Page images
PDF
EPUB

PREFACE

TO THE

G A LA TI A N S.

T
HE Galatians were the descendants of those Gauls, who

finding their own country too strait for them, left it after the death of Alexander the Great, in quest of new settlements. These emigrants, on leaving their own country, proceeded eastward along the Danube, till they came to where the Save joins that river. Then dividing themselves into three bodies under the conduct of different leaders, one of these bodies entered Pannonia, another marched into Thrace, and a third into Illyricum and Macedonia. The party which marched into Thrace, paffed over the Bosphorus into the lefser Asia, and hiring themselves to Nicomedes, king of Bithynia, affifted him to subdue his brother Zipetes, with whom he was at war; and in reward for that service, they received from him a country in the middle of the leffer Asia, which from them was afterwards called Gallogræcia, or Galatia.

The inland fituation of Galatia preventing its inhabitants from having much intercourse with more civilized nations, the Gauls settled in that country continued long a rude and illiterate people. Yet they wanted neither the inclination, nor the capacity to receive instruction. For when Paul came among them, and preached to them, they were so ravished with the doctrines of the gospel, that they thought themselves the happiest of mortals; and were so strongly impressed with a fenfe of the obligation they lay under to the apostle for having enlightened them with respect to religion, that they thought they could never repay it, Gal. iv. 15. In short, his preaching and miracles had such an effect on the Galatians, that great numbers of them repouncing heathenism and embracing the gospel, they formed many separate Christian churches, called in the infcription of the apostle's letter to them, The churches of Galatia.

many xiii.

How little intercourse the Galatians had with the neighbouring nations, may be known from this, that at the time St. Paul preached the gospel to them, and for many ages afterwards, they continued to speak the language of the country from whence they came. So Jerome, who lived more than 600 years after that people settled themselves in Afia, informs us. For he tells us, that in his time, the language of the Galatians was the fame with that which he had heard spoken when he was at Treves. See Rollin's Ant. Hift. B. xvi. Sect. 5.

Sect. I. Of the Time when, and of the Perfon by whom the Gala

tians were converted to the Christian Faith.

Luke, in his history of the Acts of the Apostles, hath not toldus directly at what time, nor by whom the Galatians were con. verted. But he hath mentioned Paul's, journey into Phrygia and Galatia, for the purpose of confirming the churches, chap. xvi. 5, 6. And from what he tells us, Paul said to Barnabas, when he proposed that journey to him, we learn, that he and Barnabas had formerly preached the gospel in the cities of Phrygia and Galatia. Acts xv. 36. Let us go again and vist our brethren, in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.-Acts xvi. 4. And as they went through the . cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerufalem. 5. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. 6. Now when they had gone throughout. Phrygia, and the region of Galatia, &c. It is true, in the history which Luke hath given, Acts xiv. of the journey we allude to, which Paul and Barnabas made into the countries of the Leffer Asia, for the purpose of preaching to the Gentiles, it is not said expressly that they went into Phrygia and Galatia : But he hath mentioned particulars, from which it may be gathered, that in the course of that journey they preached in both of these countries. For example, having given an account of their being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, and mentioned the countries through which they passed, Acts VOL. III. G

xiii. 4, 5, 6. 13, 14. 51. the historian, in the beginning of chap. xiv. relates what happened to them in Iconium, a city of Lycaonia ; then adds, ver. 5. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews, with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 6. They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about. 7. And there they preached the gospel.What the region was which lay round about the cities of Lycaonia, we learn from Pliny, lib. v. c. 27. who speaks of a part of Lycaonia as bordering on Galatia, and says it contained fourteen cities, of which Iconium was the most famous. Farther, Strabo, in a paffage quoted by Cellarius, Geog. vol. ii. p. 201. speaks of a part of Lycaonia, which bordered on Phrygia. Wherefore, fince Galatia and Phrygia lay contiguous to Lycaonia, they probably were the region round about Lycaonia, into which Paul and Barnabas went and preached, after leaving Lycaonia, and where they taught many, before they returned to Lyftra ; as mentioned, ver. 21.--These facts and circumstances joined make it more: than probable, that when Paul said to Barnabas, Let us go and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, he meant, among the rest, the cities of Phrygia and Galatia.

However, if I judge rightly, even this was not the first time Paul preached in Galatia. For his first preaching in that country, is thus distinguished by himself: Gal. iv. 13. Ye know indeed, that in weakness of the flesh, I preached the gospel to you at first. 14. Yet my temptation which was in my flesh, ye did not despise, neie. ther did ye reječt me. Now if this weakness of the flesh, which he calls a temptation in his flesh, was, as is generally supposed, some visible bodily weakness occasioned by his rapture into the third heaven, his first preaching in Galatia probably happened soon after his rapture, and before Barnabas brought him from Tarsus to Antioch, as mentioned, Acts xi. 25, 26. consequently before the church in that city, separated him and Barnabas to go and preach to the Gentiles, as“ related Acts xiii. 1, 2, 3.This appears likewise from those passages in the epistle to the Galatians, in which Paul infinuates that he was the person who had first called them to the knowledge and belief of the gospel, Gal. i. 6. 11. iii. 5. iv. II. 13. 19. v. 8. For if Paul was the person who

first called the Galatians, it must have happened before he and Barnabas went from Antioch, by the appointment of the Holy Ghoft, to preach to the Gentiles. The reason is plain : If the Galatians were first called to the knowledge of the gospel, when Paul and Barnabas preached in those parts of Galatia, which lay round about Lycaonia, Paul could not with truth have called himself their spiritual father, seeing Barnabas, on that occasion, was equally active with him in preaching to the Galatians ; and no doubt converted some of them.

From all these facts and circumstances united, I think it is Teasonable to conclude, that after Paul was sent to Tarsus, to avoid the rage of the Jews in Jerusalem, as mentioned Acts ix. 30. he went from Tarsus, where he abode several years, into Phrygia and Galatia soon after his rapture ; which I suppose happened at Tarsus, or somewhere in Cilicia : That in Phrygia he preached and gathered churches at Laodicea, Coloffe, and Hierapolis; and in Galatia, at Ancyra, Pessinus, Tavium, Gera ma, and other cities, called in the inscription of his letter, the churches of Galatia : That afterwards, when he and Barnabas filed from Lycaonia, into the region of Phrygia and Galatia which lay round about Lycaonia, they preached the gospel, and taught many in the cities of Phrygia and Galatia : That the brethren in these cities, being of the number of those to whom Paul and Barnabas, in the course of this journey, preached the gospel, they, among others, were the persons whom, after the council of Jerusalem, Paul proposed to Barnabas to visit as brethren, that they might see how they did: And that after Paul and Barnabas separated on account of their contention about John Mark, the churches in the cities of Phrygia and Galatia, mentioned above, were those whom Paul and Silas are said to have eftablished in Phrygia and Galatia, by delivering to them copies of the decrees for to keep, which were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerufalem, Acts xvi. 4. 6.

Sect. II. Of the Date of the Epiftle to the Galatians. The opinions of learned men concerning the date of St. Paul's epifle to the Galatians, are widely different. Theodoret thought it one of those epistles, which the apostle wrote during his first confinement at Rome; in which he is followed by Lightfoot and others. But seeing in the other epistles which the apostle wrote during his first confinement, he hath often mentioned his bonds, but hath not said a word concerning them in this, the opinion of Theodoret cannot be admitted.-Because there is nothing said in the epistle to the Galatians, of Paul's having been in Galatia more than once, L'Enfant and Beaufobre think it was written during his long abode at Corinth, mentioned Acts xviii. 11. and between his first and second journey into Galatia. This opinion Lardner espouses, and alligns the year 52 as the date of this epistle. The author of Miscellanea Sacra, who is followed by Benson, supposes it to have been written from Corinth. Capel, Witsius, and Wall, fay it was written at Ephesus, after Paul had been a second time in Galatia. See Acts xviii. 23. xix. 1. Fabricius thought it was written from Corinth during the apostle's second abode there, and not long after he wrote his epiftle to the Romans.-This likewise was the opinion of Grotius.Mill places it after the epistle to the Romans; but supposes it to have been written from Troas, while the apostle was on his way to Jerusalem with the collections; to which he fancies the apostle refers, Gal. ii. 10. And that the brethren who joined him in writing to the Galatians, chap. i. 2. were those mentioned, Acts xx. 4.-—Beza, in his note on Gal. i. 2. gives it as his opinion, that the brethren who joined Paul in his letter to the Galatians, were the eldership of the church at Antioch, and that it was written in that city, in the interval between Paul and Barnabas's return from Paul's first apostolical journey, and their going up to Jerusalem to consult the apostles and elders concerning the circumcision of the Gentiles. Tertullian, as Grotius informs us in his preface to the Galatians, reckoned this one of Paul's first epiftles.

My opinion is, that Paul's Epistle to the Galatians was written from Antioch, after the council of Jerusalem, and before Paul and Silas undertook the journey, in which they delivered to the Gentile churches the decrees of the council, as related Acts xvi. 4. To this date of the epiftle I am led by the following eircumstances:

« PreviousContinue »