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make both husband and wife nobler servants of God,' and in marriage he certainly found no sin. But Paul spoke as a man who saw not beyond his time and its corruptions when he said, “Because of fornications, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.. I say unto the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they have not continency, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn." Christ could not have uttered such words. He recognized no makeshifts as good at all; never looked on any matter save from the standard of the best. He would never have sanctioned marriage because it was better to marry than to burn, never would have sanctioned it at all had he not recognized it as absolutely holy. And yet not for all. The kingdom of heaven demands complete devotion, and there is nothing which, according to circumstances, a man or woman may not be required to sacrifice for it.*
One may doubt whether the dialectic form is favorable for the statement of religious truth. Jesus used argument to show the error of opponents. To state his positive truths, he uses parables and figures, Dialectic. shows truth itself applied in concrete instances of universal principles. Paul's way is hortatory and didactic; he does not speak or write in parables, though using similes as illustrations. His mental sight is intense and quick; he sees a matter as it were successively,— does not see it at once in its bearings and qualifications. He sees these afterwards. He is apt to make unqualified statements, and afterwards state the qualifications. For example, he exclaims at the parties among the Corinthians who say, "I am of Paul, I of Apollos, and I of
I Cor. xi, II, 12. Besides of course recognizing that a believing wife or husband might turn the other to belief. And there is the fine thought of Eph. v, 25, that husbands should love their wives even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for her purification; i. c., marriage should be mutual consecration to God. 4 See Matt. xix, 12.
I Cor. vii, 25.
3 Ib. vii, 2, 8, 9.
Cephas, and I of Christ." He demands, Was Paul crucified for you, or were you baptized in the name of Paul ?1 Then he fervently recalls the fact that he himself baptized but few; it could not be said that there had been baptism in his name. Note his way of saying this: “I thank God that I baptized none of you save Crispus and Gaius; lest any man should say that ye were baptized into my name; and I baptized also the household of Stephanus; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other."'
This mode of statement is a quality of Paul's dialectic, which he used because it was a necessity of his nature to state the truth of Christ in this form. Paul was a Pharisee, a Hebrew of Hebrews, the last incarnation of the Hebrew genius. Bred to knowledge of the law, its conceptions of righteousness, its modes of thought, were part of him. Hebrew righteousness justified the possessor before God. The law set forth the works a man should do to keep himself so justified. Love God and thy neighbor; that had been the law's supreme command; it was indeed the law's spirit. But the spirit had escaped in that process by which duty towards God and man had become a scheduled doing and avoidance. Thus the fulfilment of the law had become a doing of its works; and this was the righteousness which should justify man before God.
There is no reason to think that Saul of Tarsus had doubts as to the validity of the law and the certainty of the justification which lay in fulfilling it. Yet such a man would look through the law's details to its supreme command. And he may have felt his carnal 1 One must notice the absence of all invidious spirit here where the apostle is intensely earnest. How different if he had said, "Was Cephas crucified for you?"
2 1 Cor. i, 14-16. Perhaps this peculiarity of Paul's might profitably be considered in regard to the controversy as to discrepancies between Paul's statements in Gal. i and ii, and the accounts of the same matters in the Book of Acts.
inability to fulfil this command and in its spirit perform all acts required by the law. Even before the journey to Damascus he may have felt that the law of his members warred against the law of God, prevented its complete fulfilment, and kept him from a condition of sure justification.' Whether this was so before that journey, at all events the spiritual consciousness which that experience awakened made clear to him that never could he find peace of soul, justification before God, by any works of the law which he could do. But, likewise from that same time, when he saw Christ, and it pleased God " to reveal his son in me, " Paul knew and felt with heart and mind, once and forever, that belief in Christ and faith's devotion was righteousness, justification before God. Faith justified; the works of the law no man could do. Therefore without the law, without its works as such, faith in Christ and the heart's devotion which that meant, was man's salvation.
These were Paul's certainties. To adjust them was a necessity of his strong reasoning mind. He could reason only in those modes which from his youth had made his intellectual life. Only in modes of legal dialectic could he think out his freedom from the law, and settle the relation of his faith in Christ to all his former life. And pressed along by the course of the argument which freed him from the law, he might be forced to state in like modes of argument the contents of his faith.
It is possible to distinguish Paul's deep understanding of the truth of Christ from his dialectic of the law. The Epistle to the Romans is the great example. One may not differ from its chief conclusions; and yet the mode in which they are reached is no longer part of human life. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.' Here, stated in Hebraic legal terms, is the conclusion of an argument by which the law is 1 See Rom. vii. 3 Rom. vi, 23.
Gal. i, 16.
reasoned away most legally. Again in the fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters there is much reasoning which we can follow only with difficulty, so very far is it all from present life. Yet the conclusion states a truth beyond whose universality life does not reach: "For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
For a final example, it may be said that the reasonings of the chapters following the eighth are difficult to grasp and acquiesce in. In part they are connected with some verses of the eighth chapter, which themselves make a questionable explanation of one of Paul's great utterances: "For we know that to them who love God all things work together for good." There could be no more fundamental truth to any faith in God; but how does the epistle continue? Even to them that are called according to his purpose. For whom he foreknew he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom he foreordained them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." No one can reason away from God's foreknowledge; and Paul's arguments as to "election" are hard to refute. But to-day men do not think in those categories, which no longer contain valid reconcilements of the facts of life.
These may suffice for illustrations of Paul's possible deflections from universal truth, caused by the attempt, which he could not forbear, to systematize his belief. With arguments he strove to justify what he knew with the faith that was his life, "that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
1 Rom. viii, 28. Or another reading, “God worketh all things with them
2 Ib. viii, 28-30.
3 Ib. viii, 38, 39.
An example of an inference which may perhaps be regarded as drawn too close to include the verity of Christ, or as reached in a mode of reasoning taken from the Jewish ritual, is the statement tion." of Paul and John that Christ is a propitiation' for the sins of men. This conception is insufficient, if intended to include the whole function of the incarnation;' and moreover it is a conception difficult to think except along lines of Hebrew thought.
tion and Eternal Life; Two Aspects of Christ's Teaching.
Christ's Gospel was an announcement of life eternal. Just as the kingdom of heaven was a condition to come, but also a present reality if men would accept it, so likewise Christ stated this eternal life in terms taking account of that apparent change called death-that is, stated it as resurrection from the dead; but he also set it forth as life absolute now and forever, conditioned only on relationship to God. New Testament writers took these two aspects of Christ's teaching of eternal life with real and intense appropriation. Plainly they declare the doctrine of the resurrection. But, on the other hand, much in Paul's and John's epistles can be understood only through an understanding of the conception of life eternal contained in the Gospel of John. Frequently both aspects of the teaching are combined.
These Two Aspects in Paul.
Paul's speech to the Athenians as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the Acts affords an apposite illustration. It is broad and philosophical, and just such an elementary statement of fundamentals of the Christian faith as might be addressed to an audience neither sympathetic nor hostile, but inquiring and intelligent. Paul boldly makes the assumption—justifiable for the purposes of his address,
1 1 John ii, 2, ιλασμός; Rom. iii, 25, ιλαστήριον.
Cf. Jno. iii, 16; xviii, 37.
3 Even though this speech, in accordance with certain critical views of the Acts generally, be not considered Paul's, it still serves as illustration. The present writer, however, believes it to be what it purports to be, a