St. Paul And Protestantism
( Originally Published 1887 )
M. RENAN sums up his interesting volume on St. Paul by saying : After having been for three hundred years, thanks to Protestantism, the Christian doctor par excellence, Paul is now coming to an end of his reign.' All through his book M. Renan is possessed with a sense of this close relationship between St. Paul and Protestantism. Protestantism has made Paul, he says ; Pauline doctrine is identified with Protestant doctrine ; Paul is a Protestant doctor, and the counterpart of Luther. M. Renan has a strong distaste for Protestantism, and this distaste extends itself to the Protestant Paul. The reign of this Protestant is now coming to an end, and such a consummation evidently has M. Renan's approval.
SI. Paul is now coming to an end of his reign. Precisely the contrary, I venture to think, is the judgment to which a true criticism of men and of things, in our own country at any rate, leads us. The Protestantism which has so used and abused St. Paul is coming to an end ; its organisations, strong and active as they look, are touched with the finger of death ; its fundamental ideas, sounding forth still every week from thousands of pulpits, have in them no significance and no power for the progressive thought of humanity. But the reign of the real St. Paul is only beginning ; his fundamental ideas, disengaged from the elaborate misconceptions with which Protestantism has overlaid them, will have an influence in the future greater than any which they have yet had, an influence proportioned to their correspondence with a number of the deepest and most permanent facts of human nature itself.
Elsewhere I have pointed out how, for us in this country, Puritanism is the strong and special representative of Protestantism. The Church of England existed before Protestantism, and contains much besides Protestantism. Remove the schemes of doctrine, Calvinistic or Arminian, which for Protestantism, merely as such, have made the very substance of its religion, and all that is most valuable in the Church of England would still remain. These schemes, or the ideas out of which they spring, show them-selves in the Prayer Book ; but they are not what gives the Prayer Book its importance and value. But Puritanism exists for the sake of these schemes ; its organisations are inventions for enforcing them more purely and thoroughly. Questions of discipline and ceremonies have, originally at least, been always admitted to be in themselves secondary ; it is because that conception of the ways of God to man which Puritanism has formed for itself appeared to Puritan-ism superlatively true and precious, that Independents and Baptists and Methodists in England, and Presbyterians in Scotland, have been impelled to constitute for inculcating it a church-order where it might be less swamped by the additions and ceremonies of men, might be more simply and effectively cnounced, and might stand more absolute and central, than in the church-order of Anglicans or Roman Catholics.
Of that conception the cardinal points are fixed by the terms election and justification. These terms come from the writings of St. Paul, and the scheme which Puritanism has constructed with them professes to be St. Paul's scheme. The same or a similar scheme, I repeat, has been, and still is, embraced by many adherents of the Churches of England and Rome ; but these Churches rest their claims to men's interest and attachment not on the possession of such a scheme, but on other grounds with which we have for the present nothing to do. Puritanism's very reason for existing depends on the worth of this its vital conception, derived from St. Paul's writings ; and when we are told that St. Paul is a Protestant doctor whose reign is ending, a Puritan, keen, pugnacious, and sophisticating simple religion of the heart into complicated theories of the brain about election and justification, we in England, at any rate, can best try the assertion by fixing our eyes on our own Puritans, and comparing their doctrine and their hold on vital truth with St. Paul's.
This we propose now to do, and, indeed, to do it will only be to complete what we have already begun. For already, when we were speaking of I Hebraism and Hellenism, we were led to remark how the over-Hebraising of Puritanism, and its want of a wide culture, do so narrow its range and impair its vision that even the documents which it thinks all-sufficient, and to the study of which it exclusively rivets itself, it does not rightly understand, but is apt to make of them something quite different from what they really are. In short, no man, e said, who knows nothing else, knows even his Bible. And we showed how readers of the Bible attached to essential words and ideas of the Bible a sense which was not the writer's ; and in particular how this had happened with regard to the Pauline doctrine of resurrection. Let us take the present opportunity of going further in the same road ; and instead of lightly disparaging the great name of St. Paul, let us see if the needful thing is not rather to rescue St. Paul and the Bible from the perversions of them by mistaken men.
So long as the well-known habit, on which we have so often enlarged, prevails amongst our countrymen, of holding mechanically their ideas themselves, but making it their chief aim to work with energy and enthusiasm for the organisations which profess those ideas, English Puritanism is not likely to make such a return upon its own thoughts, and upon the elements of its being, as to accomplish for itself an operation of the kind needed ; though it has men whose natural faculties, were they but free to use them, would undoubtedly prove equal to the task. The same habit prevents our Puritans from being reached by philosophical works, which exist in sufficient numbers and of which M. Reuss's history of the growth of Christian theology 1 is an admirable specimen, works where the entire scheme of Pauline doctrine is laid out with careful research and impartial accuracy. To exhibit the predominant points in Paul's teaching in so plain and popular a manner as to invite and almost compel men's comprehension is not the design of such works ; and only by writings with this design in view will English Puritanism be reached.
If when the ideas of St. Paul are so exhibited we are shown that we ought in real truth neither to abase St. Paul and Puritanism together, as M. Renan does, nor to abase St. Paul but exalt Puritanism, nor yet to exalt both Puritanism and St. Paul together, but rather to abase Puritanism and exalt St. Paul, surely it is best even for Puritanism itself to come to know this. Puritanism certainly wishes well to St. Paul ; it cannot wish to compromise him by an unintelligent adhesion to him and a blind adoption of his words, instead of being a true child to him. Yet this is what it has really done. What in St. Paul is secondary and subordinate, Puritanism has made primary and essential ; what in St. Paul is figure and belongs to the sphere of feeling, Puritanism has transported into the sphere of intellect and made thesis and formula. On the other hand, what is with St. Paul primary, Puritanism has treated as subordinate : and what is with him thesis and belonging (so far as anything in religion can properly be said thus to belong) to the sphere of intellect, Puritanism has made image and figure.
And first let us premise what we mean in this matter by primary and secondary, essential and subordinate. We mean, so far as the apostle is concerned, a greater or less approach to what really characterises him and gives his teaching its originality and power. We mean, so far as truth is concerned, a greater or less agreement with facts which can be verified, and a greater or less power of explaining them. What essentially characterises a religious teacher, and gives him his permanent worth and vitality, is, after all, just the scientific value of his teaching, its correspondence with important facts and the light it throws on them. Never was the truth of this so evident as now. The scientific sense in man never asserted its claim so strongly ; the propensity of religion to neglect those claims, and the peril and loss to it from neglecting them, never were so manifest. The licence of affirmation about God and his proceedings, in which the religious world indulge, is more and more met by the demand for verification. When Calvinism tells us : ` It is agreed between God and the Mediator Jesus Christ, the Son of God, surety for the redeemed, as parties-contractors, that the sins of the re-deemed should be imputed to innocent Christ, and he both condemned and put to death for them, upon this very condition, that whosoever heartily consents unto the covenant of reconciliation offered through Christ, shall, by the imputation of his obedience unto them, be justified and holden righteous before God ; '—when Calvinism tells us this, is it not talking about God just as if he were a man in the next street, whose proceedings Calvinism intimately knew and could give account of, could verify that account at any moment and enable us to verify it also ? It is true, when the scientific sense in us, the sense which seeks exact knowledge, calls for that verification, Calvinism refers us to St. Paul, from whom it professes to have got this history of what it calls ` the covenant of redemption.' But this is only pushing the difficulty a stage further back. For if it is St. Paul, and not Calvinism, that professes this exact acquaintance with God and his doings, the scientific sense calls upon St. Paul to produce the facts by which he verifies what he says ; and if he cannot produce them, then it treats both St. Paul's assertion, and Calvinism's assertion after him, as of no real consequence.
No one will deny that such is the behaviour of science towards religion in our day, though many may deplore it. And it is not that the scientific sense in us denies the rights of the poetic sense, which employs a figured and imaginative language. But the language we have just been quoting is not figurative and poetic language, it is scholastic and scientific language. Assertions in scientific language must stand the tests of scientific examination. Neither is it that the scientific sense in us refuses to admit willingly and reverently the name of God, as a point in which the religious and the scientific sense may meet, as the least inadequate name for that universal order which the intellect feels after as a law and the heart feels after as a benefit. 'We, too,' might the men of science say to the men of religion,—' we, too, would gladly say God, if only, the moment one says God, you would not pester one with your pretensions of knowing all about him.' That stream of tendency by which all things seek to fulfil the law of their being, and which, inasmuch as our idea of real welfare resolves itself into this fulfilment of the law of one's being, man rightly deems the fountain of all goodness, and calls by the worthiest and most solemn name he can, which is God, science also might willingly own for the fountain of all goodness, and call God. But however much more than this the heart may with propriety put into its language respecting God, this is as much as science can with strictness put there. Therefore when the religious world, following its bent of trying to describe what it loves, amplifying and again amplifying its description, and guarding finally this amplified description by the most precise and rigid terms it can find, comes at last, with the best intentions, to the notion of a sort of magnified and non-natural man, who proceeds in the fashion laid down in the Calvinistic thesis we have quoted, then science strikes in, remarks the difference between this second notion and the notion it originally admitted, and demands to have the new notion verified, as the first can be verified, by facts. But this does not unsettle the first notion, or prevent science from acknowledging the importance and the scientific validity of propositions which are grounded upon the first notion and shed light over it.
Nevertheless, researches in this sphere are now a good deal eclipsed in popularity by researches in the sphere of physics, and no longer have the vogue which they once had. I have related how an eminent physicist with whose acquaintance I am honoured imagines me to have invented the author of the Sacra Privata; and that fashionable news-paper, the Morning Post, undertaking, as I seemed, it said, very anxious about the matter, to supply information as to who the author really was, laid it down that he was Bishop of Calcutta, and that his ideas and writings, to which I attached so much value, had been among the main pro-vocatives of the Indian mutiny. Therefore it is perhaps expedient to refresh our memory as to these schemes of doctrine, Calvinistic or Arminian, to uphold which, as has been said, British Puritanism exists, before we proceed to compare them, for correspondence with facts and for scientific validity, with the teaching of St. Paul.
Calvinism, then, begins by laying down that God from all eternity decreed whatever was to come to pass in time ; that by his decree a certain number of angels and men are predestinated, out of God's mere free grace and love, with-out any foresight of faith or good works in them, to ever-lasting life ; and others foreordained, according to the un-searchable counsel of his will, whereby he extends or with-holds mercy as he pleases, to everlasting death. God made, however, our first parents, Adam and Eve, upright and able to keep his law, which was written in their hearts ; at the same time entering into a contract with them, and with their posterity as represented in them, by which they were assured of everlasting life in return for perfect obedience, and of ever-lasting death if they should be disobedient. Our first parents, being enticed by Satan, a fallen angel speaking in the form of a serpent, broke this covenant of works, as it is called, by eating the forbidden fruit ; and hereby they, and their posterity in them and with them, became not only liable to eternal death, but lost also their natural uprightness and all ability to please God ; nay, they became by nature enemies to God and to all spiritual good, and inclined only to evil continually. This, says Calvinism, is our original sin , the bitter root of all our actual transgressions, in thought, word, and deed.
Yet, though man has neither power nor inclination to rise out of this wretched fallen state, but is rather disposed to lie insensible in it till he perish, another covenant exists by which his condition is greatly affected. This is the covenant of redemption, made and agreed upon, says Calvinism, between God the Father and God the Son in the Council of the Trinity before the world began. The sum of the covenant of redemption is this : God having, by the eternal decree already mentioned, freely chosen to life a certain number of lost mankind, gave them before the world began to God the Son, appointed Redeemer on condition that if he humbled himself so far as to assume the human nature in union with the divine nature, submit himself to the law as surety for the elect, and satisfy justice for them by giving obedience in their name, even to suffering the cursed death of the cross, he should ransom and redeem them from sin and death, and purchase for them righteousness and eternal life. The Son of God accepted the condition, or bargain, as Calvinism calls it; and in the fulness of time came, as Jesus Christ, into the world, was born of the Virgin Mary, subjected himself to the law, and completely paid the due ransom on the cross.
God has in his word, the Bible, revealed to man this covenant of grace or redemption. All those whom he has predestinated to life he in his own time effectually calls to be partakers in the release offered. Man is altogether passive in this call, until the Holy Spirit enables him to answer it. The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, applies to the elect the redemption purchased by Christ, through working faith in them. As soon as the elect have faith in Jesus Christ, that is, as soon as they give their consent heartily and repentantly, in the sense of deserved condemnation, to the covenant of grace, God justifies them by imputing to them that perfect obedience which Christ gave to the law, and the satisfaction also which upon the cross Christ gave to justice in their name. They who are thus called and justified are by the same power likewise sanctified ; the dominion of carnal lusts being destroyed in them, and the practice of holiness being, in spite of some remnants of corruption, put in their power. Good works, done in obedience to God's moral law, are the fruits and evidences of a true faith ; and the persons of the faithful elect being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him and rewarded. But works done by other and unregenerate men, though they may be things which God commands, cannot please God and are sinful. The elect can after justification and sanctification no more fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end and be eternally saved ; and of this they may, even in the present life, have the certain assurance. Finally, after death, their souls and bodies are joyfully joined together again in the resurrection, and they remain thenceforth for ever with Christ in glory ; while all the wicked are sent away into hell with Satan, whom they have served.
We have here set down the main doctrines of Calvinistic Puritanism almost entirely in formal words of its own choosing. It is not necessary to enter into distinctions such as those between sublapsarians and supralapsarians, between Calvinists who believe that God's decree of election and reprobation was passed in foresight of original sin and on account of it, and Calvinists who believe that it was passed absolutely and independently. The important points of Cal- vinism, original sin, free election, effectual calling, justification through imputed righteousness, are common to both. The passiveness of man, the activity of God, are the great features in this scheme ; there is very little of what man thinks and does, very much of what God thinks and does ; and what God thinks and does is described with such particularity that the figure I have used of the man in the next street cannot but recur strongly to our minds.
The positive Protestantism of Puritanism, with which we are here concerned, as distinguished from the negative Protestantism of the Church of England, has nourished itself with ardour on this scheme of doctrine. It informs and fashions the whole religion of Scotland, established and nonconforming. It is the doctrine which Puritan flocks delight to hear from their pastors. It was Puritanism's constant reproach against the Church of England, that this essential doctrine was not firmly enough held and set forth by her. At the Hampton Court Conference in 1604, in the Committee of Divines appointed by the House of Lords in 1641, and again at the Savoy Conference in 1661, the reproach regularly appeared. ` Some have defended,' is the Puritan complaint, ' the whole gross substance of Arminianism, that the act of conversion depends upon the concurrence of man's free will ; some do teach and preach that good works are concauses with faith in the act of justification ; some have defended universal grace, some have absolutely denied original sin.' As Puritanism grew, the Calvinistic scheme of doctrine hardened and became stricter. Of the Calvinistic confessions of faith of the sixteenth century, the Helvetic Confession, the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Calvinism is so moderate as to astonish any one who has been used only to its later developments. Even the much-abused canons of the Synod of Dort no one can read through attentively without finding in parts of them a genuine movement of thought, sometimes even a philosophic depth, and a powerful religious feeling. In the documents of the Westminster Assembly, twenty-five years later, this has disappeared ; and what we call the British Philistine stands in his religious capacity, sheer and stark, before us. Seriousness is the one merit of these documents, but it is a seriousness too mixed with the alloy of mundane strife and hatred to be called a religious feeling. Not a trace of delicacy of perception, or of philosophic thinking ; the mere rigidness and contentiousness of the controversialist and political dissenter ; a Calvinism exaggerated till it is simply repelling ; and to complete the whole, a machinery of covenants, conditions, bargains, and parties-contractors, such as could have proceeded from no one but the born Anglo-Saxon man of business, British or American.
However, a scheme of doctrine is not necessarily false because of the style in which its adherents may have at a particular moment enounced it. From the faults which disfigure the performance of the Westminster divines the profession of faith prefixed to the Congregational Year-Book is free. The Congregationalists form one of the two great divisions of English Puritans. 'Congregational churches believe,' their Year-Book tells us, ' that the first man disobeyed the divine command, fell from his state of innocence and purity, and involved all his posterity in the consequences of that fall. They believe that all who will be saved were the objects of God's eternal and electing love, and were given by an act of divine sovereignty to the Son of God. They believe that Christ meritoriously obtained eternal redemption for us, and that the Holy Spirit is given in consequence of Christ's Mediation.' The essential points of Calvinism are all here. To this profession of faith, published in the Year-Book of the Independents, subscription is not required ; Puritanism thus remaining honourably consistent with the protests which, at the Restoration, it made against the call for subscription. But the authors of the Year-Book say with pride, and it is a common boast of the Independent churches, that though they do not require subscription, there is, perhaps, in no religious body, such firm and general agreement in doctrine as among Congregationalists. This is true, and it is even more true of the flocks than of the ministers, of whom the abler and the younger begin to be lifted by the stream of modern ideas. Still, up to the present time, the Protestantism of one great division of English Puritans is undoubtedly Calvinist ; the Baptists holding in general the scheme of Calvinism yet more strictly than the Independents.
The other great division of English Puritanism is formed by the Methodists. Wesleyan Methodism is, as is well known, not Calvinist, but Arminian. The Methodist Magazine was called by Wesley the Arminian Magazine, and kept that title all through his life. Arminianism is an attempt made with the best intentions, and with much truth of practical sense, but not in a very profound philosophical spirit, to escape from what perplexes and shocks in Calvinism. The God of Calvinism is a magnified and non-natural man who decrees at his mere good pleasure some men to salvation and other men to reprobation ; the God of Arminianism is a magnified and non natural man who foreknows the course of each man's life, and who decrees each of us to salvation or reprobation in accordance with this foreknow-ledge. But so long as we remain in this anthropomorphic order of ideas the question will always occur : Why did not a being of infinite power and infinite love so make all men as that there should be no cause for this sad foreknowledge and sad decree respecting a number of them ? In truth, Calvinism is both theologically more coherent, and also shows a deeper sense of reality than Arminianism, which, in the practical man's fashion, is apt to scrape the surface of things only.
For instance, the Arminian Remonstrants, in their zeal to justify the morality, in a human sense, of God's ways, maintained that he sent his word to one nation rather than another according as he saw that one nation was more worthy than another of such a preference. The Calvinist doctors of the Synod of Dort have no difficulty in showing that Moses and Christ both of them assert, with respect to the Jewish nation, the direct contrary ; and not only do they here obtain a theological triumph, but in rebutting the Arminian theory they are in accordance with historical truth and with the real march of human affairs. They allow more for the great fact of the not ourselves in what we do and are. The Calvinists seize, we say, that great fact better than the Arminians. The Calvinist's fault is in his scientific appreciation of the fact ; in the reasons he gives for it. God, he says, sends his word to one nation rather than another at his mere good pleasure. Here we have again the magnified and non-natural man, who likes and dislikes, knows and decrees, just as a man, only on a scale immensely transcending anything of which we have experience ; and whose proceedings we nevertheless describe as if he were in the next street for people to verify all we say about him.
Arminian Methodism, however, puts aside the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination. The foremost place, which in the Calvinist scheme belongs to the doctrine of predestination, belongs. in the Methodist scheme to the doctrine of justification by faith. More and more prominently does modern Methodism elevate this as its essential doctrine ; and the era in their founder's life which Methodists select to celebrate is the era of his conversion to it. It is the doctrine of Anselm, adopted and developed by Luther, set forth in the Confession of Augsburg, and current all through the popular theology of our day. We shall find it in almost any popular hymn we happen to take, but the following lines of Milton exhibit it classically. By the fall of our first parents, says he :
Man, losing all,
unless for him Some other able, and as willing, pay The rigid satisfaction death for death.
By Adam's fall, God's justice and mercy were placed in conflict. God could not follow his mercy without violating his justice. Christ by his satisfaction gave the Father the right and power (nudum jus Patri acquirebat, said the Arminians) to follow his mercy, and to make with man the covenant of free justification by faith, whereby, if a man has a sure trust and confidence that his sins are forgiven him in virtue of the satisfaction made to God for them by the death of Christ, he is held clear of sin by God and admitted to salvation.
This doctrine, like the Calvinist doctrine of predestination, involves a whole history of God's proceedings, and gives, also, first and almost sole place to what God does, with disregard to what man does. It has thus an essential affinity with Calvinism ; indeed, Calvinism is but this doctrine of original sin and justification, plus the doctrine of predestination. Nay, the Welsh Methodists, as is well known, have no difficulty in combining the tenet of election with the practices and most of the tenets of Methodism. The word solifidian points precisely to that which is common to both Calvinism and Methodism, and which has made both these halves of English Puritanism so popular, their sensational side, as it may be called, their laying all stress on a wonderful and particular account of what (God gives and works for us, not on what we bring or do for ourselves.
Plead thou singly,' says Wesley, ' the blood of the covenant, the ransom paid for thy proud stubborn soul.' Wesley's doctrines of conversion, of the new birth, of sanctification, of the direct witness of the spirit, of assurance, of sinless perfection, all of them thus correspond with doctrines which we have noticed in Calvinism, and show a common character with them. The instantaneousness Wesley loved to ascribe to conversion and sanctification points the same way. ' God gives in a moment such a faith in the blood of his Son as translates us out of darkness into light, out of sin and fear into holiness and happiness.' And again, ' Look for sanctification just as you are, as a poor sinner that has nothing to pay, nothing to plead but Christ died.' This is the side in Wesley's teaching which his followers have above all seized, and which they are eager to hold forth as the essential part of his legacy towards them.
It is true that from the same reason which prevents, as we have said, those who know their Bible and nothing else from really knowing even their Bible, Methodists, who for the most part know nothing but Wesley, do not really know even Wesley. It is true that what really characterises this most interesting and most attractive man, is not his doctrine of justification by faith, or any other of his set doctrines, but is entirely what we may call his genius for godliness. Mr. Alexander Knox, in his remarks on his friend's life and character, insists much on an entry in Wesley's Journal in 1767, where he seems impatient at the endless harping on the tenet of justification, and where he asks 'if it is not high time to return to the plain word : " He that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him."' Mr. Knox is right in thinking that the feeling which made Wesley ask this is what gave him his vital worth and character as a man ; but it is not what gives him his character as the teacher of Methodism. Methodism rejects Mr. Knox's version of its founder, and insists on making the article of justification the very corner-stone of the Wesleyan edifice.
And the truth undoubtedly is, that not by his assertion of what man brings, but by his assertion of what God gives, by his doctrines of conversion, instantaneous justification and sanctification, assurance and sinless perfection, does Wesley live and operate in Methodism. ' You think, I must first be or do thus or thus (for sanctification). Then you are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are ; then expect it now. It is of importance to observe that there is an inseparable connexion between these three points : expect it by faith, expect it as you are, and expect it now. To deny one of them is to deny them all ; to allow one is to allow them all.' This is the teaching of Wesley which has made the great Methodist half of English Puritanism what it is, and not his hesitations and recoils at the dangers of his own teaching.
No doubt, as the seriousness of Calvinism, its perpetual conversance with deep matters and with the Bible, have given force and fervency to Calvinist Puritans, so the loveliness of Wesley's piety, and what I have called his genius for godliness, have sweetened and made amiable numberless lives of Methodist Puritans. But as a religious teacher, Wesley is to be judged by his doctrine ; and his doctrine, like the Calvinistic scheme, rests with all its weight on the assertion of certain minutely described proceedings on God's part, independent of us, our experience, and our will ; and leads its recipients to look, in religion, not so much for an arduous progress on their own part, and the exercise of their activity, as for strokes of magic, and what may be called a sensational character.
In the Heidelberg Catechism, after an answer in which the catechist rehearses the popularly received doctrine of original sin and vicarious satisfaction for it, the catechiser asks the pertinent question : ' Unde id scis ?' how do you know all that? The Apostle Paul -is, as we have already shown, the great authority for it whom formal theology invokes ; his name is used by popular theology with the same confidence. I open a modern book of popular religion at the account of a visit paid to a hardened criminal seized with terror the night before his execution. The visitor addresses him : 'I now stand in Paul's place, and say : In Christ's stead we pray you, be ye reconciled to God. I beg you to accept the pardon of all your sins, which Christ has purchased for you, and which God freely bestows on you for his sake. If you do not understand, I say : God's ways are not as our ways.' And the narrative of the criminal's conversion goes on : ' That night was spent in singing the praises of the Saviour who had purchased his pardon.'
Both Calvinism and Methodism appeal, therefore, to the Bible, and, above all, to St. Paul, for the history they pro-pound of the relations between God and man ; but Calvin-ism relies most, in enforcing it, on man's fears, Methodism on man's hopes. Calvinism insists on man's being under a curse ; it then works the sense of sin, misery, and terror in him, and appeals pre-eminently to the desire to flee from the wrath to come. Methodism, too, insists on his being under a curse ; but it works most the sense of hope in him, the craving for happiness, and appeals pre-eminently to the desire for eternal bliss. No one, however, will maintain that the particular account of God's proceedings with man, whereby Methodism and Calvinism operate on these de-sires, proves itself by internal evidence, and establishes without external aid its own scientific validity. So we may either directly try, as best we can, its scientific validity in itself ; or, as it professes to have Paul's authority to support it, we may first inquire what is really Paul's account of God's proceedings with man, and whether this tallies with the Puritan account and confirms it. The latter is in every way the safer and the more instructive course to follow. And we will follow Puritanism's example in taking St. Paul's mature and greatest work, the Epistle to the Romans, as the chief place for finding what he really thought on the points in question.
We have already said elsewhere,' indeed, what is very true, and what must never be forgotten, that what St. Paul, a man so separated from us by time, race, training and circumstances, really thought, we cannot make sure of knowing exactly. All we can do is to get near it, reading him with the sort of critical tact which the study of the human mind and its history, and the acquaintance with many great writers, naturally gives for following the movement of any one single great writer's thought ; reading him, also, without preconceived theories to which we want to make his thoughts fit themselves. It is evident that the English translation of the Epistle to the Romans has been made by men with their heads full of the current doctrines of election and justification we have been noticing ; and it has thereby received such a bias, of which a strong example is the use of the word atonement in the eleventh verse of the fifth chapter, that perhaps it is almost impossible for any one who reads the English translation only, to take into his mind Paul's thought without a colouring from the current doctrines. But besides discarding the English translation, we must bear in mind, if we wish to get as near Paul's real thought as possible, two things which have greatly increased the facilities for misrepresenting him.
In the first place, Paul, like the other Bible-writers, and like the Semitic race in general, has a much juster sense of the true scope and limits of diction in religious deliverances than we have. He uses within the sphere of religious emotion expressions which, in this sphere, have an eloquence and a propriety, but which are not to be taken out of it and made into formal scientific propositions.
This is a point very necessary to be borne in mind in reading the Bible. The prophet Nahum says in the book of his vision : ` God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth ;1 and the authors of the Westminster Confession, drawing out a scientific theology, lay down the proposition that God is a jealous and vengeful God, and think they prove their proposition by quoting in a note the words of Nahum. But this is as if we took from a chorus of AEschylus one of his grand passages about guilt and destiny, just put the words straight into the formal and exact cast of a sentence of Aristotle, and said that here was the scientific teaching of Greek philosophy on these matters. The Hebrew genius has not, like the Greek, its conscious and clear-marked division into a poetic side and a scientific side ; the scientific side is almost absent. The Bible utterances have often the character of a chorus of AEschylus, but never that of a treatise of Aristotle. We, like the Greeks, possess in our speech and thought the two characters ; but so far as the Bible is concerned we have generally confounded them, and have used our double possession for our bewilderment rather than turned it to good account. The admirable maxim of the great mediaeval Jewish school of Biblical critics : The Law speaks with the tongue of the children of men, a maxim which is the very foundation of all sane Biblical criticism, was for centuries a dead letter to the whole body of our Western exegesis, and is a dead letter to the whole body of our popular exegesis still. Taking the Bible language as equivalent with the language of the scientific intellect, a language which is adequate and absolute. we have never been in a position to use the key which this maxim of the Jewish doctors offers to us. But it is certain that, whatever strain the religious expressions of the Semitic genius were meant, in the minds of those who gave utterance to them, to bear, the particular strain which we Western people put upon them is one which they were not meant to bear.
I have used the word Hebraise1 for another purpose, to denote the exclusive attention to the moral side of our nature, to conscience, and to doing rather than knowing ; so, to describe the vivid and figured way in which St. Paul within the sphere of religious emotion uses words without carrying them outside it, I will use the word Orientalise. When Paul says : ' God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all,' he Orientalises ; that is, he does not mean to assert formally that God acted with this set design, but, being full of the happy and divine end to the unbelief spoken of, he, by a vivid and striking figure, represents the unbelief as actually caused with a view to this end. But when the Calvinists of the Synod of Dort, wishing to establish the formal proposition that faith and all saving gifts flow from election and nothing else, quote an expression of Paul's similar to the one we have quoted, ' He bath chosen us,' they say, ' not because we were, but that we might be holy and without blame before him,' 2 they go quite wide of the mark, from not perceiving that what the apostle used as a vivid figure of rhetoric, they are using as a formal scientific proposition.
When Paul Orientalises, the fault is not with him if he is misunderstood, but with the prosaic and unintelligent Western readers who have not enough tact for style to comprehend his mode of expression. But he also Judaises ; and here his liability to being misunderstood by us Western people is undoubtedly due to a defect in the critical habit of himself and his race. A Jew himself; he uses the Jewish Scriptures in a Jew's arbitrary and uncritical fashion, as if they had a talismanic character ; as if for a doctrine, how-ever true in itself, their confirmation was still necessary, and as if this confirmation was to be got from their mere words alone, however detached from the sense of their context, and however violently allegorised or otherwise wrested.
To use the Bible in this way, even for purposes of illustration, is often an interruption to the argument, a fault of style ; to use it in this way for real proof and confirmation, is a fault of reasoning. An example of the first fault may be seen in the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and in the beginning of the third chapter. The apostle's point in either place, his point that faith comes by hearing, and his point that God's oracles were true though the Jews did not believe them, would stand much clearer without their scaffolding of Bible-quotation. An instance of the second fault is in the third and fourth chapters of the Epistle to the Galatians, where the Biblical argumentation by which the apostle seeks to prove his case is as unsound as his case itself is sound. How far these faults are due to the apostle himself; how far to the requirements of those for whom he wrote, we need not now investigate. It is enough that he undoubtedly uses the letter of Scripture in this arbitrary and Jewish way ; and thus Puritanism, which has only itself to blame for misunderstanding him when he Orientalises, may fairly put upon the apostle himself some of its blame for misunderstanding him when he Judaises, and for Judaising so strenuously along with him.
To get, therefore, at what Paul really thought and meant to say, it is necessary for us modern and Western people to translate him. And not as Puritanism, which has merely taken his letter and re-set it in the formal propositions of a modern scientific treatise ; but his letter itself must be re-cast before it can be properly conveyed by such propositions. And as the order in which, in any series of ideas, the ideas come, is of great importance to the final result, and as Paul, who did not write scientific treatises, but had always religious edification in direct view, never set out his doctrine with a design of exhibiting it as a scientific whole, we must also find out for ourselves the order in which Paul's ideas naturally stand, and the connexion between one of them and the other, in order to arrive at the real scheme of his teaching, as compared with the schemes exhibited by Puritanism.
We remarked how what sets the Calvinist in motion seems to he the desire to flee from the wrath to come ; and what sets the Methodist in motion, the desire for eternal bliss. What is it which sets Paul in motion? It is the impulse which we have elsewhere noted as the master-impulse of H ebraism,—the desire for righteousness. ' I exercise myself,' he told Felix, ' to have a conscience void of offence towards God and men continually.' 1 To the Hebrew, this moral order, or righteousness, was pre. eminently the universal order, the law of God ; and God, the fountain of all goodness, was pre-eminently to him the giver of the moral law. The end and aim of all religion, access to God, the sense of harmony with the universal order, the partaking of the divine nature, that our faith and hope might be in God, that we might have life and have it more abundantly, meant for the Hebrew, access to the source of the moral order in especial, and harmony with it. It was the greatness of the Hebrew race that it felt the authority of this order, its preciousness and its beneficence, so strongly. ' How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God !' 'The law of thy mouth is better than thousands of gold and silver.' ' My soul is consumed with the very fervent desire that it hath alway unto thy judgments.'1 It was the greatness of their best individuals that in them this feeling was incessantly urgent to prove itself in the only sure manner, in action. ' Blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.' ' If thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments.' ` Let no man deceive you, he that doeth righteousness is righteous.' What distinguishes Paul is both his conviction that the commandment is holy, and just, and good ; and also his desire to give effect to the commandment, to establish it. It was this which gave to his endeavour after a clear conscience such meaning and efficacy. It was this which gave him insight to see that there could be no radical difference, in respect of salvation and the way to it, between Jew and Gentile. ` Upon every soul of man that worketh evil, whoever he may be, tribulation and anguish ; to every one that worketh good, glory, honour, and peace ! '
St. Paul's piercing practical religious sense, joined to his strong intellectual power, enabled him to discern and follow the range of the commandment, both as to man's actions and as to his heart and thoughts, with extraordinary force and closeness. His religion had, as we shall see, a preponderantly mystic side, and nothing is so natural to the mystic as in rich single words, such as faith, light, love, to sum up and take for granted, without specially enumerating them, all good moral principles and habits ; yet nothing is more remarkable in Paul than the frequent, nay, incessant lists, in the most particular detail, of moral habits to be pursued or avoided. Lists of this sort might in a less sincere and profound writer be formal and wearisome ; but to no attentive reader of St. Paul will they be wearisome, for in making them he touched the solid ground which was the basis of his religion, the solid ground of his hearty desire for righteousness and of his thorough conception of it, and only on such a ground was so strong a superstructure possible. The more one studies these lists, the more does their significance come out. To illustrate this, let any one go through for himself the enumeration, too long to be quoted here, in the four last verses of the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, of ' things which are not convenient ;' or let him merely consider with attention this catalogue, towards the end of the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, of fruits of the spirit : ' love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.'1 The man who wrote with this searching minuteness knew accurately what he meant by sin and righteousness, and did not use these words at random. His diligent comprehensiveness in his plan of duties is only less admirable than his diligent sincerity, The sterner virtues and the gentler, his conscience will not let him rest till he has embraced them all. In his deep resolve ' to make out by actual trial what is that good and perfect and acceptable will of God, he goes back upon himself again and again, he marks a duty at every point of our nature, and at points the most opposite, for fear he should by possibility be leaving behind him some weakness still indulged, some subtle promptings to evil not yet brought into captivity.
It has not been enough remarked how this incomparable honesty and depth in Paul's love of righteousness is probably what chiefly explains his conversion. Most men have the defects, as the saying is, of their qualities. Because they are ardent and severe they have no sense for gentleness and sweetness ; because they are sweet and gentle they have no sense for severity and ardour. A Puritan is a Puritan, and a man of feeling is a man of feeling. But with Paul the very same fulness of moral nature which made him an ardent Pharisee, ' as concerning zeal, persecuting the church, touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless,' was so large that it carried him out of Pharisaism and beyond it, when once he found how much needed doing in him which Pharisaism could not do.
Every attentive regarder of the character of Paul, not only as he was before his conversion but as he appears to us till his end, must have been struck with two things : one, the earnest insistence with which he recommends ' bowels of mercies,' as he calls them ; meekness, humbleness of mind, gentleness, unwearying forbearance, crowned all of them with that emotion of charity ' which is the bond of perfectness ; ' the other, the force with which he dwells on the solidarity (to use the modern phrase) of mankind, the joint interest, that is, which binds humanity together, the duty of respecting every one's part in life, and of doing justice to his efforts to fulfil that part. Never surely did such a controversialist, such a master of sarcasm and invective, commend, with such manifest sincerity and such persuasive emotion, the qualities of meekness and gentleness ! Never surely did a worker who took with such energy his own line, and who was so born to preponderate and predominate in what-ever line he took, insist so often and so admirably that the lines of other workers were just as good as his own ! At no time, perhaps, did Paul arrive at practising quite perfectly what he thus preached ; but this only sets in a stronger light the thorough love of righteousness which made him seek out, and put so prominently forward, and so strive to make himself and others fulfil, parts of righteousness which do not force themselves on the common conscience like the duties of soberness, temperance, and activity, and which were somewhat alien, certainly, to his own particular nature. Therefore we cannot but believe that into this spirit, so possessed with the hunger and thirst for righteousness, and precisely because it was so possessed by it, the characteristic doctrines of Jesus, which brought a new aliment to feed this hunger and thirst, of Jesus whom, except in vision, he had never seen, but who was in every one's words and thoughts, the teacher who was mild and lowly in heart, who said men were brothers and must love one another, that the last should often be first, that the exercise of dominion and lordship had nothing in them desirable, and that we must become as little children, sank down and worked there even before Paul ceased to persecute, and had no small part in getting him ready for the crisis of his conversion.
Such doctrines offered new fields of righteousness to the eye of this indefatigable explorer of it, and enlarged the domain of duty of which Pharisaism showed him only a portion. Then, after the satisfaction thus given to his desire for a full conception of righteousness, came Christ's injunctions to make clean the inside as well as the outside, to beware of the least leaven of hypocrisy and self-flattery, of saying and not doing ;— and, finally, the injunction to feel, after doing all we can, that, as compared with the standard of perfection, we are still unprofitable servants. These teachings were, to a man like Paul, for the practice of righteousness what the others were for the theory ;—sympathetic utterances, which made the inmost chords of his being vibrate, and which irresistibly drew him sooner or later towards their utterer. Need it be said that he never forgot them, and that in all his pages they have left their trace ? It is even affecting to sec, how, when he is driven for the very sake of righteousness to put the law of righteousness in the second place, and to seek outside the law itself for a power to fulfil the law, how, I say, he returns again and again to the elucidation of his one sole design in all he is doing ; how he labours to prevent all possibility of misunderstanding, and to show that he is only leaving the moral law for a moment in order to establish it for ever more victoriously. What earnestness and pathos in the assurance : If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law ! ' 1 ' Do I condemn the law?' he keeps saying ; ' do I forget that the commandment is holy, just, and good ? Because we are no longer under the law, are we to sin ? Am I seeking to make the course of my life and yours other than a service and an obedience ?' This man, out of whom a blinded criticism has deduced Antinomianism, is in truth so possessed with horror of Antinomianism, that he goes to grace for the sole purpose of extirpating it, and even then cannot rest without perpetually telling us why he is gone there. This man, whom Calvin and Luther and their followers have shut up into the two scholastic doctrines of election and justification, would have said, could we hear him, just what he said about circumcision and uncircumcision in his own day : ' Election is nothing, and justification is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
This foremost place which righteousness takes in the order of St. Paul's ideas makes a signal difference between him and Puritanism. Puritanism, as we have said, finds its starting-point either in the desire to flee from eternal wrath or in the desire to obtain eternal bliss. Puritanism has learned from revelation, as it says, a particular history of the first man's fall, of mankind being under a curse, of certain contracts having been passed concerning mankind in the Council of the Trinity, of the substance of those contracts, and of man's position under them. The great concern of Puritanism is with the operation of those contracts on man's condition ; its leading thought, if it is a Puritanism of a gloomy turn, is of awe and fear caused by the threatening aspect of man's condition under these contracts ; if of a cheerful turn, of gratitude and hope caused by the favourable aspect of it. But in either case, foregone events, the covenant passed, what God has done and does, is the great matter. What there is left for man to do, the human work of righteousness, is secondary, and comes in but to attest and confirm our assurance of what God has done for us. We have seen this in Wesley's words already quoted : the first thing for a man is to be justified and sanctified, and to have the assurance that, without seeking it by works, he is justified and sanctified ; then the desire and works of righteousness follow as a proper result of this condition. Still more does Calvinism make man's desire and works of righteousness mere evidences and benefits of more important things ; the desire to work righteousness is among the saving graces applied by the Holy Spirit to the elect, and the last of those graces. Denique que, says the Synod of Dort, last of all, after faith in the promises and after the witness of the Spirit, comes, to establish our assurance, a clear con-science and righteousness. It is manifest how unlike is this order of ideas to Paul's order, who starts with the thought of a conscience void of offence towards God and man, and builds upon that thought his whole system.
But this difference constitutes from the very outset an immense scientific superiority for the scheme of Paul. Hope and fear are elements of human nature like the love of right, but they are far blinder and less scientific elements of it. ' The Bible is a divine revelation ; the Bible declares certain things ; the things it thus declares have the witness of our hopes and fears ;'—this is the line of thought followed by Puritanism. But what science seeks after is a satisfying rational conception of things. The scheme which fails to give this, which gives the contrary of this, may indeed be of a nature to move our hopes and fears, but is to science of none the more value on that account.
Nor does our calling such a scheme a revelation mend the matter. Instead of covering the scientific inadequacy of a conception by the authority of a revelation, science. rather proves the authority of a revelation by the scientific adequacy of the conceptions given in it, and limits the sphere of that authority to the sphere of that adequacy. The more an alleged revelation seems to contain precious and true things, the more ought we to be inclined to doubt the correctness of any deduction which draws from it, within the sphere of these things, a scheme which rationally is not satisfying. That the scheme of Puritanism is rationally so little satisfying should incline us, not to take it on the authority of the Bible, but to doubt whether it is really in the Bible. The first appeal which this scheme, having begun outside the sphere of reality and experience, makes in the sphere of reality and experience, its first appeal, therefore, to science, the appeal to the witness of human hope and fear, does not much mend matters ; for science knows that numberless conceptions not rationally satisfying are yet the ground of hope and fear.
Paul does not begin outside the sphere of science ; he begins with an appeal to reality and experience. And the appeal here with which he commences has, for science, undoubted. force and importance ; for he appeals to a rational conception which is a part, and perhaps the chief part, of our experience ; the conception of the law of righteousness, the very law and ground of human nature so far as this nature is moral. Things as they truly are, facts, are the object-matter of science ; and the moral law in human nature, however this law may have originated, is in our actual experience among the greatest of facts.
If I were not afraid of intruding upon Mr. Ruskin's province, I might point out the witness which etymology itself bears to this law as a prime element and clue in man's constitution. Our word righteousness means going straight, going the way we are meant to go ; there arc languages in which the word ' way ' or ' road' is also the word for right reason and duty ; the Greek word for justice and righteousness has for its foundation, some say, the idea of describing a certain line, following a certain necessary orbit. But for these fanciful helps there is no need. When Paul starts with affirming the grandeur and necessity of the law of righteousness, science has no difficulty in going along with him. When he fixes as man's right aim ' love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control," he appeals for witness to the truth of what he says to an experience too intimate to need illustration or argument.
The best confirmation of the scientific validity of the importance which Paul thus attaches to the law of righteousness, the law of reason and conscience, God as moral law, is to be found in its agreement with the importance attached to this law by teachers the most unlike him ; since in the eye of science an experience gains as much by having universality, as in the eye of religion it seems to gain by having uniqueness. ' Would you know,' says Epictetus, ' the means to perfection which Socrates followed ? they were these : in every single matter which came before him he made the rule of reason and conscience his one rule to follow.' Such was precisely the aim of Paul also ; it is an aim to which science does homage as a satisfying rational conception. And to this aim hope and fear properly attach themselves. For on our following the clue of moral order, or losing it, depends our happiness or misery ; our life or death in the true sense of those words ; our harmony with the universal order or our disharmony with it ; our partaking, as St. Paul says, of the wrath of God or of the glory of God. So that looking to this clue, and fearing to lose hold on it, we may in strict scientific truth say with the author of the Imitation : Omnia vanitas, proeter amare Deuem, et illi soli servire.
But to serve God, to follow that central clue in our moral being which unites us to the universal order, is no easy task ; and here again we are on the most sure ground of experience and psychology. In some way or other, says Bishop Wilson, every man is conscious of an opposition in him between the flesh and the spirit. Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor, say the thousand times quoted lines of the Roman poet. The philosophical explanation of this conflict does not indeed attribute, like the Manichaean fancy, any inherent evil to the flesh and its workings ; all the forces and tendencies in us are, like our proper central moral tendency the desire of righteousness, in themselves beneficent. But they require to be harmonised with this tendency, be-cause this aims directly at our total moral welfare, our harmony as moral beings with the law of our nature and the law of God, and derives thence a pre-eminence and a right to moderate. And, though they are not evil in them-selves, the evil which flows from these diverse workings is undeniable. The lusts of the flesh, the law in our members, passion, according to the Greek word used by Paul, inordinate affection, according to the admirable rendering of Paul's Greek word in our English Bible,' take naturally no account of anything but themselves ; this arbitrary and unregulated action of theirs can produce only confusion and misery. The spirit, the law of our mind, takes account of the universal moral order, the will of God, and is indeed the voice of that order expressing itself in us. Paul talks of a man sowing to his flesh,2 because each of us has of his own this individual body, this congeries of flesh and bones, blood and nerves, different from that of every one else, and with de-sires and impulses driving each of us his own separate way; and he says that a man who sows to this, sows to a thousand tyrants, and can reap no good harvest. But he talks of sowing to the' spirit ; because there is one central moral tendency which for us and for all men is the law of our being, and through reason and righteousness we move in this universal order and with it. In this conformity, to the will of God, as we religiously name the moral order, is our peace and happiness.
But how to find the energy and power to bring all those self-seeking tendencies of the flesh, those multitudinous, warming, eager, and incessant impulses, into obedience to the central tendency? Mere commanding and forbidding is of no avail, and only irritates opposition in the desires it tries to control. It even enlarges their power, because it makes us feel our impotence ; and the confusion caused by their ungoverned working is increased by our being filled with a deepened sense of disharmony, remorse, and dismay.
I was alive without the law once,' says Paul ; the natural play of all the forces and desires in me went on smoothly enough so long as I did not attempt to introduce order and regulation among them. But the condition of immoral tranquillity could not in man be permanent. That natural law of reason and conscience which all men have, was sufficient by itself to produce a consciousness of rebellion and disquietude. Matters became only worse by the exhibition of the Mosaic law, the offspring of a moral sense more poignant and stricter, however little it might show of subtle insight and delicacy, than the moral sense of the mass of mankind. The very stringency of the Mosaic code in-creased the feeling of dismay and helplessness ; it set forth the law of righteousness more authoritatively and minutely, yet did not supply any sufficient power to keep it. Neither the law of nature, therefore, nor the law of Moses, availed to blind men to righteousness. So we come to the word which is in some sense the governing word of the Epistle to the Romans, the word all. As the word righteousness is the governing word of St. Paul's entire mind and life, so the word all may stand for the governing word of this his chief epistle. The Gentile with the law of nature, the Jew with the law of Moses, alike fail to achieve righteousness. 'All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' All do what they would not, and do not what they would ; all feel themselves enslaved, impotent, guilty, miserable. ` O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?'
Hitherto, we have followed Paul in the sphere of morals; we have now come with him to the point where he enters the sphere of religion. Religion is that which binds and holds us to the practice of righteousness. We have accompanied Paul, and found him always treading solid ground, till he is brought to straits where a binding and holding power of this kind is necessary. Here is the critical point for the scientific worth of his doctrine. ` Now at last,' cries Puritanism, ` the great apostle is about to become even as one of us ; there is no issue for him now, but the issue we have always declared he finds. He has recourse to our theurgy of election, justification, substitution, and imputed righteousness.' We will proceed to show that Paul has recourse to nothing of the kind.
We have seen how Puritanism seems to come by its religion in the first instance theologically and from authority ; Paul by his, on the other hand, psychologically and from experience. Even the points, therefore, in which they both meet, they have not reached in the same order or by the same road. The miserable sense of sin from unrighteousness, the joyful witness of a good conscience from righteousness, these are points in which Puritanism and St. Paul meet. They are facts of human nature and can be verified. But whereas Puritanism, so far as science is concerned, ends with these facts, and rests the whole weight of its antecedent theurgy upon the witness to it they offer, Paul begins with these facts, and has not yet, so far as we have followed him, called upon them to prove anything but them-selves. The scientific difference, as we have already remarked, which this establishes between Paul and Puritanism is immense, and is .all in Paul's favour. Sin and righteousness, together with their eternal accompaniments of fear and hope, misery and happiness, can prove themselves ; but they can by no means prove, also, Puritanism's history of original sin, election and justification.
Puritanism is fond of maintaining, indeed, that Paul's doctrines derive their sanction, not from any agreement with science and experience, but from his miraculous conversion, and that this conversion it was which in his own judgment gave to them their authority. But whatever sanction the miracle cf his conversion may in his own eyes have lent to the doctrines afterwards propounded by Paul, it is clear that, for science, his conversion adds to his doctrines no force at all which they do not already possess in themselves. Paul's conversion is for science an event of precisely the same nature as the conversions of which the history of Methodism relates so many ; events described, for the most part, just as the event of Paul's conversion is described, with perfect good faith, and which we may perfectly admit to have happened just in the manner related, without on that account attributing to those who underwent them any source of certitude for a scheme of doctrine which this doctrine does not on other and better grounds possess.
Surely this proposition has only to be clearly stated in order to be self-evident. The conversion of Paul is in itself an incident of precisely the same order as the conversion of Sampson Staniforth, a Methodist soldier in the campaign of Fontenoy. Staniforth himself relates his conversion as follows, in words which bear plainly marked on them the very stamp of good faith :
From twelve at night till two it was my turn to stand sentinel at a dangerous post. I had a fellow-sentinel, but I desired him to go away, which he willingly did. As soon as I was alone, I knelt down and determined not to rise, but to continue crying and wrestling with God till he had mercy on me. How long I was in that agony I cannot tell ; but as I looked up to heaven I saw the clouds open exceeding bright, and I saw Jesus hanging on the cross. At the same moment these words were applied to my heart : " Thy sins are forgiven thee." All guilt was gone, and my soul was filled with unutterable peace : the fear of death and hell was vanished away. I was filled with wonder and astonishment. I closed my eyes, but the impression was still the same ; and for about ten weeks, while I was awake, let me be where I would, the same appearance was still before my eyes, and the same impression upon my heart : Thy sins are forgiven thee.
Not the narrative, in the Acts, of Paul's journey to Damascus, could more convince us, as we have said, of its own honesty. But this honesty makes nothing, as every one will admit, for the scientific truth of any scheme of doctrine propounded by Sampson Staniforth, which must prove itself and its own scientific value before science can admit it. Precisely the same is it with Paul's doctrine ; and we repeat, therefore, that he and his doctrine have herein a great advantage over Puritanism, in that, so far as we have yet followed them, they, unlike Puritanism, rely on facts of experience and assert nothing which science cannot verify.
We have now to see whether Paul, in passing from the undoubted facts of experience, with which he begins, to his religion properly so called, abandons in any essential points of his teaching the advantage with which he started, and ends, as Puritanism commences, with a batch of arbitrary and unscientific assumptions.
We left Paul in collision with a fact of human nature, but in itself a sterile fact, a fact on which it is possible to dwell too long, although Puritanism, thinking this impossible, has remained intensely absorbed in the contemplation of it, and indeed has never properly got beyond it, the sense of sin. Sin is not a monster to be mused on, but an impotence to be got rid of. All thinking about it, beyond what is indispensable for the firm effort to get rid of it, is waste of energy and waste of time. We then enter that element of morbid and subjective brooding, in which so many have perished. This sense of sin, however, it is also possible to have not strongly enough to beget the firm effort to get rid of it, and the Greeks, with all their great gifts, had this sense not strongly enough ; its strength in the Hebrew people is one of this people's mainsprings. ' Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head ; therefore my heart faileth me.' They are more than the hairs of mine head. The motions of what Paul calls ' the law in our members' are indeed a hydra-brood ; when we are working against one fault, a dozen others crop up without our expecting it ; and this it is which drives the man who deals seriously with himself to difficulty, nay to despair. Paul did not need James to tell him that whoever offends on one point is, so far at least as his own conscience and inward satisfaction are concerned, guilty of all ; he knew it himself, and the unrest this knowledge gave him was his very starting-point. He knew, too, that nothing outward, no satisfaction of all the requirements men may make of us, no privileges of any sort, can give peace of conscience ; of conscience, ' whose praise is not of men but of God.'3 He knew, also, that the law of the moral order stretches beyond us and our private conscience, is independent of our sense of having kept it, and stands absolute and what in itself it is ; even, therefore, though I may know nothing against my-self, yet this is not enough, I may still not be just.4 Finally, Paul knew that merely to know all this and say it, is of no use, advances us nothing ; ' the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.'
We have several times said that the Hebrew race apprehended God,--the universal order by which all things fulfil the law of their being, chiefly as the moral order in human nature, and that it was their greatness that they apprehended him as this so distinctly and powerfully. But it is also characteristic of them, and perhaps it is what mainly distinguishes their spirit from the spirit of mediaeval Christianity, that they constantly thought, too, of God as the source of life and breath and all things, and of what they called `fulness of life ' in all things. This way of thinking was common to them with the Greeks ; although, whereas the Greeks threw more delicacy and imagination into it, the Hebrews threw more energy and vital warmth. But to the Hebrew, as to the Greek, the gift of life, and health, and the world, was divine, as well as the gift of morals. ` God's righteousness,' indeed, ' standeth like the strong mountains, his judgments are like the great deep ; he is a righteous judge, strong and patient, who is provoked every day.'1 This is the Hebrew's first and deepest conception of God, as the source of the moral order. But God is also, to the Hebrew, the power by which we have been ' upholden ever since we were born,' and whose ' mercy is over all his works.' 2 He is the power that ` saves both man and beast, gives them drink of his pleasures as out of the river,' and with whom is ' the well of life.' 3 In his speech at Athens, Paul shows how full he, too, was of this feeling ; and in the famous passage in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, where he asserts the existence of the natural moral law, the source he assigns to this law is not merely God in conscience, the righteous judge, but God in the world and the workings of the world, the eternal and divine power from which all life and wholesome energy proceed.'
This element in which we live and move and have our being, which stretches around and beyond the strictly moral element in us, around and beyond the finite sphere of what is originated, measured, and controlled by our own understanding and will, this infinite element is very present to Paul's thoughts, and makes a profound impression on them. By this element we are receptive and influenced, not originative and influencing ; now, we all of us receive far more than we originate. Our pleasure from a spring day we do not make ; our pleasure, even, from an approving conscience we do not make. And yet we feel that both the one pleasure and the other can, and often do, work with us in a wonderful way for our good. So we get the thought of an impulsion outside ourselves which is at once awful and beneficent. ` No man,' as the Hebrew psalm says, ' hath quickened his own soul.' ' I know,' says Jeremiah, ` that the way of man is not in himself ; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.' Most true and natural in this feeling ; and the greater men are, the more natural is this feeling to them. Great men like Sylla and Napoleon have loved to attribute their success to their fortune, their star ; religious great men have loved to say that their sufficiency was of God.3 Through every great spirit runs a train of feeling of this sort ; and the power and depth which there undoubtedly is in Calvinism, comes from Calvinism's being overwhelmed by it. Paul is not, like Calvinism, overwhelmed by it ; but it is always before his mind and strongly agitates his thoughts. The voluntary, rational, and human world, of righteousness, moral choice, effort, filled the first place in his spirit. But the necessary, mystical, and divine world, of influence, sympathy, emotion, filled the second ; and he could pass naturally from the one world to the other. The presence in Paul of this twofold feeling acted irresistibly upon his doctrine. What he calls ' the power that worketh in us,' 4 and that produces results transcending all our expectations and calculations, he instinctively sought to combine with our personal agencies of reason and conscience.
Of such a mysterious power and its operation some clear notion may be got by anybody who has ever had any overpowering attachment. Every one knows how being in love changes for the time a man's spiritual atmosphere, and makes animation and buoyancy where before there was flatness and dulness. One may even say that this is the reason why being in love is so popular with the whole human race, because it relieves in so irresistible and delightful a manner the tedium or depression of common-place human life. And not only does it change the atmosphere of our spirits, making air, light, and movement where before was stagnation and gloom, but it also sensibly and powerfully increases our faculties of action. It is matter of the commonest remark how a timid man who is in love will show courage, or an indolent man will show diligence. Nay, a timid man who would be only the more paralysed in a moment of danger by being told that it is his bounden duty as a man to show firmness, and that he must be ruined and disgraced for ever if he does not, will show firmness quite easily from being in love. An indolent man who shrinks back from vigorous effort only the more because he is told and knows that it is a man's business to show energy, and that it is shameful in him if he does not, will show energy quite easily from being in love. This, I say, we learn from the analogy of the most everyday experience ;—that a powerful attachment will give a man spirits and confidence which he could by no means call up or command of himself ; and that in this mood he can do wonders which would not be possible to him with-out it.
We have seen how Paul felt himself to be for the sake of righteousness rehended, to use his own expression, by Christ. ' I seek,' he says, 'to apprehend that for which also I am apprehended by Christ.'This for which he is thus apprehended is, still to use his own words, the righteousness of God : a sense of conformity with the divine moral order, the will of God, a sense of harmony with this order, of acceptance with God.
In some points Paul had always served this order with a clear conscience. He did not steal, he did not commit adultery. But he was at the same time, he says himself, ' a blasphemer and a persecutcr and an insulter,'' and the contemplation of Jesus Christ made him see this, impressed it forcibly upon his mind. Here was his greatness, and the worth of his way of appropriating Christ. We have seen how Calvinism, too, Calvinism which has built itself upon St. Paul, is a blasphemer, when it speaks cf good works done by those who do not hold the Calvinist doctrine. There would need no great sensitiveness of conscience, one would think, to show that Calvinism has often been, also, a persecutor and an insulter. Calvinism, as well as Paul, professes to study Jesus Christ. But the difference between Paul's study of Christ and Calvinism's is this : that Paul by studying Christ got to know himself clearly, and-to transform his narrow conception of righteousness ; while Calvinism studies both Christ and Paul after him to no such good purpose.
The particular impression mentioned is, however, but the veriest fragment of the total impression produced on Paul by the contemplation of Christ. The sum and substance of that total impression may best be conveyed by two words-without sin.
We must here revert to what we have already said of the importance, for sound criticism of a man's ideas, of the order in which his ideas come. For us, who approach Christianity through a scholastic theology, it is Christ's divinity which establishes his being without sin. For Paul, who approached Christianity through his personal experience, it was Jesus Christ's being without sin which establishes his divinity. The large and complete conception of righteousness to which Paul himself had slowly and late, and only by Jesus Christ's help, awakened, in Jesus he seemed to see existing absolutely and naturally. The devotion to this conception which made it meat and drink to carry it into effect, a devotion of which he himself was strongly and deeply conscious, he saw in Jesus still stronger, by far, and deeper than in himself. But for attaining the righteousness of God, for reaching an absolute conformity with the moral order and with God's will, he saw no such impotence existing in Jesus Christ's case as in his own. For Jesus, the uncertain conflict between the law in our members and the law of the spirit did not appear to exist. Those eternal vicissitudes of victory and defeat, which drove Paul to despair, in Jesus were absent. Smoothly and inevitably he followed the real and eternal order, in preference to the momentary and apparent order. Obstacles outside him there were plenty, but obstacles within him there were none. He was led by the spirit of God ; he was dead to sin, he lived to God; and in this life to God he persevered even to the cruel bodily death of the cross. As many as are led by the spirit of God, says Paul, are the sons of God.' If this is so with even us, who live to God so feebly and who render such an imperfect obedience, how much more is he who lives to God entirely and who renders an unalterable obedience, the unique and only Son of God ?
This is undoubtedly the- main line of movement which Paul's ideas respecting Jesus Christ follow. He had been trained, however, in the scholastic theology of Judaism, just as we are trained in the scholastic theology of Christianity ; would that we were as little embarrassed with our training as he was with his! The Jewish theological doctrine respecting the eternal word or wisdom of God, which was with God from the beginning before the oldest of his works, and through which the world was created, this doctrine, which appears in the Book of Proverbs and again in the Book of Wisdom,' Paul applied to Jesus Christ, and in the Epistle to the Colossians there is a remarkable passage2 with clear signs of his thus applying it. But then this metaphysical and theological basis to the historic being of Jesus is something added by Paul from outside to his own essential ideas concerning him, something which fitted them and was naturally taken on to them ; it is secondary, it is not an original part of his system, much less the ground of it. It fills a very different place in his system from the place which it fills in the system of the author of the Fourth Gospel, who takes his starting-point from it. Paul's starting-point, it cannot be too often repeated, is the idea of righteousness ; and his concern with Jesus is as the clue to righteousness, not as the clue to transcendental ontology. Speculations in this region had no overpowering attraction for Paul, notwithstanding the traces of an acquaintance with them which we find in his writings, and notwithstanding the great activity of his intellect. This activity threw itself with an unerring instinct into a sphere where, with whatever travail and through whatever impediments to clear expression, directly practical religious results might yet be won, and not into any sphere of abstract speculation.
Much more visible and important than his identification of Jesus with the divine hypostasis known as the Logos, is Paul's identification of him with the Messiah. Ever pre-sent is his recognition of him as the Messiah to whom all the law and prophets pointed, of whom the heart of the Jewish race was full, and on whom the Jewish instructors of Paul's youth had dwelt abundantly. The Jewish language and ideas respecting the end of the world and the Messiah's kingdom, his day, his presence, his appearing, his glory, Paul applied to Jesus, and constantly used. Of the force and reality which these ideas and expressions had for him there can be no- question ; as to his use of them, only two remarks are needed. One is, that in him these 'Jewish ideas, as any one will feel who calls to mind a genuine display of them like that in the Apocalypse, are spiritualised; and as he advances in his course they are spiritualised increasingly. The other remark is, that important as these ideas are in Paul, of them, too, the importance is only secondary, compared with that of the great central matter of his thoughts : the righteonsness of God, the non fu fulfilment of it by man, the fulfilment of it by Christ.
Once more we are led to a result favourable to the scientific value of Paul's teaching. That Jesus Christ was the divine Logos, the second person of the Trinity, science can neither deny nor affirm. That he was the Jewish Messiah, who will some day appear in the sky with the sound of trumpets, to put an end to the actual kingdoms of the world and to establish his own kingdom, science can neither deny nor affirm. The very terms of which these propositions are composed are such as science is unable to handle. But that the Jesus of the Bible follows the universal moral order and the will of God, without being let and hindered as we are by the motions of private passion and by self-will, this is evident to whoever can read the Bible with open eyes. It is just what any criticism of the Gospel history, which sees that history as it really is, tells us ; it is the scientific result of that history. And this is the result which pre-eminently occupies Paul. Of Christ's life and death, the all-importance for us according to Paul is that by means of them, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly ;' should be enabled to 'bear fruit to God' in 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.' 1 Of Christ's life and death the scope was 'to redeem us from all iniquity, and make us purely zealous for good works.' Paul says that we are to live thus in the actual world which now is, ' with the expectation of the appearing of the glory of God and Christ.' 3 By nature and habit, and with his full belief that the end of the world was nigh at hand, Paul used these words to mean a Messianic coming and kingdom. Later Christianity has transferred them, as it has transferred so much else of Paul's, to a life beyond the grave, but it has by no means spiritualised them. Paul, as his spiritual growth advanced, spiritualised them more and more ; he came to think, in using them, more and more of a gradual inward transformation of the world by a conformity like Christ's to the will of God, than of a Messianic advent. Yet even then they are always second with him, and not first ; the essence of saving grace is always to make us righteous, to bring us into conformity with the divine law, to enable us to ' bear fruit to God.'
Jesus Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from iniquity. First of all, he rendered an unbroken obedience to the law of the spirit ; he served the spirit of God ; he came, not to do his own will, but the will of God. Now, the law of the spirit makes men one ; it is only by the law in our members that we are many. Secondly, therefore, -Jesus Christ had an unfailing sense of what we have called, using an expressive modern term, the solidarity of men : that it was not God's will that one of his human creatures should perish. Thirdly, Jesus Christ persevered in this uninterrupted obedience to the law of the spirit, in this unfailing sense of human solidarity, even to the death ; though everything befel him which might break the one or tire out the other. I hastly, he had in himself, in all he said and did, that ineffable force of attraction which doubled the virtue of everything said or done by him.
If ever there was a case in which the wonder-working power of attachment, in a man for whom the moral sympathies and the desire of righteousness were all powerful, might employ itself and work its wonders, it was here. Paul felt this power penetrate him ; and he felt, also, how by perfectly identifying himself through it with Jesus, by appropriating Jesus, and in no other way, could he ever get the confidence and the force to do as Jesus did. He thus found a point in which the mighty world outside man, and the weak world inside him, seemed to combine for his salvation. The struggling stream of duty, which had not volume enough to hear him to his goal, was suddenly reinforced by the immense tidal wave of sympathy and emotion.
To this new and potent influence Paul gave the name of faith. More fully he calls it: ' Faith that worketh through love.' 1 The essential meaning of the word faith is ' power of holding on to the unseen,' ' fidelity.' Other attachments demand fidelity in absence to an object which at some time or other, nevertheless, has been seen ; this attachment demands fidelity to an object which both is absent and has never been seen by us. It is therefore rightly called not constancy, but faith ; a power, pre-eminently, of holding fast to an unseen lower of goodness. Identifying ourselves with Jesus Christ through this attachment we become as he was. We appropriate him, we live with his thoughts and feelings, and we participate, therefore, in his freedom from the ruinous law in our members, in his obedience to the saving law of the spirit, in his conformity to the eternal order, in the joy and peace of his life to God. `The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus,' says Paul, ' frees me from the law of sin and death.' This is what is done for us by faith.
It is evident that Paul adds to the general sense of the word faith, a holding fast to an unseen tower elf goodness, a particular sense of his own, through identification with Christ. It will at once appear that this faith of Paul's is in truth a specific form of holding fast to an unseen power of goodness ; and that while it can properly be said of Abraham, for instance, that he was justified by faith, if we take faith in its plain sense of holding fast to an unseen power of goodness, yet it cannot without difficulty and recourse to a strained figure be said of him, if we take faith in Paul's specific sense of identification with Christ through the emotion of attachment to him. Paul however, undoubtedly, having conveyed his new specific sense into the word faith, still uses the word both in the specific sense of identification with Christ and also in all cases where, without this specific sense, it was before applicable and usual ; and in this way he often creates ambiguity. Why, it may be asked, does Paul, instead of employing another term to denote his special meaning, still thus employ the general term faith ? We are inclined to think it was from that desire to get for his words and thoughts not only the real but also the apparent sanction and consecration of the Hebrew Scriptures, which we have called his tendency to Judaise. It was written of the founder of Israel, Abraham, that he believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. The prophet Habakkuk had the famous text : ` The just shall live by faith.' 2 Jesus, too, had used and sanctioned the use of the word faith to signify cleaving to the unseen God's power of goodness as shown in Christ.3 Peter and John and the other apostles habitually used the word in the same sense, with the modification introduced by Christ's departure. This was enough to make Paul retain for that vital operation, which was the heart of his whole religious system, the name of faith, though he had considerably developed and enlarged the name's usual meaning. Fraught with this new and developed sense, the term does not always quite well suit the cases to which it was in its old sense, with perfect propriety, applied ; this, however, Paul did not regard. The term applied with undeniable truth, though not with perfect adequacy, to the great spiritual operation whereto he affixed it ; and it was at the same time the name given to the crowning grace of the great father of the Jewish nation, Abraham ; it was the prophet Habakkuk's talismanic and consecrated term, faith.
In this word faith, as used by St. Paul, we reach a point round which the ceaseless stream of religious exposition and discussion has for ages circled. Even for those who misconceive Paul's line of ideas most completely, faith is so evidently the central point in his system that their thoughts cannot but centre upon it. Puritanism, as is well known, has talked of little else but faith. And the word is of such a nature, that the true clue once lost which Paul has given us to its meaning, every man may put into it almost anything he likes, all the fancies of his superstition or of his fanaticism. To say, therefore, that to have faith in Christ means to be attached to Christ, to embrace Christ, to appropriate Christ, to be identified with Christ, is not enough ; the question is, to be attached to him how, to embrace him how ?
A favourite expression of popular theology conveys perfectly the popular definition of faith : to rest in the finished With secondary uses of the word, such as its use with the article, the faith,' in expressions like ' the words of the faith,' to signify the body of tenets and principles received by believers from the apostle, we need not here concern ourselves. They present no difficulty.
He that believes in Christ,' says Wesley, 'discerns spiritual things : he is enabled to taste, see, hear, and feel God.' There is nothing practical and solid here. A company of Cornish revivalists will have no difficulty in tasting, seeing, hearing, and feeling God, twenty times over, to-night, and yet may be none the better for it to-morrow morning. When Paul said, In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh through love; Have faith in Christ !
The object of this treatise is not religious edification, but the true criticism of a great and misunderstood author. Yet it is impossible to be in presence of this Pauline conception of faith without remarking on the incomparable power of edification which it contains. It is indeed a crowning evidence of that piercing practical religious sense which we have attributed to Paul It is at once mystical and rational ; and it enlists in its service the best forces of both worlds, the world of reason and morals, and the world of sympathy and emotion. The world of reason and duty has an excellent clue to action, but wants motive-power : the world of sympathy and influence has an irresistible force of motive-power, but wants a clue for directing its exertion. The danger of the one world is weariness in well-doing ; the danger of the other is sterile raptures and immoral fanaticism. Paul takes from both worlds what can help him, and leaves what can-not. The elemental power of sympathy and emotion in us, a power which extends beyond the limits of our own will and conscious activity, which we cannot measure and control, and which in each of us differs immensely in force, volume, and mode of manifestation, he calls into full play, and sets it to work with all its strength and in all its variety. But one unalterable object is assigned by him to this power : to die with Christ to the law of the flesh, to live with Christ to the laze of the mind.
This is the doctrine of the necrosis, Paul's central doctrine, and the doctrine which makes his profoundness and originality. His repeated and minute lists of practices and feelings to be followed or suppressed, now take a heightened significance. They were the matter by which his faith tried itself and knew itself. Those multitudinous motions of appetite and self-will which reason and conscience disapproved, reason and conscience could yet not govern, and had to yield to them. This, as we have seen, is what drove Paul almost to despair. Well, then, how did Paul's faith, working through love, help him here ? It enabled him to reinforce duty by affection. In the central need of his nature, the desire to govern these motions of unrighteousness, it enabled him to say : Die to them ! Christ did. If any man be in Christ, said Paul that is, if any man identifies himself with Christ by attachment so that he appropriates him, enters into his feelings and lives with his life, he is a new creature ; 1 he can do, and does, what Christ did. First, he suffers with him. Christ throughout his life and in his death presented his body a living sacrifice to God ; every self-willed impulse blindly trying to assert itself without respect of the universal order, he died to. You, says Paul to his disciple, are to do the same. Never mind how various and multitudinous the impulses are ; impulses to intemperance, concupiscence, covetousness, pride, sloth, envy, malignity, anger, clamour, bitterness, harshness, unmercifulness. Die to them all, and to each as it comes ! Christ did. If you cannot, your attachment, your faith, must be one that goes but a very little way. In an ordinary human attachment, you can often suppress quite easily, because by sympathy you enter into another's feelings, this or that impulse of selfishness which happens to conflict with them, and which hitherto you have obeyed. All impulses of selfishness conflict with Christ's feelings, he showed it by dying to them all ; if you are one with him by faith and sympathy, you can die to them also. Then, secondly, if you thus die with him, you become transformed by the renewing of your mind, and rise with him. The law of the spirit of life which is in Christ becomes the law of your life also, and frees you from the law of sin and death. You rise with him to that harmonious conformity with the real and eternal order, that sense of pleasing God who trieth the hearts, which is life and peace, and which grows more and more till it becomes glory. If you suffer with him, therefore, you shall also be glorified with him.
The real worth of this mystical conception depends on the fitness of the character and history of Jesus Christ for inspiring such attachment and devotion as that which Paul's notion of faith implies. If the character and history are eminently such as to inspire it, then Paul has no doubt found a mighty aid towards the attainment of that righteousness of which Jesus Christ's life afforded the admirable pattern. A great solicitude is always shown by popular Christianity to establish a radical difference between Jesus and a teacher like Socrates. Ordinary theologians establish this difference by transcendental distinctions into which science cannot follow them. But what makes for scientific criticism the radical difference between Jesus and Socrates, is that such a conception as Paul's would, if applied to Socrates, be out of place and ineffective. Socrates inspired boundless friendship and esteem ; but the inspiration of reason and conscience is the one inspiration w hich comes from him, and which impels us to live righteously as he did. A penetrating enthusiasm of love, sympathy, pity, adoration, reinforcing the inspiration of reason and duty, does not be-long to Socrates. With Jesus it is different. On this point it is needless to argue ; history has proved. In the midst of errors the most prosaic, the most immoral, the most un-scriptural, concerning God, Christ, and righteousness, the immense emotion of love and sympathy inspired by the person and character of Jesus has had to work almost by itself alone for righteousness ; and it has worked wonders. The surpassing religious grandeur of Paul's conception of faith is that it seizes a real salutary emotional force of in-calculable magnitude, and reinforces moral effort with it.
Paul's mystical conception is not complete without its relation of us to our fellow-men, as well as its relation of us to Jesus Christ. Whoever identifies himself with Christ, identifies himself with Christ's idea of the solidarity of men. The whole race is conceived as one body, having to die and - rise with Christ, and forming by the joint action of its re-generate members the mystical body of Christ. Hence the truth of that which Bishop Wilson says : ' It is not so much our neighbour's interest as our own that we love him.' Jesus Christ's life, with which we by faith identify ourselves, is not complete, his aspiration after the eternal order is not satisfied, so long as only Jesus himself follows this order, or only this or that individual amongst us men follows it. The same law of emotion and sympathy, therefore, which prevails in our inward self-discipline, is to prevail in our dealings with others. The motions of sin in ourselves we succeed in mortifying, not by saying to ourselves that they are for-bidden, but by sympathy with Christ in his mortification of them. In like manner, our duties towards our neighbour we perform, not in deference to external commands and prohibitions, but through identifying ourselves with him by sympathy with Christ who identified himself with him. Therefore, we owe no man anything but to love one another ; and he who loves his neighbour fulfils the law towards him; because he seeks to do him good and for-bears to do him harm just as if he was himself.
Mr. Lecky cannot sec that the command to speak the truth to one's neighbour is a command which has a natural sanction. But according to these Pauline ideas it has a clear natural sanction. For, if my neighbour is merely an extension of myself, deceiving my neighbour is the same as deceiving myself ; and than self-deceit there is nothing by nature more baneful. And on this ground Paul puts the in-junction. He says : ` Speak every man truth to his neighbour, for we are members one of another.' This direction to identify ourselves in Jesus Christ with our neighbours is hard and startling, no doubt, like the direction to identify ourselves with Jesus and die with him. But it is also, like that direction, inspiring ; and not, like a set of mere mechanical commands and prohibitions, lifeless and unaiding. It shows a profound practical religious sense, and rests upon facts of human nature which experience can follow and appreciate.
The three essential terms of Pauline theology are not, therefore, as popular theology makes them : calling, justification, sanctification. They are rather these : dying with Christ, resurrection from the dead, growing into Christ. The order in which these terms are placed indicates, what we have already pointed out elsewhere, the true Pauline sense of the expression, resurrection from the dead. In Paul's ideas the expression has no essential connexion with physical death. It is true, popular theology connects it with this almost exclusively, and regards any other use of it as purely figurative and secondary. For popular theology, Christ's resurrection is his bodily resurrection in Jerusalem after his physical death on the cross ; the believer's resurrection is his bodily resurrection in a future world, the golden city of our hymns and of the Apocalypse. For this theology, the force of Christ's resurrection is that it is a miracle which guarantees the promised future miracle of our own resurrection. It is a common remark with Biblical critics, even with able and candid Biblical critics, that Christ's resurrection, in this sense of a physical miracle, is the central object of Paul's thoughts and the foundation of all his theology. Nay, the preoccupation with this idea has altered the very text of our documents ; so that whereas Paul wrote, 'Christ died and lived,' we read, 'Christ died and rose again and revived.' 1 But whoever has carefully followed Paul's line of thought as we have endeavoured to trace it, will see that in his mature theology, as the Epistle to the Romans exhibits it, it cannot be this physical and miraculous aspect of the resurrection which holds the first place in his mind ; for under this aspect the resurrection does not fit in with the ideas which he is developing.
Not for a moment do we deny that in Paul's earlier theology, and notably in the Epistles to the Thessalonians and Corinthians, the physical and miraculous aspect of the resurrection, both Christ's and the believer's, is primary and predominant. Not for a moment do we deny that to the very end of his life, after the Epistle to the Romans, after the Epistle to the Philippians, if he had been asked whether he held the doctrine of the resurrection in the physical and miraculous sense, as well as in his own spiritual and mystical sense, he would have replied with entire conviction that he did. Very likely it would have been impossible to him to imagine his theology without it. But and by this alone are we truly characterised. Paul's originality lies in the effort to find a moral side and significance for all the processes, however mystical, of the religious life, with a view of strengthening, in this way, their hold upon us and their command of all our nature. Sooner or later he was sure to be drawn to treat the process of resurrection with this endeavour. He did so treat it; and what is original and essential in him is his doing so.
Paul's conception of life and death inevitably came to govern his conception of resurrection. What indeed, as Ye have seen, is for Paul life, and what is death? Not the ordinary physical life and death. Death, for him, is living after the flesh, obedience to sin ; life is mortifying by the spirit the deeds of the flesh, obedience to righteousness. Resurrection, in its essential sense, is therefore for Paul the rising, within the sphere of our visible earthly existence, from death in this sense to life in this sense. It is indubitable that, so far as the human believer's resurrection is concerned, this is so. Else, how could Paul say to the Colossians (to take only one out of many clear texts showing the same thing): `If ye then be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above.' But when Paul repeats again and again, in the Epistle to the Romans, that the matter of our faith is `that God raised Jesus from the dead,' the essential meaning of this resurrection, also, is just the same. Real life, for Paul, begins with the mystical death which frees us from the dominion of the external shalls and shall nots of the law.2 From the moment, therefore, that Jesus Christ was content to do God's will, he died. Paul's point is, that Jesus Christ in his earthly existence obeyed the law of the spirit and bore fruit to God; and that the believer should, in his earthly existence, do the same. That Christ ' died to sin,' that he
pleased not himself,' and that, consequently, through all his life here, he was risen and living to God, is what occupies Paul. Christ's physical resurrection after he was crucified is neither in point of time nor in point of character the resurrection on which Paul, following his essential line of thought, wanted to fix the believer's mind. The resurrection Paul was striving after for himself and others was a resurrection now, and a resurrection to righteousness.
But Jesus Christ's obeying God and not pleasing himself culminated in his death on the cross. All through his career, indeed, Jesus Christ pleased not himself and died to sin. But so smoothly and so inevitably, as we have before said, did he always appear to follow that law of the moral order, which to us it costs such effort to obey, that only in the very wrench and pressure of his violent death did any pain of dying, any conflict between the law of the flesh and the law of the spirit, in Christ become visible. But the Christian needs to find in Christ's dying to sin a fellow-ship of suffering and a conformity of death. Well, then, the point of Christ's trial and crucifixion is the only point in his career where the Christian can palpably touch what he seeks. In all dying there is struggle and weakness ; in our dying to sin there is great struggle and weakness. But only in his crucifixion can we see, in Jesus Christ, a place for struggle and weakness.' That self-sacrificing obedience of Jesus Christ's whole life, which was summed up in this great, final act of his crucifixion, and which is palpable as sacrifice, obedience, dolorous effort, only there, is therefore constantly regarded by Paul under the figure of this final act, as is also the believer's conformity to Christ's obedience. The believer is crucified with Christ when he mortifies by the spirit the deeds of unrighteousness ; Christ was crucified
their error was the error of popular theology, the fixing the attention on the past miracle of Christ's physical resurrection, and losing sight of the continuing miracle of the Christian's spiritual resurrection. Probably, however, Hymenaeus and Philetas controverted some of Paul's tenets respecting the approaching Messianic advent and the resurrection then to take place (I Thess., iv, 13-17). If they rejected these tenets, they were right where Paul was wrong. But if they disputed and separated on account of them, they were heretics ; that is, they had their hearts and minds full of a speculative contention, instead of their proper chief-concern, putting on the new man, and the imitation of Christ.
It is the same with life as with death ; it turns on no physical event, but on that central concern of Paul's thoughts, righteousness. If we have the spirit of Christ, we live, as he did, by the spirit, ` serve the spirit of God,' 1 and follow the eternal order. The spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, is the same, the one eternal moral order. If we are led by the spirit of God we are the sons of God, and share with Christ the heritage of the sons of God, eternal life, peace, felicity, glory. The spirit, therefore, is life because of righteousness. And when, through identifying ourselves with Christ, we reach Christ's righteousness, then eternal life begins for us ; —a continuous and ascending life, for the eternal order never dies, and the more we transform ourselves into servants of righteousness and organs of the eternal order, the more we are and desire to be this eternal order and nothing else. Even in this life we are `seated in heavenly places, as Christ is ; so entirely, for Paul, is righteousness the true life and the true heaven. But the transformation cannot be completed here ; the physical death is regarded by Paul as a stage at which it ceases to be impeded. However, at this stage we quit, as he himself says, the ground of experience and enter upon the ground of hope. But, by a sublime analogy, he fetches from the travail of the whole universe proof of the necessity and beneficence of the law of trans-formation. Jesus Christ entered into his glory when he had made his physical death itself a crowning witness to his obedience to righteousness ; we, in like manner, within the limits of this earthly life and before we have yet persevered to the end, must not look for full adoption, for the glorious revelation in us of the sons of God.
That Paul, as we have said, accepted the physical miracle of Christ's resurrection and ascension as a part of the signs and wonders which accompanied Christianity, there can be no doubt. Just in the same manner he accepted the eschatology, as it is called, of his nation, their doctrine of the final things and of the summons by a trumpet in the sky to judgment ; he accepted Satan, hierarchies of angels, and an approaching end of the world. What we deny is, that his acceptance of the former gives to his teaching its essential characters, any more than his acceptance of the latter. We should but be continuing, with strict logical development, Paul's essential line of thought, if we said that the true ascension and glorified reign of Christ was the triumph and reign of his spirit, of his real life, far more operative after his death on the cross than before it ; and that in this sense, most truly, he and all who persevere to the end as he did are ` sown in weakness but raised in power.' Paul himself, however, did not distinctly continue his thought thus, and neither will we do so for him. How far Paul himself knew that he had gone in his irresistible bent to find, for each of the data of his religion, that side of moral and spiritual significance which, as a mere sign and wonder, it had not and could not have, what data he himself was conscious of having transferred, through following this bent, from the first rank in importance to the second, we cannot know with any certainty. That the bent existed, that Paul felt it existed, and that it establishes a wide difference between the earliest epistles and the latest, is beyond question. Already, in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, he declares that, ` though he had known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth he knew him so no more ;' I and in the Epistle to the Romans, shortly afterwards, he rejects the notion of dwelling on the miraculous Christ, on the descent into hell and on the ascent into heaven, and fixes the believer's attention solely un the faith of Christ and on the effects produced by an acquaintance with it.' In the same Epistle, in like manner, the kingdom of God, of which to the Thessalonians he described the advent in such materialising and popularly Judaic language, has become ' righteousness, and peace, and joy in the holy spirit.'
These ideas, we repeat, may never have excluded others, which absorbed the most part of Paul's contemporaries as they absorb popular religion at this day. To popular religion, the real kingdom of God is the New Jerusalem with its jaspers and emeralds ; righteousness and peace and joy are only the kingdom of God figuratively. The real sitting in heavenly places is the sitting on thrones in a land of pure delight after we are dead ; serving the spirit of God is only sitting in heavenly places figuratively. Science exactly reverses this process. For science, the spiritual notion is the real one, the material notion is figurative. The astonishing greatness of Paul is, that, coming when and where and whence he did, he yet grasped the spiritual notion, if not exclusively and fully, yet firmly and predominantly ; more and more predominantly through all the last years of his life. And what makes him original and himself, is not what he shares with his contemporaries and with modern popular religion, but this which he develops of his own ; and this which he develops of his own is just of a nature to make his religion a theology instead of a theurgy, and at bottom a scientific instead of a non-scientific structure. 'Die and come to life ! ' says Goethe, an unsuspected witness, assuredly, to the psychological and scientific profoundness cf Paul's conception of life and death : Die and come to life ! for, so long as this is not accomplished, thou art but a troubled guest upon an earth of gloom.'
The three cardinal points in Paul's theology are not therefore, we repeat, those commonly assigned by Puritanism, calling, Justification, sanctification ; but they are these : dying with Christ, resurrection from the dead, growing into Christ. And we will venture, moreover, to affirm that the more the Epistle to the Romans is read and re-read with a clear mind, the more will the conviction strengthen, that the essential sense in which Paul in his Epistle to the Romans uses the term resurrection is that of a rising, in this visible earthly existence, from the death of obedience to blind selfish impulse, to the life of obedience to the eternal moral order ;—in Christ's case first, as the pattern for us to follow ; in the believer's case afterwards, as following Christ's pattern through identifying himself with him.
We have thus reached Paul's fundamental conception without even a glimpse of the fundamental conceptions of Puritanism, which, nevertheless, professes to have learnt its doctrine from St. Paul and from his Epistle to the Romans. Once, for a moment, the term faith brought us in contact with the doctrine of Puritanism, but only to see that the essential sense given to this word by Paul Puritanism had missed entirely. Other parts, then, of the Epistle to the Romans than those by which we have been occupied must have chiefly fixed the attention of Puritanism. And so it has in truth been. Yet the parts of the Epistle to the Romans that have occupied us are undoubtedly the parts which not our own theories and inclinations, for we have approached the matter without admitting any, but an impartial criticism of Paul's real line of thought, must elevate as the most important. If a somewhat pedantic form of expression may be forgiven for the sake of clearness, we may say that of the eleven first chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, the chapters which convey Paul's theology, though not, as we have seen, with any scholastic purpose, or in any formal scientific mode of exposition, of these eleven chapters, the first, second, and third are, iii a scale of importance fixed by a scientific criticism of Paul's line of thought, sub-primary ; the fourth and fifth are secondary ; the sixth and eighth are primary ; the seventh chapter is sub-primary ; the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters are secondary. Furthermore, to the contents of the separate chapters themselves this scale must be carried on, so far as to mark that of the two great primary chapters, the sixth and the eighth, the eighth is primary down only to the end of the twenty-eighth verse ; from thence to the end it is, however eloquent, yet, for the purpose of a scientific criticism of Paul's essential theology, only secondary.
The first chapter is to the Gentiles. Its purport is : You have not righteousness. The second is to the Jews ; and its purport is : No more have you, though you think you have. The third chapter announces faith in Christ as the one source of righteousness for all men. The fourth chapter gives to the notion of righteousness through faith the sanction of the Old Testament and of the history of Abraham. The fifth insists on the causes for thankfulness and exultation in the boon of righteousness through faith in Christ ; and applies illustratively, with this design, the history of Adam. The sixth chapter cornes to the all-important question : ' What is that faith in Christ which I, Paul, mean ? '—and answers it. The seventh illustrates and ex-plains the answer. But the eighth, down to the end of the twenty-eighth verse, develops and completes the answer. The rest of the eighth chapter expresses the sense of safety and gratitude which the solution is fitted to inspire. The ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters uphold the second chapter's thesis, so hard to a Jew, so easy to us, that righteousness is not by the Jewish law ; but dwell with hope and joy on a final result of things which is to be favourable to Israel.
We shall be pardoned this somewhat formal analysis in consideration of the clearness with which it enables us to survey the Puritan scheme of original sin, predestination, and justification. The historical transgression of Adam occupies, it will be observed, in Paul's ideas by no means the primary, fundamental, all-important place which it holds in the ideas of Puritanism. ' This' (the transgression of Adam) ' is our original sin, the bitter root of all our actual transgressions in thought, word, and deed.' Paul did not go to Adam and Genesis to get the essential testimony about sin. He went to experience for it. ' I see,' he says, ' a law in my members fighting against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity.' This is the essential testimony respecting sin to Paul, this rise of sin in his own heart and in the heart of all the men who hear him. At quite a later stage in his conception of the religious life, in quite a subordinate capacity, and for the mere purpose of illustration, comes in the allusion to Adam and to what is called original sin. Paul's desire for righteousness has carried him to Christ and to the conception of the righteousness which is of God by faith, and he is expressing his gratitude, delight, wonder, at the boon he has discovered. For the purpose of exalting it he reverts to the well-known story of Adam. It cannot even be said that Paul Judaises in his use here of this story ; so entirely does he subordinate it to his purpose of illustration, using it just as he might have used it had he believed, which undoubtedly he did not, that he was using merely a symbolical legend, possessing the advantage of being perfectly familiar to him-self and his hearers. `Think,' he says, `how in Adam's fall one man's one transgression involved all men in punishment ; then estimate the blessedness of our boon in Christ, where one man's one righteousness involves a world of transgressors in blessing ! ' This is not a scientific doctrine of corruption inherited through Adam's fall ; it is a rhetorical use of Adam's fall in a passing allusion to it.
We come to predestination. We have seen how strong was Paul's consciousness of that power, not ourselves, in which we live and move and have our being. The sense of life, peace, and joy, which comes through identification with Christ, brings with it a deep and grateful consciousness that this sense is none of our own getting and making. No, it is grace, it is the free gift of God, who gives abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, and calls things that are not as though they were. ` It is not of him that willeth or of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.' 2 As self-moved agents, for whom alone exist all the predicaments of merit and demerit, praise and blame, vice and virtue, we are impotent and lost ;—we are saved through that in us which is passive and involuntary ; we are saved through our affections, it is by an influence and emotion that we are saved ! Well might Paul cry out, as this mystical but profound and beneficent conception filled his soul : ' All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.' 3 Well might he say, in the gratitude which cannot find words enough to express its sense of boundless favour, that those who reach peace with God through identification with Jesus Christ are vessels of mercy, marked from endless ages ; that they have been foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glorified.
It may be regretted, for the sake of the clear under-standing of his essential doctrine, that Paul did not stop here. It might seem as if the word `prothesis,' purpose, lured him on into speculative mazes, and involved him, at last, in an embarrassment, from which he impatiently tore himself by the harsh and unedifying image of the clay and the potter. But this is not so. These allurements of speculation, which have been fatal to so many of his interpreters, never mastered Paul. He was led into difficulty by the tendency which we have already noticed as making his real imperfection both as a thinker and as a writer, the tendency to Judaise.
Already, in the fourth chapter, this tendency had led him to seem to rest his doctrine of justification by faith upon the case of Abraham, whereas, in truth, it needs all the good will in the world, and some effort of ingenuity, even to bring the case of Abraham within the operation of this doctrine. That righteousness is life, that all men by themselves fail of righteousness, that only through identification with Jesus Christ can they reach it, these propositions, for us at any rate, prove themselves much better than they are proved by the thesis that Abraham in old age believed God's promise that his seed should yet be as the stars for multitude, and that this was counted to him for righteousness. The sanction thus apparently given to the idea that faith is a mere belief, or opinion of the mind, has put thousands of Paul's readers on a false track.
But Paul's Judaising did not end here. To establish his doctrine of righteousness by faith, he had to eradicate the notion that his people were specially privileged, and that, having the Mosaic law, they did not need anything farther.
For us, this one verse of the tenth chapter : There is no difference between few and Greek, for it is the sane Lord of all, who is rich to all that call upon him, and these four words of another verse : For righteousness, heart faith necessary .'—effect far more for Paul's object than his three chapters bristling with Old Testament quotations. By quotation, however, he was to proceed, in order to invest his doctrine with the talismanic virtues of a verbal sanction from the law and the prophets. He shows, therefore, that the law and the prophets had said that only a remnant, an elect remnant, of Israel should be saved, and that the rest should be blinded. But to say that peace with God through Jesus Christ inspires such an abounding sense of gratitude, and of its not being our own work, that we can only speak of ourselves as called and chosen to it, is one thing ; in so speaking, we are on the ground of personal experience. To say, on the other hand, that God has blinded and reprobated other men, so that they shall not reach this blessing, is to quit the ground of personal experience, and to begin employing the magnified and non-natural man in the next street. We then require, in order to account for his proceedings, such an analogy as that of the clay and the potter.
This is Calvinism, and St. Paul undoubtedly falls into it. But the important thing to remark is, that this Calvinism, which with the Calvinist is primary, is with Paul secondary, or even less than secondary. What with Calvinists is their fundamental idea, the centre of their theology, is for Paul an idea added to his central ideas, and extraneous to them ; brought in incidentally, and due to the necessities of a bad mode of recommending and enforcing his thesis. It is as if Newton had introduced into his exposition of the law of gravitation an incidental remark, perhaps erroneous, about light or colours ; and we were then to make this remark the head and front of New ton's law. The theological idea of reprobation was an idea of Jewish theology as of ours, an idea familiar to Paul and a part of his training, an idea which probably he never consciously abandoned. But its complete secondariness in him is clearly established by other considerations than those which we have drawn from the place and manner of his introduction of it. The very phrase about the clay and the potter is not Paul's own ; he does but repeat a stock theological figure. Isaiah had said : ` O Lord, we are the clay, and thou our potter, and we are all the work of thy hand.' 1 Jeremiah had said, in the Lord's name, to Israel : ` Behold, as the clay in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.' And the son of Sirach comes yet nearer to Paul's very words : ` As the clay is in the potter's hand to fashion it at his pleasure, so man is in the hand of him that made him, to render to them as liketh him best.' Is an original man's essential, characteristic idea, that which he adopts thus bodily from some one else? But take Paul's truly essential idea. ` We are buried with Christ through baptism into death, that like as he was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also shall walk in newness of life.' Did Jeremiah say that? Is any one the author of it except Paul ? Then there should Calvinism have looked for Paul's secret, and not in the commonplace about the potter and the vessels of wrath. A commonplace which is so entirely a commonplace to him, that he contradicts it even while he is Judaising ; for in the very batch of chapters we are discussing he says : ` Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'
Still more clear is, on this point, his real mind, when he is not Judaising : ` God is the saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.' 6 And anything, finally, which might seem dangerous in the grateful sense of a calling, choosing, and leading by eternal goodness, a notion as natural as the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination is monstrous, Paul abundantly corrects in more than one striking passage ; as, for instance, in that incomparable third chapter of the Philippians (from which, and from the sixth and eighth chapters of the Romans, Paul's whole theology, if all his other writings were lost, might be reconstructed), where he expresses his humble consciousness that the mystical resurrection which is his aim, glory, and salvation, he does not yet, and cannot, completely attain.
The grand doctrine, then, which Calvinistic Puritanism has gathered from Paul turns out to be a secondary notion of his, which he himself, too, has contradicted or corrected. But, at any rate, ` Christ meritoriously obtained eternal redemption for us.' ' If there be anything,' the quarterly organ of Puritanism has solemnly told us in its hundredth number, ` that human experience has made certain, it is that man can never outgrow his necessity for the great truths and pro-visions of the Incarnation and the sacrificial Atonement of the Divine Son of God.' God, his justice being satisfied by Christ's bearing according to compact our guilt and dying in our stead, is appeased and set free to exercise towards us his mercy, and to justify and sanctify us in consideration of Christ's righteousness imputed to us, if we give our hearty belief and consent to the satisfaction thus made. This hearty belief being given, ` we rest,' to use the consecrated expression already quoted, `in the finished work of a Saviour.' This doctrine of imputed righteousness is now, as predestination formerly was, the favourite thesis of popular Protestant theology. And, like the doctrine of predestination, it professes to be specially derived from St. Paul.
But whoever has followed attentively the main line of St. Paul's theology, as we have tried to show it, will see at once that in St. Paul's essential ideas this popular notion of a substitution, and appeasement, and imputation of alien merit, has no place. Paul knows nothing of a sacrificial atonement ; what Paul knows of is a reconciling sacrifice. The true substitution, for Paul, is not the substitution of Jesus Christ in man's stead as victim on the cross to God's offended justice ; it is the substitution by which the believer, in his own person, repeats Jesus Christ's dying to sin. Paul says, in real truth, to our Puritans with their magical and mechanical salvation, just what he said to the men of circumcision : 'If I preach resting in the finished work of a Saviour, why am I yet persecuted? why do I die daily ? then is the stumbling-block of the cross annulled 1 That hard, that well-nigh impossible doctrine, that our whole course must be a crucifixion and a resurrection, even as Christ's whole course was a crucifixion and a resurrection, becomes superfluous. Yet this is my central doctrine.'
The notion of God as a magnified and non-natural man, appeased by a sacrifice and remitting in consideration of it his wrath against those who had offended him, this notion of God, which science repels, was equally repelled, in spite of all that his nation, time, and training had in them to favour it, by the profound religious sense of Paul. In none of his epistles is the reconciling work of Christ really presented under this aspect. One great epistle there is, how-ever, which does apparently present it under this aspect, the Epistle to the Hebrews.
Paul's phraseology, and even the central idea which he conveys in that phraseology, were evidently well known to the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Nay, if we merely sought to prove a thesis, rather than to ascertain the real bearing of the documents we canvass, we should have no difficulty in making it appear, by texts taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, that the doctrine of this epistle, no less than the doctrine of the Epistle to the Romans, differs entirely from the common doctrine of Puritanism. This, however, we shall by no means do ; because it is our honest opinion that the popular doctrine of `the sacrificial Atonement of the Divine Son of God' derives, if not a real, yet at any rate a strong apparent sanction from the Epistle to the Hebrews. Even supposing, what is probably true, that the popular doctrine is really the doctrine neither of the one epistle nor of the other, yet it must be confessed that while it is the reader's fault, a fault due to his fixed prepossessions, and to his own want of penetration, if he gets the popular doctrine out of the Epistle to the Romans, it is on the other hand the writer's fault and no longer the reader's, if out of the Epistle to the Hebrews he gets the popular doctrine. For the author of that epistle is, if not subjugated, yet at least preponderantly occupied by the idea of the jewish system of sacrifices, and of the analogies to Jesus Christ's sacrifice which are furnished by that system.
If other proof were wanting, this alone would make it impossible that the Epistle to the Hebrews should be Paul's ; and indeed, of all the epistles which bear his name, it is the only one which we may not, perhaps, in spite of the hesitation caused by grave difficulties, be finally content to leave in considerable part to him.' Luther's conjecture, which
1 Considerations drawn from date, place, the use of single words and phrases, the development of a church organisation, the development of an ascetic system, are not enough to make us w holly take away certain epistles from St. Paul. The only decisive evidence, for this purpose, is that internal evidence furnished by the entire body of the thoughts and style of an epistle ; and this evidence that Paul was not its author the Epistle to the Hebrews furnishes. From the like evidence, the Apocalypse is clearly shown to be not by the author of the fourth Gospel. This clear evidence against the tradition which assigns them to St. Paul, the Epistles to Timothy and Titus do not offer. As to these epistles, the genuine critic will indeed find it impossible to assign them, as a whole, to St. Paul. But not only are they written by an ascribes to Apollos the Epistle to the Hebrews, derives corroboration from the one account of Apollos which we have ; that ' he was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures.' The Epistle to the Hebrews is just such a performance as might naturally have come from an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures ; in whom the intelligence, and the powers of combining, type-finding, and expounding, somewhat dominated the religious perceptions. The Epistle to the Hebrews is full of beauty and power ; and what may be called the exterior conduct of its argument is as able and satisfying as Paul's exterior conduct of his argument is generally embarrassed. Its details are full of what is edifying ; but its apparent central conception of Christ's death, as a perfect sacrifice which consummated the imperfect sacrifices of the Jewish law, is a mere notion of the understanding, and is not a religious idea. Turn it which way we will, the notion of appeasement of an offended God by vicarious sacrifice, which the Epistle to the Hebrews apparently sanctions, will never truly speak to the religious sense, or bear fruit for true religion. It is no blame to Apollos if he was somewhat overpowered by this notion, for the whole world was full of it, up to his time, in his time, and since his time ; and it has driven theologians before it like sheep. The wonder is, not that Apollos should have adopted it, but that Paul should have been enabled, through the incomparable power and energy of religious perception Informing his intellectual perception, in reality to put it aside. Figures drawn from the dominant notion of sacrificial appeasement he used, for the notion has so saturated the imagination and language of humanity that its figures pass naturally and irresistibly into all our speech. Popular Puritanism consists of the apparent doctrine from the Epistle excellent man, and in an excellent and large spirit ; they abound, also, with what are probably actual words and phrases of St. Paul to the Hebrews, set forth with Paul's figures. But the doctrine itself Paul had really put aside, and had substituted for it a better.
The term sacrifice, in men's natural use of it, contains three notions : the notion of winning the favour or buying off the wrath of a powerful being by giving him something precious ; the notion of parting with something naturally precious ; and the notion of expiation, not now in the sense of buying off wrath or satisfying a claim, but of suffering in that wherein we have sinned. The first notion is, at bottom merely superstitious, and belongs to the ignorant and fear-ridden childhood of humanity; it is the main element, how-ever, in the Puritan conception of justification. 'The second notion explains itself ; it is the main element in the Pauline conception of justification. Jesus parted with what, to men in general, is the most precious of things,—individual self and selfishness ; he pleased not himself, obeyed the spirit of God, died to sin and to the law in our members, con-summated upon the cross this death; here is Paul's essential notion of Christ's sacrifice.
The third notion may easily be misdealt with, but it has a profound truth ; in Paul's conception of justification there is much of it. In some way or other, he who would 'cease from sin ' must nearly always 'suffer in the flesh.' It is found to be true, that ' without shedding of blood is no remission.' ' If you can be good with pleasure,' says Bishop Wilson with his genius of practical religious sense, ' God does not envy you your joy ; but such is our corruption, that every man cannot be so.' The substantial basis of the notion of expiation, so far as we ourselves are concerned, is the bitter experience that the habit of wrong, of blindly obeying selfish impulse, so affects our temper and powers, that to withstand selfish impulse, to do right, when the sense of right awakens in us, requires an effort out of all proportion to the actual present emergency. We have not only the difficulty of the present act in itself, we have the resistance of all our past ; fire and the knife, cautery and amputation, are often necessary in order to induce a vital action, which, if it were not for our corrupting past, we might have obtained from the natural healthful vigour of our moral organs. This is the real basis of our personal sense of the need of expiating, and thus it is that man expiates.
Not so the just, who is man's ideal. He has no indurated habit of wrong, no perverse temper, no enfeebled powers, no resisting past, no spiritual organs gangrened, no need of the knife and fire ; smoothly and inevitably he follows the eternal order, and hereto belongs happiness What sins, then, has the just to expiate? ours. In truth, men's habitual unrighteousness, their hard and careless breaking of the moral law, do so tend to reduce and impair the standard of goodness, that, in order to keep this standard pure and unimpaired, the righteous must actually labour and suffer far more than would be necessary if men were better. In the first place, he has to undergo our hatred and persecution for his justice. In the second place, he has to make up for the harm caused by our continual shortcomings, to step between us foolish transgressors and the destructive natural consequences of our transgression, and, by a super-human example, a spending himself without stint, a more than mortal scale of justice and purity, to save the ideal of human life and conduct from the deterioration with which men's ordinary practice threatens it. In this way Jesus Christ truly ' became for our sakes poor, though he was rich,' he was truly 'bruised for our iniquities,' he ' suffered in our behoof,' ' bare the sin of many,' and ' made intercession for the transgressors.' In this way, truly, ' he was sacrificed as a blameless lamb to redeem us from the vain conversation which had become our second nature ;' 1 in this way, he was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin.' Such, according to that true and profound perception of the import of Christ's sufferings, which, in all St. Paul's writings, and in the inestimable First Epistle of St. Peter, is presented to us, is the expiation of Christ.
The notion, therefore, of satisfying and appeasing an angry God's wrath, does not come into Paul's real conception of Jesus Christ's sacrifice. Paul's foremost notion of this sacrifice is, that by it Jesus died to the law of selfish impulse, parted with what to men in general is most precious and near. Paul's second notion is, that whereas Jesus suffered in doing this, his suffering was not his need, but ours ; not for his good, but for ours. In the first aspect, Jesus is the martyrion, the testimony in his life and in his death, to righteousness, to the power and goodness of God. In the second aspect he is the antilytron or ransom. But, in either aspect, Jesus Christ's solemn and dolorous condemnation of sin does actually loosen sin's hold and attraction upon us who regard him, makes it easier for us to understand and love goodness, to rise above self, to appropriate Christ, to die to sin.
Christ's sacrifice, however, and the condemnation of sin it contained, was made for us while we were yet sinners ; it was made irrespectively of our power or inclination to sympathise with it and appreciate it. Yet, even thus, in Paul's view, the sacrifice reconciled us to God, to the eternal order ; for it contained the means, the only possible means, of our being brought into harmony with this order. Jesus Christ, nevertheless, was delivered for our sins while we were yet sinners,3 and before we could yet appreciate what he did. But presently there comes a change. Grace, the goodness of God, the spirit, as Paul loved to call that awful and beneficent impulsion of things within us and without us, which we can concur with, indeed, but cannot create, leads us to repentance towards God,' a change of the inner man in regard to the moral order, duty, righteousness.' And now, to help this our impulse towards righteousness, we find a power enabling us to turn the impulse to full ac-count. Now the spirit does its greatest work in us ; because now, for the first time, the influence of Jesus Christ's pregnant act really gains us. For now awakens the sympathy for the act and the appreciation of it, which its doer dispensed with or was too benign to wait for ; faith working through love towards Christ 2 enters into us, masters us. We put on Christ ; we identify ourselves, this is the line of Paul's thought, with Christ ; we repeat, through the power of this identification, Christ's death to the law of the flesh and self-pleasing, his condemnation of sin in the flesh ; the death how imperfectly, the condemnation how remorsefully ! But we also rise with him, Paul continues, to life, the only true life, of imitation of God, of putting on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,3 of following the eternal law of the moral order which by ourselves we could not follow. Then God justifies us. We have the righteousness of God and the sense of having it ; we are freed from the oppressing sense of eternal order guiltily outraged and sternly retributive ; we act in joyful conformity with God's will, instead of in miser-able rebellion to it ; we are in harmony with the universal order, and feel that we are in harmony with it. If, then, Christ was delivered for our sins, he was raised for our justification. If by Christ's death, says Paul, we were reconciled to God, by the means being thus provided for our else impossible access to God, much more, when we have availed ourselves of these means and died with him, are we saved by his life which we partake.1 Henceforward we are not only justified but sanctified ; not only in harmony with the eternal order and at peace with God, but consecrated 2 and unalterably devoted to them ; and from this devotion comes an ever-growing union with God in Christ, an advance, as St. Paul says, from glory to glory.3.;
This is Paul's conception of Christ's sacrifice. His figures of ransom, redemption, propitiation, blood, offering, all subordinate themselves to his central idea of identification with Christ through dying with him, and are Strictly subservient to it. The figured speech of Paul has its own beauty and propriety. His language is, much of it, eastern language, imaginative language ; there is no need for turning it, as Puritanism has done, into the positive language of the schools. But if it is to be turned into positive language, then it is the language into which we have translated it that translates it truly.
We have before seen how it fares with one of the two great tenets which Puritanism has extracted from St. Paul, the tenet of predestination. We now see how it fares with the other, the tenet of justification. Paul's figures our Puritans have taken literally, while for his central idea they have substituted another which is not his. And his central idea they have turned into a figure, and have let it almost disappear out of their mind. His essential idea lost, his figures misused, an idea essentially not his substituted for his, the unedifying patchwork thus made, Puritanism has stamped with Paul's name, and called /*gospel. It thunders at Romanism for not preaching it, it casts off Anglicanism for not setting it forth alone and unreservedly, it founds organisations of its own to give full effect to it ; these organisations guide politics, govern statesmen, destroy institutions ; —and they are based upon a blunder !
It is to Protestantism, and this its Puritan gospel, that the reproaches thrown on St. Paul, for sophisticating religion of the heart into theories of the head about election and justification, rightly attach. St. Paul himself, as we have seen, begins with seeking righteousness and ends with finding it ; from first to last, the practical religious sense never deserts him. If he could have seen and heard our preachers of predestination and justification, they are just the people he would have called ' diseased about questions and word-battlings.' 1 He would have told Puritanism that every Sunday, when in all its countless chapels it reads him and preaches from him, the veil is upon its heart. The moment it reads him right, a veil will seem to be taken away from its heart ;2 it will feel as though scales had fallen from its eyes.
Every one who has been at Rome has been taken to see the Church of St. Paul, rebuilt after a destruction by fire fifty years ago. The church stands a mile or two out of the city, on the way to Ostia and the desert. The interior has all the costly magnificence of Italian churches ; on the ceiling is written in gilded letters: 'Doctor Gentium.' Gold glitters and marbles gleam, but man and his movement are not there. The traveller has left at a distance the fumum et apes strepitumque Rome ; around him reigns solitude. There is Paul, alone with the mystery which was hidden from ages and from generations, which was brought to the light by him for some half score years, and which then was buried with him in his grave! Not in our day will he relive, with his incessant effort to find a moral side for miracle, with his incessant effort to make the intellect follow and secure all the workings of the religious perception. Of those who care for religion, the multitude of us want the materialism of the Apocalypse ; the few want a vague religiosity. Science, which more and more teaches us to find in the unapparent the real, will gradually serve to conquer the materialism of popular religion. The friends of vague religiosity, on the other hand, will be more and more taught by experience that a theology, a scientific appreciation of the facts of religion, is wanted for religion ; but a theology which is a true theology, not a false. Both these influences will work for Paul's re-emergence. The doctrine of Paul will arise out of the tomb where for centuries it has lain buried ; it will edify the church of the future. It will have the consent of happier generations, the applause of less superstitious ages. All will be too little to pay half the debt which the church of God owes to this ` least of the apostles, who was not fit to be called an apostle, because he persecuted the church of God.