"The Law in the Book of
by George I. Butler (1886),
"The Gospel in
the Book of Galatians"
by Ellet J. Waggoner (1888).
“2. But is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the father,
“3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world;
“4. But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.
“5. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
“6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
“7. Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
“8. Howbeit, then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
“9. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
“10. Ye observe days, and months, and times, aud years.
“11. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.”
Here are certain expressions which have a very important bearing on the argument concerning the law in Galatians. In Paul’s illustration we see the Jewish people were “under the elements of the world,” even as the minor was “under tutors and governors,” till “the fullness of time was come.” This point of time is the very same as that when Christ was made “under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” spoken of in the previous chapter. It is plain, therefore, that being under the “elements of the world,” and “under the law,” here are precisely the same thing. The use the apostle makes of the pronoun “we” is also significant, evidently referring to himself and his people previous to the coming of “the fullness of time.” When he comes to speak of the Galatians, he says “ye,” in each case. Those whom he speaks of as “we,” were in a state of minority, children, “under the elements of the world,” till “the fullness of time was come,” that “ we might receive the adoption of sons.” They could not receive this full “adoption ” till the promised “seed” came. Then when they became Christ’s, they were adopted as a part of Abraham’s seed.
What are these “elements ” which the apostle speaks of, in which they were in bondage until God sent forth his Son made under the law? Are they the commandments of God, the law of liberty, that holy, pure law which will be the rule in the Judgment? We think this would be a conclusion most absurd.
We claim with great confidence that these “elements” refer to a different system. The original word is defined by Greenfield: “ Elementary instruction, first principles, the lowest rudiments in knowledge, science, etc.” The word is translated “rudiments” in the revised version and in the Diaglott. The same word occurs in Col. 2:20, where it is translated “rudiments:” “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye words occur just after he had been speaking of “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and” taking “it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” saying also, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” It is very plain therefore that the apostle in Colossians, is speaking of the rudiments of the world,—the same expression precisely in the original as we have in Galatians,—refers to matters connected with the ceremonial law. He also states that their being under these “elements,” or rudiments, brought them into “bondage.”
How plain it is that these “elements ” are the same as the law of which Paul speaks in Gal. 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing”! Also as the law spoken of by the apostle Peter in Acts l5:10, in the famous Council: “Now therefore why tempt ye Cod, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” referring, as every one knows, to the law of Moses, circumcision, etc.; also to that mentioned in Col 2:14: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us.” In all of these scriptures, the reference is unmistakably to a law of temporary duration, onerous, burdensome, and different from the gospel of free salvation through Christ, the ritual law and not the moral.
The parallel condition under these rudiments cannot refer to the individual experience of persons but must refer to the condition in which all were placed until “the fullness of the time was come when God sent forth his Son. It would be preposterous to say of each individual person in a condition of sinfulness, under the condemnation of the moral law, that he should remain in that condition until “the fulness of the time” was reached when God should send forth his Son, made under the law. That expression refers to the full development of Christ as the Messiah; but it is eminently applicable when spoken of the Israelites before Christ’s gospel was preached. They were in the position of children under mere rudimentary instruction, awaiting the fullness of time when God should send forth his Son with great effulgence of light. Their instruction was in shadows and ceremonies, all pointing forward to the time when God should send forth his Son.
This scripture we understand to be parallel in many respects with the statement in the preceding chapter, where the added law is spoken of, which was to last “till the seed should come;” and with that statement in verse 23 of chapter 3, where they were “shut up [kept in ward] unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” When these temporary provisions had reached their consummation, and the fullness of time had come, then the temporary gave place to the permanent, the shadowy to the substance, the condition of childhood to that of manhood; and the middle wall of partition passing away, all could now become one in Christ Jesus, a child of God of the seed of Abraham, who had received the adoption of sons of God, God giving them special witness in the pouring out of his Spirit. They were no longer servants under a temporary arrangement, but heirs of God through Christ.
In verse 4, where Paul speaks of God’s sending forth his Son, made of a woman, we have the expression “made under the law.” We have already considered the meaning of this term, “under the law,” and have clearly shown that it does not always mean under the condemnation of the law, but rather under the authority of the law, or under obligation to keep it. The term evidently has this meaning here. Both the revised version and the Diaglott translate “made under the law,” “born under the law.” Greenfield, in the definition of the original word, which has a great variety of significations, quotes its use in this fourth verse with the definition, “subject to the law.” This evidently is the correct sense in which it should be used. It is not true that our Saviour was born under the condemnation of the law of God. This would be manifestly absurd. That he did voluntarily take the sins of the world upon him in his great sacrifice upon the cross, we admit; but he was not born under its condemnation. Of him that was pure, and had never committed a sin in his life, it would be an astonishing perversion of all proper theology to say he was born under the condemnation of God’s law.
But how clearly and forcibly this applies to the facts in his life; if we understand it as referring to his being subject to the Mosaic law. He was born as a Jew, was circumcised when eight days old, and his parents went through the accustomed days of purification, according to the law of Moses. They presented the child as their firstborn, as the law required, and offered as a sacrifice a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. He lived under all the ceremonies and observances of the law of Moses the same as did the other Jews.
Thus he was “born under the law,” and subject to it. All his life be was careful not to break any of its provisions, and he never permitted his disciples to do it to the day of his death. He even refused to labor especially for the Gentiles, because he was sent to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” How plainly we see, then, that he was “made under the law;” that is, subject to the law the same as others, that he might “redeem them that were under the law.” “He came unto his own [the Jewish people], and his own received him not.” And we cannot doubt that had they received him, a way would have been provided by which that nation would have been greatly honored, and all the Gentiles would have come to their knowledge of Christ through God’s adopted people. But they rejected him, and this made the way to the Gentiles still more free than it would have been. So we see great force in this expression of Christ’s being under the law; that is, subject to its requirements.
God had honored the Hebrew nation by separating them out from the world by those peculiar institutions of which circumcision was the sign, and ordained that the true children of Christ should come through them, and gave them the greatest light of all others, that they might have no excuse, but be honored of God, if they would accept the Messiah. His great desire was to redeem them from sin those who were under or subject to that law. This was the desire of Paul also, and he would have been willing to give even his life if he could but save his own nation. But in their stubbornness, exclusiveness, and supercilious ideas of themselves as the only people whom God could honor, they lost the blessing which they might have obtained by humbly accepting Christ. All these “elements,” or rudiments, of knowledge which they obtained by means of the typical system, pointed them forward to the precious blessings which came through the knowledge and acceptance of the Son of God.
This expression “under the law” in verse 4, is evidently used in precisely the same sense as “under tutors and governors,” in verse 2. “Under tutors and governors” does not mean under their condemnation, or frown, or rod of punishment; no, not by any means; but under their protection, guidance, authority, etc.
So Christ was made, or born, under the law (that is, subject to it) in the same sense that they were under tutors and governors. This is in the same sense as the word is used in chap. 3:23: “Before faith came, we were kept under the law;” that is, subject to it, shut up with it, until the time when Christ should come. The apostle’s illustration of their previous condition under the ceremonial law, as a child under tutors and governors, is a most forcible evidence that our position is correct that the law in Galatians refers to the ceremonial system, and cannot possibly refer to the moral law. The language concerning “elements of the world”—these “weak and beggarly elements” to which they desired to return, under which they had been in servitude—it is utterly inconsistent to apply to the law which is “spiritual,” “holy, just, and good.”
After having spoken in the first verse of the chapter of the condition of God’s people previous to the coming of Christ, in verse 6 he makes his argument applicable to the Galatians, to whom he was writing. They had become converted, had become “sons.” God had sent forth his Spirit into their hearts, so they could cry, “Abba Father.” Now they were no longer servants to go back to that old provisional system; hence their course in following the teachings of these Jews was all out of place. They were heirs of God through Christ when they received the gospel. In verses 3- 11 we have an interesting point noticed, as follows:
Our position is, that these persons referred to here were proselytes. We present a brief argument on this subject to make our position clear. No intelligent student of history will deny that at the time of Christ’s advent, and for a generation preceding that event, there were most earnest efforts made by the Jewish people to proselyte Gentiles to their faith. From the time of the Babylonian captivity, they had been largely scattered among all the nations around about Palestine. They were an enterprising and commercial people, as they always have been. Scarcely any nation could have stood the persecution and hatred that have followed them, and yet maintained themselves as a distinct people, as the Jews have in almost every part of the earth. Comparatively few of the nation ever returned from captivity to Judea to make it their home. Vast multitudes would come from nearly every part of the Roman Empire on the feast days, so much so that even more than a million would often be in and encamped around the holy city. There was scarcely a nation of any importance with whom the Jews did not trade and carry on the avocations of life. Their synagogues were established in the leading cities. Any one who has read the Acts of the Apostles knows that in every prominent place where Paul went to labor, he entered the synagogue of the Jews first. These synagogues were, of course, established in the midst of an idolatrous population whose religious systems were unreasonable and absurd. Many of the more sensible people became attached to these Jewish synagogues, and attended them to learn of the true God.
This is evidently one great reason why God permitted his people to be scattered in all these countries. He placed them in the land of Palestine, which was like a bridge, or open pathway, through which the nations of the earth traveled to and fro between Egypt, Assyria, and the other nations of the earth. This was done that his law might enlighten the people of the world. When the Israelites went into captivity, and saw that their idolatry and neglect of God’s law had brought his frown upon them, they became more zealous, so they never lapsed into idolatry again; and, being scattered throughout the nations of the world, they prepared the way for the advent of the Messiah.
That the Jews had a disposition to proselyte, there can be no question. Our Saviour said of them, “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte.” Matt. 23:15. This language shows the intense interest they had in the work of making people favorable to their views. The reason of this can be seen at a glance, when we consider that they were scattered among the different nations, and their vocations in life were at the mercy of the heathen around them; they would naturally desire to have them take a favorable view of their religion, and be interested in it. Some of them might proselyte for the purpose of saving their souls; but selfish motives evidently actuated these of whom our Saviour speaks, for they made them even more the children of hell than themselves.
Their success in proselyting is evident from many scriptures; even some eminent persons like the queen of Sheba in the Old Testament, and Candace in the New Testament (Acts 8:27), and King Izates, with his queen, Helena, as mentioned by Josephus, are royal representatives. Conybeare and Howson, in their “Life and Epistles of the Apostle Paul,” speak concerning the extent of this work of proselyting, as follows:—
There are numerous instances in the Acts of the Aposties where we see that these views are indicated.
Nicholas of Antioch, one of the seven deacons, was a proselyte. Acts 6:5. There were vast multitudes of Greeks attending worship at Jerusalem, many of whom were evidently proselytes. In Acts 13:50 we read: “But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas.” These were evidently of the same class. Timothy was really a proselyte, and it cannot be doubted that the way the apostle gained access to the Gentiles, was largely through the interest many of them had in the worship of the synagogues.
This was the case in nearly every city into which they entered. These proselytes were of two classes, as any one may see by examining the Dictionaries, or Cruden’s large Concordance. One class, called the “proselytes of justice,” were those who fully accepted the teachings of the Jews, being circumcised, offering sacrifices, etc., according to the law of Moses. But a far larger class were called “proselytes of the gate;” that is, those who regarded God and the Bible, and obeyed the moral principles of its teachings, separating themselves from the Gentile heathen customs, and worshiping the true God. Such men as Cornelius, the centurion, and vast numbers of others in all parts of the Gentile world where the Jewish religion was known, were of this class.
Smith, his Unabridged Dictionary of the Bible, Conybeare and Howson, Barnes, in his Notes, and others all agree that a large number of Jews settled in Galatia a century or two earlier than Paul’s time, so that the whole country became familiar with Jewish ideas and the Bible religion.
Having the same disposition to proselyte as their brethren in other parts of the country, we cannot doubt, therefore, but that a large number of this class were “proselytes of the gate,” and were ready for the labors of Paul, and were of that number who received the gospel with great joy. They had been, as verse 8 indicates, at one time those who “did service unto them which by nature are no gods;”that is, had known something of the true God, but had not fully identified themselves with the Jewish customs. They had regarded their rites and ceremonies with respect, and had in a measure separated themselves from idolatry. Conybeare and Howson state that there were large numbers of this class of proselytes scattered all through the Roman Empire, especially in the countries around Syria, etc. They say:
Dr. Clarke, in his comments on Galatians, in several places speaks of there being many proselytes among the disciples. He says:
But after he went away, those Judaizing teachers came with their usual burden—“Except ye be circumcised,” and “keep the law of Moses,” “ye cannot be saved.” This filled Paul’s heart with great sadness; for, as we, have seen, he had met this thing ever since his conversion, and nearly lost his life several times because of this bitter, exclusive spirit. So he writes this letter to the Galatians; and calling their attention to these facts, he says: “How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Our friends will struggle hard to escape the conclusion that these “weak and beggarly elements” refer to the ceremonial law; but in reason we can come to no other conclusion. They are evidently the same as the “rudiments” under which God’s people were held, mentioned in the third verse. They brought them into the same bondage, as brought to view in the fifth chapter, where the apostle pleads with them not to be “entangled again with the yoke of bondage,” as they would be if they were circumcised, in which case Christ would profit them nothing. This is evidently the same “yoke” which Peter speaks of in the 15th chapter of Acts, when the same subject was under consideration. In this epistle the apostle had not been saying one word about Gentile customs, or Gentile observances, or heathen, worship or services, or anything of the sort; he had simply made reference in the verse above to the fact that they had been at a certain time heathen. This, of course, was true in their case, seeing they had become proselytes. But he constantly refers, from the beginning to the end of this epistle, to the Mosaic system, circumcision, etc.; and we cannot believe that Paul was so poor a logician that he would strike off here on something entirely foreign to the subject he was bringing before the Galatians.
The identification of these “elements of the world”—these “I weak and beggarly elements” into which the Galatians desired to return into bondage—with the ceremonial law, is an important link in this argument. There can be no question but that our position on this point is correct. Dr. Schaff, in his comments on these “rudiments,” says : “According to my view, the expression applies in any case only to Judaism, especially to the law (an apostle Paul could not possibly comprehend heathenism and Judaism under one idea, regarding them thus as virtually equivalent).” We trust our friends who sometimes endeavor to apply these “rudiments” partially to heathenism, will consider this well.
Dr. Clarke says, “On rudiments of the world,” “the rudiments or principles of the Jewish religion.” He says, also, that the “weak and beggarly elements were the ceremonies of the Mosaic law.” Dr. Scott takes the same position. It would certainly be little better than blasphemy to apply such terms to that law which God has said is “perfect,” “spiritual,” “holy, just, and good.” And by no consistent reasoning can they be made to apply to the Gentile idolatry, as that is not the subject of the apostle’s reasoning in this epistle. But these expressions are every way consistent with his language when speaking of the ceremonial law.
“Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” These are precisely the things Paul refers to in Col. 2:16, just before he speaks of the “rudiments,” in verse 20. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days,” etc. These Galatians under their Judaizing teachers were becoming all absorbed in these old shadows pointing forward to Christ, after the substance had come, thus really denying Christ; for if the shadow was to be observed, certainly the substance had not come. No wonder he says, “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.” We claim that this is the only logical, reasonable view of this argument of Paul’s.
But how could we apply these expressions to the moral law? Could we say that these days which they observed were seventh-day Sabbaths, which made the apostle fearful of them. This would be excellent for our Antinomian friends; for it is just such texts as these that they try to refer to the ten commandments. Our friends would thus give them great aid and comfort. Are the “weak and beggarly elements” here presented the terms by which Paul describes the moral law? It is evident that the Galatians desired to go back into obedience to something, and thus place themselves under bondage. Was it obedience to the law of God? They observed something, that is, rendered obedience to it—“ days, and months, and times, and years.” Surely this does not refer to the moral law.
We know our friends will undertake to apply these to the heathen rites and ceremonies, and thus throw the apostle’s argument all out of connection with his whole theme; but this we have seen is inadmissible. He complains of these persons for obedience to something which they ought not to obey. He is not speaking about their being justified by their good works because they did not lie, steal, murder, etc. ; that is not his subject at all; but it certainly is about going back to a law which was abolished.
“13. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospe1 unto you at the first.
“14. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
“15. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would .have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
“16. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
“17. They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
“18. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
“19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
“20. I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.”
He talks to them from a personal stand-point, pleading with them affectionately, to obtain once more their sympathies against those Judaizing teachers who were perverting the truth in their midst. They had once loved him so that they would have even plucked out their eyes for him; but through these teachers they had lost their interest for him. He refers to these Judaizing teachers in verse 17: “They zealously affect you, but not well;” or, as the Diaglott has it, “They show affection toward you, but not honorably.” The thought is plainly this, that these teachers by making a great show of love by flattery and pretense, wished to draw the affections of the disciples toward themselves, and shut Paul out of their affections; and evidently they had succeeded. But Paul reasoned with them to show them how much he had suffered for them, and endeavored to call them back again to the truth—all those whom he had brought out with great self-sacrifice.
They had once been willing to pluck out their eyes for him; but now they almost regarded him as an enemy, through the miserable influence of these Judaizing teachers, who had followed Paul everywhere with the same object, and added bitterness to his life. Can we believe that these hypocritical teachers were intensely interested to get these Galatians to refrain, from murder, Sabbathbreaking, adultery, covetousness, etc.? This conclusion, of course, is too preposterous for any one to believe; but they evidently were trying to get them to do, something. It was not merely to have a mental view that they were justified by obeying the ten commandments that they were teaching them about. There is no hint in any part of the Bible that these teachers had any such a purpose as this. But they were trying to exalt that exclusive Mosaic system that had made them a peculiar people, that yoke of bondage which had passed away at the cross. Paul was in great perplexity in regard to these Galatian disciples, to know what they were going to do. His soul travailed with an anxious burden in their behalf, until Christ should be again fully accepted, and the shadowy system of types be left behind.
“22. For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a free woman.
“23. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise.
“24. Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants: the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
“25. For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
“26. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
“27. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath a husband.
“28. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
“29. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
“30. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.
“31. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law,” with this equivalent expression substituted, would read, Tell me, ye that desire to be under the condemnation of the law—Tell me, ye that desire the condemnation of the second death. We have known men to desire many strange things, but we never before knew one to desire the second death. But if that view of the subject is correct, and this law is the moral law, and all these expressions “under the law” mean under its condemnation, then we have no possible escape from this conclusion. But to think of these new, zealous converts to Christianity desiring to go into a state of condemnation exposed to such a doom is too preposterous for a moment’s consideration. But to such absurdities do these positions drive us.
The true position, that these Galatians desired to go back and place themselves under obligation to keep the ceremonial law, involves no such conclusion. It is manifestly in harmony with all the apostle’s reasoning.
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”
Here we have the expression “under the law” repeated once more. We have already dwelt at some length upon this phrase, and have claimed that its uses in the letter to the Galatians referred to being subject to the law, under its authority. But one of our friends who is enthusiastic in his devotion to the view that the law in Gaiatians is the moral law, goes so far as to claim that in every case where this expression is used, it signifies “being in a state of sin or condemnation;” i.e., in a position where the penalty of the law hangs over one’s head. That penalty is the “second death” in “the lake of fire.” We have, then., according to that view, these Galatian brethren desiring to be in a state of guilt, which would expose them to the lake of fire. “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law,” with this equivalent expression substituted, would read, Tell me, ye that desire to be under the condemnation of the law—Tell me, ye that desire the condemnation of the second death.
We have known men to desire many strange things, but we never before knew one to desire the second death. But if that view of the subject is correct, and this law is the moral law, and all these expressions “under the law” mean under its condemnation, then we have no possible escape from this conclusion. But to think of these new, zealous converts to Christianity desiring to go into a state of condemnation exposed to such a doom is too preposterous for a moment’s consideration. But to such absurdities do these positions drive us.
The true position, that these Galatians desired to go back and place themselves under obligation to keep the ceremonial law, involves no such conclusion. It is manifestly in harmony with all the apostle’s reasoning.
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”
Having noticed the first part of the expression, we also notice the latter part—“do ye not hear the law?” He then quotes from the book of Genesis the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar as an allegory. Here the word “law” is used to include the book of Genesis. Certainly this could not mean the moral law, but must include that book of the law containing all the requirements of the Mosaic dispensation.
The original law of circumcision constantly referred to in this epistle, stands in close connection with this story of Hagar in this book of Genesis. The term “the law” among the Jews generally included the five hooks of Moses, thus including the whole system, moral, ritual, typical, and civil. This system these Judaizing teachers desired to maintain. Circumcision was a sign of the whole. We believe that so far as being obligatory upon Christians, all was abolished except the ten commandments and the principles which grew out of them. When Paul says, “Ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” is not the law they were to hear the same as the one they desired to be under? But the law they were to “hear” was not the ten commandments, but that which embraced the whole Mosaic system. The law here referred to cannot therefore be the moral law.
As another illustration of his argument, he now calls attention to the facts connected with Abraham’s two marriages with Sarah and Hagar. He tells us this history is an “allegory,” i.e., as Clarke says, “more being intended, in the account than meets the eye.” The original word has just this meaning.
What, then, is this hidden meaning which the inspired apostle has discovered in this simple narrative?—That Hagar and Sarah spiritually represented the two covenants. “The one from Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.” This “ answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” This covenant must embrace all those peculiar separating ordinances embraced in the middle wall of partition. It must have special reference to the “added” law concerning which he has been all the time speaking, else he would entirely diverge from his line of argument, and his conclusions be illogical, disconnected from his premises.
“ Tell me, ye that desire to he under the law, do ye not hear the law?”
Then immediately he introduces this illustration of the two covenants. It has direct reference to the conclusion in the first verses of chapter 5. Those in that covenant were “in bondage” with. their children. The covenant itself “gendereth to bondage,” i.e., “bringing forth” or “bearing children for servitude or bondage” (revised version aud Diaglott). Hence the conclusion of his argument, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage,”— the “yoke” which Peter says “neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” We can but conclude, then, that this covenant which brings forth children to bondage embraces the law of circumcision and all it represented. The services connected with this covenant centered at Jerusalem. All its sacrifices must be made there. Its feasts were observed there. Every Jew constantly prayed with his face toward that city, and his wailings and longings, pilgrimages and devotions, all pivot on old Jerusalem, even until this day. All this is shadowed forth in the covenant represented in Hagar. But Sarah, the true wife, represents the glorious freedom and precious blessings of the new covenant. The New Jerusalem is our holy city. This is “above,” and it is “the mother of us all.” We are the children of the “promise” if we have come under the new covenant even as lsaac was.
The promise of the “seed” was through Israel. Some of our good brethren think the promise of the “seed” is still future, that the “seed” has not come yet. If the promise of the “seed” is not fulfilled yet, then the covenant of liberty represented by Sarah, which this promised “seed” was to make, has certainly not yet gone into force. So our friends, we suppose, are still under the old covenant of bondage, represented by Hagar. We should pity them greatly if their own theory was true. But we are thankful we have glad tidings for them. The Seed has come. We, and we trust they, are the children of the New Jerusalem. We hope to save them in spite of their theories. Is it possible anyone can believe that this covenant which is represented by Hagar, and “gendereth to bondage,” is a proper illustration God’s holy law? Does it “answer to Jerusalem” which is in bondage with her children?
“2. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
“3. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
“4. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
“5. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
Then comes the grand conclusion of the argument of the apostle, not only of the immediate connection, but of all he has said in the whole epistle thus far. We have referred to it several times, but we are sure it will be in place again.
“ Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that, he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
These are strong, emphatic, most powerful words. They would never have been called out from the meek apostle except a great crisis existed. The very foundation of the gospel system was involved in this question of circumcision. If they were circumcised, they were debtors “to do the whole law.” Circumcision was the sign of the whole Mosaic system. They must offer sacrifices, regard the special laws concerning uncleanness, maintain the old wall of separation between themselves and all the rest of mankind, making the progress of the gospel in its beneficent mission of blessing all the nations of the earth excessively hard, and virtually denying the gospel itself. For when they did all these things, they virtually said: “Christ has not come;” for it would be impossible to do, the work prophecy had said his coming would accomplish, if this fearful dead weight were hung to the gospel. And above all, if salvation was to be obtained through these old abrogated laws, then the death of Christ was not sufficient to save men who might repent and believe on him. These false teachers said: “Ye cannot be saved ” “except ye be circumcised” and “keep the law of Moses.” So circumcision and the law of Moses was the real saviour, and not the death of Christ.
It is not to be supposed that these proselytes in Galatia realized all the consequences of their action until Paul explained it to them, nor did thousands of others to whom these Judaizing teachers had access. This made it necessary for God to raise up Paul, whose education, early life, thorough understanding of Judaism, conversion, and wonderful spiritual illumination fully equipped him to be an apostle to the Gentiles.
Years passed after Christ’s death before the gospel had made much impression on the heathen world. The influences centering in Jerusalem seemed to stand in the way of the Gentile branch of the work. Such large numbers of Jewish converts seem to have been affected with Jewish prejudices, that it required a clearheaded, strong man to undertake this gigantic task. They followed him in every place to introduce their exclusive notions. Christians in that age could see and feel these things as we cannot now.
The reason why our brethren err in their application of the law in Galatians, is because they fail to grasp the tremendous importance of the issue involved in apostolic times in Judaism and the questions growing out of it. They reason from the standpoint of certain questions of the present day: But these concluding words of the apostle’s argument show how important he regarded this question. The language unmistakably refers to the Mosaic law, and cannot by any possibility be twisted to refer to the moral law. “If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” Ye are debtors “to do the whole law.” “Be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
The apostle’s intense interest in this question, is not only shown by these expressions, but by others in the epistle, as we have seen, referring to the same subject: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” Those that “trouble” you “would pervert the gospel of Christ.” “Oh foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?” “Are ye so foolish?” “Are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” “I would they were even cut off which trouble you.”
Some try to make this expression mean something very mild, and fail to sense the intense feelings of the apostle in view of the evil they were doing. They were “false brethren,” who “came in .privily,” in a secret, under-handed manner, to destroy their liberty and bring the whole gospel system into “bondage.” Paul says of those who preach another gospel, Let them “be accursed.” Their course was ruinous to souls, destroying the very way of salvation through Christ, putting aside God’s merciful provisions for the blessing of the nations of the earth, to hold them in their narrow, exclusive circle, and exalt the selfish, supercilious Jewish spirit to bring all men to acknowledge the superiority of these Jews who in their selfish egotism had forfeited God’s favor by stubbornness, rebellion, and putting to death his Son.
Paul found many evils to complain of in the different churches.
Among the Corinthians he found great immoralities and various forms of error which were very serious. So of other churches. But not one of them calls forth such words of condemnation as this, and so many of them in the same space. Why is this?—Because, though the evils in the other churches were serious, yet, they did not so fully undermine the very principles of the gospel as did the positions which Paul here combated. These were radical, fundamental errors.
Paul’s grand conclusion of his argument in these verses must have maddened the whole force of Judaizing teachers, and made their work much more difficult. Wherever these words were read, these teachers would not be able to influence the Gentile disciples as before. We believe this Epistle to the Galatians was a grand turning-point in this whole controversy which had so long affected the church, making the call of a great Council necessary, and constantly interfering with the apostle’s work among the Gentiles. The whole question was now elucidated.
We further notice a few points before proceeding to other scriptures. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” This verse is often separated from its connection, and used as having a bearing upon our personal justification by faith for our transgressions of the moral law. Now justification by faith is one of the grandest and most glorious doctrines of the gospel of Christ. We love, delight, and rejoice in that precious truth second to none.
We know Paul has explained it as no other writer in all the Bible has, in Romans and other epistles. No man can be saved by his good works alone. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We are weak and utterly helpless of ourselves, covered with pollution, and never can remove our guilt and uncleanness by present or future efforts of obedience. Indeed, we are utterly weak and helpless; and if our sins have been forgiven, we must have constant faith in and help from a crucified Saviour, constant access to his unfailing fountain of strength, in order to obtain any real help or accomplish anything whatever that will meet God’s favor in the line of good works. All this and vastly more we cheerfully acknowledge and most fully believe. Yet the most careless reader ought to see that the apostle in speaking of being “justified by the law” in this connection, is not speaking of being justified through obedience to the moral law.
Such a view would make the statement utterly foreign to the words in its immediate connection, both before and after. He has just said that if they be circumcised, Christ shall profit them nothing: that they are in that case debtors “to do the whole law.” Christ becomes of no effect. “Ye are fallen from grace.” They plainly looked to their obedience to these dead, lifeless ceremonies connected with circumcision as that which would make them just or justified; that is, bring them to a savable condition; whereas they could only be made such by faith in Christ. For this reason, looking away from the only fountain opened for uncleanness, away from the only name that could save, to that law of bondage, they had “fallen from” the grace of Christ.
We see, therefore, that in the expression “justified by the law,” it is as necessary here to know of what law he is speaking as it is anywhere in the New Testament when speaking of a law that is binding or abolished. The same expression “justified by the works of the law,” is evidently used in the same sense in chap. 2:16, as the connection shows. Indeed, it is evident that for forgiveness and justification for their transgressions of the moral law, many of the Jews had always looked to the works required by the typical law. It was for this purpose that it was added, because of transgression. Only the few, the spiritual-minded, saw its true design. Hence they were even more in danger of looking to obedience to its requirements for their justification than to obedience to the ten commandments. So Paul exposes its utter worthlessness now that Christ had come and died.
Another point: Who will dare say that the law Paul speaks of in chapter 4 is not the same as the one he reasons upon in chapter 3? They must be the same. Will any dare claim that the conclusions presented in the first verses of chapter 5 are not the consequence of his argument drawn from the words preceding, in chapter 4? Then they must also have reference to the same law in chapter 3. But the moral law cannot possibly be the one considered in chapter 4; therefore the law in chapter 3 cannot be the moral law.
“7. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
“8. This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
“9. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
“10. I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
“11. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased.
“12. I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
“13. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
“14. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
CHAPTER 6:12: “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
“13. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
“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.
“15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
In chap. 5:6 Paul states the utter uselessness of circumcision so far as the religion of Christ Jesus is concerned. It alone considered would make no difference. A man would need to repent ad believe on Christ just the same, whether he was circumcised or not. It was only when these Judaizing teachers were trying to bring in circumcision and all it represented as necessary to salvation, that Paul felt stirred up to vigorously combat it.
In verse 7 he refers to the zeal with which they received the gospel, and to the fact that some one had hindered them, driven them back (margin), so now they did not obey the truth as before. These were unauthorized, self-appointed teachers, who had no real connection with him who had called them; that is, Christ. They were not really the friends of Christ. The whole church was in danger; for a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. But Paul had still hopes of the Galatian church, that they would return to their allegiance to the truth.
In verse 13 he speaks of the liberty in Christ to which the brethren had been called, and cautions them to use this liberty not for an occasion of the flesh, but “by love” to “serve one another.” The Christian, liberty never leads to fleshly gratifications. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Having just shown by the most incontrovertible argument that the ceremonial and typical system of the Mosaic service was abolished, all that remained of the law relating to our fellow-men was simply fulfilled in this: “Thou shalt ‘love thy neighbor as thyself”—the substance of our obedience to the law of God so far as it relates to our fellow-men.
In verses 11, 12, we have a very interesting point again forcibly presented, to which we have referred several times in this argument; viz., the malice with which disciples affected by the Judaizing doctrines, and the Jews themselves, followed Paul. And it would seem from this language that the whole reason of the special bitterness of the Jewish people toward him was because he did not preach circumcision or give it any countenance. If he had done that, they would have let him comparatively alone. But when they saw that he took the course he did, they followed him from city to city, making his life bitter. And of these pretended brethren, who claimed to he disciples, who thus misled the Galatian church, he said that he would that they were “even cut off” because they undermined the gospel system. This cutting off can refer to nothing less than ex- communication, and it may signify utter destruction, judging from past references, as we have seen in the first chapter a solemn curse pronounced upon those who were, perverting the gospel. This shows how weighty a question the apostle considered this whole subject to be.
Before we close this argument, we wish to impress this point more fully, to convince our friends, if possible, who hold the opposite view, that this question of circumcision in the apostolic church was not one of minor importance but in its effects upon the progress of Christianity and the presentation of gospel truth, was equal in the apostle’s mind to even the much-vaunted doctrine of justification by faith. As we have said, we hold the latter to be a very important doctrine. But the special thing with which the apostle had to contend in his work among the Gentiles, was to show the proper relation between his work and the old system that was passing away.
Let us trace this subject to show how bitterly the Jews contended against the idea of an equality before God of the Gentiles with themselves, which was the great point involved. If circumcision passed away, all could see that they stood on the same level; for circumcision represented that whole system, and was the wall of separation dividing between the Jews and the Gentiles.
We will commence with the case of Cornelius, a devout man who feared God. Evidently God saw that Peter would not dare go to preach to Cornelius unless he gave him, special light to open the way, even though he was a man of good repute. So he gave Cornelius a vision to send for Peter, and Peter a vision to prepare him to go, letting down the various kinds of unclean beasts in a sheet, and telling him to rise, slay, and eat. We know God poured out his Spirit upon Cornelius and the Gentiles, even before hands were laid upon them in this case. Peter had hardly returned to Jerusalem before he was taken to task for doing thus.
We do not discern any special bitterness on the part of the Jews shown to the apostles at Jerusalem, except among the leading men; and Herod’s persecution seems to have been prompted by them. But as soon as Paul and Barnabas went among the Gentiles, then they were followed at every step by a dogged determination of the Jews to destroy them and break up their work.
When they came to Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13 ), after speaking at length to the Jews, the Gentiles, doubtless most of them being proselytes, came and desired to hear from them the next Sabbath. And the whole city came together. But the Jews, when they saw that the Gentiles were receiving light, and that they were attracted to this new teaching of the gospel, were exceedingly mad, as expressed in verse 45: “They were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.”
The apostle did not make it necessary for these Gentiles to be circumcised, and thus failed to acknowledge the Jewish superiority. Nothing could have stirred the Jews more than this.
When Paul finally told them that they would turn to the Gentiles, and labor for them, their anger knew no bounds. They stirred up devout women (verse 50), and the chief men, and raised a fearful persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their coast. The apostles fled to another city, Iconium (chapter 14), but the Jews followed them with such bitterness that they had to flee to Lystra and Derbe. But the Jews of Antioch and Iconium came after them, and persuaded the people, who stoned Paul, and left him for dead.
Then follows that Council at Jerusalem to consider this subject, which, having noticed carefully, we pass, simply reminding the reader that this question was raised in the church itself, showing that Paul’s work among the Gentiles had not only affected the Jews, but also the Jewish believers, who said, “Except ye be circumcised” and “keep the law of Moses,” “ye cannot be saved.” But God helped his servant to bring the matter around in such a way that a great triumph for the spread of the gospel was the result. After this, when Paul preached in Thessalonica (chapter 17), the Jews still followed him, mingling with the baser elements of the people, and set the whole city in an uproar. Paul had to flee again, and went unto Berea; but the Jews from Thessalonica immediately followed him to this place, and Paul again had to flee from them. After passing through Athens, and coming to Corinth, he labored with his usual energy in behalf of the gospel, and continued there some time. But here again he met that bitter hatred of the Jews, and through their influence was summoned to appear before Gallio, the deputy of Achaia.
What was the charge against the great apostle? In chap. 18:13, we find this accusation: “This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.” They even undertook to try him before the Roman deputy for his course in not sustaining the ceremonial law, as though it was a great crime. This reveals the special burden of the Jews against the apostle. After laboring a long time at Corinth, where the Jews did not have power because of their fear of the deputy, and did not dare molest him, he had great success. But as soon as he again appeared in Greece (chapter 20), the Jews lay in wait for him, and tried to kill him, but did not succeed. Paul expresses the situation in his talk with the elders of the church at Ephesus (chap. 20:19 ), and gives as the greatest cause of his persecution and difficulties which he had to meet, “ the lying in wait of the Jews,” who were constantly dogging his steps at every turn because he did not preach the ceremonial law.
In his final, closing visit to Jerusalem, we have quite a vivid picture presented before us of the effect of this feeling, even in that church. No doubt Paul’s anxiety to go to Jerusalem was prompted by his great desire to have a better state of feeling exist between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. He carried large gifts to them from his Gentile converts, hoping to appease their distrust and dislike by thus showing his regard for the poor. We can readily see that, this was a great crisis in the apostle’s life. And what a source of sadness it must have been to a man like him,—who had given his life unreservedly to his Master, suffering every indignity, pain, imprisonment, and finally death itself,—to be forced to see that his labors were not appreciated, and that he himself was looked upon with distrust, even among excellent members at Jerusalem, the point from which the gospel had started. But he felt that if it was possible, this union between the two must be strengthened, and these feelings of distrust and dislike removed; so he made this trip to Jerusalem.
He presented his gifts to show his love for them, and walked circumspectly in their midst. They received his gifts gladly at first, yet these feelings of dislike were not removed from their heart; for in chap. 21:20, 21 we see these feelings quite manifest: “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law; and they are informed of thee, that thou teachst all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.”
Here we see the same old bitterness again, even in the church. Now they give some advice, that he should treat these customs which he had really discarded, with respect, by performing some of these services according to the law, and thus appear to recognize it. We fully believe that this was an inconsistent course for the apostle to take, and that these brethren in giving this advice yielded to the pressure that was brought to bear against Paul on account of the doctrines which he preached. This very advice to Paul was the cause of his long imprisonment, which deprived the church of his labors; and it was thus brought about by the advice of the disciples themselves. Paul, willing to give way to the very utmost extent consistent with principle if he could bring about peace between them, accepted their advice, and went into the temple to purify himself, and at quite a heavy expense paid the money required for four others who had vowed.
It would have been better if Paul had kept away from this temple service; but God turned even this to good account, and made his servant useful even in prison. While performing this service, some Jews who had seen him elsewhere, stirred up the people against him, “crying out, Men of Israel, help; this is the man, that teacheth all men everywhere against the people, and the law, and this place,” etc. So we see that the great cause of their hatred most prominent again was that he did not teach the ceremonial law.
We all know what followed, how Paul was captured from the mob by the authorities, and finally permitted to make a speech to the people; and when they heard him speak in Hebrew, we learn from chapter 22 that they listened patiently until he reached the troublesome point: “And he said unto me, Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth; for it is not fit that he should live.” Verses 21, 22. They then threw dust into the air, and acted like mad men.
How plain it must be to any candid mind that this question of making the Gentiles equal to them by breaking down the ceremonial law, was the leading question in the whole matter of sending the gospel in the apostolic age outside of the Jews. It was not simply an insignificant question, though it may be considered as such today, when everything is changed from what it was centuries ago, at the very beginning of the gospel work. It was a question which was worthy of calling out an epistle from this great champion in the gospel.
Sister White, in her “Sketches from the Life of Saint Paul” also dwells considerably upon this subject. On page 64 she says: “The Jews had prided themselves upon their divinely-appointed services; and they concluded that as God once specified the Hebrew manner of worship, it was impossible that he should ever authorize a change in any of its specifications. They decided that Christianity must connect itself with the Jewish laws and ceremonies. They were slow to discern to the end of that which had been abolished by the death of Christ, and perceive that all their sacrificial offerings had but prefigured the death of the Son of God, in which type had met its antitype, rendering valueless the divinelyappointed ceremonies and sacrifices of the Jewish religion.”
In speaking of the causes which led to the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) in which she agrees with the position we have taken, that it was the same as the visits brought to view in Gal. 2, she says (page 64) they felt “that if the restrictions and ceremonies of the Jewish law were not made obligatory upon their accepting the faith of Christ, the national peculiarities of the Jews, which kept them distinct from all other people, would finally disappear from among those who embraced the gospel truths.” Here we see the true cause of their feelings again as we have many times stated. On page 195 she shows how this same feeling existed: “Paul in his preaching at Corinth, presented the same arguments which he urged so forcibly in his epistles. His strong statement, ‘There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision,’ was regarded by his enemies as daring blasphemy. They determined that his voice should be silenced.”
(A similar expression occurs in this very epistle to the Galatians.) On page 210, in speaking of his standing before the brethren at Jerusalem when he presented his gifts, and made his remarks, she says: “He could not recount his experience in Galatia without stating the difficulties he had encountered from those Judaizing teachers, who had attempted to misrepresent his teachings and pervert his converts.” Here she evidently has in view the epistle to the Galatians. This she indicates caused some feelings. On page 212 she says that the advice given by James to recognize the ceremonial law by going before the priests, as we have stated, “was not consistent with that decision [of the Council of Acts 15] which had also been sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God did not prompt this advice. It was the fruit of cowardice. By nonconformity to the, ceremonial law, Christians would bring upon themselves the hatred of the unbelieving Jews, and expose themselves to severe persecution.”
Page 213: “The disciples themselves yet cherished a regard for the ceremonial law, and were too willing to make concessions, hoping by so doing to gain the confidence of their countrymen, remove their prejudice, and win them to faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer. Paul’s great object in visiting Jerusalem was to conciliate the church of Palestine. So long as they continued to cherish prejudice, they were constantly working to counteract his influence. He felt that if he could by any lawful concession on his part win them to the truth, he would remove a very great obstacle to the success of the gospel in other places. But he was not authorized of God to concede so much as they had asked. This concession was not in harmony with his teachings, nor with the firm integrity of his character.”
Page 214: “When we consider Paul’s great desire to be in harmony with his brethren, his tenderness of spirit toward the weak in faith, his reverence for the apostles, who had been with Christ, and for James the brother of the Lord, and his purpose to become all things to all men as far as he could do this and not sacrifice principle,—when we consider all this, it is less surprising that he was constrained to deviate from his firm, decided course of action. But instead of accomplishing the desired object, these efforts to conciliation only precipitated the crisis, hastened the predicted sufferings of Paul, separated him from his brethren in his labors, deprived the church of one of its strongest pillars, and brought sorrow to Christian hearts in every land.”
Many other expressions could be quoted to the same effect; but we should despair of being able to show how important this subject was regarded among the early church, if what we have presented does not clearly prove it. We will only notice the remaining references to circumcision in the sixth chapter. Evidently Paul had finished his long argument, and was now giving the most precious Christian instruction for the benefit of the believers: but it seems that he cannot get this subject out of his mind. “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” There he shows how preaching the gospel with circumcision released one from persecution; but to preach the gospel without circumcision, not acknowledging its claim, brought persecuting elements upon him from every quarter. But he would rather preach the truth of God in its purity, whether persecuted or not. Circumcision saved no one, and uncircumcision saved no one; but there must be a new creature in Christ Jesus. Thus we see, from the beginning of the epistle to the end, this is the great theme that the apostle has in mind.
We now leave the subject with the reader, claiming for our view that it makes one connected, consistent, harmonious argument throughout. The conclusions are all consistent with the premises. We have shown that there was a sufficient issue to demand such an argument; hence we conclude that the apostle has the ceremonial law mainly in view throughout this letter. Our brethren, with their position, though they may present quite an argument upon some detached passages of scripture, utterly fail to present that harmonious, systematic view of the whole epistle found in the position we have herein advocated, while there are many references throughout the epistle which utterly forbid their application of it to the moral law.
This question which has long been in agitation among us is most unfortunate. As our brethren have presented their views in such a public manner, in a way which we cannot think is proper or consistent, we have felt it duty to present our view of the subject before our leading brethren. Yet we feel the same brotherly feeling as ever toward those who differ with us, believing they have been misled in regard to their duty. We ask our leading brethren to consider the points of this argument carefully, and weigh it well. We leave the result with them and God.
BATTLE CREEK, Mich.
Nov. 18, 1886