Ver. 25. "If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us
-being governed by His laws. For this is the force of the words "let
us walk," that is, let us be content with the power of the Spirit, and
seek no help from the Law. Then, signifying that those who would fain have
introduced circumcision were actuated by ambitious motives, he says,
Ver. 26. "Let us not be vainglorious," which is the cause of
all evils, "provoking one another" to contentions and strife, "envying
one another," for from vainglory comes envy and from envy all these
Verse 1.-"Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass."
Forasmuch as under cover of a rebuke they gratified their private feelings,
and professing to do so for faults which had been committed, were advancing
their own ambition, he says, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken." He said
not if a man commit but if he be "overtaken" that is, if he be carried
"Ye which are spiritual restore such a one,"
He says not "chastise" nor "judge," but "set right." Nor does he stop
here, but inorder to show that it behoved them to be very gentle towards
those who had lost their footing, he subjoins,
"In a spirit of meekness."
He says not, "in meekness," but, "in a spirit of meekness," signifying
thereby that this is acceptable to the Spirit, and that to be able to administer
correction with mildness is a spiritual gift. Then, to prevent the one
being unduly exalted by having to correct the other, puts him under the
same fear, saying,
"Looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
For as rich men convey contributions to the indigent, that in case they
should be themselves involved in poverty they may receive the same bounty,
so ought we also to do. And therefore he states this cogent reason, in
these words, "looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted." He apologizes
for the offender, first, by saying "if ye be overtaken;" next, by employing
a term indicative of great infirmity ; lastly, by the words "lest thou
also be tempted," thus arraigning the malice of the devil rather than the
remissness of the soul.
Ver. 2. "Bear ye one another's burdens."
It being impossible for man to be without failings, he exhorts them
not to scrutinize severely the offences of others, but even to bear their
failings, that their own may in turn be borne by others. As, in the building
of a house, all the stones hold not the same position, but one is fitted
for a corner but not for the foundations, another for the foundations,
and not for the corner so too is it in the body of the Church. The same
thing holds in the frame of our own flesh; notwithstanding which, the one
member bears with the other, and we do not require every thing from each,
but what each contributes in common constitutes both the body and the building.
Ver. 2. "And so fulfil the law of Christ."
He says not "fulfil," but, "complete ;" that is, make it up all of you
in common, by the things wherein ye bear with one another. For example,
this man is irascible, thou art dull-tempered; bear therefore with his
vehemence that he in turn may bear with thy sluggishness; and thus neither
will he transgress, being supported by thee, nor wilt thou offend in the
points where thy defects lie, because of thy brother's forbearing with
thee. So do ye by reaching forth a hand one to another when about to fall,
fulfil the Law in common, each completing what is wanting in his neighbor
by his own endurance. But if ye do not thus, but each of you will investigate
the faults of his neighbor, nothing will ever be performed by you as it
ought. For as in the case of the body, if one were to exact the same function
from every member of it, the body could never consist, so must there be
great strife among brethren if we were to require all things from all.
Ver. 3. "For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is
nothing, he deceiveth himself."
Here again he reflects on their arrogance. He that thinks himself to
be something is nothing, and exhibits at the outset a proof of his worthlessness
by such a disposition.
Ver. 4. "But let each man prove his own work."
Here he shows that we ought to be scrutinizers of our lives, and this
not lightly, but carefully to weigh our actions; as for example, if thou
hast performed a good deed, consider whether it was not from vain glory,
or through necessity, or malevolence, or with hypocrisy, or from some other
human motive. For as gold appears to be bright before it is placed in the
furnace, but when committed to the fire, is closely proved, and all that
is spurious is separated from what is genuine, so too our works, if closely
examined, will be distinctly made manifest, and we shall perceive that
we have exposed ourselves to much censure.
Ver. 4. "And then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself
alone and not of his neighbor."
This he says, not as laying down a rule, but in the way of concession;
and his meaning is this, -Boasting is senseless, but if thou wilt boast,
boast not against thy neighbor, as the Pharisee did. For he that is so
instructed will speedily give up boasting altogether; and therefore he
concedes a part that he may gradually extirpate the whole. He that is wont
to boast with reference to himself only, and not against others, will soon
reform this failing also. For he that does not consider himself better
than others, for this is the meaning of "not in regard of his neighbor,
but becomes elated by examining himself by himself, will afterwards cease
to be so. And that you may be sure this is what he desires to establish,
observe how he checks him by fear, saying above, "let every man prove his
own work," and adding here,
Ver. 5. "For each man shall bear his own burden."
He appears to state a reason prohibitory of boasting against another;
but at the same time he corrects the boaster, to that he may no more entertain
high thoughts of himself by bringing to his remembrance his own errors,
and pressing upon his conscience the idea of a burden, and of being heavily