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can never know, can justify me in making myself his disciple, instead of Jesus Christ's, who of right is alone, and ought to be, my only Lord and Master : and it will be no less sacrilege in me, to substitute to myself any other in his room, to be a prophet to me, than to be my king or priest.
The same reasons that put me upon doing what I have in these papers done, will exempt me from all suspicion of imposing my interpretation on others. The reasons that led me into the meaning, which prevailed on my mind, are set down with it: as far as they carry light and conviction to any other man's understanding, so far, I hope, my labour may be of some use to him ; beyond the evidence it carries with it, I advise him not to follow mine, nor any man's interpretation. We are all men, liable to errors, and infected with them ; but have this sure way to preserve ourselves, every one, from danger by them, if, laying aside sloth, carelessness, prejudice, party, and a reverence of men, we betake ourselves, in earnest, to the study of the way to salvation, in those holy writings, wherein God has revealed it from heaven, and proposed it to the world, seeking our religion, where we are sure it is in truth to be found, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.
THE PUBLISHER TO THE READER.
THERE is nothing, certainly, of greater encouragement to the peace of the church in general, nor to the direction and edification of all Christians in particular, than a right understanding of the Holy Scripture. This consideration has set so many learned and pious men amongst us, of late years, upon expositions, paraphrases, and notes on the Sacred Writings, that the author of these hopes the fashion may excuse him for endeavouring to add his mite; believing, that after all that has been done by those great labourers in the harvest, there may be some gleanings left, whereof he presumes he has an instance, chap. iii. ver. 20, and some other places of this Epistle to the Galatians, which he looks upon not to be the hardest of St. Paul's. If he has given a light to any obscure passage, he shall think his pains well employed; if there be nothing else worth notice in him, accept of his good intention.
EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL
. TO THE
WRIT FROM EPHESUS, THE YFAR OF OUR LORD 57, OF NERO 3.
SYNOPSIS. The subject and design of this epistle of St. Paul is much the same with that of his epistle to the Romans, but treated in somewhat a different manner. Thé business of it is to dehort and hinder the Galatians from bringing themselves under the bondage of the Mosaical law.
St. Paul himself had planted the churches of Galatia, and therefore referring (as he does, chap. i. 8, 9) to what he had before taught them, does not, in this epistle, lay down at large to them the doctrine of the Gospel, as he does in that to the Romans, who having been converted to the Christian faith by others, he did not know how far they were instructed in all those particulars, which, on the occasion whereon he writ to them, it might be necessary for them to understand: and therefore, writing to the Romans, he sets before them a large and comprehensive view of the chief heads of the Christian religion.