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1: Now - To illustrate by a plain similitude the
preeminence of the Christian, over the legal, dispensation.
The heir, as long as he is a child - As he is under age.
Differeth nothing from a servant - Not being at liberty either to
use or enjoy his estate. Though he be lord - Proprietor of it all.
2: But is under tutors - As to his person.
And stewards - As to his substance.
3: So we - The church of God. When we were
children - In our minority, under the legal dispensation.
Were in bondage - In a kind of servile state. Under the
elements of the world - Under the typical observances of
the law, which were like the first elements of grammar,
the A B C of children; and were of so gross a nature, as
hardly to carry our thoughts beyond this world.
4: But when the fulness of the time - Appointed by
the Father, (Ga 4:2).
Was come, God sent forth - From his own bosom. His Son,
miraculously made of the substance of a woman - A virgin, without
the concurrence of a man. Made under the law - Both under the
precept, and under the curse, of it.
5: To redeem those under the law - From the curse
of it, and from that low, servile state. That we - Jews who
believe. Might receive the adoption - All the privileges of
6: And because ye - Gentiles who believe, are also
thus made his adult sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit
of his Son into your hearts likewise, crying, Abba, Father
- Enabling you to call upon God both with the confidence,
and the tempers, of dutiful children. The Hebrew and Greek
word are joined together, to express the joint cry of the Jews
7: Wherefore thou - Who believest in Christ. Art no
more a servant - Like those who are under the law. But a
son - Of mature age. And if a son, then an heir of all the
promises, and of the all - sufficient God himself.
8: Indeed then when ye knew not God, ye served
them that by nature - That is, in reality. Are no gods
- And so were under a far worse bondage than even that of
the Jews. For they did serve the true God, though in a
low, slavish manner.
9: But now being known of God - As his beloved
children. How turn ye back to the weak and poor elements
- Weak, utterly unable to purge your conscience from guilt, or
to give that filial confidence in God. Poor - incapable of
enriching the soul with such holiness and happiness as ye
are heirs to. Ye desire to be again in bondage - Though of
another kind; now to these elements, as before to those
10: Ye observe days - Jewish sabbaths. And months -
New moons. And times - As that of the passover, pentecost,
and the feast of tabernacles. And years - Annual solemnities.
it does not mean sabbatic years. These were not to be
observed out of the land of Canaan.
11: The apostle here, dropping the argument, applies
to the affections, (Ga 4:11-20), and humbles himself to the
Galatians, with an inexpressible tenderness.
12: Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am - Meet me
in mutual love. For I am as ye were - I still love you as
affectionately as ye once loved me. Why should I not? Ye
have not injured me at all - I have received no personal injury
13: I preached to you, notwithstanding infirmity of
the flesh - That is, notwithstanding bodily weakness, and
under great disadvantage from the despicableness of my
14: And ye did not slight my temptation - That is, ye did
not slight or disdain me for my temptation, my "thorn in the flesh."
15: What was then the blessedness ye spake of - On
which ye so congratulated one another.
17: They - The judaizing teachers who are come
among you. Zealously affect you - Express an extraordinary
regard for you. But not well - Their zeal is not according to
knowledge; neither have they a single eye to your spiritual
advantage. Yea, they would exclude you - From me and from the
blessings of the gospel. That ye might affect - Love and
18: In a good thing - In what is really worthy our zeal.
True zeal is only fervent love.
19: My little children - He speaks as a parent, both
with authority, and the most tender sympathy, toward weak and
sickly children. Of whom I travail in birth again - As I did
before, (Ga 4:13), in vehement pain, sorrow, desire, prayer.
Till Christ be formed in you - Till there be in you all the mind
that was in him.
20: I could wish to be present with you now - Particularly
in this exigence. And to change - Variously to attemper.
My voice - He writes with much softness; but he would speak with
more. The voice may more easily be varied according to the
occasion than a letter can. For I stand in doubt of you - So
that I am at a loss how to speak at this distance.
21: Do ye not hear the law - Regard what it says.
22: (Ge 21:2,9).
23: Was born after the flesh - In a natural way.
By promise - Through that supernatural strength which was
given Abraham in consequence of the promise.
24: Which things are an allegory - An allegory is a
figurative speech, wherein one thing is expressed, and
another intended. For those two sons are types of the two
covenants. One covenant is that given from mount Sinai,
which beareth children to bondage - That is, all who are
under this, the Jewish covenant, are in bondage. Which
covenant is typified by Agar.
25: For this is mount Sinai in Arabia - That is, the type
of mount Sinai. And answereth to - Resembles Jerusalem that
now is, and is in bondage - Like Agar, both to the law and to
26: But the other covenant is derived from Jerusalem
that is above, which is free - Like Sarah from all inward and
outward bondage, and is the mother of us all - That is, all who
believe in Christ, are free citizens of the New Jerusalem.
27: For it is written - Those words in the primary sense
promise a flourishing state to Judea, after its desolation by
the Chaldeans. Rejoice. thou barren, that bearest not - Ye
heathen nations, who, like a barren woman, were destitute, for
many ages, of a seed to serve the Lord. Break forth and cry
aloud for joy, thou that, in former time, travailedst not:
for the desolate hath many more children than she that hath
an husband - For ye that were so long utterly desolate shall at
length bear more children than the Jewish church, which was of
old espoused to God.(Isa 54:1).
28: Now we - Who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles.
Are children of the promise - Not born in a natural way, but
by the supernatural power of God. And as such we are heirs
of the promise made to believing Abraham.
29: But as then, he that was born after the flesh
persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so it is now
also - And so it will be in all ages and nations to the end of
30: But what saith the scripture - Showing the consequence
of this. Cast out the bondwoman and her son - Who mocked Isaac.
In like manner will God cast out all who seek to be justified by
the law; especially if they persecute them who are his children
by faith.(Ge 21:10).
31: So then - To sum up all. We - Who believe. Are
not children of the bondwoman - Have nothing to do with the
servile Mosaic dispensation. But of the free - Being free
from the curse and the bond of that law, and from the power
of sin and Satan.