&ov\ov irovwt . 

17. irpoQ TOUQ Trpo ejuoy CLTTCHTTO- 
Aoue.] Comp. 1. Cor. xv. 8. : 
" Last of all he was seen of us 
also;" also Romans, xvi. 7.: 
" Distinguished among the Apo- 
tles who were before me in the 

etc Apami ,] in contrast to 
ovSe arrijXOov cc Ifpoo-oXv^ua, "But 
I went in the opposite direc 

18. tTreira juera en; rpt a, then 
after three years.~\ The same 

question arises here as in the 
first verse of the next chapter, 
" Whether the three years are to 
be reckoned from the conversion 
of the Apostle, or from the return 
to Damascus." The first is in 
some degree favoured by the 
words of the preceding verse: 
"Neither went I up to Jeru 
salem." " I did not go up to 
Jerusalem then, but three years 
afterwards I did." There is 
certainly more point in the par 
ticular mention of the length of 
the interval between the original 
departure of the Apostle and his 
first return, than of his sojourn 
at Damascus. " It was three 
whole years after my conversion," 
rather than, " There was an 
interval of time which I passed 
in Arabia, besides three years at 
Damascus." Whichever interpre 
tation is adopted, no inference 
can be drawn respecting the 
length of time which the Apostle 
passed in Arabia. There may 
have been an interval of three 
years between his return to Da 
mascus and his journey to Jeru 
salem ; or the period of three 
years may have included a sojourn 
in Arabia and a stay at Damascus. 
But there is no reason to suppose 
that the three years were passed 
solely in Arabia. 

, to make ac- 



[Cn. I. 

Trpos OLVTOV rjfjiepas SeKaTreVre* erepov Se ra>v 19 

t , Ct ^7) loLKtofioV TOV aO\(f)bv TOV KV- 


quaintance with Cephas. Comp. 
Joseph. B. J. vi. 1. 8. : OVK cta//- 
fjioq wv fivrip ov eyo/ Kar EKELVOV 
urrdprjffa TOV TroXtjuor. 

cireuetpa Trpug avroj , ^T 7 emaincd 
with aim."] Trpog used according 
to a common confusion of rest and 
motion. Comp. ii. 5., Sm^tclvp 

The object 
of these words has been already 
noticed. " At first I did not go 
to Jerusalem ; then, after some 
years I did, but stayed only a 
few days, and saw scarcely any 

One of the commentators re 
marks that fifteen days was a 
long time, quite sufficient for the 
Apostle to receive the commands 
of the Church at Jerusalem. He 
therefore supposes that St. Paul s 
opponents had falsely averred of 
him that he had been the disciple 
of the other Apostles. The ge 
neral impression of the passage 
is the best answer to such a criti 
cism. If we suppose a person to 
say to us, of another, " I knew 
such a one fifteen years ago, and 
staid with him a fortnight," we 
certainly should not presume any 
great degree of acquaintance. 

19. laJOO^OV TOV U^\([)OV TOV 

KUjotov.] Two lines of argument 
have been taken in reference to 
these words : First, they are said 
to show, by the very form of the 
sentence, that the brother of the 
Lord must have been the Apostle : 
" But other of the Apostles saw 
I none, save James " (comp. 1 
Cor. i. 14.), who, if the expres 
sion is taken strictly, must there 
fore be included in the number 
of the Apostles. A comparison 

of Revelation, xxi.27., Gal.ii. 16., 
and numerous other passages, 
shows, however, that el pi] may 
be used in the sense not of " save 
or except," but simply for " but." 
An ingenious argument has also 
been urged on the opposite side of 
the question, to prove that James, 
the brother of our Lord, was not 
either the Apostle or the Bishop 
of that name, but a comparatively 
unimportant person. The con 
text, it is said, requires the 
meaning, " I only saw Peter and 
one other unimportant person;" 
and that the drift of the passage 
is lost, if we suppose the Apostle 
to say, " of the three great heads 
of the Church, I only saw two." 
This argument is too finely spun ; 
it is sufficiently answered by ob 
serving that James " the brother 
of the Lord" could never have 
been an obscure person. It con 
fuses the general drift of the 
passage with its details. In ge 
neral the Apostle expresses his 
own impression, which was, in 
familiar language, that his visit 
could scarcely be termed a visit ; 
but in the details he states 
the actual fact of whom he 
saw, without reference to the 
particular effect of the state 

There are stronger reasons 
than the one given above for 
thinking that James the brother 
of our Lord is the same with 
James the son of Alpheus the 
Apostle ; not including in them 
the words of 1 Cor. xv. 7. : 
" He was seen of James, then 
of all the Apostles," which are 
equally ambiguous with the pre 
sent passage. The arguments in 

VER. 19.] 



19 Cephas 1 , and abode with him fifteen days. But other 
of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord s 

1 Peter. 

proof of this position may be 
summed up as follows : 

1. The name of "James the 
less" implying that there were 
only two and not three of that 

2. The result of the compa 
rison of the three following pas 
sages : 

Mark, xv. 40. : " There were 
also women looking on afar off; 
among whom was Mary Magda 
lene, and Mary the mother of 
James the less and of Joses, and 

John, xix. 25. : " There stood 
by the cross of Jesus His mother, 
and His mother s sister, Mary 
the wife of Cleophas, and Mary 

Mark, vi. 3. : " Is not this the 
carpenter, the son of Mary, the 
brother of James, and Joses, and 
of Juda, and Simon ? and are 
not His sisters here with us?" 
Comp. Matt. xiii. 55. [where, 
instead of Joses, Lachmann and 
Tischendorf read Joseph, which 
occurs also as a variation in the 
text of Matt.]. 

Here, Mary the mother of 
James and Joses is identified 
with Mary the wife of Cleophas ; 
and this identification of the two 
Marys is confirmed by the third 
passage, which speaks of her sons 
as the brethren of Jesus. 

Lastly, the name Alpheus is 
the same as Cleophas ; being in 
the Aramaic ^&n> and the two 
forms arising only out of the dif 
ferent pronunciations of the n. 

A simpler explanation is also 
possible. Mary the mother of 

James the less, and Joses, and 
Salome, may be the same with 
Mary the wife of Cleophas ; and 
yet James "the brother of the 
Lord " not the same with James 
the less, who was her son, but 
the son of the Virgin Mary and 
of Joseph. In favour of this 
supposition may be urged: 

( 1.) The words of Mark, vi. 3., 
which expressly refer to " the 
carpenter " and Mary the mother 
of Christ, and can hardly allude 
to the sons of another Mary in 
the same verse. 

(2.) The emphatic use of the 
term " brother of the Lord," 
which would not have been ap 
plied in the sense of a special 
relation to one who was not a 
brother. There were many cousins 
of Christ, but only one who was 
called his brother. Nor could 
the designation cousin or kins 
man of Christ, even if it were a 
natural explanation of the word 
ct<)X0o, have been any claim to 
extraordinary respect in the early 

(3.) The obvious meaning of 
Matt. i. 25. : " And knew her 
not until she had brought forth 
her firstborn Son," which has 
been smothered by the feelings 
of a later age. 

(4.) The distinction which is 
drawn in Acts, i. 13, 14., between 
the twelve Apostles, who are all 
mentioned by name, and the 
brethren of the Lord, who are 
spoken of separately in the fol 
lowing verse " with the women, 
and Mary the mother of Jesus." 

(5.) The testimony of anti- 



[CH. I. 

piov. a Se ypd<j)a) VJJLLV, I8ov lva>7nov TOV Oeov, on ov i//ev- 20 

eTretra rj\9ov 19 ra /cXt/xara TT}S Svpias KOLL TT}S 21 

yjfJLTjv Se ayvoovptvos rc3 Trpocrc^Tro.) rats e/c- 22 

TT?S lovSatas rats eV ^picrrw, povov e OLKOVOV- 23 
res rjcrav on 6 SLCJKOJI TJJJLOL^ Trore z W eua/yyeXi^erai TT)^ 

TTore liropOei, /cal eSoaoz; eV ejuiol roz^ ^eoz^. 24 

quity. Even if the term a 
is sometimes used in a vaguer 
sense when it is the translation 
of a Hebrew word (as in Gen. 
xxxi. 23.), there can be no doubt 
of the meaning in which it was 
understood by Josephus (Ant. xx. 
9. 1.), or by Hegesippus (quoted 
by Eusebius, ii. 23., iii. 32., iv. 
22.), who expressly mentions 
elames the just as the brother of 
our Lord "together with the 
Apostles," and Simeon, his suc 
cessor in the episcopate, as the 
son of Cleophas, his uncle, and 
the cousin of Christ (ave i^oe). 

The comparison of Mark, vi. 3., 
with xv. 40., suggests the impro 
bability of Mary the mother of 
Christ and Mary the wife of 
Cleophas each having two sons 
the same in name, James and 
Joses, the latter being specially 
designated by the names of her 
sons. The force of this objec 
tion is, in a great measure, done 
away by the reading of Lach- 
mann and Tischendorf ( I<k-woe, 
Iwo-70oc), in the parallel passage 
of Matt. xiii. 55. (comp. Matt, 
xxvii. 56.), and the variation of 
reading ( Iw<rr/, Iwori/roc, Iwo-jy^oe) 
even in the text of Mark, vi. It 
might be replied, further, that 
we are otherwise involved in the 
greater difficulty of supposing 
that two persons of the same 

name were sisters. Such hypo 
theses or counter hypotheses are 
not worth drawing out. The 
natural use of language and the 
express testimony of the oldest 
writers are safer grounds of argu 
ment than the probability that 
Mary the wife of Cleophas or 
Alpheus was sister of Mary the 
mother of Christ. 

20. As in Rom. i. 9., we have 
an asseveration that at first sight 
appears out of place ; for why 
should the Apostle assert so 
strenuously what no one would 
deny ? The answer is, that the 
words do not refer to the par 
ticular statement which has pre 
ceded, but to the whole subject 
of the chapter. It is a matter 
of life and death to the Apostle 
to prove his independence of the 
twelve. Hence he says : "Now, 
the things which I write unto 
you, behold, before God I lie 
not/ That is, "Though I can 
have no other witness, I call God 
to witness that all I am saying is 
true, in reference to my indepen 
dence of the other Apostles, and 
the slight intercourse I had with 
them." Compare 1 Thess. ii. 5.; 
1 Tim. ii. 17.; 2 Cor. xi. 31. 

on has no regular construction. 
It depends upon the idea, " I 
declare," "I asseverate," con 
tained in lSoi> ifWTUOV TOV StOV. 



20 brother. Now the things which I write unto you, 

21 behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into 

22 the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by 
face unto the churches of Juda3a which were in Christ : 

23 but they had heard only, That he which persecuted us 
in times past now preacheth the faith which once he 

24 destroyed. And they glorified God in me. 

21. Sypme.] Comp. Acts, ix. 
30. : "Which when the brethren 
knew, they brought him down to 
Cesarea and sent him forth to 
Tarsus." Comp. also, Acts, xv. 
23., whence we gather, that the 
letter to the Churches, after the 
conference at Jerusalem, was 
addressed to the Gentiles in 
Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia. 

22. The purport of the remark 
is again the same as that of the 
preceding verses, to show the 
slight connection of the Apostle 
with the Church at Jerusalem : 
" I was personally unknown to 
the Churches in Judea." 

It is urged, that, as the Apostle 
has just before described his 
going up to Jerusalem, he can 
not mean to say here that he 
was unknown to the Church at 
Jerusalem ; and, therefore, that 
TVJG lovcWag must refer to the 
Churches in the country. This 
is unnatural. If St. Paul went 
up privately, KUT ISiat , it might 
well happen that he was un 
known to the Church even at 

Far more difficult is it to 
reconcile the relation of St. Paul 
with the narrative of the Acts, 
in which he is described on his 
first visit to Jerusalem as led by 
Barnabas to the Apostles, with 

whom he remained, " coming in 
and going out at Jerusalem," 
where "he spoke boldly, and 
disputed against the Grecians" 
(Acts, ix. 28, 29.), and whence he 
was sent away in consequence of 
their attempt on his life. Where 
as, in this passage, the Apostle 
himself declares that he went up 
to see Peter, and remained but a 
few days, and knew no one else 
except James, the brother of the 
Lord. Further, the author of the 
Acts is not aware of the sojourn 
of the Apostle in Arabia, for 
which he leaves no place in his 
narrative. Nor is this the only 
difference ; the Epistle is wholly 
silent respecting a second visit 
mentioned in Acts, xi. 30., an 
occasion on which the Apostle 
carried up alms to Jerusalem ; 
also respecting a fourth, of which 
a brief notice occurs in Acts, xviii. 
22, 23. These discrepancies are 
not diminished by a comparison 
of the words attributed to the 
Apostle himself, in Acts, xxii. 18. 
21., xxvi. 20. 

23. juoj/ov 3e a.KOvovTf.Q l}(rav^ 
only they heard. ] In the change 
of tense which follows, there is a 
confusion of the oratio directa 
and obliqua. 

24. kv ijjoi,"] for what he had 
done in my case. 



THERE are some questions of Biblical criticism on which many 
volumes have been written, and which have exercised the minds of 
hundreds, which, nevertheless, are capable of being reduced within 
narrow limits. On a slender basis of fact, numberless conjectures 
have been accumulated, which have acquired in time a sort of tradi 
tional value, and from being often repeated are at length believed. 
In such cases, it is possible to set free the original facts from the 
theories, and combinations, and points of view, to which they have 
given rise, and, without pretending to add a new superstructure, at 
any rate to trace the original foundations. Real uncertainties are 
better than imaginary certainties, and general facts more trust 
worthy than minute ones, in those fields of history of which we 
know little. 

One of the Scriptural problems to which the above remarks apply 
is the chronology of St. Paul s life and writings, in which, after 
endless investigations, hardly any progress has been made. The 
course of events has been mapped out in thirty different ways (see 
the table at the end of Wieseler s " Chronologic des Apostolischen 
Zeitalters") ; nor is it likely that all the possible combinations of 
dates and facts are as yet exhausted. No less than three, if not four, 
journeys to Jerusalem, recorded in the Acts, have been identified 
with the celebrated visit mentioned in the second chapter of the 
Epistle to the Galatians ; eleven different years have been assigned 
as dates of the Apostle s conversion ; the mention of the vision or 
revelation in 2 Cor. xii. 1-5., which had taken place fourteen years 


before the time at which the Apostle was writing, has been variously 
referred to his conversion, to the vision in the temple, to some later 
occasion not elsewhere mentioned ; in all these cases the whole 
chronology sliding up and down according to the view taken. The 
critic may well ask himself the question, whether it is worth while 
to add another guess to those which exist already ; whether it is not 
wiser to rest within the limits of actual statements, especially as the 
desire to find or make reconcilements will often disturb certainties. 
The first consideration, in all such inquiries, is the nature of the 
materials, whether plentiful or scanty, continuous or fragmentary. 
No ingenuity in the architect can reconstruct a house of which only 
a few stones remain ; nor can the historian, by any effort of imagina 
tion, supply the elements of knowledge when really wanting. A 
sanguine temperament will often work out a system, whole and per 
fect, and seeming in every part to confirm itself; but such systems 
are tested by time, they pass away, and have no permanent 

To those who are content with a few certainties and many uncer 
tainties, who do not insist on fixing the date of the Apostle s 
conversion, who are willing to admit that the series of events 
recorded in the Acts is not perfectly continuous, the chronology of 
St. Paul s life is neither a perplexing nor a tedious inquiry. The 
materials of the inquiry lie in a small compass, being all contained 
in the Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles. What may be termed 
the outer or absolute chronology cannot be determined within two or 
three years ; for even if it be admitted that St. Paul perished in the 
Neronian persecution, A. D. 64, it is impossible to say how long he 
survived the date of the termination of the Acts ; nor is there any 
statement either of Josephus (Ant. xx. 8, 9.) or Tacitus (Annal. xii. 
54. ; xiii. 14.) which enables us, either directly or by inference, to 
fix, within three or four years, the date of the deposition of Felix, the 
brother of Pallas. Other allusions to secular history are still more 
wide. The time at which Aretas governed in Damascus is wholly 
unknown to us, and the fact itself recorded only in 2 Cor. xii. 32. 
VOL. I. T 


(Compare Jos. Ant. xvii. 5.) The edict and the famine which are 
connected with the name of Claudius (Acts, xviii. 2. ; xi. 28.) leave 
a latitude of thirteen years, that is, of the reign of Claudius, A.D. 
41-54, for they cannot be safely identified, either the one with the 
edict "de pellendis Mathematicis," mentioned by Tacitus (Annal. 
xii. 52.) under the year 52, or the other with the famine at Eome 
in the year 51 (Annal. xii. 43.). Lastly, the date of the death of 
Herod Agrippa, A.D. 44 (Acts, xii. 23.), although certain, is not pre 
cisely coincident with the journey of Paul and Barnabas to Jeru 
salem, recorded in Acts, xi. 30. ; and the journey itself is an isolated 
point in the ministry of the Apostle. Such is the result of many 
discussions, which will not be without use if they remind us that it 
is the life of a private person which we are investigating, whose 
exploits are not to be found in Fasti or Annals, whose words and 
actions have as yet no bearing on the history of mankind. 

Leaving these unfruitful inquiries, our business is to fix the order 
of events in the Apostle s own life, or rather in that portion of his 
life which is continuously narrated in the Acts of the Apostles, and 
to connect these events with his writings. It is unlikely that the 
variation in the absolute time of these events is more than two or 
three years ; but this is a question which is of no importance to us, 
and one which we have no means of determining. Enough of the 
"outer" chronology. What we desire to know is reduced within 
narrow limits, the time and succession of the Apostle s journeys, 
during about fifteen years of his life, and their relation to his 
Epistles. The comparison will enable us to arrange the writings of 
the Apostle in a chronological order, and to trace the growth of his 
thoughts as the Church spread, as the Gentile world opened before 

Beginning at the end of the narrative of events, it will be con 
venient partially to retrace our steps in the chronology of the 
Epistles. The last ten chapters (xix.-xxviii.) of the Acts of the 
Apostles embrace a continuous period of about nine years, the 
twenty-eighth chapter concluding with the mention of two whole 


years, during which Paul " dwelt in his own hired house, preaching 
the kingdom of God," at Rome. Why the narrative says nothing of 
his death, which must have happened shortly afterwards, is a ques 
tion hard to answer. Perhaps the author of the original memoir wrote 
in the interval ; perhaps he was unacquainted with the manner of the 
Apostle s end. His omission takes away the possibility of assigning 
a terminus ad quern to the nine years of which he has given a con 
secutive narrative. Two years, deducted from the whole period, 
bring us back to the arrival of the Apostle at Rome (xxviii. 16.) in 
spring ; for he had wintered at Melita (xxviii. 1. 11.) ; having sailed 
from Cesarea in the autumn of the previous year (xxvii. 2.), shortly 
after his appearance before Festus and Agrippa (xxv. xxvi.). Two 
years more are to be reckoned for the imprisonment of the Apostle 
at Cesarea, after his cause had been first heard by Felix (xxiv. 27.). 
To Cesarea he had been sent by Claudius Lysias (xxiii. 33.), in con 
sequence of the tumult occasioned by his appearance in the temple 
on his last visit to Jerusalem. Can we determine the time of his 
arrival at the latter place ? An incidental remark enables us to do 
so ; for he had sailed from Philippi " after the days of unleavened 
bread " (Acts, xx. 6.), in the hope of arriving at Jerusalem on the 
Feast of Pentecost (ver. 16.). 

Nearly five years out of the nine, from summer to spring, are 
already accounted for. It does not occur, however, to the author of 
the Acts to give an exact note of time for the journeys which pre 
cede. He only remarks that the Apostle left Ephesus " after the 
uproar," to go into Macedonia (xx. 1, 2.) ; that " he went over 
those parts, and gave much exhortation ; >J that he " abode three 
months" (xx. 3.), that is, wintered (1 Cor. xvi. 6.), in Greece, and re 
turned by the way he came. The First Epistle to the Corinthians 
supplies the deficiency (xvi. 8.); for there the Apostle says that he 
intends to remain at Ephesus until Pentecost. Thus precisely a 
year is occupied between Ephesus and Jerusalem, And at Ephesus 
it is recorded, in the exhortation to the elders of Ephesus at Miletus, 
that the Apostle had spent three years (xx. 31.), whether inclusive or 

T 2 


exclusive of a journey from Epliesus to Jerusalem, and the stay at 
Antioch which followed, is uncertain. The former alternative has a 
slight presumption in its favour, from the circumstance that else 
where (xix. 10.) the Apostle s stay at Ephesus is described as lasting 
two years only. Supposing this hypothesis to be rejected, a conjec 
tural period must be inserted for the interval between the Apostle s 
first and second visits to Ephesus. During this period, he made a 
third visit to Jerusalem, spent some time at Antioch, and went over 
all the country of Phrygia and Galatia (xviii. 22, 23.). 

Nine or ten years are thus accounted for, to which a year and six 
months have to be added for the first stay in Greece. (Acts, xviii. 11.) 
To this period of ten or eleven years and a half (say twelve, to allow 
a few months after the termination of the Acts), all the extant 
writings of the Apostle are to be referred. And here the continuity 
of the chronology wholly fails. The sojourn of the Apostle at 
Corinth had been the termination of a long journey, which com 
menced at Antioch and extended over the whole of Asia Minor, 
including Syria, Cilicia, Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, and the cities of 
Macedonia. But there is no period of time assigned either to the 
journey, or to the stay at Antioch which preceded it. And this is 
the case with all the previous history. The earlier portion of the 
Acts is entirely wanting in that chronological minuteness which 
marks the later chapters, from xviii. onwards. The notes of time 
which occur are too few, or too indefinite, to be of any real use (vi. 1.; 
viii. 1.; xi. 26. 28.; xii. 1 3.). Many passages, e.g. xii., xiii. 19 30., 
describe events which are contemporaneous with those which have 
preceded. From chapters i. xv. the narrative seems to fall into 
two compartments, one before, the other after the appointment of 
the deacons and the death of Stephen : within these two divisions 
the arrangement of facts, as in the first three Gospels, is rather 
collateral than continuous. 

It is an order, not a chronology, with which the author or com 
piler of the Acts has furnished us in his record of the few remaining 
circumstances of St. Paul s life. Preserving this order, intervals 


and periods may be expanded or contracted at pleasure. For ex 
ample, in the chapter immediately preceding the events last referred 
to (xv. 35, 36.), it is said, " Paul and Barnabas continued in An- 
tioch, teaching and preaching the word of God. . . . And some days 
after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our bre 
thren in every city." Here it is clearly stated that the Apostle 
started from Antioch on his second apostolic journey ; but who can 
say how many weeks, months, or even years, may be included in the 
words " some days," or " continued in Antioch," the place which, at 
this period of the Apostle s course, was the centre of his labours, 
whence he had originally received his more distant mission ? (Acts, 
xiii. 1.; xiv. 26.) The author of the Acts would have spoken clearly 
had he known ; to recover facts of which he was ignorant is not 

The sojourn at Antioch, just now mentioned, had immediately 
followed the famous visit to Jerusalem recorded in Acts xv., or 
rather, to speak more correctly, the visit to Jerusalem formed a sort 
of episode in a stay at Antioch of much longer duration. (Compare 
Acts, xiv. 28.; xv. 35.) For the Apostle had left Antioch and re 
turned to Antioch, and the object of his mission had a special refer 
ence to difficulties which had arisen among the Christians in that 
city. Antioch is further recognised as his head-quarters in the long 
journey which precedes ; there the Apostle returns to give an account 
of God s dealings with the Gentiles in Cyprus, at Perga in Pam- 
phylia, at Antioch in Pisidia, at Iconium, at Derbe, and Lystra. 
But although many names are mentioned, and the minuteness of the 
narrative is a strong evidence of its substantial truth, there is no 
trace of the time which was occupied either in the journey or the 
stay at Antioch which followed. The period of the Apostle s resi 
dence at Antioch may be further extended back to his first arrival 
there from Tarsus, in company with Barnabas. In these earlier days 
also, he had visited Jerusalem as the bearer of contributions from 
the disciples at Antioch, about the time of Herod Agrippa s death 
(xi. 30.; xii. 1.). His previous abode had been Tarsus, his native 

T 3 


place, whither he had been sent for safety from Jerusalem, on his 
first return thither (Acts, ix. 29, 30.), after the sojourn at Damascus 
and in Arabia (Gal. i. 17.), which immediately followed his con 

Rome, Cesarea, Ephesus, Corinth, Antioch, Tarsus, Arabia, Da 
mascus, Jerusalem, are the principal seats of the Apostle s life. An 
interval of a few months is spent on a voyage between Cesarea and 
Kome ; another interval of about a year, between Cesarea and 
Ephesus, is occupied in the third apostolical journey; there is a third 
interval, of uncertain length, between the sojourn at Corinth and 
the settlement of the Apostle at Ephesus ; while the long stay at 
Antioch is broken by two visits to Jerusalem, and two Apostolical 
journeys. As yet no result has been gained for the chronology but 
the ten or twelve years, calculated back from the end of the Acts, 
and passed by the Apostle at Rome, Cesarea, Ephesus, Corinth, or in 
intermediate travels. 1 

We turn to the Epistles of St. Paul to see whether it is possible 
to find any allusions to the Apostle s former life in which the miss 
ing links are supplied. Three notes of time occur. The first is 
contained in Gal. i. 18.: "Then after three years I went up to Jeru 
salem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days." But " three 
years " after what ? After his conversion or his return to Damascus ? 
Either construction is possible. A similar ambiguity involves the 
passage which follows (ii. 1.) : " Then fourteen years after I went up 
to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took with me Titus." " Fourteen 
years" after what? After the greater epoch of his conversion or 
the previously mentioned visit to Jerusalem? It is not certain. The 
importance and central position of this meeting in the Epistle and 

1 In 2 Cor. xiii. 1., the Apostle says : " This is the third time I am coming to 
you." There is no other trace of a third journey to Corinth, on the time of which 
it is therefore idle to speculate. Some have thought that the Apostle is referring 
to an intention only. But the words are express, nor are they contradicted by the 
term " a second benefit," in 2 Cor. i. 15., where the Apostle is only speaking of the 
possibility of his taking a different route Corinth, Macedonia, Corinth, instead 
of Macedonia, Corinth, Macedonia, which was his actual course. 


of the meeting, commonly called the council, in the fifteenth chapter 
of the Acts, the similarity of place, persons, subject, circumstances, 
prove beyond a doubt that the two occasions are identical. (See at 
the end of ch. ii. note.) But the chronological result is only this 
that St. Paul was at Jerusalem fourteen years after his conversion, or 
fourteen years after some previous visit, which we are unable cer 
tainly to identify with any of those recorded in the Acts, and that the 
interval between his conversion and the visit referred to was a period 
of not less, perhaps more, than three years. 

The third note of time occurs in the Second Epistle to the Corin 
thians, xi. 2., and relates to a vision or revelation which he had 
received " about fourteen years " before (the place is not named), 
and which was of so remarkable a character, that the Apostle singles 
it out from the "abundance of revelations" which had been vouch 
safed to him in after life, as a subject, even at that distance of time, 
" whereof to glory." There is no doubt about the position which 
the Second Epistle to the Corinthians occupies in our relative chro 
nology. It was written from Macedonia, on what may be termed 
(though interrupted by a winter) the last journey to Jerusalem, that 
is to say, about five years before the Apostle s death. Dating from 
this point, the period of fourteen years leads us back into an unknown 
country; to the commencement of the Apostle s stay at Antioch, or 
the end of that at Tarsus ; to a time too late, certainly, for his con 
version ; for the other period of fourteen years which occurred in the 
Epistle to the Galatians, even supposing it to have commenced with 
that event, must have ended, and therefore begun, five years earlier. 
And it has been well observed, that the expression, " a man in 
Christ," which he applies to himself in the narrative of the Second 
Epistle to the Corinthians, shows that he was already a disciple, and 
not at that time converted. It may be admitted as a probability that 
the vision of the Epistle may be identical with the vision of the 
Temple, which is also alluded to by the Apostle long afterwards. 
(Acts, xxii. 17.) If so, the following chronological arrangement 
will arise of a period of twenty years: 

T 4 


1. Conversion. (Gal. i. 16.) 

f Departure from Damascus and first visit to Jerusalem. (2 
5. J Cor. xi. 32.; Gal. i. 17, 18.) 

[Date of vision. (2 Cor. xii. 1 4.; Acts, xxii. 1721.) 
14. Third visit to Jerusalem, commonly called the council. (Gal. 

ii. i.) 

20. Date of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. (This date is 
obtained by adding the three years at Ephesus, one and a 
half at Corinth, and an unknown period, to the fourteen 
years in Gal. ii. 1.; and by adding three years in Arabia, 
and an unknown period of two years at Damascus, to the 
fourteen years in 2 Cor. xii. 1.) 

The singular mention of the Apostle s escape from Damascus, in 
the last verses of the previous chapter, may possibly lead him to 
speak by association of an event of a wholly dissimilar kind, which 
occurred about the same time in his life. The reader, however, will 
observe that the theory has several weak points. First, the difference 
in the description of the two visions : 

Acts, xxii. 17 21. 2 Cor. xii. 1 4. 

" And when I was come again " It is not expedient for me 

to Jerusalem, even while I prayed doubtless to glory: I will come 

in the temple, I was in a trance; to visions and revelations of the 

and saw him saying unto me, Lord. I knew a man in Christ 

Make haste, and get thee above fourteen years ago, (whe- 

quickly out of Jerusalem : for ther in the body, I cannot tell ; 

they will not receive thy testi- or whether out of the body, I 

mony concerning me. And I cannot tell: God knoweth,) such 

said, Lord, they know that I im- an one caught up to the third 

prisoned and beat in every syna- heaven. And I knew such a 

gogue them that believed on man, (whether in the body or 

thee : and when the blood of out of the body, I cannot tell : 

thy martyr Stephen was shed, I God knoweth,) how that he was 

also was standing by, and con- caught up into paradise, and 

senting unto his death, and kept heard unspeakable words, which 

the raiment of them that slew it is not lawful for a man to 

him. And he said unto me, De- utter." 
part: for I will send thee far 
hence unto the Gentiles." 


Secondly, the assumption that the period of fourteen years, men 
tioned in Gal. ii. 1. is to be calculated from the conversion of the 
Apostle, and not from the previous journey to Jerusalem ; also that 
the stay of the Apostle in Damascus and Arabia extended to five 
years. Thirdly, the unknown intervals between the council and the 
stay at Ephesus. Lastly, the discrepancies between Gal. i. 18 24., 
Acts, ix. 10 31., xxii. 10 20., touching the first visit to Jerusalem. 

Our hope of gaining any precise chronological information from 
the Epistles respecting the earlier years of the Apostle s ministry has 
failed ; the circumstance that those Epistles were written at a later 
period of his life is a sufficient explanation of the reason : we have 
been looking for what it was not very probable that we should find. 
The later years of the Apostle s life are those with which the author 
of the Acts was best acquainted ; they are also the years respecting 
which we gain additional light from the Apostle s own writings. 
The connection between them is, on the whole, very near and inti 
mate. Some discrepancies are observable, but they are the discre 
pancies of independent authorities ; there is no trace anywhere that 
the letters were made up out of the history, or the history out of 
the letters. The series begins with the Epistles to the Thessalo- 
nians, identified with the second apostolical journey by the mention 
of Timothy and the sojourn of the Apostle at Athens, after a pre 
vious stay at Thessalonica. Next, according to the most probable 
opinion, at an interval of four or five years, comes the Epistle to the 
Galatians, which also agrees with the narrative of the Acts in its 
circumstantial detail of the council at Jerusalem ; its place is fur 
ther defined by the reference to the two visits of the Apostle to 
Galatia. (Acts, xvi. 6., xviii. 23.; Gal. iv. 13.) Thirdly, at the dis 
tance probably of a few months only, follows the First Epistle to the 
Corinthians, written from Ephesus or its neighbourhood (xvi. 8.), 
and containing the first intimation of that journey to Jerusalem by 
way of Macedonia and Corinth, of which the exact particulars are 
narrated in the Acts. The journey has begun and is going on in the 
Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and in the Epistle to the Romans. 


At the time of writing the former, the Apostle has left Ephesus, and 
is already in Macedonia (2 Cor. ii. 13.; Acts, xx. 1.); the possibility 
that he might himself go up with the alms to Jerusalem (1 Cor. 
xvi. 4.) has become a fixed design (2 Cor. i. 16. comp. Acts, xix. 21.); 
contributions are coming in (viii. ix.); the readiness of Macedonia 
is to be a motive to Achaia ; there seems also to be an allusion to 
the uproar at Ephesus which immediately preceded, and probably has 
tened, the Apostle s departure. (2 Cor. i. 8.; Acts, xix. 29., xx. 1. 3.) 
A further stage in the Apostle s progress is marked in the Epistle to 
the Romans; he is now wintering in Greece, probably at Corinth (Acts, 
xx, 3.), as he had intended (1 Cor. xvi. 6.); of his place of abode, the 
names of Gaius, and Phebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea, 
furnish indications (Rom. xvi. 1. 23.; 1 Cor. i. 14); the contributions of 
Achaia as well as of Macedonia have been received (Rom. xv. 26.); 
an intimation occurs of another intention which the Apostle had long 
entertained, of visiting Rome as well as Jerusalem (i. 15.), and which 
is also mentioned in the Acts (xix. 21.), a coincidence the more re 
markable because the actual visit of the Apostle which is narrated 
in the Acts arose, not out of any previous design, but from the acci 
dental circumstance of his appealing to Cassar after two years impri 
sonment. (Compare Acts, xxiii. 11.) A few months later, the 
Apostle is a captive, " the prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles," 
and another series of Epistles begins, all of which contain allusions 
to his imprisonment. That imprisonment is divided between two 
places, Cesarea and Rome, at both of which the Apostle s friends 
have free access to him (Acts, xxiv. 23., xxviii. 16. 30.); at either 
of which he may therefore have preached the Gospel (Eph. vi. 19.; 
Col. iv. 3, 4.), and begotten Onesimus in his bonds. It might have 
been at Rome, it might have been at Cesarea, that the Apostle was 
expecting to receive his freedom at the time when he wrote the 
Epistle to Philemon (ver. 22.). No note of place or other circum 
stance enables us to decide whether the twin Epistles to the Ephe- 
sians and Colossians, or the short Epistle to Philemon, which is 
connected by allusions with the latter, belong to the two first or two 


last years of the Apostle s imprisonment to his imprisonment at 
Cesarea, that is, or at Rome. The mention of Cesar s household, in 
the Epistle to the Philippians (iv. 22.), is a sufficient proof that this 
Epistle was written from Rome. All these later Epistles closely 
resemble each other, and can all be shown to have been written 
during a period of imprisonment, while all the earlier Epistles may 
be also shown, from internal evidence, to belong to a period of the 
Apostle s life in which he was in the free exercise of his ministry. 

Such is the general agreement between the extant Epistles of St. 
Paul and the narrative of the Acts, and such the double basis upon 
which they rest who think they trace a growth or development in 
the Apostle s own teaching and in the circumstances of the churches. 
There is a time at which the Apostle is looking for the immediate 
coming of Christ, which is represented by the First Epistle to the 
Thessalonians ; there is a time when he is aware that " the day of 
the Lord is not yet," but that other events must come first, as he says 
in the Second Epistle ; there is a time when " he has a desire to 
depart" (Phil. i. 23.), though willing also to stay. There is a time at 
which the disputes between Jewish and Gentile Christians are lost 
in the greater difference between Jew and Christian (1 Thess. ii. 
14. 17.) ; there is a time at which the fanaticism of the Jewish 
Christians is violently aroused, and every Church is divided between 
Jew and Gentile, circumcision and uncircumcision ; there is a time at 
which the strife no more crosses the path of the Apostle, or, perhaps, 
is temporarily silenced by his retirement from the scene. There is a 
time in which St. Paul is in the vigour and fire of youth, " speaking 
boldly, and disputing against the Grecians;" there is a time at 
which he is worn by years and imprisonment, " being such an one 
as Paul the aged." There is a time at which he says, " If any man 
preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let 
him be accursed" (Gal. i. 9.); there is a time when " Some preach 
Christ of envy and strife. What then ? notwithstanding every 
way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached, and he 
therein rejoices, yea, and will rejoice." (Phil. i. 15-18.) 


No use has been made in the previous sketch of the Pastoral 
Epistles. The reason is, that there is no probable time in the 
Apostle s life to which they can be assigned ; it is hard to reconcile 
the youth of Timothy with the later years of Paul (1 Tim. i. 3., iv. 
12.), or the sojourn of Timothy at Ephesus with the mention of his 
name in the last journey to Jerusalem (Acts, xx. 4.), and in the 
salutations of the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and 
Philemon ; or the circumstance of Titus being left at Crete (Titus, i. 
5.) with his departure from Rome to Dalmatia, in 2 Tim. iv. 10. ; 
or the intended wintering at Nicopolis in Epirus (Tit. iii. 12.) with 
the full narrative which is given in the Acts, of the last nine years 
of the Apostle s life. Great stress has also been laid by those who 
maintain the spuriousness of the three Epistles on differences of 
style. And many have thought that in the settled form of church 
government which is implied in the First Epistle to Timothy, and in 
the Epistle to Titus, and the parallel growth of heresy, they saw an 
inconsistency with the state and opinions of the first converts in 
the churches of which St. Paul speaks in his other Epistles. 

That the style of portions of these Epistles is very different from 
that of the earlier ones must be admitted. Yet the difference is not 
much greater than that which divides the Epistles to the Thessa- 
lonians from the Epistles to the Galatians, Romans, Corinthians, or 
both classes from the Epistles of the imprisonment. A further 
analogy is observable between the two last-mentioned groups and 
the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, which is favourable or not 
unfavourable to the genuineness of the latter. It is a striking fact 
that the Epistles of each class which were written as far as we can 
judge about the same time, or within a year or two of each other, 
that is to say, the Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, 
Romans, or again, those to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 
Philemon, have close verbal resemblances to one another ; yet as we 
pass from one class to the other, the verbal resemblances almost 
entirely disappear. This is true of the Pastoral Epistles also, which 
may be regarded as forming a third or fourth class in the series of 


Pauline Epistles. They have a strong family likeness, but very 
little resemblance to the earlier Epistles. It is worth considering, 
whether this similarity is of a kind that a forger would have 
imitated, or the habitual slightly varying language of the same 
writer at the same period of his life ; whether, too, any other instances 
can be found of forged writings which stand in the same relation to 
each other as these Epistles. 

That a forger could have attained to the excellence of such 
passages as 1 Tim. i. 15, 16., 2 Tim. iv. 6. 8., which breathe the 
very life and spirit of the Apostle (observe especially the words " of 
whom I am chief;" and the trait of character in the clause "and 
not to me only "), is hard to conceive ; that he would have imagined 
"the falling away of all them of Asia" (2 Tim. i. 15.), or the 
minute circumstances mentioned in 2 Tim. iv. 13. (the cloak that I 
left at Troas with Carpus) is very improbable ; that he should have 
caught the loving and affectionate manner of the Apostle (2 Tim. i. 
4.), or employed his favourite antitheses (2 Tim. ii. 11-13.), requires 
a degree of observation and nicety of imitation, not elsewhere 
traceable in spurious writings. That the style of the Apostle, 
devoid as he was of literary art, may have received a different 
colour at different times and places, as new thoughts filled his mind, 
and were shaped by him in definite forms of expression, is quite 
natural. That the state of the Church in the year 60-65 at 
Ephesus or in Crete was inconsistent with the First Epistle to 
Timothy, or the Epistle to Titus, is more than our slender knowledge 
of the apostolic age, in which institutions grew rapidly, and opinions 
were like meteors, will enable us confidently to affirm. Still, there 
are other difficulties which cannot be disposed of thus. The Pastoral 
Epistles have no hold on the history ; the First Epistle to Timothy 
and the Epistle to Titus, about which there are the graver doubts, 
contain allusions (1 Tim. i. 3.; Tit. iii. 12.) which cannot, without 
great improbability, be harmonised with the Acts of the Apostles. 
An early or late date will not prevent the collision. It is not likely 
that St. Paul can have founded, settled, and intrusted to a deputy 


the Church at Ephesus, long before he is recorded to have visited 
Ephesus in the Acts of the Apostles, or that he should have performed 
a journey into Macedonia during his stay at Ephesus (1 Tim. i. 3.), 
of which no particulars are given in the Acts of the Apostles (com 
pare, however, 2 Cor. xiii. L); or that he can have returned to 
Greece, Crete, and the coast of Asia Minor after his imprisonment at 
Rome. Some objections of chronology are escaped by assigning the 
three Epistles to different periods of the Apostle s life ; but new 
ones grounded on style appear. Those who feel that these Epistles 
cannot be wholly genuine, and are convinced that they are not 
entirely spurious, may have recourse to the theory of interpolation. 
The relation which exists between the Epistle of Jude and the 
Second Epistle of Peter, is a sufficient proof that such interpolation 
is possible. But it would be vain for criticism to attempt a separa 
tion of the genuine and interpolated elements. Only while objec 
tions are raised against them, which receive no satisfactory answer, 
it is safer not to make use of these Epistles for the proof of any fact 
or the establishment of any doctrine. 



[On. II. 

7TLTa Sia SeKaTeo-crdptov ZTMV TraXw avtfirjv eis lepocro- 2 
\VJJLOL fJLTci Bapvd/3a, o-v[JL7rapa\a/3a)V Kal T LTOV avefi-^v Se 2 
Kara aTTOKaXvfyiv, Kal dveOcjjiTjv avrots TO euayyeXioz; o 
Kr)pvcro~a) tv rots tdvecnv, KOLT iSiai> Se rot? So/covens, ^77 
ets KZVOV rpe^cj fj e&papov. aXX ouSe Tiros o crw ejuol 3 

II. The Apostle proceeds with 
his narrative, the object of which 
is to indicate the relation in which 
he stood to the Twelve on a me 
morable occasion. This was the 
occasion of his dispute with the 
Church at Jerusalem, at which 
they added nothing to him ; he 
himself bore the brunt of the 
battle with the Judaizers. He 
never thought for an instant of 
giving way ; and at last " the 
pillars of the Church," who had 
stood aloof from the controversy, 
agreed to leave him to himself. 
They would sanction, but not 
share his mission to the Gentiles. 

On another occasion, when 
Peter came to Antioch, he showed 
the same independent spirit, 
boldly charging the Apostle with 
inconsistency, when, acting un 
der the influence of the Church 
at Jerusalem, he refused to eat 
with the Gentiles. He gives what 
may be termed a dramatic sketch 
of his answer to Peter, which 
soon expands into an answer to 
the Galatian Church, which he 
more directly attacks at the 
beginning of the third chapter. 
Comp. Horn. ii. 1 17. 

1. (.Treira ^la^eKaTEffffapwr ir^Jr , 
then fourteen years.~\ That is, 
fourteen years after the great 
epoch of his conversion, or four 
teen years after his previous 
journey. For the question whe 
ther this occasion is the same as 
that of Acts xv. see note at the 
end of the chapter. Either the 

Apostle omits (perhaps as irre 
levant to his object), or the author 
of the Acts inserts, another jour 
ney, in which Paul and Barnabas 
are mentioned as carrying up 
alms to Jerusalem about the 
time of Herod Agrippa s death, 
A.D. 44. Acts, xi. 30., xii. 25. 

A-CU T/ roj , with Barnabas,"] 
Therefore, before the separation 
of Paul and Barnabas. Titus is 
mentioned to prepare the way 
for what follows. Comp. Acts, 
xv. 2.: "Paul and Barnabas 
and certain others of them." 

2. Kara. aVomXv^tv, by revela 
tion. ] Compare noteon i. 12.; also 
Acts, xvi. 8.: "They essayed to 
go into Bithynia, but the Spirit 
of Jesus (so Lachmann) suffered 
them not;" also Acts, xix. 21. 
The Apostle means, that he went 
up, not because he was sent for, 
but because it was revealed to 
him that he should go. The 
reader of Plato is involuntarily 
reminded of the c)a^uoVtoy aijueiov 
of Socrates, which in the same 
way gave intimations respecting 
his " going out and coming in." 

a.ved/.irjv ai/roTf.] St. Paul 
speaks of the Gospel which he 
preached among the Gentiles, and 
laid before the Apostles as a 
separate Gospel, as below, ver. 
7. evayyeXiov rfJQ ajcpoSvormc. 
Compare Rom. ii. 16., xvi. 25.; 
2 Tim. ii. 8. Kara TO tvayyt\i6v 

car td/ar, privately, as in 

VER. 13.] 



2 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jeru 
salem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 

2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto 
them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, 
but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by 

3 any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But 
neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was 

Matt. xiv. 23., and numerous 
other passages. 

rolg IOKOVGIV, to them of repu 
tation^] is used absolutely, as 
sometimes in classical Greek, "to 
the men of influence, reputation." 
There is a degree of irony in the 
application of the term to the 
Apostles, who, as St. Paul is 
about to describe, added nothing 
to what he had told them. The 
irony is heightened by the altered 
form of expression in ver. 6., ol 
^OKOVVTEQ elvai rt, but is lost again 
in the new turn given to it at 

Ver. 9., 01 fioKOVVTEG (TTV\Ol eh Ctl, 

the last words marking that he 
truly recognised the dignity of 
the other Apostles as heads of the 
Church at Jerusalem. Compare, 
as illustrative of the feeling, 2 
Cor. xi. 5,, xii. 11. ol vTrepXlav 

jur; Trwg t KZVOV rpe^u) */ tcipa- 
fior, lest by any means I should 
run., or had run, in ^ain.~\ St. 
Paul went up to lay the dispute 
about circumcision before the 
Church at Jerusalem. He went 
up by revelation, and yet thought 
it necessary to feel his way with 
the heads of the Church, fearing 
" lest he should run in vain." What 
was the fear which he intended to 
convey in these words, and which 
led him to this private course 
of procedure ? did it arise from 
distrust of them, or of himself? 
could there have been a time 

VOL. I. U 

when he had not felt so sure as he 
afterwards became that he was 
right about circumcision ? On 
this view he would be telling 
us in the present passage, that 
he had once been diffident and 
desirous to confirm his own judge 
ment by that of the Twelve. 
And he was strengthened in his 
opinion, not by what the other 
Apostles told him, but by his 
finding that they had nothing to 
tell him. It seems, however, in 
consistent with the context, and 
with the temper of the Apostle 
himself, that on such a subject 
he should admit the possibility 
of error, or peril the freedom of 
the Gentile converts on the judge 
ment of the Apostles at Jerusalem. 
But it is quite consistent with 
his conduct on other occasions 
(Acts, xxi. 26.), and very natural 
that he should act with prudence 
towards a Church where there 
were so " many thousand Jews 
which believed, and they all 
zealous for the law." He might 
well hope for union and fear se 
paration, even though separation 
could never shake his belief in 
what he surely knew. Anxiety 
was a part of his natural tem 
perament: everywhere he seems 
like one feeling the effect of his 
words ; and on such an occasion 
there would be many reasons for 
it, one amongst them being the 
slightness of his acquaintance 



[On. II. 

&v r)vayKoio-07) IKpiTjJLij&fjwu Sux 8e rovs Traveler- 4 
x//evSaSe X<ovs, omz>es Trapeio-rjXOov /caracr/coTT^crai 

with the other Apostles. It seems 
better, therefore, to consider the 
meaning of the passage in a ge 
neral way : " I spoke privately 
first to a few of the leaders, lest 
my business should miscarry." 
Tpe-%(i) J) t^joajuov, lest my past or 
present labours should be in 
vain, ttipapov may either refer 
generally to his Apostolic mission 
or to the journey to Jerusalem 
which he had just accomplished ; 
it is possible also that it may 
be a mere grammatical correc 
tion, as the past tense avifti^v 
has preceded. rpe^ mav be 
either indicative or subjunctive. 

3 5. otc ov^e TTjOoe WjOai .J A 
various reading occurs in verse 
5., which will most conveniently 
be considered in this place, as it 
affects the meaning of the passage 
which precedes. The words OIQ 
ovce are omitted on the authority 
of Irenseus, who quotes the verse 
without them (iii. 13.), and of 
Tertullian, who affirms them to 
be a " vitiatio Scripturse," rather, 
however, on the ground of their 
inconsistency with the context 
than of their omission in copies 
of his own time. (Adv. Mar. v. 3.) 
Jerome and others further testify 
to their absence in Latin manu 
scripts of their day. They are 
also wanting in at least one uncial 

To the passage read without 
them, two interpretations may be 
given, either : " But Titus, who 
was with me, being a Greek, was 
circumcised, though not by com 
pulsion, but the fact was that, on 
account of the false brethren 
who crept in unawares to spy 
out our liberty in Christ Jesus, 
we gave way for a season in the 

subjection which we showed them, 
that the truth of the Gospel 
might remain (not for a season 
only) with you the Gentile Chris 
tians ;" or ver. 4. and 5. may be 
contrasted with ver. 3. " We 
did not circumcise Titus ; but 
we gave way for a season because 
of the false brethren, not weakly 
to compromise the truth of the 
Gospel, but to preserve it to 
you." It is an objection to this 
latter way of taking the passage, 
that the Apostle does not state 
the nature of the concession. 

As it is certain that copies 
existed in the second and third 
centuries in which the words 
ovdi or ole ovBe were omitted, the 
question of the reading cannot 
be absolutely determined by the 
weight of MS. authority which is 
in favour of their insertion. On 
the one hand, it maybe urged that 
the omission has arisen from the 
desire to improve the structure 
of the sentence, which is thus 
rendered more regular ; perhaps, 
also, the example of Timothy 
may have led to the inference 
that the Apostle would have 
done in one case as he did in the 
other, and that Titus was cir 
cumcised as Timothy was cir 
cumcised ; a meaning which is 
more easily obtained if the words 
oig oude. are omitted. On the 
other hand, it is not unreasonable 
to maintain the opposite thesis, 
that the insertion of the words 
is improbable, because it runs 
counter to the general tone and 
spirit of the passage. The feel 
ing which makes us unwilling to 
believe that St. Paul yielded a 
question of principle at a critical 
moment, would have prevented 

VER. 4.] 



4 compelled to be circumcised: but* because of the false 
brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to 

Fathers and early transcribers 
from altering the text in such a 
manner as to render this inter 
pretation of the Apostle s acts 
possible. And, therefore, it may 
be argued that the reading which 
raises the suspicion is probably 
not the altered but the genuine 
one. So the canon " difficilioris 
lectionis" may be arrayed on 
either side. Nor will any other 
argument place either reading 
beyond doubt. 

Was Titus circumcised or not ? 
That is an inquiry the answer to 
which is not wholly dependent 
on the variety of the text. For, 
supposing ovde or ole ovSl to be 
retained, still, by laying the em 
phasis on jjvayxaffOri, the sentence 
may be read in such a manner as 
to admit the fact that Titus was 
circumcised : " Titus, who was 
with me, was circumcised, though 
not of compulsion ; but I and the 
other Apostles thought it better 
that this should be done to pre 
vent the false brethren from 
going about and saying that we 
had men uncircumcised among 
us, not that we gave way to them 
for an instant in the submission 
that we showed or that they 
claimed" (rrj wTrorayj}). The fact 
was as the opponents of St. Paul 
stated, but nothing was thereby 
decided respecting the necessity 
of circumcision, the question at 
issue in the Galatian Church. 

Such is a possible train of 
thought in the Apostle s mind, 
whichever reading we adopt. 
And the form of the sentence, 
in which Titus is the principal 
subject, is in favour of this mode 
of interpretation : " Titus was 
circumcised, though not of com 

pulsion," is a more natural ex 
planation of the words ov^e Tt- 
TOQ riro.yKa.aQri irEpir^Qriva^ than 
" Titus was not circumcised, 
though they sought to compel 
him." That the Apostle was 
charged with preaching circum 
cision (v. 11.) is implied by him 
self; nor is it impossible that the 
example of Titus may have been 
brought forward by teachers of 
the circumcision ; in which case 
the words "EXXrjv &v may have 
formed a part of their statement. 
It is the profession of the Apostle 
himself, that " to the Jews he 
became a Jew;" an expression 
which accords with his conduct 
in taking upon himself a Naza- 
rite s vow on the occasion of his 
last visit to Jerusalem. Again, 
the circumcision of Timothy is 
nearly, if not quite, parallel with 
that of Titus ; for Timothy was 
the son of a Greek father, and 
had not been circumcised in 
infancy ; nor was it intended by 
St. Paul that he should work in 
any special field of labour among 
Jewish Christians. Of him, too, 
it might have been said with 
equal truth, u\\ ovde 

drjvai. And the reason given in 
the Acts of the Apostles for the 
circumcision of Timothy is equally 
applicable to the case of Titus : 
" Because of the Jews that were 
in those parts." The time is 
also observable : soon after the 
meeting of the Apostles, which 
renders the circumcision of Ti 
mothy as remarkable a circum 
stance as the circumcision of 
Titus at the meeting itself. 
Lastly, the obscurity of the pas 
sage may be thought to arise out 

u 2 


IKevOepiav ^ 



[Cn. II. 

, ta 
r vTrorayj, 5 

ois ove Trpos <t>pav ei 
17 d\rj6eia TOV evayyeXiov 8iap,eivr} 
Se ra>v SoKowroji etz ai rt (OTTOIOI TTOTC T^craz/, ovSeV /xot e 


of the difficulty that the Apostle 
felt in defending himself against 
the true charge that he had 
waived the question of circum 
cision in the case of Titus. 

The point, however unessential 
in itself, is of interest as bearing 
on the character of the Apostle. 
The reasons already given, though 
strong, are not conclusive, as 
they have to be weighed against 
other reasons, the chief of which 
is the context of the passage. Is 
language such as that of ver. 4. 
and 5. reconcilable with the 
supposition of an act which is 
really a contradiction of it ? that 
is the question : " We gave way 
to the false brethren, no, not for 
an hour, except in reference to 
that which was the chief matter 
in dispute." The Apostle was 
not in the temper of accommoda 
tion at the meeting at Jerusalem ; 
it was not the time to be all 
things to all men, nor the time 
to tell the Galatians if he had 
been so. For his whole object 
is to show how little he yielded 
to the Jewish Christians, and 
how independently of the Twelve 
he maintained his cause. It is 
only a conjecture, that he has 
mentioned the case of Titus be 
cause the false teachers had 
brought it forward against him ; 
and, otherwise, there would be no 
reason for his naming it himself. 
Why should he of his own accord 
introduce the mention of a con 
cession which would make him 
seem inconsistent with himself? 
How ill these these two state 

ments agree together, " I admit 
that I yielded in the case of 
Titus," and " Behold, I, Paul, say 
unto you that if ye be circumcised 
Christ shall profit you nothing." 
There is also a degree of weak 
ness in the words, *E\Xr;j/ &v and 
TOV t 

upon the 
supposition that Titus was cir 
cumcised. It is good sense to 
say : " For Titus being a Greek 
was not circumcised, &c., that 
the truth of the Gospel might 
remain unto you Gentiles ;" but 
the point is lost if we. turn the 
sentence : " For Titus being a 
Greek was not circumcised by 
compulsion ; but merely as a 
matter of prudence, that the 
truth of the Gospel to the Gentiles 
might continue." 

So many points may be pleaded 
on either side of the question in 
dispute, it is not necessary, or 
indeed possible, to arrive at any 
certain conclusion. The drift of 
the argument appeared to Ter- 
tullian to involve the circum 
cision of Titus ; to us the opposite 
inference seems, on the whole, 
most likely to be the truth. 

In the previous verse the 
Apostle had said: "I laid the 
dispute respecting circumcision 
before the heads of the Church, 
lest my business should miscarry." 
Now he adds: "But notwith 
standing this apparent conces 
sion, we did not give up the 
rights of the Gentiles so far as 
to allow Titus to be circum 
cised;" though, as is implied in 

YER. 5, 6.] 



spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that 

5 they might bring us into bondage: to whom we gave 
place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth 

6 of the gospel might continue with you. But of those 
who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it 

the word fivayKatrdr], there was 
an attempt to compel this. So 
far is intelligible; the difficulty 
is, what to do with the succeeding 
clauses. That the two verses 
which follow are an anacoluthon, 
is obvious. There are two ways 
in which the wanting thought 
may be supplied: either, (1.) 
we may suppose the words, Sid 
c) TOVQ irapeiaaKTOvg ^evOadeXtyovQ, 
to be connected with r/ray/ccio-fl??, 
as though the idea in the Apostle s 
mind were, "yet because of the 
false brethren there was compul 
sion ; " or, (2.) these words may 
contain the reason why, as he 
tells us in ver. 5., he refused to 
yield for an instant. This latter 
meaning would be naturally ex 
pressed without the anacoluthon, 
by the omission of olg, which in 
this case may, probably, have 
been added on account of the 
length of the sentence, like the J 
in the doxology at the end of the 
Epistle to the Romans. Alto 
gether, three ^ ideas seem to be 
struggling for expression in these 
ambiguous clauses: (1.) Titus 
was not circumcised; (2.) though 
an attempt was made by the false 
brethren to compel him ; (3) which 
as a matter of prin ciple we thought 
it so much the more our duty to 
resist. The ambiguity has arisen 
from the double connection in 
which the clause 5ia rovy vrapeto-- 
dKTovg \^f.v^a^e\<f)OVQ stands, (1.) 
to r} ray Or] which precedes, and 
(2.) to OIQ ov^e TrpoQ utpav eia.[iev 
which follow. 

4. ofrcrcg 7rapio7/\0o>, who came 

in sideways.~^ Coin p. 

KaTCHTKOTrfjffai TIJV cXcvOep/av 
rifjitiv, to spy out our liberty. ] 
It is not likely that the " false 
brethren," any more than the 
"false apostles" (2 Cor. xi. 13.), 
were only Jews. Except as pro 
fessing Christians, there could 
have been no reason for their 
admission to the assemblies of 
the believers. That Jews and 
Christians must have passed into 
each other by insensible grada 
tions, is obvious from such pas 
sages as the discourse of James 
to Paul, in Acts xxi. 17., as well 
as from the narratives of Hege- 
sippus and Josephus respecting 
James himself. The object of 
the false brethren was to spy out 
whether Paul and Barnabas con 
formed to the law, or not ; what 
Paul calls their liberty in Christ 

5. oie ov$7rpoQ wpai .]] To whom 
we gave place no not for an hour, 
or (e) simply adversative) to 
whom neither did we give place 
for a season : compare the use of 
ovM in ver. 3. 

e i^aptv rj? vTrorccyi/.J Either, 
" we yielded in the subjection 
which they claimed ;" or, suppos 
ing Titus to have been circum 
cised, " in the subjection which 
we showed." 

il d\fi6t.ia. TOV i>ayy\/ov, the 
truth of the Gospel.^ That is, 
the Gospel as St. Paul preached 
it in its freedom, of faith and not 
of works. 

may re* 

u 3 



[On. II. 

TrpocrtoTTOv Oeos dvOpcotrov ov Xa/zy8dVei) 
yap ot SoKoiWes ouSe^ TrpocravedevTO, dXXa Tovvavriov 7 
tSoWes on TreTTtcrTeu/xat TO euayyeXtoz rrjs aAcpo/3vcrrias 
Ka6a)$ ITeVpos TT}S Treptro/^s (6 yayo ivepyrjcra^ Ilerpoj ets 8 
a7ro(7TO\r)V T7?9 TrepiTOfJLrjs evrjpyvjcrev /cd/iot ets ra tOvrj) 
KCU yvovres TT)Z> -^dpiv TT)I> So#eto-dV /xot la/cw^Sos /cat 9 
Krj(f)d<s KOL Icodvvrjs, oi So/coiWe? crrvXot drat, Sefta? 
e/xot /cat Bapvdfia 

1 Om. 


main with you Gentiles : partly 
opposed to TTpoe wjoai>. 

6. a?ro ^ rwv ^IOKOVVTWV elvai 
ri) but of those who seemed.^ This 
sentence is interrupted by a 
parenthesis. We may suppose 
the Apostle intended to finish it 
thus: "But of those who seemed 
to be somewhat, I received no 
thing." ot loKovvrtQ dval TI, "who 
seemed to be somewhat ; " " who 
gave the impression of being the 
chief men." 

oTToloi TTOTE r)(Tttv.] Some de 
gree of feeling is indicated in 
these words, as in the similar 
expression, v. 10., oWte ay rj. and 2 
Cor. xi. 5., ot vTrepXiav aTrooroXot. 
The Apostle is afraid lest the 
expression oi co^ovrree may be 
interpreted to mean that he gave 
way to their authority; he there 
fore hastens to add, that they 
were as he was in the sight of 
God ; he will not speak of them 
slightingly, but he wishes it to 
be remembered that God is no 
respecter of persons (comp. Rom. 
ii. 1 1.; 1 Cor. iv. 3.), and that as a 
fact, whatever their dignity and 
authority might be, those great 
men left him to himself. The 
parenthesis is the correction of 
the clause with which the verse 
began ; and the words, epo\ yap., 
&c., with which the anacoluthon 
is resumed, supply a kind of 
ground for the words in the 

parenthesis. He might seem to 
depreciate the other Apostles in 
the words oTroloi TTOTE 7)<rav, and he 
gives his reason for it: "For 
they added nothing to me." It is 
probable that yap has a further re 
trospective meaning, going back 
to ver. 5.: " I acted boldly, for 
others did not act." 

Trpoffavt.devTo, ] communicated 
nothing to me in addition to what 
I communicated to them : comp. 
, ver. 2., and JJLOVOV r&v 
jj.i>ripovv(i)/ijiev in ver. 
10. ; or more simply, as in the 
English version, " added nothing 
to me." 

7. d\\a TOVVCLVTIOV, but con 
trariwise.^ In what does this 
opposition consist? Apparently 
in this, that instead of strength 
ening the hands of Paul, they left 
him to fight his own battle. They 
said, " Take your own course ; 
preach the Gospel of the uncir- 
cumcision to Gentiles, and we 
will preach the Gospel of the 
circumcision to Jews." 

It is remarkable that in this 
passage St. Paul speaks, not only 
of preaching to Jews and Gen 
tiles, but in yet stronger lan 
guage of a different Gospel of 
the circumcision and uncircum- 
cision (comp. ver. 2.). St. Peter 
is described in away that harmo 
nises with the pre-eminence as 
signed to him in the Gospels. 

VEB. 79.] 



inaketh no matter to me: God accepteth not* man s 
person :) for they who seemed to be somewhat in con- 

7 ference added nothing to me : but contrariwise, when 
they saw that the Gospel of the uncircumcision was com 
mitted unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was 

s unto Peter, (for he that wrought effectually in Peter to 
the apostleship of the circumcision, the same wrought* 

9 effectually in me toward the Gentiles :) and when James, 
Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the 
grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Bar 
nabas the right hands of fellowship ; that we should go 

He is the leader of the Jewish, as 
St. Paul of the Gentile Christians. 
Yet it may be observed also, that 
some of the companions of St. 
Paul during his imprisonment 
are described as ol EK 7repiTOfj,rjc, 
Col. iv. 11.; on the other hand 
see Tit. i. 10. 

8. In 1 Cor. ix. 2. the Apostle 
Paul appeals to his doing the 
work of an Apostle as a proof of 
his Apostleship ; he here de 
scribes the same fact as produc 
ing its natural impression on the 
Twelve. They saw him to be in 
another sphere what Peter was 
among themselves. 

6 |0y>/<7tt,] like 6 /caAeVac, re 
fers to God ; comp. above a<f>o~ 
piffag. In Col. i. 29. St. Paul 
speaks of this Divine operation 
working in him as rtjv ivepyelav 
[rov -9"foi/] rijv ivepyovperrjv iv ifjoi 
iv cvvcipei. Also comp. 1 Cor. 
xii. 6.t Kcil fiiaipe.o eigevep yriijLaTWv 
eiffiv, 6 f)e O.VTOQ SZOQ b ivepy&v TO. 


9. James, Cephas, and John.~\ 
Some MSS. read Peter and James 
and John ; a variation which has 
probably arisen from the habit of 
assigning the primacy to Peter, 
or from the natural affinity of the 

names James and John, the sons 
of Zebedee, to the eye and mind 
of the copyist. James may be 
mentioned first, as the leader of 
the Judaizing party : see below 
ver. 12. The order of the names 
as they are found in the best MS- 
is of itself a proof that James, the 
son of Zebedee, who is every 
where immediately coupled with 
his brother, is not here meant, 
and is therefore an incidental 
confirmation of the narrative of 
his death in the Acts ; it has also 
some bearing on the question of 
the occasion, as on the second 
journey of St. Paul to Jerusalem. 
(Acts, xi. 30., xii. 25.) James, 
the brother of John, was pro 
bably alive. 

01 $OKOVVT (TTV\Ol flWl, wllO 

seemed to be pillar s.~] The word 
SOKOVVTIQ is a resumption of TOIQ 
SOKOVGIV, and SOKOVVTEQ tlvai rt, in. 
ver. 2. and 6. For orOXoi, comp. 
Rev. iii. 12. arvXov iv r VCHJJ 
TOV 6eov. It was a common Jew 
ish figure, applied to teachers of 
the law. Schoettgen, i. 728, 729. 
iva . . . VptTOfj.f]v, that . . . circum 
cision.^ How is this division of 
labour to be understood ? Not 
if we may judge from the Acts ? 

t 4 



[CH. II. 




Se eis rrjp TrepiTOfJuv, JJLOVOV TQ>V TTTtoyv va 10 
o Kal IcnrovSacra avrb TOVTO TroiTJcrai. ore 11 
Kara Troartoirov avra> 


as though it were intended that 
Paul should confine himself to 
the Gentiles, and Peter to the 
circumcision ; for in every place 
Paul first preached to the Jews, 
and in nearly every place the Ju- 
daizers followed in his track. It 
may mean either that St. Paul was 
not " to intrude on other men s 
labours;" or that one Gospel was 
to be preached to the Gentiles, 
leaving open the question of 
circumcision, and another to the 
Jews, enforcing or encouraging 
the practice. The sense in which 
the agreement was made may 
have been determined, either by 
the character of the Church, 
whether composed chiefly of 
Jewish or heathen Christians ; or 
by its situation, whether in Pales 
tine or elsewhere, or by the 
Gospel having been preached at 
a particular place by St. Paul, or 
by one of the Twelve. That, 
independently of his own labours, 
St. Paul found the faith of Christ 
growing up around him, and the 
preaching of others coming into 
contact with his own, is implied 
in Rom. xv. 20. ; 2 Cor. x. 13. 
We can hardly suppose that, 
in the fluctuating state of the 
Church, the agreement could 
have been strictly acted upon, 
especially in Churches like An- 
tioch and Corinth, in which both 
parties must have met. 

10. fjLOVOV . . . IVd fJ.Vri}JLOVf.Vli)}Jif.V t 

only they would that we should 
remember.^ For the use of Iva. 
in requests, compare 2 Cor. viii. 7. 
The poor are "the poor saints 
of Jerusalem," Rom. xv. 26., 

who appear to have been a fre 
quent object of charity with the 
Churches among which the Apo 
stle preached. 

It is a presumption of the still 
unbroken unity of the Church, 
that the Jewish Christians were 
willing to receive, or the Gentiles 
to give alms. This presumption 
is further strengthened by the 
manner in which the obligation 
to contribute is viewed, both in 
the Epistles to the Romans and 
the Corinthians, Rom. xv. 27. : 
" They thought it good, and their 
debtors they are ; for if the Gen 
tiles have participated with them 
in their spiritual things, they 
ought also to participate with 
them in temporal things." Com 
pare 1 Cor. xvi. 1., ix. 1. 

Two collections for the Church 
at Jerusalem are mentioned ; the 
first (Acts, xi. 29.), that which was 
carried up on St. Paul s second 
journey from Antioch ; the second, 
the collection in Macedonia and 
Achaia, which he brought with 
him on his last visit to Jerusalem, 
in the contributions to which the 
Galatians had themselves a share 
(1 Cor. xvi. 1.). 

avro TOUTO"] implies that it was 
the very thing which, even inde 
pendent of the agreement, he 
desired, and intended to do. 

11 21. The conduct of Peter 
is not easy to understand. Al 
ready, at the council or concordat 
of the Apostles, he had agreed to 
impose no burdens on the Gentile 
Christians : and, at a much ear 
lier period in the history of the 
Apostles, he had not only been 



10 unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only 
they would that we should remember the poor ; the same 

11 which I also was forward to do. But when Cephas 1 was 
come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because 


charged witli going in unto men 
uncircumcised, and eating with 
them, but had taught others 
" that they were to call nothing 
common or unclean." And now, 
not of his own free will, but 
under the influence of certain 
who came from Jerusalem, from 
a fear of the very same charge, 
" thou wentest in unto men 
uncircumcised, and didst eat with 
them," he held back, and seemed 
to view his Christian brethren 
with the feelings with which he 
would have regarded men who 
sat at meat in an idol s temple. 
It is remarkable, and may be con 
sidered as a proof of the truth of 
the history, that his conduct, 
however unintelligible, is in keep 
ing with Peter s character. We 
recognise in it the lineaments of 
him who confessed Christ first, 
and first denied him ; who began 
by refusing that Christ should 
wash his feet, and then said, 
" not my feet only, but my hands 
and my head ;" who cut off the 
ear of the servant of the High 
Priest, when they came to take 
Jesus, and then forsook him 
and fled. Boldness and timidity, 
first boldness, then timidity, were 
the characteristics of his nature. 
It was natural for such a one, 
though no longer strictly a Jew 
himself, to desire that others 
should conform to the prej udices of 
Jews ; such conduct agreed with 
the bent of his own mind, though 
he formallv disowned it. There 

is, we may observe, in many 
men, a sort of tenderness to 
what they once were themselves ; 
as there is another class of men 
who learn a lesson, but only to 
apply it under given circum 
stances. Something of this kind 
there may have been in St. Peter ; 
a narrowness of perception, or 
secret sympathy with the Juda- 
izing converts, which prevented 
his seeing the wider truth which 
presented itself to St. Paul. At 
any rate, his was a disposition on 
which ancient habits and feelings 
were ever liable to return ; whose 
heart could scarcely avoid linger 
ing around the weak and beggarly 
elements of the law ; on whom in 
age the lessons of youth were too 
prone to come back, "carrying 
him whither he would not." The 
charge which St. Paul brings 
against him was, inconsistency 
with himself; he was half a Gen 
tile, and wanted to make the 
Gentiles altogether Jews. So, 
in chap. vi. of the Galatians, 
ver. 13.,vhe says of the Judaizing 
teachers "For neither do they 
that have been circumcised keep 
the law ;" in other words, even 
the Judaizers are inconsistent 
with themselves; they too charged 
on him (chap. v. 11.) that he still 
preached circumcision. 

1 1. ore e) //After, jc.r.X., but when 
Cephas, $*.] The place here 
alluded to is Antioch in Syria, 
whither the Apostles Saul and 
Barnabas returned after the meet- 



[On. II. 

dvTO~T7jv, on 

ore e 

rjv. Trpo rov yap e\OeLV 12 
Tu>a,9 CCTTO laKotfiov /xera TMV iOvwv 
rjXvov, vTrecrreXXe* Kal d^copL^ev tavrov, 
CK TrepiTOfJirjs, Kal crvvvTr^Kpidr^o-av aura) /cat 01 XOITTOI 13 
JovSaioi, cocrre Acal Bapvdfias crvvaTT^Orj avTa>v Trj VTTO- 
Kpicret. dXX* ore eiSoz> on OVK opdoTro^ovcnv Trpbs TT)I> 1* 
aXrjdeiav rov evayyeXiov, el7TOJ> rw Kvj^a ^irpocrOev Trdv- 
TOJV El (TV louSaio? vTrdpxwv lOviK&s Kal ov% Iou8ai /cws 
5, Trai? 1 ra lft/77 d^ay/ca^eis lovSai ^et^ ; 

<f)vcrL JovSatoi, /cat ou/c e^ I6va)v d/xa^rcoXot is 


ing at Jerusalem. We have no 
means of knowing on what occa 
sion or at what time the dispute 
here alluded to took place. St. 
Paul was at Antioch with Bar 
nabas, immediately after the coun 
cil, and (probably by himself) 
at the close of his second Aposto 
lical journey. 

on KarEyvii)ffp.Fvoq i\v^ because 
he ivas condemned, ] not as in the 
English version, "because he was 
to be blamed;" nor "because he 
was condemned," in the sense of 
"condemned by the agreement of 
the Apostles, or by public opinion, 
or by his own conscience," a 
mode of explaining the word 
which supplies more than the 
laws of language will allow ; 
but generally "condemned," in 
the sense of "was in the wrong ;" 
the participle, as in the case of 
TrapaXeXv^eVoc, and other words, 
passing into an adjective. 

12. The obvious meaning of 
this verse is, that Peter acted 
under the influence of certain 
that came from James. In most 
controversies the followers are 
less scrupulous than the leaders ; 
in this case it is impossible for us 
to determine what was the degree 

of these persons connection with 
the brother of the Lord, or how 
far they were responsible for the 
conduct of the Galatian teachers. 
The words, however, imply that 
they were actually sent by James. 
It must be remembered that in 
Acts xxi. 18. James advises Paul 
to propitiate " the multitude zea 
lous for the law," by performing 
a vow in the temple. His conduct 
on the present occasion, whether 
reconcilable or not with what is 
related of him in Acts xv., is 
perfectly in accordance with the 
narrative just alluded to, as well 
as with the ecclesiastical tradition 
respecting him. 

The attempts of Origen, Je 
rome, Chrysostom, and Theophy- 
lact, to show that the dispute 
between Peter and Paul was 
either a preconcerted controversy 
for the edification of believers, or 
that Cephas here mentioned was 
some obscure disciple, and not the 
Apostle, are not without interest, 
as illustrating the history of the 
interpretation of Scripture. 

(rvvii<rttiv.~\ The eating together 
among the Jews, as in the East 
at the present day, was a sign of 
close communion and fellowship. 



12 he* was condemned. For before that certain came 
from James, he did eat with the Gentiles : but when 
they were come he withdrew and separated himself, 

is fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the 
other Jews dissembled likewise with him ; insomuch 
that Barnabas also was carried away with their dis- 

14 simulation. But when I saw that they Avalked not 
uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said 
unto Peter before them all, If thou being a Jew, livest 
after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, 
how 1 compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the 

We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of 



We can well imagine the feelings 
of aversion that would have to be 
subdued before men of a different 
race or religion could be induced 
to eat at the same table. This 
was not, however, Peter s case ; 
he had once eaten with the Gen 
tiles, and could not now hold it 
a matter of principle, or even of 
feeling, to abstain from doing so. 
Timidity, or the undue influence 
of others, was the cause of his 
conduct. Hence St. Paul charges 
him with " hypocrisy," that is, 
with having implied an objection 
which he did not really feel, or 
which his previous custom did 
not justify. 

Besides the antagonism in which 
this passage represents the two 
great Apostles, it throws an im 
portant light on the history of 
the Apostolic Church in the fol 
lowing respects : (1.) As exhi 
biting Peter s relation to James, 
and his fear of those who were of 
the circumcision, whose leader we 
should have naturally supposed 
him to have been. (2.) Also, as 

portraying the state of indecision 
in which all, except St. Paul, even 
including Barnabas, were in re 
ference to the observance of the 
Jewish law. 

14. TTjOoe ri]v d.\r\Qeiav TOV tvety- 
ycX/ou.] In reference to the truth 
of the Gospel ; that is, as above, 
ver. 5., the truth of the Gospel 
which I preach among you, not 
of works, but of faith. 

tpTrpoaQev TTCIVTU)! .^ I spake 
openly to them, though they were 
all against me, and remonstrated 
with Peter: 

Why do you, who are yourself 
only half a Jew, seek to make 
the Gentiles Jews ? Or, why do 
you, who have hitherto been eat 
ing with Gentiles, now withdraw 
yourself to constrain them to 
conform ? 

aVaymeie, compellest.^ That 
is to say, of Peter, his principle 
logically involved this, or his in 
fluence and example would be 
likely to effect it. 

15 21. These words are the 
substance of a conversation be- 



[On. II. 

lav 16 

tSoT<? oe on ov SiKaLOVTaL av0pot)7ro e 
JU,T) Sia Trurreoj? Irjcrov yjpi<7Tov y Kal 07/^615 ets 
Irjcrovv eTTio Tevo afJiep, Iva SiKaiOjOcofJiep IK Tucrrecc)? 
Kal OVK l epyajv VOJJLOV, on e epyaiv vopov ov 
crerat Tracra crdp. el Se ^roiWcs St/catw^^at 
Kal avrol d/iapraAoi, apa ^ptcrros 
/IT) yeVoiro. e yap a Kare Xvcra, raura iraXiv is 
, Trapa/BaTT)!; i^avrov crwicrTdVco. 1 eyaj yap Sta 19 



tween the two Apostles, of which 
one side only is narrated, and 
which soon passes off into the 
general subject of the Epistle. 
Verse 14. is the answer of St. 
Paul to Peter; what follows is 
more like the Apostle musing or 
arguing with himself, with an 
indirect reference to the Gala- 
tians. Compare John iii., where 
the discourses of Christ with 
Nicodemus, and of John the Bap 
tist, appear in the same way to 
mingle imperceptibly with the 
thoughts of the Evangelist ; also 
Rom. iii. 18. ; 1 Cor. xi. 25. 

15. Hfjieig (j)va-Ei loy^cuot, We 
are Jews by nature.^ St. Paul, 
as already remarked, is not in 
these words literally answering 
Peter, but putting himself in the 
position of one who was answer 
ing : " We," he says, "who are 
not, according to our favourite 
phrase, sinners of the Gentiles, 
but natural-born Jews." Compare 
the common expression, TeXwvai 
Kal apapTuXol, Matt. ix. 10, 11. ; 
also Rom. ix. 30. iQvr ra 

For the construction we may 
supply tercet , or carry on the 
thought to f.TnffTf.vrrap.f.v. Accord 
ing to the first explanation, we 
may translate as follows : " We 
are Jews by birth, and not sin 

ners of the Gentiles ; still we 
know that it is by faith a man is 
justified, and not by works of the 
law." At verse 16. a quotation 
is introduced from Psalm cxliii. 2. 
(which occurs again in Rorn. iii. 
20.) ; here the transition seems to 
be already made from the con 
versation with Peter to the ge 
neral argument. The ellipse is 
somewhat harsh, and may be 
avoided by adopting the other 
construction, which gives more 
point to the words, Kal OVK i 
iQvuv apapTuXot. " We, who are 
not sinners of the Gentiles, and 
therefore, of course, needing re 
demption, but born Jews, the 
natural heirs of the kingdom. of 
God; knowing, however (Se ), that 
for the Jew as well as the Gen 
tile, the way is not by works, but 
by faith, we too, I say, have 
believed on Christ that we may 
be justified by faith in Christ, 
and not by works of the law, for 
by the works of the law shall no 
flesh be justified." 

The verses that follow are ex 
tremely obscure. The connection 
seems to require that the Apostle 
should say something which has 
a bearing on Peter s inconsis 
tency. We Jews, he has said, 
are justified by Christ, and not 
by the law. You think he is 



16 the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by 
the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus 
Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we 
might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not 
by the works of the law : for by the works of the 

17 law shall no flesh be justified. But if, while we seek 
to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also are found 
sinners, then is Christ the minister of sin. God forbid. 

is For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I 
19 make myself a transgressor. For I through the law 

going to drive the argument 
home by adding : " But we are 
not justified by Christ, if we 
conform to the law ; " or in his 
own words, " Behold, if ye be 
circumcised, Christ shall profit 
you nothing." This is what we 
expect him to say, and what he 
does say, though wrapt in ob 
scurity from the peculiar view 
implied here, and more explicitly 
drawn out in the Epistle to the 
Romans, of the relation of sin 
and the law. 

17 20. But if seeking to be 
justified in Christ, we, too, are 
found sinners as well as the Gen 
tiles ; that is, in other words, if 
we too fall back under the power 
of the law, Christ becomes the 
cause of this ; we make Him the 
minister of that law which is 
the strength of sin," which " re 
viving, we die." Not so, it were 
absurd to think it. It is we, not 
he, who are the ministers of sin ; 
we make ourselves transgressors 
by imposing upon ourselves a law 
which makes us transgress. We 
build up what we pulled down. 
The law was but the negation of 
itself, the means to its own ex 
tinction, and the creation of a 
new life in us. But now the law 

that was dead is made alive 

Had the thought of the law 
being death been placed first, 
there would have been no diffi 
culty in understanding the Apo 
stle s meaning, which clears up as 
we proceed. He is speaking from 
his own point of view, not from 
ours, or from that of his oppo 
nents. He cannot imagine any 
justified by works, without falling 
under the power of sin. "What 
soever is not of faith, is sin," as 
he says in the Romans. And 
when men are in this sinful con 
dition, was it Christ that brought 
them to it ? Not Christ, but 
what they have added to Christ ; 
for where there is no law, there 
is no transgression. 

18. If I return "to the weak 
and beggarly elements," if I re 
construct the edifice which I 
pulled down, I put myself within 
the sphere of transgression, I 
make myself a sinner by going 
to the law. 

19. Three explanations are 
given of this verse: (1.) "I, 
through the law in a higher 
sense, became dead to the law in 
a lower; " or, "I, through the law 
of the Spirit of life, became dead 



. II. 

VOJJLO* aTTcOavov, Iva Oeu ttfcro). ^oicrroJ crwecrrau- 20 
* w Se OVKTL lya>, 77 Se iv e/>tol ^otcrrds* o Se vvv 
a) eV crap/a, eV Tucrrei &> rf) rov Oeov /cat ypicrrov 

to the law of Moses" (comp. 
1 Cor. ix, 21.:-~-7? w 


interpretation which requires the 
word " law " to be taken in two 
different senses in the same pas 
sage, and of which it is no 
justification to say that in diffe 
rent passages the word yo/ioc, 
when helped by the connection, 
may bear either. No one could 
imagine that the sentence, "I 
through the law to the law am 
dead," if translated out of or into 
any language, would admit of the 
word " law " being taken in dif 
ferent senses. 

(2.) The words may be taken 
as signifying "the law itself 
has taught me to disregard the 
law;" the law itself was the 
schoolmaster to bring me to 
Christ, saying the same things 
respecting faith and forgiveness 
of sins. Such a way of explaining 
the passage would be confirmed 
by other places in which St. Paul 
seeks to base justification by 
faith on the words of the law, 
Yet it is inadequate to the ex 
pression he here uses, which is 
far stronger : not, " I by the 
words of the law was taught that 
the words of the law were of no 
authority ; " but, " I through the 
law was dead to the law." 

(3.) It seems better to take the 
word ropes in this passage, not 
for a written book, but for that 
power over the heart and con 
science of which the Apostle 
speaks in the Romans, where he 
says : " When the law came, sin 
revived, and I died," First let 

us consider the words did 
air id avov, " I through the law was 
dead that I may live." The law 
had wrought in me the infinite 
consciousness of sin, and the sense 
that, do what I would, the fulfil 
ment of its requirements was 
impossible. It was a state of 
death, but of death unto life. 
Now, the Apostle adds to this 
thought, "through the law I died 
unto the law, that I may live unto 
God." (Compare the parallelism 
in Rom. vi. 10., "in that he died he 
died unto sin once, but in that 
he liveth he liveth unto God.") 
In this second relation dniQavov 
is used in a different sense. For 
as before it denoted the highest 
state of discord, the "paralysis 
of our moral nature," here in 
reference to VQ\JUJ> it rather denotes 
insensibility to the law which 
has no more power over a dead 

It has been objected to the 
above explanation that too much 
use is made in it of the Epistle to 
the Romans, and especially that 
it supposes the doctrine of the 
seventh chapter of the Romans 
to have been everywhere and at 
all times present to the mind of 
the Apostle. That it was present 
in writing this passage, is, I think, 
shown by the expression, " I 
through the law was dead to the 
law," which is more abrupt and 
epigrammatical than the language 
of the Epistle to the Romans, 
yet, in substance, the same. 
When the Apostle says, "the 
law came and sin revived, and J 
died," arid goes on to trace the 

VER. 20.] 



20 am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I 
am crucified with Christ : nevertheless I live ; yet not 
I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now 
live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, 

course of this death, paralysing 
the soul, which at last, in its 
agony, casts aside the burden too 
heavy to be borne, is not this an 
expansion, or dramatic illustra 
tion, of the words just quoted ? 

The truth of an interpretation 
is sometimes tested by a compari 
son with other interpretations. 
What other interpretations of 
this passage are possible ? First, 
here as in Rom. vi. the Apostle 
may be answering antinomian 
objections, and with this the 
general tone of the passage agrees, 
the fatal flaw being the want of 
connection with Peter s speech ; 
or, secondly, verse 17. may be 
paraphrased as follows : "If we 
believers in Christ maintain obe 
dience to the law, and at the same 
time transgress it, is Christ the 
cause of this ? No, not Christ, 
but ourselves." But here, though 
the sense of the words, evpldr^pev 
(ecu avroi apapTtiXoi, be easier, the 
connection with ver. 19, 20. again 
breaks down. 

tva Sew /;o-.] He carries on 
the figure of a "living death." 
Himself and his sins are like the 
body of death, but within that 
crucified body Christ lives as on 
the cross. (Comp. Rom. vi. vii.) 

20. As in the Epistle to the Ro 
mans, the Apostle speaks of the 
old man as crucified with Christ, 
so here, adopting the same image, 
he says, "I am crucified with 
Christ ; nevertheless, I live. " 
Death and life equally represent 
the believer s state, death unto 

life, or in life, as the phrase may 
be turned with equal truth. 

The words which follow afford 
a good example of the manner in 
which the language of identity, 
or communion with Christ, passes 
into that of substitution. First, 
we are said to die or live with 
Christ. Then the phrase receives 
a further development ; not only 
we live or die with Christ, but 
Christ lives or dies in us. First, 
we are one with Christ, and then 
Christ is put in our place. So 
far we are using the same lan 
guage with the Apostle. At the 
next stage a difference appears. 
We begin with figures of speech 
sacrifice, ransom, lamb of God ; 
and go on with logical deter 
minations finite, infinite, satis 
faction, necessity in the nature 
of things. St. Paul also begins 
with figures of speech life, death, 
the flesh ; but passes on to the 
inward experience of the life of 
faith, and the consciousness of 
Christ dwelling in us. 

o $e v\)v (t> iv aapKi.~\ Not as 
explained by some interpreters, 
"my present life in the Jews 
religion, under this temporal dis 
pensation of the law ;" but more 
generally, "my present life in this 
world, I live in faith on the Son of 

God." Comp. 2 Cor. v. 6. 7 

" We walk by faith and not by 
sight." o, "whereas," or "what," 
in apposition with the sentence : 
" as to what I now live." 

This clause is not a limitation of 
what had gone before, but rather 


ayairrfcravTOs ju,e KOL TrapaSovros iavrov VTrep e/xou. OVK 21 
aOeTO) Tr}v ^apw TOV 6eov el yap Sia VOJJLOV SiKcuocrtV^, 
apa ^otcrro? Svpedv aired avtv. 

a realisation of it, as it is a re- inhabitant of this world. But as 

cognition of his present imperfect in the Romans, he speaks of those 

state. He had said before: "I who are justified by faith, and 

am crucified with Christ ; yet it have the first-fruits of the Spirit, 

is not I that live, but Christ that as groaning within themselves, 

liveth in me." This is the Ian- " waiting for the redemption of 

guage of one who is no longer an the body," so here, the remem- 


21 who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not 
frustrate the grace of God ; for if righteousness come 
by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. 

brance comes back to him of his 21. I do not make void the 

earthly and dependent being : grace of God, as I should do if I 

"But the life I now live, so far conformed to the law ; for if there 

as it is to be called life in this were righteousness by the law, 

evil state, I live by faith in him Christ s death would have been 

who has done all things for me." of no use. 

VOL. I. 


THE reasons for supposing the meeting of St. Paul with the Apostles 
at Jerusalem, mentioned in chap, ii., to be the same with that com 
monly called the Council, Acts xv., are briefly the following : 
i. The date of the meeting mentioned in Gal. ii. 1., which, whe 
ther we suppose it to have taken place fourteen or seventeen 
years after the conversion of St. Paul, agrees with the limits 
of time which the indefinite chronology of the Acts allows 
us to assign to the Council, but not with any other visit of 
St. Paul to Jerusalem ; that is, neither with the earlier visit 
(commonly termed the second), the circumstances of which 
are narrated in Acts xi. 30., xii. 25., and the date of which 
appears nearly to coincide with the death of Herod Agrippa, 
A.D. 44, and is therefore previous to the Apostle s first mis 
sionary journey, and prior also to his success in preaching 
the Gospel as Apostle of the Gentiles (compare Gal. ii. 8.); 
nor with the visit, of which a very brief mention is preserved 
in Acts xviii. 22., commonly called the fourth, which oc 
curred about three or four years later, after the separation 
of Paul and Barnabas, and is unattended with any of the 
persons or occurrences mentioned in the Epistle ; nor obvi 
ously with the last visit, which led to the uproar in the 
Temple, and the imprisonment of the Apostle for two years 
at Cesarea, and for two years afterwards at Rome. 
ii. The impossibility, on other grounds, of placing the Council 
either before or after the meeting of the Apostles in the Gala- 
tians : before, because St. Paul, in the enumeration of his 
journeys, would not have omitted the one which bore most 
directly on the question in dispute; after, for the same 


reason, which equally applies, unless we suppose the Council 
to have taken place after the Epistle was written, that is, 
towards the end of the Apostle s stay at Ephesus, Acts 
xviii. 19., xix. 41., which, again, is wholly irreconcilable 
with the order of the Acts. It is to be observed also that 
the reference made by James, in Acts xxi. 25., is to the 
event commonly called the Council, in Acts xv., and is in 
consistent with any similar event having taken place later, 
iii. The improbability of a repetition of an event, in which so 
many of the circumstances are the same: e.g. 

(1.) Place in which the dispute originated. Probably, 

Antioch. Comp. Acts xv. 1.; Gal. ii. 11. 
(2.) Subject. Circumcision of the Gentiles. 
(3.) Persons. Paul, Barnabas, certain others, Acts xv. 2., 
among whom, probably, Titus, who is nowhere 
mentioned in the Acts, James, Cephas. 
(4.) Occasion. " Men which came down from Judaea, and 
taught the brethren," which has a degree of parallel 
with those who " came from James to Antioch," in 
Gal. ii. 12. 

iv. These similarities cannot be set aside by the supposed discre 
pancies, which are : > 

(1.) The publicity of the Council, compared with Gal. 

ii. 2., fear tZlav TOIQ SOKOVGI. 

(2.) The unbroken image of harmony presented by the 
narrative of the Acts, contrasted with the tone of 
Gal. ii. 26. 

(3.) The subordinate position of the Apostle St. Paul in 
the narrative of the Acts, and the prominent one of 
James and Peter, who are the chief expounders of 
the freedom of the Gospel, compared with their 
relations as described in Gal. ii. 6. 

(4.) The difference between the final resolution in the 
Acts, which is embodied in a formal decree of the 
x 2 


Church at Jerusalem, passed at a council by the ad 
vice of James, which decree Paul and Barnabas dis 
tribute among the other Churches, and the mere 
agreement or arrangement, described in the Epistle 
as taking place between Paul and Barnabas on the 
one side, as Apostles of the Gentiles, and James, 
Cephas, and John, as Apostles of the circumcision, 
on the other. 

It cannot be denied that these discrepancies are important ; yet, 
in reference to their bearing on our present argument, it must be 
remembered that they are of a kind which would be likely to arise 
in two authorities so different as the letter of the Apostle himself 
and the narrative of a subsequent date, which casts the veil of time 
over a dispute which had passed away, and which perhaps attributes 
to an earlier age the forms of proceeding and modes of speech which 
existed somewhat later. 

The discrepancies which appear elsewhere between the Epistles of 
St. Paul and the Acts of the Apostles tend to impair the force of any 
argument from difference in the two accounts, while they leave the 
force of the argument from coincidences undiminished. 



THE Apostle has concluded his narrative, and the argument to 
which it gave birth. His thoughts return to the Galatians, whom he 
once more addresses with the same vehement emotion as at i. 6 10. 
He schools them, like children 5 he appeals to their experience ; he 
bids them remember the hour of their conversion. Did they mean 
to invert the order of grace ? beginning with what was inward, to 
end with what was outward; in the spirit once, and now in the 
flesh ? Those influences of which they had been the subject ; those 
great effects which they had witnessed did they spring from 
works of the law, or from the hearing of faith ? As elsewhere, the 
word " faith " awakens a new strain of argument in the Apostle s 
mind, which, dropping his previous emotion, he pursues to the end 
of the chapter. This argument is based on the words of Genesis : 
" Abraham had faith in God, and it was counted to him for 
righteousness." Like the parallel discourse on the same theme in 
the Epistle to the Romans (ch. iv.) 5 it may be divided into two 
parts: in the first (1.) of which Abraham, the father of the faithful, 
is identified with his children, and the faith of both contrasted with 
the works of the law, as blessing is to cursing in the language of 
the law itself from which curse of the law, Christ, by becoming a 
curse (as the law also taught), has made a way of escape, that the 
blessing of Abraham might reach the Gentiles ; the second (2.) 
division of the argument (which commences with ver. 15.), taking 
occasion from the words " unto thy seed," which the Apostle, in 
passing, refers to Christ, and dwelling specially on the time at which 

x 3 


the promise was made (430 years before the law), thereby showing 
the mediate, subordinate, intercalary character of the latter. 

The feeling which marked the opening of the Epistle, and the 
address to the Galatians, reappears again at the ninth verse of the 
fourth chapter. The bearing of the previous passage had been to 
show that the state of those under the law was a kind of pupilage 
or slavery, from which Christ had redeemed us by being himself 
" born under the law," as, in a nearly similar way of speaking, it 
was said, at ver. 13. of the previous chapter, that he had " redeemed 
us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us." Of this 
truth of redemption from the law, the Apostle proceeds to make a 
practical application to the Galatians themselves, contrasting their 
half heathen, half Jewish superstitions with the liberty of the 
sons of God. Then, for an instant, he pauses to speak of his per 
sonal relation to them. He was touched by the thought of their 
ancient love for him, especially when he remembered his own in 
firmities which, instead of being an object of disgust to them, seemed 
almost to transfigure him into the likeness of Christ Jesus. But 
how had this passed away ! He will not accuse them of a wrong to 
himself (though he can find no other reason for their change of 
feeling, but his own plain speaking) ; he will only beg of them 
to be at one with him again. He then briefly glances at the false 
teachers, their reception of whom he seems to attribute to a sort of 
ignorance of the world, and as if words out of the law must be better 
rhetoric to them than any that he could employ, once more harp 
ing on the instance of Abraham, he repeats the story of Isaac and 
Ishmael, the child of promise, and the child born after the flesh, and 
arguing in a manner more convincing and intelligible to his own age 
than to ours, as above from the letter of the text, so here from the 
connection between Hagar and the land in which the law was given, 
he concludes, as he began, the chapter by associating the idea of 
bondage with the law. 



[CH. III. 

T /2 dvorjroi PaXctrai, TI S i/ms ipda-Kavtv 1 , ots /car 3 

TOVTO povov OeXa) p^aOelv dfi V^MV, ef epycov vopov TO 2 

eXa/3er, ^ e f d/co^s TTicrrecos ; ovrws dvorjroi ecrre ; 3 

Tn^ev/xan ^v^ crap/a eTnreXetcr^e ; rocraSra 4 

Add rr? aAr/flefa ^ iretOevQai. 2 Add ey U|U?i/. 

III. From the statement of 
facts, the Apostle proceeded, at 
the close of the last chapter, to 
a brief summary of the doctrine 
which he preached, and now 
passes on to make a personal 
appeal to his Galatian converts. 
In the 6th verse he returns to 
the doctrine, which is confirmed, 
as in the Romans, by the case of 
Abraham, and deduced by va 
rious arguments from the Old 
Testament Scriptures. From the 
17th verse to the end of the 
previous chapter, he has been 
covertly arguing with the Gala- 
tians (corap. Rom. ii. 1 17.). 
In the 20th verse, his feelings 
warm, as he describes the hidden 
life of Christ in the soul ; the fire 
kindles with the remembrance, 
that the Galatian converts had 
seen and known the same things, 
and had had Christ crucified 
evidently set before them, until, 
at last, he bursts forth upon them 
with the words : " O senseless 
Galatians ! who hath bewitched 
you who had such lively ex 
perience of the truth which now 
with such levity ye throw aside? 
Of whom it might be said that 
ye saw Christ with your own 
eyes. This only I inquire, was 
it by faith or works that you 
were originally converted?" 

1. r/e VJJ.O.Q l&affKaver ; wJto 
hath bewitched you?~\ ftaoxaivu, 
derived from /3aw, flavKi*) (com 
pare fari fascino), in its original 
meaning signified " to charm with 

words : " it is often applied to the 
influence of the evil eye. Here, 
however, the general sense (as 
commonly in the decline of lan 
guage, in which more precise 
meanings of words are apt to be 
lost) is the safer one, not " who 
hath bewitched by his gaze you 
who had once looked upon Christ," 
but simply " who hath bewitched 
or cast a spell upon you," without 
any opposition to Kar o^flaAjuovc. 

[The words ry aXrjOetq, JJLJI 
TTEiOefrdaL are omitted in most of 
the older manuscripts, as well as 
by all recent editors, and have 
probably crept in from ver. 7. 
(Comp. Rom. viii. 1. 4.)] 

olg fear* o00a\juouc, before, fyc.~\ 
" Before whose eyes Christ cru 
cified, as in a picture, was set." 
For an instance of the same pic 
torial language comp. 2 Cor. iii. 
18. : TYIV $6ay Kvpiov KaroTrrpi- 
(,( ) JJLEVOL, TIJV avrrjv ft/com yuera- 

\_iv vpiv is omitted by A. B. C., 
and in the late editions. If re 
tained, it may be taken: (1.) 
with Trpoeypa^r}^ and is then an 
emphatic repetition of olg ; or, 
(2.) with loravjowjuo oc, in the 
latter case^better in the sense of 
" in you " than " among you," in 
the same way that at ch. ii. ver. 
20. it was said // kv ipol yjpiaTOQ.~\ 

7T(t)oypa07/, not " written down 
beforehand," or " written down 
openly " (which, whether re 
ferred to the prophecies or the 
Epistles of St. Paul, is wanting 



3 foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you 1 , before 
whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth 

2 erucified among you ? This only would I learn of you, 
Eeceived ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by 

s the hearing of faith ? Are ye so foolish ? having begun 
in the spirit are ye now made perfect by the flesh ? 

1 Add that ye should not obey the truth. 

in point), but " pictured openly ;" 
TTjOo being used of place, and not 
of time, and ypatyeiv in the sense 
of " to paint." No other instance 
occurs of the word Trpoypafytiv 
in this signification, which is, 
nevertheless, required by the 
association of /car ofytiaXpovQ ftnd 
f orravpw^eroc, and is in some 
degree supported by the analogy 
of TrpoXc yw (Thuc. i. 139.), of 
(Rom. iii. 25.), and of 
itself, in the sense 
of "to write publicly." The 
difficulty is not, however, to 
prove that Kpo, in composition, 
means " openly," or ypatyuy " to 
paint," but to explain how the 
compound word Trpoypatyeiv has 
received the meaning of the two 
simple ones. May not the Apostle 
have employed the word, as, per 
haps, TrporiyelcrOat in Rom. xii. 
10., in an etymological sense ? It 
is a sound canon of criticism, 
that where the style and use of 
words arc irregular, as in the Xew 
Testament, more weight should 
be given to the context, and loss 
to precedent and authority. 

2. Let me ask you one ques 
tion : I will put the matter to one 
test, Was it of works or of faith 
that you received the Spirit? 

What does St. Paul mean by 
receiving the Spirit ? not merely 
a moral change or renewal of the 
heart, but that sudden conver 
sion which is described in the 
Acts of the Apostles as "the 

as upon us at the beginning. 
He appeals to the Galatians on 
the ground which he felt to be 
the foundation of his own faith 
inward experience, dating from 
that period " when he saw the 
Lord." (1 Cor. ix. 1.) 

has an echo of 
in ii. 20. Com p. 
1 Cor. i. 23., ii. 2. 

uKot} TTt oTfwe.] The first act of 
faith whereby a man became a 
Christian, was bound up with 
the word of the preacher : " So, 
then, faith cometh by hearing, 
and hearing by the word of 
God." (Rom. x. 17.) Hearing is 
to faith what works are to the 
law : if by hearing (to apply one 
of the Apostle s formulas), then no 
more of works." The contrast is 
of faith as a receptive power, 
drinking in the Spirit of the Gos 
pel ; and the law as a constraining 
power, compelling outward acts. 

frupsciyuerot iri-e i^mn.] Taking 
up the WvOrds of the two previous 
verses, dy&yrot, Tri tv/a/, as his 

Holy Ghost 

upon them. 

manner is, the Apostle adds: 
Having begun in the Spirit, 
are ye now ending in the flesh ?" 
The opposition is not between 
holiness and uncleanness, or good 
and evil generally ; but between 
the Gospel and the law. <n<p is 
used in a tiguiv as the symbol of 
what is outward and visible ; also 
as the seat of the desires which 
the law stirs into sinful action. 
(Rom. vii. 7, 8.) It is applied to 
the Mosaic dispensation: (I.) in 



[CM. III. 

et/c?7 ; ei ye /cat et/CTj. o ovv tTTiyoprjytov VJJLW TO 5 
/cat ivepyaiv 8wa/x,ets eV v/jct^ ef epyaiv VO^JLOV rj 
ef aKorjs mcrrecds ; KaOws Afipadp, eVtcrrevcrez rw #e<, G 
/cat eXoytcr#?7 avrco ets St/catocrwTp. ytz too /cere apa on 7 
ot e /c Trtcrrecus oSrot 1 vtot etcrtz/ A/Spad^. 7rpol8ov(ra 8e s 
07 ypa^j] OTI e/c Trtcrrews St/catot ra e^7^ 6 0eos, wpoevTjy- 
yeXtcraro raj A/Spaa^, ort e^evXoy^^cro^rat ez^ o~ot 
iravra ra #^77. a>crre ot e/c Trtcrrea)? euXtfyowrat crv^ 9 
rw 7Tto~ra) A/3padjJL. oo~oi yap l epya>v VOJJLOV etcrt^, 10 
VTTO Kardpav eicriv. yeypaTrrat yap ort 2 eVt/carapaTos 

uiof. 2 Om. STJ. 

tvtpyCov iv vfjilv.~\ " The worker 
of miraculous powers in you ;" 
that is, who gave you or made 
you the subjects of miraculous 
powers (i.e. God). Comp. 1 Cor. 
xii. 28. for the meaning ; and for 
the construction of eV, Phil. ii. 

13., 00 6 J jOyWV J VfJlly Kttl 

TO 0\iv Kal TO ivepytiv. 

The Apostle is still referring to 
the time of their conversion, as is 
shown by the repetition of the 
word TrvfUjua, from ver. 2, 3., and 
the use of ovv. Past time must 
therefore be supplied. The pre 
sent participle maybe either taken 
as an imperfect or as a substan 
tive : " He who was giving," or 
"the giver." 

From this verse onward, com 
mencing at ft y Kal eiKrj, the 
Apostle changes his tone, and 
reasons with the Galatians, in 
stead of rebuking them. A simi 
lar change occurs at iv. 21. 

6. "It was with you," or, 
"Was it not with you even as 
with Abraham, who had faith in 
God, and it was counted to him 
for righteousness?" The Apo 
stle returns to the "locus clas- 
sicus" in the Old Testament, on 
which he founded his doctrine. 

7. The inference is, that they 

the general sense of "external;" 
(2.) as propagated by fleshly 
descent ; (3.) as sealed by the 
mark of circumcision in the flesh. 

4. TocravTa 7ru0er ttfojj ;J (1.) 
" Did ye suffer all those persecu 
tions in vain?" or, (2.) "Had 
you all those experiences in 
vain ?" The latter is more 
agreeable to the context and to 
the general spirit of St. Paul s 
teaching, as well as to the few 
facts which we know about the 
Galatian Church, in which pro 
bably as yet no persecution had 
occurred. Even were this other 
wise, it is unlike the noble style 
of the Apostle to say : <{ Have 
you thrown away the fruits of 
all those persecutions ? " The 
Apostle adds a qualification : 
ft yc KOI dKY), " Have you had 
all these experiences in vain ? if, 
indeed, which I cannot bear to 
think, it be in vain ;" not "if it be 
only and not worse than in vain," 
which gives a good sense, but is 
not expressed in the words. 

5. In remembrance of the time 
of your conversion, I say then 
again, He who supplied you the 
Spirit, and wrought miracles in 
you did he work by the deeds of 
the law or by the hearing of faith ? 



4 have ye suffered so many things in vain ? if indeed * it 

5 be in vain. HE therefore that gave* to you the Spirit, 
and wrought* miracles in* you, did* he it by the 

6 works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? Even 
as Abraham had * faith in God, and it was accounted to 

7 him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they 
which are of faith, the same are the children of Abra- 

s ham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would 
justify the heathen through faith, preached before the 
Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations 

9 be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed 

10 with the* faithful Abraham. For as many as are of 

the works of the law are under the curse : for it is 

which are of faith, these I say, 
and not the others, are the sons 
of Abraham. 

What the nation was in the 
Old, the family is in the New 
Testament. Family relations are 
the types through which spiritual 
ones are shadowed forth in the 
Gospel. The sons of Abraham 
are no more the Jewish nation 
(Comp. Matt. iii. 9.), but faithful 
souls everywhere, of whom God 
is the Father. (Compare vi. 10. ; 
Eph. ii. 19.) 

8, 9. As in 1 Cor. ix. 8, 9, 
10., a providential intention is 
attributed to the words of the 
Old Testament. Compare Rom. 
iv. 3., ri yap i/ ypct(j)rj \eysi ; as 
here speaking of Abraham. 

8. Trpoidovffa Be.] Be is slightly 
adversative : "but what the Scrip 
ture meant (though it may not 
appear at first sight) is the sal 
vation of the Gentiles through 
faith." The words of the quota 
tion, as they occur in the LXX. 
(Gen. xii. 3.), are evXoytj&fjffovrai 
iv ffol Traaat at <f)v\al r>/G y*/G, 
Trctj ra TO. edvr) being introduced 
from the repetition of the same 
promise in Gen. xviii. 18. The 

promise to Abraham is inter 
preted by the Apostle as a decla 
ration of the Gospel of the Gen 
tiles, iv ffoi means "in thee;" 
that is, "in thee as their type," 
or " in thy faith." In the ori 
ginal passage it has the sense, 
" by thee ;" that is, the form of 
their blessing shall be, by thy 
name. " The Lord bless thee, as 
He blessed Abraham and his 
descendants." i&vri has also re 
ceived a change of meaning, 
referring in Genesis to the nations 
of the world in general ; but 
here (compare ver. 14.) confined 
by St. Paul to the heathen, who 
are to be saved by faith. The 
general meaning is as follows : 
" It was not a mere accident that 
it was said, In thee shall all the 
Gentiles be blessed ; but because 
Abraham was justified by faith, 
as the Gentiles were to be justi 
fied by faith." 

9, 10. So then, the faithful 
are blessed with the father of 
the faithful (a reduplication of 
verse 7.). For when the term 
" blessing " is used, it cannot 
refer to those who are under 
the law, and therefore under a 



[Ce. III. 

os OVK e/xjueVei iv 7racriz> rols yeypa/^eVois iv TO> 

TOV vofjiov, TOV TroirjcraL aura. STL Se kv vop,a) n 
ouSels Si/ccuourai irapa rw 0e< 77X0^, on O Si/caios e/c 

770-6x0,1, 6 S vopos OVK <TTLV IK Tncrreajs, dXX 12 
Trou^cras aura x ^crerai ez> auTois. ^ptcrros ^/xas 13 
IK TTJS Karapas TOU z d/zov, ye^d/^e^os 

curse ; the law cannot be meant, 
for the law itself denounces this 
curse against all who disobey it. 
7ap, as in Rom. i. 18., implies an 
argument, e EVO.VTIOV : They of 
faith are blessed, for they under 
the law are cursed. 

iTTiKaraparoQ TTCLQ 6 e.] These 
words are quoted from Deut. 
xxvii. 26., with a slight verbal 
alteration from the LXX. The 
word Trdcrt is omitted in the 
Hebrew text. In some way or 
other a curse comes upon those 
who disobey the law. Is this 
for their imperfect obedience, or 
because it was impossible that 
they should obey at all ? If we 
adopt the first interpretation, 
that every man was under the 
curse, because none could per 
fectly obey the law ; yet, on the 
other hand, it may be urged, that 
an imperfect obedience would 
tend to mitigate the curse. The 
law could not be opposed to the 
Gospel, as the curse to the bless 
ing, were it only a defective good. 
There is no trace in St. Paul of 
the belief that all human virtue 
was equally defective, and equally 
fell short of the Divine require 

That is a modern view which 
has been held by some extreme 
Protestants, as Roman Catholics, 
on the other hand, have some 
times maintained, that the life of 
the believer is only a more per 

fect fulfilment of the law. Both 
these views belong to a later 
stage of theology. The Apostle 
knows only of faith as the oppo 
site of the law as the negative 
of the law. If one blesses, the 
other curses ; if one saves, the 
other destroys. There is no mid 
dle term or way of communica 
tion between them. The second 
of the two interpretations is, 
therefore, the true one. St. Paul 
does not mean that men partially 
fulfilled the law, but that they 
could not fulfil it at all. Like 
the notion of fate or necessity, it 
did but produce "a fearful look 
ing for of judgment;" as the 
Apostle says in Rom. iv. 15 : 
" The law worketh wrath." 

11. And as before we proved 
negatively, that no man could 
be justified by the law, because 
no man could fulfil the command 
ments of the law, so now we 
prove the same thing positively, 
because there is another way ap 
pointed whereby men are to have 
life, the way of faith. As the 
prophet Habakkuk says " The 
just shall live by faith." 

12. ^ is adversative to the sup 
pressed thought suggested by the 
previous verse, that it was possi 
ble to abide in all things written 
in the book of the law. For the 
question, whether in the quota 
tion (from Habak. ii. 4.) the 
words K- iriffTcws are to be taken 



written, that every one is cursed 1 who continueth not 
in all things which are written in the book of the law 

11 to do them. But that no man is justified by the law 
in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall 

12 live by faith. But* the law is not of faith : but he 2 
is that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath re 
deemed us from the curse of the law, being made a 

1 Cursed is every one. 

with 6 3/jcatoc, or with 
see on Rom. i. 17. 

But the law uses a different 
language : " He that doeth the 
commandments shall live in 
them." Lev. xviii. 5. ; repeated 
in Neh. ix. 29., and quoted in 
Rom. x. 5. 

Thus far, the Apostle has car 
ried out the antithesis of the law 
and faith. With the faith of 
Abraham went a blessing ; with 
the law a curse, by the confession 
of the law itself. The one said, 
" The just shall live by faith ;" the 
other, " He shall live who does 
all that is written in the book of 
the law." The curse was endured 
by Christ, that it might not be 
endured by us ; (the law itself, 
in saying "Cursed is every one 
that hangeth on a tree," justifies 
this statement ;) the final pur 
pose being, that the blessing of 
Abraham might reach the Gen 
tiles, and that we might receive 
the promise of the Spirit through 

13. xp tffT Karapa.] The 
particular expression, " Christ 
became a curse for us who were 
under the curse of the law," may 
be best considered as a particu 
lar instance of a class. In the 
Scriptural doctrine of the atone 
ment, the believer is one with 
Christ, until at length Christ 
takes the believer s place, and all 

2 The man. 

that the Christian is, and all that 
he was or might have been, are 
transferred to Christ. Thus any 
new point of view in which the 
sin, or misery, or infirmity of 
man is regarded, belongs not to 
man, but to Christ, as the first 
born among many brethren, par 
taking of the common infirmity 
of human nature. The most ex 
treme example of this is in the 
Gospels, where the miracles by 
which Christ healed the sick are 
considered as a transfer of our 
infirmities to himself. Matt. viii. 
17. In the same figurative mode 
of speech, Christ freeing us from 
the curse of the law, is said to be 
made a curse for us. 

further proof that we cannot be 
justified by the law is, that the 
curse of the law is what Christ 
redeemed us from. We were like 
captives, and Christ paid the 
penalty for us. 

When the Apostle speaks of 
" us," is he referring to the Jew 
only, or also to the Gentile? Pri 
marily, to the Jew; in a degree 
also to the Gentile. By the same 
act the burden is taken off the 
Jew, and a way is laid open to the 
Gentile. But the same figure is 
not equally applicable to both. 
The Gentile too has a rule of na 
ture, and a conscience accusing 
or excusing himself; but he can 



[Cii. III. 

,a)v KdToipa, STL ycypaTTTaL x STrtAcaraparos Tras 6 

CTTI uXov, iVa ets rot $^77 17 euXoyia rou 
*A/3paajJL ylvrjTai iv XP icrT( ? -f^crov, IVa TT)Z/ eTrayyeXia^ 
rov TTfevuaroQ Xa/3amei Sta 

hardly be described as subject to 
ordinances, or tempted by the law 
to sin. He has no lively sense of 
responsibility; he is not distracted 
by any spiritual conflict. The 
general conception of his pre 
vious state is rather expressed by 
the words: "Ye were carried 
away by dumb idols, even as ye 
were led." Whether there was 
any degree of truth in these 
idolatries, whether in any re 
spects they were akin to the 
Jewish ceremonial law, was a 
question which would never have 
occurred to the thoughts of the 
Apostle. To him it was a " mys 
tery kept secret from the found 
ation of the world" that the 
Gentile was to have the Gospel 
revealed to him. The law is the 
only " schoolmaster to bring men 
to Christ," and the Jew alone is 
subject to it. Of a single prior 
dispensation of Judaism and hea 
thenism, such as philosophical 
writers in modern times have 
sometimes imagined, there is no 
trace in the Epistles. 

It is true, however, that the Apo 
stle often places Jew and Gentile 
side by side, and easily passes from 
one to the other. From his ideal 
point of view the distinction 
seems to vanish. The figurative 
language in which he describes 
one is readily transferred to the 
other. As in Rom. i. ii., the same 
eye of the soul is turned upon 
both. As in Rom. iii. 19., he 
places the Gentile within the 
sphere of the law, that he may 

rat 70/2. 

condemn him by the words of 
the law. As in Rom. iv. the 
distinction of Jew and Gentile is 
lost in the common designation 
of children of the faith of Abra 
ham. Hence, though in ver. 13. 
he uses the words "redeemed us 
from the curse of the law," which 
are only applicable to Jews, he 
passes on in the latter clause of 
ver. 14. to include in one both 
Jew and Gentile. The Jew was 
a captive, and Christ called him 
into the liberty of the sons of 
God. The Gentile is a partaker 
of the same heritage. 

But how, it may be asked, was 
this effected by " Christ being a 
curse for us?" To answer this 
question we must distinguish be 
tween the spirit and the letter, 
the inward meaning and the 
figure of the Jewish law. 

(1.) The inward meaning is 
that Christ s teaching and life 
and death drew men to him, until 
they were taken out of them 
selves, and in all their thoughts 
and actions became one with Him. 

(2.) That His life seemed na 
turally to bring upon Him the 
penalty of the Jewish law : 
" We have a law, and by our 
law he ought to die." 

(3.) That at the same time that 
his death was a fulfilment of the 
law, it was also the end of the 
law. He endured the law and 
did away with the law at once. 

(4.) Mankind, contrasting the 
image of his life, and the require 
ment of the law, feel that they 

VER. 14.] 



curse for us; forasmuch 1 as it is written, Cursed is 
every one that hangeth on a tree : that the blessing of 
Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus 
Christ ; that we might receive the promise of the 
Spirit through faith. 


are placed above the law, and so 
escape with him from its burden. 

To the figure must be assigned 
the notion of a ransom or sacri 
fice, by which, as by the victim 
on the altar, God is satisfied or 

fcTrucaraparoe, cursed.^ The 
Apostle again confirms his view 
by a passage from the Old Tes 
tament, which is cited from the 
LXX. with a slight verbal dif 
ference, St. Paul reading ETrifcara- 
parog Trac, instead of KeKarypaptvoQ 
VTTO Seov Trote, Deut. xxi. 23. In 
its original connection it refers 
to the body of the criminal, 
which was not to be left hanging 
after the evening, lest the earth 
should be polluted by the corse. 
This St. Paul transfers to Christ. 
The abhorred death of the cross, 
which the Romans inflicted on 
their slaves, recalled to his mind 
the curse of the Jewish law. 

It may, on the other hand, be 
urged, that the curse in the book 
of the law does not refer to the 
mere accidental circumstance of 
hanging on a tree, but to the 
crime which was the occasion of 
it. But in that mixed moral and 
ceremonial dispensation this is 
not certain ; and, even if it were, 
all we can do in this and similar 
passages is to trace the figure in 
the Apostle s mind, without at 
tempting to reduce it to our pre 
vious notions of the meaning of 
the Old Testament. Compare 
Acts, v. 30., " Whom ye slew and 

hanged on a tree;" Acts, x. 39., 
" Whom they slew and hanged 
on a tree ;" 1 Peter, ii.24., "Who 
himself bore our sins, in his own 
body, on a tree ; " where the same 
thought of the curse resting on 
every one who was hanged on a 
tree seems to pass before the 
writer s mind. 

14. Iva elc; ru edvrj t) evXoyta 
TOV A/fyao/z.] Christ did away 
the law, and so left free passage 
for the blessing of Abraham 
through faith to extend, not to 
the Jews only, but to all man 
kind. These words have an im 
mediate reference to what was 
said above, ver. 7., that they that 
are of faith are the sons of Abra 
ham, and that in him all nations 
of the earth shall be blessed. 

Ira TTfv ewayyeXiav TOV TTVEV- 
P.O.TOQ Xa^Mfiev, that we might re 
ceive, &c.] The Apostle returns 
from the Gentile to the Jew, or 
rather, as at ver. 13., under the 
first person covertly includes both. 
The object of Christ s redeeming 
men from the curse of the law 
was twofold : (1.) that the Gen 
tiles might be accepted ; and (2.) 
that Jews, as well as Gentiles, 
might be j ustified by faith. These 
two, however, are not opposed ; 
in this passage the first is looked 
upon as the condition of the latter. 
Not only was it the design of the 
Gospel that the Jews should be 
justified. by faith, that the Gen 
tiles might be admitted ; but con 
versely, that the Gentiles should 



[Cii. TIT. 

, KOTO, avOpunrov \eya>. c/xcos avOpajtrov KZ- 15 
KVp(0{Jivr]v SiaOyjKrjv ouSei? d^eret r) eTuStaracrcreTai. ra> 
Se A/3paa[Ji IppeOrjcrav al eTrayyeXicu, /ecu TW cnrepfJiaTL 
avrov. ov Xe yei Kcu 7*019 cr7rep/>tacrt^, &>?. CTTI 7roXXa>t>, IG 
aXX ws e< 

Kal TGJ 

bc admitted that the Jews might 
be justified by faith. Compare 
Horn. xi. This is, however, veiled 
by the use of the plural XaSwjue^, 
an ambiguity which we are the 
more justified in assuming here, 
as a similar one occurs in two 
other passages where the same 
subject is treated of, Rom. iv. 12 , 
xv. 8, 9. : compare also, Rom. iii. 
19, 20.; Gal. iv. 24. 

15. A^X^o/, Brethren. ] The 
Apostle continues to soften his 

Kara arOpMirov Xtyw, I speak 
after the manner of men.~\ The 
expression is used with various 
shades of meaning; sometimes, as 
in Rom. iii. 5., as a sort of apo 
logy for some supposition about 
Divine things; sometimes, in the 
sense of "It is I who say, and 
not the Lord ; " sometimes simply 
" I speak after the manner of 
men," or " I use a human figure." 
To which may be added, in this 
passage, the notion of what we 
should term an a fortiori argu 
ment from human to Divine 
things : " I speak as a man ; if 
this is true in human things, how 
much more in Divine?" 

o/jwff implies an opposition to 
the Divine covenant of which he 
is about to speak. "I speak as a 
man ; yet in the case of a human 
covenant, when it has been con 
firmed it holds that no one sets it 
aside or adds to it." 

Kf.Kvpd)prr)v ^>taQi]Kf]v.~\ Comp. 
ITeb. vi. 16, 17.: "For men ve 
rily swear by the greater, and an 



oath for confirmation is to them 
an end of all strife. Wherein God, 
willing more abundantly to show 
unto the heirs of promise the 
immutability of his counsel, con 
firmed it by an oath." 

(HiaQ>]Kr)v, ] either covenant or 
testament. The Gospel may be 
said to be (1.) a testament in re 
ference to the death of Christ, who 
bequeathed it to us as a legacy, 
as in the argument in Heb. ix. 
17., " where a testament is, there 
must also of necessity be the 
death of the testator;" or, (2.) 
a covenant, in contrast with the 
law, and in accordance with the 
analogy of the covenants made 
with the patriarchs, as in this 
passage, and in Heb. viii. 7., and 

fTri^mrao-o-frat] is intended to 
indicate that the law was not, as 
the Jew might have said, an ad 
dition to the covenant, for there 
could be no addition to it. 

A general view of the passage 
that follows will assist in the ex 
planation of the several verses. 
As in the Romans, the Apostle 
has quoted the case of Abraham, 
who was justified by faith, and re 
ceived also the universal promise 
that "in him all nations of the 
earth should be blessed." This 
is a figure of the Gospel dispen 
sation, or rather it is the very 
Gospel which Paul preached 
among the Gentiles. Two thou 
sand years have passed away, and 
the meaning of the promise to 
Abraham is just coming to light. 




15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men ; Though 
it be but a man s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man 

disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and 

16 his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to 
seeds, as of many ; but as of one, and to thy seed, which 

But here the thought arises in 
the Apostle s mind " There has 
been a long interval ; the law 
came between." To answer this 
objection, as at the commence 
ment of the seventh chapter of 
the Romans, he brings forward 
an illustration : " Human cove 
nants are binding for ever ; you 
cannot alter them, or add to 
them. How much more the co 
venant of Him with whom a 
thousand years are as one day, 
and one day as a thousand 
years?" But the Jew would 
reply, the covenant was but the 
beginning of the law, as we 
might say in a figure, the angel 
who talked with Abraham was 
lost in the brightness of Mount 
Sinai. It is this point of view 
that the Apostle seeks to invert. 
According to him the covenant 
was to remain, the law to pass 
away. In the very words in 
which the covenant was given, 
" not unto seeds, as of many, but 
as of one," was contained an inti 
mation that it referred to Christ. 
It was in force 430 years. Can 
we suppose that it was super 
seded by the law ? Rather the 
law and the promise are opposed 
to each other, as the law and 
faith, and it was through the 
promise that God gave the gift 
to Abraham. Then what shall 
we say of the law? It was an 
accident, an interpolation, an ad 
dition, designed not to do men 
good, but to make them conscious 
of evil, and in every thing show- 

VOL. I. 

ing its transitory and inferior 
nature. Is it then opposed to the 
promises ? Not so. It had right, 
if it had had might; it had the 
idea of righteousness, if it had 
had the power to give life. But 
it was a law of condemnation 
only, the import of which to us is 
that it made us capable of the pro 
mise. While it lasted we were 
shut up, as it were, in prison, 
waiting for the coming revela 
tion. "So that the law was our 
schoolmaster to bring us to 
Christ;" and was itself done 
away when Christ came. 

16. rig $e A/3(Oact/z ifipidriffav al 
fVayyeXtcu.] Now to Abraham 
who, as we say, was justified by 
faith, the promises were made. 
Observe, that in making the pro 
mise he uses the singular num 
ber. " For in Isaac shall thy seed 
be called." [It is to this passage 
(Gen. xxi. 12., which is also 
quoted in Rom. iv. 7. and Heb. 
xi. 18.) the Apostle is probably 
referring.] Is this a mere acci 
dent ? or vsaith he it not rather 
for our sakes, meaning Christ ? 

3c, which is repeated in ver. 
17., as the Apostle draws nearer 
to the point of his argument, is 
adversative to what has pre 
ceded : " Human covenants are 
irreversible ; but the case which 
I am about to put is of a Divine 
covenant," which the Apostle 
proceeds to explain, and loses the 
antithesis in the length of the 

The argument which follows 



[Cn. III. 

TOVTO e eyO). iaTKr]V 7TpOK.KVp(^Vr)V VTTO TOV 17 

Oeov 1 6 [JLTa rerpaKocna 2 Kal rpiaKovra crrj yeyoi^s 
vofJios OUAC aKvpol eis TO KarapyrjcraL rty eTrayyeXiaz/. 
i yap IAC vopov 17 KXypovofJiia, ov/ceri If eTrayyeXias * is 
ra> Se AfipaajJi Si CTrayyeXtas /ce^a/Dicrrat 6 0os. TI 19 

1 Add ets 

reminds us that St. Paul was a 
Hebrew of the Hebrews, brought 
up at the feet of Gamaliel, inter 
preting the Scriptures after the 
manner of his time. Instances 
of a similar mode of interpreta 
tion occur in Gal. iv. 25. ; 1 Cor. 
ix. 9., x. 4. ; 2 Cor. iii. 13. The 
difficulty in this place, according 
to our notions, is how the word 
"seed" can be applied to Christ 
as an individual, when it is ob 
viously a collective noun, mean 
ing the posterity of Abraham. 
To assign a similar collective 
sense to the name of Christ 
would be an additional violence 
to language, as well as a distor 
tion of the meaning of the Apo 
stle. Christ is not the same as 
His Church, however close may 
be the connection between them. 
Comp. Heb. ii. 11. Better to 
admit that the Apostle s mode of 
applying the Old Testament is 
unlike our own. 

The argument is thrown in by 
the way, and breaks the con 
nection of ver. 15. and 17. It 
has a bearing, however, on the 
Apostle s main object, which is 
to prove the identity of the Gos 
pel and the promise, and the 
inferior nature of the law. 

17. TOVTO e)e Xe-yw, and this I 
say.~\ In these words St. Paul 
returns to the proof, which he 
commenced in ver. 15. 

P.ITO, rerpa/coffia KCLI rpia/eoira 
err?, four hundred and thirty 

2 //.era CTTJ rerpaw. 

years after. ] The law, which 
was giren so long after, could 
not do away with the promise. 

There is a well-known chrono 
logical difficulty in these words, 
connected with a similar chro 
nological difficulty in the Old 
Testament, respecting the sojourn 
of the Israelites in Egypt. In 
the books of Genesis and Exodus 
the period of 430 years (Ex. xii. 
40.), or in round numbers, 400 
years (Gen. xv. 13., quoted in 
the Acts, vii. 6.), is assigned, not 
to the interval between the pro 
mise to Abraham, and the giving 
of the law ; but to the actual so 
journ of the children of Israel in 
Egypt. [Exod. xii. 40. : " Now 
the sojourning of the children of 
Israel who dwelt in Egypt was 
four hundred and thirty years." 
Gen xv. 13. : "And he said, Know 
of a surety that thy seed shall be 
a stranger in a land that is not 
theirs, and shall serve them, and 
they shall afflict them four hun 
dred years : and also that nation, 
whom they shall serve, will I 
judge; and afterward shall they 
come out with great substance."] 
It is found on examination of the 
genealogies, however, that in 
some lines, as, for example that 
of Moses himself, the whole time 
of 400 years comprises only three 
generations ; and hence it has been 
argued, that the call of Abraham 
is the true limit of the period in 
question ; and laborious calcula- 



17 is Christ. And this I say ; * the covenant that was 
confirmed before of God 1 the law which was four 
hundred and thirty years after cannot disannul, that it 

is should make the promise of none effect. For if the 
inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise : but 

19 God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then 

1 Add in Christ. 

tions have been entered into to 
show that, in the course of two 
centuries, the children of Israel 
might possibly have increased 
from Jacob and his sons to seve 
ral hundred thousands. 

If these and similar difficulties 
could be removed, we should only 
have escaped an inaccuracy in 
the New Testament, by intro 
ducing a contradiction into the 
Old. That St. Paul is not quoting 
from any independent tradition 
is plain from his giving the 
exact number of Exodus, xii. 40. 
It is also clear, that in the narra 
tive of Exodus this number refers 
to the actual time of servitude, 
and not to the interval between 
the promise and the law. But 
the Apostle has so applied it. 
He takes 430, the years of servi 
tude mentioned in the Old Testa 
ment, for a period longer than 
430 years, that is, for the 
whole time from Abraham to 

18. ei yap Eicvo/jiov i]K\rjporofjiia.^ 
The law cannot have superseded 
the covenant; for, if it had, the 
inheritance would cease to be at 
tached to the promise (for the 
promise and the law exclude 
each other) ; but it was through 
the promise that God gave it to 

St. Paul refuses to look upon 
the law as a further fulfilment of 
the promise. That is not his 

point of view. He regards the 
law and the promise as opposed, 
just as the law and the Gospel; 
or rather, the promise being 
through faith, he regards the 
Gospel as identical with the pro 
mise. Compare supra, the word 
TrpoevrjyytXiffaro, ver. 8. The 
promise is a TrpoevayytXtov. 

19. The first impression on 
reading this verse is, that the 
Apostle meant to say that the 
law was added to restrain men 
from transgressions, in the inter 
val of time between the promise 
and the coming of Christ. Ac 
cording to this view, the law 
would be regarded as the princi 
ple of order in the world, de 
signed to keep men from utterly 
corrupting themselves, and giving 
them a moral preparation for the 
revelation which was to follow. 
Such a view may be thought to 
derive confirmation from ver. 
24 : " The law was our school 
master to bring us to Christ;" 
it agrees with our own ideas 
of the purposes of law in gene 
ral, and of the relation of the 
Mosaic law to the Gospel (comp. 
Heb. vii. 19.) in particular. Yet 
the words themselves are indefi 
nite, and the comparison of other 
passages in the Epistles, such as 
Rom. vii. 7-25., iii. 20., iv. 15., 
v. 20. ; 1 Cor. xv. 56., would lead 
us to expect a different tone of 
thought respecting the law. On 

y 2 



[CH. ITT. 

QVV 6 j>d/x,o9 ; T&V 7rapa/3dcr(jt)v yapiv TrpocreTeOrj, 
ov \0y TO 

O\ / e\ 9V 

w CTT^yyeXrat, Starayei? Si 

-V \eipL ptCTLTOV O 

e^os OVK CTTU>, o 


this, above all other subjects, it 
is necessary to remember the 
axiom, " non nisi ex ipso Paulo 
Paulum potes interpretari." And 
the characteristic mode of thought 
and speech in the passages just 
referred to would incline us to 
suppose that the Apostle s mean 
ing probably was, not that the 
law was added to restrain trans 
gressions ; but that the law was 
added to produce transgressions, 
or at least to give men that con 
sciousness of sin which makes sin 
to be what it is, "for where there 
is no law there is no transgres 
sion," and " the strength of sin is 
the law." The law, it must be 
remembered, is not with St. Paul 
an element or principle of good ; 
but an abstract good. It is 
not the law of the land which 
punishes crime ; but an ideal 
law, the very characteristic of 
which is, that it cannot be re 
alised in action. It would attri 
bute too much power to the law 
to suppose that it could restrain 
men from sin. Then it would 
not be far from "a law that might 
give life." " By the deeds of the 
law," as the Apostle says in the 
Epistle to the Romans, " shall no 
flesh be justified, for by the law 
is the knowledge of sin." In 
other words justification is the 
very opposite of that knowledge 
of sin which is by the law. In 
the language of the Epistle to 
the Romans (v. 20.), it might be 
said that the law was added to 
the covenant " that transgression 
might abound;" the other side 
of this doctrine being given in the 
latter part of the same verse, 

"that grace might yet more 

One further point of view we 
must not lose sight of in the con 
sideration of this question ; that 
is, the near connection of the 
final cause with the fact in the 
Apostle s mind, in this, as in 
other instances. The whole doc 
trine of righteousness by faith 
may be said to be based in a 
certain sense on fact, on two 
great facts especially ; the con 
version of the Apostle himself, 
and the conversion of the Gen 
tiles. So in this case, what St. 
Paul saw to be the result, he also 
considered as the purpose of God. 
"Known unto God are all his 
works from the beginning." It 
was the fact that the law had in 
creased sin, and therefore he 
regarded it as given for this 
purpose T&V irapa&acrewi ^aptr. 
It is hardly probable that an in 
terpretation of Scripture will be 
generally accepted which runs 
counter to the superficial mean 
ing of the words. Like the 
canon, " Potior lectio difficilior," 
potior difficilior interpretatio may 
also have a truth. In this in 
stance the interpretation given is 
based solely on the comparison 
of the Epistle to the Romans, 
which is the only epistle from 
which we are able to gather at 
all fully St. Paul s view of the 
nature of the law, and which has 
a very close connection with the 
Epistle to the Galatians. 

J fTTfjyyeXrm.] Comp. above, 
" He saith not unto seeds as of 
many; but as of one... which is 



serveth the law ? It was added because of transgressions, 

till the seed should come to whom the promise was 

made : and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a 

20 mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, 

i ayyc\wi>, ordained 
of angels. ] There is no mention 
in the Old Testament of the law 
being given by angels, with the 
exception of a remote allusion in 
Deut. xxxiii. 2., "The Lord came 
from Sinai ; he came witli ten 
thousand of his saints." It was 
slowly and gradually, and as many 
have thought, not until the Baby 
lonish captivity, that the angel of 
his presence in the Pentateuch, 
the angel of the Lord in the 
Books of Kings and Chronicles, 
and the covering cherubim of the 
prophets expanded into a multi 
tude of the heavenly host, with 
distinct names and personalities. 
The word ckaraye/e here, as the 
word %ia.Tayi} in Acts vii. 53., 
" Who have received the law by 
the disposition of angels, and 
have not kept it," refers rather 
to the administration than to the 
giving of the law. As in Heb. 
ii. 2., the law being in the dispo 
sition of angels, is contrasted 
with the Gospel, which is a 
revelation of a higher kind. 

iv \etpl fj.eaiTov. ] Either Moses 
or the high priest, or in general 
the priest or prophet who stood 
between God and the people. 

Before entering on the discus 
sion of this passage, which has 
received 430 interpretations, it 
will be well for us to ascertain 
the drift of the verse before and 
after, which give almost the 
sole key we possess to the mean 
ing of the disputed words. To 
supply the connecting link will 
be an easier task than to ex 

plain the ambiguous text from 

We will first begin by consi 
dering an opposite view of the 
connection to that implied in the 
note on ver. 19. The object, it 
may be urged, of the words ia- 
Taye\Q Si dyyeAwy iv X t P^ ^tfftTOV 
is, not to depreciate the law 
in comparison of the Gospel, but 
rather to express its Divine cha 
racter as a subordinate and inter 
mediate dispensation. " The law 
was given because of transgres 
sions," -i.e., as before explained, 
to produce transgressions ; and 
it was kept in the administration 
of angels, and one was appointed 
to stand between God and the 
people. The figure of angels, it 
might be said, belongs rather to 
the pomp and array of the law, 
and could not naturally be urged 
as an argument of depreciation. 
This is true ; and may be further 
confirmed by Acts vii. 53., and 
yet is sufficiently answered by 
the context and the parallel of 
Heb. ii. 2. 

If we go backwards from ver. 
21., "Is the law then against the 
promises of God ? God forbid :" 
it is plain from these words, that 
something has been said which 
implies a depreciation of the law. 
It would be neither good sense 
nor agreeable to the manner of 
St. Paul to say, Whereunto serv 
eth the law ? It was added be 
cause of transgressions, and was 
firmly established and appointed 
by angels, and in the hands of a 
mediator, and a mediator we may 

Y 3 



[CH. III. 

ecrru>. 6 ovv *>ojnos Kara TGJV eTrayyeXioJz/ [rov 21 
ya/o I860rj 

; /AT yerotro 


explain to be, &c. Is the law 
then against the promises of God ? 
There has been nothing in the 
previous verse which indicated, 
or could be imagined to indicate 
that it was. There would be a 
want of point in such a way of 
writing. It would be guarding 
against an inference that could 
not possibly arise. The view 
here taken, that there must have 
been a previous depreciation, 
is still further strengthened by 
a comparison of a parallel pas 
sage in Rom. vii. 5. 7., where 
the Apostle suddenly bursts out 
with the words, " What shall we 
say then, is the law sin ? God 
forbid," as if to counteract and 
anticipate the effect of what he 
had said just before: "The mo 
tions of sins which were by the 
law, did work in our members." 

Thus far we are led to suppose 
that the enigmatical verse 20. 
must form an antithesis to ver. 
21. Such an interpretation we 
shall be able to put upon it, if we 
paraphrase ver. 19. as follows : 
" The law was added not so much 
for the removal of sin, as to call 
it into existence, and (but) it was 
in the appointment of angels, not 
of God himself, and did not ad 
mit of an immediate approach to 
him." (The particle $e carries on 
the opposition of the law and the 
promise, which preceded.) It 
has been said that such an inter 
pretation does not agree with 
the words ^tarayeiQ Si* ayyt Xwv, 
which could not, as was ob 
served above, be intended to de 
preciate the law, but rather to 
magnify its pomp and circum 
stance. Admitting this, which 
may or may not be so, there is 

no difficulty in supposing that 
St. Paul might, in one point of 
view, intend to depreciate the 
law, while, in another, he may 
have glorified it ; at any rate so 
far as to use respecting it an 
expression familiar to the minds 
of the Jews ; as in 2 Cor. iii. 6. 
he recognises the law as the 
ministration of death, and yet 
acknowledges its glory. It is 
characteristic of St. Paul, even 
where he is making towards a 
point, to insert clauses which are 
beside his point. 

"We have now to seek for a 
suitable interpretation of verse 
20., of which two principal con 
ditions may be laid down: 
(1.) that it should agree with 
the connection ; and (2.) that 
it should admit of the word tic 
being taken in the same sense in 
both members of the sentence. 
The following combines both 
these conditions ; if it seem ob 
scure, it must be remembered 
that, in a writer at once so subtle 
and abrupt as St. Paul, obscurity 
is not a strong ground of objec 
tion : 

The Apostle is contrasting the 
law which had a mediator, with 
the Gospel or the promise of 
faith (for in this passage they 
are not distinguished) which has 
no mediator, but an open access 
to God. Part of the perplexity 
of the passage has arisen from 
the circumstance that the Apo 
stle s mode of speaking is in di 
rect opposition to the ordinary 
language of later theology, and 
even of some passages in the 
New Testament itself. It sounds 
like a paradox to modern ears, to 
place the superiority of the Gospel 

VER. 21.] 



21 but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of 
God ? God forbid ; for if there had been a law given 

over the law in the fact that the 
law had a mediator and the Gospel 
had not. Yet such is the Apostle s 
reasoning. The law, he says, 
was in the hands of a mediator. 
Hereby, as we gather from the 
context, he seems to mark some 
imperfection or infirmity in the 
law. How is this? He pro 
ceeds to enlarge his thought in 
the 20th verse. Now a mediator, 
he adds, is not a mediator of one, 
but God is one. That is, a me 
diator implies two persons 
duality, mediation ; or the prin 
ciple of a mediator is not unity, 
but mediation ; but in God is no 
mediation he is one : " Hear, 
O Israel," as the law said, " the 
Lord your God is one God." He 
who is interposed between God 
and man intercepts instead of 
revealing God ; one is better than 
two ; the dispensation of media 
tion is inferior to the open vision. 
This, or some similar train of 
argument, marking the inferiority 
of the law which had a mediator, 
to the Gospel which had no me 
diator, passed before the Apostle s 
mind, though it is not clear how 
far he filled up the meaning of the 
enigmatical clause. It is not to be 
forgotten that the words them 
selves are a quotation from the Old 
Testament, which makes it impro 
bable that they are unemphatic or 
unimportant. The context leads 
us to infer also that some other 
refinements of meaning may have 
suggested themselves to the 
Apostle ; such as, " God is one " 
in the sense of " one and the 
same to all," an application which 
is confirmed by the words of ver. 
28., " There is neither Jew nor 
Greek, there is neither bond nor 

free." The notion of the unity 
of the human race lay very near 
in the Apostle s mind to that of 
the unity of God (compare Acts, 
xvii. 26. ; 1 Tim. ii. 4, 5. ; Rom. 
iii. 30.). Out of this seems to 
flow another allusion, hardly con 
scious, yet latent in the Apostle s 
mind, to the unity of man with 
God, which is also partly ex 
pressed in the latter half of 
verse 28. : " Ye are all one in 
Christ Jesus" (comp. also ver. 
26. : " For ye are all the sons of 
God through faith in Christ 
Jesus"). Thus in addition to 
the primary meaning of the words, 
" Now a mediator implies me 
diation, but there is no mediation 
in God." we seem to trace three 
other allusions: (1.) the re 
ference to the Old Testament; 
(2.) the allusion to the unity of 
man to whom God is one and 
alike ; (3.) to the unity of man 
with God, which no less than the 
previous allusion is inconsistent 
with the mediatorial and ex 
clusive character of the Jewish 
law. These meanings may seem 
complex, but it may be observed : 
(1.) they are all in harmony with 
the spirit of the passage ; (2.) 
they are v brought together in 
other places, and incidentally 
alluded to in the verses which 
follow ; (3.) they relate to a verse 
in the Old Testament, which more 
than any other was likely to be 
viewed in different lights and to 
receive a variety of applications. 
It has been already admitted 
that the sense assigned to erog 
OVK (.ctTtv is not obvious. To 
test it fairly we may compare 
another explanation. Verse 20. 
has been sometimes regarded as 

y 4 



[Cn. III. 

o^ro>s e/c 

1 av rp r] Si/catocrw^ a\\a 22 
07 ypa(f)r) ra Trdvra v^ djJLapTiav, Iva r) kir- 
ayyeXta CAC TTIOTCCOS I^crov ^otcrrov SoftrJ rots Tricrrei;- 

77y3o TOU Se IXdelv TVJV TTLCTTLV VTTO VQ^QV l<f)pov* 23 


St. Paul analogous to that of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. Like 
the passage which is the subject 
of this note, it asserts the uni 
versality of salvation ; but the 
form of expression goes beyond 
that of the Epistle to the Gala- 
tians, in speaking of the uni 
versality of mediation. Gradually 
the Apostle appropriated more 
and more of the language of the 
Old Testament. At first it is 
characteristic of the Gospel, that 
it has no mediator, the idea of a 
mediator belonging to the Jewish 
people only ; afterwards (the 
sense is nearly the same, though 
the phraseology is contradictory), 
as there is one God there is also 
one mediator between God and 
man, the same for all mankind. 

Ver. 21. Are we to infer from 
this that the law is opposed to the 
promises of God ? Not so. It is 
only dead, imperfect, abstract ; if 
it had had power and life, as it 
had truth and right, verily, right 
eousness should have been by the 
law. Comp. Rom. vii. 7. : " What 
shall we say then ? Is the law 
sin ? God forbid. Nay, I had not 
known sin but by the law : for I 
had not known lust, except the 
law had said, Thou shalt not 
covet." 6 ovv vofjio^ is a resump 
tion of T I ovv b v6}jLOQ-. first, as in 
the passage just quoted from the 
Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle 
vindicates the ways of God, by 
an emphatic denial of the incon 
sistency of the Gospel and the 

meaning, " Now a mediator im 
plies two parties, and God is one 
of those parties." The mediator 
is ever standing between God and 
the people. The objections to this 
explanation are: (1.) that EVOQ 
and tig are taken in two different 
senses. A mediator implies more 
than one, but God is one of the 
two, tie being used in the first 
clause for one and in the second 
for one of two ; and (2.) that 
the point of the words lv x l pi 
peairov is thus lost, while ver. 20. 
becomes a useless appendage to 

Let us add an illustration in 
which the same form of thought 
is applied to another subject 
which is more familiar to us. 
Suppose a person, taking the text 
" There is one mediator between 
God and man, the man Christ 
Jesus" (1 Tim. ii. 5.), to argue, 
" Now, if priests truly mediate, 
there could not be one mediator," 
and to express this in the same 
form as St. Paul, he would say, 
" Now, priests imply more than 
one, but Christ is one." Christ 
is one, therefore there can be no 
priesthood but His in the Chris 
tian religion ; so here, God is 
one, therefore in the highest 
revelation of Him, there can be 
no mediator as in the Jewish 
religion. The passage just quoted 
from the Epistle to Timothy is 
instructive in another point of 
view, as it shows a progress or 
development in the language of 



which could have given life, verily righteousness should 

22 have been by the law. But the scripture hath shut 
up * all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus 

23 Christ might be given to them that believe. But before 

law, and then returns to the 
opposite point of view. 

The powerlessness of the law 
was the actual fact ; in modern 
language, it had become effete ; 
it belonged to a different state of 
the world ; nothing human or 
spiritual remained of it. The 
Apostle, who carried back justi 
fication by faitli to Abraham, 
went on to compare also the 
notion of the law which he 
gathered from his own age, with 
its first idea and origin. It 
was a sort of riddle to him, in 
the meshes of which he seems 
to struggle, how the law could 
be powerless ; the law could 
be the occasion, the strength, 
and almost the cause of sin, and 
yet bear the stamp of Divine 
authority. In some sense he is 
assured that it is holy, just, and 
good ; its perfection being its im 
perfection or negative nature ; the 
conviction of sin which it wrought 
being the way to a new life. 

22. aXXa avviK\f.iffEV // ypa^)//.] 
In the teaching of St. Paul, the 
doctrine of the law is what the 
doctrine of original sin is with us. 
Although in the sins of mankind 
the Apostle does somewhat faintly 
and distantly recognise the simi 
litude of Adam s transgression, 
the law is with him the formal 
cause of sin, as he says in the 
Epistle to the Romans, iv. 15., 
" Where there is no law, there is 
no transgression." The law it is 
which, existing side by side with 
human nature in the world, con 
victs men of sin, whether con 

sciously or unconsciously to them 
selves. Sometimes this conviction 
comes home to them individually ; 
at other times, it appears like the 
sentence which the word of God 
passes upon them collectively. In 
this passage the words " shut up 
all under sin" [avviK\f.iae TO. itav- 
rri] refer to men generally, as 
what follows refers rather to the 
Gospel as a new revelation to the 
world at large, than to the recep 
tion of the Spirit in the heart of 
an individual. Comp. Note on the 
Imputation of the Sin of Adam. 

dXXtt.] " But the law had an- 
other purpose." 

aweK\etcrt,^ included men to 
gether (comp. Rom. xi. 32.). 

fj y|oa<//] here used for 6 vo^o^ 
as in many passages 6 ropoe for 
the whole Scriptures. 

TO. 7rav-a^ humana omnia, men 
and their actions alike. Comp. 
Traaa. >/ Kriffic, Rom. viii. Here, 
as there, it is useless, with words 
of very general meaning, to de 
fine exactly what the Apostle 

tVa . . . So0rj.] The law in St. 
Paul s view is the condition of 
the promise. As in the indi 
vidual so in the world at large, 
the sense of sin must precede 

?/ fTrayyeX/a e.K TriarfWQ TOIQ 
TTicrrevovcriv. ] The repetition is 
not a mere tautology, but gives 
emphasis : " That the promise 
of faith may be given to them 
that have faith." Comp. Rom. i. 
16, 17. 

23. But before the faith I 



[CH. III. 

povp^eda crvy/cXeidjuez oi l eis rrjv /xeXXovo~az> TTLCTTLV 0,77*0- 

Ka\v<f)OfjvaL. wcrre 6 z>d/xos TraiSaycuyos rjfjicop yiyvvzv 24 

eis yjpurrov, Iva IK -Tricrrea)? Si/caiw^aJ/xe^ \0ovcrr]<; Se 25 

TTys TTicrrecus OVKCTL VTTO TraiSaywyoV lcrp,V. TrdVres yap 26 

woe #eov ecrre Si-a TT}S Tricrrecos ez> xP iorT( ? J^crou 6Voi 27 

yap ets ^picrrov l/3a7rTLcr0rjTe ^purTov eveSva-acrde. OVK 28 
e^t lovSaios ovSe .EXX?^, OVAC *>i SouXos ovSe eXev$epog, 

or of the manner in which the 
Old Testament prepared the way 
for the New. He regards the 
law in one point of view only, as 
the slave to whose severe disci 
pline we were subject in the days 
of our pupilage, nothing differ 
ing from slaves in our own con 
dition (compare iv. L). To this is 
opposed the freedom and sonship 
of the Gospel. In our inferior 
state, while we were unable to 
take care of ourselves, the law 
was our tutor " for " or " unto " 

26. iravTEQ yap viol $eov ecrrt.] 
The connection of these words is 
with 7rcuaywyo. We are no 
longer the " wards of the law," 
for God is pleased to reckon us 
as his sons. In the word Trarrec 
there is a latent allusion to the 
Gentile Christians : " For ye are 
the sons of God, Gentiles as well 
as Jews alike." 

have spoken of came, that is, be 
fore the times of Christ and the 
Gospel, we were kept shut up 
against the revelation of faith 
that was to be. 

The condition of the Jew and 
Gentile in reference to the Gos 
pel, may be figured by the image 
of men within and without a pri 
son ; the first with the shining of 
a candle to give them light, the 
second wandering in darkness 
over the whole earth. The sun 
arises upon both ; to the latter 
disclosing an endless prospect, 
while the former, with their can 
dle grown dim before the coming 
day, are still within the curtains 
of their tabernacle. No longer 
avyK\f.iop.EvoL VTTO vofjioi , they are 
afraid to come out and look upon 
the light of heaven. The world 
is all before them, if they did but 
know it, and every part full of 
the Divine presence. 

24. wore 6 vofjioQ Trcuciaywyoe 
ijH&v yiyovev elg xP trrr ^ v O 1" ne 
Apostle changes the figure, and 
presents the law under a new 
aspect, hardly a milder one. The 
English associations of the word 
schoolmaster have introduced 
ideas which have no place in his 
thoughts. He is not speaking of 
the part which the law bore in 
the education of the human race, 

Ir/<roi).] These words admit of 
two constructions. Either we may 
read, Ye are all sons through 
faith in Christ Jesus ; or, Ye are 
all one in Christ Jesus, that is, 
as believers through faith. Comp. 
Rom. iii. 25. 

27. The latter interpretation 
agrees best with the following 
verse : "Ye are all sons of God 



faith came, we were kept in ward * under the law, 
shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be re- 

24 vealed. So* that the law was our schoolmaster* unto 

25 Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after 
that faith is come, we are no longer under a school- 

26 master. For ye are all the children of God by faith in 

27 Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been bap- 

28 tized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither 
Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is 

in Christ Jesus ; for ye have put 
on Christ as many of you as were 
baptized into Him." The figure 
of putting on Christ has a re 
ference, first, to the robe in 
which the newly baptized person 
was arrayed on coming up out of 
the water, and recalls also an 
idiomatic expression in later 
Greek, of " putting on another " 
to signify close and intimate 
friendship with him. See on 
Rom. xiii. 14. In this latter 
passage, St. Paul exhorts be 
lievers "to put on Christ;" here 
he implies that they have already 
attained in baptism the state 
which is thus described. In one 
sense the believer is regenerate ; 
iu another, not. His whole life 
is anticipated in the beginning, 
and still he may be exhorted to 
begin. Compare Col. iii. 9, 10.: 
"Putting off the old man with 
his actions ; and putting on the 
new man which is renewed unto 
knowledge in the image of him 
that created him." 

OVK tVt.J It is not that the Jew 
or Greek inhere in Christ; for 
these differences are one and 
pass away in him. 

The 27th verse gives the rea 
son of the 26th, "Ye are the 
sons of God, as ye are one in 

Christ Jesus; for in your bap 
tism ye became one with Him ;" 
as the 28th expands the idea of 
the 27th. As in Rom. iii. 28., 
from the revelation of righteous 
ness by faith the Apostle passes 
to the universality of salvation, 
so here from all men being one 
in Christ, to the enumeration of 
those who are included in this 
union. The same thought recurs 
in nearly the same connection in 
Col. iii. 11. 

28. It has been often asked 
whether Christianity has altered 
the condition of women and 
slaves ; and the answer some 
times given is, that no positive 
precepts are found in the New 
Testament forbidding that sub 
jection of either, which seemed 
natural to the ancient world. 
Some have even thought that 
the spirit of the Gospel tended 
rather to slavery than to freedom, 
in enjoining the forgiveness of 
injury and discouraging the de 
sire to be free. It is true that 
no class or sex is encouraged by 
Christianity to claim its rights ; 
yet not the less surely in the 
lapse of centuries did the Gospel 
mould the institutions of man 
kind. It was a leaven which was 
hid in three measures of meal, 



[On. III. 

OVK VL apcrtv /cat 6rj\v TrdVres yap v/xets els core ez> 

co I^crov. ei Se v/xet? ^otcrrou, apa rov ^A/Spaa^ 29 
eo-re, x /car* 

Add K 

until the whole was leavened. 
Of the world and the Roman 
empire, and the institutions of 
ancient times, no less than of the 
Jewish religion, the words of 
Christ hold good : " Destroy 
this temple, and in three days I 
will raise it up again." And with 
reference to the present verse, it 

could not but be a consequence 
of regarding men and women, 
bond and free, as one and alike 
in the presence of God, that their 
spiritual freedom became also an 
external and actual one. 

ILQ iffTE kv xpioTw Irjffov.^ Ye 
are one person in being one with 

VER. 29.] 



neither male nor female : for ye are all one in Christ 
29 Jesus. And if ye be Christ s, then are ye Abraham s 
seed, * heirs according to the promise. 

1 Add and. 

29. el %e vjj.e~iQ ^piffTov."] But 
if ye are Christ s, and members 
of his body, then as Christ was 
the seed of Abraham, so likewise 
are ye the heirs of that promise 
which was made to Abraham in 
reference to Christ. 

The whole argument from ver. 
26. turns upon the oneness of the 

believer with Christ. This it is 
which makes him the Son of God. 
This it is which is given, not to 
the Jew only, but to all man 
kind. This it is which is the 
means whereby he is made the 
heir of the promises to Abraham, 
the coheir with Christ, who is in a 
special sense, the seed of promise. 



[CH. IV. 

A<=ya> Se, </> ocrov xpovov o KXypovopos VTJTTIOS ICTTLV, 4 
ovSez> Sicu^epei SovXou, Kvpws TTOLVTW <5i>, dXXa VTTO 2 


TOV Trar/ods. ovrws KCU ^fteis ore 07/^6^ VTJTTLOL, VTTO ra 3 

IV. The 24th verse of the pre 
ceding chapter suggested a train 
of imagery which is continued 
in that on which we are entering. 
" We are no longer under a 
schoolmaster, but the children of 
God by faith in Christ Jesus, 
the seed of Abraham, and heirs 
according to the promise." The 
mention of the word "heirs" 
gives a new turn to the figure. 
The heir, while he is a child is a 
servant in his own house ; but 
now " the Son has made us free," 
and we are " lords of all." 

In the verses which follow (8 
iO.), the Apostle speaks of the 
Galatians as having been once in 
bondage " to them that by nature 
are no Gods," and yet as " return 
ing to the weak and beggarly 
elements." (8, 9.) The apparent 
inconsistency of this language 
has been already remarked upon 
in the Introduction. Supposing 
the Galatians to have been in 
bondage " to them that by na 
ture are no Gods," they must have 
been Gentiles. But the following 
verse appears to warn them with 
almost equal explicitness against 
a return to Judaism. Can we 
suppose that the Apostle is speak 
ing to them from his own point 
of view, and that a return to Ju 
daism means only " what to him 
self would have been a return?" 
That is not probable, any more 
than that he would have argued 
out of the law and the prophets 
with those who knew nothing of 
the law arid the prophets. For 
however fulfilled his thoughts may 

have been with the testimony of 
the Old Testament, he was quite 
able to present the Gospel in an 
other form, as he has indeed done 
in some of the later Epistles. 
Moreover, the mere fact of a 
Gentile communion relapsing into 
Judaism of itself demands an ex 
planation. The most probable 
explanation is, that the Galatians, 
although Gentiles by origin, were 
also Jewish proselytes, who re 
turned, when the influence of the 
Apostle was withdrawn, to " the 
weak and beggarly elements " in 
which they had been brought up. 
According to this explanation 
ver. 8. refers to their original 
heathenism, ver. 9. to their Jew 
ish proselytism. 

A striking confirmation of the 
view here taken, which is further 
discussed in the Introduction to 
the Epistle, and also in that to 
the Epistle to the Romans, is af 
forded by the following passages: 
1 Cor. x. 1, 2., &c. : " More 
over, brethren, I would not that 
ye should be ignorant, how that 
all our fathers were under the 
cloud, and all passed through 
the sea ; and were all bap 
tized unto Moses in the cloud 
and in the sea," and so on. Add 
2 Cor. iii., in which, as in the 
previously quoted passage, the 
Apostle presupposes an intimate 
acquaintance with the Mosaic 
writings. With these compare 
1 Cor. xii. 2. : "Ye know that ye 
were Gentiles, carried away unto 
these dumb idols, even as ye were 
led :" where, as in the Epistles to 



4 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, 
differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of 

2 all; but is under tutors and governors until the time 

3 appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were 

the Galatians and Romans, those 
who are reasoned with out of the 
law, who are the heirs of the 
promises to the fathers, who had 
been converted by St. Paul only 
a few years previously, are yet 
spoken of as having been at some 
time or in some sense idolaters. 

The succeeding passage, 11 
20., is more abrupt and fragmen 
tary than almost any other in the 
Epistles of St. Paul, and for that 
reason one of the most obscure. 
It may be compared with the im 
passioned bursts in the Epistle to 
the Corinthians, where, as here, 
feeling seems to take the place of 
logical order or arrangement; and 
reproof, affection, admonition, 
thoughts of himself and them, 
anger at the false teachers, painful 
recollections of the past, mingle 
hurriedly in the Apostle s mind. 
At the 21st verse the style of 
the discourse changes. Again 
turning to the history of the pa 
triarchs, he adapts another pas 
sage to the instruction of those 
who desired to be under the law 
the narrative of the two sons 
of Abraham, or the allegory of 
the two covenants. 

1. Ae yw Se, Now, I say.~\ But 
I carry the figure a step further. 
As we are heirs, so also there 
was a time before we came to the 
inheritance. That was our state 
under the law. It was a period 
of tutelage and guardianship, 
which we now look back upon ; 
when we were as servants in our 
own house, when we had nothing, 
and yet were lords of all. 

Compare for an image nearly 
similar John, viii. 35.: "The 
servant abideth not in the house 
for ever : but the Son abideth 
ever. If the Son, therefore, shall 
make you free, ye shall be free 

2. axpt- TriQ 7rpo0<r/umc, until 
the time appointed^] answers to 
ore fie r/XOtv TO 7r/\//pw/za rov 
Xporov ; a further coincidence in 
the figure. There is an appointed 
time when the duties of the guar 
dian cease ; so there is an appointed 
time at which the power of the 
law ceases, and the Son comes 
into the world. 

3. Even so we, when we were 
children, were enslaved under the 
elements of the world. The latter 
words (UTTO TO. (TTOi-^ela TUV Korr- 
jjiov %e$ov\(i)fj.ei oi) have received 
various interpretations : (1.) 
Nature-worship ; either the ob 
servance of Jewish feasts, or the 
adoration of the hosts of heaven. 
It may be doubted whether St. 
Paul would have described the 
first of these as a worship of " the 
elements;" or, whether the second 
is justified by the connection of 
the passage. (2.) The religion 
of this visible world. But there 
is no trace of St. Paul opposing, 
in this abstract manner, the re 
ligion of the seen to the religion 
of the unseen. (3.) The "alpha 
bet," the rudiments of religion, 
which are known also to the 
Gentile world ; the beginning of 
knowledge to those who "were 
not yet, in understanding, men," 
as implied in the previous verses. 



[On. IV. 

TOV KocrfJLOv 
TO 7T\TJpa)fjia TOV 

SeSovXo^eVoi, ore Se r)\0ev 4 
efo/TrecTTeiXez 6 #09 TOV viov 


rovs VTTO 

va 5 

K yvvaiKos, yevo^evov VTTO vopov 
^ayopdcry, Iva TT)Z> vioOecrtav a/7roXa- 

There still seems an in appropri 
ateness in the use of the word 
(Koapog) world, which does not 
teach the rudiments of religion, 
but is itself the opposing prin 
ciple to religion (compare Gal. 
vi. 14.). Further, this explana 
tion of aroiyjiia TOV ifoffftov is in 
consistent with the figure of the 
law as a 7rat<5aywyoe etc \PIOTOV. 
For the rudiments under which 
the law enslaved men could not be 
rudiments of the Gentile world. 

The WOrds OTOlXa TOV KO 

occur also in Col. ii. 8. 

fjrj TIQ eorcu vpG o 
did r/)c 0iXo<7o$mc KCII Kerfjg citTrarr/c 
Kara TI)V iraaaSoffLV r&v avQpa)7T(i)v, 
Kara ra ffTot^ela TOV Koapov KCL\ ov 
K ara ^piffTor, and is repeated in 
ver. 20. el airedareTe avv 

O.TTO TWV (TTOl^ea)V TOV KOffftOV, Tl 

we (JL>i Tg iv K Offjuw ^o-y/naTi^effOE ; 
where the context would lead us 
to think, not of elementary know 
ledge, but of excess of know 
ledge, vain deceit, will worship, 
the follies of Neoplatonism and 
Orientalism. There, as here 
(comp. ver. 8. 16 18.), the state 
of error incidentally alluded to 
is a confusion of Judaism and 
heathenism ; in the 8th verse 
itself, the words (f)t\o<ro(f>ia and 
Koarpog seeming to refer to the 
heathen, fcard TIJV 7rapao<Tiv T^V 
avdpwTrwv to the Jewish element. 
To give oroi^eTa TOV Kcxrpov the 
same meaning in both passages, 
we had better translate it, " prin 
ciples of the world," which will 
agree with the 9th verse of Gal. 
iv., "weak and beggarly ele 

ments" or "principles." This 
latter phrase, as it is inapplicable 
to nature-worship, in some degree 
fixes the meaning of oro<xe7a TOV 
Koirpov in the present passage by 
excluding that explanation of the 

The expression, " principles of 
the world," is ideal, and it is im 
possible to say precisely what the 
Apostle meant by it, any more 
than what he meant by " rulers 
of the darkness of this world." 
As to ourselves, so to St. Paul, 
the world means that portion of 
evil, or of mankind, with which 
we come most nearly into con 
tact, and which is most directly 
opposed to us, as well as all the 
world which is unknown to us, 
and which we comprise in the 
imaginary limit of an abstract 
term. The heathen world was 
to him its first and most natural 
meaning, but the evil of the 
heathen world was also the figure 
of the Jewish, just as the Jewish 
law was a figure of the law 
written in the heart of the Gen 
tile. Hence the transition was 
easy from the Gentile to the Jew. 
By a similar transposition of lan 
guage, we speak of " the world " 
in modern times finding a place 
in the hearts of religious men, or 
of Christianity being infected 
with a worldly spirit, the force 
of which consists in using against 
the professing Christian the term 
which he uses against others ; 
just as St. Paul, here writing to 
professing Jews, applies to Juda 
ism the language which was. ever 

VER. 4, 5.] 



children, were in bondage under the elements of the 

4 world : but when the fulness of the time was come, God 
sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the 

5 law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we 

in the Jew s mouth against the 
rest of mankind. 

4. ore SE i\\Qev TO 7rX?/ow^ia TOV 
%()ui>ov, but when the fulness of 
time was come.~\ Shall we say 
that great events arise from an 
tecedents, or without them ; in 
the fulness of time, or out of due 
time ? by sudden crises, or with 
long purpose and preparation ? 
It is impossible for us to view 
the great changes of the world 
under any of these aspects ex 
clusively. The spread of the 
Roman empire, the fall of the 
Jewish nation, the decline of the 
heathen religions, Jewish pro 
phecy, Greek philosophy, these 
are the natural links which 
connect the Gospel with the 
actual state of mankind, the 
causes, humanly speaking, of its 
propagation, and the soil in which 
it grew. But there is something 
besides of which no account can 
be given. The external circum 
stances or conditions of events 
do not explain history any more 
than life. Why the Gospel came 
into the world in a particular 
form, or at a particular time, is a 
question which is not reached by 
any analysis of this sort. 

This Providential time is what 
the Apostle calls " the fulness of 
time," not because in the modern 
way of reflection the causes and 
antecedents of the Gospel were 
already in being, but because it 
was the time appointed of God, 
the mysterious hour when the 
great revelation was to be made. 
It is when contemplated from 

VOL. I. 

within, not from without, that it 
appears to him to be the fulness 
of time; standing in the same 
relation to the world at large, 
that the moment of conversion 
does to the individual soul. 

yevopevov CK yv?auroc, born of 
a woman,"] i. e. with a human 
nature, according to a common 
Hebrew expression (comp. Job, 
xiv. 1.), not attributed to Christ 
with the purpose of distinguish 
ing Him either from Adam or 
from mankind in general. 

yevoperov VTTO vopov.^ Christ 
took upon Him, not merely human 
nature, but the seed of Abraham. 
That was the second condition of 
His redeeming mankind, that He 
should be like them, that they 
might be like Him. See iii. 13. 

5. TOVQ inro ropor, those under 
the law.~\ Is this said of Jews or 
of Gentiles ? Of " the Jew first, 
and afterwards of the Gentile." 
The Apostle, in retracing the 
scheme of Providence, is speaking 
chiefly of Jews, in allusion to the 
Judaizing errors of the Galatians, 
indirectly also of Gentiles. The 
words IK ^yvvaiKQQ yevoptrov, in 
the previous verse, refer to all 
mankind. Compare Rom. iii. 19, 
20. for a similar ambiguity; also, 
Gal. iii. 14., iv. 26. 

vtodeffiar a7roXaam7 .l Here, 
as in verse 26. of the preceding 
chapter, the Apostle mingles two 
different metaphors. We are ser 
vants, then sons; but as children 
we were always sons, and only 
receive back what was originally 
designed for us. 



[Cu. IV. 

on Se Icrre vloi, l^aTrecrreiXez 6 Oeos TO Trvevpa 6 
TOV vlov avrov eis ras Kap8ia<$ iJjLiaJi/ 1 , Kpa^ov .4/5/3a 6 

/ v j / T O ^ \ \ \ ^ ^^ e 

Trarrjp. ojcrre ov/cert ei oovAos, aAAa wos ei oe wo?, 7 
/ecu K\r)pov6fJLO<$ Sid Oeov. 2 

A\\a rore JJLZV OVK eiSdres #eoz> ISovXevcrare 7015 s 

>z> Se 

v Se 

#eXere ; 



T/TTO ^eov, TTO) 7rtcrTp^)T iraXw ITU ra 
crrot^eia, ols iraXiv avatdev SovXevei^ 
TrapaT^pelcrOe KOL floras /cal /cacpous Kal 10 


2 060U 5tO 

It is a favourite 
thought with the Apostle, that 
the Christian is the adopted son 
of God. He is not merely a 
proselyte brought from another 
nation to share the privileges of 
the Jewish people ; he is made a 
member of the family of Christ. 
The custom of adoption was 
familiar both to the Greek and 
Roman law, and is used by the 
Apostle, who was the Roman 
citizen of a Greek city, like some 
other legal notions (Rom. vii. 1.; 
Gal. iii. 15., iv. ].), to express 
the relations of God and man. 

aTroXa^wjuev.] Under the first 
person plural Jew and Gentile 
are alike included; in the next 
verse the Apostle addresses the 
Galatians directly. 

6. on c> core vloi.^ It is the 
effect, and also the proof of your 
sonship, that God sent the Spirit 
of His Son into our hearts, crying, 
" Father." Comp. Rom. viii. 17. 

7. oid Seoi,. ] The reading of 
the majority of MSS. in this 
passage is unlike the common 
language of Scripture, which 
ascribes to God the authorship 
and end, rather than the means 
of salvation. Compare, however, 
i. 1. The context seems to re 

quire " Thou art not a servant, 
but a son ; and if a son, an heir 
through Christ, as being one 
with the heir." Instead of this, 
adopting the words m Seov we 
must refer them back to SEOQ in 
the preceding verse : " The 
same God who gave you his 
spirit, as he has made you sons, 
so has he made you heirs." 

8. AXAa] marks emphatically 
the contrast between their former 
and present state. TOLQ (pvaei ju>) 
ovtri $eo~ts is equivalent to the 
expression in 1 Cor. viii. 5., ol 
Xeyojutvoi Seoi, gods who have no 
real existence in nature, but only 
in the thoughts and language of 
men. Heathen idolatry had a 
twofold aspect to the mind of a 
believer in St. Paul s day. First, 
it produced the impression of 
unmeaningness and deadness in 
itself, and senselessness in its 
worshippers. The gods that the 
heathen worshipped, were no 
gods ; there was no spirit or life 
in them, none to hear or answer. 
When a man looked round upon 
the state of the heathen world, 
the reflection suggested itself 
" that an idol is nothing in the 
world." (Compare 1 Cor. viii. 3., 
xii. 2.) Next, as the religions of 



6 might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are 
sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our 1 

7 hearts, crying, Abba, father. Wherefore thou art no 
more a servant, but a son ; and if a son, then an heir 
through God. 2 

s Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did ser- 

9 vice unto them which by nature are no gods. But 

now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known 

of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly 

elements, whereunto ye desire * to begin again to be in 

10 bondage ? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and 

1 Your. 

East and West met and mingled, 
the powers of evil seemed to stir 
again. It was not a dead oppo 
sition, but a living force, which 
Jewish fanaticism for the law 
opposed to the Gospel. And 
when the heathen worship allied 
itself with impurity, it was a doc 
trine of devils; and the feast in 
the idol s temple, a table of devils. 
9. vvv $E yvovTEQ SfoV.] This 
clause, like the previous one, 
shows that there must have been 
a time when the Galatians were 
Gentiles. They had passed from 
idols to serve the living God. 

All that we are in relation to God, 
more truly speaking we receive 
from Him. Comp. 1 Cor. viii. 3., 
el Se rig ayairq. TOV Seor, ovrog ey- 
vdHrrai VTT avrov. Also 1 Cor. xiii. 
12., rore e iiriyrwffOfJLat Ka0w 
Kal iireyrwadrjv. The knowledge 
which man has of God is also the 
reflex act of the Divinity upon 
Himself, who thereby seals man 
as his own. 

TTWC iniffTpefyeTe TrdX/v.] The 
going back is, in the mind of St. 
Paul, the inversion of the order 

2 Of God through Chrit. 

of Providence, who willed that 
the law should precede, not fol 
low, the Gospel. It was also a 
return to the state in which the 
Galatians were before they re 
ceived the Gospel. For the weak 
ness of the law compare the 
expression, Rom. viii. 3. : " What 
the law could not do, in that it 
was weak through the flesh." 
The law was weak and meagre, 
and could never have power to 
save men. See note at the com 
mencement of the chapter. 

9-cAere.] To which ye of your 
own accord begin again to be in 

10. Ye observe sabbath days, 
and new moons, and times for 
feasts, and sabbatical years. That 
is to say, ye observe all the re 
quirements of the Jewish law. 
Compare Col. ii. 16. : " Let no 
man judge you in meat or in 
drink, or in respect of an holy- 
day, or of the new moon, or of 
the sabbath days." 

Our Lord and St. Paul, every 
where, speak against the super 
stitious observance of the Sab 
bath ; they no where enforce the 

z 2 



[Cn. IV. 

vs ; (/>o/3ov/x,cu v/xa?, ^77 Troug 1/07 KKO7riaKa et? n 

yivecrOe a>9 ey<w, on Kayoi MS Vjuteis, dSeX^ot, 12 

Seo/^ai vfJLoiv. ovSeV /xe ^Si/o^crare oiSare Se ort Si 13 
rr?9 crapKos ev^yyeXtcra^^ v/uz TO 

Ka TOP TreipacTfJiov VJJLOJV v Trj crap /a 

OVK efou- 14 



, dXXa a>9 ayyeXoz> #eou cSe- 

consecration of one day in seven, 
however right and free from 
superstition such an institution 
may be in itself, on Christians. 
The Christian Sunday rests on 
another foundation : ancient use, 
the reason of the thing, the prac 
tice of the Christian Church, 
these grounds are sufficient to 
make thoughtful men careful of 
its observance for themselves, 
and fearful of giving offence to 
others, in violating the custom of 
their own or other countries. 
The origin of this, as of some 
other of the greatest institutions 
of mankind, is not exactly known; 
but that is no reason for doubt 
ing its sacredness or Divine au 

It is unfortunate that the desire 
to find a sanction for the ob 
servance of Sunday in the words 
of Scripture, has tended to draw 
away the minds of Christians from 
the warnings which, in the New 
Testament, are continually re 
peated against Judaical reve 
rence for days. The observance 
of days, or the existence of rites 
and ceremonies, in our own 
Church and country, are a reason 
for remembering, and not for 
forgetting, that there is a use of 
days and ceremonies which the 
Scripture everywhere condemns, 
even though conventional among 

12. "Do ye become as Jam, 

for I am as ye are." Compare for 
the play of words, Rom. xvi. 13., 
" Salute Rufus, and his mother 
and mine ;" ver. 23., "Gaius, mine 
host, and of the whole Church ;" 
also 2 Cor. xii. 20., " I fear, lest, 
coming unto you, I shall find you 
such as I will not, and be found 
of you such as ye would not ;" 
where there is a similar ambi 
guity. Here the Apostle would 
say, " Seek not to differ from me, 
for I am one in heart with you." 
A slightly different turn may 
also be given : "Be ye Gentiles, 
followers of me, even as I, being 
a Jew, make myself a Gentile 
like you." Comp. 1 Cor. ix. 21., 
TOIQ avopotQ a)Q avopoq. 

The Apostle changes his tone. 
His old affection for the Galatians 
revives, and he implores them to 
consider that he is not speaking 
of any personal wrongs of his 
own. He is touched by the me 
mory of their attachment to him 
while he was yet with them. " I 
know how weak and feeble I was, 
how much reason there was for 
you to despise me ; but you did 
the opposite, you received me as 
an angel of God. Your affection 
for me was indeed extravagant ; 
there was nothing which you 
would not have done for me." 

ovfilv fj,f rj^iKt]ffaTe.~\ The Apo 
stle is recalling, without exact 
connection, his reminiscences of 
the Galatian Church. There is 



11 years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you 

12 labour in vain. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am ; for I 

13 am as ye are. Ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how 
amid* infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto 

u you at the first, and your 1 temptation which was in my 
flesh. Ye despised not, nor rejected me * ; but received 


no bar, he would say, between 
me and you ; " indeed you have 
not offended me." 

e OTL $C aaQivf.ia.v Trjg 
In the explanation of 
these words, we have to choose 
between Greek usage and the 
sense required by the context. 
Adhering to the ordinary mean 
ing of Sm with the accusative, we 
should translate, " Ye know that 
it was on account of an illness 
that I preached to you at first." 
There would be no want of cour 
tesy to the Galatians in this, if 
we only lay the stress on the 
latter part of the sentence. " You 
saw that it was a mere accident 
that made me preach to you, yet 
you showed no want of care or 
tenderness to me." Yet it seems 
hardly likely that the Apostle 
would have spoken of mere ill 
ness, in the succeeding verse, as 
" your temptation in my flesh." 
Illness would create sympathy, 
not, as he seems to imply in the 
words e^ovderriffaTE and efc-TrTv- 
o-are, ridicule and disgust. There 
is no intimation in the Acts of 
the Apostles of any peculiar oc 
casion leading him to preach the 
Gospel in Galatia ; nor is an ill 
ness, which hindered his journey, 
a likely or natural one. 

It is more probable that the 
Apostle is alluding to the thorn 
in the flesh, to that depression of 
spirit and feebleness of bodily 

presence which he refers to else 
where in 2 Corinthians (i. 9., ii. 
13., x. 10.), and which may have 
been a form of the same disorder. 
(Compare " The messenger of 
Satan to buffet me," which seems 
to denote a half mental, half bodily 
affliction.) He is speaking of the 
state in which he preached to 
them, not of some accidental 
cause of his mission. Compare 
again 2 Cor. x. 10., >/ Se Trapovtria 
TOV ar<jjfjia.TOG (LaQf.v}]g, KO.I 6 \6~yoQ 
iZovOevrjiJLevoG ; and the words of 
1 Cor. ii. 3., which are still 
nearer, KOI eyw e> aaQerdq. KCU iv 
(f)6&<*) Kctl iv Tp6/j,(t) TroXXw iyevopriv 
TTjOoe vpcLQ. All these passages 
give the same idea of the Apostle s 
personal appearance. Of such an 
one it might be truly said, "Ye 
did not show contempt or dis 

The question remains, however, 
to be considered, whether Sta 
with the accusative can be used 
in the sense of "in the state of;" 
whether, in other words, Si* aerOl- 
veiav in the Galatians is equiva 
lent to ev acrQeveiq. in the 1 Corin 
thians, ii. 3. Even if no other 
example can be adduced, the con 
text and the parallel verse in 
1 Cor. afford strong ground for 
supposing that such must be the 
meaning of the preposition in 
this passage. And an approxima 
tion to the same use is found in 
Phil. i. 15., nvig HEV KOI ()ta 




[CH. IV. 

e /xe, a>s yjpi&rov Irjcrovv. TTOV ovv 1 6 /xa/capicr/xos is 
; fJiapTvpo) yap vpSis an, 6 SwaroV, rovs 6(#aX- 

VJJLOJV e^opv^ cures 2 eSw/care /xoi. aJcrre l^/oos 16 

yeyova aXrjOevw v^lv ; r)\ovcnv v/xas ou /caXa>9, 17 
dXXa. KK\elcrai u/xcls BtXovcriv, Iva avrovg ^rjXovre. 

KoXbv Se {flXovcrffat, lv /caX(p Tra^rore, /cal /XT) \LQVQV kv is 

piv * 

where the meaning, " because of 
good will, * is forced, and the 
words ota (f)Q6vov and c)i ev^oKiav 
are resumed by iravrl rpo-rru) in 
the following verse. Lastly, the 
fact that in numerous other 
senses cua is joined with the accu 
sative and genitive indifferently, 
and in the New Testament espe 
cially with the accusative, for 
the mean or instrument, or in a 
general sense of relation (John, 
vi. 57.) and of time (2 Pet. iii. 
12.), is sufficient to show that the 
usage here, though uncommon, is 
no great violation of grammatical 
analogy. Comp. Is. xxviii. 11. 

" You looked upon my face as 
upon the face of an angel. You 
thought you saw Christ Himself 
in the person of His servant." TO 
TrpoTtpov, on the first of my two 
visits to you : probably the one 
recorded in Acts, xvi. 6. 

15. TTOV OVV O p,aKaplfff.lOQ VfJ,U>V^ 

What has become of the procla 
mation of your joy, " the blessed 
ness of which ye spake?" It is 
gone. I ask you, because in your 
old state I bear you witness that 
you were beside yourselves in 
your gratitude to me. I ask you, 
because you seemed to have a 
blessedness, though you really 
had not ; for I bear you witness 
that there was nothing which 
you would not have done for me. 

2 Add &/. 

juaK-api<r/xoc,] not "blessedness;" 
but, as in Rom. iv. 9., the attri 
bution of blessedness. So here 
the declaration of how blessed 
you were, the state described 
also in Gal. iii. 2. 

wore.] The inference that I 
draw is, that speaking the truth 
has ruined me with you. 

17. r)XoVfflf VfJiCLQ OV KttXwC.] 

They desire to make proselytes 
of you, but in a bad way ; nay, 
they would (1.) shut you out 
from the Gospel, (2.) or from us, 
that ye may have the zeal of pro 
selytes towards them. Comp. 
ffuy/cXeiOjuo/ot, iii. 23. ; and for 
77X00*, Rom. x. 2. 

18. KO.\OV c 

it is good to be zealously en 
treated, always where the ob 
ject is good. It is difficult to 
find an explanation of these 
words, suitable both to what has 
preceded, and what follows in 
the succeeding clause. In ver. 
15. the Apostle had said in a 
figure that nothing could exceed 
the zealous attachment of the 
Galatians to him while he was 
with them ; they would have 
plucked out their eyes for him. 
So that he had just made them 
his enemies by speaking the 
truth. Very different was the 
conduct of the Judaizing teach 
ers ; they sought only how they 
might produce this zealous at 
tachment, not certainly by speak- 

2 Cor. xi. 2. 



15 me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is 
then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, 
that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out 

16 your own eyes and have given them to rne. Am I 
therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the 

17 truth ? They zealously entreat * you, but not well ; yea, 
they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. 

is But it is good to be zealously entreated* always in a 
good thing, and not only when I am present with you. 

ing the truth ; they would if 
possible monopolise the affection 
of their converts. Thus far we 
have had two trains of thought 
suggested by each other; (1.) 
the zealous affection of the Ga- 
latians to the Apostle ; (2.) the 
zealous affection of the false 
teachers for the Galatians them 
selves. The Apostle proceeds : 
"But it is good to be the object 
of this zealous affection, such as 
you showed to me, such as they 
show to you, in a good thing, at 
all times ;" and then returning to 
the previous clause, he adds, 
" and not only when I am present 
with you." As though he said, 
" It is a good thing that you and 
they should be the objects of 
these warm feelings to each 
other, and yet it is a pity that 
you forget absent friends. How 
earnestly were you attached to 
me ! How soon did you forget 
me!" For a similar confusion 
of two connections, compare Rom. 
xv. 27. 

Another way of making out 
the passage is as follows : The 
first clause of verse 18. may be 
opposed to verse 17. : " There 
was warm affection between you 
and them. But warm affection 
is always good where it relates 
to a good object;" a general 

statement which describes the 
opposite case to that of the Gala 
tians and the false teachers, under 
which, however, lurks the thought 
of that true affection which they 
had felt to the Apostle himself, 
and suggests the clause which 
follows, " and not only while I 
am present with you." It is good 
to be the object of these strong 
feelings where the matter in hand 
is good (sub. which was not your 
case with the false teachers) ; 
good, too, that such feelings 
should not be so transitory as 
you have shown to me. A third 
way may be suggested: "It is 
good to be zealously affected, 
provided the object be good, in 
my absence as in my presence." 
As if he said, " I admit the ex 
cellence of the feeling, and am 
not jealous of your showing it 
towards "others in my absence." 
The spirit of confidence, however, 
which the Apostle thus shows 
towards the Galatians is hardly 
consistent with the context. 

None of the difficulties of this 
passage are removed, though new 
ones are superadded by taking 
faXovvdai actively, a sense in 
which it is not elsewhere found, 
and which is also inconsistent with 
the use of the active (^Xoiire) 
which immediately precedes. 

z 4 



[On. IV. 

( Trapelvai, /xe TT/OOS v/xas re/c^a x pov, ovg TraXii a)8iz/a> 19 
o5 fjiop(f)(t)6rj ^otcrro9 ez 
u/zas a/m /cal dXXafai 


e JJLOL, ol VTTO vopov 

ei/a e/c 

Se Trapei^ai 20 
v JJLOV, on 0,770- 

etpcu., ro^ vopov 21 
paajji Svo viovs 22 
TratSicr/c?;? /cal eVa e/c r^5 eXevOepas. 
/c TT}S TratSiV/c^s Kara crap/ca yeyeW^rat, 23 

ov/c /covere ; ytypaiTTOLi yap on 


dXX 6 

19. ovc TraXiv w^tVw, of whom I 
travail again. ] As in other 
passages, St. Paul compares him 
self to a spiritual father who had 
begotten many sons in the Gos 
pel, so here he likens himself to 
a mother travailing in sorrow 
because " there is not strength 
to bring forth." The confusion 
of metaphors is curious : " I am 
in travail, (not until you are born 
again, but) until Christ be born 
in you." Compare 1 Thess. ii. 7., 
v. 4. (Lach.) ; Rom. vii. 4. 6. ; 
2 Cor. iii. 18. 

20. ijdeXov for r/0eXov av.] " I 
could wish;" like rju-^ofji^v for 
r)i>xdfj.r)v civ, in Rom. ix. 3. c)f 
appears to arise out of the idea 
of absence hinted at in kv TV 
irapewai of ver. 18.; "I am ab 
sent, but I wish I were pre 

aAAaou r/)v 0wv//v juov.] Either 
to speak in a different tone from 
that in which I am now writing, 
or to use a different tone from 
what I did when with you. 

OTL otTTOjOoujuai V vfjuv, I stand 
in doubt of you.~\ " Because I 
am in a strait in reference to 
you, I know not how to deal 
with you." Comp. Heb. vi. 6. : 
" It is impossible to renew 
them again to repentance if they 
shall fall away." See also 2 Cor. 

x. 10, 11.: "For his letters, 
say they, are weighty and pow 
erful ; but his bodily presence is 
weak, and his speech contempti 
ble. Let such an one think this, 
that, such as we are in word 
when we are absent, such will 
we be also in deed when we are 

21. I will try another method ; 
perchance the words of the law 
may have more weight with 
you than my own. "Ye then 
that desire to be under the law, 
hear an allegory which is taken 
from the law." 

Whether this is an argument or 
an illustration, is a question that 
naturally occurs to the mind of 
the reader. To an Alexandrian 
writer of the first century (may 
we say, therefore, to St. Paul 
himself?) the question itself could 
hardly have been made intelli 
gible. That very modern dis 
tinction between argument and 
illustration was precisely what 
his mind wanted, to place it on a 
level with the modes of thought 
of our own age. We must, there 
fore, find some other way of cha 
racterising the passage. It is 
neither an argument nor an il 
lustration, but an interpretation 
of the Old Testament Scripture 
after the manner of the age in 



19 My 1 children, of whom I travail in birth again until 

20 Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with 
you now, and to change my voice ; for I stand in doubt 
of you. 

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not 

22 hear the law ? For it is written, that Abraham had 
two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free 

23 woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born 

Add little. 

which St. Paul lived ; that is, 
after the manner of the Jewish 
and Christian Alexandrian wri 
ters. Whatever difference there 
is between him and them, or be 
tween Philo and the Christian 
fathers as interpreters of Scrip 
ture, is not one of kind, but of 
degree. A truer difference is 
made by the noble spirit of the 
Apostle shining through the ele 
ments of the law in which he 
clothes his meaning. The form 
of allegory, or of mysticism, does 
not straiten the freedom of the 
Gospel. Strange as it may at first 
appear, that his mode of inter 
preting the Old Testament Scrip 
tures should not conform to our 
laws of logic or language, it 
would be far stranger if it had 
not conformed with the natural 
modes of thought and associa 
tion in his own day. See Essay 
on Quotations from Old Testa 
ment, and on Philo. 

22, 23. There is a peculiar al 
lusion conveyed by the expression 
Kara cropjca, which the Apostle 


The child according to the flesh. 

The law given on Sinai, which 
Sinai is a mountain in the land 
of Hagar. See on ver. 25.) 

has usually applied to the Mosai- 
cal law as he has also applied 
fiTrayyeAm to the Gospel. In the 
very terms of his statement, he 
has linked the interpretation of 
the allegory with the narrative 

In what follows, the law and 
the Gospel are paralleled with 
the two children of Abraham. 
The one was his natural child 
according to the flesh, with which 
notion of fleshly descent the 
Jewish dispensation is insepa 
rably bound up ; the other was 
the spiritual child, born accord 
ing to promise, with which pro 
mise, in the previous chapter, the 
Gospel has already been identi 
fied : which things are spoken 
in one way, but designed to be 
understood in another. For Ish- 
mael and Isaac are two cove 
nants; the one from Mount Sinai, 
answering to the Jerusalem that 
now is ; the other bearing the 
image of the heavenly Jerusalem. 
The points of comparison may be 
exhibited as follows : 


The child according to promise. 
The Gospel. 



[On. IV. 

6 Se IK TTJS eXev#epas Sid rrjs CTrayyeXtag. aripa ecrrti^ 24 
aXXrjyopoviJLeva. aSrat yap eio~w l Svo SiaOrJKai, pia pzv 
0,770 opov9 5^a, eis SovXeiaz^ yez^^aJo a, ^rt? ecrri^ *Ayap 
(TO yap 2 5t^a opos CCTTIZ/ IV TT^ *Apa/3ia}, crvcrTOL^el Se 25 
TT; ^w f lpov<ra\rjiJi (SovXevet yap 3 /ACTO, TOJ^ T^KV^V 

Se aVa> lepovcraX^joi eXeu^epa zcrrLv, T^TIS 26 
[TroWa)!/] rjfjitov yeypaTTTat yap .Evc^pdV 27 
^Tt (TTetpa 17 ou Ti/cTovcra, prjov Kal /Soyjcrov r) OVK 


1 Adda?. 2 Add^Ayap. 


The bondwoman. The free woman who had been 


Jerusalem in bondage with her The Jerusalem which is above, 
children. and is free, and the mother of 

all mankind. 

The bondwoman to be cast forth by the free woman. 

a\\rjyopov[jLEva.~\ " Which have 
a different meaning, for their true 
meaning is that they are two 
covenants." Compare Philo, ii. 
483.: many at t^yr/o-eic rwv isp&v 
ypanfjiariov ytVorreu Ci virovotHJv 
kv aXXriyoplaic;. 

JJ.ICL IJIEV . . . EIQ $ov\elqLV yet - 
rtiffa. ] The image is here a little 
forced. It was not in the fact, 
but in the feeling of the Israelite 
towards him, that the elder served 
the younger. The Apostle, iden 
tifying Hagar with the law and 
the law with slavery, makes the 
bondwoman also the mother of 

25. 70 yap Siva opog effrlv iv 
rrj Apatg.] The MS. authority 
and later editors are nearly di 
vided about the admission of the 
word "A yap in this verse (ro yap 
"Ayap, J. K.; ro yap, C. F.G.; ro 
"Ayap, B.; ro e)e "Ayap, A.D.E.) 
The insertion, however, does little 
towards supplying the connection 

of the 25th and 24th verses ; as 
the old explanations, that Hagar 
is the Arabic word for a rock, or 
the Arabic name of mount Sinai 
(whether we suppose it probable 
or otherwise, that St. Paul would 
have quoted Arabic words in 
writing to the Galatians), are 
destitute of foundation. On bet 
ter authority it is stated that 
there was a town Hagar close to 
the mountain, the name of which 
may have been given to Sinai 
itself; of this latter fact, how 
ever, no proof is adduced. 

A sufficient sense is obtained 
by laying the stress on kv TIJ Apa- 
/a. "For mount Sinai is in 
Arabia, the land of the children 
of Hagar;" or "For this Hagar 
is mount Sinai in the land of the 
children of Hagar." (Comp. Ps. 
Ixxxiii. 7.) That is to say, Hagar 
typifies the law given on mount 
Sinai, because mount Sinai is in 
the country of the descendants of 



after the flesh ; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 

24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two 
covenants ; the one from the mount Sinai, which geri- 

25 dereth to bondage, which is Agar (for this mount 
Sinai is in Arabia 1 ), arid answereth to Jerusalem which 

26 now is (for she is 2 in bondage with her children). But 
Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother 

27 of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren 
that bearest not ; break forth and cry, thou that tra- 
vailest not : for the desolate hath many more children 

For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia. 

8 And is. 

Hagar. Such appears to be the 
least objectionable mode of ex 
plaining the passage ; it may be 
admitted not wholly free from 
subtlety and obscurity. The ex 
planation is assisted by taking 
the words, 70 yap Dt^a opog korlv 
ev ry Apa&ia, as a parenthesis, 
and connecting the following 
clause ffv<rroi-%el with yum ^Laf)t]Krj 

" These are the two covenants ; 
the one gendering into bondage 
which is Hagar (for mount Sinai 
is in the land Hagar), and an 
swering to Jerusalem that now 
is." <!>ov\evi yap for the point 
of the comparison is, she and her 
descendants are slaves. 

26. Here St. Paul drops the 
figure and compares the heavenly 
Jerusalem with the Jerusalem 
that now is. What we expect 
to follow is "But the other co 
venant is Sarah the free woman, 
whose children are free." In 
stead of this, the Apostle only 
works out the idea of freedom as 
opposed to bondage. 

The same image occurs in 
Rev. xxi. 2. "The holy city, the 
New Jerusalem, descending out 
of heaven like a bride adorned 

for her husband;" and in Heb. 
xii. 22. "Ye have come near 
to mount Sion, the city of the 
living God, the heavenly Jeru 
salem." Like all similar images, 
it is taken in a more or less 
spiritual sense, according to the 
spirituality of those who make use 
of, or receive it. That it is a 
city of freedom, neither in bond 
age to the Romans, nor in bond 
age to the law of Moses, is the 
manner in which the Apostle 
pictures it. Compare also, Phil, 
iii. 20, r/yuwv yap TO TroXirevpa kv 

[iravTWv] jjjjitov.^ TravTwv is 
an ancient various reading, oc 
curring in Cod. A. and in Ire- 

27. Isa/liv. 1. from the LXX. 
The Apostle applies these words 
to Sarah, and through her to 
the Christian Church, which has 
been called in the previous verse, 
" the mother of us all." 

OTL TTuXXd rd retfpo/J Because 
the wife who is deserted hath 
many more children than she who 
has the husband. 

Compare for a trace of the 
same thought, Rom. iv. 19., Heb. 
vi. 11. 



[Cii. IV. 

TOP avSpa. vp,eL<$ 1 Se, dSeX<oi, Kara Icraa/c 28 
s TZKVOL ecrre. dXX atcnrep Tore o Kara <rdpKa 29 

eSuo/cei> TOP Kara TTVtvpa, ovra>s /cat zw 
dXXd TL Xeyei 17 ypacfrij ; V -EK/3aXe rrjv TracSicrKTp KOLL so 
TOV viov avTrjs ov yap JUIT) /cXT^oj Oju/^crei 2 6 mos 
7rai8i<TA079 ^cerd TOV wov r^s e\ev0epas. Sid 3 , d8eX- si 
ov/c ecrjue* TraiSicr/c^s re /a a, dXXd r^s I 

28. Now you, brethren, as 
Isaac was, are children of the 
promise. Above St. Paul had 
linked together the Gospel and 
the promise to the exclusion of 
the law. Here he repeats the 
same " in a figure." 

29. The figure is carried on a 
step further. It has been already 
established that the believer is 
represented by Isaac, the ad 
herent of the law by Ishmael. 
But in the Old Testament, Gen. 
xxi. 9., it was or seemed to be 
recorded that Ishmael mocked 
Isaac, which suggests to the Apo 
stle the thought of a further 
resemblance to the case of the 
Christian Church. All its per 
secution came originally from 
those who were the children 
according to the flesh ; either 
stirring up the Gentiles against 
them, or as St. Paul felt in the 
case of the Galatian Church (v. 
11. TL .TL SiwKopai ; "Why do 
I yet suffer persecution ? "), per 
secuting by false teachers, who 
were really Jews, and pretended 
to be Christians, and sometimes 
" s aid they were Jews, and were 

Some degree of confusion is 
observable in the image, that is 
to say, Hagar and Ishmael both 
equally represent the law, and 
Sarah and Isaac the Gospel. 


30. The image expressed St. 
Paul s feelings in another point. 
The Scripture said "Cast forth 
the bondwoman and her son, for 
the son of the bondwoman shall 
not inherit with the son of the 
free woman." St. Paul also knew 
that the law and the Gospel could 
not exist together. It was the 
appointment of God that, sooner 
or later, the one should drive out 
the other. 

The stories of the Rabbis have 
enlarged on the simple statement 
of the book of Genesis that Sarah 
saw Ishmael " playing," with her 
son Isaac, the word for which 
neither in the Hebrew nor the 
LXX. admits the sense of mock 
ing. They narrate how Isaac and 
Ishmael had a strife respecting 
the right of the first-born, and 
how, as they were in the field to 
gether, Ishmael pursued Isaac 
with his arrows, &c. Such tales 
the Apostle may have had in his 
mind when he used the words 
ediwiCCY TOV KO.TCI 7rj/Vjua, opposed 
in this passage to Kara o-a (0/,-a, 
which is our chief means of fix 
ing its meaning. Ishmael is 
called the child according to the 
flesh, because born of the bond 
woman in the natural way ; Isaac 
is said to be the offspring accord 
ing to the Spirit, because sprung 
stipernaturally "from one as good 



28 than she which hath an husband. But ye 1 , brethren, as 

29 Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he 
that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was 

so born after the Spirit, even so it is now. .Nevertheless 
what saith the Scripture ? Cast out the bondwoman and 
her son : for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir 

31 with the son of the freewoman. Wherefore 2 , brethren, 
we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 

Now we. 

So then. 

as dead," the heir of the pro 
mises, in whose person the dispen 
sation of the Spirit is anticipated. 

31. &o.] The MSS. vary be 
tween apa, apac}, cipa ovv, Sto 
Lachmann and Tischendorf, f]f*t~iQ 
5c. The reading cipa reminds us 
of the conclusion of chap. vii. of 
the Romans, which, like the con 
clusion of the present passage, 
appears out of place. Through 
out the whole comparison, the 
Apostle has assumed that we are 
not the children of the bond 
woman, but of the free ; and 
the further inference has been 
drawn, that the bondwoman is to 
be cast forth. It seems too late 
to say, " therefore, brethren," and 
so on. It may be urged in an 
swer, that we cannot argue 
against the repetition of conclu 
sions, or, indeed, respecting the 
order of thought at all, in a style 
which is so unequal as that of St. 

Whether we read apa or to, 
the sense would be better given 
by commencing a new paragraph 
or chapter from these words, to 
note that they are not so much an 
inference from the preceding, as 
a practical application of them. 
" Wherefore, brethren, we are 
not the children of the bond, but 

of the free." Christ made us free, 
stand therefore ; or, according to 
the received reading. " Stand 
fast in the liberty with which 
Christ made us free." 

So in language old yet new, 
" in the oldness of the letter 
itself," the Apostle tells of the 
freedom of the Gospel. The child 
of promise is the figure of the 
kingdom of heaven which is per 
secuted on earth, yet in the 
highest sense free, and the mo 
ther of all mankind. The perse 
cutor is the fleshly heir, the image 
of the covenant of mount Sinai, 
who is now cast out and not 
suffered to inherit with the child 
of promise. The law and the 
Gospel cannot dwell together ; 
the Gospel must drive out the 

Such a v tale in that age and 
country, finding its way to the 
minds of men, gave them a type 
or symbol, a form of truth and 
knowledge in which they received 
a principle not otherwise easy 
for them to grasp ; it might be 
compared to an earthen vessel, in 
which the water of life was raised 
to the lips. He who objects to 
the tale as a mere illustration or 
application, should remember that 
such adaptations or illustrations 



[Cfl. IV. 

have ever been the mode in which 
the past has been interpreted by 
the present ; broken to pieces and 
put together again ; a new tem 
ple built out of the old stones 
a new life given to the dry 
bones. Great as has been the 
influence of the wisdom of former 
ages, that influence has arisen 
much more from the idea which 
posterity have attributed to it, or 
extracted from it, than from what 

the critic of modern days now 
perceives to have been the origi 
nal meaning of the poet or philo 
sopher. And it is singular, yet 
true, and a sort of economy in 
the education of the human race, 
that these new applications of the 
sayings of those of old time have 
derived a part of their authority 
by an illusion, from the names of 
those whose meaning they no 
longer convey. 



Oftare Se 6n 8t affd&etav TTJS ffapKbs fv^yy\Krd/j.-nv vplv r5 vpSrepov, Kal 
v vfJLuv fv rfj ffapKi fj.ov OVK eovdfvf)(TaT ouSe f^Trriiffarf, a\Aa us 
f$eaadf /we, us xpurrbv y lr]ffovv. Gal. iv. 13, 14. 

THE narrative of the Gospel gives no full or perfect likeness of the 
character of the Apostles. Human beings do not admit of being 
constructed out of a single feature, nor is imagination able to supply 
details which are really wanting. St. Peter and St. John, the two 
Apostles whose names are most prominent in the Gospels and early 
portion of the Acts, both seem to unite two extremes in the same 
person ; the character of St. John combining gentleness with vehe 
mence, almost with fierceness ; while in St. Peter we trace rashness 
and timidity at once, the spirit of freedom at one period of his life, 
and of narrowness and exclusiveness at another. He is the first to 
confess, and the first to deny Christ. Himself the captain of the 
Apostles, and yet wanting in the qualities necessary to constitute a 
leader. Such extremes may easily meet in the same person ; but we 
do not possess sufficient knowledge to say how they were really 
reconciled. Each of the twelve Apostles grew up to the fulness of 
the stature of the perfect man. Even those who to us are little 
more than names, had individual features as lively as our own con 
temporaries. But the mention of their sayings or acts on four or 
five occasions while they followed the footsteps of the Lord on earth, 
and then on two or three occasions soon after He was taken from 
them, then once again at an interval of twelve or fourteen years, is not 
sufficient to enable us to judge of their whole character. We may 


distinguish Peter from John, or James from either ; but we cannot 
set them up as a study to be compared with each other. 

More features appear of the character of St. Paul, yet not sufficient 
to give a perfect picture. We should lose the individuality which 
we have, by seeking to idealise and generalise from some more com 
mon type of Christian life. It has not been unusual to describe 
St. Paul as a man of resolute will, of untiring energy, of logical 
mind, of classic taste. He has been contrasted with the twelve as 
the educated with the uneducated, the student of Hebrew and Greek 
learning, brought up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel, with the 
fishermen of Galilee " mending their nets" by the lake. Powers of 
government have been attributed to him such as were required, and 
in some instances possessed, by the great leaders of the Church in 
later ages. He is imagined to have spoken with an accuracy hardly 
to be found in the systems of philosophers. Not of such an one 
would the Apostle himself "have gloried;" he would not have 
understood the praises of his commentators. It was not the wisdom 
of this world which he spoke, but " the hidden wisdom of God in a 
mystery." All his life long he felt himself to be one " whose strength 
was perfected in weakness ;" he was aware of the impression of feeble 
ness which his own appearance and discourse made upon his con 
verts; who was sometimes in weakness and fear and trembling before 
them, " having the sentence of death in himself," and at other times 
"in power and the Holy Ghost and in much assurance ;" and so far 
from having one unchanging purpose or insight, that though deter 
mined to know one thing only, " Jesus Christ and Him crucified," 
yet in his manner of teaching he wavers between opposite views or 
precepts in successive verses. He is ever feeling, if haply he may 
find them, after the hearts of men. He is carried away by sympathy, 
at times even for his opponents. He is struggling to describe what 
is in process of revelation to him. " Rude in speech but not in 
knowledge," as he himself says. The life of the Greek language had 
passed away, and it must have been a matter of effort for him to 
write in a foreign tongue, perhaps even to write at all ; yet he puts 


together words in his own characteristic way which are full of mean 
ing, though often scattered in confusion over the page. He occasion 
ally lights also on the happiest expressions, stamping old phrases in 
a new mould, and bringing forth the new out of the treasury of 
the old. Such are some of the individual traits which he has left 
in his Epistles ; they are traits far more interesting and more like 
himself than any general image of heroism, or knowledge, or power, 
or goodness. Whatever other impression he might have made upon 
us, could we have seen him face to face, there can be little doubt 
that he would have left the impression of what was remarkable and 

There are questions which it is interesting to suggest, even when 
they can never receive a perfect and satisfactory answer. One of 
these questions may be asked respecting St. Paul : " What was the 
relation in which his former life stood to the great fact of his con 
version?" He himself, in looking back upon the times in which he 
persecuted the Church of God, thought of them chiefly as an in 
creasing evidence of the mercy of God, which was afterwards 
extended to him. It seemed so strange to have been what he had 
been, and to be what he was. Nor does our own conception of him, 
in relation to his former self, commonly reach beyond this contrast 
of the old and new man ; the persecutor and the preacher of the 
Gospel ; the young man at whose feet the witnesses against Stephen 
laid down their clothes, and the same Paul disputing against the 
Grecians, full of visions and revelations of the Lord, on whom in 
later life came daily the care of all the Churcnes. 

Yet we cannot but admit also the possibility, or rather the pro 
bable truth of another point of view. It is not unlikely that the 
struggle which he describes in the seventh chapter of the Romans is 
the picture of his own heart in the days when he " verily thought 
that he ought to do many things contrary to Jesus of Nazareth;" 
the impression of that earlier state, perhaps the image of the martyr 
Stephen (Acts, xxii. 20.), may have remained with him in after years. 
For men seem to carry about with them the elements of their former 

VOL. I. A A 


lives; the character or nature which they once were, the circumstance 
which became a part of them, is not wholly abolished or done away; 
it remains, " even in the regenerate," as a sort of insoluble mass or 
incumbrance which prevents their freedom of action ; in very few, or 
rather in none, can the old habit have perfect flexure to its new use. 
Everywhere, in the case of our acquaintance, who may have passed 
through great changes of opinion or conduct, we see from time to time 
the old nature which is underneath occasionally coming to the surface. 
Nor is it irreverent to attribute such remembrances of a former self 
even to inspired persons. If there were any among the contemporaries 
of St. Paul who had known him in youth and in age, they would have 
seen similarities which escape us in the character of the Apostle at 
different periods of his life. The zealot against the Gospel might 
have seemed to them transfigured into the opponent of the law; they 
would have found something in common in the Pharisee of the Pha 
risees, and the man who had a vow on his last journey to Jerusalem; 
they would perhaps have observed arguments, or quotations, or modes 
of speech in his writings which had been familiar to them and him 
in the school of Gamaliel. And when they heard of his conversion, 
they might have remarked that to one of his temperament only could 
such an event have happened, and would have noted many superficial 
resemblances which showed him to be the same man, while the great 
inward change which had overspread the world was hid from their 

The gifts of God to man have ever some reference to natural 
disposition. He who becomes the servant of God does not thereby 
cease to be himself. Often the transition is greater in appearance 
than in reality, from the suddenness of its manifestation. There is 
a kind of rebellion against self and nature and God, which, through 
the mercy of God to the soul, seems almost necessarily to lead to re 
action. Persons have been worse than their fellow-men in outward 
appearance, and yet there was within them the spirit of a child wait 
ing to return home to their father s house. A change passes upon 
them which we may figure to ourselves, not only as the new man 


taking the place of the old, but as the inner man taking the place of 
the outer. So complex is human nature, that the very opposite to 
what we are has often an inexpressible power over us. Contrast is 
not only a law of association ; it is also a principle of action. Many 
run from one extreme to another, from licentiousness to the ecstasy 
of religious feeling, from religious feeling back to licentiousness, not 
without a " fearful looking for of judgment." If we could trace the 
hidden workings of good and evil, they would appear far less sur 
prising and more natural than as they are seen by the outward eye. 
Our spiritual nature is without spring or chasm, but it has a certain 
play or freedom which leads very often to consequences the opposite 
of what we expect. It seems in some instances as if the same reli 
gious education had tended to contrary results ; in one case to a 
devout life, in another to a reaction against it ; sometimes to one 
form of faith, at other times to another. Many parents have wept to 
see the early religious training of their children draw them, by a kind 
of repulsion, to a communion or mode of opinion which is the extreme 
opposite of that in which they have been brought up. Let them have 
peace in the thought that it was not always in their power to fulfil the 
duty in which they seem to themselves to have failed. These latter 
reflections have but a remote bearing on the character of St. Paul ; 
but they serve to make us think that all spiritual influences, however 
antagonistic they may appear, have more in common with each other 
than they have with the temper of the world ; and that it is easier 
to pass from one form of faith to another than from leading the life 
of all men to either. There is more in common between those who 
anathematise each other than between either and the spirit of tolera 
tion which characterises the ordinary dealings of man and man, or 
much more the spirit of Christ, for whom they are alike contending. 
Perhaps we shall not be far wrong in concluding, that those who 
have undergone great religious changes have been of a fervid ima 
ginative cast of mind j looking for more in this world than it was 
capable of yielding ; easily touched by the remembrance of the past, 
or inspired by some ideal of the future. When with this has been 

A A 2 


combined a zeal for the good of their fellow-men, they have become 
the heralds and champions of the religious movements of the world. 
The change has begun within, but has overflowed without them. 
" When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren," is the order of 
nature and of grace. In secret they brood over their own state ; 
weary and profitless their soul fainteth within them. The religion 
they profess is a religion not of life to them, but of death ; they lose 
their interest in the world, and are cut off from the communion of 
their fellow-creatures. While they are musing, the fire kindles, and 
at the last " they speak with their tongue." Then pours forth irre- 
pressibly the pent-up stream "unto all and upon all" their fellow- 
men ; the intense flame of inward enthusiasm warms and lights up the 
world. First they are the evidence to others ; then, again, others are 
the evidence to them. All religious leaders cannot be reduced to a 
single type of character ; yet in all, perhaps, two characteristics may 
be observed ; the first, great self-reflection ; the second, intense sym 
pathy with other men. They are not the creatures of habit or of 
circumstances, leading a blind life, unconscious of what they are ; 
their whole effort is to realise their inward nature, and to make it 
palpable and visible to their fellows. Unlike other men who are 
confined to the circle of themselves or of their family, their affections 
are never straitened ; they embrace with their love all men who 
are like-minded with them, almost all men too who are unlike them, 
in the hope that they may become like. 

Such men have generally appeared at favourable conjunctures of 
circumstances, when the old was about to vanish away, and the new 
to appear. The world has yearned towards them, and they towards 
the world. They have uttered what all men were feeling ; they 
have interpreted the age to itself. But for the concurrence of cir 
cumstances, they might have been stranded on the solitary shore, they 
might have died without a follower or convert. But when the world 
has needed them, and God has intended them for the world, they are 
endued with power from on high ; they use all other men as their 
instruments, uniting them to themselves. 


Often such men have been brought up in the faith which they 
afterwards oppose, and a part of their power has consisted in 
their acquaintance with the enemy. They see other men, like 
themselves formerly, wandering out of the way in the idol s temple, 
amid a burdensome ceremonial, with prayers and sacrifices unable to 
free the soul. They lead them by the way themselves came to the 
home of Christ. Sometimes they represent the new as the truth of 
the old ; at other times as contrasted with it, as life and death, as 
good and evil, as Christ and anti-Christ. They relax the force of 
habit, they melt the pride and fanaticism of the soul. They suggest 
to others their own doubts, they inspire them with their own hopes, 
they supply their own motives, they draw men to them with cords 
of sympathy and bonds of love ; they themselves seem a sufficient 
stay to support the world. Such was Luther at the Reformation ; 
such, in a higher sense, was the Apostle St. Paul. 

There have been heroes in the world, and there have been prophets 
in the world. The first may be divided into two classes ; either they 
have been men of strong will and character, or of great power and 
range of intellect ; in a few instances, combining both. They have 
been the natural leaders of mankind, compelling others by their 
acknowledged superiority as rulers and generals ; or in the paths of 
science and philosophy, drawing the world after them by a yet more 
inevitable necessity. The prophet belongs to another order of beings : 
he does not master his thoughts ; they carry him away. He does 
not see clearly into the laws of this world or the affairs of this world, 
but has a light beyond, which reveals them partially in their relation 
to another. Often he seems to be at once both the weakest and 
the strongest of men ; the first to yield to his own impulses, the 
mightiest to arouse them in others. Calmness, or reason, or philo 
sophy are not the words which describe the appeals which he makes 
to the hearts of men. He sways them to and fro rather than governs 
or controls them. He is a poet, and more than a poet, the inspired 
teacher of mankind ; but the intellectual gifts which he possesses 
are independent of knowledge, or learning, or capacity; what they 

A A 3 


are much more akin to is the fire and subtlety of genius. He, too, 
for a time, has ruled kingdoms and even led armies ; " an Apostle, 
not of man, nor by men ;" acting, not by authority or commission of 
any prince, but by an immediate inspiration from on high, communi 
cating itself to the hearts of men. 

Saul of Tarsus is called an Apostle rather than a prophet, because 
Hebrew prophecy belongs to an age of the world before Christianity. 
Now that in the Gospel that which is perfect is come, that which 
is in part is done away. Yet, in a secondary sense, the Apostle St. 
Paul is also " among the prophets." He, too, has " visions and 
revelations of the Lord," though he has not written them down " for 
our instruction," in which he would fain glory because they are not 
his own. Even to the outward eye he has the signs of a prophet. 
There is in him the same emotion, the same sympathy, the same 
" strength made perfect in weakness," the same absence of human 
knowledge, the same subtlety in the use of language, the same 
singleness in the delivery of his message. He speaks more as a 
man, and less immediately under the impulse of the Spirit of God ; 
more to individuals, and less to the nation at large ; he is less of a 
poet, and more of a teacher or preacher. But these differences do 
not interfere with the general resemblance. Like Isaiah, he bids us 
look to " the man of sorrows ;" like Ezekiel, he arouses men to a 
truer sense of the ways of God in his dealings with them ; like 
Jeremiah, he mourns over his countrymen ; like all the prophets 
who have ever been, he is lifted above this world, and is " in the 
Spirit at the day of the Lord." (Rev. i. 10.) 

Reflections of this kind are suggested by the absence of materials 
such as throw any light on the early life of St. Paul. All that we 
know of him before his conversion is summed up in two facts, " that 
the witnesses laid down their clothes with a young man whose name 
was Saul," and that he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, one of 
the few Rabbinical teachers of Greek learning in the city of Jerusa 
lem. We cannot venture to assign to him either the "choleric" or 
the "melancholic" temperament. [Tholuck.] We are unable to 


determine what were his natural gifts or capacities ; or how far, as 
we often observe to be the case, the gifts which he had were called 
out by the mission on which he was sent, or the theatre on which he 
felt himself placed " a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men." 
Far more interesting is it to trace the simple feelings with which he 
himself regarded his former life. " Last of all he was seen of me 
also, who am the least of the Apostles, that am not worthy to be 
called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God." Yet 
there was a sense also that he was excusable, and that this was the 
reason why the mercy of God extended itself to him. " Yet I 
obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." And in one 
passage he dwells on the fact, not only that he had been an 
Israelite, but more, that after the strictest sect of the Jews 
religion he lived a Pharisee, as though that were an evidence to 
himself, and should be so to others, that no human power could 
have changed him ; that he was no half Jew, who had never pro 
perly known what the law was, but one who had both known and 
strictly practised it. 

We are apt to judge extraordinary men by our own standard; 
that is to say, we often suppose them to possess, in an extraordinary 
degree, those qualities which we are conscious of in ourselves or 
others. This is the easiest way of conceiving their characters, but 
not the truest. They differ in kind rather than in degree. Even to 
understand them truly seems to require a power analogous to their 
own. Their natures are more subtle, and yet more simple, than we 
readily imagine. No one can read the ninth chapter of the First, or 
the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the Second Epistle to the 
Corinthians, without feeling how different the Apostle St. Paul must 
have been from good men among ourselves. We marvel how such 
various traits of character come together in the same individual. He 
who was " full of visions and revelations of the Lord," who spake 
with tongues more than they all, was not " mad, but uttered the 
words of truth and soberness." He who was the most enthusiastic 
of all men, was also the most prudent ; the Apostle of freedom, and 

A A 4 


yet the most moderate. He who was the strongest and most 
enlightened of all men, was also (would he have himself refrained 
from saying ?) at times the weakest ; on whom there came the care 
of all the Churches, yet seeming also to lose the power of acting in 
the absence of human sympathy. 

Qualities so like and unlike are hard to reconcile ; perhaps they 
have never been united in the same degree in any other human 
being. The contradiction in part arises not only from the Apostle 
being an extraordinary man, but from his being a man like ourselves 
in an extraordinary state. Creation was not to him that fixed order 
of things which it is to us; rather it was an atmosphere of evil 
just broken by the light beyond. To us the repose of the scene 
around contrasts with the turmoil of man s own spirit ; to the Apostle 
peace was to be sought only from within, half hidden even from the 
inner man. There was a veil upon the heart itself which had to be 
removed. He himself seemed to fall asunder at times into two 
parts, the flesh and the spirit ; and the world to be divided into two 
hemispheres, the one of the rulers of darkness, the other bright with 
that inward presence which should one day be revealed. In this 
twilight he lived. What to us is far off both in time and place, if 
such an expression may be allowed, to him was near and present, 
separated by a thin film from the world we see, ever ready to break 
forth and gather into itself the frame of nature. That sense of the 
invisible which to most men it is so difficult to impart, was like a 
second nature to St. Paul. He walked by faith, and not by sight ; 
what was strange to him was the life he now led ; which in his own 
often repeated language was death rather than life, the place of 
shadows and not of realities. The Greek philosophers spoke of a 
world of phenomena, of true being, of knowledge and opinion ; and 
we know that what they meant by these distinctions is something 
different from the tenets of any philosophical school of the present 
day. But not less different is what St. Paul meant by the life 
hidden with Christ and God, the communion of the Spirit, the pos 
session of the mind of Christ ; only that this was not a mere 


difference of speculation, but of practice also. Could any one say 
now, "the life" not that I live, but that "Christ liveth in me"? 
Such language with St. Paul is no mere phraseology, such as is 
repeated from habit in prayers, but the original consciousness of the 
Apostle respecting his own state. Self is banished from him, and 
has no more place in him, as he goes on his way to fulfil the work 
of Christ. No figure is too strong to express his humiliation in 
himself, or his exaltation in Christ. 

Could we expect this to be otherwise when we think of the 
manner of his conversion ? Could he have looked upon the world 
with the same eyes that we do, or heard its many voices with the 
same ears, who had been caught up into the seventh heaven, 
whether in the body or out of the body he could not tell ? (2 Cor. 
xii. 1-5.) Must not his life have seemed to him a revelation, an 
inspiration, an ecstasy ? Once and again he had seen the face of 
Christ, and heard Him speak from heaven. All that followed in 
the Apostle s history was the continuation of that first wonder, a 
stream of light flowing from it, "planting eyes" in his soul, trans 
figuring him " from glory to glory," clothing him with the elect " in 
the exceeding glory." 

Yet this glory was not that of the princes of this world, " who 
come to nought;" it is another image which he gives us of himself; 
not the figure on Mars hill, in the cartoons of Raphael, nor the 
orator with noble mien and eloquent gesture before Festus and 
Agrippa ; but the image of one lowly and cast down, whose " bodily 
presence was weak, and speech contemptible ;" of one who must 
have appeared to the rest of mankind like a visionary, pierced by 
the thorn in the flesh, " waiting for the redemption of the body." 
The saints of the middle ages are in many respects unlike St. Paul, 
and yet many of them bear a far closer resemblance to him than is 
to be found in Luther and the Reformers. The points of resem 
blance which we seem to see in them, are the same withdrawal from 
the things of earth, the same ecstasy, the same consciousness of the 
person of Christ. Who would describe Luther by the words " cruci- 


lied with Christ ? " It is in another manner that the Reformer was 
called upon to war, with weapons earthly as well as spiritual, with a 
strong right hand and a mighty arm. 

There have been those who, although deformed by nature, have 
worn the expression of a calm and heavenly beauty; in whom the 
flashing eye has attested the presence of thought in the poor withered 
and palsied frame. There have been others again, who have passed 
the greater part of their lives in extreme bodily suffering, who have, 
nevertheless, directed states or led armies, the keenness of whose 
intellect has not been dulled nor their natural force of mind abated. 
There have been those also on whose faces men have gazed "as 
upon the face of an angel," while they pierced or stoned them. Of 
such an one, perhaps, the Apostle himself might have gloried ; not 
of those whom men term great or noble. He who felt the whole 
creation groaning and travailing together until now was not like the 
Greek drinking in the life of nature at every pore. He who through 
Christ was " crucified to the world, and the world to him," was not 
in harmony with nature, nor nature with him. The manly form, the 
erect step, the fulness of life and beauty, could not have gone along 
with such a consciousness as this, any more than the taste for litera 
ture and art could have consisted with the thought, " not many wise, 
not many learned, not many mighty." Instead of these we have the 
visage marred more than the sons of men, " the cross of Christ which 
was to the Greeks foolishness," the thorn in the flesh, the marks in 
the body of the Lord Jesus, 

Often the Apostle St. Paul has been described as a person the 
furthest removed from enthusiasm ; incapable of spiritual illusion ; 
by his natural temperament averse to credulity or superstition. By 
such considerations as these a celebrated author confesses himself to 
have been converted to the belief in Christianity. And yet, if it is 
intended to reduce St. Paul to the type of what is termed " good 
sense" in the present day, it must be admitted that the view which 
thus describes him is but partially true. Far nearer the truth is that 
other quaint notion of a modern writer, " that St. Paul was the finest 


gentleman that ever lived ; " for no man had nobler forms of cour 
tesy or a deeper regard for the feelings of others. But " good sense" 
is a term not well adapted to express either the individual or the 
age and country in which he lived. He who wrought miracles, who 
had handkerchiefs carried to him from the sick, who spake with 
tongues more than they all, who lived amid visions and revelations 
of the Lord, who did not appeal to the Gospel as a thing long settled, 
but himself saw the process of revelation actually going on before 
his eyes, and communicated it to his fellow-men, could never have 
been such an one as ourselves. Nor can we pretend to estimate 
whether, in the modern sense of the term, he was capable of weigh 
ing evidence, or how far he would have attempted to sever between 
the workings of his own mind and the Spirit which was imparted 
to him. 

What has given rise to this conception of the Apostle s character 
has been the circumstance, that with what the world terms mysticism 
and enthusiasm are united a singular prudence and moderation, and 
a perfect humanity, searching the feelings and knowing the hearts of 
all men. " I became all things to all men that I might win some ;" 
not only, we may believe, as a sort of accommodation, but as the 
expression of the natural compassion and love which he felt for 
them. There is no reason to suppose that the Apostle took any 
interest in the daily life of men, in the great events which were 
befalling the Roman Empire, or in the temporal fortunes of the 
Jewish people. But when they came before him as sinners, lying in 
darkness and the shadow of God s wrath, ignorant of the mystery 
that was being revealed before their eyes, then his love was quick 
ened for them, then they seemed to him as his kindred and brethren ; 
there was no sacrifice too great for him to make; he was willing to 
die with Christ, yea, even to be accursed from Him that he might 
" save some of them." 

Mysticism, or enthusiasm, or intense benevolence and philan 
thropy, seem to us, as they commonly are, at variance with worldly 
prudence and moderation. But in the Apostle these different and 


contrasted qualities are mingled and harmonised. The mother 
watching over the life of her child, has all her faculties aroused and 
stimulated; she knows almost by instinct how to say or do the right 
thing at the right time ; she regards his faults with mingled love 
and sorrow. So, in the Apostle, we seem to trace a sort of refine 
ment or nicety of feeling, when he is dealing with the souls of men. 
All his knowledge of mankind shows itself for their sakes ; and yet 
not that knowledge of mankind which comes from without, revealing 
itself by experience of men and manners, by taking a part in events, 
by the insensible course of years making us learn from what we 
have seen and suffered. There is another experience that comes 
from within, which begins with the knowledge of self, with the 
consciousness of our own weakness and imfirmities ; which is con 
tinued in love to others and in works of good to them ; which grows 
by singleness and simplicity of heart. Love becomes the interpreter 
of how men think, and feel, and act ; and supplies the place of, or 
passes into a worldly prudence wiser than, the prudence of this world. 
Such is the worldly prudence of St. Paul. 

Once more ; there is in the Apostle, not only prudence and know 
ledge of the human heart, but a kind of subtlety of moderation, 
which considers every conceivable case, and balances one with 
another; in the last resort giving no rule, but allowing all to be 
superseded by a more general principle. An instance of this subtle 
moderation is his determination, or rather omission to determine the 
question of meats and drinks, which he first regards as indifferent, 
secondly, as depending on men s own conscience, and this again as 
limited by the consciences of others, and lastly resolves all these 
finer precepts into the general principle, " Whatever ye do, do all to 
the glory of God." The same qualification of one principle by 
another recurs again in his rules respecting marriage. First, " do 
not marry unbelievers," and " let not the wife depart from her 
husband." But if you are married and the unbeliever is willing to 
remain, then the spirit of the second precept must prevail over the 
first. Only in an extreme case, where both parties are willing to 


dissolve the tie, the first principle in turn may again supersede the 
second. It may be said in the one case, " your children are holy ; " 
in the other, " What knowest thou, O wife, if thou shalt save thy hus 
band ?" In a similar spirit he withdraws his censure on the incestuous 
person, lest such an one, criminal as he was, should be swallowed up 
with overmuch sorrow. There is a religious aspect of either course 
of conduct, and either may be right under given circumstances. So 
the kingdoms of this world admit of being regarded almost as the 
kingdom of God, in reference to our duties towards their rulers ; and 
yet touching the going to law before unbelievers, we are to think 
rather of that other kingdom in which we shall judge angels. 

The Gospel, it has been often remarked, lays down principles 
rather than rules. The passages in the Epistles of St. Paul which 
seem to be exceptions to this statement, are exceptions in appearance 
rather than reality. They are relative to the circumstances of those 
whom he is addressing. He who became " all things to all men," 
would have been the last to insist on temporary regulations for his 
converts being made the rule of Christian life in all ages. His 
manner of Church government is so unlike a rule or law, that we 
can hardly imagine how the Apostle, if he could return to earth, 
would combine the freedom of the Gospel with the requirements of 
Christianity as an established institution. He is not a bishop 
administering a regular system, but a person dealing immediately 
with other. persons out of the fulness of his own mind and nature. 
His writings are like spoken words, temporary, occasional, adapted 
to other men s thoughts and feelings, yet not without an eternal 
meaning. In sending his instructions to the Churches he is ever 
with them, and seems to follow in his mind s eye their workin- and 
effect ; whither his Epistles go he goes in thought, absent, in his 
own language, " in the body, but present in spirit." What he says 
to the Churches, he seems to make them say : what he directs them 
to do, they are to do in that common spirit in which they are united 
with him ; if they live he lives ; time and distance never snap the 
cord of sympathy. His government of them is a sort of communion 


with them ; a receiving of their feelings and a pouring forth of his 
own : he is the heart or pulse which beats through the Christian 

Arid with this communion of himself and his converts, this care of 
daily life, there mingles the vision of " the great family in heaven and 
earth," " the Church which is his body," in which the meaner reality 
is enfolded or wrapt up, "sphered in a radiant cloud," even in its low 
estate. The language of the Epistles often exercises an illusion on our 
minds when thinking of the primitive Church ; individuals perhaps 
there were who truly partook of that light with which the Apostle 
encircled them; there may have been those in the Churches of Corinth, 
or Ephesus, or Galatia, who were living on earth the life of heaven. 
But the ideal which fills the Apostle s mind has not, necessarily, a 
corresponding fact in the actual state of his converts. The beloved 
family of the Apostle, the Church of which such " glorious things 
are told," is often in tumult and disorder. His love is constantly a 
source of pain to him : he watches over them " with a godly 
jealousy," and finds them "affecting others rather than himself." 
They are always liable to be " spoiled " by some vanity of phi 
losophy, some remembrance of Judaism, which, like au epidemic, 
carries off whole Churches at once, and seems to exercise a fatal 
power over them. He is a father harrowed and agonised in his 
feelings ; he loves more and suffers more than other men ; he will 
not think, he cannot help thinking, of the ingratitude and insolence 
of his children ; he tries to believe, he is persuaded, that all is well ; 
he denounces, he forgives ; he defends himself, he is ashamed of 
defending himself; he is the herald of his own deeds when others 
neglect or injure him; he is ashamed of this too, and retires into 
himself, to be at peace with Christ and God. So we seem to read 
the course of the Apostle s thoughts in more than one passage of his 
writings, beginning with the heavenly ideal, and descending to the 
painful realities of actual life, especially at the close of the Second 
Epistle to the Corinthians, altogether, perhaps, the most character 
istic picture of the Apostle s mind ; and in the last words to the 


Galatians, "Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my 
body the marks of the Lord Jesus." 

Great men (those, at least, who present to us the type of earthly 
greatness) are sometimes said to possess the power of command, but not 
the power of entering into the feelings of others. They have no fear 
of their fellows, they are not affected by their opinions or prejudices, 
but neither are they always capable of immediately impressing them, 
or of perceiving the impression which their words or actions make 
upon them. Often they live in a kind of solitude on which other 
men do not venture to intrude; putting forth their strength on 
particular occasions, careless or abstracted about the daily concerns 
of life. Such was not the greatness of the Apostle St. Paul ; not 
only in the sense in which he says that " he could do all things 
through Christ," but in a more earthly and human one, was it true, 
that his strength was his weakness and his weakness his strength. 
His dependence on others was also the source of his influence over 
them. His natural character was the type of that communion of the 
Spirit which he preached ; the meanness of appearance which he 
attributes to himself, the image of that contrast which the Gospel 
presents to human greatness. Glorying and humiliation ; life and 
death ; a vision of angels strengthening him, the " thorn in the flesh" 
rebuking him ; the greatest tenderness, not without sternness ; sorrows 
above measure, consolations above measure ; are some of the contra 
dictions which were reconciled in the same man. It is not a long 
life of ministerial success on which he is looking back a little before 
his death, where he says, " I have fought the good fight, I have 
finished my course, I have kept the faith." These words are sadly 
illustrated by another verse of the same Epistle, " This thou knowest, 
that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me." (2 Tim. 
i. 15.) So when the contrast was at its height, he passed away, 
rejoicing in persecution also, and "filling up that which was behind 
of the afflictions of Christ for his body s sake." Many, if not most, 
of his followers had forsaken him, and there is no certain memorial of 
the manner of his death. Let us look once more a little closer at that 


" visage marred " in his Master s service, as it appeared about three 
years before on a well known scene. A poor aged man, worn by 
some bodily or mental disorder, who had been often scourged, and 
bore on his face the traces of indignity and sorrow in every form 
such an one, led out of prison between Roman soldiers, probably at 
times faltering in his utterance, the creature, as he seemed to specta 
tors, of nervous sensibility; yearning, almost with a sort of fondness, 
to save the souls of those whom he saw around him*, spoke a few 
eloquent words in the cause of Christian truth, at which kings were 
awed, telling the tale of his own conversion with such simple pathos, 
that after ages have hardly heard the like. 

Such is the image, not which Christian art has delighted to con 
secrate, but which the Apostle has left in his own writings of 
himself; an image of true wisdom, and nobleness, and affection, but 
of a wisdom unlike the wisdom of this world ; of a nobleness which 
must not be transformed into that of the heroes of the world ; an 
affection which seemed to be as strong and as individual towards 
all mankind, as other men are capable of feeling towards a siDgle 

" The Thorn in the Flesh." 

"It seems that as he entered into manhood, he had to fight a hard 
battle with his animal passions. On one side temptation assailed 
him powerfully, and on the other his ardent love for all that was 
good and noble held him back from the paths of vice. He was 
accustomed to rise from his bed at the earliest dawn, and kneeling 
before the altar, pray there to God for help and strength. He 
implored that a check might be given to these desires, that some 
affliction might be sent him to keep him always armed against 
temptation, and that the spirit might be enabled to master the weak 
ness of the body. Heaven granted his prayer, and sent this sickness 

* Gal. ii. 20., iv. 14., vi. 17.; 1 Cor. xv. 32.; 2 Cor. i. 9., vi. 12., x. 10., 
xi. 2327., xii. 710.; Phil. ver. 9. 


to him, which Asser describes as a kind of fit. For many years he 
suffered excruciating pain from it, so that he often despaired of his 
own life. One day, whilst hunting in Cornwall, he alighted at the 
chapel of St. Guerir, in the solitude of a rocky valley, where St. 
Neot afterwards took refuge and died. The prince, who from a 
child loved to visit all sacred places, prostrated himself before the 
altar in silent prayer to God for mercy. He had long been oppressed 
by a dread of being unfitted for his royal office by his bodily infirmi 
ties, or of becoming an object of contempt in the eyes of men by 
leprosy and blindness. This fear now inspired him to implore 
deliverance from such misery ; he was ready to bear any less severe, 
nay any other trial, so that he might be enabled to fulfil his appointed 
duties. Not long after his return from that hunting expedition, an 
answer was vouchsafed to his fervent prayer, and the malady 
departed from him. 

"And now at the moment of his marriage, when the wedding 
guests were feasting and rejoicing in the banquet-hall, that other 
trial came for which he had prayed. Anguish and trembling sud 
denly took hold upon him, and from that time to the date when 
Asser wrote, and indeed during his whole life, he was never secure 
from an attack of this disease. There were seasons when it seemed 
to incapacitate him for the discharge of any duty temporal or 
spiritual, but an interval of ease, though it lasted only a night, or a 
day, or even an hour, would always re-establish his powers. In 
spite of these bodily afflictions, which probably were of an epileptic 
nature, the inflexible strength of his will enabled him to rise above 
the heaviest cares that were ever laid on a sovereign." Pauli s 
Life of Alfred. 

This is a remarkable parallel. The words of Luther should be 
added : " Ah ! no, dear Paul, it was not that manner of temptation 
that troubled thee." 

VOL. I. B B 



IN the Third Section of the Epistle the Apostle proceeds to the 
application of the argument which has gone before: "Ye are 
not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free ; with that free 
dom Christ has made you free ; stand, therefore, and be not again 
entangled in the yoke of bondage to the law." This is enforced by 
a personal appeal, in which the Apostle sets forth with great earnest 
ness the contrariety of the law and Christ. He who receives the 
seal of the law is involved in all its obligations. He is not half Jew 
and half believer in Christ, but wholly a Jew and no longer a believer. 
The law and Christ (like the law and the promise) are exclusive of 
each other. For the life of the Spirit, which is in Christ, has 
nothing to do with circumcision or uncircumcision ; it is different in 
kind from either (1 6.). 

The latter portion of nearly all the Epistles of St. Paul is remark 
able for abruptness of style. The Apostle passes from one subject 
to another, dropping the intervening links by which they are asso 
ciated in his own mind. New thoughts are suddenly introduced ; 
old ones unexpectedly come back again. His manner is that of a 
person speaking rather than writing ; he is full of animation, saying 
what occurs to him without always expressing the point which he 
intends. In the verses that follow (7 13.), contrary emotions draw 
him different ways; and he seems almost to lose the power of 
arranging his words. There was a time, he would say, when you 
promised well ; who has persuaded you to rebel ? This persuasion 
is not of God ; it is a delusion of the enemy. The error of a few 
leavens the mass. Looking forward in faith, I perceive that ye will 


hereafter be of one mind, and that the troublers of the Church shall 
themselves be the sufferers. And yet, brethren, when I think of 
their strange and inconsistent charges against myself, I cannot but 
feel indignant. Is it likely that they would persecute me if I still 
preached circumcision ? And then, with a momentary feeling of 
disgust at the whole subject, he adds in irony: Would that they 
would make themselves eunuchs who trouble you ! That would 
indeed cut off the matter in dispute. 

For the Divine call which you received is very different from the 
call which they teach. It was a calling unto liberty ; I do not mean 
licentiousness, but that liberty which is a service of love to one 
another. For love is the single word which fulfils the law. How 
unlike are ye to the servants of that law! the end of whose bicker 
ings and jealousies is mutual destruction (13 15.). 

All my precepts may be summed up in one : "Walk in the Spirit 
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." For there are two 
ways ; the way of the flesh, and the way of the Spirit : and these 
are contrary the one to the other, and their fruits are like them 
(16 24.). We who are spiritual should walk in the Spirit, humbling 
our hearts in consideration of others, forgiving their slips and 
bearing their burdens. It is mere self-deception to think ourselves 
above this. Every man who tries himself will find he has a burden 
of his own. A particular instance of this duty of mutual support 
is the duty of supporting teachers, in which, as in all other Christian 
duties, we must be single and indefatigable, ready to do good to all 
men, and especially to members of the Church (v. 24 vi. 10.). 

Look, says the Apostle, at the large and misshapen letters which 
I am tracing with mine own hand. A word more, and I have done. 
Those who would have you circumcised, act only on motives of 
expediency ; their object is to keep well with the Jewish Christians ; 
their own inconsistency in the observance of the law is a suf 
ficient proof that they desire only to glory in you as their dis 
ciples. But God forbid that I should glory in you, or in anything 

B B 2 


but that which is at the same time the symbol of humiliation, the 
cross of Christ. The question of circumcision or uncircumcision I 
count as nothing in comparison with a change of heart. This is my 
rule. Peace be upon them who walk by it, and are "Israelites 

Reverence me henceforth ; for I bear the person of Christ, and fill 
up the measure of His sufferings. The grace of Christ be with your 


. crn^/cere o3i> 2 , 5 


TTJ e\ev0pia * 7] 

Kal ^TI TraXiv ^vyoj SouXeias 

*lSe iyoj JTauXo? Xeya> u/xii> on ea^ Trepirep.prjo de, -^pu- 2 
OTTOS iy/,a9 ouSe^ ax^eXTjcret p.apTvpofJLaL Se TraXiz/ Travri 3 

1 Add oSi/ . 

2 Om. o5f. 

V. Most of St. Paul s Epistles 
terminate with a practical appli 
cation. This application com 
mences, in the Epistle to the 
Galatians, with the present chap 
ter. Yet here, too, the thread 
of doctrine reappears in v. 17, 
18., vi. 15. 

The main subject of the Epistle 
has been " the liberty of the 
Gospel." No terms can be too 
strong to express its value ; it is 
impossible to over estimate the 
clanger of yielding the least point 
which implies or involves the 
whole. But even this first prin 
ciple of the faith of Christ has 
an error or exaggeration which 
follows in its train; and at verse 
13. the Apostle goes on to pre 
sent the reverse side also. Liberty 
may become the cloak of licen 
tiousness, just as the doctrine of 
grace may lead men to continue 
in sin. Freedom from the law is 
good, but this freedom must be 
also in a higher sense a fulfil 
ment of the law in love. That 
fulfilment of the law is given by 
the Spirit, which leads not merely 
to a barren abstraction of freedom, 
but to walking in the Spirit, and 
bringing forth the works of the 
Spirit. As in Rom. viii. 5 16., 
the Apostle draws out the nature 
of the Spirit in contrast with the 

1. There is great variation of 
reading in this verse. The prin 
cipal differences are those adopted 
into their respective editions by 

Lachmann and Tischendorf: 
r// iXevOeptq. y >;/iac yjpiaroQ rjXeu- 
Oepuffev ari]Kf.T) Kal ^r) TraXiv vyy 
SovXtiag eve^eaOs. Tisch.; and rij 
iXevfapitp fjpdg y^picrroc fjXevBepii)- 
aei . 0r$cerc ovv /cat pjj iraXiv v- 
ya) 8ovXc/ctc ive^eaOe. Lach. ; out 
of the confusion of which the 
common reading appears to have 
arisen, which places the ovv after 
eXtvdeply. Lachmann s reading is 
the more spirited, though not 
wholly free from objections, the 
greatest being the use of the 
cognate word after fiXevdtpuxrer, 
without an adjective. This may 
be avoided by taking rjj iXevdepiq. 
in close connection with the pre 
ceding verse, " With this liberty 
Christ made us free ; " that is, 
with the liberty which belongs to 
us as the children of the free. 

0rn|Crc ovv /ecu ^17 TraXtv, K. T. X., 
Stand therefore., and be not again 
entangled with the yoke of bon 
dage.^ Why "again"? Because 
they had been under the law 
previously, though whether any 
of them had become proselytes, 
as we only know of their previous 
state from the allusions of the 
Epistle, is uncertain. We cannot 
suppose that either here or at 
iv. 9. (see notes) St. Paul uses 
these expressions merely from a 
warmth of temperament, which 
makes him speak from his own 
point of view rather than that of 
his converts. Modern writers 
have delighted to trace an analogy 
between the prior state of Jew 



5 With that freedom Christ hath made us free. Stand 
fast therefore, and be not entangled again with the 
yoke of bondage. 1 

2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circum- 

3 cised, Christ shall profit you nothing. And* I testify 

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. 

and Gentile : " God who at sun 
dry times and in divers manners 
spake in time past to the fathers 
by the prophets," according to 
the strained interpretation which 
has been sometimes put upon 
these words : or as the same 
thought has been expressed by 
Goethe from a very different 
point of view, " The Mosaic re 
ligion was the first of the Ethnic 
religions, but still Ethnic." But 
there is no proof that the Apostle, 
casting his eyes over the past, 
regarded all mankind as subject 
to one prior dispensation. That 
unity is the peculiar character 
istic of the Gospel : " There is 
neither Jew nor Greek, bond 
nor free, but all one in Christ 

2. "Ic) eyo> riai}Xo Xf yw vfjur."] 
The Apostle repeats his own 
name, as an expression of earnest 
ness. Compare 2 Cor. x. 1. avroz 
e)e eyw IlavXoG Trapa/caXw vfiaQ. 
I Thess. ii. 18.; Phil. ver. 19. 

on iav TrepirefJirrjarSE, that if ye 
be circumcised.^ The Apostle 
himself was a living witness that 
it was possible for one who was 
circumcised to be a disciple of 
Christ, and his companion Ti 
mothy had been circumcised by 
his command. Is it not extrava 
gant, then, that he should say to 
the Galatians, " if ye be circum 
cised, Christ shall profit you no 
thing?" At that time, under the 
particular circumstances of the 

Church, he felt the question to be 
one of life and death, of Judaism 
and of Christianity; was the 
principle of the Gospel to bo 
spiritual or carnal? was the cross 
of Christ to be hindered by ex 
ternal obligations? The Gala 
tians had begun with Judaism, 
but they " had gone on to per 
fection." Now the Judaizing 
teachers were trying to persuade 
them that this perfection was a 
narrower observance of Judaism, 
that Christianity was only circum 
cision. They were to become pro 
selytes of righteousness, instead 
of proselytes of the gate. This 
is what the Apostle denounces as 
irreconcilable with the Gospel. 

3. paprvpopat Se, and I testify. ] 
In the same earnest tone the 
Apostle proceeds to urge the ar 
gument from consistency. If the 
Gentiles compel themselves "to 
live as do the Jews," they must 
do so wholly. Circumcision was 
the sign and pledge that they 
would keep the law, not in one 
point only, but in all. It was 
the seal of another master, who 
enforced entire obedience. He 
who was circumcised had no 
part in Christ or Christ in him. 
Or, if we take the words more ge 
nerally, and omit the further allu 
sion. the performing of a single 
point of the law implied the 
principle of obedience to the 
law, and in practice was liable 
to lead to it. Obedience to the 

D B 4 



[CH. V. 

on 6</>eiXer7?9 Icrrlv o\ov TOP vo 

KaTrjpyTJ0r)T. 0/770 1 
KaiovcrOe, TTJS yapiTos e^eTrecrare. 

eV VO^M Si- 4 

yap uvevfJiaTi K 5 
eV yap ^ICTTGJ 6 
Irjcrov ovre Trep 1x0^77 n tcr^vei oure d/cpoySvoTia, dXXd 
TTICTTIS St dyavr^? eVepyoty^eV^. 

KaXais rts V/ACXS eVefcoi//ez> TT? akrjOeia p,rj Tret- 7 

1 Add rot). 

law could not coexist with the 
principle of salvation through 
Christ, which did not by any 
means remit obedience, but re 
quired an obedience of a higher 
and different kind. 

In other passages, the Apostle 
exhorts men to overlook lesser 
points of difference, such as the 
eating of meat or herbs, the ob 
servance of days, the eating of 
meats offered to idols ; Rom. xiv., 
1 Cor. viii. In such cases, the 
double rule of faith and charity 
should operate ; it is quite con 
sistent to be free from scruples 
ourselves, and yet to be tender to 
those of others. But there are 
cases in which it is equally im 
portant to yield nothing, because 
the very least concession implies 
everything. The principle ex 
pressed in the words, " I will eat 
no meat as long as the world 
standeth, lest I make my brother 
to offend," has to be balanced and 
modified by the other principle, 
" I testify again to every man 
that is circumcised, that he is a 
debtor to keep the whole law." 
And the Spirit of both must be 
at last regulated by the words 
which follow : " Neither cir 
cumcision availeth anything, nor 
uncircumcision, but faith which 
worketh by love." Compare Es 
say on Casuistry. 

SI is adversative, not to the 

preceding verse, but to the doc 
trine which the Apostle is oppos 
ing; as in 1 Thess. ii. 16. he is 
answering his own thought. 

TraXi/] referring to the pre 
ceding verse ; compare iv. 9. 

Trepir^ui/ojufVw.] "Who is cir- 
cumcised;" or, with a more dis 
tinct expression of the form of 
the present, who "is being cir 

The word otyeiXerrjs is possibly 
suggested by the sound of w^e- 
Xijfrei, j ust before. Compare Rom. 
xii. 13, 14.; infra vi. 9, 10. 

4. /carapycl* , in its original 
meaning, signifies to annul or do 
away with ; and hence with CITTO, 
to destroy or annul the connection 
of two things. Comp. iii. 17.; 
Rom. vii. 2 6. 

5. It is an obsolete fiction of in 
terpreters to say that yap is here 
put for fo . St. Paul could not 
have meant by yap, "but our case 
is different." yap truly expresses 
the reason of what preceded, re 
garded from a peculiar point of 
view. "For we, the true be 
lievers, are different from you, 
and look for the hope of righte 
ousness through faith." The 
harshness of the ellipse may be 
further softened by supposing 
TtvivpaTi to correspond to aapKi 
or some similar expression un 
derstood in the preceding verses. 
For a like use of yup in con- 



again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a 
4 debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no 

effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the 
5. law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the 

6 Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For 
in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, 
nor uncircumcision ; but faith which worketh by love. 

7 Ye did run well ; who did hinder you that ye should 

trast, comp. Rom. i. 18.; Gal. iii. 

TrvevfjiaTi, by the Spirit.^ The 
Spirit is the communion of the 
Spirit of God, of which all are 
partakers, faith being the link 
which joins us to this communion, 
whereby we wait for the hope of 
righteousness : t\7UQ ^iKaio(rvrr]Q 
may mean either the hope which 
righteousness entertains, or the 
hope which is righteousness. 

6. iv yap XPKTTU) Iqo-oiJ.] The 
connection of this verse is made 
by TT/orte, which refers to EK TTI- 
(TTU)Q in the preceding. For we 
by faith wait for the hope of 
righteousness ,- for, with the be 
liever who dwells in Christ, it is 
faith only that avails, and not 
circumcision or uncircumcision. 
Compare vi. 15. The train of 
thought is slightly obscured by 
the Apostle, as his manner is, 
having first expressed negatively 
what he afterwards expresses 

3i ayaTnjc ) pyou^j r?.] There 
is no trace in the writings of 
St. Paul of the opposition of 
faith and love which is found in 
Luther. Such an opposition did 
not exist in the language of Christ 
and his Apostles. It came from 
the schools ; Luther was driven 
to adopt it by the exigencies of 
controversy. At some point or 
other it was necessary to draw a 

line between the Catholic and 
Reformed doctrine of justifica 
tion. Was it to include works 
as well as faith? but, if not, was 
love to be a coefficient in the 
work of justification? Luther 
felt this difficulty, and tried to 
preserve the doctrine from the 
alloy of self-righteousness and 
external acts by the formula of 
" faith only." 

The necessity has passed away, 
and Christian feeling and the 
common sense of mankind find a 
truer reflection in the indefinite 
language of Scripture itself. Whe 
ther we say that we are justified 
by faith, or by love, or by faith 
working by love or by grace, or 
by the indwelling of Christ, or 
of the Spirit of Christ, the dif 
ference is one of words, and not 
of things. For although these 
distinctions admit of being de 
fined by logic, and have been 
made the basis of opposing sys 
tems of theology, the point of 
view in which the writers of 
Scripture regard them is not that 
of difference, but of sameness. 
The words of St. Paul are equally 
far removed from a protest against 
Protestant doctrine and against 
Catholic doctrine; they belong to 
another world. 

7. Erpe^7-f f,-aXwc.] The Apo- 
stle proceeds in a mixed tone of 
censure and praise: " You were 



[On. V. 

07 Treio-^ovyj OVK IK TOV KaXovvros v/xas. (JLutpa ^ 
o\ov TO (j^vpa^a JjjfJiol. lya) [SeJ 1 TreVoifla eis v//,as 10 
eV Kvpiw, on ov8e> aXXo (^po^crere 6 Se rapacrcrco^ vfjias 
/3acrracrt TO KplfJLa, OCTTIS av 77. eya> Se, dSeX^ot, ei Trepi- 11 
ty en Krjpvo-cra), ri ert Stw/co/xai ; apa KaTTJpyrjTcu, TO 
1 Om. 5e. 

running well, who is it that has 
hindered (jrciceijkp) you?" or, ac 
cording to an ancient various 
reading which has disappeared 
in our extant copies, "who has 
smitten you back (a.vtKo^f) that 
you should not obey the truth?" 
As though he said: "I once 
thought well of you, but you are 
not what you were. I cannot 
account for this change; it is not 
natural to you; there is some one 
at the bottom of it." 

8. IK rov Ka\ovvTOQ.~\ Not the 
Apostle, but God, who in the 
language of St. Paul is always 
spoken of as " the caller." Comp. 

9. fiLKpa 17*77, a little leaven."] 
A proverbial expression, which 
occurs also 1 Cor. v. 6., and forms 
in St. Luke xiii. 21. the ground 
work of a parable of our Lord. "A 
little leaven leaveneth the whole 
lump;" that is, a little evil gradu 
ally spreads universal corruption. 
The allusion, however, admits of 
being drawn out in more than 
oneway. (1.) The minute point 
of circumcision involves the ob 
ligation of the whole law; or, (2.) 
the false teachers, though few in 
number and insignificant in influ 
ence, are yet drawing after them 
the whole Church. The latter is 
favoured by the connection. 

10. yw (CJE) TreTrotda EIQ vfiac, 
Howbeitlhave confidence. ] These 
words, whether with or without 
Be, form an antithesis to the pre 
ceding. A few persons work 

great evil in a community; but I 
am confident in you that ye will 
not change. Such is the hope or 
aspiration of the Apostle, -ni- 
Troitia kv -9-ew has been translated, 
" I put my trust in God." This, 
however, hardly expresses the 
subtilty of the language. He 
adds kv Kvpiy after TrtVotfla in the 
same way as after Xey^j or an y 
other word, all acts of the Chris 
tian being described as done in 
God and Christ. 

ov^fV aXXo,] nothing else than 
what I taught you. 

6 cte Tapacrcrwv vfjidg ficiffraffei 
TO Kpi/ju.] Above, we had the 
plural (i. 7.); here, the singular, 
possibly in reference to a parti 
cular individual who was known 
to the Apostle, and whom he de 
signates contemptuously as OOTLQ 
av rj. Comp. OTroloi TTOTE rjcrar, 
in chap. ii. 6. I am confident in 
you, the false teachers I leave 
to God; they shall be punished 
in the day of visitation. 

11. gyw c? , ctfteX^o/.] It would 
seem from this verse that St. Paul 
had been charged with preaching 
circumcision. As he had said 
to Peter, "If thou, being a Jew, 
livest as do the Gentiles;" so 
the accusation had been brought 
against himself, " If thou, being 
an Apostle of the Gentiles, art 
circumcised and allowedst Ti 
mothy to be circumcised, and 
shavest thy head for a vow after 
the manner of the Jews, why dost 
thou declare circumcision and the 




s not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of 
9 him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole 
lump. Howbeit 1 I have confidence in you through the 
Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded : but he 
that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever 
a he be. But I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, 
why do I yet suffer persecution ? then has* the offence of 

1 Om. Howbeit. 

law unnecessary which thou thy 
self practisest?" Such a charge 
may have been his enemies mode 
of expressing that to the Jews he 
became as a Jew, that he might 
gain the Jews. (1 Cor. ix. 20.) 
Comp. vi. 13., where he retorts 
the inconsistency that " neither 
do they who are circumcised keep 
the law;" also, ii. 14., iv. 21.; 
and for the adversative & , vi. 14. 

There is no reason to mistrust 
the meaning of plain words be 
cause we know nothing of the 
circumstance to which they al 

Similar covert answers to other 
charges occur in the Epistles to 
the Corinthians. (1 Cor. ix. 1. 7.; 
2 Cor. x. 7.) At Corinth, too, 
he seems to have been accused, 
amid many other calumnies, of 
not " being of Christ " in that 
special sense in which his oppo 
nents claimed to be so. Had we 
that other Epistle which the 
Church at Corinth addressed to 
the Apostle, it would furnish a 
remarkable commentary on the 
two Epistles to the Corinthians. 
Had we the other side of the 
controversy with the Galatians, 
the obscurity which rests on se 
veral passages of the Epistle 
would probably be removed. 

A difficulty remains respecting 
the connection of the eleventh 
verse with what precedes. Two 

trains of thought appear to meet 
in it: first, Why am I persecuted? 
but secondly, My persecution is 
a disproof of the charge that I 
yet preach circumcision. In the 
last verse it is declared that the 
troubler shall bear his burden; 
that suggests the thought, "But 
why should I bear a burden?" 
Still we have to seek a connection 
for the words, " if I preach cir 
cumcision," which it has been 
suggested might be given, by 
supposing that this very charge 
was brought by the person of 
whom he has been speaking. It 
is better to leave the connection 
than to seek to find one in sup 
positions which can neither be 
proved nor disproved. The first 
fTi may refer to the form in 
which the Galatians brought their 
charge against him: " You still 
preach circumcision yourself," 
implying a reference not denied 
by himself (2 Cor. v. 16.) to a 
time when the tone of his preach 
ing or practice had been different, 
when, according to another enig 
matical expression, "he knew 
Christ according to the flesh." 
(Compare Introduction to 1 Thes- 
salonians.) The second eYt may 
be explained "why notwithstand 
ing," or " why after this fact." 

apa KaTi ipyr)Ta.i TO GKav%a\ov 
rov oravpoi)] may be read without 
difference of meaning, either with 



[CH. V. 

crK:dVSaXoi> rov crravpov. o(f>e\ov Kal aTroKoifjovraL ol ava- 12 
crraroiWeg VJJLOLS. 

TfJLeis yap CTT eXeu#epia eK\rf0r)T, dSeX<^oi povov /XT) is 
rrjv IXevOepiav eis afyop^v rfj crapKL, dXXd Sid rrjs dydV^g 
SouXeuere dXX^Xot?. 6 yap ?ras z d/xos ez^ ez>! Xdya> 77677X17- u 
pamu 1 , e^ ra> Ayatnja-eLs TOV Trkqcriov aov ws <reavToi>. is 
et Se dXX^Xovs Sd/c^ere /cat /carecr^iere, /JXeVere ^T? 77 

or without a question. In either 
case it is most agreeable to the 
connection to take the words 
ironically : " Then you have 
nothing more to say against me, 
I am to infer ; or, Am I to infer 
that the offence of the cross has 
ceased?" It is observable that, 
not Christ Himself, but the cross 
of Christ, is spoken of as the pe 
culiar object of Jewish hatred. 
The reason seems to be, that it 
was the symbol of that Gospel 
which was most opposed to the 
belief in a Jewish Messiah ; that 
Gospel which was preached by 
St. Paul among the Gentiles. 
Even in St. John there are not 
many allusions to the cross or to 
the death of Christ, in comparison 
with the allusions to his birth 
and life. The Word becoming 
flesh is the great theme ; not the 
doctrine of the cross, which is 
spoken of as a sign rather of the 
exaltation of Christ than of His 
humiliation. " As Moses lifted 
up the serpent;" and "I, if I be 
lifted up from the earth, shall 
draw all men after me." It is 
otherwise with St. Paul ; that 
which expresses his innermost 
feeling respecting the truth, 
which most perfectly describes 
the contrast of the Gospel with 
the world, which is the most 
complete condemnation of the 

law, which seems also to be the 
figure or rather the reality of his 
own suffering state, is the cross 
of Christ. 

12. ofaXov Kal a.TroKo^m>rai.~\ 
Would that they would make 
themselves eunuchs who trouble 
you ; that they would not only 
circumcise, (/ou) but make them 
selves incapable of the privi 
leges of circumcision ! Such 
is the common interpretation of 
the Fathers, confirmed by the 
use of language in the LXX. 
Compare Deut. xxiii. 1. : OVK 
el<T\EVfferai OXuciag ov^e cnroKeKo/ji- 
p.ivog EIQ KK\Y)ffiav Kvpiov. The 
authorised translation fails (I.) 
in giving a passive sense to the 
middle form ; and (2.) in the 
meaning which it assigns to the 
verb, which, though a literal 
translation of aTroicoTrrai , is here 
used in a different sense from 
that in which the word "cut 
off" is the interpretation of the 

The irony of the passage is in 
some degree illustrated by Phil, 
iii. 2. (jTEpLTopi} and /cararo/i//), 
where the Apostle not only uses 
the word ^Eptropj in a spiritual 
sense ; but adopts another word, 
with no religious association, to 
signify the mere outward act or 
operation. Compare also Matt, 
xix. 12. 



12 the cross ceased. I would that they would even make 
themselves* eunuchs which trouble you. 

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty ; only 
use not your* liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but 

H by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled 
in one word, even in this ; Thou shalt love thy neigh- 

15 bour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, 
take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 

13. Ypelc yap TT iXevQept 

For a moment the style 
changes from passionate exhorta 
tion to argument: "For the 
Gospel which they preach is very 
different from the Gospel of free 
dom whereunto ye are called." 
So, above, the Apostle recalls the 
time of their conversion as a re 
membrance likely to affect them 
(iii. 2.). 7n , as in Heb. viii. 6. 
and elsewhere, without distinc 
tion of the condition and object. 

The freedom of the Gospel im 
plies (1.) the freedom from the 
burden of ordinances ; (2.) from 
the consciousness of sin ; (3.) 
also, the communion of the Spirit, 
" Where the Spirit of the Lord 
is, there is liberty." It is a new 
power and gift, as well as an 
absence of old restraints. 

fjiovov JUT) ri]v eXevdepiav ei 
a^opjuTjj .] Yet remember that 
this liberty to which you are 
called is not the freedom of the 
flesh. Your liberty is also a 
service, the service to one another 
through love. 

In the Epistle to the Romans, 
the Gospel is spoken of as the 
law of the spirit of life ; a similar 
turn is here given to the freedom 
of the Gospel, which may be 
looked on in a different light as 
a service also. Comp. Rom. vi. 
22. : " When ye were freed from 

sin, ye were made the servants of 

The best way of explaining 
the construction by the rules of 
grammar is to take TIJV tXtvQepiav 
as an accusative in apposition 
with the previous sentence : "that 
calling unto liberty;" although 
in the New Testament it is, per 
haps, better still to leave the 
analogy of classical Greek, and be 
satisfied with the broken sentence. 

14. For the whole law is ful 
filled in the performance of a 
single precept, " Thou shalt love 
thy neighbour as thyself." Com 
pare Rom. xiii. 8. : 6 ayairwv TOV 
erepov v6fj.ov 7rTrXr)p(t)K. TreTrA//- 
pwrcu is an instance of the em 
phatic use of the prsesens perfec- 
tum, which may be paralleled 
with the emphatic use of the 
future perfect. 

The law had been the source 
of the^ divisions which arose in 
the Galatian Church; and yet, 
what was the law ? nothing but 
the command to love one another. 
Again the Apostle turns the 
meaning of words inside out: 
he seems to say, "Tell me, ye 
that desire to be under the law, 
do ye not hear the law ? " It 
condemns you. 

15. But if ye bite and devour 
each other, see whether this must 
not end in your mutual destruc- 



[Cn. V. 

Aeyo) Se, Trvev^aTi TrepLrraTtLTe, Kal iTTiOv^iav crap/cos ov 16 
p,f] reXe cn^re. 77 yap crap 7ri0vp,el Kara rov Tn/ev/x-arog, TO 17 
Se Trvev^a Kara r^s crap/cog * ra^ra yap 1 dXXTyXoig d 

rcurra Troirre. ei 

i Se 


rac, IVa /XT) a [ea^] 
ciyecrOe, OVK ecrre VTTO vo^cv. (pavepa Se IGTLV ra ejoya TTyg 19 
crap/cog, arwa IcrTiv, 3 iropveia aKaOapcria dcre Xyeca eiSa>Xo- 20 
Xarpeia (^ap^aKeia e^Opai epig 77X05 4 ^Ujitoi epiOelai 



tion. It was another purpose 
than this for which the law was 
given. So, at least, we may point 
the Apostle s words, although 
they are more characteristic if 
left pointless. 

16. St. Paul proceeds to view 
the question more generally and 
less personally, and seems to pass 
from the flesh as the seat of the 
Jewish dispensation, to the flesh 
as the source of impurity. As in 
Rom. viii. 4. those who walk 
according to the flesh are opposed 
to those who walk according to 
the Spirit, so here the life of the 
Spirit extinguishes and renders 
powerless the desire of the flesh. 

The dative after TrejOiTraretre is 
probably a confusion of the dative 
of the instrument, and the com 
mon use of TrepnraTuv with iv. 
Comp. Acts, xxi. 21. ; and infra, 
ver. 25. 

17. Compare Rom. vii.- 15 20. 
For the flesh and the spirit are 
opposed to each other, the design 
of which is to prevent you from 
doing as you would. 

It seems strange at first sight, 
to say that the flesh and the 
Spirit are opposed to each other 
by design, and we feel inclined 
to imagine that this is one of 
those passages in which 7ra is 
used to denote result rather than 
design. But the strict gramma 

tical sense appears also most in 
accordance with the view of St. 
Paul, who regards the strife of 
the flesh and the Spirit as in 
tended by Providence to pave 
the way for the reception of the 
truth. Compare Rom. v. 20. 

"LVOL prj a [ecu ] -ve X^re, TO.VTCL 
Troirjre.^ As in Rom. vii. St. Paul 
is speaking of the struggle of 
human nature with itself, " the 
things that I would not in my 
better nature, those I do." 

IS. The key to this verse is 
again given by Rom. vii. The 
state which the Apostle has been 
describing is that which he there 
explains as the state of those under 
the law. From doing the things 
they would not men are delivered 
by the guidance of the Spirit, 
"the law of the Spirit of life 
makes them free from the law of 
sin and death." The law, sin, 
death, the struggle of the Spirit 
against the flesh, -all express 
different aspects of the same con 
dition of human nature, the last 
extremity of misery and variance 
with self. From this old man he 
who is in the Spirit is already free. 

19. Two classes of sins are in 
cluded under the term "sins of 
the flesh," corresponding to the 
division of SvpoQ and eTriBvpta in 
Greek philosophy, or more appro 
priately to the two meanings of 



16 Now* I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall 

17 not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth 
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh ; for 1 
these are contrary the one to the other : in order that ye 

is may* not do the things that ye would. But if ye be led 

19 of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works 
of the flesh are manifest, which are these; 2 fornication, 

20 uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, 
variance, emulation 3 , wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 

1 And. 

Add adultery. 


ffapZ, as the symbol of the Jewish 
dispensation and the seat of hu 
man passions ; they are first, 
divisions ; secondly, sins of im 

TTopvela is used in the New 
Testament (1.) for fornication, 
1 Cor. vi. 13. 18. ; also (2.) for 
incest, 1 Cor. v. 1. As marriage 
is the symbol of the Church, so 
in the New Testament there is a 
mystery of iniquity in sins of 
impurity. Fornication is a sin 
against the Holy Ghost who 
sanctifies the body. 

[juofj^fto, which occurs in one 
or two MSS. of inferior note, as 
the first in this list of sins, as 
also 001/ot in ver. 21., is spurious.] 

For similar lists of sins comp. 
Eom. i. 29. ; Matt. xvi. 9. ; Mark, 
vii. 21. The order in which they 
are arranged seems to arise partly 
out of a connection of thought, 
partly from similarity of sound 
and termination. 

aKaQapffia"] is commonly used 
in the New Testament for the im 
purity of lust ; but in one passage, 
1 Thess. ii. 3. (compare ver. 5.), 
apparently for impurity in the 
other sense of "interested mo 
tives," thus affording a curious 
parallel to the converse change of 

meaning in the word 
It occurs in a general sense in 
Dem. con. Meidiam, 553. 13. for 
"baseness," or "foulness." 

oo-e Xyem] passes through a 
change of meaning answering to 
the two senses of the English 
word wantonness, from outrage- 
ousness, excess, in early Greek 
[prob. from a privative and 
&\yw], to lewdness and lasci 
viousness in Polybius and the 
Greek Testament ; in which lat 
ter, however, the primary mean 
ing is also retained. 

20. twAo\arjO/a] is used in its 
proper sense in 1 Cor. x. 7., yet 
also in that metaphorical one in 
which we speak of making riches, 
children, &c., idols, in Eph. v. 5. ; 
Col. iii. 5. TrXeovefya iJTig karlv t<ta- 
\o\aTpeia, where the juxtaposi 
tion of the two words is remark 
able as a proof of the genuineness 
of the two Epistles, occurring as 
it does again in 1 Cor. v. 11. 
Tr\EOfKTr]Q i/ elSuXoXarprjQ, in a 
different form. 

^ap/icucelo,] like veneficium in 
Latin, means witchcraft, as com 
monly in the Old Testament. 

cjot&Wat.] See on Rom. ii. 8. 

^i\ooTaaiai and aipeveiQ.^ Di 
visions (1.) in reference to their 



[CH. V. 

\_(f)6voi~\ jji0ai KGJJJLOI Kal Ta o/x,oia 21 
a TrpoXeyo) vplv Kadws [/cat] TTpoziTrov, OTL oi 
ra roiavra Trpacro ovTts ySacriXeicu Oeov ov K\r)povofJiTJ- 
crovcriv. 6 Se Kapnbs rov Trvevparos itrnv ayaTrrj X a P^ 22 
fJiaKpoOvfJiia x/^crrcmys ajya9u>arvvri mcrris irpav- 23 
ey/cpareta Kara ra>^ TOLOVTMV OVK ecrriz^ ^d/>tos. ot 24 
Se roi) yjpi<TTov [ I^crov] TT)Z> crdpKa Icrravpcocrav vvv 
rot? TTadTJjJiacriv Kal rais cTrt^v/xiais. ei ^wfjiev Ttvev- 25 
)u,art, Tr^ev/xart /cat crrot^w/xe^. JUT) yivco^eOa Ktvo- 25 
dXX^Xovs TTpoKaXoviAevoL, dXXTyXovs 1 


outward effect ; (2.) to the in 
ward feeling from which they 

TrpoetTro^] as I told you " while 

1 was yet with you." Comp. 

2 Thess. ii. 5. 

eov ov K\rjpofOpr]- 
The same expression 
occurs in 1 Cor. v. 9, 10., xv. 50. 
"Flesh and blood shall not in 
herit the kingdom of God." 
Where, as in this passage, it 
must be taken for the kingdom 
of Christ in the resurrection. 

22. o t$ jcctjOTroc,] applied more 
naturally, though not exclusively, 
in a good sense. Compare Matt, 
vii. 18. 

-] Comp. Rom. xii. 15. : 
iv fj,Ta ^aipovTajv. Joy or 
light-heartedness is, in itself, a 
Christian duty ; it may be re 
garded as a higher degree of 
peace, not unconnected with that 

" glorying in the Lord" of which 
the Apostle elsewhere speaks. 
Gal. vi. 14., 2 Cor. xii. xiii. &c. 

eiprjvr),^ opposed to e-^Opai, t ptc, 
f/Xoc, and therefore primarily 
signifying peace with man, from 
which, however, peace towards 
God is inseparable. 

Xprjororrjc^ is used in the New 
Testament for goodness, in the 
sense of kindness or mercy, whe 
ther of God or man. 

ayadiocrvvr)~] may be distin 
guished from xpr}ffroTr)Q, as good 
ness in the sense of probity, from 
goodness in the sense given in 
the previous note. 

7r/art.] As in 1 Cor. xii. 9., 
2 Tim. ii. 22., faith is here used, 
not for the door of all virtues, but 
for a particular virtue. 

23. Kara TU>V TOIOVTMV ] may be 
either masculine or neuter. If the 
latter, the construction is more 



21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such 
like : of the which I tell you before, as I have also 
told you in time past, that they which do such 

22 things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the 
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, 

23 gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: 

24 against such there is no law. And they that are 
Christ s have crucified the flesh with the affections 

25 and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also 
so walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain 

glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 

regular, although what is gained 
in regularity is more than lost 
by the want of point in saying, 
Against love, &c., there is no 
law." Lax antecedents are fre 
quent in the New Testament. 
John, viii. 24. ; Rom. ii. 26. 

OVK lanv vojuoe.] " The law is 
not made for a righteous man." 
1 Tim. i. 9. It neither prohibits 
nor enjoins Christian graces, 
which belong to a different 
sphere. The Apostle has acci 
dentally lighted upon a formula 
which occurs also in Aristotle. 

24. In the preceding verses 
the Apostle has been speaking of 
the opposition between the works 
of the flesh and the fruit of the 
Spirit. He adds, " But they that 
are Christ s have crucified the 
flesh;" to which, without any con 
necting or adversative particle, 
the next verse answers, " If we 
come under this class ; if we live 

not by the flesh but by the Spirit, 
let us walk by the guidance of 
the Spirit." As in the Romans 
he says : "If ye be Christ s, 
the body is dead because of sin, 
but the Spirit is life because of 
righteousness." Ver. 24. corre 
sponds to ver. 19 21., as ver. 
25. to ver. 22. and 23. 

25. aroiyfiv^\ like TrfpiTrareo , 
refers to " way of life." 

TTj/ei^uan.] By the help or rule 
of the Spirit : the instrumental 
sense of the dative is lost in a 
more general one. 

26. Let us not be vainglorious, 
provoking one another, envying 
one another. 

This and the precepts that 
follow to the end of ver. 6. of the 
following chapter are illustra 
tions of the walk of the Spirit. 
The works which they enjoin are 
the contrary of the works of the 
flesh spoken of above. 

VOL. I. 




[Cii. VI. 

lav Kal 


avOpomos <Lv nvi irapa- 6 
l Karaprit^re rov TOIOVTOV 


ra /Sdprj /3a<TTaere, Kal OUTWS 2 
ava7r\rip(t)oreT. 1 TQV vopov rov ^picrrov. ei yap SOKCI 3 

VI. The connection of ver. 1 
10. with each other, and with 
what precedes, is at first sight 
obscure. The Apostle has been 
contrasting the works of the flesh 
with those of the Spirit. At ver. 
25. of the preceding chapter, he 
added the exhortation : " If we 
live in the Spirit, let us also walk 
in the Spirit ;" or, in modern lan 
guage, as our faith is, so let our 
practice be. In the next verse 
he changes the mood, and, having 
inculcated the general principle, 
proceeds to fill up the details of 
Christian duty. The first among 
these details is the precept against 
vainglorying, then comes the 
obligation of the spiritually 
minded towards an erring bro 
ther, then of bearing one another s 
burdens, then of thinking lowly 
of self, of trying one s life and 
actions, of keeping glorying to 
one s self ; next the thought that 
we all have our burdens to bear, 
then the duty of supporting mi 
nisters of the word, then of doing 
good to all and especially to the 
household of faith. These va 
rious and apparently disjointed 
precepts are not, however, un 
connected in the Apostle s own 

First, the absence of vainglo 
rying is really connected with 
a merciful judgment of the sins 
and mistakes of others. He 
who feels the possibility that he 
may err himself, is far more 

ready to restore others. And 
the same spirit which inclines a 
man to a lenient judgment of 
others, leads him also to bear 
with the infirmities and weak 
nesses of others. The emptiness 
of self-conceit is a great source 
of want of consideration towards 
our fellow-creatures. [The feel 
ing of him who said, " God, I 
thank thee, that I am not as other 
men are," is the feeling which 
says also, " nor even as this 
publican."] But if a man will 
try himself, he will find that he 
too has his cross and burden, and 
will lay aside his self-importance, 
and seek to identify himself with 
others. In what follows (ver. 6.), 
the Apostle seems to invert the 
logical order ; instead of saying, 
" Let us do good to all men," 
and so going on to the particular, 
he begins with a particular case 
of doing good, the duty of sup 
porting ministers, and concludes 
with the general precept. 

Trpo\r)[jL<f>6fj ) ~] not "even if a man 
be taken in a fault before ;" or 
"not for the first time ;" still less, 
if a man be taken in a fault be 
fore this Epistle reach you ;" but 
as in the English translation, 
" If a man be overtaken in a 
fault :" Kai expresses a continua 
tion of what has preceded ; "also" 
" and if." The same gentleness 
which envieth not, is also to shew 
itself in suffering the erring 
brother. The word 

VER. 13.] 



6 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which 
are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meek 
ness ; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 

2 Bear ye one another s burdens, and so * shall ye fulfil 1 the 

3 law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be sorae- 

J Fulfil. 

"overtaken," already anticipates 
the feeling with which his offence 
is to be regarded. 

v/JLttQ ol TTvev/jiaTiKoi^ (t Ye who 
are spiritual," opposed to (rapKiKoi. 
Ye who know the truths of the 
Gospel, and are freed from the 
law, and live in communion with 
God and Christ. Spirituality 
may be described as the unity 
of moral virtues in God and 
Christ ; it implies a nature in 
harmony with other men ; in 
harmony with self; judging all 
men, and judged of no man ; 
above, and also on a level with 
them. It is not absolutely with 
out parts ; like moral virtue in 
Aristotelian ethics, it admits an 
idea at least of separation into 
the several Christian graces, each 
of which implies the whole, as 
in this passage it is particularised 
as " the spirit of meekness." 

(TKOTruiv creavTOi ) pi] /cat av rret- 
pa.ffOrjc. ] There is no good reason 
for Lachmann s punctuation, who 
connects these words with the 
succeeding verse, to which they 
are not so appropriate as to that 
which follows. It is more after 
the manner of St. Paul to end 
than to begin sentences with a 
participial clause. 

2. a\Xr//\wj> TCI (jctprj /Baora^erc.] 
So in Rom. xv. 1. : "We that 
are strong ought to bear the in 
firmities of them that are weak." 
In the Epistle to the Romans, 
peculiarities of opinion and incli 

nations to Jewish observances are 
chiefly intended ; here, faults and 
weaknesses of character, all those 
things which try others in our 
intercourse with them. 

KCLI ovTMQ arairXripwfftTE TOV vofWV 
TOV xptoroiJ.] It has been suggested 
that by the law of Christ is meant 
the new commandment, " to love 
one another." This is the lan 
guage of St. John, not of St. 
Paul. Rather 6 VO^JLOQ TOV ^ptorov 
refers to Christ himself bearing 
our infirmities ; comp. Matt. viii. 
17. OVTOQ TUQ cifiapTiciQ ijpwv 
ai lXa^e Krti TCIQ roaovq iaffT(i(rei\ 
It might be paraphrased by " the 
law of the cross of Christ." It is 
an expression of the same kind 
with " the law of the Spirit of 
life," where the meaning of the 
word " law" is self- contradicted. 
The law of Christ includes many 
associations. " The law which 
Christ took upon himself, which 
he enjoins upon his disciples ; 
the law, not of Moses, but of 
Christ ; not old, but new." 

el yc/p.] The connection im 
plied by yap may be paraphrased 
as follows : "Bear one another s 
burdens, even as Christ bore your 
burdens ; for that opinion of self 
which will not suffer a man to 
stoop to this, is mere self-decep 

A similar transition of thought 
occurs also in Phil. ii. 3, 4. " Let 
nothing be done through strife 
or vainglory ; but in lowliness of 

c c 2 



[Cn. VI. 

rts elvai TL iJLTjSev a>i>, (frpevaTraTa eauroV 1 . TO Se epyov 4 
eavTov So/a/AaeTOt> eWo-ros, Kal Tore et? iavTov povov TO 

i, Kal OVK eis TOP tTepov e/cacrro? yap TO 1810^ 5 

/SacTTacreL. KOLVMveiTto Se 6 KaTrj^ovjJiei o^ TOP 6 

Xoyoz ra KaTTjxovvTL ev TcoiO iv aya9o1^. jjirj Tc\avacr9e, 7 
0os ov p.VKTrjp[>tTai. o yap cu> 2 crrreipr) avOpwiros, TOVTO 

Kal 0pLO~L OTL 6 O~7TipO)V CIS Tr]V CTOipKa SaVTOV K TYJS 8 

crapKos depioreL (f)0opdv, o e cnreipuiv ets TO irvev^a IK TOV 

Oepicrei ^CUT)^ ala>viov. TO Se Ka\ov Troiov^res 9 

mind let each esteem other better 
than themselves. Look not every 
man on his own things, but 
every man also on the things of 

4. If a man will get a little 
more self-knowledge, and see 
himself truly as he is, he will 
feel no inclination to glory, but 
will keep his own praises to 

eavrov,"] as opposed to others. 

5. CKCtOTOfi yap TO L^LOV (poprlor 
jGaorao-ft.] For every one will 
have to bear his own burden. 
yap expresses the reason, not 
merely of the preceding clause, 
but of the whole previous passage. 
" Bear one another s burdens, for 
every one will have a burden of 
his own to bear ;" just as it was 
said above, " Restore an erring 
brother, for it may be your turn 
to err too." In addition to this 
there is a slighter band of con 
nection in ver. 4, 5. between the 
words e LQ kavrov and i3ioj>. When 
a man looks into himself, he will 
keep to himself; for he will find 
within, or without going abroad, 
the burden which is his. 

6. KoivMreirit) e.] The con 
nection, as already observed, is 
obscure. The Apostle was passing 

on in his mind to speak generally 
of duties towards others, when, 
seemingly by a sudden impulse, 
he lights on a particular point. 
As though he said, And now I 
am speaking of those duties which 
make us members one of another, 
let me remind you of the debt 
you owe to your ministers. That 
such is the Apostle s meaning, 
notwithstanding its seeming in 
consistency with parts of the 
Epistle, is clear (a) from the 
mention of KOT^UV and KUTTJ- 
yovfjLtvoQ ; (/3) from the same pre 
cept occurring in 1 Cor. ix. 11., 
and with a similar context, " He 
which soweth sparingly, shall 
reap also sparingly;" (y) from 
the unmeaningness of diluting 
the command into a general one. 
The obscurity of the precept 
seems to arise from the delicacy 
with which the Apostle has stated 
it. The same thought is in his 
mind as in the Epistles to the 
Romans and Corinthians ; but in 
writing to a hostile or alienated 
communion he does not express 
himself with equal clearness. 
Compare 1 Cor. xvi. 3., 2 Cor. 
viii. 4., also Phil. iv. 17. ; and 
for an instance of obscurity 
arising from a similar cause, 



4 thing, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let 
every man prove his own work, and then shall he have 

5 rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For 

6 every man shall bear his own burden. But let* him 
that is taught in the word communicate unto him that 

7 teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived ; God is 
not mocked : for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall 

s he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of 
the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth to the 

9 Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. But* let 
us not be weary in well doing : for in due season we 

1 Thess. iv. 4, 5. That the duty 
of making the contribution was 
urged by him about this time on 
the Galatian Church, we know 
from 1 Cor. xvi. 1. : " As I have 
given order to the churches of 
Galatia so do ye." 

The particle e may be of 
transition only ; it may also have 
a slightly adversative force 
" Every man will have his own 
burden to bear ; but the burden 
of the teacher should be lightened 
by the taught." 

7. The Apostle adds a general 
warning : " Be not deceived, God 
is not mocked;" which seems 
also to have a partial reference 
to what has gone before. The 
willingness to support ministers 
is a substantial proof of the 
reality of religion, about which 
there can be no mistake. It is 
quite another thing from saying 
to our brother " Be ye warmed, 
or be ye filled." 

In the image which follows, 
the readiness to give to others 
and assist their necessities is 
represented under the figure of 
the seed. He who supports 
teachers of the Gospel shall have 

true riches ; he who is faithful 
in the unrighteous mammon shall 
inherit everlasting life. Such an 
explanation of the words gives a 
simple connection to the whole 
passage. Yet it is possible that 
the particular allusion which is 
intended by the word " sowing " 
in ver. 7., and which is resumed 
in ver. 10., may be lost sight of 
in the more general idea of 
Christian life in ver. 8. Comp. 
Essay on the double Senses of 
Words in Scripture. 

8. Compare Job, iv. 8.: "they 
that plough iniquity and sow 
wickedness, reap the same." Also, 
2 Cor. ix. 6. 

He who has his good things in 
this life, .who spends his treasure 
on earth, who sows to the flesh, 
shall of the flesh reap corruption. 

Although it is true that aapc, 
and TiVtiifjiCL are opposed else 
where, as Judaism and Christi 
anity, yet the allusion is out of 
place here. The Apostle is con 
trasting in a general manner 
the life of self-indulgence which 
disregards the wants of others, 
with that spiritual life which is 

c c 3 



[Cii. VI. 


TO aaOov 

Trpos 10 

Kaipq) yap iSio> 

apa ovv o>s Kaipov e^o^ev Ipyafjiea TO ay 
7raz>ra9, juaXicrra Se 77^09 rous ot/cetous rrjs Tric 

v lSere TTT^XtAcoi? VIJLIV ypa^ao LV typaifja ry Ijjifj X L P^" n 
ocrot OeXovcTii V7rpocro)7rfjcraL .v crapKi, OVTOL avayKatpv- 12 
<TIV v/x,a9 7rpiTjJiveo 0ai, [LOVQV lva l TOJ crravpw TOV 

jjirj SiotKcovTai * ovSe yap ol Treptrer/jt^eVot 2 avrol vopov 13 
<f)vXdcro"ovo LV, aX\a 0\ovcrLi> vp,as TrepiTefJiveo Oai, Iva iv 

1 Insert ^ before r<p 

9. mtpw ... to/w.] In our har 
vest time. Compare Tit. i. 3., 
1 Tim. iii. 15., 2 Theas. ii. 6. 

IJLII f.K\v6jjLroi.~\ Not, " in due 
season we shall reap without 
fainting;" but, as in the English 
Version, " if we faint not. p) 
K\v6jj.eroL is the resumption, or 
rather repetition, of ^u>) ey^a/cw/xev 

= JJlfl f.yKO.KOVVTQ. 

10. a)g tsatpoy e-^ofjiE^. ] The use 
of the word Kaipov contains an 
allusion, rather of sound than 
sense, to icatpw ISiy in the pre 
ceding verse. See v. 3. ; Rom. 
xii. 13, J4. We may paraphrase, 
" There is a time in which we 
shall reap, and a time in which 
we should sow." But such a 
paraphrase goes a little beyond 
the words. 

11. This curious verse has re 
ceived several interpretations : 
that of the English transla 
tion, " Ye see how large a letter 
I have written to you with my 
own hand ;" to which it is truly 
objected that the Greek requires 
TrrjXiKa ypapfjiaTa eypa^/a ; it may 
be further added, though the 
objection is of less weight, that 
the word ypappara is not else 
where used by St. Paul in the 
sense of a letter. Chrysostom 

and other Fathers refer the ex 
pression to the ill-formed cha 
racters which St. Paul had writ 
ten with his own hand, to attest 
the genuineness of the Epistle. 
Such an explanation appears 
not improbable, although that of 
Jerome is yet more likely, who 
takes the aorist for a present. 
" See you with what large letters 
I write with my own hand," This 
explanation is put in its most 
probable point of view, if we 
suppose the remainder of the 
Epistle, which stands in no im 
mediate connection with what has 
preceded, but is a recapitulation 
of the whole, to be also written 
with the Apostle s own hand. He 
has taken up the pen, and sub 
joins in a few emphatic sentences 
the substance of what he had 
previously dictated. That it was 
not his usual custom to write 
himself may be inferred from 
Rom. xv i. 22., and from the 
words of 2 Thess. iii. 17. : " The 
salutation of me, Paul, with my 
own hand, which is the sign in 
every Epistle ; so I write." 

12. offot SiXovffu*. ] St. Paul 
here brings forward a new aspect 
of the party opposed to him ; they 
were not only zealots for the law, 



10 shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore oppor 
tunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto 
them who are of the household of faith. 

11 See* in what large letters I have written unto you 

12 with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a 
fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circum 
cised ; only lest they should suffer persecution for the 

13 cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are 
circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you cir- 

but in terror of those who were. 
Comp. Gal. ii. 10. Fear and vain 
glory as well as party feeling were 
their motives of conduct. They 
hated the Apostle, they were 
afraid of other Jews, they gloried 
in the numbers of their followers. 

V7rpoffb)Trijffai kv (rap/a ,] to make 
a fair shew in externals. OVTOL 
is not pleonastic, but emphatic, 
" these are the men who." 

fj.6vov ira TM trrcivpy TOV y^pt- 
These words 

may be translated " only that 
they may not be persecuted with 
the cross of Christ," i. e. may not, 
in the figurative language of 
the Apostle, be " crucified with 
Christ," or have fellowship with 
or fill up " what is behind of his 
sufferings." According to this 
explanation, however, there seems 
to be little force in the addition, 
" the cross of Christ," as there 
can be no object in the Apostle 
exalting or magnifying their suf 
ferings, when he is speaking not 
of what they actually suffered, 
but of what they might have 
suffered. That is to say, there 
would be a false emphasis on 
TV a-avjia). It is better, therefore, 
to take the words according to a 
less common usage of the dative, 

found also in classical Greek, in 
the sense " because of the cross 
of Christ," which, and not the 
mere name of Christ, St. Paul 
has already pointed out as the 
chief object of Jewish hostility. 
Comp. v. 11. 

13. The yap contains the proof 
of the preceding. And that they 
are time-servers is evident from 
this, that the circumcised them 
selves do not keep the law ; but 
they desire to have you circum 
cised, that they may glory in 
making you proselytes to Ju 

In what way could St. Paul 
affirm that the Jewish teachers 
did not keep the law ? Perhaps, 
like St. Peter, they were incon 
sistent, and while they retained 
some usages of the law gave up 
others. This must almost neces 
sarily have been the case with 
Jews residing out of Palestine ; 
they could not, if they would, 
have kept the whole law. The 
Apostle may also be referring to 
the new converts, who, however 
zealous for Judaism, were far 
from understanding either the 
law itself or the traditional inter 
pretations of it. The precise 
point of the accusation we do not 

c c 4 



[Cii. VI. 

Tr) vjjLTpa crapKi 




yevoLTO Kav- 


ov IjJiol KoajJios <j-Tavpo)Tai Kayaj 1 KOO-JJLCO iv yap is 
~ ITJCTOV OVT TrepLTOp,^ TL ecrTiv 2 ovTe aKpo/3vcrTLa, 
d\Xa KawY) KTicrt?, /cat oo~ot rw KOVOVL TOVTO) o~TOi^yjo~ov~ 16 

> / 3 > 




eTr avTovs /cat eXeos, /cat e?rt ro^ *Io-parj\ TOV 
TOV XOLTTOV /co77ov /xot />c^t5 TTape^eTO} lyco yap 17 
rou 3 Irjcrov Iv rw crwjaart />cou /^acrra^co. 

1 Add T 

Add Kvpiov. 

know ; its general truth is wit 
nessed to by the Church in all 
ages. Inconsistency rather than 
consistency is natural to man. 
He is apt to look with one eye 
upon this life, even when the 
other is turned towards God. He 
finds it hard to be true to himself 
when the influences of party or 
interest draw him in different 
directions. Never, perhaps, since 
the Gospel came into the world 
has there been any controversy 
in which zeal has not at times 
shaken hands with expediency, 
or in which some degree of 
fanaticism has not mingled with 
some degree of insanity or im 

14. ejj.01 3e yivoiTO Kavya- 
<r0ru.] " They desire to glory in 
Jewish ordinances, as men-plea- 
sers and time-servers ; I, in the 
cross of Christ, and in persecu 
tion and hostility of men." Two 
points of opposition between St. 
Paul and the false teachers are 
lightly touched: (1.) Circum 
cision is contrasted with the 
cross of Christ. (2.) The time 
serving of the one is contrasted 
with the sufferings of the other. 
rrap and orravpoQ are the symbols 
of Judaism and the Gospel, re 

taining their original, and having 
also a metaphorical application. 
Comp. a similar contrast in 1 Cor. 
iv. 9, 10.; also 2 Cor. xi. 30., xii. 
1 10. 

c)i ou] may be explained either 
"through Christ, or through the 
cross of Christ ; " loraupwrcu is a 
resumption of aravpoc. 

KofffjLog.^ Compare above a-oi- 
^ela TOV KO(Tfj.ov. The reciprocity 
of the expression is characteristic 
of the Apostle (coinp. 1 Cor. xiii. 
12.); it implies the completeness 
of the separation, as we might 
say "He is nothing to me, and 
I am nothing to him," 

What is meant by being cruci 
fied to the world ? Not certainly 
being despised by the world, still 
less despising the world in return, 
nor yet a mere figure of speech ; 
but whatever is meant by being 
dead or buried with Christ, or by 
the life hidden with Christ in 
God. Language fails to express 
the contrasted paradoxical notion 
of the Christian state, which has 
a truth of feeling even to those 
who are living in the world. 

15. The text of the greater 
part of the Epistle has been " If 
ye be circumcised, Christ shall 
profit you nothing." But here, 



u cumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God 
forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me. 

15 and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither cir- 



nor uncircumcision, but a 

cumcision is 
iG new creature. And as many as shall* walk according 

to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the 
17 Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me ; 

for I bear in my body the marks of 2 Jesus. 

1 Availeth. 

as at chap. v. ver. 6., the Apostle 
touches on a yet higher aspect of 
the subject. "Neither uncircum 
cision any more than circum 
cision, but a new creature." It 
is remarkable that nearly the 
same words "In Christ Jesus 
neither circumcision availeth 
anything, nor uncircumcision " 
occur three times, and each time 
with a different termination of 
the sentence ; here " But a new 
creature;" at v. 6. "But faith 
which worketh by love ; " 1 Cor. 
vii. 19. "But the keeping of the 
commandments of God." So far 
was the Apostle from describing 
true religion, even when opposed 
to the law, under the formula of 
faith only. 

16. TV KCLVOVL Tovru, i.e. the rule 
of the new creature. 

eTrt TOV IvpaijX. rov $eov.~] The 
difficulty of this verse is, how we 
are to distinguish the Israel of 
God from those who walk accord 
ing to this rule. " Peace upon 
all those who serve the Lord 
Jesus Christ truly, and upon the 
Israel of God."" The Apostle 
regards the same persons in two 
points of view, and with a cer 
tain inaccuracy divides them into 

2 Add the Lord. 

two. The inaccuracy has been 
occasioned, and is partly con 
cealed by, the opposition between 
the Israel of God, and Israel ac 
cording to the flesh. It is a bad 
way of meeting the difficulty to 
refer the words, " those who 
walk according to this rule " to 
the Gentiles, and "the Israel of 
God" to believing Jews. "Peace 
be upon the believing heathen to 
whom circumcision or uncircum 
cision is indifferent, and upon the 
Israelite indeed." 

Compare, though not exactly 
parallel, 1 Cor. x. 32.: "Give 
none offence, neither to the Jews 
nor to the Gentiles, nor to the 
Church of God;" also Rom. iv. 

17. TO. or/y^Ltara, the marks. ] 
The feeling of this verse is anger 
passing into sorrow. The Apostle 
rightly thinks that the sufferings 
which he had endured should 
give him a kind of sacredness in 
their eyes. The expression, "I 
bear in my body the marks of 
Jesus," is of the same kind as 
"I am crucified with Christ," 
Rom. vi. 6., Gal. ii. 20.; or "I 
fill up what is behind of the 
sufferings of Christ in my flesh," 


H ^ 

r v 


l^crot) ^otcrroi) />ieTa TOV 

1 Ilpbs TaAaras 

Col. i. 24. Having recently suf- 
fered persecution, he felt that 
this was a new link which bound 
him to his Lord. The marks 
which he saw in his flesh, re- 


minded him of the wounds of 
Christ, perhaps suggesting also 
the thought that he was His 
branded slave. There have been 
those in later ages of the Church, 


is Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with 
your spirit. Amen. 1 

1 Unto the Galatians written from Rome. 

who have by a self-imposed pe- trace of the influence of these 

nance borne the marks of the Lord words. 

Jesus. In the well known story Comp. St. Paul s own record of 

of St. Francis of Assisi there is a his sufferings, 2 Cor. xi. 23 33. 



THE most sceptical criticism has left untouched the Epistle to the 
Galatians. No one has imagined that it is based on the narrative of 
the Acts ; no one doubts that it is a writing of St. Paul. We may, 
therefore, cease to raise up defences of its genuineness. The anxiety 
to increase a certainty is liable to cast suspicion on what would 
otherwise be undoubted. 

For this reason it is unnecessary to follow Paley at length through 
the proof which he offers in No. 1., that the Epistle could only 
have been written in the beginning of Christianity, while the ques 
tion of circumcision was recent; or, in No. 2., that the Acts and the 
Epistle are independent of, and yet in numerous particulars confirm, 
each other ; or, in No. 3., that the particularity and number of the 
points of connection between them, prove the Epistle to be a genuine 
writing of the Apostle ; or, in No. 4., that the indirect allusion to his 
infirmity in iv. 11 16. is too subtle a coincidence with 2 Cor. xii. 
1 9., to be within the range of the forger s ingenuity ; or, in No. 5., 
that the figure of chap. iv. 29., which implies that the Apostle was 
persecuted by them " that were born after the flesh," is curiously, and 
apparently incidentally, confirmed by the ever-recurring persecu 
tions of Jews in the Acts ; or, in No. 6., that the spirit of Gal. vi. 1., 
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual 
restore such an one in the spirit of meekness," singularly agrees with 
the actual conduct of the Apostle, in his second admonition about 
the incestuous person, in 2 Cor. ii. 6 8.; or, in No. 7., that the 
disavowal of the obligation of the Jewish law, either on Jews or 
Gentiles, in the Galatians, similarly agrees with his acknowledged 


exceptional conformity to the law for a particular purpose. All 
these points of agreement are interesting, and many of them are of 
real importance ; the last being, perhaps, the least satisfactory ; as 
although the Acts of the Apostles no where assert that St. Paul 
insisted on the observance by Gentiles of the Jewish law, but quite 
the reverse ; yet they no where imply the same universal disavowal 
of the law for Jews as well as Gentiles which is found in the Epistle 
to the Galatians. "Behold I Paul say unto you, that if ye be 
circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing," is not the tone of the 
writer of the Acts. 

Paley makes several remarks in confirmation of his argument, in 
which it is not possible, however, to agree. As in the Epistle to 
the Thessalonians, he shows the tact of an advocate, not the impar 
tiality of a judge. This is especially exhibited in the manner in 
which he marshals his evidence. There are points in which the 
history of the Acts confirms the narrative of the Epistle, and in 
which the Epistle bears incidental testimony to the truth of the 
history, as there are points also of discrepancy between them. But 
to use the latter as proving the independence of the two narratives, 
and the former as witnessing to their truth and accuracy, is not an 
equitable method of proceeding, unless we balance the one with the 
other, and acknowledge the joint result. The case with which 
Paley has to deal is not that of a witness whose (see No. 2.) whole 
evidence is to be accepted because it is partially confirmed by the 
evidence of another, but of one whose testimony -is partially denied 
as well as confirmed. Two things which ought to be inseparable 
have been separated by him ; and his argument gains by the artificial 
division. He is admirable in picking out and putting together a 
portion of the facts, and the reader who has no one to plead the 
other side to him is satisfied that he sees the bearings of the whole. 
I do not make these remarks from any wish to discredit a great 
name. A strong conviction of the injury which in the long run 
ex parte statements must occasion to the cause of Scriptural or of any 
other kind of truth (especially when they are quite popular and 


intelligible), is my only reason for commenting on the portions of 
the "Horse Paulinae" which fall in with the subject of these 

No. 8., in which Paley argues from the allusion in Acts xxii. 18., 
" Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem : for they will 
not receive thy testimony concerning me," to the agreement between 
the statement of the Galatians, chap. i. 18., that St. Paul abode at 
Jerusalem, on his first visit, fifteen days only, and the apparently 
longer stay implied in the ninth chapter of the Acts, when he is 
described as "coming in and going out with the Apostles at Jerusalem, 
and speaking boldly in the name of Jesus," contains an instance of 
the want of fairness alluded to. For in the twenty-second chapter 
of the Acts there is nothing to indicate that the message, " get thee 
quickly out," was given immediately after the Apostle s entry into 
Jerusalem ; and a discrepancy remains behind, which Paley has 
omitted to notice. For in the first chapter of the Galatians the 
Apostle distinctly says that " he was unknown by face to the churches 
of Judea ; " and the tenor of his narrative shows that his visit of 
fifteen days was as private as possible. But in the ninth chapter of 
the Acts (see notes on Gal. i. 18.) it is stated with equal clearness, 
" that he spake boldly (at Jerusalem) in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
and disputed against the Grecians, but they went about to slay him." 
Paley should have drawn attention to this discrepancy, because it 
materially affects the probability of the coincidence. Nor should 
the eighteenth verse of the twenty-second chapter of the Acts have 
been separated from the words which follow, in which (though the 
passage is obscure) the reason given for the unwillingness to receive 
the Apostle s testimony appears to be the fact of his former perse 
cution of the Church. 

Nor, again, in No. 10., when Paley is remarking on the coinci 
dence in the position of James as head of the Church at Jerusalem, 
in the Acts and the Epistle, is it quite satisfactory that he should 
omit to notice the character in which James is exhibited in the Acts, 
as the supporter of St. Paul on two great occasions of dispute (Acts, 


xv. 13., xxi. 18.) between Jew and Gentile, and the light in which 
he is incidentally alluded to in Gal. ii. 12. (comp. ver. 9.); or that 
he should explain the inconsistency in Peter s conduct at Antioch 
with the vision at Joppa, by supposing that " he might have con 
sidered the latter as a direction for the occasion, rather than as 
universally abolishing the distinction between Jew and Gentile." 
(See Acts, xi. 18.) 

But the greatest instance, not of unfairness in the writer, but of 
want of perception of what is due to the reader, occurs in the com 
parison of the visit of Gal. ii. with the council in Acts xv. The 
true result of such a comparison is to show the identity of the two 
occasions (see note at the end of chap, ii.), amid the diversity of the 
accounts of them. Paley, while half admitting this identity, over 
looks the difficulty of supposing that St. Paul should have referred 
to this visit, and yet omitted to mention the decree of the council 
which was directly to the point in dispute. 

The critic may be firmly convinced of the genuineness of the 
Epistle to the Galatians, though his convictions will not always rest 
on the grounds which are alleged by Paley. It is not a flourish of 
theological rhetoric to ask : " How could the art of man have invented 
a state which has no parallel in succeeding ages ? Who could have 
acted that passionate emotion which is called forth by circumstances 
to which the Epistle only remotely alludes ? " No forgery so deep 
and intricate, and so natural, ever existed. The single passage, Gal. 
ii. 1 14., closely connected as it is with the rest of the Epistle, is 
of itself nearly sufficient to establish the genuineness of the whole. 

The narrative of the Acts of the Apostles, when compared with 
the Epistle to the Galatians, does not show equal historical accuracy. 
It differs in many details, and also in the point of view in which its 
author regards the question of Jew and Gentile. It is a noble record 
of primitive Christianity, quite free, too, from suspicion of bad faith 
or imposture, yet it cannot be denied that in many material points, 
as, for example, the relation of the Apostle to the Church at Jeru 
salem, it disagrees in its spirit, and also in several of its facts from 


the Epistles of St. Paul. Was it that years had passed away, and 
the differences of the Apostles were no longer seen in the distance ? 
Dates and circumstances which had been once known may have 
been no longer preserved with accuracy. Whatever may be the 
reason, the amount of discrepancy between the earlier chapters of 
the Acts and the Epistle to the Galatians contrasts with the precise 
agreement of the later chapters with the Epistles to the Romans and 
Corinthians, as well as with the internal consistency of the Epistle 
to the Galatians itself. 

In inquiries of this sort it is often supposed that, if the evidence 
of the genuineness of a single book of Scripture be weakened, or the 
credit of a single chapter shaken, the whole is overthrown. Some 
times the danger of losing the whole is made an argument against 
criticism of any part. Much more true is it that, in short portions 
or single verses of Scripture the whole is contained. Had we but 
one discourse of Christ, one Epistle of Paul, more than half would 
have been preserved. There is a story of a solitary of the desert, 
who came into the city of Alexandria and carried back with him a 
text of Scripture, refusing afterwards to learn another, because he 
could never completely practise the first. The story belongs to 
another age ; it may still be applied by those who interpret a doubt 
respecting the least portion of Scripture into a denial of the Chris 
tian faith. 



THE New Testament "is ever old, and the Old is ever entwined 
with the New." Not only are the types of the Old Testament 
shadows of good things to come ; not only are the narratives of 
events and lives of persons in Jewish history " written for our in 
struction ;" not only is there a deep-rooted identity of the Old and 
New Testament in the revelation of one God of perfect justice and 
truth ; not only is " the law fulfilled in Christ to all them that 
believe ;" not only are the spiritual Israel the true people of God, 
and the taking of Jerusalem a figure of the end of the world : a 
nearer though more superficial connection is formed by the volume 
of the Old Testament itself, which, like some closely fitting vesture, 
enfolds the new as well as the old dispensation in its language and 
imagery, the words themselves, as well as the thoughts contained in 
them, becoming instinct with a new life, and seeming to interpene 
trate with the Gospel. 

This verbal connection of new and old is not peculiar to Christi 
anity. All nations who have ancient writings have endeavoured to 
read in them the riddle of the past. The Brahmin, repeating his 
Vedic hymns, sees them pervaded by a thousand meanings, which 
have been handed down by tradition : the one of which he is ignorant 
is that which we perceive to be the true one. Without more reason, 
and almost wjth equal disregard or neglect of its natural import, the 
Jewish Alexandrian and Rabbinical writers analysed the Old Testa 
ment ; in a similar spirit Gnostics and Neoplatonists cited lines of 
Homer or Pindar. Not unlike is the way in which the Fathers cite 

VOL. I. D D 


both the Old and New Testament ; and the manner in which the 
writers of the New Testament quote from the Old has more in 
common with this last than with modern critical interpretations of 
either. That is to say, the quotations are made almost always with 
out reference to the connection in which they originally occur, and 
in a different sense from that in which the prophet or psalmist in 
tended them. They are fragments culled out and brought into some 
new combination ; jewels, and precious stones, and corner-stones 
disposed after a new pattern, to be the ornaments of another temple. 
It is their place in the new temple, not their relation to the old, 
which gives them their effect and meaning. 

Such tessellated work was after the manner of the age : it was no 
invention or introduction of the sacred writers. Closely as it is 
wrought into the New Testament, it belongs to its externals rather 
than to its true life. All religions which are possessed of sacred 
books, and many which are without them, have passed through a 
like secondary stage, although the relation of the earlier to the later 
form of the same religions may have been quite different from that 
in which the Gospel stands to the Old Testament. In heathenism, 
as well as Christianity, language has played a great part in connect 
ing the old and the new. There seem to be times in which human 
nature yearns towards the past, though it has lost the power of 
interpreting it. Overlooking the chasm of a thousand years, it seeks 
to extract from ancient writings food for daily life. The mystery of 
a former world lies heavy upon it, hardly less than of the future, and 
it lightens this burden by attributing to "them of old time" the 
thoughts and feelings of contemporaries. It feels the unity of God 
and man in all ages, and attempts to prove this unity by reading 
the same thoughts in every word which has been uttered from the 
beginning. A new spirit takes possession of the words, and imper 
ceptibly alters them into accordance with itself. 

The Gnostic and Alexandrian writings furnish a meeting-point 
between the past and future in which the present is lost sight of, and 
ideas supersede facts. But something analogous is observable in the 


New Testament itself; which may be described also as the confluence 
of past and future on the ground of the present, the person of Christ 
and "the Church which is his body" being the centre in which they 
meet. Some Divine heat or force welds together the old and new. 
The scattered rays of prophecy are collected in one focus. Language 
becomes plastic and refashions itself on a new type. Gradually and 
naturally, as it were a soul entering into a body that had been pre 
pared for it, the new takes the form of the old. The truth and moral 
power of the Gospel prevent this new formation from resembling the 
fantastic process of Eastern heresy. The writers of the New Testa 
ment use the modes of speech of their contemporaries, but they also 
ennoble and enlighten them. That traces of their age should appear 
in them is the necessary condition of their speaking to the men of 
their age. " The water of life " was not to be strained through the 
sieve of grammar and logic ; nor is it conceivable how a Gospel 
could have been "preached to the poor" which was founded on a 
critical interpretation of the Old Testament. 

But although the quotations from the Old Testament in the New 
conform to the manner of the age, and have a superficial similarity 
with the use of Homer or Pindar in later classical authors, essential 
differences lie beneath. First, the connection is not, as in the case 
of heathen authors, merely accidental ; the Old Testament looks for 
ward to the New, as the New Testament looks backward on the 
Old. Reading the psalmists or prophets, we feel that they were 
pilgrims and strangers, hoping for more than was on the earth, 
whose sadness was not yet turned into joy. s There are passages in 
which the Old Testament goes beyond itself, in which it almost 
seems to renounce itself ; "lively oracles" of which it might be said, 
either in Christian or heathen language, " that it speaks not of 
itself ;" or, that " its voice reaches to a thousand years." It is other 
wise with heathen literature. There is no future to which Homer or 
Hesiod looked forward ; no moral truth beyond themselves which 
they dimly see. The life of the world was not to awaken in their 
song. They were poetry only, out of which came statues of gods 


and heroes. The deeper reverence for the "volume of the book" 
may be in part the reason why the half-understood words of the Old 
Testament exercise a greater power over the mind. But the mere 
application of them is also a new creation. They are not dead and 
withered fragments of the wisdom of ancient times ; the force of the 
new truth which they express reanimates and reillumines them. Se 
condly, if we admit that the superficial connection between the Old 
and New Testament is arbitrary, or, more properly speaking, after the 
manner of the age, there is a deeper connection also which is founded 
on reason and conscience. The language of the Psalms and prophets 
is the natural voice of Christian feeling. In the hour of sorrow, or 
joy, or repentance, or triumph, we turn to the Old Testament quite 
as readily as to the New. Thirdly, a difference in kind is observable 
between the use which is made of quotations by the Alexandrian 
writers and in the New Testament. In the one they are the form 
of thought ; in the other the mode of expression. That is to say, 
while in the one they exercise an influence on the thought ; in the 
other they are controlled by it, and are but a sort of incrustation on 
it, or ornament of it ; in some cases the illustration or allegory 
through which it is conveyed. The writings of St. Paul are not the 
less one in feeling and spirit, because the language in which he con 
tinually clothes his thoughts is either avowedly or unconsciously 
taken from the Old Testament. 

It is remarkable that the Old Testament in many places is built up 
out of its own materials, in the same way as the New out of the Old. 
Later Psalms repeat the language of earlier ones ; successive pro 
phets use the same words and images, and deliver the same precepts. 
For example, Jeremiah and the later Isaiah both speak of " the Lamb 
led to the slaughter;" and Jeremiah and Ezekiel alike revoke the old 
" proverb in the house of Israel." The Book of Deuteronomy, espe 
cially, is full of prophetic elements, either received from or communi 
cated to the later prophets. Instead of the repetition being wearisome 
or unmeaning, it adds to the depth and power of the words that they 
are not used for the first time. No happy combination of new Ian- 


guage could have imparted to them the weight which they derive 
from associations of the past. In like manner the portions of the New 
Testament in which the verbal connection with the Old is most 
striking, such as the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the fifteenth chapter 
of 1 Corinthians, are also those which are most awful and impressive 
to us. It is a circumstance not always attended to by commentators on 
the Apocalypse (at any rate by English ones), that this wonderful 
book is a mosaic of Old Testament thoughts and words, the pieces of 
which are put together on a new and glorious pattern. A glance 
at the marginal references is sufficient to show in how subtle a 
manner they are interlaced. The inspired author is not merely 
narrating a new vision which he had seen and heard, to be added to 
the former visions of Ezekiel or Daniel ; but he is collecting and 
bringing together the scattered elements of prophecy and sacred 
imagery in one last vision or revelation of the day of the Lord. The 
kingdom of God is not at a distance ; it already exists ; it has 
gathered to itself the figures and glories of the Old Testament. Many 
other apocryphal writings exhibit signs of the same imitation ; 
they borrow the imagery of the elder prophets. But none of them 
are inspired with the faith or power which conceives the glorious 
things that have been said as a living reality. 

Perhaps it may be thought paradoxical that the words of the Old 
Testament should receive a new meaning in the Epistles, and also 
retain their original power and sacredness ; yet in our own use of 
quotations a similar inconsistency may be observed. For, not only in 
ancient but in modern times, a certain waywardness is discernible 
in the application of the words of others. Quotation, with ourselves, 
is an ingenious device for expressing our meaning in a pointed or 
forcible manner ; it implies also an appeal to an authority. And 
its point frequently consists in a slight, or even a great, devia 
tion from the sense in which the words quoted were uttered by their 
author. Its aptness lies in being at once old and new ; often in 
bringing into juxtaposition things so remote, that we should not 
have imagined they were connected ; sometimes in a word rather 

D D 3 


than in a sentence, or in the substitution of one word for another ; 
nor is its force diminished if it lead to a logical inference not strictly 
warranted. In like manner the quotations of the New Testament 
are at once new and old. They unite a kind of authority and anti 
quity with a new interpretation of the passage quoted. Sometimes 
the application of them is a sort of argument from their exact rheto 
rical or even grammatical form. Their connection often hangs upon 
a word, and there are passages in which the word on which the con 
nection turns is itself inserted. There are citations too, which are a 
composition of more than one passage, in which the spirit is taken 
from one and the words from another. There are other citations in 
which a similarity of spirit, rather than of language, is caught up 
and made use of by the Apostle. There are passages which are 
altered to suit the meaning given to them ; or in which the spirit of 
the New Testament is substituted for that of the old ; or the spirit 
of the Old Testament expands into that of the New. Lastly, there 
are a few passages which have one sense in the Old Testament, and 
have an entirely different or opposite one in the New. Almost all 
gradations occur between exact verbal correspondence with the 
Greek of the LXX. and discrepancy in which resemblance is all 
but lost ; between the greatest similarity and difference, even oppo 
sition, of spirit in the original passage and its application. The 
first connection is nearly always lost sight of; only in Rom. iv. 10. 
it is referred to generally, and in Rom. xi. 4. imperfectly remem 

The quotations in the writings of St. Paul may be classified under 
the following heads : 

i. Passages in which the meaning or the words of the Old Testa 
ment are altered, or both ; the alterations sometimes arising from a 
composition of passages ; in other instances from an adaptation of 
the text quoted to its new context. In one case a verse of the Old 
Testament is repeated with variations in two places. See Rom. 
xi. 34. ; 1 Cor. ii. 16. 

ii. Passages in which the spirit or the language of the Old Testa- 


ment is exactly retained, or with no greater variation of words than 
may be supposed to arise out of difference of texts, and no greater 
diversity of spirit than necessarily arises from the transfer of any 
passage in the Old Testament into another connection in the New. 
To which may be added 

iii. Passages which contain latent or unacknowledged quotations. 

iv. Allegorical passages. 

i. (1.) An instance in which the meaning of the quotation has 
been altered, and also in which the new meaning given to it is 
derived from another passage, occurs in Rom. ii. 24. : TO yap ovo^a 
TOV SEOV Si vfjiac /3Xa<r^7jjU7rat iv TGIQ eOveffiv, where the Apostle is 
speaking of the scandal caused by the violence and hypocrisy of the 
Jews. The words are taken from Is. Iii. 5. : ci vpag ^LawavTOQ TO 
ovopa JJ.QV /3\ao-0^/ie7rcu iv TO~IQ tdvevt ; where, however, they refer 
not to the sins of the house of Israel, but to their sufferings at the 
hand of their enemies. The turn which the Apostle has given the 
passage is gathered from Ez. xxxvi. 21 23. : KO.I tytiaa.^* cu/rwy Sta 
TO ovo[j.a. fj.ov TO ayiov 6 i&e&iXuaav OIKOQ lopar/X iv TO"IQ iQveaiv ov 

eifftlXOoffdl EKEl, K.T.X. 

A composition of passages occurs also in Rom. xi. 8., which 
appears to be a union of Is. vi. 9, 10. and xxix. 10. The twenty- 
sixth and twenty-seventh verses of the same chapter also furnish a 
singular instance of combination. (Is. lix. 20, 21. : KOI UVTIJ O.VTO~IQ ?/ 
Trap e]j.ov ^Lad^Kr], to which the clause, OTO.V a^)\wjLtat Taq bpapriag 
av-aH , is added from Is. xxvii. 9.) The play upon the word edvrj 
(nations = Gentiles) is repeated in Rom. iv. 17. (Gen. xvii. 5.), Gal. 
iii. 8. (Gen. xii. 3.), Rom. xv. 11. (Ps. cxvi. 1.). 

(2.) Another instance in which the general tone of a quotation 
is from one passage, and a few words are added from another, is 
to be found in Rom. ix. 33. : l$ov TiQripi EY Ztwv \iQov TTjOoovcoyu/mT-oe 
KOI Trirpav ffKavdaXov ical 6 TTKTTEVWV CTT avrw ov KaTaiff^yvdtjaeTai. The 
greater part of this passage occurs in Is. xxviii. 16. : ISov eyh e^- 
/3a\Xui elg TO. S ejueA.ta Siwy \idov TroAureXf/ EK\KTOV aKpoywvtalor, tVrt- 
JJ.QV elg TCI SepeXia avTrjs KOI 6 Trtarfviov ov pfj Koratff^vvOp. But the 

D P 4 


words XiOov TTjOOfffcoju/zaroe are introduced from Is. viii. 14. And the 
remainder of the passage (KCU . . . /ccmuo-xvvfl^orerou) is really incon 
sistent with these words, though both parts are harmonised in Him 
who is in one sense a stumblingstone and rock of offence ; in another 
a foundation stone and chief corner stone. 

(3.) A slighter example of alteration occurs 1 Cor. iii. 19., where 
the Apostle quotes from Ps. xciv. 11. : Kvpiog yivwovcet roue dtaXoyio-- 
povQ T&V ffofywv on elal fjLaratoi. Here the words T&V aofywv are sub 
stituted for Twy avdpuTrwv in the LXX., which in this passage agrees 
with the Hebrew. They are required to connect the quotation in 
the Epistle with the previous verses. A similar instance of the 
introduction of a word (nag) on which the point of an argument 
turns, occurs in Rom. X. 11. : Xeyt yap rj ypct^, TTOLQ 6 Trt/rrevwv ETT 
aurw ov KaTaia^yvQi]ffETai t where the addition is the more remarkable, 
as the Apostle had quoted the verse without TTO.Q in the preceding 
passage (ix. 33. Lach.). The insertion seems to be suggested by the 
words of Joel which follow. 

(4.) Another instance of addition and adaptation is furnished by 
1 Cor. xiv. 21. ; kv rw voyuw yiypairTai on kv irepoy\wffaoiQ /ecu kv 
erepw XctX//<rw rw Xaw TOVTO), KCLI ovd OVTMC; tlffctKovffovTai JJLOV, 
Kvpioe. This quotation, which is said to be "written in the 
law" (comp. John, x. 34., xii. 34., xv. 25.), is from Is. xxviii. 11, 
12., where the words in the LXX. are, 3m ^avXioy^oy ^ffXtW, 5m 
yXwffffrjQ ert joae, ort XaXr/ffovtrt ry Xaw rovrw, and in the English trans 
lation, " with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak 
unto this people." But the last words, ov3* OVTWQ tlaaKovaovrai, are 
taken from the following verse, where a clause nearly similar occurs 
in a different connection : \iyovTEQ ctvro7f, TOVTO TO avcnravpa TU 
KIIVUVTL KO.I TOVTO TO avfTpifJifJia, leal ovK fi6l\r}ffav arovecv, v. 12. The 
whole is referred by the Apostle to the gift of tongues, which he 
infers from this passage " to be a sign to unbelievers." 

(5.) An adaptation, which has led to an alteration of words, occurs 
in Rom. X. 6 9. : rj $e EK TT/OTEWC StKCuoffvrr) ovrw Xt yet prf eiiryG tv rrj 
ffov TIG a.vdr]ffTai els Toy ovparov ; TOVT ECTTI 


yeiv ; 7} rte Kara%fferat elg rr\v a&vaaov ; TOVT tarn, xptorov ZK vtKp&v 
avayayelv. dXXa rl Aeyei ; iyyvQ trou ro p^a eoTtv, eV rai ardjuari 
0-ou /cat ev rjj KOjOcU a aov TOVT e ort ro p^yua r//e ?r tore we, o Krjpvaaopev 
on icti opoXoyrjayg ev rw orojuari 0-ov KVULOV lr)aovi>, KOI TriaTevarjiQ eV 
r^f Kapfiiq. aov ort 6 Sfoe CLVTOV ijyeipev K vtKpGtv aitidija-rj. The intro 
ductory formula in this passage, /xj) eiTrrjg kv T^ Kapdiq. aov, is taken 
from Deut. viii. 17. j the substance of the remainder is abridged 
from Deut. xxx. 11 14.: OTL >; ivroXi} avrrj YJV eyw fireXXo/jcu ffot 
cn ljj,f.pov ov-% vTTtpoyKoe iffrtv, ov$e pciKpav curb aov iaTiv OVK iv TU> 
avw tart, Xeywv, T LQ avafif] VETCH ?/yutv etc TOV ovparbr, /cai Xr/^erat 
avrrjv Kal a.Kovaa.vTc avTrjv Troirjcropef ; ou^e Tre joav r^c 9 r aXa<T<77/G 
etrrt, Xeywr, r/c ^laTTfjOao-fi //ju7v etc ^o TTepav TYJC SaXaaarjc, Kcil Xa/3j/ 
ji , feat aKOva-Trjv r]fjuv Troifjffy a.VTi]v, KOI Troirjaojj.ev ; eyyvg aov 
TO prjfj-a afyodpa, iv TU> trrofiofri aov KCU ev TTJ Kapfiiq, aov KOI iv TCUQ 
i aov Troietf avro. To these verses the Apostle has added what 
may be termed a running commentary, applying them to Christ. 
To make the words irepav rjje SaXaaarjs thus applicable, the Apostle 
has altered them to ttg TTJV avaaov, a change which we should hesi 
tate to attribute to him, but for the other examples which have been 
already quoted of similar changes. (Compare also Rom. xi. 8., 
xii. 19.; Eph. iv. 8., quoted from Ps. Ixvii. 18. ; Eph. v. 14. The 
latter passage, in which as here the name of Christ is introduced, is 
probably an adaptation of Is. Ix. i.) He has also omitted eV rate 
X e p ff l> which was not suited to his purpose. Considering the fre 
quency of such changes, it would be contrary to the rules of sound 
criticism to attribute the introduction of ihe^ words to a difference of 
text in the Old Testament. 

(6.) An example of a new turn given to a passage from the Old 
Testament occurs in Rom. xi. 2, 3., where the Apostle has put 
together in one connection two verses which are disconnected in the 
original. In the Book of Kings (1 Kings, ix. 15 18.), the words, 
"I have left to myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the 
knee to Baal," are a continuation of the instruction to anoint Jehu 
and Hazael. But, in the application which the Apostle makes of 


them, they are quoted as the answer of God to the complaint of 
Elijah. The misplacement seems to have arisen from the words, 
"I am left alone," and the allusion to the worshippers of Baal. 
Compare Jus. Dial. c. 39. n. 2, 3. ; 46. n. 18. 

(7.) The words of 1 Cor. xv. 45., OVTWQ mi yeyjOctTrrat * EyeVero 6 
TrpwTog Acaju EIQ ^v^rjy u>ffav 6 ia^arog Ae)aju etc; Trvsvpa ^WOTTOIOV^, 
afford a remarkable instance of discrepancy, both in expression and 
meaning, from Gen. ii. 7. : eVe<|>i 0-77 ore v etc TO TTJOOO-WTTOV avrov TTVOYIV 
w7e KCLI eyeVero 6 avdpwTrog etc \fjvxrjv ^wcrav ; to the two clauses of 
which the Apostle appears to have applied a distinction analogous 
to that which Philo draws (De Legum Alleg. i. 12. ; De Creat. 
Mun. 24. 46.) between the earthly and the heavenly man (Gen. ii. 7. 
and i. 27.). The words are apparently inconsistent with the twenty- 
second verse of the same chapter : " As in Adam all die, even so in 
Christ shall all be made alive ;" which, in the sense sometimes given 
them, are also inconsistent with the forty-seventh verse: "The 
first man is of the earth, earthy ; the second man is the Lord from 
heaven." An instructive parallel to both inconsistencies is offered 
by the application of the expression of Genesis, " the image of God," 
not only to the regenerate man and to Christ (Col. iii. 10. ; 2 Cor. 
iv. 4.), but also to the natural man, or to man in general, without 
any such allusion, as in 1 Cor. xi. 7. Compare James, iii. 9. 

(8.) A curious instance of a subtle and at the same time strained 
application of a passage occurs in Gal. iii. 16 19., to which (r 
ffTrt jojuart) attention has been drawn in the notes. Compare Hebrews, 
vii. 1.; 1 Tim. ii. 13, 14. 

(9.) Cases occur in which the words of the Old Testament are 
quoted in contrast to the Gospel ; as, for example, the words of 
Leviticus xviii. 5., a Trot^o-ac avra avQpwwog, r/0-ercu eV avrotg, 
repeated in Rom. x. 5., Gal. iii. 12. ; so Deut. xxvii. 26., in Gal. 
iii. 10. The first of the two examples affords an instance of a minor 
peculiarity, viz. disorder introduced into the grammatical construc 
tion by quotations. 

ii. A good example of the second class of quotations is the pas- 


sage from Hab. ii. 4. quoted in Rom. i. 17., 6 3e S/JOGUOC e*c 
r)ffTat ; which occurs also in two other places, Heb. x. 38., Gal. 
in. 11., which the LXX. read, 6 Se uccuoe EK TriarewQ JJLOV >/arcu, 
and the English version translates from the Hebrew, "but the just 
shall live by his faith. It is remarkable, that in Rom. i. 17., Gal. iii. 
11., the verse should be quoted in the same manner, and that slightly 
different, either from the LXX. or the Hebrew ; in Heb. x. 38. it 
agrees precisely with the LXX. Like the other great text of the 
Apostle, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for 
righteousness," which is also repeated three times in the New Testa 
ment (Rom. iv. 3. ; Gal. iii. 6. ; James, ii. 23.), it offers an example 
of the way in which the language of the Old Testament is enlarged 
and universalised in the New ; the particular faith of Abraham or of 
the Israelite becoming the type of faith as opposed to the law. The 
wider sphere of Messianic prophecy, which extends the promise of 
the root of Jesse to the Gentiles (Is. xi. 10.), is also appropriated as 
of right by St. Paul. Here too the meaning is enlarged, as in the 
application of the words of Isaiah: "I was found of them that 
sought me not" (Ixv. 1.), Rom. x. 20. It is less characteristic of the 
Apostle, that the predestinarian language of the Old Testament is 
in some instances transferred by him to the New, as in Rom. ix. 13. 
after Mai. i. 2, 3. ("Jacob have I loved ; Esau have I hated"), and 
in Rom. ix. 20. after Is. xxix. 16. Some of the passages which speak 
of the vanity of human wisdom are taken from the Old Testament 
(1 Cor. i. 19, 20. after Is. xxix. 16., xlv. 9.). 

Other examples of the second class of quotations are such places 
as the following : " Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, 
and whose sin is pardoned ; blessed is the man to whom the Lord 
doth not impute sin," Rom. iv. 7., from Ps. xxxii. 1, 2. " The 
reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me," Rom. xv. 3., 
from Ps. Ixix. 9. "Who hath believed our report ?" Rom. x. 16., 
from Is. liii. 1. " For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we 
are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," Ps. xliii. 22., quoted in 
Rom. viii, 36. ; in which the instinct of the Apostle has caught the 


common feeling or spirit of the Old and New Testament, though the 
texts quoted contain no word which is a symbol of his doctrine. 

Passages which might be placed under either head are Rom. 
x. 13. : "Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated," the words of 
which exactly agree with the LXX., although their original meaning 
in Mai. i. 2, 3., whence they are taken, has to do, not with the indi 
viduals Jacob and Esau, but with the natives of Edom and Israel : 
the cento of quotations in Rom. iii. descriptive of the wickedness of 
the Psalmist s enemies, or of those who were the subjects of the pro 
phetical denunciations, which are transferred by the Apostle to the 
world in general (compare Justin Dial. c. 27. n. 6., where several of 
the quotations occur in the same order); Rom. xii. 20. : "Therefore 
if thine enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give him drink ; for 
in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head," the words of 
which are exactly quoted from the LXX. (Prov. xxv. 21, 22.), 
though the meaning given to them is ironical ; for which reason the 
succeeding clause, " But the Lord shall reward thee," which would 
have destroyed the irony, is omitted. 

iii. What may be termed latent or unacknowledged quotations 
vary in extent from whole verses down to single words ; there are 
instances in which mere resemblances of form may be traced, with 
no word the same. A remarkable example of an entire verse which 
is thus quoted is furnished by the application of Prov. xxv. 21, 22. 
(Rom. xii. 20., " Therefore if thine enemy," &c.), already referred to. 
A few words are traceable in Eph. v. 30., also affording a good instance 
of what may be termed the spiritualisation of the natural or physical 
language of the Old Testament. Gen. ii. 23., xxix. 14. : TOVTO vvv 
OGTOVV IK T&V doreW pov, Kal ffapl- SK rfJQ arapKoe fjiov; so of Christians, 
fJieXr) eorfjiev rov ffa)fj.aro avrov, IK rijc (rapKog avrov Koi EK T&V dorewj 
avrov. So 1 Cor. x. 20., after Deut. xxxii. 17. ; Ephes. i. 22. (com 
pare 1 Cor. xv. 27, 28.), taken from Ps. viii. 6. ; and without any 
change of meaning, Eph. iv. 26., from Ps. iv. 4. In like manner, Eph. 
ii. 13 17. contains a remembrance of Is. Ivii. 19. ; Eph. vi. 14. 17. of 
Is. lix. 17. A single word, 6 o^tc r/Tran/o-e yue, Gen. iii. 13. (which is 


also quoted 2 Cor. xi. 3), has probably left a trace of itself in the 
personification of sin, Rom. vii. 11. : rj apapTia e^rjirarriae pe . . . KUI 
cureKretve. The verses 2 Cor. vi. 9. 11. contain two examples of 
verbal allusion. The slightest thread is enough to form a con 
nection. In 2 Cor. xiii. 1., eVt arofjiaTog Svo fjiapTvpcjv Kal rpiwv 
ffradfiaeTai TTO.V pfjpct, the association which leads the Apostle s mind 
to the quotation (from Deut. xix. 15. : compare Matt, xviii. 16. ; 
John, viii. 17.) seems to be only the word rjoe/c, arising out of the 
circumstance that he has mentioned just before that he is coming to 
them for the third time. 1 Cor. v. 13. offers another example of 
the use of the language of the LXX. (Deut. xxii. 24.), in which 
the Apostle clothes a command to the Church. The verse 1 Cor. 
xv. 32., "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die," is taken 
word for word from Isaiah, xxii. 13. ; and in the same chapter 
the words, " O death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy 
victory?" (vers. 55, 56.), with almost verbal exactness, from Hosea, 
xiii. 14. 

iv. Once more. In a few passages the Apostle, after the manner 
of his time, has recourse to allegory. These are : 1. the allegory of 
the woman who had lost her husband, in Rom. vii. (compare Gal. 
iv. 1 3., which is supported by Is. liv. 1.); 2. Of the children of 
Israel in the wilderness, in 1 Cor. x. ; 3. Of Hagar and Sarah, in 
Gal. iii. ; 4. Of the veil on the face of Moses, in 2 Cor. iii. ; 5. Abra 
ham himself, who is a kind of centre of allegory, the actions of whose 
life, as well as the promises of God to him, are symbols of the 
coming dispensation ; 6. The history of the .patriarchs, and cutting 
short of the house of Israel, in Rom. ix. x. Of these examples, the 
first, third, and fourth are what we should term illustrations ; while 
the second, fifth, and sixth have not merely an analogous or meta 
phorical meaning, but a real inward connection with the life and 
state of the first believers. 

A few general results of an examination of the quotations from 
the Old Testament in St. Paul s Epistles may be summed as fol 
lows : 


1. The number of direct quotations in which reference is made to 
the original is about 87, of which about 53 are found in the Epistle 
to the Romans, 15 in 1 Corinthians, 6 in 2 Corinthians, 10 in Gala- 
tians, 2 in Ephesians, 1 in 1 Timothy. Of these nearly half show a 
precise verbal agreement with the LXX. ; while, of the remaining 
passages, at least two thirds exhibit a degree of verbal similarity 
which can only be accounted for by an acquaintance with the LXX. 
Minuter traces of the Old Testament language are far more nume 

2. None of these passages offer any certain proof that the Apostle 
was acquainted with the Hebrew text.* That he must have been 
so can hardly be doubted ; yet it seems improbable that he could 
have had a familiar knowledge of the original without straying into 
parallelisms with the Hebrew, in those passages in which it varies 
from the LXX. His acquaintance with the Hebrew was probably 
of such a kind as we might acquire of a version of the Scriptures not 
in the vernacular. No Englishman incidentally quoting the English 
version from memory would adapt it to the Greek, though he might 
very probably adapt the Greek to the English. The inference is, 
that the Greek and not the Hebrew text must have been to the Apo 
stle what the English version is to ourselves. 

3. While many of these quotations are introduced, as we have 
already seen, without any acknowledgment in the" New Testament, 
a few others, as for example, Rom. xii. 19., 1 Cor. xv. 45., are 
hardly, if at all, discernible in the text of the Old. The familiarity 
with the Old Testament which has led to the first of these two phe 
nomena is probably also the cause of the second. As the words 
suggest themselves unconsciously, so the spirit without the words 
occasionally comes into the Apostle s mind ; or the language and 
spirit of different passages blend in one. 

4. There is no evidence that the Apostle remembered the verbal 
connection in which any of the passages quoted by him originally 

* Compare Bom. ix. 7., x. 15.. 1 Cor. ii. 9., as the best instances on the other 
side ; they do not, however, disprove the truth of the remark. 


occurred. He isolates them wholly from their context ; he reasons 
from them as he might from statements of his own, "going off upon 
a word," as it has been called, in one instance almost upon a letter 
(Gal. iii. 16.), drawing inferences which in strict logic can hardly be 
allowed, often extending the meaning of words beyond their first 
and natural sense. There is nothing to distinguish his use of quota 
tions from that of his age, except greater power and life ; he clings 
more than his contemporaries to the spirit and less to the letter, his 
inaccuracy about the latter arising in some instances from his feeling 
for the spirit. 

5. There is no reason to think that the Apostle ever quotes from 
apocryphal writings, nor could it be gathered from the language of 
his Epistles that he was acquainted with the works of classical 
authors. Similarities are found with apocryphal writings ; but they 
are all explainable on the supposition of a common source. Three 
or four verses from Greek poets also occur in the Acts and Epistles ; 
these, however, are common and proverbial expressions, which the 
Apostle might very well have known without having been read in 
the works of Aratus, Epimenides, Euripides, or Menander. 

6. Vestiges of Old Testament language are so numerous, as to 
admit of an argument from their occurrence to the genuineness of 
the Epistles. If the same interpenetration of new and old phraseo 
logy occurs in the Epistle to the Ephesians that we find in the 
Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and the Galatians, here is con 
siderable reason for supposing that they are writings of the same 
author, or at any rate of the same date. A new argument from 
coincidence arises, for no one would imagine that it could have 
occurred to a forger of a later age to imitate the manner in which 
St. Paul used the language of the LXX. The argument is only 
suggested ; it requires careful consideration to enable an estimate 
to be formed of its exact value. It certainly applies, however, with 
some force, to the Epistle to the Ephesians, in which there are very 
few traces of direct citation, but many of verbal resemblances. 

7. The study of the quotations from the Old Testament draws 


attention to the knowledge which the Apostle must have had of the 
Greek Scriptures. It is hardly possible to exaggerate the minute 
ness of this acquaintance. In the greater number of quotations he is 
verbally accurate. Hence, we may also infer that it is not from 
want of memory that he disregards the connection. His writings 
teem with the phraseology of the Psalms and the Prophets. They 
suggest his thoughts, they are his weapons of controversy, they 
supply him with words and expressions as well as with a " form of 
truth." The Greek Old Testament Scriptures are not only sacred 
books to him, they are also his language and literature. What are 
often termed the Hebraisms of the Apostle are, for the most part, if 
not always, Hellenisms; that is to say, Hebraisms contracted 
through the influence of the LXX. 

Lastly, It may be asked whether St. Paul regarded these texts of 
Scripture as prophecies or accommodations, as illustrations or argu 
ments, as types or figures of speech, as designed or undesigned coin 
cidences ? The answer is, that such distinctions had no place in his 
mind ; to attribute them to him is a logical anachronism. He did 
not say to himself : This was designed, that undesigned ; this is an 
illustration, that an argument. He adopted what appeared to his 
own mind a natural form of expression, what he conceived would 
convey his meaning to others. His own language and that of the 
psalmists and prophets are bound together by him in various ways: 

1.) Often (as we have already seen) whole verses of the Old 
Testament are latent in the Epistle, without note or sign. 

2.) In other passages they are preceded by fcaflwe ytypcnrrai : ri 
\iyti fj ypa.(f>{] ; At yei r; ypct(f>f] : Kadatrep MwaJ/e \eyei. David, Isaiah, 
Elijah, Hosea, are also cited by name. 

3.) A stronger formula is found in Gal. in. 8. : Trpo itiovffa e f} 
rj ; and one more emphatic still in 1 Cor. x. 11.: ravra e 
ffvvtflaivov tKftVoic, lypatyr) c)e TrpOQ vovdeffiav fjfjL&i , els 



THE narrative of the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians 
suggests an inquiry, which lies at the foundation of all inquiries into 
the earliest history of the Church : "In what relation did St. Paul 
stand to the Apostles at Jerusalem ? " To which inquiry three 
answers may be given : (1.) the answer which identifies the preach 
ing of St. Paul and the Twelve ; or, (2.) which opposes them ; or, 
(3.) which is between the two, admitting a degree of unity, yet 
allowing also for great differences of external circumstances and 
individual character. The first answer is that which would be 
gathered from the Acts of the Apostles, which offer only the 
picture of an unbroken harmony ; a view to which the Church in 
after ages naturally inclined, and which may be said to be carica 
tured in the explanation of Origen and Chrysostom, that the dispute 
between the Apostles at Antioch was a concerted fiction. Secondly, 
the answer which would be supplied by the Clementine homilies, in 
which St. Paul sustains the character of Simon Magus, and St. 
Peter is the Apostle of the Gentiles ; such an answer as might pro 
bably have been drawn from the writings (had they been preserved 
to us) of Marcion, by whom St. Paul in turn was magnified to the 
exclusion of the Twelve ; which falls in also with the conclusions of 
an extreme school of modern critics, who maintain the Acts of the 
Apostles to have been written in the second century, with a view of 
concealing the differences in which the Church began. The third 
answer is that which we believe would be drawn from an impartial 
examination of the Epistles of St. Paul himself, the only contem 
porary documents : " Independence of each other in their ministry 
VOL. I. E E 


and apostleship ; antagonism of the followers, and on one or two 
occasions of the leaders also ; some difference of spirit, together 
with great personal hostility on the part of the Judaizers to St. Paul, 
but not of St. Paul to the Twelve." 

The question to which these three answers have been given im 
plies a further inquiry into the relation of Jew and Gentile, of the 
preaching of the Gospel of the uncircumcision to that of circumcision. 
If in the second century these distinctions yet survived, if animosi 
ties against St. Paul were burning still, if a party without the 
Church ranged itself under his name, if later controversies have 
anything in common with that first difference, if in the earliest 
ecclesiastical history we find a silence respecting the person and an 
absence of the spirit of St. Paul, it is natural to connect these cir 
cumstances with the record of the Apostle himself, that on a great 
occasion the other Apostles "added nothing to him;" and that at 
Antioch, which was his own sphere, he withstood Peter to the face. 
In the personal narrative of the Epistle to the Galatians, we seem 
to recognise the germ of what reappears afterwards as the history of 
the Church. And had no memorial remained, had there been no 
hint anywhere dropped of divisions between St. Paul and the Twelve, 
no record of Judaizing heresies, we should feel that some account 
was wanting of the manner in which circumcision became uncircum 
cision, and the Jew was lost in the Gentile. Probably, we might 
conjecture, not in all places with equal readiness, nor equally after 
and before the destruction of Jerusalem or the revolt under Adrian, 
nor without imparting some elements of the law to the Gospel, nor, 
in accordance with the general laws of human nature, without a 
certain violence of party and opinion. 

Events of the greatest importance in the annals of mankind are 
not always seen to be important, until the hour for preserving them* 
is past. There is a time before biography passes into history, when 
a society has not yet learned to register its acts, and individuals have 
not awoke to the consciousness of national or ecclesiastical life. In 
this intermediate period, events the most fruitful in results may lie 


buried (the unfolding of the germ in the bosom of the earth is not the 
least part of the growth of the plant) ; they may also be reproduced in 
a new form and their spirit misunderstood by the imperfect know 
ledge of after ages. Two or three centuries elapse ; documents are 
lost or tampered with, or confused ; there is no eye of criticism to 
penetrate their meaning. The historian has " the veil upon his face" 
of a later generation ; he cannot see through the events, institutions, 
opinions in the circle of which he lives. Who can tell what went 
on in a " large upper room" about the year 40 ? which may, never 
theless, have had great consequences for the world and the Church. 
Who, when Christianity was triumphant in the fourth century, 
would comprehend the simple ways and thoughts of believers in the 
first ? Nor is there anything more likely to be misunderstood, than 
the differences between the first teachers of a religion, and the dis 
putes of their respective followers, about a matter of discipline or 
doctrine which has passed away. The transition may be too gradual 
to be observed while it is going on. Literature is of a later date ; 
beginning when the Church has already arrived at its full stature, 
it cannot describe the stages of its infancy and growth. In the 
extreme distance the objects of earth are no longer distinguishable 
from the clouds of heaven. 

These are the reasons why, in the consideration of our present 
subject, there is so much room for speculation and for conjecture ; 
why the result of so many books is so small ; why there is endless 
criticism, and very little history. The materials are slender, and the 
light by which they are seen is too feeble to enable us to combine or 
construct them. They cannot be left as they are on the page of 
Scripture (the human mind has no hold upon flat surfaces) ; 
least of all, can they be put together on the pattern of ecclesiastical 
tradition. Church history, like other history, may be made to 
acquire a deceitful unity ; it may gather to itself form and feature ; 
it may convey a harmonious impression, which, from its internal 
consistency, it is sometimes difficult to resist. The philosophy of 
history readily weaves the tangle, developing the progress of opi- 

E E 2 


nions and connecting together causes and effects ; but the unity 
which is created by it is artificial. Some other combination may be 
equally possible. Tradition, on the other hand, has a natural unity ; 
but only the unity of idea, which a later age gives to the past. It 
tells what an after generation thought that a former one ought to 
have been. It embodies a sort of corporate or national belief in the 
past. Its continuity is unbroken, and therefore no suspicion arises 
that the first link is really wanting. 

Many causes combine to produce a singular illusion in reference 
to the Church of the Apostolic age. There is the temptation to 
look back to a time when human nature was better than it is, when 
virtue and brotherly love were not a dream only, when the ideal 
had a dwelling among men. The times of the Apostles are the 
golden age of the Church, in which, without " spot, or wrinkle, or 
any such thing," it came from the hands of its Divine Author the 
New Jerusalem descending from heaven, arrayed in a portion of 
that glory with which prophecy clothed it. The old always seems 
to be better than the new in religion ; and the sacredness which we 
attribute to the first century insensibly overshadows the lives of 
individuals. Institutions acquire a sort of fixedness from anti 
quity ; feeling their value, we readily believe that they are of 
Apostolic origin. What is familiar to us becomes distinct ; it is 
impossible to doubt what is daily repeated in our ears. The ten 
dency to error is increased by the circumstance, that in modern 
as in ancient times we have made the first century the battle 
field of our controversies. Instead of asking what was right, or 
true, or probable, what was the spirit or mind of Christ, we have 
constantly repeated the question, " What was the belief, constitution, 
practice, of the primitive Church ?" a question which we had no 
materials for answering, and which we had, also, the greatest tempt 
ation to answer according to our own previous notion. There is 
room enough in the unknown space for every denomination of 
Christians to consecrate a temple and raise an altar. Churches, as 
well as castles, may easily be built in the air. If we inquire 


closely into the nature of many familiar conceptions about the 
constitution of the Apostolic society, we shall find that they consist 
of a sort of model of perfection invested with some of the externals 
of Tertullian or of Augustine, and conforming in other respects to 
the use and practice of our own time. 

All history receives a colour from the age in which it is written. 
This is the case with Ecclesiastical history even more than secular ; 
it glows with the faith and feelings of the historian ; it reflects his 
principles or convictions, it is sometimes embittered by his preju 
dices. Eusebius, " the father of Ecclesiastical history," believing as 
he did that the constitution of the Church which he saw around 
him had existed from the first, was not likely to give a consistent 
account of its origin or growth. Nor was it to be expected that he 
should trace the history of doctrines, who, within the Church at 
least, could have admitted of no doctrinal difference or development. 
It was impossible for him to describe that of which he had no con 
ception. Had he been disposed to write an accurate account of the 
progress of the Christian faith in the first two centuries, the scanti 
ness of his materials would have prevented him from doing so. 
The antiquarian spirit had awoke too late to recover the treasures of 
the past. Those who preceded him had a similar though less defi 
nite impression of the first age, of which they knew so little, and 
wrote in the same way. It would be an anachronism to expect that 
he should sift critically the few cases in which the earlier authorities 
witness against themselves. In point of judgement, he is about on a 
level with the other " Father of History ; " that is to say, he is not 
wholly destitute of critical power : yet his criticism is accidental 
and capricious ; most often observable in the case of Ecclesiastical 
writings, which his literary tastes led him to explore. But real 
historical investigation is unknown to him. No resisting power of 
inquiry prevents his acceptance of any facts which fell in with the 
orthodox faith of his age, or seemed to afford a witness to it. Mira 
cles are believed by him, not upon greater, but upon rather less 
evidence than ordinary events. He catches, like Herodotus, at any 

E E 3 


chance similarity, such as that bet-ween the first Christians and 
the Therapeutae of Egypt, (ii. c. 17.) He feels no difficulty in 
receiving the statement of Justin Martyr, that Simon Magus was 
honoured at Rome under the title of the Holy God (Semo San- 
cus) ; or the testimony of Tertullian, that the Emperor Tiberius 
referred the worship of Christ to the senate. He sees the whole 
history of the Church through the medium of that victory over 
Paganism and heresy which he had witnessed in his own day. He 
carries the struggle back into the previous centuries, in which he 
finds almost nothing else but the conflict of the truth with heresy, and 
the blood of martyrs the seed of the Church. No one can suppose 
that the heresiarchs were such as he describes them, or that he has 
truly seized the relation in which they stood to the primitive Church. 
The language in which he denounces them is a sufficient evidence 
that he could not have investigated with calmness the character of 
the " wolf of Pontus," or the false prophet Montanus and his " rep 
tile " followers. Though living at a distance of a century and a half, 
he repeats and adopts the conventional abuse of their contemporary 

Records of the earliest heretics have passed away ; no one of 
them is fairly known to us from his own writings. Their names 
have become a by-word among men ; at another tribunal we may 
believe that many judgements passed upon them have been reversed. 
The true history of the century which followed the withdrawal of 
the Apostles has also perished, or is preserved only in fragmentary 
statements. It is a matter of conjecture how the constitution of 
the Church arose ; it is a parallel speculation, out of what simpler 
elements the earliest liturgies were compiled. But it does not follow 
that nothing happened in an age of which we know nothing. The 
least philosophy of history suggests the reflection that in the primi 
tive Church there must have existed all the varieties of practice 
belief, speculation, doctrine, which the different circumstances of 
the converts, and the different natures of men acting on those 
circumstances, would be likely to produce. The Church acquired 


unity in its progress through the world ; it was more scattered 
and undisciplined at first than it afterwards became. Even the 
Apostles do not work together in the spirit of an order ; they and 
their followers are not an army "set under authority," of which 
the leaders say to one man " come, and he cometh," and to 
another "go, and he goeth." The Church of the Apostles may be 
compared more truly to "the wind blowing where it listeth." or even 
to " the lightning shining from one part of the heaven to the other. 
Paul and Barnabas and Apollos, and even Priscilla and Aquila, 
have their separate ways of acting ; they walk in different paths ; 
they do not attempt to control one another. Whatever caution is 
observable in their mode of dealing with each other s spheres of 
labour is a matter of courtesy, not of ecclesiastical discipline. It is 
not certain, perhaps on the whole improbable, that those who came 
from James to Antioch (Gal. ii. 12.) represented the community at 
Jerusalem, There is no Church which claims to be the metropolis of 
other Churches ; nor any subordination within the several Churches 
to a single authority. The words of the Epistle to the Ephesians 
(iv. 11.), "He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some 
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers," are hardly reconcil 
able either with three orders of clergy, or with the distinction of 
clergy and laity. They describe a state of the Church in which 
there was less of system and more of impulse than at a later period ; 
in which " all the Lord s people were prophets," and natural or 
spiritual gifts became offices "in the beginning of the Gospel." 
Compare Rom. xii. 6. ; 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29. 

Leaving these introductory considerations, we will return to the 
subject out of which they arose, the difference of St. Paul and the 
Twelve, " the little cloud no bigger than a man s hand," the sign of 
the coming storm which darkened the face of the Church and the 

The narrative of this difference is contained in the second chapter 
of the Epistle to the Galatians. The Apostle begins by asserting 
his Divine commission and independence of human authority ; he 

E E 4 


was an Apostle "not of man nor by man," and there was no other 
Gospel but that which he preached. After a few words of rebuke, 
he touches on such points in his personal history as tended to show 
that he had no connexion with the Twelve. It was not by their 
ministry that he was converted ; and, after his conversion, he had 
seen them only twice ; once for so short a time that he was unknown 
at that period to the Churches of Judea ; on the latter of the two 
occasions, they had " added nothing to him " in a conference about 
circumcision. Afterwards, at Antioch, when Peter showed a dis 
position to retrace his steps at the instigation of certain who came 
from James, he withstood him to the face, and rebuked his incon 
sistency, even though his helper Barnabas and all the other Jews 
were against him. The reason for narrating this is to show, not 
how nearly the Apostle agreed with the Twelve, but how entirely 
he maintained his ground, meeting them on terms of freedom and 

There are features in this narrative which indicate a hostile, as 
there are other features which indicate also a friendly, bearing in the 
two parties who are here spoken of. Among the firSt may be classed 
the mention of false brethren, " who came in to spy out our liberty 
in Christ Jesus." Were they Jews or Christians ? and how came 
they to be present, if the Apostles at Jerusalem could have pre 
vented them ? In a remarkable passage of the Acts of the Apostles 
(xxi. 20, 21.) the believers at Jerusalem are spoken of as a great 
multitude " all zealous for the law," which leads to the inference 
that their profession and way of life were not inconsistent with 
Jewish customs : living as they were under the eye of the chief 
priests, this could hardly have been otherwise ; there could have been 
no strong line of demarcation between Jews and Jewish Christians 
at Jerusalem. The tone of the narrative implies further, that 
the other Apostles scarcely resisted the false brethren, but left 
the battle to be fought by St. Paul. The second point which tends 
to the unfavourable inference is, the manner in which the Apostles 
of Jerusalem are spoken of " those who seemed to be somewhat, 


whatsoever they were, it makcth no matter to me;" ol 
cli/cu re, ver. 6., who are shown by the form of the sentence to be 
the same as ol SOKOVVTEQ orvXot EIJ CU, in ver. 9. Thirdly, the distinc 
tion of the Gospels of the circumcision and uncircumcision, which 
was not merely one of places, but of teaching also. Fourthly, the 
use of the words (vTroKptais) " hypocrisy " and (/careyrwer/^Vos) " con 
demned," in reference to Peter s conduct ; and, lastly, in ver. 12., 
the mention of certain who came from James, under whose influence 
the Apostle supposed Peter to have acted ; which raises the suspicion 
of a regular opposition to St. Paul, acting in concert with the heads 
of the Church at Jerusalem. At the meeting, the other Apostles 
had been determined by the fact, that a Church had grown up ex 
ternal to them, which was its own witness. 

This is one way in which the record of the second chapter of the 
Galatians may be read. Yet, there are gentler features also, which 
must not be omitted, and which restore us more nearly to our pre 
vious conception of the Apostolic Church. In the first place, there 
is no appearance here, or anywhere in the Epistles, of an open 
schism between St. Paul and the Twelve. Secondly, the differences 
are not of such a nature as to preclude the Church of Jerusalem 
from receiving, or the Apostle from giving, the alms of the Gentiles. 
Thirdly, the expression, ol ZOKOVVTFQ di>ai rt, " who seemed to be 
somewhat/ although ironical, is softened by what follows, ol ^OKOVVTEQ 
elyai orvAot, "who seemed to be pillars," in which the Apostle ex 
presses the greatness and dignity of the Twelve in their separate 
field of labour. Lastly, the interview enda with an arrangement 
which shows the goodwill of the Apostle St. Paul to his poor fellow- 
Christians at Jerusalem, and the unwillingness of the Twelve to 
interfere with a work for which " they gave glory to God " (Acts, 
xi. 18.), or of St. Paul himself " to build upon another man s 
foundation " (Rom. xv. 20.). 

But after thus balancing the question on either side (and it is 
probable that the spirit of the second chapter of the Galatians will 
be differently seized by different minds), we naturally turn over the 


pages of the other Epistles of St. Paul to collect the intimations 
which occur elsewhere on the same subject. Let us endeavour to 
replace the passage in what may be termed the context of the 
Apostolical age. Is it a mere accident, happening once only, 
that the Twelve and St. Paul met and had a partial difference ? 
or is the difference alluded to an indication of a greater and more 
radical difference in the Church itself, which is partially reflected 
in the persons of its leaders ? We might be disposed to answer 
"yes" to the first alternative, were the first two chapters of the 
Galatians all that remained to us ; we are compelled to say " yes " 
to the second, when we extend our view to other parts of Scripture. 
Everywhere in the Epistles of St. Paul we find traces of an oppo 
sition between the Jew and Gentile, the circumcision and the uncir- 
cumcision. It is found, not only in the Epistle to the Galatians, but 
in a scarcely less aggravated form in the two Epistles to the Corin 
thians, softened indeed and generalised in the Epistle to the Romans, 
and still distinctly traceable in the Epistle to the Philippians ; the 
party of the circumcision appearing to triumph in Asia, at the close 
of the Apostle s life, in the second Epistle to Timothy. In all these 
Epistles we have proofs of a reaction to Judaism, but, though they 
are addressed to Churches chiefly of Gentile origin, never of a 
reaction to heathenism. Could this have been the case, unless within 
the Church itself there had been a Jewish party urging upon the 
members of the Church the performance of a rite repulsive in itself 
if not as necessary to salvation, at any rate as a counsel of perfection ; 
seeking to make them, in Jewish language, not merely proselytes of 
the gate, but proselytes of righteousness ? What, if not this, is the 
reverse side of the Epistles of St. Paul ? that is to say, the motives, 
object, or basis of teaching of his opponents, who came with " epistles 
of commendation" to the Church of Corinth (2 Cor. iii. 1.); who 
profess themselves " to be Christ s " in a special sense (2 Cor. x. 7.) ; 
who say they are of Apollos, or Cephas, or Christ (1 Cor. i. 12.), 
or James (Gal. ii. 12.) ; who preach Christ of contention (Phil. i. 
15. 17.); who deny St. Paul s authority (1 Cor. ix. L, Gal. iv. 16.); 


who slander his life (1 Cor. ix. 3. 7.). We meet these persons at 
every turn. Are they the same, or different? Are they chance 
opponents ? or do they represent to us one spirit, one mission, one 
determination to root out the Apostle and his doctrine from the 
Christian Church ? 

The epistolary form of St. Paul s writings, and the tendency 
to lose sight of their marked characteristics in the more general 
picture of the Acts of the Apostles, have concealed from view the fact 
that there was a continuous opposition to him, commencing pre 
viously to his second missionary journey, and lasting down to the 
period of the riot at Jerusalem which led to his imprisonment. It is 
also evident that this hostility is not equally felt towards the Apostles 
at Jerusalem ; for it arrays itself under their authority. Not only 
in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, but in the 
Epistle to the Corinthians also (2 Cor. xi. 5., xii. 11.), St. Paul 
seems to assert himself against the Twelve. He fears that his 
relation to them will be misconceived ; he knows the magic power 
of Judaism which appeals to the names of some of them. Though 
the Corinthian as well as the Galatian Church was in some sense 
a Gentile community, he never seems to be in the least degree 
apprehensive of a return to "dumb idols;" what he fears is the 
enforcement of circumcision, the observance of days and weeks, the 
loss of the freedom of the Gospel. And the opponents, on whom 
he pours forth his indignation, are at once heathens and also 
Judaizing Christians. Still the question recurs, In what relation 
did these Jewish Christians stand to the Apostles at Jerusalem ? 
Let us gather up the fragments that remain in the Acts of the 

That in the beginning the elements of a division existed in the 
Christian society appears from the murmuring of the Grecians 
against the Hebrews, for the neglect of their widows in the daily 
ministration, which led to the appointment of the seven deacons. 
Indeed, they may be said to have pre-existed in the Jewish and 
Gentile world ; even among those who were called by a holier name 


than that of country, differences of race did not wholly disappear. 
A first epoch in the history of the division is marked by the death 
of Stephen, which scattered a portion of the Church, whom the 
circumstance of their persecution, as well as their dispersion in 
foreign countries, would tend to alienate from the observance of the 
Jewish law. A second epoch is distinguished by the preaching of 
St. Paul at Antioch ; immediately after which we are informed that 
the disciples were first called Christians. Then follows the Council, 
the more exact account of which is supplied by the Epistle to the 
Galatians, to which, however, one point is added in the narrative of 
the Acts, the mention of certain who came from Jerusalem to 
Antioch, saying, " Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved." 
Passing onwards a little, we arrive at the address of St. Paul to the 
elders of the Church of Ephesus (Acts, xx. 29, 30.), which seems to 
allude to the same alienation from himself which had actually taken 
place in the second Epistle to Timothy (2 Tim. i. 15.). At length 
we come to St. Paul s last journey to Jerusalem, and his interview 
with James, which was the occasion on which, by the advice of 
James, he took a vow upon him, in hope of calming the apprehen 
sions of the multitude of " the many thousand Jews who believed 
and were all zealous for the law," in which passage express reference 
is made to the decree of the Council. These leading facts are inter 
spersed with slighter notices, which rather arouse than gratify our 
curiosity. Such are the words " of the re&t durst no man join 
himself to them" (Acts, v. 13.), touching the way of life of the 
Apostles ; " a great company of the priests were obedient unto the 
faith " (vi. 7.) ; " they that were scattered abroad upon the persecu 
tion of Stephen, preached the word to Jews only " (viii. 4.) ; the 
moderate counsels of Gamaliel (v. 34 40.) ; the priority attributed 
to James in Acts, xii. 17. (" Go shew these things to James and 
the brethren ") ; the mention of the alms brought by Barnabas and 
Saul to Jerusalem in the days of Claudius Caesar (xi. 29.) ; the men 
tion also in Acts, xv. 5., of certain of the sect of the Pharisees which 
believed. Such is the declaration of St. Paul himself at a later 


period, that he is a Pharisee " (Acts, xxiii. 6.). Nor is it without 
significance that in the discussion of this question of the admission of 
the Gentiles, no reference is made to the command of the Gospels, 
"Go and baptize all nations;" and that nowhere are the other 
Apostles described as at variance with the Jewish Christians ; nor 
in the later history of the Acts as suffering persecution from the 
Jews, or as sharing in the persecution of St. Paul. For twenty 
years after the death of Herod Agrippa the Church of Jerusalem 
seems to have had rest ; scattered by persecution in its first days, 
and remaining unmolested a t a later period, though increasing in 
numbers and under the immediate control of the Sanhedrim, it had 
apparently ceased to incur their enmity or arouse their jealousy. 

Many doubts and possibilities arise in our minds respecting the 
age of the Apostles when we look on the picture " through a micro 
scope," and dwell on those points which are commonly unnoticed. 
We are tempted to frame theories and reconstructions, which are 
better, perhaps, represented by queries. Did those who remained 
behind in the Church regard the death of the martyr Stephen with 
the same feelings as those who were scattered abroad ? or was he 
in their eyes only what James the Just appeared to be to the 
historian Josephus ? Were the Apostles at Jerusalem one in heart 
with the brethren at Antioch ? Were the teachers who came from 
Jerusalem to Antioch saying, " Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot 
be saved," commissioned by the Twelve ? Were the Twelve ab 
solutely at one among themselves ? Are the " commendatory 
epistles " spoken of in the Epistle to the Corinthians, to be ascribed 
to the Apostles at Jerusalem ? Can " the grievous wolves," whose 
entrance into the Church of Ephesus the Apostle foresaw, be other 
than the Judaizing teachers? Were "the multitude" of believing 
Jews, who were all zealous for the law, and liable to be quickened 
in their zeal for it by the very sight of St. Paul, engaged in the 
tumult which follows ? Lastly, how far does the narrative of the 
Acts convey the lively impression of contemporaries, how far the 
recollections of another generation ? These questions cannot have 


detailed answers ; to raise them, however, is not without use, for 
they make us regard the facts in many points of view ; they afford a 
help in the prosecution of the main inquiry, " What was the relation 
of St. Paul to the Twelve ?" 

If we conceive of the Apostles as exercising a strict and definite 
rule over the multitude of their converts, living heads of the 
Church as they might be termed, Peter or James of the circumcision 
and Paul of the uncircumcision, it would be natural to connect 
them with the acts of their followers. One would think that, in 
accordance with the spirit of the concordat, they should have " de 
livered over to Satan" the opponents of St. Paul, rather than have 
lived in communion and company with them. To hold out the right 
hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas, and yet secretly to sup 
port or not to discountenance their enemies, would seem to be 
treachery to their common Master. Especially when we observe 
how strongly the Judaizers are characterised by St. Paul as " the 
false brethren who came in unawares," " the false Apostles trans 
forming themselves into Apostles of Christ," "grievous wolves 
entering in," and with what bitter personal weapons they assailed 
him. (1 Cor. ix. 3 7.) Indeed, the contrast between the vehe 
mence with which St. Paul treats his Judaizing antagonists, and the 
gentleness or silence which he preserves towards the Apostles at 
Jerusalem, is a remarkable circumstance. 

It may be questioned whether the whole difficulty does not arise 
from a false conception of the authority of the Apostles in the early 
Church. Although the first teachers of the word of Christ, they 
were not the rulers of the Catholic Church ; they were not its 
bishops but its prophets. The influence which they exercised was 
personal rather than official, derived doubtless from their " having 
seen the Lord," and from their appointment by Him, yet confined 
also to a comparatively narrow sphere ; it was exercised in places in 
which they were, but hardly extended to places where they were 
not. The Gospel grew up around them they could not tell how ; 
and the spirit which their preaching first awakened passed out of 


their control. They seemed no longer to be the prime movers, but 
rather the spectators of the work of God, which went on before 
their eyes. The thousands of Jews that believed and were zealous 
for the law would not lay aside the garb of Judaism at the bidding 
of James or Peter ; the false teachers of Corinth or of Ephesus 
would not have been less likely to gain followers, had they been 
excommunicated by the Twelve. The movement which, in twenty 
years from the death of Christ, had spread so widely over the earth, 
they did not seek to reduce to rule and compass. It was beyond 
their reach, extending to communities of the circumstances of which 
they were hardly informed, and in which, therefore, it was not to be 
expected that they should interfere between St. Paul and his 

The Apostolic name acquired a sacredness in the second century 
which was unknown to it in the first. We must not attribute 
either to the persons or to the writings of the Apostles the authority 
with which after ages invested them. No Epistle of James and Paul 
was received by those to whom it was sent, like the Scriptures of 
the Old Testament, as the Word of God. Nor are they quoted in the 
same manner with books of the Old Testament before the time of 
Irenseus. We might have imagined that every Church would have 
preserved an unmistakable record of its lineage and descent from 
some one of the Twelve. But so far is this from being the case, 
that no connexion can be traced certainly, between the Gentile 
Churches of the second century and that of Jerusalem in the first 
Jerusalem was not the metropolis of all Churches, but one among 
many ; acknowledged, indeed, by the Gentile Christians with affection 
and gratitude, but not prescribing any rule, or exercising authority 
over them. 

The moment we think of the Church, not as an ecclesiastical or 
political institution, but, as it was in the first age, a spiritual body, 
that is to say, a body partly moved by the Spirit of God, dependent 
also on the tempers and sympathies of men swayed to and fro 
by religious emotion, the perplexity solves itself, and the narrative 


of Scripture becomes truthful and natural. When the waves are 
high, we see but a little way over the ocean. The first fervour of 
religious feeling does not admit a uniform level of Church govern 
ment. It is not a regular hierarchy, but " some apostles, some pro 
phets, some evangelists, others pastors and teachers," who grow 
together " into the body of Christ." The description of the early 
Church in the Epistles everywhere implies a great freedom of indi 
vidual action. Apollos and Barnabas are not under the guidance 
of Paul ; those " who were distinguished among the Apostles before 
him," could hardly have owned his authority. No attempt is made 
to bring the different Churches under a common system. We 
cannot imagine any bond by which they could have been linked 
together, without an order of clergy or form of Church government 
common to them all ; this is not to be found in the New Testament. 
It was hard to keep the Church at Corinth at unity with itself; it 
would have been still harder to have brought it into union with 
other Churches. 

Of this fluctuating state of the Church, which was not yet addicted 
to any one rule, we find another indication in the freedom, almost 
levity , with which professing Christians embraced " traditions of 
men." The attitude of the Church of Corinth towards the Apostle 
was not that of believers in a faith "once delivered to the saints." 
We know not whether Apollos was or was not a teacher of Alexan 
drian learning among its members, or what was the exact nature of 
" the party of Christ," 1 Cor. i. 12. But that heathen as well as 
Jewish elements had found their way into the Corinthian community, 
is intimated by the " false wisdom," and the sitting at meat in the 
idol s temple. It is a startling question which is addressed to a 
Christian Church : "How say some among you that there- is no re 
surrection ?" (1 Cor. xv. 12.) It is not less startling that there should 
have been fornication among them, such as was not even named 
among the Gentiles. In the Church at Colossas again something 
was suspected by the Apostle, probably half Jewish and half heathen 
in its character, which he designates by the singular expression of a 


"voluntary humility and worshipping of angels." And mention is 
made in the Roman Church of those who preached Christ of envy 
and strife, as well as those who preached Christ of peace and 
goodwill. (Phil. i. 15.) 

Amid such fluctuation and unsettlement of opinions we can 
imagine Paul and Apollos, or Paul and Peter, preaching side by side 
in the Church of Corinth or of Antioch, like Wesley and Whitfield 
in the last century, or Luther and Calvin at the Reformation, with 
a sincere reverence for each other, not abstaining from commenting 
on or condemning each other s doctrine or practice, and yet also 
forgetting their differences in their common zeal to save the souls of 
men. Personal regard is quite consistent with differences of reli 
gious belief; some of which, with good men, are a kind of form 
belonging only to their outer nature, most of which, as we hope, 
exist only on this side of the grave. We can imagine the followers 
of such men incapable of acting in their noble spirit, with a feebler 
sense of their high calling, and a stronger one of their points of dis 
agreement ; losing the principle for which they were alike contend 
ing in "oppositions of knowledge," in prejudice and personality. 
And lastly, we may conceive the disciples of Wesley or of Whit- 
field (for of the Apostles themselves we forbear to move the question) 
reacting upon their masters and drawing them into the vicious circle 
of controversy, disuniting them in their lives, though incapable of 
making a separation between them. 

Of such a nature the differences seem to have been which divided 
St. Paul and the Twelve, arising, in some degree, from individual 
character, but more from their followers and the circumstances of 
their lives. They were differences which seldom brought them into 
contact, and once or twice only into collision. It may have been, 
"I unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision;" and yet 
St. Paul may have felt a deep respect for those " that seemed to be 
pillars," while they acknowledged with thankfulness the success of 
his labours. It is not necessary to suppose that the agreement of 

VOL. I. F F 


the Council, the terms of which are differently described in Gala- 
tians ii. and Acts xv., was minutely observed for a long period of 
years. The instinct which animated the Jewish race made it im 
possible that the Twelve should always be able to control their 
followers, and unlikely that they themselves should wholly abstain 
from sympathising with those who seemed to be joined to them 
by the ties of nationality. Even at Jerusalem the " multitude zeal 
ous for the law" were not to be swayed by the authority of James, 
who accordingly exhorts St. Paul to " become to the Jews a Jew," 
that he might regain their confidence. Many things may have been 
done by the zeal of professing adherents, of which it was impossible 
for the Twelve to approve, which at a distance it was impossible for 
them to repress. A party in the Church of Corinth sought to call 
itself by their name, in opposition to that of St. Paul ; they added 
nothing to St. Paul when the false brethren crept in unawares ; 
they, or at least one of their number, sent messengers from Jerusa 
lem to Antioch, at a critical moment in the dispute about circum 
cision. And yet, both after and before this variance, St. Paul 
had collected alms in the Gentile Churches for " the poor saints at 
Jerusalem" (Acts, xi. 30.) ; among whom probably were some of 
his own kinsmen (Acts, xxiii. 16.) ; and at a late period of his life, 
some of his friends and followers in prison are described as " of the 
circumcision" (Col. iv. 10, 11.). 

Regarding the whole number of believers in Judea, in Greece, in 
Italy, in Egypt, in Asia, as a fluctuating mass, of whom there were 
not many wise, not many learned, not all governed by the maxims 
of common prudence, needing many times to have the way of God 
expounded to them more perfectly, and, from their imperfect know 
ledge, arrayed against one another, subject to spiritual impulses, 
and often mingling with the truth Jewish and sometimes heathen 
notions, we seem to see the Twelve placed on an eminence above 
them, acting upon them rather than governing them, retired from 
the scene of St. Paul s labours, and therefore hardly coming into 
conflict with him, either by word or by letter. They led a life such 


as St. James is described as leading by Hegesippus *, " going up into 
the temple at the hour of prayer," reverenced by a multitude of 

* The narrative of Hegesippus quoted by Eusebius is the earliest considerable 
fragment of Ecclesiastical History (about the year 160). It is as follows : 

"But James, the brother of the Lord, who, as there were many of this name, 
was surnamed the Just by all from the days of our Lord until now, received the 
government of the Church with the Apostles. This Apostle was consecrated from 
his mother s womb. He drank neither wine nor fermented liquors, and abstained 
from animal food. A razor never came upon his head, he never anointed with oil, 
and never used a bath. He alone was allowed to enter the Sanctuary. He never 
wore woollen, but linen garments. He was in the habit of entering the temple 
alone, and was often found upon his bended knees and interceding for the forgive 
ness of the people, so that his knees became as hard as camels in consequence of his 
habitual supplication and kneeling before God. And, indeed, on account of his 
exceeding great piety he was called the Just, and Oblias (or Zaddick and Ozleam), 
which signifi