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1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Ver. 1. If a man be overtaken ] Gr. προληφθη , be taken before he is aware, before he hath time to consider, or bethink himself of better. It is of incogitancy that the saints sin; put them in mind, and they mend all. It is of passion, and passions last not long. "There is no way of wickedness in them; they stand not in the way of sinners, they sit not down in the seat of scorners," Psalms 1:1 ; Psalms 139:24 .
Restore such a one ] Gr. καταρτοζετε , set him in joint again. A metaphor from surgeons and bone setters who handle their patients tenderly. Or from such as take a mote out of one’s eye gently and warily.
Lest thou also be tempted ] I have known a good old man, saith Bernard, who when he had heard of any that had committed some notorious offence, was wont to say with himself, Ille hodie, et ego eras, He fell today, so may I tomorrow. Mr Bradford set down in his diary what good he saw in any man, bewailing the lack of it in himself, and praying for more grace; as if he saw or heard of any evil in another, he noted it, as in danger to do so himself; and still added, Lord, have mercy upon me. (Prof. to his Serm. of Rep.)
2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Ver. 2. Bear ye one another’s burdens ] When after reprehension sin is become a burden, set to your shoulder, and help to lift it off. "Support the weak, be patient toward all," 1 Thessalonians 5:14 . Nature hath taught the deer to help one another in swimming, the cranes one another in flying; one stone bears up another in buildings contrived by art, &c.
3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Ver. 3. Think himself to be something ] The self-deceiver takes his counter, and sets it up for a thousand pound, as the Pharisees and Laodiceans. Of such it may be said, as Quintilian somewhere of some overweeners of themselves, that they might have proved excellent scholars if they had not been so persuaded already.
4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Ver. 4. But let every man prove ] This is an excellent remedy against self-deceit, and a means to make one fit to reprove others with mercy and meekness.
And then shall he have rejoicing ] Ut testimonium perhibeat conscientia propria, non lingua aliena, saith Augustine, that thine own conscience and not another man’s tongue may testify for thee. Omnis Sarmatarum virtus extra ipsos, saith Tacitus. All the self-deceiver’s goodness is shored up by popularity or other base respects.
5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
Ver. 5. For every man shall bear ] Be thorough therefore in the work of self-examination. Sparing a little pains at first, doubles it in the end; as he who will not cast up his books, his books wilt cast up him at length. The misery of most men is, that their minds are as ill set as their eyes, neither of them look inwards. How few are there that turn short again upon themselves so as to say, What have I done? Woe to all such when God shall send out summons for sleepers, when he comes to search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees, &c., Zephaniah 1:12 .
6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
Ver. 6. Communicate unto him ] Not sharing as an alms, but sharing as a right; seePhilemon 1:17; Philemon 1:17 ; as wages for his work, Mark 6:8 ; as pay for his pains,1 Corinthians 9:14; 1 Corinthians 9:14 . See Trapp on " 1Co 9:14 "
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Ver. 7. Be not deceived ] Think not all well saved that is withheld from the minister. It is a saying in the civil law, Clericis Laici sunt oppido infensi; many think it neither sin nor pity to beguile the preacher. But God is not mocked, neither will he be robbed by any, but they shall hear, Ye are cursed with a curse, Malachi 3:8-9 , even with Shallum’s curse,Jeremiah 22:11-13; Jeremiah 22:11-13 , that used his neighbour’s service without wages, and would sacrilegiously take in a piece of God’s windows into his wide house, Galatians 6:14 .
God is not mocked ] They that would mock God, imposturam faciunt, et patientur (as the emperor said of him that sold glass for pearls), they mock themselves much more.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Ver. 8. For he that soweth to his flesh ] He that neglecting his poor soul, cares only to feather his nest and to heap up riches. Si ventri bene, si lateri, as Epicurus in Horace; if the belly may be filled, the back fitted, let the soul sink or swim, he takes no thought.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Ver. 9. And let us not be weary ] Let us not give in as tired jades, εκκακωμεν ; hot at hand seldom holds out. Let us not slack our pace in religion, let not our tears begin to freeze; for this, if it doth not lose, yet it may lessen and lighten our crown. Ambrose noteth of the fig tree, that whereas other trees first blossom and then bring forth fruit, in the fig tree it is otherwise, Poma decidunt ut folia succedant, the figs fall off, that leaves may come in their place. So many that begin in fruits, end in leaves, such are they that weary of well doing, lose the things that they have wrought, 2 John 1:8 . See Trapp on " 2Jn 1:8 "
For in due season we shall reap ] We must not look to sow and reap in a day; as he saith of the Hyperborean people, far north, that they sow shortly after the sun rising with them, and reap before the sun set; that is, because the whole half-year is one continual day with them. (Herosbach de Re Rustica.)
If we faint not ] Quaerendi defatigatio turpis est cum id quod quaeritur, sit pulcherrimum, It is a shame to faint in the search of that, which being found will more than pay for the pains of searching. Caleb was not discouraged by the giants, therefore he had Hebron the place of the giants; so those that faint not in the way to heaven shall inherit heaven.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men , especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Ver. 10. As we have therefore opportunity ] Catch at it, as the echo catcheth the voice. Joseph took the nick of time to gain Egypt to the king, by feeding the hungry; so may we to get heaven. I read of a Roman emperor who when he heard of a neighbour death, he asked, And what did I for him before he died? Let us ask ourselves the same and the like questions.
Who are of the household ] Of the family of faith, God’s household servants. That was a desperate resolve of Aigoland, king of Arragon, who coming to the French court to be baptized, and asking who those lazars a and poor people were that waited for alms from the Emperor Charlemagne’s table? When one answered him that they were the messengers and servants of God; I will never serve that God, said he, that can keep his servants no better. (Turpine.)
a A poor and diseased person, usually one afflicted with a loathsome disease; esp. a leper. ŒD
11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.
Ver. 11. How large a letter ] Gr. with what good great text letters. I have written unto you with mine own hand (no fair hand; the greatest clerks are not always the best scribes), and not by any Tertius, or other amanuensis, Romans 16:22 , to show his love, and prevent imposture, 2 Thessalonians 2:2 . (Chrysost. Theophylact.)
12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Ver. 12. To make a fair show ] Gr. ευπροσωπησαι , to set a good face on it, before the Jews especially, and to ingratiate with them.
For the cross of Christ ] That is, for the doctrine of the cross, or of justification by the death of Christ crucified.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
Ver. 13. Keep the law ] Romans 2:23 . Jerome doubteth not to pronounce that man accursed, that saith it is impossible to keep the law. Sed quid visum sit Hieronymo, nihil moramur; nos quid verum sit inquirimus, saith Calvin. But let Jerome hold as he will, we know there is no such thing.
That they may glory in your flesh ] That they may pride themselves in the multitude of their followers, and curry favour with the Jews by gaining many proselytes.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Ver. 14. But God forbid, &c. ] The saints keep a constant counter motion, and are antipodes a to the wicked. They thus and thus, but I otherwise.
Whereby the world is crucified ] I look upon the world as a dead thing, as a great dunghill, &c. That harlot was deceived in St Paul, in thinking to allure him by laying out those her two fair breasts of profit and pleasure; he had no mind to be sucking at those botches; he was a very crucifix of mortification. And in his face (as one said of Doctor Raynolds) a man might have seen veram mortificati hominis idaeam, the true portraiture of a mortified man.
And I to the world ] q.d. The world and I are well agreed. The world cares not a pin for me, and I (to cry quittance with it) care as little for the world.
a Of or pertaining to the antipodes; situated on the opposite side of the globe. ŒD
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Ver. 15. For in Christ Jesus ] That is, in the kingdom of Christ.
But a new creature ] Either a new man, or no man.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Ver. 16. According to this rule ] viz. Of the new creature. Or the doctrine of this Epistle.
Peace be on them ] Not only in them, or with them, but "on them," maugre the malice of earth and hell.
17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Ver. 17. From henceforth let no man ] Here he takes upon him as an apostle, and speaks with authority, Σεμνως και δεινως .
I bear in my body the marks ] As scars of honour. Paul had been whipped, stocked, stoned, &c. The marks of these he could better boast of than those false apostles of their circumcision. And hereby it appeared that he refused not, as they did, to suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. In the year 1166, the Synod held at Oxford in the reign of Henry II banished out of England 30 Dutch doctors (which taught the right use of marriage, and of the sacraments), after they had first stigmatized or branded them with hot irons. (Alsted Chron.) John Clerk of Melden, in France, being for Christ’s sake whipped three different days, and afterwards having a mark set in his forehead, as a note of infamy, his mother beholding it (though his father was an adversary) encouraged her son, crying with a loud voice, Vivat Christus eiusque insignia, " Blessed be Christ, and welcome be these prints and marks of Christ." The next year after, sc. A. D. 1524, he brake the images without the city, which his superstitious countrymen were to worship the next day. For the which he was apprehended, and had his right hand cut off, his nose pulled off with pincers, both his arms and both his breasts torn with the same instrument; and after all he was burned at a stake. In his greatest torments he pronounced that of the Psalmist, "Their idols are silver and gold, the works of men’s hands," &c. (Scultet. Annul.) I conclude this discourse with that saying of Pericles, "It is not gold, precious stones, statues, that adorns a soldier, but a torn buckler, a cracked helmet, a blunt sword, a scarred face." Of these Biron, the French marshal, boasted at his death. And Sceva is renowned for this, that at the siege of Dyrrachium, he so long alone resisted Pompey’s army, that he had 220 darts sticking in his shield, and lost one of his eyes, and yet gave not over till Caesar came to his rescue. a Mr Prinne’s Stigmata Laudis are better known than that they need here to be related.
a Densamque ferens in pectore silvam. Lucan.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. To the Galatians written from Rome.
Ver. 18. Be with your spirit ] Spirituals are specially to be desired for ourselves and ours. Caetera aut aderunt, aut non oberunt. Other things we shall either have, or not want, but be as well without them.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Galatians 6". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent