The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 5:14 (Galatians 5:14)

For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself ( ὁ γὰρ πᾶς νόμος ἐν ἑνὶ λόγῳ πεπλήρωται [Receptus, πληροῦται ], ἐν , τῷ ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν [Receptus, ἑαυτόν ]); for the whole Law hath in one word been fulfilled , even in this , Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Thus is very briefly enunciated what in the Epistle to the Romans ( Romans 13:8-10 ), written a short while after, the apostle more fully develops thus: "Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbour hath fulfilled ( πεπλήρωκε ) the Law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up ( ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται ) in this word, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: love therefore is the fulfilment ( πλήρωμα ) of the Law." This passage of the Romans may be regarded as a lengthened paraphrase of the one now before us. From the comparison of the two, several things are made clear. We see from it what is meant by the πεπλήρωται , "hath been fulfilled." Some have been disposed to regard it as equivalent to ἀνακεφαλαιοῦται , "it is summed up." Not to urge that it is very doubtful whether the verb admits of this sense, it is enough to observe that in the parallel passage the verb πληροῦν , both in πεπλήρωκε , hath fulfilled, and the verbal πλήρωμα , fulfilment, means to fulfil in actual obedience; and that the perfect tense of the πεπλήρωται of this passage reappears in the πεπλήρωκε of the other. The sentence in Romans, "He that loveth his neighbour ( τὸν ἕτερον ) hath fulfilled the Law," that is, as the context shows, "the whole Law," makes it clear that, by the words before us, "the whole Law hath been fulfilled in one word," is meant that the whole Law hath been fulfilled in the fulfilling of the one word, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." The whole Law is regarded as couched in that "one word." In the larger passage the Law, so far as it is explained, is represented as regulating our behaviour to our neighbours, for the apostle cites exclusively commandments of the "second table;" in addition to which, we observe that the immediately preceding context (verses 1-7) is taken up with the discussion of duties to our fellow-men, sliding into what follows through the words, "Owe no man anything, save to love one another." This suggests the inference that when the apostle says, "He that loveth hath fulfilled the Law;" and at the close of the paragraph, "Love is the fulfilment of the Law," he has in view that part only of the Law which enforces the duties appertaining to human relationships, and not the whole Law as enforcing, together with these, the duties we owe to God; for "love," he says, "his the fulfilment of the Law, because it worketh no evil to his neighbour. " And this might seem further to justify the like inference with reference to the passage before us; and here also the immediate context (verse 13) points only to relations between man and man, making no reference to our relations towards God. And this inference we seem warranted in accepting. Only, we have to bear in mind that the apostle has already taken account of our spiritual relations to God, in stating (verse 6) that in Christ Jesus the all-important and only thing is faith working through love. For the faith which he means is plainly the principle which unites the soul to Christ Jesus, and in him to God as our reconciled Father, through the vitalizing and actuating power of the Spirit of adoption. And precisely the same consideration presents itself with respect to the parallel passage in the Romans; for there, too, the apostle has been previously engaged in building up the gospel doctrine of Christ's redeeming us from the control of a condemning Law, which is also mere "letter," and can give no spiritual life; and of his handing us over to the law of the Spirit of life, whereby the requirement of the Law is fulfilled in them who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit ( Romans 8:1-4 ). The apostle takes it for granted that it is with these views in their minds that his readers will receive what he here writes. Further, account is to be taken of the spiritual sense in which the apostle uses the terms "law" and "love." Under the term "law" he no longer intends the Law of Moses, either as a ceremonial institute or as a letter-Law regulating moral behaviour; but that higher and spiritual law, of which the precepts of the letter-Law are only incomplete hints or adumbrations—the good and acceptable and perfect will of God ( Romans 12:2 ). Likewise, by the term "love" he designates a very different thing from that principle of kindness, good nature, benevolence, which an Aristotle or Cicero, an Epictetus or Plutarch, could conceive and describe, and in their own practice exemplify; with St. Paul, as with St. John, it is a fruit of the Spirit, an emanation of Christ's life in the soul, organically and vitally ramifying out of filial love to God. They that were in the flesh could not please God. In order that we may fulfil the Law, the prime and indispensable requisite is that the Spirit of Christ be dwelling in us and leading us.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 5:14 (Galatians 5:14)

The spirit of the Law.

Mutual service was only possible through mutual love, and this love was expressly commanded in the Law, which says," Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

I. WHAT IS THE LAW WHICH FINDS ITS FULFILMENT IN LOVE ? It is not the law of Christ, nor the law of liberty, nor the law of the Spirit of life, but the very Law of which the apostle has been speaking all through the Epistle. His readers could not have understood him if he had used the term "Law" in a different sense. It follows, therefore, that the Law must still be in force, because its essential commandment, love, remains for perpetual fulfilment. Love was always, even in Old Testament times, the fulfilment of the Law. The sum of the Decalogue is love ( Matthew 22:40 ). The apostle says, "He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law" ( Romans 13:8 , Romans 13:9 ); but this does not imply, as Antinomians say, that if we have love we have nothing to do with the Law. Believers are exhorted, in the passage quoted, to love one another on the ground of its being a requirement of the Law. It is absurd, then, for the Antinomians to talk of love as being higher than Law, for love is just the fulfilling of the Law, and nothing more. A perfect love would keep the whole Law. It is, therefore, absurd for Roman Catholics to affirm that love justifies as well as faith, because love fulfils the Law. Sin hinders the perfection of our obedience, and therefore love cannot perfectly fulfil the Law.

II. HOW LOVING OUR NEIGHBOUR FULFILS THE Law. It is the want of love that leads men to commit murder, adultery, theft, false witness. If we rightly loved our neighbour, these sins would be impossible. But we cannot rightly love our neighbour till we have loved God. "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" "This is the love of God, that ( ἴνα ) we may keep his commandments." There is a necessary connection between love to God and love to our neighbour ( 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 ).

III. THERE IS NOTHING HIGHER IN THE SPHERE OF DUTY THAN THIS LOVE , The Positivists assume that they have discovered in "altruism" a principle higher than either Law or gospel ever taught. Whereas we are commanded in Scripture to love our neighbour as ourselves, the Positivists say that we ought to love him better than ourselves. We are to deny ourselves for the sake of others. This is Christ's idea; but, if there be no future life, it would be the mark of a fool, and not of a hero, to deny myself for anybody. The idea of altruism, however, fails to realize itself in the lives of Positivists. Besides, if one's own happiness ought not to be a good to himself, there is no reason why he should secure happiness for another. In a few years it will make no difference to me what I have been, whether I have practised altruism or not. The world has not yet discovered a principle for regulating human relationship that can supersede Christianity.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 5:13-15 (Galatians 5:13-15)

The liberty of love.

Having shown the magnificence of the gospel system, Paul now proceeds to define that freedom which it secures. It is not licence, but love, which it induces; and love not only fulfils the Law, as legalism does not, but also prevents the bitter strife which legalism ensures. We have the following points suggested:—

I. THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN LICENCE AND LIBERTY . ( Galatians 5:13 .) The grace which has freed us from the legal spirit has not endowed us with a liberty to live licentiously. The liberty it gives is totally distinct from licence. Licence is liberty to please ourselves, to humour the flesh, to regard liberty as an end and not a means. But God in his gospel gives no such liberty. His liberty is a means and not an end; it is liberty to live as he pleases, liberty to love him and love men, liberty to serve one another by love. We must guard ourselves, then, from the confusion of mistaking licence for liberty.

II. LOVE IS THE REAL LIBERTY . ( Galatians 5:13 .) As a matter of experience we never feel free until we have learned to love. When our hearts are going out to God in Christ, when we have at his cross learned the lesson of philanthropy, when we have felt our obligation to God above and to man below, then we are free as air and rejoice in freedom. Then we refuse licence as only freedom's counterfeit, for we have learned a more excellent way. We cannot imagine a loveless spirit to be free. He may achieve an outlawry, but he is not, cannot be, free.

III. LOVE IS THE REAL FULFILMENT OF THE LAW . ( Galatians 5:14 .) The legalists in their little system of self-righteousness spent their strength upon the mint, the anise, and the cummin; while the weightier matters of the Law—righteousness, judgment, and faith—were neglected. Ceremonies and not morality became their concern. The tithing of pot-herbs would entitle them to Paradise. In contrast to all this, Paul shows that Christian love, which is another name for liberty, fulfils the demands of Law. The meaning of the commandments published from Sinai was love. Their essence is love to God and love to our neighbour, as well as to our "better self." Hence the gospel throws no slight on Law, but really secures its observance, The whole system turns on love as the duty and the privilege of existence. While the Law is, therefore, rejected as a way of life, it is accepted as a rule. Saved through the merits and grace of Christ, we betake ourselves to Law-keeping con amore. We recognize in God the supreme object of grateful love; we recognize in our neighbour the object of our love for God's sake and for his own sake; and we honour the Law of God as "holy and just and good." The whole difference between the legal spirit and the gospel spirit is that in the one case Law is kept in hope of establishing a claim; in the other it is kept in token of our gratitude. The motive in the one case, being selfish, destroys the high standard of Law. It fancies it can be kept with considerable completeness, whereas it is kept by the best with constant and manifold shortcoming. The motive in the other case, being disinterested, secures such attachment to the Law, because it has been translated into love , that it is kept with increasing ardour and success. Slaves will never honour Law so much as freemen.

IV. LOVE IS THE TRUE ANTIDOTE TO STRIFE AND DIVISION . ( Galatians 5:15 .) The ritualistic or legal spirit into which the Galatians had temporally fallen manifested itself in strife and bickerings. This is, in fact, its natural outcome. For if men arc straining every nerve to save themselves by punctilious observance of ceremonies, they will come of necessity into collision. It is an emulation of a selfish character. It cannot be conducted with mutual consideration. As a matter of fact, organizations pervaded by the legal spirit are but the battle-ground of conflicting parties. But love comes to set all right again. Its genial breath makes summer in society and takes wintry isolation and self-seeking all away. Mutual consideration secures harmony and social progress. Instead of religious people becoming then the butt of the world's scorn by reason of their strife and divisions, they become the world's wonder by reason of their unity and peace. It is, love, therefore, we are bound to cultivate. Then shall concord and all its myriad blessings come into the Church of God and the world be subdued before it.—R.M.E.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 5:13-26 (Galatians 5:13-26)

Freedom sustained by the Spirit.

I. USE OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM . "For ye, brethren, were called for freedom." Paul, having wished the Judaizing teachers off Galatian soil, justifies the strength of his wish. They would have led the Galatians into bondage, but God had called them for freedom. He makes a distinction between the possession of freedom and the use of freedom. He had been under the necessity of making prominent their possession of freedom in contending against the Judaists; he would, however, remind them, as brethren, that there was responsibility connected with t heir use of freedom. It is thus that he slides into the more practical part of the Epistle.

1. Dangers of freedom. "Only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh." By the flesh, which here becomes a leading word with the apostle, we are not to understand our corporeal nature. Nor are we to understand by it depraved tendency in connection with our corporeal nature. But we are to understand by it depraved tendency as a whole, extending to our higher nature as well as to our lower nature. It is true that in this depraved tendency our lower nature has the preponderance. And that is the reason why the whole goes by the name of flesh. But the constant element in depravity is not sense, but it is self as opposed to God and to the good of others. The admonition of the apostle, then, is, not that we abstain from all bodily gratification, as though sin were seated in the body, nor simply that we abstain from all fleshly sin, but that we abstain from all selfish gratification. The Galatians had been called for freedom, i.e. for ultimate and complete freedom; they were not, with their first experiences of freed-m, or with their strong realization of it as against Judaistic error, to imagine that they were free to indulge the flesh. That is what, as free, we must be on our guard against, if we would not fall back into bondage, if we would come to the goal of our freedom in Christ. Let us not turn our liberty into licentiousness.

2 . The binding of freedom.

II. THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT .

1 . The Christian rule is walking by the Spirit. "But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." The apostle calls attention to a point to which he advances in the subject he has in hand. This is laying down the Christian rule as between the flesh and the Spirit. In the flesh, or our depraved nature, there is lust or desire for sinful gratification in some form or another. How are we to be delivered from this, so that it shall not be fulfilled? The way is positively to follow the leading of the Spirit. The idea is not that we are to follow the tendencies of our renewed nature. That is missing the personal aspect of the leading. The Spirit, indeed, renews the nature, and excites within it holy desires which seek for gratification. But the Spirit gives personal guiding, especially in and by the reason and conscience in connection with the Word. And as a Guide he is all-sufficient. He is an internal Guide. He throws all the light that we need upon the character of desires and actions, upon the path of duty. And he affords timeous guidance. For whenever we are disposed to turn from the straight path to the right hand or to the left, it is then that we hear his voice behind us, saying," This is the way, walk ye in it."

2 . The Christian rule is founded on a contrariety between the flesh and the Spirit. "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would." The lust excited within the flesh is against the desire excited by the Spirit; the desire excited by the Spirit is against the lust excited within the flesh. This conflict of desires is necessary. For the flesh and the Spirit are contraries. They represent depraved self and God. They are as far apart as light and darkness. What is true of the one, then, cannot be true of the other. What the one moves toward in desire, the other necessarily moves against. Of this conflict of desires we are conscious in our own experience. When the Spirit impels to good, the flesh opposes; when the flesh impels to evil, the Spirit opposes. Thus in two ways we cannot do the things that we would. And we have in this conflict of desires, as free beings, to determine whether the Spirit or the flesh shall have the dominion of our hearts.

3 . The Christian rule excludes regulation by the Law. "But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law." The Spirit is an nil-sufficient Guide. His regulation renders unnecessary all other regulation. He regulates within, and that is better than outward regulation. He regulates in connection with all circumstances that arise, and that is better than having the rule to apply for ourselves. He is a timeous monitor, warning when the danger arises, and that is better than being dependent on memory.

4 . There is contrast in the manifestations of the flesh and the Spirit.

(a) What they are. " Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these." Before enumerating them the apostle describes them as manifest , i.e. easily distinguishable or glaring. It may be pointed to as a proof of depravity that vocabularies have more words descriptive of forms of sin than words descriptive of forms of holiness. Under the fruit of the Spirit he gives a list of nine. But under the works of the flesh his list extends to fifteen, properly sixteen. And the word translated "which" implies that he did not profess to give an exhaustive list—it would have been easy for him to have added other instances. This comparison is confirmed by the relative number of words for sins and graces employed in Scripture.

( α ) Sins of uncleanness. "Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness." The second is the generic word; the first describes a special form; the third describes a special aggravation, namely, open disregard of propriety. There is a sad prevalence of these sins still; it can only be said that they have been made more to hide their head.

( β ) Illicit intercourse with the unseen world. "Idolatry, sorcery." What is illicit in idolatry is the use of images to represent the unseen powers. What is illicit in sorcery (literally, "pharmacy" ) is the use of drugs, potions, and other things, with the idea that they can influence the unseen powers to produce love or hatred, prosperity or adversity. It can be said that this class of sins has almost disappeared with the diffusion of Christianity.

( γ ) Breaches of charity. "Enmities." This is the generic word; including not only the graver, but all breaches of charity. "Strife, jealousies." In strife the variance may be slight; in acts of jealousy there is more deep-seated variance. "Wraths, factions." The former describes outbursts of anger. The latter describes deliberate and concerted compassings of selfish ends, especially by means of intrigue. "Caballings" some translate it, "cabal" being made up of the initials of an English ministry in the reign of Charles II ., who were credited with sacrificing principle to place. "Divisions, heresies." The former may only be of a temporary nature. Heresies, by which we are to understand not heretical opinions, but rather their embodiments in heretical sects, are divisions of a decisive nature. There is conveyed the idea of complete separation from the Church of Christ. Hence what is said of the heretic that he is condemned of himself, i.e. in cutting himself off he has carried out the extreme sentence on himself. "Envyings, murders." The latter is omitted in the Revised translation, against the manuscripts, and against the form of classification followed by the apostle under this head. The former is want of love to our neighbour in his property; the latter is want of love in that which is most precious to him.

( δ ) Sins of intemperance. "Drunkenness, revellings." The first is the generic word; the second brings in a special association, viz. joviality. The special point of view is to be noticed here. There are some who lay the blame of intemperance on the manufacture of drink, on facilities for its sale, on the customs of society. And it does bear a relation to these things. But the apostle goes to the root of the matter, in tracing it to the depravity of the human heart. Drunkenness and revellings are works of the flesh, manifestations of alienation from God. The advantage of this point of view is that it points to what can be the only effective remedy, viz. a change of heart through the operation of the Spirit. "And such like." He could have mentioned others. We may suppose that those are named which it was important for the Galatians to note. We can see that some of them would be connected with their temperament, which was neither melancholic nor phlegmatic, and also with their surroundings. We are not all inclined to sin in the same form or forms. That has a dependence on idiosyncrasies and surroundings. But we have all the same depraved heart for which to be humbled before God, and against which to pray.

(b) What they entail. "Of the which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they which practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." He is very emphatic in his warning of the Galatians. He had forewarned them when with them. Again he forewarns them. He acted on the principles enunciated in Ezekiel: "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore, hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life: the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul." What the apostle, in the spirit of these words, says, is that they which are in the habit of doing such things shall certainly be punished. Their very characters unfit them for the kingdom of God. Moreover, they are rebels against the government of God; and as such they must be dealt with. Their punishment is represented as exclusion from the inheritance which otherwise they would have gained.

(a) What it is. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love." This stands at the head of the list as comprehending or carrying with it all the rest. This is a characteristic result of the Spirit's working. The apostle beseeches by the love of the Spirit. And we are told of the love of God, i.e. apparently the love which constitutes the very essence of God, being shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Ghost given unto us. Therefore we need not be surprised at the apostle connecting the Spirit, first, with the imbuing, dyeing deep of our nature with love. "Joy, peace." These two go together, not as good dispositions, but as feelings which always accompany good dispositions. With the former we associate movements, thrills; with the latter we associate repose. God is infinite Love, and therefore he is infinite Joy and Peace. And our being, through the Spirit, pulsating with his, now he sends a thrill of joy through us, and now he introduces his own calm. Oh what a joy in what God is! What a height of ecstasy does it admit of! And what a calm too in what God is! It takes away all the feverishness of sins and quiets us to the very depths of our being. And ever, as love animates us as it animates God, does the thrill pass through us, and the calm come into us, expelling doubt and fear and all restlessness of spirit. "Long-suffering, kindness, goodness." These three go together. The first is bearing with others for their good. It is that which marks the outgoing of the Divine love toward us as sinners. And therefore it is fitting that it should be reflected in us. Love (not only in God, but in all beings) , suffereth long," and, it is added, "is kind." The word translated "kindness" seems to point to delight in men as our fellow-beings. God delights in us as beings whom he has made. He feels kindly disposed toward us, as a father does toward his children. And so are we to delight in others for what they are, especially as having come from God, wearing a noble nature. And we are to feel kindly disposed toward them, wishing especially that, as they have a noble nature, they may not fail of having a noble character. The word translated "goodness" seems to point to a disposition to benefit others, extending to all forms in which they can be benefited. The highest form of goodness is when we are impelled to help others to live well. "Faithfulness, meekness, temperance." The first is having such a love for our neighbour that we would not injure him by breaking our promise to him. God is a Rock, while infinite tenderness, and there should be something of the rock in us, that dependence may be placed on us in the various relations of life. Meekness is required when wrong has been inflicted on us. It especially points to us having the command of our feelings under wrong. Temperance is self-command. It has come to have a special reference to our having the command of our appetites. When temperance is born of worldly prudence or of self-reliance it is not what it should be. It is only real and beautiful and everlasting when it is produced by the Spirit, when it is the outcome of a changed heart.

(b) What it does not entail. "Against such there is no Law." The apostle might have extended his list. He would have us think not of these only, but of all such, and think this regarding all such, that against them there is no Law. If these things are in us, then the Law can never be adverse to us. We shall be removed beyond the condemnation of all Law. That is his way of saying that we shall be blessed. We shall be blessed in the very possession of these dispositions and feelings. We shall be blessed in our enjoying the smile of God.

5 . Christians are being delivered from the flesh. "And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof." At a past period, in idea, they crucified the flesh. That idea is now being carried out into fact. There is a deadening, a slow and painful crucifying going on in the flesh. Its passions are being depleted of their heat; its lusts are being depleted of their force. The conflict is still going on; but the Spirit is gaining triumphs over the flesh, and there is promise of the Spirit gaining a complete triumph, of the flesh with all its inclinations to sin being annihilated.

6 . The Christian rule re-enforced. "If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk." If the life of the Galatians had depended on the Law, then their first and imperative duty would have been to have submitted to circumcision; and their duty after that would have been to have subjected themselves to the whole discipline of the Mosaic ordinances. But, as they were in the better position of depending entirely for their life on the Spirit, it was their duty to take the rule of their life simply from him.

7 . The Christian rule is applied to vain-glory. "Let us not be vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another." Vain-glory is glorying in what we do not have, or in what we have in a way that is not real or according to a false standard. The spirit of the practice is sufficiently brought out in the language hero. There is a provoking, literally a calling forth, to the field of contest. As the result of the trial, some are filled with a sense of their importance as superior in strength or in agility, in birth or in wealth, in culture or in honour. And others are filled with envy of those who are thus superior. ]Jut as we are not to glory in fancied possessions, so we are not to glory in possessions as though we had bestowed them on ourselves, or with an exaggerated idea of their importance. That would be glorying in what had not foundation in reality. "But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." Let us glory in what God is, and let us glory also in what God has bestowed upon us. Let us glory especially in having a covenant standing before God, and in covenant grace which has passed into our characters. That is having a foundation of reality for our glorying.—R.F.

- The Pulpit Commentary

Galatians 5:13-15 (Galatians 5:13-15)

Liberty and not licence.

I. THE DANGER . St. Paul was no antinomian. No Hebrew prophet ever insisted more strenuously on the necessity of righteousness than did the champion of justification by faith. With him freedom from the bondage of Law is not release from the obligations of duty. If tedious ceremonial observances are discarded, eternal principles of morality are only exalted into the higher supremacy. If we are not required to shape our conduct according to rigid rules, we are thrown back on principles of wider bearing and more absolute necessity. But there was danger that this should not be fully recognized. New-fledged liberty is tempted to take strange flights. This is an inevitable peril accompanying an undoubted boon. For fear of it many have dreaded to grant the liberty. But such policy is shortsighted and cowardly. The danger is itself the condemnation of the old bondage. The worst indictment against slavery is that it makes men servile. Unwise parents, who impose needlessly irksome home restraints, are preparing for their children a terrible peril when the coveted liberty is at length necessarily attained. The compressed spring is sure to open with violent energy.

II. THE CAUTION . How shall the danger be avoided? St. Paul points out the means.

1 . Admonition. Let men see clearly the two sides of life. While some dwell exclusively on Law, others confine themselves too much to the mere fact of liberty. Much gospel preaching is dangerous from its one-sidedness. In preaching "liberty to the captives," let us not forget to preach also that" the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" in offering the blessings conferred by Christ as the Saviour, let us not neglect to set forth claims made by him as the King.

2 . Instruction. Liberty requires light. The captive may be led in darkness; the freeman must see where to turn his footsteps. Ignorance may be the mother of the devotion of spiritual slaves, but knowledge is necessary for the devotion of free men.

3 . High principle. It is only the spiritually minded who are fit for spiritual liberty. We are only able safely to use our release from the servitude of Law when we willingly put on the yoke of service one towards another. The unselfish man is the one man who can use without abusing the privilege of the free man. He who has Christian charity joined to his Christian liberty will fulfil the essential principles of the Law while exulting in deliverance from its crushing constraints.—W.F.A.

- The Pulpit Commentary