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was no sooner made known to the apostle, than he wrote to them this second epistle ; in which, as in the former, Silas and Timothy joined him, to shew that they were of the same sentiments with him concerning that momentous affair. The two first chapters of this epistle are filled up principally with an account of the day of judgment, its effects upon saints and sinners, and the great apostacy by which it should be preceded; and the last chapter is devoted to exhortations nearly similar to what were contained in the first epistle. It is supposed to have been written in the year fifty
The epistle to the Galatians is believed, by Dr. Macknight, to be 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. The 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 command of different leaders, one of these bodies entered Pannonia, another marched into Thrace, and the third into Illyricum and Macedonia. The party which marched into Thrace passed over the Bosphorus into the Lesser Asia, and hired themselves to Nicomedes, the king of Bithynia; assisted him in subduing 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 Lesser Asia, which, from them, was afterwards called Gallogrecia, or Galatia. The inland situation 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 sense 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. Soon afterwards, however, certain judaizing teachers came among them, and laboured to deprecite the apostle's character, and to persuade them that it was necessary for their justification before God that they should be circumcised, and conform to all the institutions of Moses. order to counteract their base insinuations, this epistle was written. In this, first, Paul begins with an address, in which he asserts his apostleship, hints at the doctrine of justification by Christ, and expresses his most affectionate regard for these Galatian churches. [ch. i. 1..5.] Secondly, he vindicates the authority of his doctrine and mission, [ch. i. 6, ii. 21.] be proves that justification can only be had by faith in Christ without the works of the law, [ch. iii. I, iv. 7.] and expostulates with the Galatians in being deluded by false teachers to give up the liberty of the gospel. [ch. iv. 8, v. 12.] Thirdly, he gives them some practical directions, and exhorts them to a behaviour becoming Christians. [ch. v. 13, vi. 18.] In the course of this epistle, the apostle introduces several particulars of his history which we should not otherwise have known.
After Paul had remained a year and a half at Corinth, affording a most excellent example of diligence and disinterested zeal, he took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence, on his return to Syria, taking along with him his two intimate friends Priscilla and Aquila, having shaved his head at the port of Cenchrea, in the neighbourhood of Corinth, in consequence of a vow. Arriving at Ephesus, he there parted with Aquila and Priscilla, and left them behind him, having made but a short stay
in that place. However, during that time, he entered into the synagogue, and reasoned so forcibly with the Jews on the subject of Jesus being the Christ, that they desired he would abide longer among them, and procured from him a promise of au early visit. After a safe and prosperous voyage, he landed at the port of Cæsarea; and, going up to Jerusalem, tenderly saluted the church, and delivered the alms which he had brought from the Gentiles. He then returned to Antioch, and thus completed his
We are not informed of the length of his second residence in that city, nor in what transactions he was then engaged; but we may rest assured, from the uniform tenor of his life, that he laboured incessantly in word and doctrine, teaching, reproving, and. exhorting, as the Spirit gave him utterance. In due time, he set out upon a second progress, in which he was made a useful and valuable instrument in confirming the faith of the Galatian and Phrygian disciples.
His visit to Ephesus, which was prolonged to a two year's residence, was rendered remarkable by several important events. Soon after his arrival, he met with twelve well-disposed Jews, who had submitted to the baptism of John, and believed in Jesus, but were unacquainted with that copious outpouring of God's Holy Spirit which had been experienced by the church. These, therefore, Paul baptized in the name of Jesus; and, laying his hands upon them, they received the gift of tongues, and prophesied in such a manner to the edification of the church, as plainly shewed. that they were miraculously filled with all knowledge and utterance. For three months. he preached boldly in the synagogue, alledging the strongest arguments to prove. that the kingdom of God, the reign of Messiah, had actually commenced. Finding, however, that the forbearance of his enemies was exhausted, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of Tyrannus. His ministry was so abundantly efficacious, that great numbers were converted, and all the inhabitants of the proconsular Asia, both Jews and Greeks, were made acquainted with the word of Christ's salvation. God, at the same time, wrought many extraordinary. miracles by the hands of Paul: so that, beside his curing those that were brought to him, handkerchiefs or garments were carried from his body to those that were sick at a distance, and immediately upon their touching them their diseases were removed, and the evil spirits themselves came out of them that were possessed. His reputation being thus raised very high, certain vagabond Jews attempted to imitate him, and to cast out spirits by the name of Jesus, whom Paul preached; but their attempt totally failed, and thus ultimately contributed to increase the reverence in which the character of Jesus was held. Many who had pretended to the knowledge of magical arts became convinced of their wickedness, and publicly burned their books, to the value of about seven thousand pounds of our money.
It is probable, that about this time were converted Philemon, to whom an epistle is addressed, and Epaphras, afterwards a minister of the church at Colosse. The apostle was also visited by several Christians from Corinth, which occasioned him, probably, to write also from Ephesus his first epistle to the Corinthian church. As this is a long and interesting epistle, a few remarks on the characters and manners of the Corinthians in their heathen state may not prove unacceptable.
Before Corinth was destroyed by the Romans, it was famous for the magnificence of its buildings, the extent of its commerce, and the number, the learning, and the ingenuity of its inhabitants, who carried the arts and sciences to such perfection, that it was called by Cicero, totius Græciæ lumen, the light of all Greece, and by Florus, Græcia decus, the ornament of Greece. The lustre, however, which Corinth derived from the number and genius of its inhabitants, was tarnished by their debauched
manners. Strabo, Lib. viii. p. 581, tells us, that in the temple of Venus at Corinth, "there were more than a thousand harlots, the slaves of the temple, who, in honour of the goddess, prostituted themselves to all comers for hire, and through these the city was crowded, and became wealthy." From an institution of this kind, which, under the pretext of religion, furnished an opportunity to the debauched to gratify their lusts, it is easy to see what corruption of manners must have flowed. Accordingly it is known, that lasciviousness was carried to such a pitch in Corinth, that, in the language of these times, the appellation of a Corinthian given to a woman imported that she was a prostitute; and to behave as a Corinthian, spoken of a man, was the same as to commit whoredom.
In the Achæan war, Corinth was utterly destroyed by the Roman consul Mummius. But being rebuilt by Julius Cæsar, and peopled with a Roman colony, it was made the residence of the proconsul who governed the province of Achaia, and soon regained its antient splendour: for its inhabitants increasing exceedingly, they carried on, by means of its two sea-ports, an extensive commerce, which brought them great wealth. From that time forth, the arts, which minister to the conveniences and luxuries of life, were carried on at Corinth in as great perfection as formerly; schools were opened, in which philosophy and rhetoric were publicly taught by able masters; and strangers from all quarters crowded to Corinth to be instructed in the sciences and in the arts: so that Corinth, during this latter period, was filled with philosophers, rhetoricians, and artists of all kinds, and abounded in wealth. These advantages, however, were counterbalanced, as before, by the effects which wealth and luxury never fail to produce. In a word; an universal corruption of manners soon prevailed; so that Corinth in its second state became as debauched as it had been in any former period whatever. The apostle, therefore, had good reason, in this epistle, to exhort the Corinthian brethren to flee fornication; and after giving them a catalogue of the unrighteous, who shall not inherit the kingdom of God, [1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.] he was well entitled to add, and such were some of you. In short: the Corinthians had carried vice of every kind to such a pitch, that their city was more debauched than any of the other cities of Greece.
Though the apostle had taught the word of God at Corinth during more than a year and six months, the religious knowledge of the disciples was but imperfect at his departure. They were therefore more liable than some others to be deceived by any impostor who came among them, as the event shewed. For after the apostle was gone, a false teacher, who was a Jew by birth, [2 Cor. xi. 22.] came to Corinth with letters of recommendation, [2 Cor. iii. 1.] probably, from the brethren in Judea, for which reason he is called a false apostle, [2 Cor. xi. 13.] having been sent forth by men. This teacher was of the sect of the Sadducees, [see 1 Cor. xv. 12.] and of some note on account of his birth [2 Cor. v. 16, 17.] and education, being, perhaps, a scribe learned in the law. [1 Cor. i. 20.] He seems, likewise, to have been well acquainted with the character, manners, and opinions of the Greeks; for he recommended himself to the Corinthians, not only by affecting, in his discourses, that eloquence of which the Greeks were so fond, but also by suiting his doctrine to their prejudices, and his precepts to their practices. For example; because the learned Greeks regarded the body as the prison of the soul, and expected to be delivered from it in the future state, and called the hope of the resurrection of the flesh the hope of worms, a filthy and abominable thing,-which God neither will, nor can do ; and because they ridiculed the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, [Acts xvii. 32.] this new teacher, to render the gospel acceptable to them, flatly denied it to be a doctrine of the gospel, and affirmed that the resurrection of the body was neither
desirable nor possible; and argued, that-the only resurrection promised by Christ was the resurrection of the soul from ignorance and error, which the heretics of these times said was already passed. [2 Tim. ii. 18.] Next, because the Corinthians were addicted to gluttony, drunkenness, fornication, and every sort of lewdness, this teacher derided the apostle's precepts concerning temperance and chastity, and reasoned in defence of the licentious practices of the Greeks, as we learn from the apostle's confutation of his arguments. [I Cor. vi. 12, 13.] Nay, be went so far as to patronize a person of some note among the Corinthiaus, who was living in incest with his father's wife, [1 Cor. v. 1.] proposing thereby to gain the good-will, not only of that offender, but of many others also, who wished to retain their antient debauched manner of living. Lastly, to ingratiate himself with the Jews, he enjoined obedience to the law of Moses as absolutely necessary to salvation.
In thus corrupting the gospel for the sake of rendering it acceptable to the Greeks, the false teacher proposed to inake himself the head of a party in a church at Corinth, and to acquire both power and wealth. But Paul's authority as an apostle standing in the way of his ambition, and hindering him from spreading his errors with the success he wished, he endeavoured to lessen the apostle, by representing him as one who had neither the mental nor the bodily abilities necessary to an apostle. His presence, he said, was mean, and his speech contemptible. [2 Cor. x. 10.] He found fault with his birth and education. [2 Cor. x. 10] He even affirmed that he was no apostle, because he had not attended Christ during his mistry on earth; and boldly said that Paul had abstained from taking maintenance, because he was conscious he was no apostle. On the other hand, to raise himself in the eyes of the Corinthians, he praised his own birth and education, boasted of his knowledge and eloquence, and laid some stress on his bodily accomplishments; by all which he gained a number of adherents, and formed a party at Corinth against the apostle, And, because there were in that party some teachers endued with spiritual gifts, the apostle considered them also as leaders. Hence he speaks sometimes of one leader of the faction, and sometimes of divers, as it suited the purpose of his argument.
While these things were doing at Corinth, Paul returned from Jerusalem to Ephesus, according to his promise. [Acts xviii. 21.] During his second abode in that city, which was of long continuance, some of the family of Chloe, who were members of the church at Corinth, and who adhered to the apostle, happening to come to Ephesus, gave him an account of the disorderly practices which many of the Corinthian brethren were following, and of the faction which the false teacher had formed among them in opposition to him. [1 Cor. i. 11.] These evils requiring a speedy remedy, the apostle immediately sent Timothy and Erastus to Corinth, [Acts xix. 22, 1 Cor. iv. 17.] in hopes, that if they did not reclaim the faction, they might at least be able to confirm the sincere. For that purpose, he ordered his messengers to inform the Corinthians that he himself was coming to them directly from Ephesus, to increase the spiritual gifts of those who adhered to him, [2 Cor. i. 15.] and to punish, by his miraculous power, the disobedient. [1 Cor. iv. 18, 19.] Such was the apostle's resolution when he sent Timothy and Erastus away. But before he had time to put this resolution in execution, three persons arrived at Ephesus, whom the sincere part of the church had dispatched from Corinth with a letter to the apostle, wherein they expressed their attachment to him, and desired his directions concerning various matters which had been the subject of much disputation, not only with the adherents of the false teachers, but among the sincere themselves.
The coming of these messengers, together with the extraordinary success which the apostle had about that time in converting the Ephesians, occasioned an alteration
in his resolution respecting his journey to Corinth. For, instead of setting out directly, he determined to remain in Ephesus till the following Pentecost. [I Cor. xvi. 18.] And then, instead of sailing straightway to Corinth, he proposed to go first into Macedonia. [1 Cor. xvi. 5, 6.] In the mean time, to compensate the loss which the Corinthians sustained from the deferring of his intended visit, he wrote to them his first epistle, in which he reproved the false teacher and his adherents for the divisions which they had occasioned in the church. And because they ridiculed him as a person rude in speech, he informed them that Christ had ordered him, in preaching the gospel, to avoid the enticing words of man's wisdom, lest the doctrine of salvation through the cross of Christ should be rendered ineffectual. Then addressing the heads of the faction, he plainly told them their luxurious manner of living was very different from the persecuted lot of the true ministers of Christ. And to put the obedience of the sincere part of the church to the trial, he ordered them, in a general public meeting called for the purpose, to excommunicate the incestuous person. After which, he sharply reproved those who had gone into the heathen courts of judicature with their law-suits, and directed them to a better method of settling their claims on each other respecting worldly matters.
The Corinthians, in their letter, having desired the apostle's advice concerning marriage, celibacy, and divorce; and concerning the eating of meats which had been sacrificed to idols, he treated of these subjects at great length in this epistle. Also, because the faction had called his apostleship in question, he proved himself an apostle by various undeniable arguments, and confuted the objection taken from his not demanding maintenance from the Corinthians. Then, in the exercise of his apostolical authority, he declared it to be sinful, on any pretext whatever, to sit down with the heathens in an idol's temple to partake of the sacrifices which had been offered there. And, with the same authority, he gave rules for the behaviour of both sexes in the public assemblies; rebuked the whole church for the indecent manner in which they had celebrated the Lord's supper; and the spiritual men for the irregularities which many of them had been guilty of in the exercise of their gifts; proved against the Greek philosophers, and the Jewish Sadducees, the possibility and certainty of the resurrection of the dead; and exhorted the Corinthians to make collections for the saints in Judea, who were greatly distressed by the persecution which their unbelieving brethren had raised against them.
In the year fifty-seven, as most chronologers admit, a violent disturbance took place at Ephesus, while the apostle was preparing to depart from that city. A certain silversmith, whose naine was Demetrius, a man of considerable influence, employed many workmen in making small silver shrines, which were models of the celebrated temple of the Ephesian Diana; or, as some suppose, a sort of coins or medals, on the reverse of which that edifice was represented. He, finding that the spread of Christianity affected his trade, summoned together his dependants, and many others of his profession, and harangued them concerning the greatness of that goddess whom Asia and all the world worshipped. They applauded the discourse of their leader with the most violent exclamations of, Great is Diana of the Ephesians, and thus excited a general alarm among the inhabitants of the city. Some of them seized upon Gaius and Aristarchus, two men of Macedonia, who were Paul's fellow-travellers, and dragged them into the theatre in which their famous games were celebrated. When Paul heard of the distress and danger of his friends, he would have gone into the theatre. to address himself to the people, that he might either bring them to a better temper, or, at least, procure by his surrender the discharge of his friends. The disciples, Lowever, would not permit him to hazard his person; and in this determination they