The Divinity of
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.—GAL. ii. 9.
THE meditative temper of thought and phrase, which is so observable in St. John, may be thought to bear in two different manners upon the question before us in these lectures. On the one hand, such a temper, regarded from a point of view entirely naturalistic, must be admitted to be a guarantee against the presumption that St. John, in his enthusiastic devotion to Jesus, committed himself to hasty beliefs and assertions respecting the Person of his Friend and Master. An over-eager and undiscriminating admiration would not naturally express itself in metaphysical terminology of a reflective and mystical character. But on the other hand, it may be asked whether too much stress has not been laid by the argument of the last lecture upon the witness of St. John? Can the conclusions of a mind of high-strung and contemplative temper be held to furnish reasons on which the Church may build a cardinal point of belief in the religion of mankind? May not such a belief be inextricably linked to the moral and intellectual idiosyncrasies of a single man? The belief may indeed be the honest and adequate result of that particular measure and kind of observation and reflection which one saintly mind has achieved; and as such it may be a worthy object of philosophical interest and respect. But is not this respect and interest due to it on the precise ground that it is the true native product of a group of conditions, which coexist nowhere else save in the particular mind which generated it? Will a faith, of such origin, bear transplantation into the moral and mental soil around? Can it be nourished and handed on by minds of a different caliber, by characters of a distinct cast from that in which it originally grew? Dr. Samuel Johnson, for instance, had private beliefs which were obviously due to the tone and genius of his particular character. These beliefs go far to constitute the charm of the picture with which we are familiar in the pages of Boswell. But our respect for Dr. Johnson does not force us to accept each and all of his quaint convictions. They are peculiar to himself, being such as he was. We admire them as belonging to the attractive and eccentric individuality of the man. We do not suppose that they are capable of being domesticated in the general and diversified mind of England.
Now, if it be hinted that some similar estimate should be formed respecting St. John’s doctrine of our Lord’s Divinity, the present, for obvious reasons, is not the moment to insist upon a consideration which for us Christians must have paramount weight, namely, that St. John was taught by an infallible Teacher, by none other than God the Holy Ghost. But let us remark, first of all, the fact that St. John did convey to a large circle of minds his own deep conviction that his Friend and Master was a Divine Person; paradoxical as that conviction must at first have seemed to them. If we could have travelled through Asia Minor at the end of the first century of our era, we should have fallen in with a number of persons, in various ranks of society, who so entirely believed in St. John’s doctrine, as to be willing to die for it without any kind of hesitation1. But it would have been a mistake to suppose that the prevalence of the doctrine was due only to the activity of St. John. While St. John was teaching this doctrine under the form which he had been guided to adopt, a parallel communication of the substance of the doctrine was taking place in several other quarters. St. John was supported, if I may be allowed to use such an expression, by men whose minds were of a totally distinct natural cast, and who expressed their thoughts in a religious phraseology which had little enough in common with that which was current in the school of Ephesus. Nevertheless it will be our duty this morning to observe, how radical was their agreement with St. John, in urging upon the acceptance of the human race the doctrine that Jesus Christ is God.
Very ingenious theories concerning a supposed division of the Apostolical Church into schools of thought holding antagonistic beliefs have been advanced of late years. And they have had the effect of directing a large amount of attention to the account which St. Paul gives, in his Epistle to the Galatians, of his interview with the leading Apostles at Jerusalem2. The accuracy of that account is not questioned even by the most destructive of the Tubingen divines. According to St. Irenaeus and the great majority of authorities, both ancient and modern, the interview took place on the occasion of St. Paul’s attendance at the Apostolical Council of Jerusalem. St. Paul says that St. James, St. Peter, and St. John, who were looked upon as ‘pillars’ of the Church, among the Judaizing Christians as well as among Christians generally, gave the right hands of fellowship to himself and to Barnabas. ‘It was agreed,’ says St. Paul, ‘that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.’ Now the historical interest which attaches to this recorded division of labor among the leading Apostles is sufficiently obvious; but the dogmatic interest of the passage, although less direct, is even higher than the historical. This passage warrants us in inferring at least thus much;—that the leading Apostles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ were not hopelessly at issue with each other on a subject of such central and primary importance as the Divine and Eternal Nature of their Master.
It might well seem, at first sight, that to draw such an inference at all within the walls of a Christian church was itself an act for which the faith of Christians would exact an apology. But those who are acquainted with the imaginative licence of recent theories will not deem our inference altogether impertinent and superfluous. Of late years St. James has been represented as more of a Jew than a Christian, and as holding in reality a purely Ebionitic and Humanitarian belief as to the Person of Jesus. St. Paul has been described as the teacher of such a doctrine of the Subordination of the Son as to be practically Arian. St. Peter is then exhibited as occupying a feeble undecided dogmatic position, intermediate to the doctrines of St. Paul and St. James; while all the three are contrasted with the distinct and lofty Christology said to be proper to the gnosis of St. John. Now, as has been already remarked, the historical trustworthiness of the passage in the Galatians has not been disputed even by the Tubingen writers. That passage represents St. John as intimately associated, not merely with St. Peter but with St. James. It moreover represents these three apostles as giving pledges of spiritual co-operation and fellowship, from their common basis of belief and action, to the more recent convert St. Paul. Is it to be supposed that St. Paul could have been thus accepted as a fellow-worker on one and the same occasion by the Apostle who is said to be a simple Humanitarian, and by the Apostle whose whole teaching centers in Jesus considered as the historical manifestation of the Eternal Word? Or are we to imagine that the apostles of Christ anticipated that indifference to doctrinal exactness which is characteristic of some modern schools? Did they regard the question of our Lord’s Personal Godhead as a kind of speculative curiosity; as a scholastic conceit; as having no necessary connection with vital, essential, fundamental Christianity? And is St. Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians, only describing the first great ecclesiastical compromise, in which truths of primary importance were sacrificed for an immediate practical object, more ruthlessly than on any subsequent occasion?
My brethren, the answer to these questions could not be really doubtful to any except the most paradoxical of modern theorists. To say nothing of St. Peter and St. Jude, St. Paul’s general language on the subject of heresy3, and St. John’s particular application of such terms as ‘the liar’ and ‘antichrist4’ to Cerinthus and other heretics, make the supposition of such indifference as is here in question, in the case of the apostles, utterly inadmissible. If the apostles had differed vitally respecting the Person of Christ, they would have shattered the work of Pentecost in its infancy. And the terms in which they speak of each other would be reduced to the level of meaningless or insincere conventionalities5. Considering that the Gospel presented itself to the world as an absolute and exclusive draught of Divine truth, contrasted as such with the perpetually-shifting forms of human thought around it; we may deem it antecedently probable, that those critics are mistaken, who profess to have discovered at the very fountain-head of Christianity at least three entirely distinct doctrines, respecting so fundamental a question as the personal rank of Christ in the scale of being.
Undoubtedly it is true that as the Evangelists approach the Person of our Lord from distinct points of view, so do the writers of the apostolic epistles represent different attitudes of the human soul towards the one evangelical truth; and in this way they impersonate types of thought and feeling which have ever since found a welcome and a home in the world-embracing Church of Jesus Christ. St. James insists most earnestly on the moral obligations of Christian believers; and he connects the Old Testament with the New by showing the place of the law, now elevated and transfigured into a law of liberty, in the new life of Christians. He may indeed for a moment be engaged in refuting a false doctrine of justification by faith6. But this is because such a doctrine prevents Christians from duly recognizing those moral and spiritual truths and obligations upon which the Apostle is most eagerly insisting. Throughout his Epistle, doctrine is, comparatively speaking, thrown into the background; he is intent upon practical considerations, to the total, or well-nigh total, exclusion of doctrinal topics. St. Paul, on the other hand, abounds in dogmatic statements. Still, in St. Paul, doctrine is, at least, generally brought forward with a view to some immediate practical object. Only in five out of his fourteen Epistles can the doctrinal element be said very decidedly to predominate7. St. Paul assumes that his readers have gone through a course of oral instruction in necessary Christian doctrine8; he accordingly completes, he expands, he draws out into its consequences what had been already taught by himself or by others. St. Paul’s fiery and impetuous style is in keeping with his general relation, throughout his Epistles, to Christian dogma. The calm enunciation of an enchained series of consequences flowing from some central or supreme truth is perpetually interrupted, in St. Paul, by the exclamations, the questions, the parentheses, the anacoloutha, the quotations from hymns, the solemn ascriptions of glory to the Source of all blessings, the outbursts by which argument suddenly melts into stern denunciation, or into versatile expostulation, or into irresistible appeals to sympathy, or into the highest strains of lyrical poetry. Thus it is that in St. Paul primary dogma appears, as it were, rather in flashes of light streaming with rapid coruscations across his pages, than in highly elaborated statements such as might abound throughout a professed doctrinal treatise of some later age; and yet doctrine, although it might seem to be introduced incidentally to some general or special purpose, nevertheless is inextricably bound up with the Apostle’s whole drift of practical thought. As for St. John, he is always a contemplative and mystical theologian. The eye of his soul is fixed on God, and on the Word Incarnate. St. John simply describes his intuitions. He does not argue; he asserts. He looks up to heaven, and as he gazes he tells us what he sees. He continually takes an intuition, as it were, to pieces, and recombines it; he resists forms of thought which contradict it; but he does not engage in long arguments, as if he were a dialectician, defending or attacking a theological thesis. Nor is St. John’s temper any mere love of speculation divorced from practice. Each truth which the Apostle beholds, however unearthly and sublime, has a directly practical and transforming power; St. John knows nothing of realms of thought which leave the heart and conscience altogether untouched. Thus, speaking generally, the three Apostles respectively represent the moralist, the practical dogmatist, and the saintly mystic; while St. Peter, as becomes the Apostle first in order in the sacred college, seems to blend in himself the three types of Apostolical teachers. His Epistles are not without elements that more especially characterize St. John; while they harmonize in a very striking manner those features of St. Paul and St. James which seem most nearly to approach divergence. It may be added that St. Peter’s second Epistle finds its echo in St. Jude.
I. 1. The marked reserve which is observable in St. James’ Epistle as to matters of doctrine, combined with his emphatic allusions to the social duties attaching to property and to class distinctions, have been taken to imply that this Epistle represents what is assumed by some theories of development to have been the earliest form of Christianity. The earliest Christians are sometimes referred to, as having been, both in their Christology and in their sociological doctrines, Ebionites. But St. James’ Epistle is so far from belonging to the teaching of the earliest apostolical age, that it presupposes nothing less than a very widespread and indirect effect of the distinctive teaching of St. Paul. St. Paul’s emphatic teaching respecting faith as the receptive cause of justification must have been promulgated long enough and widely enough to have been perverted into a particular gnosis of an immoral Antinomian type. With that gnosis St. James enters into earnest conflict. Baur indeed maintains that St. James is engaged in a vehement onslaught upon the actual teaching, upon the ipsissima verba, of St. Paul himself9. Now even if you should adopt that paradox, you would still obviously be debarred from saying that St. James’ Epistle is a sample of the earliest Christianity, of the Christianity of the prePauline age of the Church10. But in point of fact, as Bishop Bull and others have long since shown, St. James is attacking an evil which, although it presupposes and is based upon St. Paul’s teaching, is as foreign to the mind of St. Paul as to his own. The justification by faith without works which is denounced by St. James is a corruption and a caricature of that sublime truth which is taught us by the author of the Epistles to the Romans and the Galatians. Correspondent to the general temper of mind which, in the later apostolical age, began to regard the truths of faith and morals only as an addition to the intellectual stock of human thinkers, there arose a conception of faith itself which degraded it to the level of mere barren consent on the part of the speculative faculty. This ‘faith’ had no necessary relations to holiness and moral growth, to sanctification of the affections, and subdual of the will11. Thus, for the moment, error had imposed upon the sacred name of faith a sense which emptied it utterly of its religious value, and which St. Paul would have disavowed as vehemently as St. James. St. James denies that this mere consent of the intellect to a speculative position, carrying with it no necessary demands upon the heart and upon the will, can justify a man before God. But when St. Paul speaks of justifying faith, he means an act of the soul, simple indeed at the moment and in the process of its living action, but complex in its real nature, and profound and far-reaching in its moral effect. The eye of the soul is opened upon the Redeemer: it believes. But in this act of living belief, not the intellect alone, but in reality, although imperceptibly, the whole soul, with all its powers of love and resolution, goes forth to meet its Savior. This is St. Paul’s meaning when he insists upon justifying faith as being 'pistij di agaphj energoumenh.12' Faith, according to St. Paul, when once it lives in the soul, is all Christian practice in the germ. The living apprehension of the Crucified One, whereby the soul attains light and liberty, may be separable in idea, but in fact it is inseparable from a Christian life. If the apprehension of revealed truth does not carry within itself the secret will to yield the whole being to God’s quickening grace and guidance, it is spiritually worthless, according to St. Paul. St. Paul goes so far as to tell the Corinthians, that even a faith which was gifted with the power of performing stupendous miracles, if it had not charity, would profit nothing13. Thus between St. Paul and St. James there is no real opposition. When St. James speaks of a faith that cannot justify, he means a barren intellectual consent to certain religious truths, a philosophizing temper, cold, thin, heartless, soulless, morally impotent, divorced from the spirit as from the fruits of charity. When St. Paul proclaims that we are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, he means a faith which only realizes its life by love, and which, if it did not love, would cease to live. When St. James contends that ‘by works a man is justified, and not by faith only,’ he implies that faith is the animating motive which gives to works their justifying power, or rather that works only justify as being the expression of a living faith. When St. Paul argues that a man is justified neither by the works of the Jewish law, nor by the works of natural morality, his argument shows that by a ‘work’ he means a mere material result or product, a soulless act, unenlivened by the presence of that one supernatural motive which, springing from the grace of Christ, can be indeed acceptable to a perfectly holy God. But if on the question of justification St. James’ position is in substance identical with that of St. Paul, yet St. James’ position, viewed historically, does undoubtedly presuppose not merely a wide reception of St. Paul’s teaching, but a perverse development of one particular side of it. In order to do justice to St. James, we have to contemplate first, the fruitless ‘faith’ of the Antinomian, with which the Apostle is immediately in conflict, and which he is denouncing; next, the living faith of the Christian believer, as insisted upon by St. Paul, and subsequently caricatured by the Antinomian perversion; lastly, the Object of the believer’s living faith, Whose Person and work are so prominent in St. Paul’s teaching. It is not too much to say that all this is in the mind of St. James. But there was no necessity for his insisting upon what was well understood; he says only so much as is necessary for his immediate purpose. His Epistle is related to the Pauline Epistles in the general scheme of the New Testament, as an explanatory codicil might be to a will. The codicil does not the less represent the mind of the testator because it is not drawn up by the same lawyer as the will itself. The codicil is rendered necessary by some particular liability to misconstruction, which has become patent since the time at which the will was drawn up. Accordingly the codicil defines the real intention of the testator; it guards that intention against the threatened misconstruction. But it does not repeat in detail all the provisions of the will, in order to protect the true sense of a single clause. Still less does it revoke any one of those provisions; it takes for granted the entire document to which it is appended.
The elementary character of parts of the moral teaching of St. James is sometimes too easily assumed to imply that that Apostle must be held to represent the earliest stage of the supposed developments of apostolical Christianity. But is it not possible that in apostolical as well as in later times, ‘advanced’ Christians may have occasionally incurred the danger of forgetting some important precepts even of natural morality, or of supposing that their devotion to particular truths or forms of thought, or that their experience of particular states of feeling, constituted a religious warrant for such forgetfulness14? If this was indeed the case, St. James’ Epistle is placed in its true light when we see in it a healthful appeal to that primal morality, which can never be ignored or slighted without the most certain risk to those revealed truths, such as our Lord’s plenary Satisfaction for sin, in which the enlightened conscience finds its final relief from the burden and misery of recognized guilt. If the sensitiveness of conscience be dulled or impaired, the doctrines which relieve the anguish of conscience will soon lose their power. St. Paul himself is perpetually insisting upon the nature and claims of Christian virtue, and on the misery and certain consequences of willful sin. St. James, as the master both of natural and of Christian ethics, is in truth reinforcing St. Paul, the herald and exponent of the doctrines of redemption and justification. Thus St. James’ moral teaching generally, not less than his special polemical discussion of the question of justification, appears to presuppose St. Paul. It presupposes St. Paul as we know him now in his glorious Epistles, enjoining the purest and loftiest Christian sanctity along with the most perfect acceptance by faith of the Person and work of the Divine Redeemer. But it also presupposes St. Paul, as Gnostics who preceded Marcion had already misrepresented him, as the idealized sophist of the earliest Antinomian fancies, the sophist who had proclaimed a practical or avowed divorce between the sanctions of morality and the honor of Christ. There is at times a flavor of irony in St. James’ language, such as might force a passage for the voice of truth and love through the dense tangle of Antinomian self-delusions. St. James urges that to listen to Christian teaching without reducing it to practice is but the moral counterpart of a momentary listless glance in a polished mirror15; and that genuine devotion is to be really tested by such practical results as works of mercy done to the afflicted and the poor, and by conscientious efforts to secure the inward purity of an unworldly life16.
2. In his earnest opposition to the Antinomian principle St. James insists upon the continuity of the New dispensation with the Old. Those indeed who do not believe the representations of the great Apostles given us in the Acts to have been a romance of the second century, composed with a view to reconciling the imagined dissensions of the sub-apostolical Church, will not fail to note the significance of St. James’ attitude at the Council of Jerusalem. After referring to the prophecy of Amos as confirmatory of St. Peter’s teaching respecting the call of the Gentiles, St. James advises that no attempt should be made to impose the Jewish law generally upon the Gentile converts17. Four points of observance were to be insisted on, for reasons of very various kinds18; but the general tenor of the speech proves how radically the Apostle had broken with Judaism as a living system. Yet in his Epistle the real continuity of the Law and the Gospel is undeniably prominent. Considering Christianity as a rule of life based upon a revealed creed, St. James terms it also a Law. But the Christian Law is no mere reproduction of the Sinaitic. The New Law of Christendom is distinguished by epithets which define its essential superiority to the law of the synagogue, and which moreover indirectly suggest the true dignity of its Founder. The Christian law is the law of liberty—'nomoj thj eleuqeriaj19.' To be really obeyed it must be obeyed in freedom. A slave cannot obey the Christian law, because it demands not merely the production of certain outward acts, but the living energy of inward motives, whose soul and essence is love. Only a son whom Christ has freed from slavery, and whose heart would rejoice, if so it might be, to anticipate or to go beyond his Father’s Will, can offer that free service which is exacted by the law of liberty. That service secures to all his faculties their highest play and exercise; the Christian is most conscious of the buoyant sense of freedom when he is most eager to do the Will of his Heavenly Parent. The Christian law, which is the law of love, is further described as the royal law—'nomoj bailikoj20.' Not merely because the law of love is specifically the first of laws, higher than and inclusive of all other laws21; but because Christ, the King of Christians, prescribes this law to Christian love. To obey is to own Christ’s legislative supremacy. Once more, the Christian law is the perfect law—'nomoj teleioj.22' It is above human criticism. It will not, like the Mosaic law, be completed by another revelation. It can admit of no possible improvement. It exhibits the whole Will of the unerring Legislator respecting man in his earthly state. It guarantees to man absolute correspondence with the true idea of his life, in other words, his perfection; if only he will obey it. In a like spirit St. James speaks of Christian doctrine as the word of truth—'logoj alhqeiaj23.'Christian doctrine is the absolute truth; and it has an effective regenerating force in the spiritual world, which corresponds to that of God’s creative word in the region of physical nature. But Christian doctrine is also the engrafted word—'logoj emfutoj24.' It is capable of being taken up into, and livingly united with, the life of human souls. It will thus bud forth into moral foliage and fruits which, without it, human souls are utterly incapable of yielding. This 'logoj' is clearly not the mere texture of the language in which the faith is taught. It is not the bare thought of the believer molded into conformity with the ideas suggested by the language. It is the very substance and core of the doctrine; it is He in Whom the doctrine centers; it is the Person of Jesus Christ Himself, Whose Humanity is the Sprout, Shoot, or Branch of Judah, engrafted by His Incarnation upon the old stock of humanity, and sacramentally engrafted upon all living Christian souls. Is not St. James here in fundamental agreement not merely with St. Paul, but with St. John? St. James’ picture of the new law of Christendom harmonizes with St. Paul’s teaching, that the old law of Judaism without the grace of Christ does but rouse a sense of sin which it cannot satisfy, and that therefore the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made Christians free from the law of sin and death25. St. James’ doctrine of the Engrafted Word is a compendium of the first, third, and sixth chapters of St. John’s Gospel; the word written or preached does but unveil to the soul the Word Incarnate, the Word Who can give a new life to human nature, because He is Himself the Source of Life.
It is in correspondence with these currents of doctrine that St. James, although our Lord’s own first cousin26, opens his Epistle by representing himself as standing in the same relation to Jesus Christ as to God. He is the slave of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ27. In like manner, throughout his Epistle, he appears to apply the word 'Kurioj' to the God of the Old Testament and to Jesus Christ, quite indifferently. Especially noteworthy is his assertion that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge of men, is not the delegated representative of an absent Majesty, but is Himself the Legislator enforcing His own laws. The Lawgiver, he says, is One Being with the Judge Who can save and can destroy28; the Son of man, coming in the clouds of heaven, has enacted the law which He thus administers. With a reverence which is as practical as his teaching is suggestive, St. James in this one short Epistle reproduces more of the words spoken by Jesus Christ our Lord than are to be found in all the other Epistles of the New Testament taken together29. He hints that all social barriers between man and man are as nothing when we place mere human eminence in the light of Christ’s majestic Person; and when he names the faith of Jesus Christ, he terms it with solemn emphasis the ‘faith of the Lord of Glory,’ thus adopting one of the most magnificent of St. Paul’s expressions30, and attributing to our Lord a Majesty altogether above this human world31. In short, St. James’ recognition of the doctrine of our Lord’s Divinity is just what we might expect it to be if we take into account the mainly practical scope of his Epistle. Our Lord’s Divinity is never once formally proposed as a doctrine of the faith; but it is largely, although indirectly, implied. It is implied in language which would be exaggerated and overstrained on any other supposition. It is implied in a reserve which may be felt to mean at least as much as the most demonstrative protestations. A few passing expressions of the lowliest reverence disclose the great doctrine of the Church respecting the Person of her Lord, throned in the background of the Apostle’s thought. And if the immediate interests of his ministry oblige St. James to confine himself to considerations which do not lead him more fully to exhibit the doctrine, we are not allowed, as we read him, to forget the love and awe which veil and treasure it, so tenderly and so reverently, in the inmost sanctuary of his illuminated soul.
II. Of St. Peter’s recorded teaching there are two distinct stages in the New Testament. The first is represented by his missionary sermons in the Acts of the Apostles; the second by his general Epistles.
1. Although Jesus Christ is always the central Subject in the sermons of this Apostle, yet the distinctness with which he exhibits our Lord in the glory of His Divine Nature seems to vary with the varying capacity for receiving truth on the part of his audience. Like Jesus Christ Himself, St. Peter teaches as men are able to bear his doctrine; he does not cast pearls before swine. In his missionary sermons he is addressing persons who were believers in the Jewish dispensation, and who were also our Lord’s contemporaries. Accordingly, his sermons contain a double appeal; first, to the known facts of our Lord’s Life and Death, and above all, of His Resurrection from the dead; and secondly, to the correspondence of these facts with the predictions of the Hebrew Scriptures. Like St. James, St. Peter lays especial stress on the continuity subsisting between Judaism and the Gospel. But while St. James insists upon the moral element of that connection, St. Peter addresses himself rather to the prophetical. Even before the day of Pentecost, St. Peter points to the Psalter as foreshadowing the fall of Judas32. When preaching to the multitude which had just witnessed the Pentecostal gifts, St. Peter observes that these wonders are merely a realization of the prediction of Joel respecting the last days33; and he argues elaborately that the language of David in the sixteenth Psalm could not have been fulfilled in the case of the prophet-king himself, still lying among his people in his honored sepulcher, while it had been literally fulfilled by Jesus Christ34, Who had notoriously risen from the grave. In his sermon to the multitude after the healing of the lame man in the Porch of Solomon, St. Peter contends that the sufferings of Christ had been ‘showed before’ on the part of the God of Israel by the mouth of all His prophets35, and that in Jesus Christ the prediction of Moses respecting a coming Prophet, to Whom the true Israel would yield an implicit obedience, had received its explanation36. When arraigned before the Council37, the Apostle insists that Jesus is that true ‘Corner-stone’ of the temple of souls, which had been foretold both by Isaiah38, and by a later Psalmist39; and that although He had been set at nought by the builders of Israel, He was certainly exalted and honored by God. In the instruction delivered to Cornelius before his baptism, St. Peter states that ‘all the prophets give witness’ to Jesus, ‘that through His Name, whosoever believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins40.’ And we seem to trace the influence of St. Peter, as the first great Christian expositor of prophecy, in the teaching of the deacons St. Stephen and St. Philip. St. Philip’s exposition of Christian doctrine to the Ethiopian eunuch was based upon Isaiah’s prediction of the Passion41. St. Stephen’s argument before his judges was cut short by a violent interruption, while it was yet incomplete. But St. Stephen, like St. Peter, appeals to the prediction in Deuteronomy of the Prophet to Whom Israel would hearken42. And the drift of the protomartyr’s address goes to show, that the whole course of the history of Israel pointed to the advent of One Who should be greater than either the law or the temple43,—of One in Whom Israel’s wonderful history would reach its natural climax,—of that ‘Just One’ Who in truth had already come, but Who, like prophets before Him, had been betrayed and murdered by a people, still as of old, ‘stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears44.
It is not too much to say that in the teaching of the earliest Church, as represented by the missionary discourses of St. Peter and the deacons, Jesus Christ is the very soul and end of Jewish prophecy. This would of itself suggest an idea of His Person which rises above any merely Humanitarian standard. St. Peter indeed places himself habitually at the point of view which would enable him to appeal to the actual experience of the generation he was addressing. He begins with our Lord’s Humiliation, which men had witnessed, and then he proceeds to describe His Exaltation as the honor put by God upon His Human Nature. He speaks of our Lord’s Humanity with fearless plainness45. The Man Christ Jesus is exhibited to the world as a miracle-worker; as Man, He is anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power46; as the true Servant of God, He is glorified by the God of the patriarchs47; He is raised from the dead by Divine Power48; He is made by God both Lord and Christ49; and He will be sent by the Lord at ‘the times of refreshing50’ as the ordained Judge of quick and dead51. But this general representation of the Human Nature by Which Christ had entered into Jewish history, is interspersed with glimpses of His Divine Personality Itself, Which is veiled by His Manhood. Thus we find St. Peter in the porch of Solomon applying to our Lord a magnificent title, which at once carries our thoughts into the very heart of the distinctive Christology of St. John. Christ, although crucified and slain, is yet the Leader or Prince of Life—‘Arxhgoj thj zwhj52.’ That He should be held in bondage by the the might of death was not possible53. The heavens must receive Him54, and He is now the Lord of all things55. It is He Who from His heavenly throne has poured out upon the earth the gifts of Pentecost56. His Name spoken on earth has a wonder-working power57; as unveiling His Nature and office, it is a symbol which faith reverently treasures, and by the might of which the servants of God can relieve even physical suffering58. As a refuge for sinners the Name of Jesus stands alone; no other Name has been given under heaven whereby the one true salvation can be guaranteed to the sons of men59. Here St. Peter clearly implies that the religion of Jesus is the true, the universal, the absolute religion. This implication of itself suggests much beyond as to the true dignity of Christ’s Person. Is it conceivable that He Who is Himself the sum and substance of His religion, Whose Name has such power on earth, and Who wields the resources and is invested with the glories of heaven, is notwithstanding in the thought of His first apostles only a glorified man, or only a super-angelic intelligence? Do we not interpret these early discourses most naturally, when we bear in mind the measure of reticence which active missionary work always renders necessary, if truth is to win its way amidst prejudice and opposition? And will not this consideration alone enable us to do justice to those vivid glimpses of Christ’s Higher Nature, the fuller exhibition of Which is before us in the Apostle’s general Epistles?
2. In St. Peter’s general Epistles it is easy to trace the same mind as that which speaks to us in the earliest missionary sermons of the Acts. As addressed to Christian believers60, these Epistles exhibit Christian doctrine in its fullness, but with an eye to practical objects, and without the methodical completeness of an oral instruction. Christian doctrine is not propounded as a new announcement: the writer takes it for granted as furnishing a series of motives, the force of which would be admitted by those who had already recognized the true majesty and proportions of the faith. St. Peter announces himself as the Apostle of Jesus Christ; he is Christ’s slave as well as His Apostle61. In his Epistles, St. Peter lays the great stress on prophecy which is so observable in his missionary sermons. Thus, as in his speech before the Council, so in his first Epistle, he specially refers62 to the prophecy of the Rejected Corner-stone, which our Lord had applied to Himself. But St. Peter’s general doctrine of our Lord’s relation to Hebrew prophecy should be more particularly noticed. In our day theories have been put forward on this subject which appear to represent the Hebrew prophetical Scriptures as little better than a large dictionary of quotations, to which the writers and preachers of the New Testament are said to have had recourse when they wished to illustrate their subject by some shadowy analogy, or by some vague semblance of a happy anticipation. St. Peter is as widely removed from this position, as it is possible to conceive. According to St. Peter, the prophets of the Old Testament did not only utter literal predictions of the expected Christ, but in doing this they were Christ’s own servants, His heralds, His organs. He Who is the subject of the Gospel story, and the living Ruler of the Church, had also, by His Spirit, been Master and Teacher of the prophets. Under His guidance it was that they had foretold His sufferings. It was the Spirit of Christ who was in the prophets, testifying beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow63. The prophets did not at first learn the full scope and meaning of the words they uttered64, but they spoke glorious truths which the Church of Jesus understands and enjoys65. Thus the proclamation of Christian doctrine is older than the Incarnation: Christianity strikes its roots far back into the past of ancient Israel. The pre-existent Christ, molding the utterances of Israel’s prophets to proclaim their anticipations of His advent, had indeed reigned in the old theocracy; and yet the privileged terms in which the members of God’s elder kingdom upon earth described their prerogatives were really applicable, in a deeper sense, to those who lived within the kingdom of the Divine Incarnation66. Indeed, St. Peter’s language on the nature and privileges of the Christian life is suggestive of the highest conception of Him Who is its Author and its Object. St. Peter speaks of conversion from Judaism or heathendom as the ‘being called out of darkness into God’s marvellous light67.’ It is the happiness of Christians to suffer and to be reviled for the Name of Christ68. The Spirit of glory and of God rests upon them. The Spirit is blasphemed by the unbelieving world, but He is visibly honored by the family of God’s children69. It is the Person of Jesus in Whom the spiritual life of His Church centers70. The Christians whom St. Peter is addressing never saw Him in the days of His flesh; they do not see Him now with the eye of sense. But they love Him, invisible as He is, because they believe in Him. The eye of their faith does see Him. The Lord Christ is present in their hearts; they are to ‘sanctify’ Him there, as God was ‘sanctified’ by the worship of Israel71. They rejoice in this clear constant inward vision with a joy which language cannot describe, and which is radiant with the glory of the highest spiritual beauty. They are in possession of a spiritual sense72 whereby the goodness of Jesus may be even tasted; and yet the truths on which their souls are fed are mysteries so profound as to rouse the keen but baffled wonder of the intelligences of heaven73. Such language appears to point irresistibly to the existence of a supernatural religion with a superhuman Founder; unless we are to denude it of all spiritual meaning whatever, by saying that it only reflects the habitual exaggeration of Eastern fervor. Why is the intellectual atmosphere of the Church described as ‘marvellous light’? Why is suffering for Jesus so much a matter for sincere self-congratulation? Why does the Divine Spirit rest so surely upon Christian confessors? Why is the Invisible Jesus the Object of such love, the Source of such inexpressible and glorious joy; if, after all, the religion of Jesus is merely a higher phase of human opinion and feeling, and His Church a human organization, and His Person only human, or at least not literally Divine? The language of St. Peter respecting the Christian life74 manifestly points to a Divine Christ. And if the Christ of St. Peter had been the Christ, we will not say of a Strauss or of a Renan, but the Christ of a Socinus, nay, the Christ of an Arius, it is not easy to understand what should have moved the angels with that strong desire to bend from their thrones above, that they might gaze with unsuccessful intentness at the humiliations of a created being, their peer or their inferior in the scale of creation. Surely the Angels must be longing to unveil a transcendent mystery, or a series of mysteries, such as are in fact the mystery of the Divine Incarnation and the consequences which depend on it in the kingdom of grace. St. Peter’s words are sober and truthful if read by the light of faith in an Incarnate God; divorced from such a faith, they are fanciful, inflated, exaggerated.
St. Peter lays especial stress both on the moral significance and on the atoning power of the Death of Jesus Christ. Here he enters within that circle of truths which are taught most fully in the Epistle to the Hebrews; and his exhibition of the Passion might almost appear to presuppose the particular Christological teaching of that Epistle. St. Peter says that ‘Christ has once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God75.’ This vicarious suffering depended upon the fact that Jesus, when dying, impersonated sinful humanity. ‘He bare our sins in His own Body on the tree76.’ Stricken by the anguish of His Passion, the dying Christ is the consummate Model77 for all Christian sufferers, in His innocence78, in His silence79, in His perfect resignation80. But also the souls of men, wounded by the shafts of sin, may be healed by the virtue of that sacred Pain81; and a special power to wash out the stains of moral guilt is expressly ascribed to the Redeemer’s Blood. The Christian as such is predestined in the Eternal Counsels, not merely to submission to the Christian faith, but also to ‘a sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ82.’ The Apostle earnestly insists that it was no mere perishable earthly treasure, no silver or golden wares, whereby Christians had been bought out of their old bondage to the traditional errors and accustomed sins of Judaism or of heathenism. The mighty spell of moral and intellectual darkness had indeed been broken, but by no less a ransom than the Precious Blood of Christ, the Lamb without blemish and Immaculate83. Are we to suppose that while using this burning language to extol the Precious Blood of redemption, St. Peter is recklessly following a rhetorical impulse, or that he is obscuring the moral meaning of the Passion, by dwelling upon its details in misleading language, which savors too strongly of the sacrificial ritual of the temple? Is he not even echoing the Baptist84? Is he not in correspondence with his brother apostles? Is he not summarizing St. Paul85? Is he not anticipating St. John86? Certainly this earnest recognition of Christ’s true Humanity as the seat of His sufferings is a most essential feature of the Apostle’s doctrine87; but what is it that gives to Christ’s Human acts and sufferings such preterhuman value? Is it not that the truth of Christ’s Divine Personality underlies this entire description of His redemptive work, rescuing it from the exaggeration and turgidity with which it would be fairly chargeable, if Christ were merely human or less than God? That this is in fact the case is abundantly manifest88; and indeed the Person of Christ appears to be hinted at in St. Peter’s Epistle, by the same august expression which has been noticed as common to St. James and to St. John. The Logos or Word of God, living and abiding for ever89, is the Author of the soul’s new birth: and Christ Jesus our Lord does not only bring us this Logos from heaven; He is this Logos. And thus in His home of glory, angels and authorities and powers are made subject unto Him90; and He is not said to have been taken up into heaven, but to have gone up thither, as though by His own deed and will91. And when St. Peter exhorts Christians to act in such a manner that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, he pauses reverently at this last most precious and sacred Name, to add, ‘to Whom is the glory and the power unto ages beyond ages92.’
St. Peter’s second Epistle93, like his first, begins and ends with Jesus94. Its main positive theme is the importance of the higher practical knowledge95 of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ96. Jesus is not set before Christians as a revered and departed Teacher whose words are to be gathered up and studied; He is set forth rather as an Invisible and Living Person Who is to be spiritually known by souls. Along with this practical knowledge of Jesus, as with knowledge of God, there will be an increase of grace, and of its resultant inward evidence, spiritual peace97. For this practical knowledge of Jesus is the crowning point of other Christian attainments98. It is the consummate result both of faith and practice, both of the intellectual and of the moral sides of the Christian life. In the long line of graces which this special knowledge implies, are faith and general religious knowledge on the one hand, and on the other, moral strength, self-restraint, patience, piety, brotherly love, and, in its broadest sense, charity99. In this higher knowledge of Jesus, all these excellences find their end and their completion. On any other path, the soul is abandoned to spiritual blindness, tending more and more to utter forgetfulness of all past purifications from sin100. For this higher practical knowledge of Jesus Christ is the means whereby Christians escape from the polluting impurities of the life of the heathen world101. It raises Christian souls towards the Unseen King in His glory; it secures their admission to His everlasting realm102. If Christians would not be carried away from their steadfast adherence to the truth and life of Christianity by the errors of those who hate all law, let them endeavor to grow in this blessed knowledge of Jesus103. The prominence given to the Person of Christ, in this doctrine of an 'epignwsij' of which His Person is the Object, leads us up to the truth of His real Divinity. If Jesus, thus known and loved, were not accounted God, then we must say that God is in this Epistle thrown utterly into the background, and that His human messenger has taken His place.
Nor is the negative and polemical side of the Epistle much less significant than its constructive and hortatory side. The special misery of the false teachers of whom the Apostle speaks as likely to afflict the Church, will consist in their ‘denying the Sovereign that bought them,’ and so bringing on themselves swift destruction104. Unbelievers might contend that the apostolical teachings respecting the present power and future coming of Jesus were cleverly-invented myths105; but St. Peter had himself witnessed the majesty of Jesus in His Transfiguration106. The Apostle knows that he himself will quickly die; he has had a special revelation from the Lord Jesus to this effect107. Throughout this Epistle the Person of Jesus is constantly before us. As He is the true Object of Christian knowledge, so He is the Lord of the future kingdom of the saints. He is mocked at and denied by the heretics; His Coming it is which the scoffing materialism of the age derides; His judgments are foreshadowed by the great destructive woes of the Old Testament. Again and again, as if with a reverent eagerness which takes pleasure in the sacred words, the Apostle names His Master’s Name and titles. He is Jesus our Lord108; He is our Lord Jesus Christ109; He is the Lord and Savior110; He is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ111; He is our God and Savior Jesus Christ112. His power is spoken of as Divine113; and through the precious things promised by Him to His Church (must we not here especially understand the sacraments?) Christians are made partakers of the Nature of God114. To Christ, in His exalted majesty, a tribute of glory is due, both now and unto the day of eternity115. Throughout this Epistle Jesus Christ is constantly named where we should expect to find the Name of God. The Apostle does not merely proclaim the Divinity of Jesus in formal terms; he everywhere feels and implies it.
III. Akin to St. Peter’s second Epistle in its language and purpose is the short Epistle of St. Jude. Like his brother St. James, St. Jude, although our Lord’s first cousin, introduces himself as the slave of Jesus Christ. St. Jude does not also term himself the slave of God116. If believing Christians are sanctified in God the Father, they are preserved in a life of faith and holiness by union with Jesus Christ117. The religion of Jesus, according to St. Jude, is the final revelation of God, the absolute truth, the true faith. Men should spare no efforts on behalf of the true faith. It is the faith once for all delivered to the saints118. The Gnostics alluded to in this Epistle, like those foretold by St. Peter, are said to ‘deny our only Sovereign and Lord, Jesus Christ119.’ They are threatened with the punishments awarded by Jesus to Israel in the wilderness120, and to the rebel angels; they will perish as Sodom and Gomorrha121. The Book of Enoch is cited to describe Jesus coming to judgment, surrounded by myriads of saints122. The authors of all unholy deeds will then be convicted of their crimes; the hard things spoken against the Judge by impious sinners will be duly punished. Christians, however, are to build themselves up upon their most holy faith123: their life is fashioned in devotion to the Blessed Trinity. It is a life of prayer: their souls live in the Holy Spirit as in an atmosphere124. It is a life of persevering love, whereof the Almighty Father is the Object125. It is a life of expectation: they look forward to the indulgent mercy which our Lord Jesus Christ will show them at His coming126. Christ is the Being to whom they look for mercy; and the issue of His compassion is everlasting life. Could any merely human Christ have had this place in the heart and faith of Christians, or on the judgment-seat of God?
IV. But it is time that we should proceed to consider, however briefly, the witness of that great Apostle, whose Epistles form so much larger a contribution to the sacred volume of the New Testament than is supplied by any other among the inspired servants of Christ.
1. In comparing St. Paul with St. John, a modern author has remarked that at first sight two objects stand out prominently in the theological teaching of the beloved disciple, while three immediately challenge observation in the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles. At first sight, St. John’s doctrine appears to place us face to face only with God and the human world. Christ as the Eternal Logos is in St. John plainly identical with God; although when we contemplate the life of the Godhead He is discerned to be personally distinct from the Father. But we cannot really understand St. John, and withal establish in our thought an essential separation between God and the Word Incarnate. Although Jesus is a manifestation of God’s glory in the world, of sense, He is ever internal to that Divine Essence Whose glory He manifests; He is with God, and He is God. In St. Paul, on the other hand, we are confronted more distinctly with three objects. These are, God, the human world, and between the two, Jesus Christ, Divine and human, the One Mediator between God and man. Of course the prima facie impression produced on the mind by the sacred writers is all that is here in question, and this impression is not to be confounded with their real relations to each other. The Christ of St. John is as truly Human as the Christ of St. Paul is literally Divine; St. John exhibits the Mediator not less truly than St. Paul, St. Paul the Divine Son of the Father not less truly than St. John. But the observation referred to enables us to do justice to the form of St. Paul’s Christology; and we may well observe in his writings the prominence which is given to two truths which supply the foil, on this side and on that, to the doctrine of our Lord’s essential Godhead.
(a) St. Paul insists with particular earnestness upon the truth of our Lord’s real Humanity. This truth is not impaired by such expressions as the ‘form of a servant127,’ the ‘fashion of a man128,’ the ‘likeness of sinful flesh129,’ which are employed either to describe Christ’s Humanity as a mode of being, or to hint at Its veiling a Higher Nature undiscerned by the senses of man, or to mark the point at which, by Its glorious inaccessibility to sin, It is in contrast with the nature of that frail and erring race to which It truly belongs. Nor is our Lord’s Humanity conceived of as a phantom, when the Apostle has reached a point of spiritual growth at which the outward circumstances of Christ’s Life are wellnigh forgotten in an overmastering perception of His spiritual and Divine glory130. St. Paul speaks plainly of our Lord as being manifest in the flesh131; as possessing a Body of material flesh132; as being ‘made of a woman133;’ as being ‘born of the seed of David according to the flesh134;’ as having drawn the substance of His Flesh from the race of Israel135. As a Jew, Jesus Christ was born under the yoke of the Law136. His Human Life was not merely one of self-denial137 and obedience; it was pre-eminently a life of sharp suffering138. The Apostle uses energetic expressions to describe our Lord’s real share in our physical human weakness139, as well as in those various forms of pain, mental and bodily, which He willed to undergo, and which reached their climax in the supreme agonies of the Passion140. If however Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross141, this, as is implied, was of His own free condescension; and St. Paul dwells with rapture upon the glory of Christ’s risen Body, to which our bodies of humiliation will hereafter in their degrees, by His Almighty Power, be assimilated142. Upon two features of our Lord’s Sacred Humanity does St. Paul lay especial stress. First, Christ’s Manhood was clearly void of sin, both in Soul and Body; and in this respect It was unlike any one member of the race to which It belonged143. This sinlessness, however, did but restore humanity ‘in Christ’ to its original type of perfection. Thus, secondly, Christ’s Manhood is representative of the human race; it realizes the archetypal idea of humanity in the Divine Mind. Christ, the Second Adam, according to St. Paul, stands in a relation to the regenerate family of men analogous to that ancestral relationship in which the first Adam stands to all his natural descendants. But this correspondence is balanced by a contrast. In two great passages St. Paul exhibits the contrast which exists between the Second Adam and the first144. This contrast is physical, psychological, moral, and historical. The body of the first Adam is corruptible and earthly; the Body of the Second Adam is glorious and incorruptible145. The first Adam enjoys natural life; he is made a living soul. The Second Adam is a supernatural Being, capable of communicating His Higher Life to others; He is a quickening Spirit146. The first Adam is a sinner, and his sin compromises the entire race which springs from him. The Second Adam sins not; His Life is one mighty act of righteousness147; and they who are in living communion with Him share in this His righteousness148. The historical consequence of the action of the first Adam is death, the death of the body and of the soul. This consequence is transmitted to his descendants along with his other legacy of transmitted sin. The historical consequence of the action and suffering of the Second Adam is life; and communion with His living righteousness is the gauge and assurance to His faithful disciples of a real exemption from the law of sin and death149. Such a contrast, you observe, might well suggest that the Second Adam, Representative of man’s race, its true Archetype, its Restorer and its Savior, is Himself more than man. Certainly; but nevertheless it is as Man that Christ is contrasted with our first parent; and it is in virtue of His Manhood that He is our Mediator, our Redeemer150, our Savior from Satan’s power, our Intercessor with the Father151. Great stress indeed does St. Paul lay upon the Manhood of Christ as the instrument of His mediation between earth and heaven, as the channel through which intellectual truth and moral strength descend from God into the souls of men, as the Exemplar wherein alone human nature has recovered its ideal beauty, as entering a sphere wherein the Sinless One could offer the perfect, world-representing sacrifice of a truly obedient Will. So earnestly and constantly does St. Paul’s thought dwell on our Lord’s mediating Humanity, that to unreflecting persons his language might at times appear to imply that Jesus Christ is personally an inferior being, external to the Unity of the Divine Essence152. Thus he tells the Corinthians that Christians have one Lord Jesus Christ as well as one God153. Thus he reminds St. Timothy that there is One God and One Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for all154. Thus he looks forward to a day when the need for Christ’s mediatorial Royalty having ceased, His Manhood, shall be subject to Him That put all things under Him, that God may be all in all155. It is at least certain that no modern Humanitarian could recognize the literal reality of our Lord’s Humanity with more explicitness than did the Apostle who had never seen Him on earth, and to whom He had been manifested in visions which a Docetic enthusiast might have taken as sufficient warrant for denying His actual participation in our flesh and blood156.
(b) On the other hand, St. Paul is as strict a monotheist as any unconverted pupil of Gamaliel; he does not merely retain his hold upon the primal truth of God’s inviolate Unity; he is especially devoted to it.
God is parted from the very highest forms of created life by a measureless interval, and yet the universe is a real reflection of His Nature157. The relation of the creatures to God is threefold. Nothing exists which has not proceeded originally from God’s creative Hand. Nothing exists which is not upheld in being and perfected by God’s sustaining and working energy. Nothing exists which shall not at the last, whether mechanically or consciously, whether willingly or by a terrible constraint, subserve God’s high and resistless purpose. For as He is the Creator and Sustainer, so He is the One last End of all created existences. Of Him, and through Him, and unto Him, are all things158. So absolute an idea of God excludes all that is local, transient, particular, finite. God’s supreme Unity is the truth which determines the universality of the Gospel; since the Gospel unveils and proclaims the One supreme, world-controlling God159. Hence the Apostle infers the deep misery of Paganism. The Pagan representation of Deity was ‘a lie’ by which this essential truth of God’s Being160 was denied. The Pagans had forfeited that partial apprehension of the glory of the incorruptible God which the physical universe and the light of natural conscience placed within their reach. They had yielded to those instincts of creature-worship161 which mere naturalism is ever prone to indulge. The Incarnation alone subdues these instincts by consecrating them to the service of God Incarnate; while beyond the Church they perpetually threaten naturalistic systems with an utter and disastrous subjection to the empire of sense. When man then had fairly lost sight of the Unity and Spirituality of God, Paganism speedily allowed him to sink beneath a flood of nameless sensualities; he had abandoned the Creator to become, in the most debased sense, the creature’s slave162.
At another time the Apostle’s thought rests for an instant upon the elegant but impure idolatries to which the imagination and the wealth of Greece had consecrated those beautiful temples which adorned the restored city of Corinth. ‘To us Christians,’ he fervently exclaims, ‘there is but one God, the Father; all things owe their existence to Him, and we live for His purposes and His glory163.’ In after years, St. Paul is writing to a fellow-laborer for Christ, and he has in view some of those Gnostic imaginations which already proposed to link earth with heaven by a graduated hierarchy of Aeons, thus threatening the reintroduction either of virtual polytheism or of conscious creature-worship. Against this mischievous speculation the Apostle utters his protest; but it issues from his adoring soul upwards to the footstool of the One Supreme and Almighty Being in the richest and most glorious of the doxologies which occur in his Epistles. God is the King of the ages of the world; He is the imperishable, invisible, only wise Being164. God is the Blessed and Only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; He only has from Himself, and originally, immortality; He dwells in the light which is inaccessible to creatures; no man has seen Him; no man can see Him; let honor and power be for ever ascribed to Him165.
St. Paul is, beyond all question, an earnest monotheist; his faith is sensitively jealous on behalf of the supremacy and the rights of God. What then is the position which he assigns to Jesus Christ in the scale of being? That he believed Jesus Christ to be merely a man is a paradox which could be maintained by no careful reader of his Epistles. But if, according to St. Paul, Christ is more than man, what is He? Is He still only an Arian Christ? or is He a Divine Person? In St. Paul’s thought this question could not have been an open one. His earnest, sharply-defined faith in the One Most High God must force him to say either that Christ is a created Being, or that He is internal to the Essence of God. Nor is the subject of such a nature as to admit of accommodation or compromise in its treatment. In practical matters, and where the law of God permits, St. Paul may become all things to all men that he may by all means save some166. But he cannot, as if he were a pagan politician of old, or a modern man of the world, compliment away his deepest faith167. He cannot ascribe Divinity to a fellow-creature by way of panegyrical hyperbole; his belief in God is too powerful, too exacting, too keen, too real. St. Paul may teach the Athenians that we live and move and have our being in the all-present, all-encompassing Life of God168; he may bid the Corinthians expect a time when God shall be known and felt by every member of His great family to be all in all169. But St. Paul cannot merge the Maker and Ruler of the universe, so gloriously free in His creative and providential action170, in any conception which identifies Him with the work of His hands, or which reduces Him to the level of an impersonal quality or force. The Apostle may contemplate the vast hierarchy of the blessed angels, ranging in their various degrees of glory between the throne of God and the children of men171. But no heavenly intelligence, however exalted, is seen in his pages to trench for one moment upon the incommunicable prerogatives of God. St. Paul may describe the regenerate life of Christians in such terms as to warrant us in saying that Christ’s true members become divine by spiritual communion with God in His Blessed Son172. But the saintliest of men, the most exalted and majestic of seraphs, are alike removed by an infinite interval from the One Uncreated, Self-existent, Incorruptible Essence173. There is no room in St. Paul’s thought for an imaginary being like the Arian Christ, hovering indistinctly between created and Uncreated life; since, where God is believed to be so utterly remote from the highest creatures beneath His throne, Christ must either be conceived of as purely and simply a creature with no other than a creature’s nature and rights, or He must be adored as One Who is for ever and necessarily internal to the Uncreated Life of the Most High.
2. It has been well observed by the author of ‘Ecce Homo’ that ‘the trait in Christ which filled St. Paul’s whole mind was His condescension;’ and that ‘the charm of that condescension lay in its being voluntary174.’ Certainly. But condescension is the act of bending from a higher station to a lower one; and the question is, from what did Christ condescend? If Christ was merely human, what was the human eminence from which St. Paul believed Him to be stooping? Was it a social eminence? But as the favorite of the synagogue, and withal as protected by the majesty of the Roman franchise175, St. Paul occupied a social position not less widely removed from that of a Galilean peasant leading a life of vagrancy, than are your circumstances, my brethren, who belong to the middle and upper classes of this country, removed from the lot of the homeless multitudes who day by day seek relief in our workhouses. Was it an intellectual eminence? But the Apostle who had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, and had drawn largely from the fountains of Greek thought and culture, had at least enjoyed educational advantages which were utterly denied to the Prophet of Nazareth. Was it then a moral eminence? But, if Jesus was merely Man, was He, I do not say morally perfect, but morally eminent at all? Was not His self-assertion such as to be inconsistent with any truthful recognition whatever of the real conditions of a created existence? But was the eminence from which Christ condescended angelical as distinct from human? St. Paul has drawn the sharpest distinction between Christ and the angels; Christ is related to the angels, in the belief of the Apostle, simply as the Author of their being176; while the appointed duties of the angels are to worship His Person and to serve His servants177.
What then was the position from which Christ condescended? Two stages of condescension are indeed noted, one within and one beyond the limits of our Lord’s Human Life. Being found in fashion as a Man, He voluntarily humbled Himself and became obedient unto death178. But the earlier and the greater act of condescension was that whereby He had become Man out of a state of pre-existent glory179. St. Paul constantly refers to the pre-existent Life of Jesus Christ. The Second Adam differs from the first in that He is ‘from heaven180.’ When ancient Israel was wandering in the desert, Christ had been Himself invisibly present as Guardian and Sustainer of the Lord’s people181. St. Paul is pleading on behalf of the poor Jewish Churches with their wealthier Corinthian brethren; and he points to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who, when He was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich182. Here Christ’s eternal wealth is in contrast with His temporal impoverishment. For His poverty began with the manger of Bethlehem; He became poor by the act of His Incarnation; being rich according to the unbegun, unending Life of His Higher Nature, He became poor in time183. When St. Paul says that our Lord was ‘manifested in the flesh184,’ he at least implies that Christ existed before this manifestation; when St. Paul definitely ascribes to our Lord the function of a Creator who creates not for a Higher Power but for Himself, we rise from the idea of pre-existence to the idea of a relationship towards the universe, which can belong to One Being alone. This will presently be considered.
Certainly St. Paul used the terms ‘form of God,’ ‘image of God,’ when speaking of the Divinity of Jesus Christ185. But these terms do not imply that Christ’s Divinity only resembles or is analogous to the Divinity of the Father. They do not mean that, as Man, He represents the Divine Perfections in an inferior and partial manner to our finite intelligence which is incapable of raising itself sufficiently to contemplate the transcendent reality. They are necessary in order to define the personal distinction which exists between the Divine Son and the Eternal Father. Certainly it is no mere human being or seraph Whom St. Paul describes as being ‘over all, God blessed for ever186.’ You remind me that these words are referred by some modern scholars to the Eternal Father. Certainly they are: but on what grounds? Of scholarship? What then is St. Paul’s general purpose when he uses these words? He has just been enumerating those eight privileges of the race of Israel, the thought of which kindled in his true Jewish heart the generous and passionate desire to be made even anathema for his rejected countrymen. To these privileges he subjoins a climax. The Israelites were they, 'ec wn o Xristoj to kata sarka, o wn epi pantwn Qeoj euloghtoj eij touj aiwnaj.' It was from the blood of Israel that the true Christ had sprung, so far as His Human Nature was concerned; but Christ’s Israelitic descent is, in the Apostle’s eyes, so consummate a glory for Israel, because Christ is much more than one of the sons of men; because by reason of His Higher Pre-existent Nature He is ‘over all, God blessed for ever.’ This is the natural187 sense of the passage. If the passage occurred in a profane author and its sense and structure alone had to be considered, few critics would think of overlooking the antithesis between 'Xristoj to kata sarka' and 'Qeoj euloghtoj188.' Still less possible would it be to destroy this antithesis outright, and to impoverish the climax of the whole passage, by cutting off the doxology from the clause which precedes it, and so erecting it into an independent ascription of praise to God the Father189. If we should admit that the doctrine of Christ’s Godhead is not stated in this precise form elsewhere in St. Paul’s writings190, that admission cannot be held to justify us in violently breaking up the passage, in order to escape from its natural meaning, unless we are prepared to deny that St. Paul could possibly have employed an 'apac legomenon.' Nor in point of fact does St. Paul say more in this famous text than when in writing to Titus he describes Christians as ‘looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us191.’ Here the grammar apparently, and the context certainly, oblige us to recognize the identity of ‘our Savior Jesus Christ’ and ‘our Great God.’ As a matter of fact, Christians are not waiting for any manifestation of the Father. And He Who gave Himself for us can be none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reference has already been made to that most solemn passage in the Epistle to the Philippians, which is read by the Church in the Communion Service on Palm Sunday192, in order, as it would seem, to remind Christians of the real dignity of their suffering Lord. Our Lord’s Divine Nature is here represented as the seat of His Eternal Personality; His Human Nature is a clothing which He assumed in time. 'En morfh Qeou uparxwn,...eauton ekenwse, morfhn doulou labwn.193' It is impossible not to be struck by the mysterious statement that Christ, being in the form of God, did not look upon equality with God ('to einai isa Qew') as a prize to be seized and kept hold on194 ('ouk arpagmon hghsato'). It has been maintained that St. Paul is here contrasting the apostolic belief in our Lord’s condescending love with an early Gnostic speculation respecting an Aeon. This Aeon desired by an immediate and violent assault to lay hold on the invisible and incomprehensible God; whereas God could only be really known to and contemplated by the Monogenes. The ambition of the fabled Aeon is thus said to be in contrast with the ‘self-emptying’ of the Eternal Christ. Such a contrast, if it had been in the Apostle’s mind, would have implied the Absolute Pre-existent Divinity of Christ. Christ voluntarily lays aside the glory which was His; the fabled Aeon would violently grasp a glory which could not rightfully belong to him. But if this explanation of the energetic negative phrase of the Apostle should not be accepted, it is in any case clear that the force of St. Paul’s moral lesson in the whole passage must depend upon the real Divinity of the Incarnate and Self-immolating Christ. The point of our Lord’s example lies in His emptying Himself of the glory or ‘form’ of His Eternal Godhead. Worthless indeed would have been the force of His example, had He been in reality a created Being, who only abstained from grasping tenaciously at Divine prerogatives which a creature could not have arrogated to himself without impious folly195. Christians are to have in themselves the Mind of Christ Jesus; but what that mind is they can only understand, by considering what His Apostle believed Christ Jesus to have been, before He took on Him the form of a servant and became obedient unto death.
Perhaps the most exhaustive assertion of our Lord’s Godhead which is to be found in the writings of St. Paul, is that which occurs in the Epistle to the Colossians196. This magnificent dogmatic passage is introduced, after the Apostle’s manner, with a strictly practical object. The Colossian Church was exposed to the intellectual attacks of a theosophic doctrine, which degraded Jesus Christ to the rank of one of a long series of inferior beings, supposed to range between mankind and the supreme God. Against this position St. Paul asserts that Christ is the 'eikwn tou Qeou tou aoratou'--the Image of the Invisible God197. The expression 'eikwn tou Qeou' supplements the title of ‘the Son.’ As ‘the Son’ Christ is derived eternally from the Father, and He is of One Substance with the Father. As ‘the Image,’ Christ is, in that One Substance, the exact likeness of the Father, in all things except being the Father. The Son is the Image of the Father, not as the Father, but as God: the Son is ‘the Image of God.’ The 'eikwn' is indeed originally God’s unbegun, unending reflection of Himself in Himself; but the 'eikwn' is also the Organ whereby God, in His Essence invisible, reveals Himself to His creatures. Thus the 'eikwn' is, so to speak, naturally the Creator, since creation is the first revelation which God has made of Himself. Man is the highest point in the visible universe; in man, God’s attributes are most luminously exhibited; man is the image and glory of God198. But Christ is the Adequate Image of God, God’s Self-reflection in His Own thought, eternally present with Himself. As the 'eikwn,' Christ is the 'prwtotokoj pashj ktisewj': that is to say, not the First in rank among created beings, but born before any created beings199. That this is a true sense of the expression is etymologically certain200; but it is also the only sense which is in real harmony with the relation in which, according to the context, Christ is said to stand to the created universe201. That relation, according to St. Paul, is threefold. Of all things in earth and heaven, of things seen and unseen, of the various orders of the angelic hierarchy, of thrones, of dominions, of principalities, of powers—it is said that they were created in Christ, by Christ, and for Christ. 'En autw, ektisqh....di autou, kai eij auton ektistai.202' In Him. There was no creative process external to and independent of Him; since the archetypal forms after which the creatures are modelled, and the sources of their strength and consistency of being, eternally reside in Him203. By Him. The force which has summoned the worlds out of nothingness into being, and which upholds them in being, is His; He wields it; He is the One Producer and Sustainer of all created existence. For Him. He is not, as Arianism afterwards pretended, merely an inferior workman, creating for the glory of a higher Master, for a God superior to Himself. He creates for Himself; He is the End of created things as well as their immediate Source; and in living for Him every creature finds at once the explanation and the law of its being. For ‘He is before all things, and by Him all things consist204.’ After such a statement it follows naturally that the 'plhrwma,' that is to say, the entire cycle of the Divine attributes, considered as a series of powers or forces, dwells in Jesus Christ; and this, not in any merely ideal or transcendental manner, but with that actual reality which men attach to the presence of material bodies which they can feel and measure through the organs of sense. 'En autw katoikei pan to plhrwma thj qeothtoj swmatikwj205.' Although throughout this Epistle the word 'logoj' is never introduced, it is plain that the 'eikwn' of St. Paul is equivalent in His rank and functions to the 'logoj' of St. John. Each exists prior to creation; each is the one Agent in creation; each is a Divine Person; each is equal with God and shares His essential Life; each is really none other than God.
Indeed with this passage in the Colossians only two others in the entire compass of the New Testament can, on the whole, be compared. Allusion has already been made to the prologue of St. John’s Gospel; and it is no less obvious to refer to the opening chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Most of those writers who earnestly reject the Pauline authorship of that Epistle admit that it is of primary canonical authority, and assign to its author the highest place of honor in ‘the school of St. Paul.’ There are reasons for believing that, at the utmost, it is not more distantly related to his mind than is the Gospel of St. Luke; if indeed it does not furnish a crowning instance of the spiritual versatility of the great Apostle, addressing himself to a set of circumstances unlike any other of which the records of his ministry have given us information206. Throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews a comparison is instituted between Christianity and Judaism; and this comparison turns partly on the spiritual advantages which belong to the two systems respectively, and partly on the relative dignity of the persons who represent the two dispensations, and who mediate accordingly, in whatever senses, between God and humanity. Thus our Incarnate Lord as the one great High-priest is contrasted with Aaron207 and his successors. Thus too as the one perfect Revealer of God, He is compared with Moses208 and the Jewish prophets. As the antitype of Melchisedec, Christ is a higher Priest than Aaron209; as a Son reigning over the house of God, Christ is a greater Ruler than the legislator whose praise it was that he had been a faithful servant210. As Author of a final, complete, and unique revelation, Christ stands altogether above the prophets by whom God had revealed His Mind in many modes and in many fragments, in revelations very various as to their forms, and, at certain epochs, almost incessant in their occurrence211. But if the superiority of Christianity to Judaism was to be completely established, a further comparison was necessary. The later Jewish theologians had laid much stress upon the delivery of the Sinaitic Law through the agency of angels acting as delegates for the Most High God212. The Author of Christianity might be superior to Moses and the prophets, but could He challenge comparison with those pure and mighty spirits compared with whom the greatest of the sons of Israel, as beings of flesh and blood, were insignificant and sinful? The answer is, that if Christ is not the peer of the angels, this is because He is their Lord and Master213. The angels are ministers of the Divine Will; they are engaged in stated services enjoined on them towards creatures lower than themselves, yet redeemed by Christ214. But He, in His glory above the heavens, is invested with attributes to which the highest angel could never pretend. In His crucified but now enthroned Humanity, He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high215; He is seated there, as being Heir of all things216; the angels are themselves but a portion of His vast inheritance. The dignity of His titles is indicative of His essential rank217. Indeed He is expressly addressed as God218; and when He is termed the Son of God, or the Son, the full sense of that term is drawn out in language adopted, as it seems, from the Book of Wisdom219, and not less explicit than that which we have been considering in the Epistle to the Colossians, although of a distinct type. That He is One with God as having streamed forth eternally from the Father’s Essence, like a ray of light from the parent fire with which it is unbrokenly joined, is implied in the expression 'apaugasma thj dochj220.' That He is both personally distinct from, and yet literally equal to, Him of Whose Essence He is the adequate imprint, is taught us in the phrase 'xarakthr thj upostasewj221.' By Him, therefore, the universe was made222; and at this moment all things are preserved and upheld in being by the fiat of His almighty word223, What created angel can possibly compare with Him? In the Name which He bears and which unveils His Nature224; in the honors which the heavenly intelligences themselves may not refuse to pay Him, even when He is entering upon His profound Self-humiliation225; in the contrast between their ministerial duties and His Divine and unchanging Royalty226; in His relationship of Creator both to earth and heaven227; and in the majestic certainty of His triumph over all who shall oppose the advance of His kingdom228,—we recognize a Being, for Whose Person, although It be clothed in a finite Human Nature229, there is no real place between humanity and God. While the Epistle to the Hebrews lays even a stronger emphasis than any other book of the New Testament upon Christ’s true Humanity230, it is nevertheless certain that no other book more explicitly asserts the reality of His Divine prerogatives231.
3. Enough will have been said, to show that the Apostle Paul believed in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, not in the moral sense of Socinianism, nor in the ditheistic sense, so to speak, of Arianism, but in the literal, metaphysical, and absolute sense of the Catholic Church. Those passages in his writings which may appear to interfere with this conclusion are certainly to be referred either to his anxiety to insist upon the reality of our Lord’s Manhood, or to his recognition of the truth that Christ’s Eternal Sonship is Itself derived from the Person of the Father. From the Father Christ eternally receives an equality of life and power, and therefore, as being a recipient, He is so far subordinate to the Father. We have indeed already seen that Christ’s eternal derivation from the Father is set forth nowhere more fully than in the Gospel of St. John, and by the mouth of our Lord Himself. But the doctrine before us, as it lies in the writings of St. Paul, is not to be measured only by an analysis of those particular texts which proclaim it in terms. The evidence for this great doctrine is not really in suspense until such time as the critics may have finally decided by their microscopical and chemical apparatus, whether the bar of the theta in a famous passage of St. Paul’s first Epistle to Timothy is or is not really discernible in the Alexandrian manuscript. The doctrine lies too deep in the thought of the Apostle, to be affected by such contingencies232. You cannot make St. Paul a preacher of Humanitarianism, without warping, mutilating, degrading his whole recorded mind. Particular texts, when duly isolated from the Apostle’s general teaching, may be pressed with plausible effect into the service of Arian or Humanitarian theories; but take St. Paul’s doctrine as a whole, and it must be admitted to center in One Who is at once and truly God as well as Man.
St. Paul never speaks of Jesus Christ as a pupil of less originality and genius might speak of a master in moral truth, whose ideas he was recommending, expanding, defining, defending, popularizing, among the men of a later generation. St. Paul never professes to be working on the common level of human power and knowledge with a master from whom he differed, as an inferior teacher might differ, only in the degree of his capacity and authority. St. Paul always writes and speaks as becomes the slave of Jesus. He is indeed a most willing and enthusiastic slave, reverently gathering up and passionately enforcing all that touches the work and glory of that Divine Master to Whom he has freely consecrated his liberty and his life.
In St. Paul’s earliest sermons, we do not find the moral precepts of Jesus a more prominent element than the glories of His Person and of His redemptive work. That the reverse is the case is at once apparent from a study of the great discourse which was pronounced in the synagogue of the Pisidian Antioch. The past history of Israel is first summarized from a point of view which regards it as purely preparatory to the manifestation of the anticipated Savior233; and then the true Messiahship of Jesus is enforced by an appeal to the testimony of John the Baptist234, to the correspondence of the circumstances of Christ’s Death with the prophetic announcements235, and to the historical fact of His resurrection from the grave236, which had been witnessed by the apostles as distinctly237 as it had been foretold by the prophets238. Thus the Apostle reaches his practical conclusion. To believe in Jesus Christ is the one condition of receiving remission of sins and (how strangely must such words have sounded in Jewish ears!) justification from all things from which men could not be justified by the divinely-given law of Moses239. To deny Jesus Christ is to incur those penalties which the Hebrew Scriptures denounced against scornful indifference to the voice of God and to the present tokens of His Love and Power240.
At first sight, St. Paul’s sermon from the steps of the Areopagus might seem to be rather Theistic than Christian. St. Paul had to gain the ear of a ‘philosophical’ audience which imagined that ‘Jesus and the Resurrection’ were two ‘strange demons241,’ who might presently be added to the stock of deities already venerated by the Athenian populace. St. Paul is therefore eager to set forth the lofty spirituality of the God of Christendom; but, although he insists chiefly on those Divine attributes which are observable in Nature and Providence, his sermon ends with Jesus. After showing what God is in Himself242, and what are the natural relations which subsist between God and mankind243, St. Paul touches the conscience of his Athenian audience by a sharp denunciation of the vulgar idolatry which it despised244, and he calls men to repent by a reference to the coming judgment, which conscience itself foreshadowed. But the certainty of that judgment has been attested by the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus; the risen Jesus is the future Judge245.
Or, listen to St. Paul as with fatherly authority and tenderness be is taking his leave of his fellow-laborers in Christ, the presbyters of Ephesus, on the strand of Miletus. Here the Apostle’s address moves incessantly round the Person of Jesus. He protests that to lead men to repentance towards God and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ246, had been the single object of his public and private ministrations at Ephesus. He counts not his life dear to himself, if only he can complete the mission which is so precious to him because he has received it from the Lord Jesus247. The presbyters are bidden to ‘shepherd the Church of God which He has purchased with His Own Blood248;’ and the Apostle concludes by quoting a saying of the Lord Jesus which has not been recorded in the Gospels, but which was then reverently treasured in the Church, to the effect that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive249.’
In the two apologetic discourses delivered, the one from the stairs of the tower of Antonia before the angry multitude, and the other in the council-chamber at Caesarea before King Agrippa II. of Chalcis, St. Paul justifies his missionary activity by dwelling upon the circumstances which accompanied and immediately followed his conversion. Everything had turned upon a fact which the Apostle abundantly insists upon;—he had received a revelation of Jesus Christ in His heavenly glory. It was Jesus Who had spoken to St. Paul from heaven250; it was Jesus Who had revealed Himself as persecuted in His suffering Church251; it was to Jesus that St. Paul had surrendered his moral liberty252; it was from Jesus that he had received specific orders to go into Damascus253; Jesus had commissioned him to be a minister and witness both of what he had seen, and of the truths which were yet to be disclosed to him254; it was by Jesus that he was sent both to Jews and Gentiles, ‘to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that,’ continued the Heavenly Speaker, ‘they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me255.’ It was Jesus Who had appeared to St. Paul when he was in an ecstasy in the Temple, had bidden him leave Jerusalem suddenly, and had sent him to the Gentiles256. The revelation of Jesus had been emphatically the turning-point of the Apostle’s life; it had first determined the direction and had then quickened the intensity of his action. He could plead with truth before Agrippa that he had not been disobedient unto the heavenly vision257. But who can fail to see that the Lord who in His glorified Manhood thus speaks to His servant from the skies, and Who is withal revealed to him in the very center of his soul258, is no created being, is neither saint nor seraph, but in very truth the Master of consciences, the Monarch Who penetrates, inhabits, and rules the secret life of spirits, the King Who claims the fealty and Who orders the ways of men?
St. Paul’s popular teaching then is emphatically a ‘preaching of Jesus Christ259.’ Our Lord is always the Apostle’s theme; but the degree in which His Divine glory is unveiled varies with the capacities of the Jewish or heathen listeners for bearing the great discovery. The doctrine is distributed, if we may so speak, in a like varying manner over the whole text of St. Paul’s Epistles. It lies in those greetings260 by which the Apostle associates Jesus Christ with God the Father, as being the source no less than the channel of the highest spiritual blessings. It is pointedly asserted when the Galatians are warned that St. Paul is ‘an Apostle not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father261.’ It is implied in commands and benedictions262 which are pronounced in the Name of Christ without naming the Name of God263. It underlies those early apostolical hymns, sung, as it would seem, in the Redeemer’s honor264; it justifies the thanksgivings and doxologies which set forth His praise265. It alone can explain the application of passages, which are used in the Old Testament of the Lord Jehovah, to the Person of Jesus Christ266; such an application would have been impossible unless St. Paul had renounced his belief in the authority and sacred character of the Hebrew Scriptures, or had explicitly recognized the truth that Jesus Christ was Jehovah Himself visiting and redeeming His people.
Mark too how the truth before us mingles with the current topics of St. Paul’s Epistles; how it is often presupposed even where it is not asserted in terms. Does that picture of the future Judge Whose Second Coming is again and again brought before us in the Epistles to the Thessalonians befit one who is not Divine267? Is the Justifier of humanity in the Epistles to the Romans and the Galatians, to Whom the whole of the Old Testament points as its fulfillment, only a human martyr after all268? Why then is the effect of His Death so distinct in kind from any which has followed upon the martyrdom of His servants269? How comes it that by dying He has achieved that restoration of the rightful relations of man’s being towards God and moral truth270, which the law of nature and the Law of Sinai had alike failed to secure? Does not the whole representation of the Second Adam in the Epistle to the Romans and in the first Epistle to the Corinthians point to a dignity more than human? Can He, Who is not merely a living soul, but a quickening Spirit; from Whom life radiates throughout renewed humanity271; from Whom there flows a stream of grace more abundant than the inheritance of sin which was bequeathed by our fallen parent272,—can He be, in His Apostle’s mind, merely one of the race which He thus blesses and saves273? And if Jesus Christ be more than man, is it possible to suggest any intermediate position between humanity and the throne of God, which St. Paul, with his earnest belief in the God of Israel, could have believed Him to occupy?
In the Epistles to the Corinthians St. Paul is not especially maintaining any one great truth of revelation; he is entering with practical versatility into the varied active life and pressing wants of a local Church. Yet these Epistles might alone suffice to show the high and unrivalled honor paid to Jesus Christ in the Apostle’s heart and thought. Is the Apostle contrasting his preaching with the philosophy of the Greek and the hopes of the Jewish world around him? Jesus crucified274 is his central subject; Jesus crucified is his whole philosophy275. Is he prescribing the law of apostolic labors in building up souls or Churches? ‘Other foundation can no man lay’ than ‘Jesus Christ276.’ Is he unfolding the nature of the Church? It is not a self-organized multitude of religionists who agree in certain tenets, but ‘the Body of Christ277.’ Is he arguing against sins of impurity? Christians have only to remember that they are members of Christ278. Is he deepening a sense of the glory and of the responsibility of being a Christian? Christians are reminded that Jesus Christ is in them except they be reprobates279. Is he excommunicating or reconciling a flagrant offender against natural law? He delivers to Satan in the Name of Christ; he absolves in the Person of Christ280. Is he rebuking irreverence towards the Holy Eucharist? The broken bread and the cup of blessing are not picturesque symbols of an absent Teacher, but veils of a gracious yet awful Presence; the irreverent receiver is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord Which he does not ‘discern281.’ Is he pointing to the source of the soul’s birth and growth in the life of light? It is the ‘illumination of the Gospel of the Glory of Christ, Who is the Image of God;’ it is the ‘illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Person of Jesus Christ282.’ Is he describing the spirit of the Christian life? It is perpetual self-mortification for the love of Jesus, that the moral life of Jesus may be manifested to the world in our frail human nature283. Is he sketching out the intellectual aim of his ministry? Every thought is to be brought as a captive into submission to Christ284. Is he unveiling the motive which sustained him in his manifold sufferings? All was undergone for Christ285. Is he suffering from a severe bodily or spiritual affliction? Thrice he prays to Jesus Christ for relief. And when he is told that the trial will not be removed, since in possessing Christ’s grace he has all that he needs, he rejoices in the infirmity against which he had prayed, ‘that the power of Christ may tabernacle upon him286.’ Would he summarize the relations of the Christian to Christ? To Christ he owes his mental philosophy, his justification before God, his progressive growth in holiness, his redemption from sin and death287. Would he mark the happiness of instruction in that ‘hidden philosophy’ which was taught in the Church among the perfect, and which was unknown to the rulers of the non-Christian world? It might have saved them from crucifying the Lord of Glory288. Would he lay down an absolute criterion of moral ruin? ‘If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha289.’ Would he impart an apostolical benediction? In one Epistle he blesses his readers in the Name of Christ alone290; in the other he names the Three Blessed Persons: while ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’ is mentioned, not only before ‘the fellowship of the Holy Ghost,’ but before ‘the love of God291.’
Here are texts, selected almost at random from those two among the longer Epistles of St. Paul which are most entirely without the form and method of a doctrinal treatise, dealing as they do with the varied contemporary interests and controversies of a particular Church292. Certainly some of these texts, taken alone, do not assert the Divinity of Jesus Christ. But put them together; add, as you might add, to their number; and consider whether the whole body of language before you, however you interpret it, does not imply that Christ held a place in the thought, affections, and teaching of St. Paul, higher than that which a sincere Theist would assign to any creature, and, if Christ be only a creature, obviously inconsistent with the supreme and exacting rights of God. In these Epistles, it is not the teaching, but the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, upon which St. Paul’s eye appears to rest. Christ Himself is, in St. Paul’s mind, the Gospel of Christ; and if Christ be not God, St. Paul cannot be acquitted of assigning to Him generally a prominence which is inconsistent with serious loyalty to monotheistic truth.
Still more remarkably do the Epistles of the First Imprisonment present us with a picture of our Lord’s Work and Person which absolutely presupposes, even where it does not in terms assert, the doctrine of His Divinity. The Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians are even more intimately related to each other than are those to the Romans and the Galatians. They deal with the same lines of truth; they differ only in method of treatment. That to the Ephesians is devotional and expository; that to the Colossians is polemical. In the Colossians the dignity of Christ’s Person is put forward most explicitly as against the speculations of a Judaizing theosophy which degraded Christ to the rank of an archangel293, and which recommended, as a substitute for Christ’s redemptive work, ascetic observances, grounded on a trust in the cleansing and hallowing properties and powers of nature294. In the Epistle to the Ephesians our Lord’s Personal dignity is asserted more indirectly. It is implied in His reconciliation of Jews and heathens to each other and to God, and still more in His relationship to the predestination of the saints295. In both Epistles we encounter two prominent lines of thought, each, in a high degree, pointing to Christ’s Divine dignity. The first, the absolute character of the Christian faith as contrasted with the relative character of heathenism and Judaism296; the second, the re-creative power of the grace of Christ297. In both Epistles the Church is considered as a vast spiritual society298 which, besides embracing as its heritage all races of the world, pierces the veil of the unseen, and includes the families of heaven299 in its majestic compass. Of this society Christ is the Head300, and it is ‘His Body, the fulness of Him That filleth all in all.’ Christ is the predestined point of unity in which earth and heaven, Jew and Gentile, meet and are one301. Christ’s Death is the triumph of peace in the spiritual world. Peace with God is secured through the taking away of the law of condemnation by the dying Christ, Who nails it to His Cross and openly triumphs over the powers of darkness302. Peace among men is secured, because the Cross is the center of the regenerated world, as of the moral universe303. Divided races, religions, nationalities, classes, meet beneath the Cross; they embrace as brethren; they are fused into one vast society which is held together by an Indwelling Presence, reflected in the general sense of boundless indebtedness to a transcendent Love304. Hence in these Epistles such marked emphasis is laid upon the unity of the Body of Christ305; since the reunion of moral beings shows forth Christ’s Personal Glory. Christ is the Unifier. As Christ in His Passion is the Combiner and Reconciler of all things in earth and heaven; so He ascends to heaven, He descends to hell on His errand of reconciliation and combination306. He institutes the hierarchy of the Church307; He is the Root from which her life springs, the Foundation on which her superstructure rests308; He is the quickening, organizing, Catholicizing Principle within her309. The closest of natural ties is the chosen symbol of His relation to her; she is His bride. For her, in His love, He gave Himself to death, that He might sanctify her by the cleansing virtue of His baptism, and might so present her to Himself, her Lord,—blameless, immaculate, glorious310. And thus He is the Standard of perfection with which she must struggle to correspond. Her members must grow up unto Him in all things. Accordingly, not to mention the great passage, already referred to, in the Epistle to the Colossians, Jesus Christ is said in that Epistle to possess the intellectual as well as the other attributes of Deity311. In the allusions to the Three Most Holy Persons, which so remarkably underlie the structure and surface-thought of the Epistle to the Ephesians, Jesus Christ is associated most significantly with the Father and the Spirit312. He is the Invisible King, Whose slaves Christians are313. Nay, His Realm is termed explicitly ‘the kingdom of Him Who is Christ and God314;’ the Church is subject to Him315. He is the object of Christian study, and of Christian hope316. In the Epistle to the Philippians it is expressly said that all created beings in heaven, on earth, and in hell, when His triumph is complete, shall acknowledge the majesty even of His Human Nature317. The preaching of the Gospel is described as the preaching Christ318. Death is a blessing for the Christian, since by death he gains the eternal presence of Christ319. The Philippians are specially privileged in being permitted, not merely to believe on Christ, but to suffer for Him320. The Apostle trusts in Jesus as in Providence to be able to send Timothy to Philippi321. He contrasts the selfishness of ordinary Christians with a disinterestedness that seeks the things (it is not said of God, but) of Christ322. The Christian ‘boast’ centers in Christ, as did the Jewish in the Law323; the Apostle had counted all his Jewish privileges as dung that he might win Christ324; Christ has taken possession of him325; Christ strengthens him326; Christ will one day change this body of our humiliation, that it may become of like form with the Body of His glory, according to the energy of His ability even to subdue all things unto Himself327. In this Epistle, as in those to the Corinthians, the Apostle is far from pursuing any one line of doctrinal statement: moral exhortations, interspersed with allusions to persons and matters of interest to himself and to the Philippians, constitute the staple of his letter. And yet how constant are the references to Jesus Christ, and how inconsistent are they, taken as a whole, with any conception of His Person which denies His Divinity328!
The Pastoral Epistles are distinguished, not merely by the specific directions which they contain respecting the Christian hierarchy and religious societies in the apostolical Church329, but also and especially by the stress which they lay upon the vital distinction between heresy and orthodoxy330. Each of these lines of teaching radiates from a most exalted conception of Christ’s Person, whether He is the Source of ministerial power331, or the Sun and Center-point of orthodox truth332. In stating the doctrine of redemption these Epistles insist strongly upon its universality333. The whole world was redeemed in the intention of Christ, however that intention might be limited in effect by the will of man. As the theories, Judaizing and Gnostic, which confined the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work to races or classes, were more or less Humanitarian in their estimate of His Person; so along with the recognition of a world-embracing redemption was found the belief in a Divine Redeemer. Accordingly in the Pastoral Epistles the Divinity of our Lord is taught both in express terms334 and by tacit implication335. His functions as the Awarder of indulgence and mercy336, His invisible Presence among angelic attendants337, His active providence over His servants, and His ready aid in trouble338, are introduced naturally as familiar topics. And if the Manhood of the One Mediator is prominently alluded to as being the instrument of His Mediation339, His Pre-existence in a Higher Nature is as clearly intimated340.
After what has already been said on the prominence of the doctrine of Christ’s Divinity in the Epistle to the Hebrews, it may suffice here to remark that the power341 of His Priestly Mediation as there insisted on, although exhibited in His glorified Humanity, does of itself imply a superhuman Personality342. This indeed is more than hinted at in the terms of the comparison which is instituted between Melchisedec and His Divine Antitype. History records nothing of the parents, of the descent, of the birth, or of the death of Melchisedec; he appears in the sacred narrative as if he had no beginning of days or end of life. In this he is ‘made like unto the Son of God,’ with His eternal Pre-existence and His endless days343. This Eternal Christ can save to the uttermost, because He has a Priesthood that is unchangeable, since it is based on His Own Everlasting Being344.
In short, if we bear in mind that, as the Mediator, Christ is God and Man, St. Paul’s language about Him is explained by its twofold drift. On the one hand, the true force of the distinction between ‘One God’ and ‘One Lord’ or ‘One Mediator’ becomes apparent in those passages, where Christ in His assumed Manhood is for the moment in contrast with the Unincarnate Deity of the Father345. On the other hand, it is only possible to read the great Christological passages of the Apostle without doing violence to the plain force of his language, when we believe that Christ is God. Doubtless the Christ of St. Paul is shrouded in mystery; but could any real intercourse between God and man have been re-established which should be wholly unmysterious? Strip Christ of His Godhead that you may denude Him of mystery, and what becomes, I do not say of particular texts, but of all the most characteristic teaching of St. Paul? Substitute, if you can, throughout any one Epistle the name of the first of the saints or of the highest among the angels, for the Name of the Divine Redeemer, and see how it reads. Accept the Apostle’s implied challenge. Imagine for a moment that Paul was crucified for you; that you were baptized in the name of Paul346; that wisdom, holiness, redemption, come from the Apostle; that the Church is not Christ’s, but Paul’s347. Conceive, if you can, that the Apostle ascends his Master’s throne; that he says anathema to any who loves not the Apostle Paul; that he is bent upon bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Paul; that he announces that in Paul are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; that instead of protesting ‘We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake348,’ he could say, Paul is ‘the end of the law to every one that believeth349,’ or ‘I beseech you for Paul’s sake and for the love of the Spirit350.’ What is it in the Name of Christ which renders this language, when applied to Him, other than intolerable? Why is it that when coupled with any other name, however revered and saintly, the words of Paul respecting Jesus Christ must seem not merely strained, but exaggerated and blasphemous? Is it not that truth answers to truth, that all through these Epistles, and not merely in particular assertions, there is an underlying idea of Christ’s Divinity which is taken for granted, as being the very soul and marrow of the entire series of doctrines? that when this is lost sight of, all is misshapen and dislocated? that when this is recognized, all falls into its place as the exhibition of infinite Power and Mercy, clothed in a vesture of humiliation and sacrifice, and devoted to the succor and enlightenment of man?
4. It is with the prominent features of St. Paul’s characteristic teaching as with the general drift of his great Epistles; they irresistibly imply a Christ Who is Divine.
(a) Every reader of the New Testament associates St. Paul with the special advocacy of the necessity of faith as the indispensable condition of man’s justification before God. What is this ‘faith’ of St. Paul? It is in experience the most simple of the movements of the soul; and yet, if analyzed, it turns out to be one of the most complex among the religious ideas in the New Testament. The word 'pistij' implies, first of all, both faithfulness and confidence351; but religious confidence is closely allied to belief, that is to say, to a persuasion that some unseen fact is true352. And this belief, having for its object the unseen, is opposed by St. Paul to ‘sight353.’ It is fed by, or rather it is in itself, a higher intuition than any of which nature is capable354; it is the continuous exercise of a new sense of spiritual truth with which man has been endowed by grace. It is indeed a spiritual second-sight; and yet reason has ancillary duties towards it. Reason may prepare the way of faith in the soul by removing intellectual obstacles to its claims; or she may arrange, digest, explain, systematize, and so express the intuitions of faith in accordance with the needs of a particular locality or time. This active intellectual appreciation of the object-matter of faith, which analyzes, discusses, combines, infers, is by no means necessary to the life of the Christian soul. It is a special grace or accomplishment, which belongs only to a small fraction of the whole body of the faithful. Their faith is supplemented by what St. Paul terms, in this peculiar sense, ‘knowledge355.’ Faith itself, by which the soul lives, is mainly passive, at least in respect of its intellectual ingredients: the believing soul may or may not apprehend with scientific accuracy that which its faith receives. The ‘word of knowledge,’ that is, the power of analysis and statement which is wielded by theological science, is thus a distinct gift, of great value to the Church, although certainly not of absolute necessity for all Christians. But ‘without faith’ itself ‘it is impossible to please God;’ and in its simplest forms, faith pre-supposes a proclamation of its object by the agency of preaching356. Sometimes indeed the word preached does not profit, ‘not being mixed with faith in them that hear it357.’ But when the soul in very truth responds to the message of God, the complete responsive act of faith is threefold. This act proceeds simultaneously from the intelligence, from the heart, and from the will of the believer. His intelligence recognizes the unseen object as a fact358. His heart embraces the object thus present to his understanding; his heart opens instinctively and unhesitatingly to receive a ray of heavenly light359. And his will too resigns itself to the truth before it; it places the soul at the disposal of the object which thus rivets its eye and conquers its affections360. The believer accordingly merges his personal existence in that of the object of his faith; he lives, yet not he, but Another lives in him361. He gazes on truth, he loves it, he yields himself to it, he loses himself in it. So true is it, that in its essence, and not merely in its consequences, faith has a profoundly moral character. Faith is not merely a perception of the understanding; it is a kindling of the heart, and a resolve of the will; it is, in short, an act of the whole soul, which, by one simultaneous complex movement, sees, feels, and obeys the truth presented to it.
Now, according to St. Paul, it is Jesus Christ Who is eminently the Object of Christian faith. The intelligence, the heart, the will of the Christian unite to embrace Him. How versatile and many-sided a process this believing apprehension of Christ is, might appear from the constantly varied phrase of the Apostle when describing it. Yet of faith in all its aspects Christ is the legitimate and constant Object. Does St. Paul speak as if faith were a movement of the soul towards an end? That end is Christ362. Does he hint that faith is a repose of the soul resting upon a support which guarantees its safety? That support is Christ363. Does he seem to imply that by faith the Christian has entered into an atmosphere which encircles and protects, and fosters the growth of his spiritual life? That atmosphere is Christ364. Thus the expression ‘the faith of Christ’ denotes the closest possible union between Christ and the faith which apprehends Him365. And this union, affected on man’s side by faith, on God’s by the instrumentality of the sacraments366, secures man’s real justification. The believer is justified by this identification with Christ, Whose perfect obedience and expiatory sufferings are thus transferred to him. St. Paul speaks of belief in Christ as involving belief in the Christian creed367; Christ has warranted the ventures which faith makes, by assuring the believer that He has guaranteed the truth of the whole object-matter of faith368. Faith then is the starting-point and the strength of the new life; and this faith must be pre-eminently faith in Christ369. The precious Blood of Christ, not only as representing the obedience of His Will, but as inseparably joined to His Majestic Person, is itself an object in which faith finds life and nutriment; the baptized Christian is bathed in it, and his soul dwells on its pardoning and cleansing power. It is Christ’s Blood; and Christ is the great Object of Christian faith370. For not Christ’s teaching alone, not even His redemptive work alone, but emphatically and beyond all else the Person of the Divine Redeemer is set forth by St. Paul before the eyes of Christians, as being That upon Which their souls are more especially to gaze in an ecstasy of chastened and obedient love371.
Now if our Lord had been, in the belief of His Apostle, only a created being, is it conceivable that He should have been thus put forward as having a right well-nigh to engross the vision, the love, the energy of the human soul? For St. Paul does expressly, as well as by implication, assert that the hope372 and the love373 of the soul, no less than its belief, are to center in Christ. He never tells us that a bare intellectual realization of Christ’s existence or of Christ’s work will avail to justify the sinner before God. By faith the soul is to be moving ever towards Christ, resting ever upon Christ, living ever in Christ. Christ is to be the end, the support, the very atmosphere of its life374. But how is such a relation possible, if Christ be not God? Undoubtedly faith does perceive and apprehend the existence of invisible creatures as well as of the Invisible God. Certainly the angels are discerned by faith; the Evil One himself is an object of faith. That is to say, the supernatural sense of the soul perceives these inhabitants of the unseen world in their different spheres of wretchedness and bliss. But angels and devils are not objects of the faith which saves humanity from sin and death. The blessed spirits command not that loyalty of heart and will which welcomes Christ to the Christian soul. The soul loves them as His ministers, not as its end. No creature can be the legitimate satisfaction of a spiritual activity so complex in its elements, and so soul-absorbing in its range, as is the faith which justifies. No created form can thus be gazed at, loved, obeyed in that inmost sanctuary of a soul, which is consecrated to the exclusive glory of the great Creator. If Christ were a creature, we may dare to affirm that St. Paul’s account of faith in Christ ought to have been very different from that which we have been considering. If, in the belief of St. Paul, Christ is only a creature, then it must be said that St. Paul, by his doctrine of faith in Christ, does lead men to live for the creature rather than for the Creator. In the spiritual teaching of St. Paul, Christ eclipses God if He is not God; since it is emphatically Christ’s Person, as warranting the preciousness of His work, Which is the Object of justifying faith. Nor can it be shown that the intellect and heart and will of man could conspire to give to God a larger tribute of spiritual homage than they are required by the Apostle to give to Christ.
(b) Again, how much is implied as to the Person of Christ by the idea of Regeneration, as it is brought before us in the writings of St. Paul! St. Paul uses the word itself only once375. But the idea recurs continually throughout his writings; it is not less prominent in them than is the idea of faith. This idea of regeneration is sometimes expressed by the image of a change of vesture376. The regenerate nature has put off the old man, with his deeds of untruthfulness and lust, and has put on the new or ideal man, the Perfect Moral Being, the Christ. Sometimes the idea of regeneration is expressed more closely by the image of a change of form377. The regenerate man has been metamorphosed. He is made to correspond to the Form of Christ; he is renewed in the Image of Christ; his moral being is reconstructed. Sometimes, however, and most emphatically, regeneration is paralleled with natural birth. Regeneration is a second birth. The regenerate man is a new creature378; he is a work of God379; he has been created according to a Divine standard380. But—and this is of capital importance—he is also said to be created in Christ Jesus381; Christ is the sphere of the new creation382. The instrument of regeneration on Christ’s part, according to St. Paul, is the sacrament of baptism383, to which the Holy Spirit gives its efficacy, and which, in the case of an adult recipient, must be welcomed to the soul by repentance and faith. Regeneration thus implies a double process, one destructive, the other constructive; by it the old life is killed, and the new life forthwith bursts into existence. This double process is effected by the sacramental incorporation of the baptized, first with Christ crucified and dead384, and then with Christ rising from the dead to life; although the language of the Apostle distinctly intimates that a continued share in the resurrection-life depends upon the co-operation of the will of the Christian385. But the moral realities of the Christian life, to which the grace of baptism originally introduces the Christian, correspond with, and are effects of, Christ’s Death and Resurrection. Regarded historically, these events belong to the irrevocable past. But for us Christians the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not merely past events of history; they are energizing facts from which no lapse of centuries can sever us; they are perpetuated to the end of time within the kingdom of the Redemption386. The Christian is, to the end of time, crucified with Christ387; he dies with Christ388; he is buried with Christ389; he is quickened together with Christ390; he rises with Christ391; he lives with Christ392. He is not merely made to sit together in heavenly places as being in Christ Jesus393, he is a member of His Body, as out of His Flesh and out of His Bones394. And of this profound incorporation baptism is the original instrument. The very form of the sacrament of regeneration, as it was administered to the adult multitudes who in the early days of the Church pressed for admittance into her communion, harmonizes with the spiritual results which it effects. As the neophyte is plunged beneath the waters, so the old nature is slain and buried with Christ. As Christ, crucified and entombed, rises with resistless might from the grave which can no longer hold Him, so, to the eye of faith, the Christian is raised from the bath of regeneration radiant with a new and supernatural life. His gaze is to be fixed henceforth on Christ, Who, being raised from the dead, dieth no more. The Christian indeed may fail to persevere; he may fall from this high grace in which he stands. But he need not do so; and meanwhile he is bound to account himself as ‘dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord395.’
This regenerate or Christian life is further described by two most remarkable expressions. The Apostle speaks sometimes of Christians being in Christ396; sometimes of Christ being in Christians397. The most recent criticism refuses to sanction the efforts which in former years have been made to empty these expressions of their literal and natural force. Hooker has observed that it is ‘too cold an interpretation whereby some men expound being in Christ to import nothing else but only that the selfsame nature which maketh us to be men is in Him, and maketh Him man as we are. For what man in the world is there which hath not so far forth communion with Jesus Christ398?’ Nor will it suffice to say that in such phrases as are here in question, ‘Christ’ means only the moral teaching of Christ, and that a Christian is ‘in Christ’ by the force of a mere intellectual loyalty to the Sermon on the Mount. The expression is too energetic to admit of this treatment; it resists any but a literal explanation. By a vigorous metaphor an enthusiastic Platonist might perhaps speak of his ‘living in’ Plato, meaning thereby that his whole intellectual activity is absorbed by and occupied with the recorded thought of that philosopher. But he would scarcely say that he is ‘in’ Plato; since such a phrase would imply not merely an intellectual communion with Plato’s mind, but an objective inherence in his nature or being. Still less possible would it be to adopt the alternative phrase, and say that Plato is ‘in’ the student of Plato. When St. Paul uses these expressions to denote a Christian’s relation to Christ, he plainly is not recording any subjective impression of the human mind; he is pointing to an objective and independent fact, strictly peculiar to the kingdom of the Incarnation. The regenerate Christian is as really ‘in’ Christ, as every member of the human family is ‘in’ our first parent Adam399. Christ is indeed much more to the Christian than is Adam to his descendants; Christ is the sphere in which the Christian moves and breathes; but Christ is also the Parent of that new nature in which he shares; Christ is the Head of a Body, whereof he is really a member; nay, the Body of which he is a member is itself Christ400. From Christ, risen, ascended, glorified, as from an exhaustless storehouse, there flow powers of unspeakable virtue401; and in this life-stream the believing and baptized Christian is bathed and lives. And conversely, Christ lives in the Christian; the soul and body of the Christian are the temple of Christ; the Christian is well assured that Jesus Christ is in him, except he be reprobate402.
My brethren, what becomes of this language if Jesus Christ be not truly God? No conceivable relationship to a human teacher or to a created being will sustain its weight. If it be not a mass of crude, vapid, worthless, misleading metaphor, it indicates relationship with One Who is altogether higher than the sons of men, altogether higher than the highest archangel. It is true that we are in Him, by being joined to His Human Nature; but what is it which thus makes His Human Nature a re-creative and world-embracing power? Why is it that if any man be in Christ, there is a new creation403 of his moral being? And how can Christ really be in us, if He is not one with the Searcher of hearts? Surely He only Who made the soul can thus sound its depths, and dwell within it, and renew its powers, and enlarge its capacities. If Christ be not God, must not this renewal of man’s nature rest only on an empty fiction, must not this regeneration of man’s soul be but the ecstasy of an enthusiastic dreamer?
(c) It would, then, be a considerable error to recognize the doctrine of our Lord’s Divinity only in those passages of St. Paul’s writings which distinctly assert it. The indirect evidence of the Apostle’s hold upon the doctrine is much wider and deeper than to admit of being exhibited in a given number of isolated texts; since the doctrine colors, underlies, interpenetrates the most characteristic features of his thought and teaching. The proof of this might be extended almost indefinitely; but let it suffice to observe that the doctrine of our Lord’s Divinity is the key to the greatest polemical struggle of the Apostle’s whole life. Of themselves, neither the importation of Jewish ceremonial, nor even the disposition to sacrifice the Catholicity of the Church to a petty nationalism, would fully account for the Apostle’s attitude of earnest hostility to those Judaizing teachers whom he encountered at Corinth, in Galatia, and, in a somewhat altered guise, at Colossae and at Ephesus. For, in point of fact, the Judaizers implied more than they expressly asserted. They implied that Christ’s religion was not of so perfect and absolute a character as to make additions to it an irreverent impertinence. They implied that they did its Founder no capital wrong, when, instead of recognizing Him as the Savior of the whole human family, they practically purposed to limit the applicability of His work to a narrow section of it. They implied that there was nothing in His majestic Person which should have forbidden them to range those dead rites of the old law, which He had fulfilled and abolished, side by side with the Cross and Sacraments of Redemption. The keen instinct of the Apostle detected the wound thus indirectly but surely aimed at his Master’s honor; and St. Paul’s love for Christ was the exact measure of his determined opposition to the influence and action of the Judaizers. If the Judaizers had believed in the true Divinity of Jesus, they could not have returned to the ‘weak and beggarly elements’ of systems which had paled and died away before the glories of His Advent. If they had fully and clearly believed Jesus to be God, that faith must have opposed an insurmountable barrier to these reactionary yearnings for ‘the things which had been destroyed.’ Their attempt to re-introduce circumcision into the Galatian Churches was a reflection upon the glory of Christ’s finished work, and so, ultimately, upon the transcendent dignity of His Person. They knew not, or heeded not, that they were members of a kingdom in which circumcision and uncircumcision were insignificant accidents, and in which the new creation of the soul by the atoning and sacramental grace of the Incarnate Savior was the one matter of vital import404. Although they had not denied Christ in terms, yet He had become of no effect to them; and the Apostle sorrowfully proclaimed that as many of them as were justified by the law had fallen from grace405. They had practically rejected the plenary efficacy of Christ’s saving and re-creating power; they had implicitly denied that He was a greater than Moses. Their work did not at once perish from among men. For the Judaizing movement bequeathed to the Churches of the Lesser Asia many of those theological influences which were felt by later ages in the traditional temper of the School of Antioch; while outside the Church it was echoed in the long series of Humanitarian mutterings which culminated in the blasphemies of Paulus of Samosata. It must thus be admitted to figure conspicuously in the intellectual ancestry of the Arian heresy; and St. Paul, not less than St. John, is an apostolical representative of the cause and work of Athanasius.
Although the foregoing observations may have taxed your indulgent patience somewhat severely, they furnish at best only a sample of the evidence which might be brought to illustrate the point before us. But enough will have been urged to dispose of the suspicion, that St. John’s belief and teaching respecting the Divinity of Jesus Christ was only an intellectual or spiritual peculiarity of that Apostle. If the form and clothing of St. John’s doctrine was peculiar to him, its substance was common to all the Apostles of Jesus Christ. Just as the titles and position assigned to Jesus Christ in the narrative of the fourth Gospel are really in harmony with the powers which He wields and with the rights which He claims in the first three Evangelists, so St. John’s doctrine of the Eternal Word is substantially one with St. Paul’s doctrine of the ‘Image of the Father,’ and with his whole description of the redemptive work of Christ, and of the attitude of the Christian soul towards Him. St. John’s fuller statements do but supply the key to the fervid doxologies of St. Peter, and to the profound and significant reverence of St. James. Indeed from these Apostles he might seem to differ in point of intellectual temper and method, even less than he differs from St. Paul. Between St. Paul and St. John how great is the contrast! In St. Paul we are struck mainly by the wealth of sacred thought; in St. John by its simplicity. St. Paul is versatile and discursive; St. John seems to be fixed in the entranced bliss of a perpetual intuition. St. Paul is a dialectician who teaches us by reasoning; he refutes, he infers, he makes quotations, he deduces corollaries, he draws out his demonstrations more or less at length, he presses impetuously forward, reverently bending before the great dogmas which he proclaims, yet moving in an atmosphere of perpetual conflict. St. John speaks as if the highest life of his soul was the wondering study of one vast Apocalypse: he teaches, not by demonstrating truths, but by exhibiting his contemplations; he states what he sees; he repeats the statement, he inverts it, he repeats it once more; he teaches, as it seems, by the exquisite tact of scarcely disguised but uninterrupted repetition, which is justified because there is no higher attainable truth than the truth which he repeats. St. Paul begins with anthropology, St. John with theology; St. Paul often appeals to theology that he may enforce truths of morals; St. John finds the highest moral truth in his most abstract theological contemplations. St. Paul usually describes the redemptive gift of Christ as Righteousness, as the restoration of man to the true law of his being; St. John more naturally contemplates it as Life, as the outflow of the Self-existent Being of God into His creatures through the quickening Humanity of the Incarnate Word. In St. Paul the ethical element predominates, in St. John the mystical. St. John is more especially the spiritual ancestor of such fathers as was St. Gregory Nazianzen; St. Paul of such as St. Augustine. It may be said, with some reservations, that St. Paul is the typical Apostle of Western, as St. John is of Eastern Christendom; that the contemplative side of the Christian life finds its pattern in St. John, the active in St. Paul. Yet striking as are such differences of spiritual method and temper, they are found in these great apostles side by side with an entire unity of teaching as to the Person of our Lord. ‘Certainly,’ says Neander, with deep truth, ‘it could be nothing merely accidental which induced men so differently constituted and trained as Paul and John to connect such an idea [as that of Divinity] with the doctrine of the Person of Christ. This must have been the result of a higher necessity, which is founded in the nature of Christianity, in the power of the impression which the life of Christ had made on the lives of men, in the reciprocal relation between the appearance of Christ and the archetype that presents itself as an inward revelation of God in the depths of the higher self-consciousness. And all this has found its point of connection and its verification in the manner in which Christ, the Unerring Witness, expressed His consciousness of the indwelling of the Divine Essence with Him406.’
This is indeed the only reasonable explanation of the remarkable fact before us, namely, that the persecutor who was converted on the road to Damascus, and the disciple who had laid on Christ’s breast at supper, were absolutely agreed as to the Divine prerogatives of their Master. And if we, my brethren, have ever been tempted to think that a creed like that of St. John befits only a contemplative or mystic life, alien to the habits of our age and to the necessities of our position, let us turn our eyes towards the great Apostle of the Gentiles. It would be difficult, even in this busy day, to rival St. Paul’s activity; and human weakness might well shrink from sharing his burden of pain and care. It is given to few to live ‘in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils from a man’s own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren407,’ for a purely unselfish object. Few rise to the heroic scope of a life passed ‘in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness408.’ But this is certain,—that at many lower levels of moral existence, there is much to be done, and much, sooner or later, to be endured, which we can only do manfully and bear meekly in the strength of the Apostle’s great conviction. If St. Paul can suffer the loss of all things that at the last he may win Christ, if he can do all things through One That strengtheneth him, it is because he is consciously reaching towards or leaning on the arm of a Savior Who is God as well as Man. And if we, looking onward to the unknown changes and chances of this mortal life, and beyond them, to death, would fain live and die like Christians, we too must see to it that we fold to our inmost souls that central truth of the Christian creed which was the strength and joy of the first servants of Christ. We too must believe and confess, that that Human Friend Whose words enlighten us, Whose Blood cleanses us, Whose Sacraments have renewed and even now sustain us, is in the truth of His Higher Nature none other and no less than the Unerring, the All-merciful, the Almighty God.
1. The Apocalypse was probably written immediately after Domitian’s persecution of the Church. Antipas had been martyred at Pergamos. (Rev. ii. 13.) St. John saw the souls of martyrs who had been beheaded with the axe; 'eidon taj yuxaj twn pepelekismenwn dia thn marturian Ihsou.' (Rev. xx. 4.) This was the Roman custom at executions. In the persecution under Nero other and more cruel kinds of death had been inflicted. The Bishops of Pergamos (Ibid. ii. 13) and Philadelphia (Ibid. iii. 8) had confessed Christ. St. Clement of Rome alludes to the violence of this persecution. (Ep. ad Cor. 6.) The Apostle himself was banished to Patmos.
3. He speaks of 'aireseij' in the sense of sectarian movements tending to or resulting in separation from the Church, as a form of evil which becomes the unwilling instrument of good (1 Cor. xi. 19). And 'aireseij' are thus classed among the works of the flesh (Gal. v. 20). Using the word in its sense of dogmatic error on vital points, St. Paul bids Titus reject a ‘heretic’ after two warnings from the communion of the Church: 'airetikon anqrwpon meta mian kai deuteran nouqesian paraitou' (Tit. iii. 10). On the inviolate sacredness of the apostolical doctrine, cf. Gal. i. 8: 'ean hmeij h aggeloj ec ouranou euaggelizhtai umin par o euhggelisameqa umin, anaqema estw.' Cf. 2 Pet. ii. 1.
4. 1 St. John ii. 22: 'tij estin o yeusthj, ei mh o arnoumenoj oti Ihsouj ouk estin o Xristoj; outoj estin o antixristoj, o arnoumenoj ton Patera kai ton Uion. paj o arnoumenoj ton Uion, oude ton Patera exei.' Cf. Ibid. iv. 3; 2 St. John 7.
5. St. Paul associates himself with the other apostles as bearing the stress a common confessorship for Christ (2 Cor. xii. 12). The apostles are, together with the prophets, the foundations of the Church (Eph. ii. 20). The apostles are first in order (Eph. iv. 11). Although the grace of God in himself had labored more abundantly than all the apostles, St. Paul terms himself the least of the apostolic college (1 Cor. xv. 9). The equality of the Gentile believers in Christ with the Jewish believers was a truth made known to St. Paul by special revelation, and he called it his Gospel; but it implied no properly doctrinal difference between himself and the apostles of the circumcision. The harmonious action of the apostles as a united spiritual corporation is implied in such passages as 2 Pet. iii. 2, St. Jude 17; and neither of these passages affords ground for Baur’s inference respecting the post-apostolic age of the writer. In 2 St. Pet. iii. 15, 16, St. Peter distinguishes between the real mind of ‘our beloved brother Paul’ as being in perfect agreement with his own, and the abuse which had been made by teachers of error of certain difficult truths put forward in the Pauline Epistles: 'dusnohta tina, a oi amaqeij kai asthriktoi streblousin wj kai taj loipaj grafaj, proj thn idian autwn apwleian.'
7. And yet in these five Epistles an immediate practical purpose is generally discernible. In the Romans the Apostle is harmonizing the Jewish and Gentile elements within the Catholic Church, by showing that each section is equally indebted to faith in Jesus Christ for a real justification before God. In the Galatians he is opposing this same doctrinal truth to the destructive and reactionary theory of the Judaizers. In the Ephesians and Colossians he is meeting the mischievous pseudo-philosophy and Cabbalism of the earliest Gnostics, here positively and devotionally, there polemically, by insisting on the dignity of our Lord’s Person, and the mystery of His relation to the Church. In the Hebrews, written either by St. Paul himself or by St. Luke under his direction, our Lord’s Person and Priesthood are exhibited in their several bearings as a practical reason against apostasy to Judaism (it would seem) of an Alexandrian type.
8. 1 Thess. iii. 10: 'nuktoj kai hmeraj uper ek perissou deomenoi eij to idein umwn to proswpon, kai katartisai ta usterhmata thj pistewj umwn.' The Apostle desires to see the Roman Christians, not that he may teach them any supplementary truths, but to confirm them in their existing belief ('eij to sthrixqhnai umaj,' Rom. i. 11) by the interchange of spiritual sympathies with himself. See 1 Cor. xv. 1; Gal. i. 11, 12, iv. 13, I4; 1 Thess. ii. 2; 2 Thess. ii. 15. Compare 1 St. John ii. 21: 'ouk egraya umin, oti ouk oidate thn alhqeian, all oti oidate authn.'
9. Baur, Vorlesungen, uber N. T. Theologie, p. 277: ‘In dem Brief Jacobi dagegen begegnet uns nun eine auf den Mittelpunkt der paulinischen Lebre losgehende Opposition. Dem paulinischen Hauptsatz Röm. iii. 28: 'dikaiousqai pistei anqrwpon, xwrij ergwn nomou' wird nun hier der Satz entgegengestellt, Jac. ii. 24: 'oti ec ergwn dikaioutai anqrwpoj, kai ouk ek pistewj monon.' Alle Versuche, die man gemacht hat, um der Anerkennung der Thatsache zu entgehen, dass ein directer Widerspruch zwischen diesen beiden Lehrbegriffen stattfinde und der Verfasser des Jacobusbriefs die paulinische Lehre zum unmittelbaren Gegenstand seiner Polemik mache, sind vollig vergeblich.’ In his Christenthum (p. 122) Baur speaks in a somewhat less peremptory sense. St. James ‘bekampft eine einseitige, für das praktische Christenthum nachtheilige Auffassung der paulinischen Lehre.’
10. Baur, Christenthum, p. 122: ‘Der Brief des Jacobus, wie unmoglich verkannt werden kann, die paulinische Rechtfertigungslehre voraussetzt, so kann er auch nur eine antipaulinische, wenn auch nicht unmittelbar gegen den Apostel selbst gerichtete Tendenz haben.’
11. Messmer, Erkl. des Jacobus-briefes, p. 38: ‘Der glaube ist bei Jacobus nichts anders aIs die Annahme, der Besitz oder auch das leere Bekenntniss der christlichen Wahrheiten (sowohl der Glaubens-als-Sitten-wahrheiten,) Resultat des blossen Hörens und eigentlich bloss in der Erkenntniss liegend....Ein solcher Glaube kann für sich, wie ein unfruchtbarer Keim, vollig wirkungslos für das Leben in Menschen liegen, oder auch in leeren Gefuhlen bestehen; er ist nichts als Namen-und-Scheinchristenthum, das keine Heiligkeit hervorbringt....Das, was diesem Glauben erst die Seele einhaucht, ist die gottliche Liebe, durch welche der Wille und alle Krafte des Menschen zum Dienste des Glaubens gefangen genommen werden.’
13. Cor. xiii. 2: 'ean exw pasan thn pistin, wste orh meqistanein, agaphn de mh exw, ouden eimi.' The 'gnosij' of 1 Cor. viii. i seems to be substantially identical with the bare 'pistij' denounced by St. James, although the former was probably of a more purely scientific and intellectual character. The 'agaph' of 1 Cor. viii. 1 is really the 'pistij di agaphj energoumenh' of Gal. v. 6.
14. After making reference to Luther’s designation of this Epistle as an ‘Epistle of straw,’ a modern French Protestant writer proceeds as follows: ‘Nous-memes, nous ne pouvons considérer la doctrine de Jacques ni comme bien logique, ni comme suffisante; nous y voyons la grande pensée de Jésus rétrécie et appauvrie par le principe légal du mosaisme. Le christianisme de Jacques n’était qu’a demi émancipé des entraves de Ia Ioi; c’était un degré inférieur du Christianisme, et qui ne contenait pas en germe tous les développements futurs de la vérité chrétienne. Il est douteux que cette Epitre ait jamais converti personne.’ Premieres Transformations du Christianisme, par A. Coquerel fils. Paris, 1866. (p. 65.)
15. St. James i. 23: 'ei tij akroathj logou esti kai ou poihthj. outoj eoiken andri katanoounti to proswpon thj genesewj autou en esoptrw; katenohse gar eauton, kai apelhluqe, kai euqewj epelaqeto opoioj hn.'
19. St. James i. 25: 'o de parakuyaj eij nomon teleion ton thj eleuqeriaj, kai parameinaj, outoj ouk akroathj epilhsmonhj genomenoj, alla poihthj ergou, outoj makarioj en th poihsei autou estai.' Ibid. ii. 12: 'outw laleite kai outw poieite, wj dia nomou eleuqeriaj mellontej krinesqai.' Messmer in loc.: ‘Gesetz der Freiheit, weil es nicht mehr em bloss ausserliches knechtendes Gebot ist, wie das alte Gesetz, sondern mit dem innerlich umgewandelten Willen uebereinstimmt, wir also nicht mehr aus Zwang, sondern mit freier Liebe dasselbe erfullen.’
20. St. James ii. 8: 'ei mentoi nomon teleite basilikon, kata thn grafhn, Agaphseij ton plhsion sou wj seauton, kalwj poieite.' This compendium of the Christian’s whole duty towards his neighbor, as enjoined by our Blessed Lord (St. Matt. xxii. 39; St. Mark xii. 31), is not a mere republication of the Mosaic precept (Lev. xix. 18). In the latter the ‘neighbor’ is apparently ‘one of the children of thy people;’ in the former it includes any member of the human family, since it embraced even those against whom the Jew had the strongest religious prepossessions. (St. Luke x. 29, sqq.) This injunction of a love of man as man, according to the measure of each man’s love of self, is the law of the true King of humanity, Jesus Christ our Lord.
23. Ibid. ver. 18: 'boulhqeij apekuhsen hmaj logw alhqeiaj, eij to einai hmaj aparxhn tina twn autou ktismatwn. apokuein' is elsewhere used of the female parent. Hence it indicates the tenderness of the Divine love, as shown in the new birth of souls; just as 'boulhqeij' points to the freedom of the grace which regenerates them, and 'aparxhn tina twn ktismatwn' to the end and purpose of their regeneration. Compare St. John i. 12, 13: 'osoi de elabon auton..ek Qeou egennhqhsan.'
24. St. James i. 21: 'en prauthti decasqe ton emfuton logon, ton dunamenon swsai taj yuxaj umwn.' Messmer in loc.: ‘Die Offenbarung heisst hier das eingepflanzte, eingewachsene Wort; namlich bei der Wiedergeburt durch die christliche Lehre eingepflanzt. Wenn nun von einem Aufnehmen der eingepflanzten Lehre die Rede ist, so ist das naturlich nicht die erste Aufnahme, sondern vielmehr das immer innigere Insichhineinnehmen und Aneignen derselben und das Sichhineinleben in dieselbe.’ See too Dean Alford in loc.: ‘The Word whose attribute and 'areth' it is to be 'emfutoj,' and which is 'emfutoj,' awaiting your reception of it, to spring up and take up your being into it and make you new plants.’
25. Baur admits that ‘dem Verfasser des Briefs auch die paulinische Verinnerlichung des Gesetzes nicht fremd, indem er nicht blos das Gebot der Liebe als konigliches Gesetz bezeichnet, sondern auch von einem Gesetze der Freiheit spricht, zu welchem ihm das Gesetz nur dadurch geworden sein kann, dass er, der Aeusserlichkeit des Gesetzes gegenuber sich innerlich ebenso frei von ihm wusste, wie der Apostel Paulus von seinem Standpunkt aus.’ Christenthum, p. 122.
28. St. James iv. 12: 'eij estin o nomoqethj kai krithj o dunamenoj swsai kai apolesai.' ('kai krithj' is omitted by text recept., inserted by A. B. aleph.) So De Wette: ‘Einer ist der Gesetzgeber und Richter, der da vermag zu retten und zu verderben.’ Cf. Alford in loc., who quotes this.
29. The following are his references to the Sermon on the Mount. St. James i. 2; St. Matt. v. 10-12. St. James i. 4; St. Matt. v. 48. St. James i. 5; St. Matt. vii. 7. St. James i. 9; St. Matt. v. 3. St. James i. 20; St. Matt. v. 22. St. James ii. 13; St. Matt. vi. 14, 15, v. 7. St. James ii. 14 sqq.; St. Matt. vii. 21 sqq. St. James iii. 17, 18; St. Matt. v. 9. St. James iv. 4; St. Matt. vi. 24. St. James iv. 10; St. Matt. v. 3, 4. St. James iv. 11; St. Matt. vii. 1 sqq. St. James v. 2; St. Matt. vi. 19. St. James v. 10; St. Matt. v. 12. St. James v. 12; St. Matt. v. 33 sqq. And for other discourses of our Lord: St. James i. 14; St. Matt. xv. 19. St. James iv. 12; St. Matt. x. 28. Again, St. James v. 1-6; St. Luke vi. 24 sqq. See reff.; and Alford, vol. iv. p. 107, note.
31. St. James ii. 1: 'adelfoi mou, mh en proswpolhyiaij exete thn pistin tou Kuriou hmwn Ihsou Xristou thj dochj.' Here 'thj dochj' is best explained as a second genitive governed by 'Kuriou.' Dean Alford suggests that it may be an epithetal genitive, such as constantly follows the mention of the Divine Name.
53. Ibid. ii. 24: 'on o Qeoj anesthse, lusaj taj wdinaj tou qanatou, kaqoti ouk hn dunaton krateisqai auton up autou.' This ‘impossibility’ depended not merely on the fact that prophecy had predicted Christ’s resurrection, but on the dignity of Christ’s Person, implied in the existence of any such prophecy respecting Him.
58. Ibid. ver. 16: 'kai epi th pistei tou onomatoj autou, touton on qewreite kai oidate, esterewse to onoma autou.' Ibid. iv. 10: 'gnwston estw pasin umin kai panti tw law Israhl, oti en tw onomati Ihsou Xristou tou Nazwraiou, on umeij estaurwsate, on o Qeoj hgeiren ek nekrwn, en toutw outoj paresthken enwpion umwn ugihj.'
60. 1 St. Pet. i. 1, 2: 'eklektoij parepidhmoij diasporaj,....kata prognwsin Qeou Patroj, en agiasmw Pneumatoj, eij upakohn kai rantismon aimatoj Ihsou Xristou.' 2 St. Pet. i. 1 : 'toij isotimon umin laxousi pistin.'
63. 1 St. Pet. i. 11: 'to en autoij Pneuma Xristou, promarturomenon ta eij Xriston paqhmata, kai taj meta tauta docaj.' Here 'Xristou' is a genitive of the subject. Olshausen: ‘Christus ist dem Petrus vor seiner Erscheinung ein real Existirender, und wirkt selbst durch seinen Geist in den Propheten die Weissagung von sich.’ See Huther and Wiesinger in loc.
64. 1 St. Pet. i. 10, 11: 'peri hj swthriaj ecezhthsan kai echreunhsan profhtai oi peri thj eij umaj xaritoj profhteursantej, ereunwntej eij tina h poion kairon edhlou to en autoij Pneuma Xristou.' Ibid. ver. 12: 'oij apekalufqh oti oux eautoij, hmin de dihkonoun auta, a nun anhggelh umin.'
66. 1 St. Pet. ii. 9, 10: 'umeij de genoj eklekton, basileion ierateuma, eqnoj agion, laoj eij peripoihsin, opwj taj aretaj ecaggeilhte tou ek skotouj umaj kalesantoj eij to qaumaston autou fwj; oi pote ou laoj, nun de laoj Qeou; oi ouk hlehmenoi, nun de elehqentej.' Ibid. ver. 5: 'wj liqoi zwntej oikodomeisqe, oikoj pneumatikoj, ierateuma agion, anenegkai pneumatikaj qusiaj euprosdektouj tw Qew dia Ihsou Xristou.'
71. Ibid. iii. 15: 'Kurion de ton Xriston agiasate en taij kardiaij umwn.' That 'Xriston' and not 'Qeon' is the true reading here, see Scrivener, Introduction to Crit. N. T. p. 456. Cf. Isa. viii. 13. Isaiah is quoted again in 1 St. Pet. ii. 8.
72. 1 St. Pet. ii. 3: 'eiper egeusasqe oti xrhstoj o Kurioj.' St. Peter is using the Psalmist’s language in reference to Jehovah (Ps. xxxiv. 8), but the context shows him to be speaking of Christ. Cf. Heb. vi. 4: 'geusamenouj te thj dwreaj thj epouraniou.' There is possibly in both passages an indirect reference to sacramental communion.
84. St. John i. 29: 'ide o amnoj tou Qeou, o airwn thn amartian tou kosmou.' It is impossible to doubt that the sacrificial rather than the moral ideas associated with the ‘Lamb’ are here in question. See Alford in loc.
85. Acts xx. 28: 'poimainein thn ekklhsian tou Qeou, hn periepoihsato dia tou idiou aimatoj.' 1 Cor. v. 7: 'to pasxa hmwn etuqh Xristoj.' Heb. ix. 12: 'dia tou idiou aimatoj eishlqen efapac eij ta agia, aiwnian lutrwsin euramenoj.'
86. 1 St. John i. 7: 'to aima Ihsou Xristou tou Uiou autou kaqarizei hmaj apo pashj amartiaj.' Rev. i. 5: 'tw agaphsanti hmaj kai lusanti hmaj apo twn amartiwn hmwn en tw aimati autou....autw h doca kai to kratoj eij touj aiwnaj twn aiwnwn. amhn.' Ibid. v. 9: 'acioj ei labein to biblion, kai anoicai taj sfragidaj autou; oti esfaghj kai hgorasaj tw Qew hmaj en tw aimati sou.'
87. Peter expressly alludes to our Lord’s Human Body (1 St. Pet. ii. 24, iii. 18, iv. 1), and to His Human Soul, when descending to preach to the spirits in prison (Ibid. iii. 18), after Its separation from His Body at death.
89. Ibid. ver. 23: 'anagegennhmenoi ouk ek sporaj fqarthj, alla afqartou, dia logou zwntoj Qeou kai menontoj eij ton aiwna.' By identifying the 'logoj' here with the 'rhma' (ver. 25) that proclaims Him, Baur maintains his paradox, that in St. Peter’s Epistles the written word is substituted for, and does the work of, the Person of Christ in St. Paul’s writings. Vorlesungen, p. 296.
92. Ibid. iv. 11: 'ina en pasi docazhtai o Qeoj dia Ihsou Xristou, w estin h doca kai to kratoj eij touj aiwnaj twn aiwnwn. amhn.' Here 'w' is naturally referred to 'Ihsou Xristou' which immediately precedes it. See, however, Huther, in loc.
93. For an examination of the arguments which have been urged against the genuineness and authenticity of this Epistle, see Olshausen, Opuscula Theologica, pp. 1-88, and Canon Cook’s art. ‘Peter,’ in Smith’s Dict. Bibl.
107. Ibid. ver. 14: 'eidwj oti taxinh estin h apoqesij tou skhnwmatoj mou, kaqwj kai o Kurioj hmwn Ihsouj Xristoj edhlwse moi.' Here 'taxinh' seems to mean ‘soon,’ ‘not distant,’ rather than ‘rapid.’ Cf. St. John xxi. 18; but some independent revelation, made shortly before these words were written, is probably alluded to. Hegesippus, de Excidio Hierosol. lib. iii. 2; St. Ambros. Serm. contra Auxentium, de Basilicis tradendis, n. 13 in Epist. 21.
113. 2 St. Pet. i. 3: 'thj qeiaj dunamewj autou ta proj zwhn kai eusebeian dedwrhmenhj.' 'autou' apparently refers to 'Ihsou' (ver. 2), and is so distinguished from the Eternal Father 'tou kalesantoj hmaj' (ver. 3).
142. Phil. iii. 21: 'oj metasxhmatisei to swma thj tapeinwsewj hmwn,....summorfon tw swmati thj dochj autou, kata thn energeian tou dunasqai auton kai upotacai eautw ta panta.' 1 Cor. xv. 44: 'swma pneumatikon.'
148. Rom. v. 18, 19: 'ara oun wj di enoj paraptwmatoj, eij pantaj anqrwpouj, eij katakrima; outw kai di enoj diaiwmatoj, eij pantaj anqrwpouj, eij dikaiwsin zwhj. wsper gar dia thj parakohj tou enoj anqrwpou amartwloi katestaqhsan oi polloi, outw kai dia thj upakohj tou enoj dikaioi katastaqhsontai oi polloi.'
149. Rom. v. 12: 'di enoj anqrwpou h amartia eij ton kosmon eishlqe, kai dia thj amartiaj o qanatoj.' Ibid. ver. 17: 'ei gar en eni' ['tw tou enoj,' text. rec.] 'paraptwmati o qanatoj ebasileuse dia tou enoj, pollw mallon oi thn perisseian thj xaritoj kai thj dwreaj thj dikaiosunhj lambanontej, en zwh basileusousi dia tou enoj Ihsou Xristou.' Cf. Ibid. ver. 21.
151. Heb. ii. 14: 'epei oun ta paidia kekoinwnhke sarkoj kai aimatoj, kai autoj paraplhsiwj metesxe twn autwn, ina dia tou qanatou katarghsh ton to kratoj exonta tou qanatou, toutesti, ton diabolon.' Ibid. v. 1.
153. 1 Cor. viii. 6: 'eij Kurioj Ihsouj Xristoj.' Here however (1) 'Kurioj,' as contrasted with 'Qeoj,' implies no necessary inferiority; else we must say that the Father is not 'Kurioj;' cf. St. Chrys. de Incompr. Dei Nat. v. 2; in 1 Cor. x. 20, 21, 'Kurioj' is used of Christ in contrast with the demon-gods of heathendom: while (2) the clause 'di ou ta panta, kai hmeij di autou,' (which could not be restricted to our Lord’s redemptive work without great arbitrariness, since it plainly refers to His creation of the universe,) places Jesus Christ on a level with the Father. Compare the position of 'dia' between 'ec' and 'eij,' Rom. xi. 36; cf. Col. i. 16. Our Lord is here distinguished from the ‘One God,’ as being Human as well as Divine; cf. the relation of 'mesithj' to 'Qeoj' in 1 Tim. ii. 5. But the real antithesis lies not between 'eij Qeoj' and 'eij Kurioj,' but between the 'eij Qeoj o Pathr' and the 'qeoi polloi' of heathendom, and the 'eij Kurioj' and the heathen 'kurioi polloi': cf. ver. 5. Baur’s remarks on 1 Cor. viii. 6 (Vorlesungen, p. 193), which proceed upon the assumption that only four Epistles of St. Paul are extant, and therefore that Col. i. 16, 17 is nothing to the purpose, and which moreover endeavor to impose the plain redemptive reference of 2 Cor. v. 17, 18 upon this passage, are so capricious as to show very remarkably the strength and truth of the Catholic interpretation. Cf. Waterland, Works, ii. 54.
155. 1 Cor. xv. 28: 'otan de upotagh autw ta panta, tote kai autoj o Uioj upotaghsetai tw upotacanti autw ta panta, ina h o Qeoj ta panta en pasin.' That our Lord’s Humanity is the subject of 'upotaghsetai' is the opinion of St. Augustine (de Trin. i. c. 8), St. Jerome (adv. Pelag. i. 6), Theodoret (in loc.). If 'autoj o Uioj' means the Divine Son most naturally, the predicate 'upotaghsetai' is an instance of communicatio idiomatum (cf. Acts xx. 28; 1 Cor. ii. 8; Rom. viii. 32, ix. 5; Heb. vi. 6; St. John iii. 13); since it can only apply to a created nature. A writer who believed our Lord to be literally God (Rom. ix. 5) could not have supposed that, at the end of His mediatorial reign as Man, a new relation would be introduced between the Persons of the Godhead. The subordination ('kata tacin') of the Son is an eternal fact in the inner Being of God. See Lect. IV. p. 202. But the visible subjection of His Humanity (with Which His Church is so organically united as to be called ‘Christ’ 1 Cor. xii. 12) to the supremacy of God will be realized at the close of the present dispensation. Against the attempt to infer from this passage an 'apokatastasij' of men and devils, cf. Meyer in loc.; and against Pantheistic inferences from 'ta panta en pasin,' cf. Julius Muller, Lehre von d. Sunde, i. p. 157, quoted ibid.
156. There seems, however, to be a distinction between such visions and trances as those of 2 Cor. xii. 1-4; Acts xviii. 9; xxii. 17, and the appearance of Jesus Christ at midday, at St. Paul’s conversion, Acts ix. 17. Of this last St. Paul appears to speak more especially in 1 Cor. ix. 1, and xv. 8. Cf. Macpherson on the Resurrection, p. 330.
158. Ibid. xi. 36: 'oti ec autou kai di autou kai eij auton ta panta.' ‘Alles ist aus Gott (Urgrund), in sofern Alles aus Gottes Schopferkrafte hervorgegangen ist; durch Gott (Vermittelungsgrund), in sofern nichts ohne Gottes Vermittelung (continuirliche Einwirkung) existirt; für Gott (teleologische Bestimmung), in sofern Alles den Zwecken Gottes dient.’ Meyer in loc.
159. Baur, Vorlesungen, p. 205: ‘Auf dieser Auffassung der Idee Gottes beruht der Universalismus des Apostels, wie er diess in dem Satz ausspricht, dass Gott sowohl der Heiden als der Juden Gott sei. Rom. ii. 11, iii. 29, x. 12. Das Christenthum ist selbst nichts anderes (it is this, but it is a great deal more) als die Aufhebung alles Particularistischen, damit die reine absolute Gottes-Idee in der Menschheit sich verwirkliche, oder in ihr zum Bewusstsein komme.’ The Pantheistic touch of the last phrase does not destroy the general truth of the observation.
163. 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6: 'kai gar eiper eisi legomenoi qeoi, eite en ouranw, eite epi ghj' (the two spheres of polytheistic invention) 'wsper eisi qeoi polloi, kai kurioi polloi; all hmin eij Qeoj o Pathr, ec ou ta panta, kai hmeij eij auton.'
164. 1 Tim. i. 17: 'tw de basilei twn aiwnwn, afqartw, aoratw monw sofw Qew, timh kai doca eij touj aiwnaj twn aiwnwn.' Here 'monw sofw Qew' excludes current Gnostic claims on behalf of Aeons; in Rom. xvi. 27 (with which compare St. Jude 25) it contrasts the Divine Wisdom manifested in the plan of Redemption through Jesus Christ with human schemes and theories, whether Jewish or Gentile.
165. 1 Tim. vi. 15, 16: 'o makarioj kai monoj dunasthj, o basileuj twn basileuontwn, kai Kurioj twn kurieuontwn, o monoj exwn aqanasian, fwj oikwn aprositon, on eiden oudeij anqrwpwn, oude idein dunatai, w timh kai kratoj aiwnion, amhn.'
183. Baur suggests that 'eptwxeuse' need mean no more than that Christ was poor. (Vorlesungen, p. 193.) But ‘der Aorist bezeichnet das einst geschehene Eintreten des Armseins (denu 'ptwxeuein' heisst nicht arm werden, sondern arm sein), nicht das von Christo gefuhrte ganze Leben in Armuth und Niedrigkeit, wobei er gleichwohl reich an Gnade gewesen sei.’ (Meyer in 2 Cor. viii. 9.)
184. 1 Tim. iii. 16: 'efanerwqh en sarki.' Cf. Bishop Ellicott in loc. The bishop pronounces 'oj' to be the reading of the Codex A, ‘after minute personal inspection,’ and has adopted it in his text. Mr. Scrivener however has examined the Codex more recently, and with a different result. ‘On holding the leaf,’ he says, ‘up to the light one singularly bright hour, February 7, 1861, and gazing at it with and without a lens, with eyes which have something of the power and too many of the defects of a microscope, I saw clearly the tongue of the 'E' through the attenuated vellum, crossing the circle about two thirds up, (much above the thick modern line), the knob at its extremity falling without the circle. On laying down the leaf I saw immediately after (but not at the same moment) the slight shadow of the real ancient diameter, only just above the recent one.’ Still, on a review of the whole mass of external proof, particularly of the verdict of Codex aleph, and of the versions and Fathers, Mr. Scrivener decides for 'oj' as the probable reading although ‘he dares not pronounce 'Qeoj' a corruption.’ See the very full statement in his ‘Introduction to the Criticism of the N. T., 3rd ed.,’ pp. 637-642. If then it be admitted that the reading 'QS' is too doubtful to be absolutely relied on; in any case our Lord’s Preexistence lies in the 'efanerwqh' (1 St. John i. 2), which cannot without violence be watered down into the sense of Christ’s manifestation in the teaching and belief of the Church, as distinct from His manifestation in history.
187. Reuss, Theol. Chret. ii. 76, note. M. Reuss says that the Catholic interpretation of Rom ix. 5 is ‘l’explication la plus simple et la plus naturelle.’ ‘Man hat hier verschiedene Auswege gesucht, der Nothwendigkeit zu entgehen, [o] 'wn epi pantwn Qeoj' auf Christum zu beziehen; aber bei jedem bieten sie solche Schwierigkeiten dar, die immer wieder auf die einfachste und von der Grammatik gebotene Auslegung zuruckfuhren.’ (Usteri, Entwickelung des Paulinischen Lehrbegriffes, p. 309.) That the text was understood in the early Church to apply to Jesus Christ will appear from St. Iren. iii. 16. 3; Tert. adv. Prax. 13, 15; St. Hipp. c. Noet. 6; Origen in Rom. vii. 13; Conc. Ant. A. D. 269, ap. Routh, Reliq. Sacr. iii. 292; St. Athan. Orat. c. Ar. i. 10, iv. 1, sub init.; Theodoret, Haer. Fab. v. 14; St. Chrys. de Incompr. Dei Nat. v. 2; in Joan. hom. xxxiii. 1; in 1 Cor. hom. xx. 3; St. Cyr. Alex. Contr. Julianum, x. 328. It seems probable that any non-employment of so striking a passage by the Catholics during their earlier controversial struggles with the Arians is to be attributed to their fear of being charged with construing it in a Sabellian sense. (Cf. Olsh. in loc.; Reiche, Comm. ii. 268, note.) The language of the next age was unhesitating: 'eipen auton epi pantwn'...'Qeon'...'euloghton'...'exontej oun ton Xriston kai onta Qeon kai euloghton, autw proskunhswmen.' St. Procl. ad Arm. (Labbe, iii. 1231.) Wetstein erroneously assumed that those early fathers who refused to apply 'o epi pantwn Qeoj' to Christ would have objected to the predicate actually employed by the Apostle, 'epi pantwn Qeoj.' (Cf. Fritzsche, Comm. in Rom. i. p. 262 sqq.) And indeed Socinus himself (see Tholuck in loc.) had no doubt of the reference of this passage to Christ; although he explained it of a conferred, not of a ‘natural’ Divinity. (Cat. Rac. 159 sqq.) See too Dr. Vaughan, Comm. in loc., against the ‘harsh, evasive and most needless interpretation,’ which applies it to the Father.
188. Observe Rom. i. 3, where 'ek spermatoj Dabid kata sarka' is in contrast with 'Uiou Qeou...kata Pneuma Agiwsunhj.' Here as 'sarc' designates the lower human Nature in Christ, 'Pneuma Agiwsunhj' must mean His Higher Divine Nature, conceived of generally, according to which He is the Son of God. The Holy Spirit is nowhere called 'pneuma agiwsunhj' in the New Testament, while 'pneuma' is used of the Divine Nature in St. John iv. 24; 2 Cor. iii. 17; Heb. ix. 14. See Philippi in loc.; Lect. VI. p. 344, note.
189. As to the punctuation of this passage the early MSS. themselves of course determine nothing; but the citations and versions to which Lachmann generally appeals for the formation of his text are decisively in favor of referring 'o wn' to 'Xristoj.' The Sabellian use of the text to prove that the Father became Man, and the orthodox replies showing that this was not the sense of the passage, equally assume that the doxological clause refers to Christ. Nothing can with safety be inferred as to the received reading in the Church from the general and of course prejudiced statement of the Emperor Julian, that 'ton goun Ihsoun oute Pauloj etolmhsen eipein Qeon.' St. Cyril. cont. Jul. x. init., Op. tom. vi. p. 327. Besides CL (Tisch. ed. 8), two cursive MSS. of the twelfth century (5 and 47) interpose a punctuation after 'sarka,' and so raise the following clause into an independent doxology addressed to God the Father. But the construction which is thus rendered necessary (1) makes the participle 'wn' altogether superfluous. In 2 Cor. xi. 31, 'o wn euloghtoj eij touj aiwnaj' is an exactly parallel construction to that of Rom. ix. 5. (Cf. also Rom. i. 25.) It is instructive to observe the facility with which the natural force of the passage is at once recognized in the former and denied in the latter case (see Prof. Jowett in loc., and Baur, Vorlesungen, p. 194, who begs the question,--‘Christus ist noch wesentlich Mensch, nicht Gott’). There is no authority for transposing 'o wn' into 'wn o' (with Schlichting, Whiston, and Whitby), in order to evade the natural force of the participle. (2) The construction which the isolation of the clause renders necessary violates the invariable usage of Biblical Greek. ‘If the Apostle had wished to express “God, Who is over all, be blessed for ever,” he must, according to the unvarying usage of the New Testament and the LXX. (which follows the use of 'barak'), have placed 'euloghtoj' first, and written 'euloghtoj o wn k.t.l.' There are about forty places in the Old Testament and five in the New in which this formula of doxology occurs, and in every case the arrangement is the same, “Blessed be the God Who is over all, for ever.”’ (Christ. Rem. April 1856, p. 469.) In the only apparent exception, Ps. lxviii. 19, LXX. (cited by Winer, N. T. Gr. Eng. Tr. p. 573), 'Kurioj o Qeoj euloghtoj, euloghtoj Kurioj' the first 'euloghtoj' has no corresponding word in the Hebrew text, and if not interpolated is a paraphrastic clause, intended to concentrate rhetorical emphasis on the doxology of the usual form, which follows. Dean Alford observes that 1 Kings x. 6; 2 Chron. ix. 8; Job i. 21; Ps. cxii. 2, are not exceptions; ‘since in all of them the verb 'eih' or 'genoito' is expressed, requiring the substantive to follow it closely.’ We may be very certain that, if 'epi pantwn Qeoj' could be proved to be an unwarranted reading, no scholar would hesitate to say that 'o wn euloghtoj k.t.l.' should be referred to the proper name which precedes it.
190. Our Lord is not, we are reminded, called 'euloghtoj' elsewhere in the New Testament. But 'euloghmenoj' is certainly applied to Him, St. Matt. xxi. 9; St. Luke xix. 28; and as regards 'euloghtoj,' the limited number of the doxologies addressed to Him might account for the omission. The predicate could only be refused to Him on the ground of His being, in the belief of St. Paul, merely a creature; whereas St. Paul calls Him 'Qeoj,' Eph. v. 5. See Lect. VI. p. 340, note; Harless and Rückert in loc.; Col. ii. 2, 'tou Qeou Xristou;' Tisch. 8th ed., where the comma before 'Xristou' is unwarranted; and Tit. ii. 13, 'megaj Qeoj' (cf. note y, p. 319). It is arbitrary to maintain that no word can possibly be applied to a given subject because there is not a second instance of such application within a limited series of books. Even if the application of 'o wn epi pantwn Qeoj euloghtoj' to Christ were an 'ap. leg.,' it would be justified by the consideration that a writer who habitually thinks of Christ as God (Col. i. 15, 16, 17; Eph. i. 23; Rom. i. 7; 1 Cor. i. 3; Rom. x. 13; Phil. ii. 10, 11) would naturally call Him God in a passage designed to express in the most vivid terms the crowning privilege of Israel. Against 'epi pantwn Qeoj,' besides the foregoing objection, it is further urged that it cannot be applied to our Lord, Who, although consubstantial with, is subordinate to, the Eternal Father, and withal personally distinct from Him; cf. Eph. iv. 5; 1 Cor. viii. 6, where, however, see p. 309, note h. But St. Paul does not call our Lord 'o epi pantwn Qeoj'; the article would lay the expression open to a Sabellian construction; St. Paul says that Christ is 'epi pantwn Qeoj,' where the Father of course is not included among 'ta panta,' 1 Cor. xv. 27; and the sense corresponds substantially with Acts x. 36, Rom. x. 12. It asserts that Christ is internal to the Divine Essence, without denying His personal distinctness from, or His filial relation to, the Father. Cf. Alford in loc.; Usteri, Entwickelung des Paulinischen Lehrbegriffes, p. 309 sqq.; Olshausen, Comm. in loc.
191. Tit. ii. 13: 'prosdexomenoi thn makarian elpida kai epifaneian thj dochj tou megalou Qeou kai Swthroj hmwn Ihsou Xristou, oj edwken eauton uper hmwn.' ‘Nicht Gott und Christus, sondern bloss Christus gemeint ist; denn es ist von der herrlichen Wiederkunft Christi die Rede, und eine Erscheinung Gottes (of the Father) anzunehmen, ware ausser aller Analogie; auch bedurfte Gott der Vater nicht erst des erhebenden und preisenden Epithets 'megaj,' vielmehr deutet auch dieses auf Christum.’ (Usteri, Lehrbegriff, p. 310.) For St. Paul’s habitual association of 'epifaneia thj dochj' with Christ, cf. 2 Thess. ii. 8; 1 Tim. vi. 14: 2 Tim. i. 10; 2 Tim. iv. 1, 8. To these arguments Bishop Ellicott adds that the subsequent allusion to our Lord’s profound Self-humiliation accounts for St. Paul’s ascribing to Him, by way of reparation, ‘a title, otherwise unusual, that specially and antithetically marks His glory,’ and that two ante-Nicene writers, Clemens Alexandr. (Protrep. 7) and St. Hippolytus, together with the great bulk of post-Nicene fathers, although not all, concur in this interpretation. The bishop holds that grammatically there is a presumption in favor of this interpretation, but, on account of the defining genitive 'hmwn,' nothing more. Nevertheless, taking the great strength of the exegetical evidence into account, he sees in this text a ‘direct, definite, and even studied declaration of the Divinity of the Eternal Son.’ See his note; Wordsworth in loc.; Middleton, Greek Article, ed. Rose, p. 393; Pfleiderer Paulinismus, Kap. xi. p. 474.
193. Phil. ii. 6, 7. ‘Die Gnostiker sprachen von einem Aeon, welcher das absolute Wesen Gottes auf unmittelbare Weise erfassen wollte, und weil er so das an sich Unmogliche erstrebte aus dem 'plhrwma' in das 'kenwma' herabfiel. Dieser Aeon begieng so gleichsam einen Raub, well er, der in der Qualitat eines gottlichen Wesens an sich die Fahigkeit hatte, sich mit dem Absoluten zu vereinigen, diese Identitat, welche erst durch den ganzen Weltprocess realisirt werden konnte, gleichsam sprungweise, mit Einem Male, durch einen gewaltsamen Act, oder wie durch einen Raub an sich reissen wollte. So erhalt erst die bildliche Vorstellung eines 'arpagmoj' ihre eigentliche Bedeutung.’ (Baur, Vorlesungen, p. 266.) Compare, however, Meyer, Philipperbrief, p. 68, Anmerkung. Baur has spun a large web out of St. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. I. 2. i. 2. The notion that the Aeon sought to attain an identity with God,--and this assumption is necessary in order to construct a real parallel with St. Paul’s words,--has no foundation in the text of St. Irenaeus.
194. Cf. Bp. Ellicott in loc.; and in Aids to Faith, p. 436; Dollinger, First Age of the Church, p. 163. (E. T.) renders 'arpagmon' as ‘a spoil which was not His by right, and of which He might be deprived.’ 'arp.' is clearly a thing or state, not an action. Thus the description of the glory from which our Lord stooped ends at 'uparxwn;' the description of His condescension begins with 'oux arpagmon,' and 'all' has its full force.
195. The Arian gloss upon this text was this: 'oti qeoj wn elattwn oux hrpase to einai isa tw Qew tw megalw kai meizoni.' St. Chrysostom comments thus: 'Kai mikroj kai megaj Qeoj eni; kai ta Ellhnika toij thj ekklhsiaj dogmasin epeisagete;...Ei gar mikroj, pwj kai Qeoj;' (Hom. vi. in loc.) 'Morfh' is the ‘manner of existence;’ and only God could have the ‘manner of existence’ of God. Trench. Syn. N. T. p. 248. Cp. 'doca,' St. John xvii. 5. Of this 'morfh' (as distinct from Deity Itself) our Lord 'ekenwsen eauton.' The word 'uparxwn' points to our Lord’s ‘original subsistence’ in the splendor of the Godhead. The expression 'en morfh Qeou uparxwn' is virtually equivalent to 'to einai isa Qew.' See Dean Alford’s exhaustive note upon this passage.
199. 'prwtotokoj' was apparently preferred by St. Paul to 'prwtogonoj,' the favorite Alexandrian word, because it suggested that Christ was the true Messiah as well as the true Logos. Lightfoot, Colossians, p. 212.
200. As 'eikwn' here defines our Lord’s relation to God the Father, so 'prwtotokoj' defines His relation to the creatures. 'bouletai deicai oti pro pashj thj ktisewj estin o Uioj; pwj wn; dia gennhsewj; oukoun kai twn aggelwn proteroj, kai outwj, wste kai autoj ektisen autouj.' (Theophyl. in loc.) Christ is not the first of created spirits; He exists before them, and as One ‘begotten not made.’ ‘Der genit. 'pashj ktisewj' ist nicht Genit. partitiv. (obwohl diess noch de Wette fur unzweifelhaft halt), weil 'pasa ktisij' nicht die ganze Schopfung heisst, mithin nicht die Kategorie oder Gesammtheit aussagen kann, zu welcher Christus als ihr erstgebornes Individuum gehore: es heisst, jedwedes Geschopf; vrgl. z. 'pasa oikodomh,' Eph. ii. 21), sondern es ist der Genit. comparat.: der Erstgeborne in Vergleich mit jedem Geschopfe (s. Bernhardy, p. 139), d. h. eher geboren als jedes Geschöpf. Vrgl. Bahr z. St. u. Ernesti Ursprung d. Sünde, p. 241. Anders ist das Verhältniss Apoc. i. 5: 'prwtotokoj twn nekrwn,' wo 'twn nekrwn' die Kategorie anzeigt, vrgl. 'prwtotokoj en polloij adelfoij' (Rom. viii. 29). Unser Genit. ist ganz zu fassen wie der vergleichende Genit. bei 'prwtoj' Joh. i. 15, 30; Winer, p. 218; Fritzsche ad Rom. ii. p. 421. Das Vergleichungs-Moment ist das Verhaltniss des Zeit, und zwar in Betreff des Ursprungs: da aber letzterer bei jeder 'ktisij' anders ist als bei Christo, so ist nicht 'prwtoktistoj' oder 'prwtoplastoj' gesagt, welches von Christo eine gleiche Art der Entstehung wie von der Creatur anzeigen wurde, sondern 'prwtotokoj' gewahlt, welches in der Zeitvergleichung des Ursprungs die absonderliche Art der Entstehung in Betreff Christi anzeigt, dass er nämlich von Gott nicht geschaffen sei, wie die anderen Wesen, bei denen diess in der Benennung 'ktisij' liegt, sondern geboren, aus dem Wesen Gottes gleichartig hervorgegangen. Richtig Theodoret: 'oux wj adelfhn exwn thn ktisin, all wj pro pashj ktisewj gennhqeij.' Wortwidrig ist daher die Arianische Erklärung, dass Christus als das erste Geschopf Gottes bezeichnet werde.’ Meyer, Kolosserbrief, p. 184. See Lightfoot, Colossians. p. 212.
201. Schleiermacher’s desire to apply to the new creation, what is here said of the natural, illustrates his tendency ‘to expound the Bible by the verdict of his consciousness, instead of permitting his consciousness to be regulated by the Bible.’ Auberlen on the Divine Revelation, pt. 2. iv. 2. a.
202. Compare Rom. xi. 36: 'ec autou kai di autou kai eij auton ta panta.' As in this passage the Apostle is speaking of God, without hinting at any distinction of Persons within the Godhead, he writes 'ec autou,' not 'en autw.' The Eternal Father is the ultimate Source of all life, both intra and extra Deum; while the production of created beings depends immediately upon the Son. The other two prepositions—the last being theologically of most import—correspond in the two passages.
203. 'ektisqh' describes the act of creation; 'ektistai' points to creation as a completed and enduring fact. In 'en autw,' the preposition signifies that ‘in Christo beruhete (ursachlich) der Act der Schopfung, so dass die Vollziehung derselben in Seinen Person begrundet war, und ohne ihn nicht geschehen ware.’ Cf. St. John i. 3: 'xwrij autou egeneto oude en, o gegonen.' But although the preposition immediately expresses the dependence of created life upon Christ as its cause, it hints at the reason of this dependence, namely, that our Divine Lord is the causa exemplaris of creation, the 'kosmoj nohtoj,' the Archetype of all created things, ‘die Dinge ihrer Idee nach, Selbst, er tragt ihre Wesenheit in sich.’ (Olshausen in loc.)
204. Col. i. 17: 'kai autoj esti pro pantwn, kai ta panta en autw sunesthke.' Meyer in loc. ‘Und Er (Er eben), durch welchen und fur welchen 'ta panta ektistai,' hat eine fruhere Existenz als Alles, und das Sämmtliche besteht in ihm.....'pro pantwn' wie 'prwtotokoj' von der Zeit, nicht vom Range; wiederholt und nachdrucklich betont wird von P. die Praexistenz Christi. Statt 'esti' hatte er 'hn' sagen können (Joh. i. 1); jenes aber ist gesagt, weil Er die Permanenz des Seins Christi im Auge hat und darstellt, nicht aber historisch uber ihn berichten will, was nur in den Hulfssatzen mit 'oti' vers. 16. u. 19. geschieht.’ Cf. St. .John viii. 58.
205. Col. ii. 9: 'pan to plhrwma.' Meyer in loc.: ‘Wird durch 'thj qeothtoj' näher bestimmt, welches angiebt, was seiner ganzen Fulle nach, d. i. nicht etwa blos theilweise, sondern in seiner Gesammtheit, in Christo wohne....'h qeothj' die Gottheit (Lucian, Icarom. 9; Plut. Mor. p. 415, C.) das Abstractum von 'o Qeoj' ist zu unterscheiden von 'h qeiothj' dem Abstractum von 'qeioj' (Rom. i. 20; Sap. xviii. 9; Lucian de Calumn., 17). Jenes ist Deitas, das Gottsein, d. i. die göttliche Wesenheit, Gottheit; dieses aber die Divinitas, d. i. die gottliche Qualitat, Gottlichkeit.’ So Bengel: ‘Non modo divinae virtutes, sed ipsa divina natura.’ See too Abp. Trench, Syn. N. T. i. p. 8. Thus in this passage the 'plhrwma' must be understood in the metaphysical sense of the Divine Essence, even if in Col. i. 19 it is referred to the fulness of Divine grace. Contrast too the permanent fact involved in the present 'katoikei' of the one passage with the historical aorist 'eudokhse' of the other.
210. Ibid. iii. 5, 6: 'kai Mwshj men pistoj en olw tw oikw autou, wj qerapwn,....Xristoj de, wj uioj epi ton oikon autou, ou oikoj esmen hmeij.' The preceding words are yet more noteworthy: Moses and the house of Israel stand to Jesus Christ in the relation of creature to the Creator. 'pleionoj gar dochj outoj para Mwshn hciwtai, kaq oson pleiona timhn exei tou oikou o kataskeuasaj auton. paj gar oikoj kataskeuazetai upo tinoj; o de ta panta kataskeuasaj' (sc. Jesus Christ), 'Qeoj.' So too the 'apo Qeou zwntoj' of ver. 12 refers most naturally to our Lord, not to the Father.
212. Ibid. ii. 2: 'o di aggelwn lalhqeij logoj.' Acts vii. 38: 'meta tou aggelou tou lalountoj autw en tw orei Sina.' Ibid. ver. 53: 'oitinej elabete ton nomon eij diatagaj aggelwn.' Gal. iii. 19: 'o nomoj...proseteqh...diatageij di aggelwn.'
215. Ibid. ver. 3: 'ekaqisen en decia thj megalwsunhj en uyhloij.' The superiority of Christ to the Angels is already implied in the climax at Gal. iv. 14, while the elevation of Christ’s Manhood above all orders of Angelic life is taught in Eph. i. 20, 21.
217. Ibid. ver. 4: 'tosoutw kreittwn genomenoj twn aggelwn, osw diaforwteron par autouj keklhronomhken onoma.' As to 'genomenoj,' it will be borne in mind that the subject of the whole passage is the Word now truly Incarnate, and not, as is sometimes assumed, the pre-existent Logos alone. The 'genomenoj' would therefore refer to the exaltation of our Lord’s Humanity. (See Ebrard, Comm. in loc.) St. Cyril observes that it does not imply that in Christ’s superior natine He could be made superior to angels, Thes. p. 199.
221. Ibid. A. V. has ‘Express image of His Person.’ ‘So Beza, who dreaded Arianism, and accordingly used ‘Person’ instead of ‘Substance,’ from an apprehension that the latter rendering would here imply something inconsistent with the Homoousion.
232. This is indirectly recognized by those writers who would, for instance, deny the Pauline authorship of such Epistles as those to the Ephesians and Colossians, for this reason among others, that our Lord’s profound relations to the Church, as set forth in these Epistles, involve a doctrine of His Person, which they reject; cf. Baur, Vorlesungen uber N. T. Theologie, 272, sqq. Pfleiderer regards the Epistle to the Colossians as due to the later influence of Alexandrianism upon St. Paul’s doctrine; while that to the Ephesians, he says, belongs to the transition stage from ‘Paulinism’ to ‘Catholicism.’ ‘Paulinismus,’ 1873. pp. 366, 431 .
248. Ibid. ver. 28: 'poimainein thn ekklhsian tou Qeou' ['Kuriou,' Tisch. al.] 'hn periepoihsato dia tou aimatoj tou idiou.' See Dr. Wordswortn note in loc. In the third edition of his Greek Testament, Dean Alford restored the reading 'tou Qeou,' which he had abandoned for 'Kuriou' in the two former editions. See especially the note in his fifth edition. For 'Kuriou' are A, C, D, E; for 'Qeou,' B, aleph, Syr., Vulg. Compare Scrivener, Introduction to Criticism of the N. T., ed. 3, p. 620 sqq.
256. Ibid. xxii. 17: 'egeneto....proseuxomenou mou en tw ierw, genesqai me en ekstasei, kai idein auton legonta moi, Speuson kai ecelqe en taxei ec Ierousalhm.' Ibid. ver. 21: 'eij eqnh makran ecapostelw se.'
260. Rom. i. 7: 'xarij umin kai eirhnh apo Qeou Patroj hmwn kai Kuriou Ihsou Xristou.' 1 Cor. i. 3; 2 Cor. i. 2; Gal. i. 3; Eph. i. 2; Phil. i. 2; Col. i. 2; 1 Thess. i. 1; 2 Thess. i. 2; Philemon 3. ln 1 Tim. i. 2; 2 Tim. i. 2; 'eleoj' is inserted between 'xarij' and 'eirhnh,' probably because Timothy, on account of his ministerial responsibilities, needed the pitying mercy of God more than unordained Christians.
263. Rom. xvi. 20: 'h xarij tou Kuriou hmwn Ihsou Xristou meq umwn.' 1 Cor. xvi. 23; 2 Cor. xiii. 13. In Gal. vi. 18, 'meta tou pneumatoj umwn.' Phil. iv. 23; 1 Thess. v. 28. 2 Thess. ii. 16: 'autoj de o Kurioj hmwn Ihsouj Xristoj, kai o Qeoj kai Pathr hmwn, o agaphsaj hmaj kai douj paraklhsin aiwnian kai elpida agaqhn en xariti, parakalesai umwn taj kardiaj, kai sthricai umaj en panti logw kai ergw agaqw.' 2 Thess. iii. 18.
hlqen eij ton kosmon
And Ibid. iii. 16, from a hymn on our Lord’s Incarnation and triumph:—
'efanerwqh en sarki,
edikaiwqh en pneumati,]
ekhruxqh en eqnesin,
episteuqh en kosmw,
anelhfqh en doch.'
And 2 Tim. ii. 11-13, from a hymn on the glories of martyrdom:—
'ei sunapeqanomen, kai suzhsomen;
ei upomenomen, kai sumbasileusomen;
ei arnoumeqa, kakeinoj arnhsetai hmaj;
ei apistoumen, ekeinoj pistoj menei;
arnhsasqai eauton ou dunatai.'
And Tit. iii. 4-7, from a hymn on the way of salvation; cf. Keble’s Sermons Acad. and 0cc., p. 182:—
'ote de h xrhstothj kai h filanqrwpia epefanh tou Swthroj hmwn QEOU,
ouk ec ergwn twn en dikaiosunh wn epoihsamen hmeij,
alla kata ton autou eleon, eswsen hmaj,
dia loutrou paliggenesiaj, kai anakainwsewj PNEUMATOS AGIOU,
ou ecexeen ef hmaj plousiwj, dia IHSOU XRISTOU tou Swthroj hmwn,
ina dikaiwqentej th ekeinou xariti,
klhronomoi genwmeqa kat elpida zwhj aiwniou.'
Although in Tit. iii. 4 'Swthroj Qeou' refers to the Father, it is Jesus Christ our Savior through Whom He has given the Spirit and the sacraments, the grace of justification, and an inheritance of eternal life. Jesus is the more prominent Subject of the hymn. Compare the fragment of a hymn, whether for a baptism or on penitence, based on Isa. lx. 1, and quoted in Eph. v. 14:—
'egeirai o kaqeudwn
kai anasta ek twn nekrwn,
kai epifausei soi o Xristoj.'
Cf. Munter, uber die alteste Christliche Poesie, p. 29.
269. Rom. iii. 25, 26; Gal. ii. 16, etc. St. Paul’s argument in Gal. iii. 20 implies our Lord’s Divinity; since, if Christ is merely human, He would be a mediator in the same sense in which Moses was a mediator. Of the two parties, God and Israel, the 'mesithj' of the Law could properly represent Israel alone. The 'mesithj' of 1 Tim. ii. 6 is altogether higher.
273. St. Paul styles himseif in Rom. i. 1, 'douloj Xristou Ihsou': and his value for this designation appears from Gal. i. 10, 'ei eti anqrwpoij hreskon, Xristou douloj oux an hmhn,' where observe the antithesis between 'Xristou' and 'anqrwpoij': cf. Eph. vi. 6. With these compare his earnest precept, 1 Cor. vii. 23, 'mh ginesqe douloi anqrwpwn.' How much is implied too in the stern description, Rom. xvi. 18, 'tw Kuriw hmwn Xristw ou douleuousin, alla th eautwn koilia.' Cf. Phil. iii. 19.
277. 1 Cor. xii. 27: 'umeij de este swma Xristou kai melh ek merouj.' Thus he even identifies the Church with Christ. Ibid. ver. 12: 'kaqaper gar to swma en esti, kai melh exei polla. . . . outw kai o Xristoj.'
280. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5: 'en tw onomati tou Kuriou hmwn Ihsou, . . . . sun th dunamei tou Kuriou hmwn Ihsou Xristou paradounai ton toiouton tw Satana.' 2 Cor. ii. 10: 'kai gar egw ei ti kexarismai, w kexarismai, di umaj, en proswpw Xristou, ina mh pleonekthqwmen upo tou Satana.'
281. Ibid. x. 16: 'to pothrion thj eulogiaj o eulogoumen, ouxi koinwnia tou aimatoj tou Xristou esti; ton arton on klwmen, ouxi koinwnia tou swmatoj tou Xristou esti;' Ibid xi. 27: 'oj an esqih ton arton touton h pinh to pothrion tou Kuriou anaciwj, enoxoj estai tou swmatoj kai aimatoj tou Kuriou.' Ibid. ver. 29: 'o gar esqiwn kai pinwn [anaciwj], krima eautw esqiei kai pinei, mh diakrinwn to swma tou Kuriou.'
282. 2 Cor. iv. 4. The god of this world has blinded the thoughts of the unbelievers, 'eij to mh augasai autoij ton fwtismon tou euaggeliou thj dochj tou Xristou, oj estin ekiwn tou Qeou.' On the other hand, God, Who bade light shine out of darkness, has shined in the hearts of believing Christians, 'proj fwtismon thj gnwsewj thj dochj tou Qeou en proswpw Ihsou Xristou' (ver. 6).
286. Ibid. vers. 7-9: 'edoqh moi skoloy th sarki . . . . uper toutou trij ton Kurion parekalesa, ina aposth ap emou; kai eirhke moi, Arkei soi h xarij mou; h gar dunamij mou en asqeneia teleioutai. hdista oun mallon kauxhsomai en taij asqeneiaij mou, ina episkhnwsh ep eme h dunamij tou Xristou.'
292. Thus to the passages already quoted from 2 Cor. may be added, those on our Lord’s unchangeableness, i. 19, 20, comp. Numb. xxiii. 19, Mal. iii. 6, St. James i. 17, and Heb. xiii. 8; His being the Divine 'Pneuma,' iii. 17, comp. note, p. 317; the 'foboj tou Kuriou,' with reference to His coming to judgment, v. 11; the explanation of 'uper Xristou presbeuomen' by 'wj tou Qeou parakalountoj di hmwn,' v. 20, cf. ver. 19; Christ’s condescension, viii. 9, cf. p. 314; the implied force of viii. 19, 23; Christ’s bestowal of 'ecousia,' x. 8, xiii. 10; His being the ‘boast’ of Christians, x. 17-18, comp. vers. 7, 14, and 1 Cor. i. 31, although this reference to our Lord admits of being disputed; His being Bridegroom of the Church, xi. 2, cf. Rev. xix. 7, as Jehovah is of Israel in Ezek. xvi. 8-14, Is. lxii. 5, etc.; the adjurations, xi. 10, xii. 19, cf. Is. lxv. 16; Christ’s speaking in His servants, xiii. 3, through the Holy Spirit, St. Matt. x. 20.
293. Baur, Vorlesungen, p. 274: ‘Die im Colosserbrief gemeinten Engelsverehrer setzten ohne Zweifel Christus selbst in die Classe der Engel, als 'ean twn arxaggelwn,' wie diess Epiphanius als einen Lehrsatz der Ebioniten angibt, wogegen der Colosserbrief mit allem Nachdruck auf ein solches 'kratein thn kefalhn' dringt, dass alles, was nicht das Haupt selbst ist, nur in einem absoluten Abhangigkeits-verhaltniss zu Ihm stehend gedacht wird, ii. 19.’
294. Ibid. ‘Eine Lehre, welche den Menschen in religiöser Hinsicht von seinem naturlichen burgerlichen Sein, von der materiellen Natur abhangig machte, und sein religioses Heil durch die reinigende und heiligende Kraft, die man den Elementen und Substanzen der Welt zuschrieb, den Einfluss der Himmels-corper, das natürlich Reine im Unterschied von dem fur unrein Gehaltenen vermittelt werden liess, setzte die 'stoixeia tou kosmou' an dieselbe Stelle, welche nur Christus als Erlöser haben sollte. In diesem Sinne werden V. 8 die 'stoixeia tou kosmou' und Christus einander gegenubergestellt. Das ist die Philosophie in dem Sinne in welchem das Wesen der Philosophie als Weltweisheit bezeichnet wird, als die Wissenschaft, die es mit den 'stoixeia tou kosmou' zu thun hat. Als solche ist sie auch nur eine 'kenh apath,' eine blosse 'paradosij twn anqrwpwn.’
295. Ibid. p. 270: ‘Der transcendenten Christologie dieser Briefe und ihrer darauf beruhenden Anschauung von dem alles umfassenden und uber alles ubergreifenden Charakter des Christenthums ist es ganz gemäss, dass sie in der Lehre von der Beseligung der Menschen auf eine uberzeitliche Vorherbestimmung zuruckgehen, Eph. i. 4, f.’
296. Baur, Vorlesungen, p. 273: ‘So 1st . . . auch die absolute Erhabenheit des Christenthums uber Judenthum und Heidenthum ausgesprochen. Beide verhalten sich gleich negativ (but by no means in the same degree) zum Christenthum, das ihnen gegenuber 'o logoj thj alhqeiaj' ist Eph. i. 13, oder 'fwj' im Gegensatz von 'okotoj' (v. 8). Die Juden und die Heiden waren wegen der allgemeinen Sundhäftigkeit dem gottlichen Zorn verfallen, Eph. ii. 3. Der religiose Charakter des Heidenthums wird noch besonders dadurch bezeichnet, dass die Heiden 'aqeoi en tw kosmw' sind (ii. 12), 'eskotwmenoi th dianoia ontej' (iv. 18), 'aphllotriwmenoi thj zwhj tou Qeou dia thn agnoian thn ousan en autoij' (iv. 18), 'peripatountej kata ton aiwna tou kosmou toutou kata ton arxonta thj ecousiaj tou aeroj' (ii. 2). Beiden Religionen gegenuber ist das Christenthum die absolute Religion. Der absolute Charakter des Christenthums selbst aber ist bedingt durch die Person Christi.’
297. Col. iii. 9; Eph. iv. 21 sqq.; cf. Ibid. ii. 8-10. Baur, Vorlesungen, p. 270: ‘Die Gnade ist das den Menschen durch den Glauben an Christus neu schaffende Princip. Etwas Neues muss nämlich der Mensch durch das Christenthum werden.’
304. Col. iii. 11: 'ouk eni Ellhn kai Ioudaioj, peritomh kai akrobustia, barbaroj, Skuqhj, douloj, eleuqeroj; alla ta panta kai en pasi Xristoj.' Observe the moral inferences in vers. 12-14, the measure of charity being 'kaqwj kai o Xristoj exarisato umin.' Especially Jews and Gentiles are reconciled beneath the Cross, because the Cross cancelled the obligatoriness of the ceremonial law. Eph. ii. 14-17: 'autoj gar estin h eirhnh hmwn, o poihsaj ta amfotera en, kai to mesotoixon tou fragmou lusaj, thn exqran en th sarki autou, ton nomon twn entolwn en dogmasi, katarghsaj; ina touj duo ktish en eautw eij ena kainon anqrwpon, poiwn eirhnhn, kai apokatallach touj amfoterouj en eni swmati tw Qew dia tou staurou, apokteinaj thn exqran en autw.' Col. iii. 15.
305. Baur, Christenthum, p. 119: ‘Die Einheit ist das eigentliche Wesen der Kirche, diese Einheit ist mit allen zu ihr gehorenden Momenten durch das Christenthum gegeben, es ist Ein Leib, Ein Geist, Ein Herr, Ein Glaube, Eine Taufe u. s. w. Eph. iv. 4, f. . . . . Von diesem Punkte aus steigt die Anschauung höher hinauf, bis dahin, wo der Grund aller Einheit liegt. Die einigende, eine allgemeine Gemeinschaft stiftende Kraft des Todes Christi lässt sich nur daraus begreifen, dass Christus uberhaupt der alles tragende und zusammenhaltende Centralpunkte des ganzen Universums ist. . . . . Die Christologie der beiden Briefe hangt aufs Innigste zusammen mit dem in der unmittelbaren Gegenwart gegebenen Bedurfniss der Einigung in der Idee der Einen, alle Unterschiede und Gegensatze in sich aufhebenden Kirche. Es ist, wenn wir uns in die Anschauungsweise dieser Briefe hineinversetzen, schon ein ächt katholisches Bewusstsein das sich in ihnen ausspricht.’ This may be fully admitted without accepting Baur’s conclusions as to the date and authorship of the two Epistles.
306. Eph. iv. 10: 'o katabaj, autoj esti kai o anabaj uperanw pantwn twn ouranwn, ina plhrwsh ta panta.' St. Aug. Ep. 187, ad Dardanum: ‘Christum Dominum. . . ubique totum praesentem esse, non dubites, tanquam Deum.’
307. Eph. iv. 11-13: 'kai autoj edwke touj men apostolouj, touj de profhtaj, touj de euaggelistaj, touj de poimenaj kai didaskalouj, proj ton katartismon twn agiwn, eij ergon diakoniaj, eij oikodomhn tou swmatoj tou Xristou; mexri katanthswmen oi pantej eij thn enothta thj pistewj kai thj epignwsewj tou Uiou tou Qeou, eij andra teleion, eij metron hlikiaj tou plhrwmatoj tou Xristou.' Compare 1 Cor. xii. 28: 'eqeto o Qeoj.'
309. Eph. iv. 15, 16: 'o Xristoj, ec ou pan to swma sunarmologoumenon kai sumbibazomenon dia pashj afhj thj epixorhgiaj, kat energeian en metrw enoj ekastou merouj, thn auchsin tou swmatoj poieitai eij oikodomhn eautou en agaph.' Col. ii. 19.
310. Eph. v. 25-27: 'o Xristoj hgaphse thn ekklhsian, kai eauton paredwken uper authj; ina authn agiash, kaqarisaj tw loutrw tou udatoj en rhmati, ina parasthsh authn eautw endocon, thn ekklhsian, mh exousan spilon h rutida h ti twn toioutwn, all ina h agia kai amwmoj.'
312. Eph. i. 3: 'Pathr tou Kuriou.' Ibid. ver. 6: 'en tw hgaphmenw.' Ibid. ver. 13: 'esfragisqhte tw Pneumati.' Ibid. ii. 18: 'di autou exomen thn prosagwghn oi amfoteroi en eni Pneumati proj ton Patera.' Ibid. iii. 6: 'sugklhronoma, kai susswma, kai summetoxa,' where the Father Whose heirs we are, the Son of Whose Body we are members, the Spirit of Whose gifts we partake, seem to be glanced at by the adjectives denoting our relationship to the 'epaggelia.' Cf. Ibid. iii. 14-17.
327. Ibid. iii. 20, 21: 'oj metasxhmatisei to swma thj tapeinwsewj hmwn, eij to genesqai auto summorfon tw swmati thj dochj autou, kata thn energeian tou dunasqai auton kai upotacai eautw ta panta.' Cf. iv. 4: 'o Kurioj egguj.'
328. It should be added that in the Epistle to Philemon our Lord is associated with the Father as the source of grace and peace, ver. 3, while He is represented as the object of Christian faith and activity, vers. 5, 6; and the pregnant phrases 'en Xristw, en Kuriw,' occur four times in this short Epistle.
330. St. Paul’s language implies that the true faith is to the soul what the most necessary conditions of health are to the body. 'ugiainousa didaskalia' (1 Tim. i. 10; Tit. i. 9, ii. 1); so 'logoj ugihj' (Tit. ii. 8), 'logoi ugiainontej' (2 Tim. i. 13). Thus the orthodox teaching is styled 'h kalh didaskalia' (1 Tim. iv. 6), or simply 'h didaskalia' (Ibid. vi. 1), as though no other dsserved the name. Any deviation ('eterodidaskalein,' Ibid. i. 3; vi. 3) is self-condemned as being such. The heretic prefers his own self-chosen private way to the universally-received doctrine; he is to be cut off, after two admonitions, from the communion of the Church (Tit. iii. 10) on the ground that 'ecestraptai o toioutoj, kai amartanei, wn autokatakritoj' (Ibid.). Heresy is spoken of by turns as a crime and a misfortune, 'peri thn pistin enauaghsan' (1 Tim. i. 19); 'apeplanhqhsan apo thj pistewj' (Ibid. vi. 10); 'peri thn alhqeian hstoxhsan' (2 Tim. ii. 18). Deeper error is characterized in severer terms, 'aposthsontai thj pistewj, prosexontej pneumasi planoij kai didaskaliaij daimoniwn. . . . kekauthriasmenwn thn idian suneidhsin k.t.l.' (1 Tim. iv. 1, 2); 'outoi anqistantai th alhqeia, anqrwpoi katefqarmenoi ton noun, adokimoi peri thn pistin' (2 Tim. iii. 8); 'apo thj alhqeiaj thn akohn apostreyousin, epi de touj muqouj ektraphsontai' (Ibid. iv. 4). Heresy eats its way into the spiritual body like a gangrene, 'o logoj autwn wj gaggraina nomhn ecei' (Ibid. ii. 17). It is observable that throughout these Epistles 'pistij' is not the subjective apprehension, but the objective body of truth; not fides qua creditur, but the Faith. And the Church is 'stuloj kai edraiwma thj alhqeiaj' (1 Tim. iii. 15). This truth, which the Church supports, is already embodied in a 'upotupwsij ugiainontwn logwn' (2 Tim. i. 23).
331. 1 Tim. i. 12: 'qemenoj eij diakonian.' 2 Tim. ii. 3: 'stratiwthj Ihsou Xristou.' So when the young widows who have entered into the Order of widows wish to marry again, this is represented as an offense against Christ, with Whom they have entered into a personal engagement, 'otan gar katastrhniaswsi tou Xristou, gamein qelousin, exousai krima, oti thn prwthn pistin hqethsan' (1 Tim. v. 11, 12).
333. Ibid. ii. 3. Intercession is to be offered for all. 'touto gar kalon kai apodekton enwpion tou Swthroj hmwn Qeou, oj pantaj anqrwpouj qelei swqhnai kai eij epignwsin alhqeiaj elqein. eij gar Qeoj, eij kai mesithj Qeou kai anqrwpwn, anqrwpoj Xristoj Ihsouj, o douj eauton antilutron uper pantwn.' Cf. Ibid. iv. 20; Tit. ii. 11.
336. 1 Tim. i. 16: 'dia touto hlehqhn, ina en emoi prwtw endeichtai Ihsouj Kristoj thn pasan makroqumian.' Cf. ver. 13. Compare the intercession for the (apparently) deceased Onesiphorus: 'dwh autw o Kurioj eurein eleoj para Kuriou en ekeinh th hmera' (2 Tim. i. 18); where the second 'Kurioj' also is Jesus Christ (Gen. xix. 24; St. Luke xi. 17; St. Matt. xii. 26) the Judge, at Whose Hands St. Paul himself expects to receive the crown of righteousness (Ibid. iv. 8, 14).
337. Observe the adjurations, 'diamarturomai enwpion tou Qeou kai Kuriou Ihsou Xristou kai twn eklektwn aggelwn' (1 Tim. v. 21); 'paraggellw soi enwpion tou Qeou tou zwopoiountoj ta panta, kai Xristou Ihsou tou marturhsantoj epi Pontiou Pilatou thn kalhn omologian' (Ibid. vi. 13). Cf. 2 Tim. iv. 1.
338. 2 Tim. iii. 11: 'ek pantwn [sc. diwgmwn] me errusato o Kurioj.' Ibid. iv. 17: 'o de Kurioj moi paresth, kai enedunamwse me.' Ibid. ver. 18: 'rusetai me o Kurioj apo pantoj ergou ponhrou.' Cf., yet more, Ibid. ii. 10: 'swthriaj thj en Xristw Ihsou, meta dochj aiwniou.' Cf. St. John x. 28, xvii. 22.
340. Ibid. iii. 16. Baur, Vorlesungen, p. 351: ‘Mensch wird zwar Christus ausdrucklich genannt (1 Tim. ii. 5) aber von einem menschlichen Subject kann doch eigentlich nicht gesagt werden 'efanerwqh en sarki.' Es passt diess nur für ein höheres übermenschliches Wesen.’
342. That it was our Lord’s Divine Nature which gave its supreme value to His sacrifice on the Cross seems to be taught in Heb. ix. 14, where 'pneuma' is the nature of God, Who is Spirit; see Rom. i. 4, 1 Tim. iii. 16, and St. John iv. 24. Cf. Bisping in loc.
343. Heb. vii. 3: 'apatwr, amhtwr, agenealoghtoj; mhte arxhn hmerwn, mhte zwhj teloj exwn; afwmoiwmenoj de tw Uiw tou Qeou.' Bengel: ‘Non dicitur Filius Dei assimilatus Melchisedeko, sed contra. Nam Filius Dei est antiquior, et archetypus.’
347. Rom. xvi. 16: 'ai ekklhsia pasai tou Xristou.' Gal. i. 22. Comp. St. Matt. xvi. 18: 'mou thn ekklhsian.' The more usual expression, it is significant to note, is 'ekklhsia tou Qeou.' 1 Cor. i. 2, x. 32, xi. 16, 22, xv. 9; 2 Cor. i.1; Gal. i. 13; 1 Tim. iii. 5, 15.
351. Rom. iii. 3. 'pistij Qeou' is the faithfulness of God in accomplishing His promises. Cf. 'pistoj o Qeoj,' 1 Cor. i. 9; 1 Thess. v. 24. 'pistij' is confidence in God, Rom. iv. 19, 20; as 'pepisteumai,' ‘I have been entrusted with’ (Gal. ii. 7; 1 Tim. i. 11).
352. The transition is observable in Rom. vi. 8: 'ei de apeqanomen sun Xristw, pisteuomen oti kai suzhsomen autw.' For belief in the truth of an unseen fact upon human testimony, cf. 1 Cor. xi. 18: 'akouw sxismata en umin uparxein, kai meroj ti pisteuw.'
355. 1 Cor. xii. 8: 'allw de [didotai] logoj gnwsewj, kata to auto Pneuma.' 2 Cor. viii. 7: 'en panti perisseuete, pistei, kai logw, kai gnwsei.' So in 1 Cor. xiii. 2 'pasa h gnwsij' evidently means intellectual appreciation of the highest revealed truths, of which it is said in ver. 8 that 'katarghqhsetai.' Of course this 'gnwsij' was from the first capable of being abused; only, when it is so abused, to the hindrance of Divine truth, the Apostle maintains that it does not deserve the name ('antiqeseij thj yeudwnumou gnwsewj.' 1 Tim. vi. 20).
359. Rom. x. 9, 10: 'ean omologhshj en tw stomati sou Kurion Ihsoun, kai pisteushj en th kardia sou oti o Qeoj auton hgeiren ek nekrwn, swqhsh; kardia gar pisteuetai eij dikaiosunhn.' Thus coincidently with the act of faith,'h agaph tou Qeou ekkexutai en taij kardiaij hmwn' (Rom. v. 5). The love of God is infused into the heart at the moment when His truth enters the understanding; and it is in this co-operation of the moral nature that the essential power of faith resides: hence faith is necessarily 'di agaphj energoumenh.'
362. This seems to be the force of 'eij' with 'pisteuein.' Col. ii. 5: 'to sterewma thj eij Xriston pistewj umwn.' Phil. i. 29; Rom. x. 14. The preposition 'proj' indicates the direction of the soul’s gaze, without necessarily implying the idea of movement in that direction. In Philem. 5: 'thn pistin, hn exeij proj [eij A.C.D.] ton Kurion Ihsoun.' Cf. 1 Thess. i. 8.
364. Gal. iii. 26: 'pantej gar uioi Qeou este dia thj pistewj en Xristw Ihsou.' Eph. i. 15: 'akousaj thn kaq umaj pistin en tw Kuriw Ihsou.' 2 Tim. iii. 15. The Old Testament can make wise unto salvation, 'dia pistewj thj en Xristw Ihsou.' 1 Tim. iii. 13: 'parrhsian en pistei th en Xristw Ihsou.'
369. Gal. ii. 16: 'hmeij eij Xriston Ihsoun episteusamen, ina dikaiwqwmen ek pistewj Xristou.' So Rom. i. 17: 'dikaiosunh gar Qeou en autw' (Christ’s Gospel) 'apokaluptetai ek pistewj eij pistin.' In like manner the Christian is termed 'o ek pistewj Ihsou:' his spiritual life dates from, and depends upon his faith. Rom. iii. 26. So, 'oi ek pistewj' (Gal. iii. 7); and, with an allusion to the Church as the true home of faith, 'oikeiouj thj pistewj' (Gal. vi. 10.)
370. Rom. iii. 25: 'dia thj pistewj en tw autou aimati.' We might have expected 'epi'; and St. Paul would doubtless have used it, if he had meant to express no more than confidence in the efficacy of Christ’s Blood.
371. Thus it is that our Lord is, in the fullest sense, 'thj pistewj arxhgoj kai teleiwthj,' Heb. xii. 2, where 'arxhgoj' means not ‘leader’ but ‘author,’ as Acts iii. 15, 'arxhgoj thj zwhj,' Heb. ii. 10, 'arxhgoj thj swthriaj.' He is 'arxhgoj thj pistewj,' as ‘docens quae credenda sunt et donans ut credamus,’ and He is Himself the object-matter of the grace which is His gift, and which He will reward hereafter with the vision of Himself.
376. Col. iii. 9, 'apekdusamenoi ton palaion anqrwpon......kai endusamenoi ton neon.' Eph. iv. 22-24: 'apoqesqai......ton palaion anqrwpon ton fqeiromenon kata taj epiqumiaj thj apathj; ananeousqai de tw pneumati tou nooj umwn, kai endusasqai ton kainon anqrwpon ton kata Qeon ktisqenta ek dikaiosunh kai osiothti thj alhqeiaj.' Gal. iii. 27: 'Xriston enedusasqe.' Rom. xiii. 14.
385. Ibid. vers. 4, 5: 'ina wsper hgerqh Xristoj ek nekrwn dia thj dochj tou Patroj, outw kai hmeij en kainothti zwhj peripathswmen. Ei gar sumfutoi gegonamen tw omoiwmati tou qanatou autou, alla kai thj anastasewj esomeqa.'
386. Reuss, Théol. Chrét. ii. 140: ‘La régénération en tant qu’elle comprend ces deux éléments d’une mort et d’une renaissance, est tout naturellement mise en rapport direct avec la mort et la résurrection de Jésus-Christ. Ce rapport a été compris par quelques théologiens comme si le fait historique était un symbole du fait psychologique, pour lequel il aurait fourni la terminologie figurée. Mais assurément la pensée de l’apotre va au dela d’un simple rapprochement idéal et nous propose le fait d’une relation objective et réelle. Nous nous trouvons encore une fois sur le terrain du mysticisme évangélique; il est question très-positivement d’une identification avec la mort et la vie du Sauveur, et il n’y a ici de figurée que l’expression, puisqu’au fond il ne s’agit pas de l’existence physique du Chrétien. Oui, d’après Paul, le croyant meurt avec Christ, pour ressusciter avec lui; et cette phrase ne s’explique pas par ce que nous pourrions appeler un jeu de mots spirituel, ou un rapprochement ingénieux; elle est l’application du qrand principe de l’union personnelle, d’après lequel l’existence propre de l’homme cesse réellement, pour se confondre avec celle du Christ, qui répete, pour ainsi dire, la sienne, avec ses deux faits capitaux, dans chaque individualité se donnant a lui.’ O si sic omnia!
391. Eph. ii. 6: 'sunhgeire' [tw Xristw]. There is no sufficient reason for understanding Eph. ii. 5, 6 of the future resurrection alone; although in that passage the idea of the future resurrection (cf. ver. 7) is probably combined with that of the spiritual resurrection of souls in the kingdom of grace. We have been raised with Christ here, that we may live with Him hereafter. Col. ii. 12: 'en w kai' [sc. 'en Xristw'] 'sunhgerqhte dia thj pistewj thj energeiaj tou Qeou.' Ibid. iii. 1.
394. Ibid. v. 30: 'melh esmen tou swmatoj autou, ek thj sarkoj autou, kai ek twn ostewn autou.' Although omitted by aleph. A. B., this passage is retained by alephc. D. E. F. G. L. P. and verss. except Copt. Cf. Meyer, App. Crit. in loc. Cf. Hooker, Eccl. Pol. v. 56, 7: ‘We are of Him and in Him, even as though our very flesh and bones should be made continuate with His.’
395. Rom. vi. 10, 11: 'o gar apeqane [sc. o Xristoj], th amartia apeqanen efapac; o do zh, zh tw Qew. outw kai umeij logizesqe eautouj nekrouj men einai th amartia, zwntaj de tw Qew en Xristw Ihsou tw Kuriw hmwn.' Col. iii. 3, 4.
396. Rom. viii. 1; xii. 5; xvi. 7, 11; 1 Cor. i. 2, 30; xv. 22; 2 Cor. ii. 17; v. 17; xii. 19; Gal. i. 22; iii. 26, 28; Eph. i. 1, 3, 10; ii. 10; iii. 6; Phil. i. 1; 1 Thess. ii. 14; iv. 16. Comp. St. John xv. 4, 5.
404. Gal. vi. 15: 'en gar Xristw Ihsou oute peritomh ti isxuei oute akrobustia, alla kainh ktisij.' Here regeneration is viewed from without, on the side of the Divine Energy Which causes it; in Gal. v. 6, where it is equally contrasted with legal circumcision, it is viewed from within the soul, as consisting essentially in 'pistij di agaphj energoumenh.' Cf. Lect. VI. p. 287.
406. Planting and Training, i. 505, Bohn’s edit. Neander adds: ‘Had the doctrine of Christ’s Eternal Sonship, when it was first promulgated by Paul, been altogether new and peculiar to himself, it must have excited much opposition as contradicting the common monotheistic belief of the Jews, even among the apostles, to whom, from their previous habits, such a speculative theosophic element must have remained unknown, unless it had found a point of connection in the lessons received from Christ, and in their Christian knowledge.’ Of such opposition, direct and avowed, there is no trace. Cf. Meyer. Ev. Joh. p. 49. ‘Die Materie der Lehre war bei Johannes, ehe er in jener gnostischen Form die entsprechende Darstellung fand, das Fundament seines Glaubens und der Inhalt seiner Erkenntniss, wie sie bei Paulus und bei allen anderen Aposteln es war, welche nicht, (ausser dem Verf. des Hebraerbriefs) von der Logos-Speculation berührt wurden; diese Materie der Lehre ist schlechthin auf Christum selbst zuruckzufuhren, dessen Eroffnungen an seine Junger und dessen unmittelbarer Eindruck auf diese (Joh. i. 14) ihnen den Stoff gab, welcher sich spater die verschiedenen Formen der Darstellung dienstbar machte.’