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GALATIANS; EPHESIANS; PHILIPPIANS;
TITUS AND PHILEMON;
OF JAMES, PETER, AND JUDE.
REV. HENRY COWLES, D.D.
‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable."-PAUL.
D. APPLETON & COMPANY,
549 AND 551 BROADWAY.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1879, by
REV. HENRY COWLES,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
To help the reader of these “Shorter Epistles,” I have sought to place each in the sunlight of its own individual history, bringing all we can learn of the writer and of the circumstances of his contemplated readers to bear upon the sense and the force of his words to make the former clear and the latter impressive. Like all sensible letters, these also were written for a purpose, and should be read in the light of that purpose. It is in these epistles to the earliest churches that we look for the practical Christianity inculcated by the apostles—that we see how this practical Christianity was built upon Christ and the staple truths of his redemptive scheme, and with what spirit the founders of those churches wrought for the salvation of men. Hence, some of the main points of value in these epistles.
In them are some things hard to be understood,” and others that are very easy. It has been my policy to pass over the latter with few words—the more so that I might make time and leave space for careful, and, if need be, somewhat fundamental discussion of points really difficult or at least much controverted. This policy will account for the disproportionate space given to some verses and chapters compared with others.
The essay upon Canon Farrar's book—“ Eternal Hope”-has been deemed in place in this volume, partly because his doctrine has been supposed to find its scriptural support very largely in the theory that Christ preached “Eternal Hope" to the spirits
in prison (1 Pet. 3: 18-20), and not less because the subject is arresting much attention, and moreover, is intrinsically vital to human salvation.
My next volume (should a kind Providence still favor) will include Paul's three longer epistles ;-one to Rome; two to Corinth.
OBERLIN, OHIO, July, 1879.
LIFE AND LABORS OF PAUL.
THE best introduction to the Epistles of Paul is the study of the man.
Born very near the Christian era, at Tarsus, city,” but chief in the province of Cilicia, and located in a wide and fertile plain on the banks of the Cydnus, his early home furnished for his youthful development the stimulus of great natural beauty, coupled with the surroundings of commerce, Greek culture, and contact with much of the best thought of the age. Its location between the great center of Jewish mind on the one hand, and the Greek and Roman civilization of Asia Minor and of Europe on the other, suggests its special adaptation for the early training of this great apostle to the Gentiles. Under the Roman emperors it was renowned as a place of education, put by Strabo in the same rank with Athens and Alexandria, with the preference over even those cities in the point of the zeal of its citizens for learning.
Of Jewish parentage-"a Pharisee of the Pharisees," Saul was naturally sent to Jerusalem to complete his education at the feet of Gamaliel-than whom no teacher of his age stood higher. There Paul's course of study could not have omitted the Old Testament Scriptures, while in addition, every thing embraced in the traditions of the elders and the doctrines of the Pharisees must have been thoroughly mastered. Thus he became a most zealous Pharisee down to the hour of his conversion, and a powerful opponent of Pharisaism ever after With the entire attitude of Pharisaic mind no man could be more familiar, and consequently none could be better qualified to expose and refute its errors and to set before all Pharisees the purer doctrine and spirit of Jesus Christ. The marvel of his life is, that, with such qualifications for logically refuting the