History Of The Christian Church Volume I

Table of Contents

Title Page
Section 1. Nature of Church History.
Section 2. Branches of Church History.
Section 3. Sources of Church History.
Section 4. Periods of Church History.
Section 5. Uses of Church History.
Section 6. Duty of the Historian.
Section 7. Literature of Church History.
Section 8. Central Position of Christ in the History of the World.
Section 9. Judaism.
Section 10. The Law, and the Prophecy.
Section 11. Heathenism.
Section 12. Grecian Literature, and the Roman Empire.
Section 13. Judaism and Heathenism in Contact.
Section 14. Sources and Literature.
Section 15. The Founder of Christianity.
Section 16. Chronology of the Life of Christ.
Section 17. The Land and the People.
Section 18. Apocryphal Traditions.
Section 19. The Resurrection of Christ.
Section 20. Sources and Literature of the Apostolic Age.
Section 21. The Critical Reconstruction of the History of the Apostolic Age.
Section 22. Chronology of the Apostolic Age.
Section 23. The Miracle of Pentecost and the Birthday of the Christian
Section 24. The Church of Jerusalem and the Labors of Peter.
Section 25. The Peter of History and the Peter of Fiction.
Section 26. James the Brother of the Lord.
Section 27. Preparation for the Mission to the Gentiles.
Section 28. Sources and Literature on St. Paul and his Work.
Section 29. Paul before his Conversion.
Section 30. The Conversion of Paul.
Section 31. The Work of Paul.
Section 32. Paul’s Missionary Labors.
Section 33. The Synod of Jerusalem, and the Compromise between Jewish and Gentile Christianity.
Section 34. The Conservative Reaction, and the Liberal Victory–
Section 35. Christianity in Rome.
Section 36. The Roman Conflagration and the Neronian Persecution.
Section 37. The Jewish War and the Destruction of Jerusalem. a.d. 70.
Section 38. Effects of the Destruction of Jerusalem on the Christian Church.
Section 39. The Johannean Literature.
Section 40. Life and Character of John
Section 41. Apostolic Labors of John.
Section 42. Traditions Respecting John.
Section 43. The Power of Christianity.
Section 44. The Spiritual Gifts.
Section 45. Christianity in Individuals.
Section 46. Christianity and the Family.
Section 47. Christianity and Slavery.
Section 48. Christianity and Society.
Section 49. Spiritual Condition of the Congregations.–The Seven Churches in Asia.
Section 50. The Synagogue.
Section 51. Christian Worship.
Section 52. The Several Parts of Worship.
Section 53. Baptism.
Section 54. The Lord’s Supper.
Section 55. Sacred Places.
Section 56. Sacred Times–The Lord’s Day.
Section 57. Literature.
Section 58. The Christian Ministry, and its Relation to the Christian Community.
Section 59. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists.
Section 60. Presbyters or Bishops. The Angels of the Seven Churches. James of Jerusalem.
Section 61. Deacons and Deaconesses.
Section 62. Church Discipline.
Section 63. The Council at Jerusalem.
Section 64. The Church and the Kingdom of Christ.
Section 65. Literature.
Section 66. Unity of Apostolic Teaching.
Section 67. Different Types of Apostolic Teaching.
Section 68. The Jewish Christian Theology–I. James and the Gospel of Law.
Section 69. II. Peter and the Gospel of Hope.
Section 70. The Gentile Christian Theology. Paul and the Gospel of Faith.
Section 71. John and the Gospel of Love.
Section 72. Heretical Perversions of the Apostolic Teaching.
Section 73. Literature.
Section 74. Rise of the Apostolic Literature.
Section 75. Character of the New Testament.
Section 76. Literature on the Gospels.
Section 77. The Four Gospels.
Section 78. The Synoptists.
Section 79. Matthew.
Section 80. Mark.
Section 81. Luke.
Section 82. John.
Section 83. Critical Review of the Johannean Problem.
Section 84. The Acts of the Apostles.
Section 85. The Epistles.
Section 86. The Catholic Epistles.
Section 87. The Epistles of Paul
Section 88. The Epistles to the Thessalonians.
Section 89. The Epistles to the Corinthians.
Section 90. The Epistles to the Galatians.
Section 91. The Epistle to the Romans.
Section 92. The Epistles of the Captivity.
Section 93. The Epistle to the Colossians.
Section 94. The Epistle to the Ephesians.
Section 95. Colossians and Ephesians Compared and Vindicated.
Section 96. The Epistle to the Philippians.
Section 97. The Epistle to Philemon.
Section 98. The Pastoral Epistles.
Section 99. The Epistle To The Hebrews.
Section 100. The Apocalypse.
Section 101. Concluding Reflections. Faith and Criticism.
Section 102 Subject Index

Title Page


of the




Christianus sum.

Christiani nihil a me alienum puto




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As I appear before the public with a new edition of my Church History, I feel more than ever the difficulty and responsibility of a task which is well worthy to occupy the whole time and strength of a long life, and which carries in it its own rich reward. The true historian of Christianity is yet to come. But short as I have fallen of my own ideal, I have done my best, and shall rejoice if my efforts stimulate others to better and more enduring work.

History should be written from the original sources of friend and foe, in the spirit of truth and love, |sine ira et studio,| |with malice towards none, and charity for all,| in clear, fresh, vigorous style, under the guidance of the twin parables of the mustard seed and leaven, as a book of life for instruction, correction, encouragement, as the best exposition and vindication of Christianity. The great and good Neander, |the father of Church History| — first an Israelite without guile hoping for the Messiah, then a Platonist longing for the realization of his ideal of righteousness, last a Christian in head and heart — made such a history his life-work, but before reaching the Reformation he was interrupted by sickness, and said to his faithful sister: |Hannchen, I am weary; let us go home; good night!| And thus he fell gently asleep, like a child, to awake in the land where all problems of history are solved.

When, after a long interruption caused by a change of professional duties and literary labors, I returned to the favorite studies of my youth, I felt the necessity, before continuing the History to more recent times, of subjecting the first volume to a thorough revision, in order to bring it up to the present state of investigation. We live in a restless and stirring age of discovery, criticism, and reconstruction. During the thirty years which have elapsed since the publication of my separate |History of the Apostolic Church,| there has been an incessant activity in this field, not only in Germany, the great workshop of critical research, but in all other Protestant countries. Almost every inch of ground has been disputed and defended with a degree of learning, acumen, and skill such as were never spent before on the solution of historical problems.

In this process of reconstruction the first volume has been more than doubled in size and grown into two volumes. The first embraces Apostolic, the second post-Apostolic or ante-Nicene Christianity. The first volume is larger than my separate |History of the Apostolic Church,| but differs from it in that it is chiefly devoted to the theology and literature, the other to the mission work and spiritual life of that period. I have studiously avoided repetition and seldom looked into the older book. On two points I have changed my opinion — the second Roman captivity of Paul (which I am disposed to admit in the interest of the Pastoral Epistles), and the date of the Apocalypse (which I now assign, with the majority of modern critics, to the year 68 or 69 instead of 95, as before).

I express my deep obligation to my friend, Dr. Ezra Abbot, a scholar of rare learning and microscopic accuracy, for his kind and valuable assistance in reading the proof and suggesting improvements.

The second volume, likewise thoroughly revised and partly rewritten, is in the hands of the printer; the third requires a few changes. Two new volumes, one on the History of Mediaeval Christianity, and one on the Reformation (to the Westphalian Treaty and the Westminster Assembly, 1648), are in an advanced stage of preparation.

May the work in this remodelled shape find as kind and indulgent readers as when it first appeared. My highest ambition in this sceptical age is to strengthen the immovable historical foundations of Christianity and its victory over the world.

Philip Schaff

Union Theological Seminary, New York,



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Encouraged by the favorable reception of my |History of the Apostolic Church,| I now offer to the public a History of the Primitive Church from the birth of Christ to the reign of Constantine, as an independent and complete work in itself, and at the same time as the first volume of a general history of Christianity, which I hope, with the help of God, to bring down to the present age.

The church of the first three centuries, or the ante-Nicene age, possesses a peculiar interest for Christians of all denominations, and has often been separately treated, by Eusebius, Mosheim, Milman, Kaye, Baur, Hagenbach, and other distinguished historians. It is the daughter of Apostolic Christianity, which itself constitutes the first and by far the most important chapter in its history, and the common mother of Catholicism and Protestantism, though materially differing from both. It presents a state of primitive simplicity and purity unsullied by contact with the secular power, but with this also, the fundamental forms of heresy and corruption, which reappear from time to time under new names and aspects, but must serve, in the overruling providence of God, to promote the cause of truth and righteousness. It is the heroic age of the church, and unfolds before us the sublime spectacle of our holy religion in intellectual and moral conflict with the combined superstition, policy, and wisdom of ancient Judaism and Paganism; yet growing in persecution, conquering in death, and amidst the severest trials giving birth to principles and institutions which, in more matured form, still control the greater part of Christendom.

Without the least disposition to detract from the merits of my numerous predecessors, to several of whom I feel deeply indebted, I have reason to hope that this new attempt at a historical reproduction of ancient Christianity will meet a want in our theological literature and commend itself, both by its spirit and method, and by presenting with the author’s own labors the results of the latest German and English research, to the respectful attention of the American student. Having no sectarian ends to serve, I have confined myself to the duty of a witness — to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; always remembering, however, that history has a soul as well as a body, and that the ruling ideas and general principles must be represented no less than the outward facts and dates. A church history without the life of Christ glowing through its pages could give us at best only the picture of a temple stately and imposing from without, but vacant and dreary within, a mummy in praying posture perhaps and covered with trophies, but withered and unclean: such a history is not worth the trouble of writing or reading. Let the dead bury their dead; we prefer to live among the living, and to record the immortal thoughts and deeds of Christ in and through his people, rather than dwell upon the outer hulls, the trifling accidents and temporary scaffolding of history, or give too much prominence to Satan and his infernal tribe, whose works Christ came to destroy.

The account of the apostolic period, which forms the divine-human basis of the whole structure of history, or the ever-living fountain of the unbroken stream of the church, is here necessarily short and not intended to supersede my larger work, although it presents more than a mere summary of it, and views the subject in part under new aspects. For the history of the second period, which constitutes the body of this volume, large use has been made of the new sources of information recently brought to light, such as the Syriac and Armenian Ignatius, and especially the Philosophoumena of Hippolytus. The bold and searching criticism of modern German historians as applied to the apostolic and post-apostolic literature, though often arbitrary and untenable in its results, has nevertheless done good service by removing old prejudices, placing many things in a new light, and conducing to a comprehensive and organic view of the living process and gradual growth of ancient Christianity in its distinctive character, both in its unity with, and difference from, the preceding age of the apostles and the succeeding systems of Catholicism and Protestantism.

And now I commit this work to the great Head of the church with the prayer that, under his blessing, it may aid in promoting a correct knowledge of his heavenly kingdom on earth, and in setting forth its history as a book if life, a storehouse of wisdom and piety, and surest test of his own promise to his people: |Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.|

P. S.

Theological Seminary, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania,

November, 8, 1858


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The continued demand for my Church History lays upon me the grateful duty of keeping it abreast of the times. I have, therefore, submitted this and the other volumes (especially the second) to another revision and brought the literature down to the latest date, as the reader will see by glancing at pages 2, 35, 45, 51-53, 193, 411, 484, 569, 570, etc. The changes have been effected by omissions and condensations, without enlarging the size. The second volume is now passing through the fifth edition, and the other volumes will follow rapidly.

This is my last revision. If any further improvements should be necessary during my lifetime, I shall add them in a separate appendix.

I feel under great obligation to the reading public which enables me to perfect my work. The interest in Church History is steadily increasing in our theological schools and among the rising generation of scholars, and promises good results for the advancement of our common Christianity.

The Author

New York, January, 1890.


(Fifth Edition.)

Since the third revision of this volume in 1889, the following works deserving notice have appeared till September, 1893. (P. S.)

Page 2. After |Nirschl| add:

E. Bernheim Lehrbuch der historischen Methode. Mit Nachweis der wichtigsten Quellen und Hilfsmittel zum Studium der Geschichte. Leipzig, 1889.

Edward Bratke: Wegweiser zur Quellen- und Literaturkunde der Kirchengeschichte. Gotha, 1890 (282 pp.).

Page 35, line 9:

H. Brueck (Mainz, 5th ed., 1890).

Page 45:

Of the Church History of Kurtz (who died at Marburg, 1890), an 11th revised edition appeared in 1891.

Wilhelm Moeller (d. at Kiel, 1891): Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte. Freiburg, 1891.2 vols., down to the Reformation. Vol. III. to be added by Kawerau. Vol. I. translated by Rutherford. London, 1892.

Karl Mueller (Professor in Breslau): Kirchengeschichte. Freiburg, 1892. A second volume will complete the work. An excellent manual from the school of Ritschl-Harnack.

Harnack’s large Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte was completed in 1890 in 3 vols. Of his Grundriss, a 2d ed. appeared in 1893 (386 pp.); translated by Edwin K. Mitchell, of Hartford, Conn.: Outlines of the History of Dogma. New York, 1893.

Friedrich Loofs (Professor of Church History in Halle, of the Ritschl-Harnack school): Leitfaden zum Studium der Dogmengeschichte. Halle, 1889; 3d ed., 1893.

Page 51. After |Schaff |add:

5th revision, 1889-93, 7 vols. (including vol. v., which is in press). Page 51. After |Fisher| add:

John Fletcher Hurst (Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church): Short History of the Christian Church. New York, 1893.

Page 61. After |Kittel |add:

Franz Delitzsch (d.1890): Messianische Weissagungen in geschichtlicher Folge. Leipzig, 1890. His last work. Translated by Sam. Ives Curtiss (of Chicago), Edinb. and New York, 1892.

Page 97:

Samuel J. Andrews: Life of our Lord. |A new and wholly revised edition.| New York, 1891 (651 pp.). With maps and illustrations. Maintains the quadripaschal theory. Modest, reverent, accurate, devoted chiefly to the chronological and topographical relations.

Page 183 add:

On the Apocryphal Traditions of Christ, comp. throughout

Alfred Resch: Agrapha. Aussercanonische Evangelienfragmente gesammelt und untersucht. With an appendix of Harnack on the Gospel Fragment of Tajjum. Leipzig, 1889 (520 pp.). By far the most complete and critical work on the extra-canonical sayings of our Lord, of which he collects and examines 63 (see p.80), including many doubtful ones, e.g., the much-discussed passage of the Didache (I.6) on the sweating of aloes.

Page 247:

Abbé Constant Fouard: Saint Peter and the First Years of Christianity. Translated from the second French edition with the author’s sanction, by George F. X. Griffith. With an Introduction by Cardinal Gibbons. New York and London, 1892 (pp. xxvi, 422). The most learned work in favor of the traditional Roman theory of a twenty-five years’ pontificate of Peter in Rome from 42 to 67.

The apocryphal literature of Peter has received an important addition by the discovery of fragments of the Greek Gospel and Apocalypse of Peter in a tomb at Akhmim in Egypt. See Harnack’s ed. of the Greek text with a German translation and commentary, Berlin, 1892 (revised, 1893); Zahn’s edition and discussion, Leipzig, 1893; and O. von Gebhardt’s facsimile ed., Leipzig, 1893; also the English translation by J. Rendel Harris, London, 1893.

Page 284. Add to lit. on the life of Paul:

W. H. Ramsey (Professor of Humanity in the University of Aberdeen): The Church in the Roman Empire before a.d.170. With Maps and Illustrations. London and New York, 1893 (494 pp.). An important work, for which the author received a gold medal from Pope Leo XIII. The first part (pp.3-168) treats of the missionary journeys of Paul in Asia Minor, on the ground of careful topographical exploration and with a full knowledge of Roman history at that time. He comes to the conclusion that nearly all the books of the New Testament can no more be forgeries of the second century than the works of Horace and Virgil can be forgeries of the time of Nero. He assumes all |travel-document,| which was written down under the immediate influence of Paul, and underlies the account in The Acts of the Apostles (Acts.13-21), which he calls |an authority of the highest character for an historian of Asia Minor| (p.168). He affirms the genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles, which suit the close of the Neronian period (246 sqq.), and combats Holtzmann. He puts 2 Peter to the age of |The Shepherd of Hermas| before 130 (p.432). As to the First Epistle of Peter, he assumes that it was written about 80, soon after Vespasian’s resumption of the Neronian policy (279 sqq.). If this date is correct, it would follow either that Peter cannot have been the author, or that he must have long outlived the Neronian persecution. The tradition that he died a martyr in Rome is early and universal, but the exact date of his death is uncertain.

Page 285 insert:

Of Weizsaecker’s Das Apostolische Zeitalter, which is chiefly devoted to Paul, a second edition has appeared in 1892, slightly revised and provided with an alphabetical index (770 pp.). It is the best critical history of the Apostolic age from the school of Dr. Baur, whom Dr. Weizsaecker succeeded as professor of Church history in Tuebingen, but gives no references to literature and other opinions.

Charles Carroll Everett: The Gospel of Paul. New York, 1893.

Page 360:

Rodolfo Lanciani: Pagan and Christian Rome. New York, 1893 (pp. x, 374). A very important work which shows from recent explorations that Christianity entered more deeply into Roman Society in the first century than is usually supposed.

Page 401 add:

Henry William Watkins: Modern Criticism in its relation to the Fourth Gospel; being the Bampton Lectures for 1890. London, 1890. Only the external evidence, but with a history of opinions since Breitschneider’s Probabilia.

Paton J. Gloag: Introduction to the Johannine Writings. London, 1891 (pp.440). Discusses the critical questions connected with the Gospel, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse of John from a liberal conservative standpoint.

E. Schuerer: On the Genuineness of the Fourth Gospel. In the |Contemporary Review| for September, 1891.

Page 484:

E. Loening: Die Gemeindeverfassung des Urchristenthums. Halle, 1889 — CH. De Smedt: L’organisation des églises chrétiennes jusqu’au milieu du 3e siècle.1889.

Page 569. Add to literature:

Gregory: Prolegomena to Tischendorf, Pt. II., 1890. (Pt. III. will complete this work.)

Schaff: Companion to the Greek Testament, 4th ed. revised, 1892.

Salmon: Introduction to the New Testament, 5th ed., 1890.,

Holtzmann: Introduction to the New Testament, 3d ed., 1892.

F. Godet: Introduction au Nouveau Testament. Neuchatel, 1893. The first volume contains the Introduction to the Pauline Epistles; the second and third will contain the Introduction to the Gospels, the Catholic Epp. and the Revelation. To be translated.

Page 576:

Robinson’s Harmony, revised edition, by M B. Riddle (Professor in Allegheny Theological Seminary), New York, 1885.

Page 724:

Friedrich Spitta: Die Apostelgeschichte, ihre Quellen und ihr historischer Wert. Halle, 1891 (pp.380). It is briefly criticised by Ramsey.



C. Sagittarius: Introductio in historiam ecclesiasticam. Jen.1694.

F. WALCH: Grundsätze der zur K. Gesch. nöthigen Vorbereitungslehren u. Bücherkenntnisse.3d ed. Giessen, 1793.

Flügge: Einleitung in das Studium u. die Liter. der K. G. Gött.1801.

John G. Dowling: An Introduction to the Critical Study of Ecclesiastical History, attempted in an account of the progress, and a short notice of the sources of the history of the Church.London, 1838.

Möhler (R. C.): Einleitung in die K G.1839 (|Verm. Schriften,| ed. Döllinger, II.261 sqq.).

Kliefoth: Einleitung in die Dogmengeschichte. Parchim & Ludwigslust, 1839.

Philip Schaff: What is Church History? A Vindication of the Idea of Historical Development. Philad.1846.

H B. Smith: Nature and Worth of the Science of Church History. Andover, 1851.

E. P. Humphrey: lnaugural Address, delivered at the Danville Theol. Seminary. Cincinnati, 1854.

R. Turnbull: Christ in History; or, the Central Power among Men. Bost.1854, 2d ed.1860.

W. G. T. Shedd: Lectures on the Philosophy of History. Andover, Mass., 1856.

R. D. Hitchcock: The True Idea and Uses of Church History. N. York, 1856.

C. Bunsen: Gott in der Geschichte oder der Fortschritt des Glaubens an eine sittliche Weltordnung. Bd. I. Leipz.1857. (Erstes Buch. Allg. Einleit. p.1-134.) Engl. Transl.: God in History. By S. Winkworth. Lond.1868.3 vols.

A. P. Stanley: Three Introductory Lectures on the Study of Eccles. History Lond.1857. (Also incorporated in his History of the Eastern Church 1861.)

Goldwin Smith: Lectures on the Study of History, delivered in Oxford, 1859-’61. Oxf. and Lond. (republished in N. York) 1866.

J. Gust. Droysen: Grundriss der Historik. Leipz.1868; new ed.1882.

C. de Smedt (R. C.): Introductio generalis ad historiam ecclesiasticam critice tractandam. Gandavi (Ghent), 1876 (533 pp.).

E. A. Freeman: The Methods of Historical Study. Lond 1886.

O. Lorenz: Geschichtswissenschaft. Berlin, 1886.

Jos. Nirschl (R. C.): Propädeutik der Kirchengeschichte. Mainz, 1888 (352 pp.).

On the philosophy of history in general, see the works of Herder (Ideen zur Philosophie der Gesch. der Menschheit), Fred. Schlegel, Hegel (1840, transl. by Sibree, 1870), Hermann (1870), Rocholl (1878), Flint (The Philosophy of History in Europe. Edinb., 1874, etc.), Lotze (Mikrokosmus, bk. viith; 4th ed.1884; Eng. transl. by Elizabeth Hamilton and E. E. C. Jones, 1885, 3d ed.1888). A philosophy of church history is a desideratum. Herder and Lotze come nearest to it

A fuller introduction, see in Schaff: History of the Apostolic Church; with a General Introduction to Ch. H. (N. York, 1853), pp.1-134.

Section 1. Nature of Church History.

History has two sides, a divine and a human. On the part of God, it is his revelation in the order of time (as the creation is his revelation in the order of space), and the successive unfolding of a plan of infinite wisdom, justice, and mercy, looking to his glory and the eternal happiness of mankind. On the part of man, history is the biography of the human race, and the gradual development, both normal and abnormal, of all its physical, intellectual, and moral forces to the final consummation at the general judgment, with its eternal rewards and punishments. The idea of universal history presupposes the Christian idea of the unity of God, and the unity and common destiny of men, and was unknown to ancient Greece and Rome. A view of history which overlooks or undervalues the divine factor starts from deism and consistently runs into atheism; while the opposite view, which overlooks the free agency of man and his moral responsibility and guilt, is essentially fatalistic and pantheistic.

From the human agency we may distinguish the Satanic, which enters as a third power into the history of the race. In the temptation of Adam in Paradise, the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, and at every great epoch, Satan appears as the antagonist of God, endeavoring to defeat the plan of redemption and the progress of Christ’s kingdom, and using weak and wicked men for his schemes, but is always defeated in the end by the superior wisdom of God.

The central current and ultimate aim of universal history is the Kingdom of God established by Jesus Christ. This is the grandest and most comprehensive institution in the world, as vast as humanity and as enduring as eternity. All other institutions are made subservient to it, and in its interest the whole world is governed. It is no after-thought of God, no subsequent emendation of the plan of creation, but it is the eternal forethought, the controlling idea, the beginning, the middle, and the end of all his ways and works. The first Adam is a type of the second Adam; creation looks to redemption as the solution of its problems. Secular history, far from controlling sacred history, is controlled by it, must directly or indirectly subserve its ends, and can only be fully understood in the central light of Christian truth and the plan of salvation. The Father, who directs the history of the world, |draws to the Son,| who rules the history of the church, and the Son leads back to the Father, that |God may be all in all.| |All things,| says St. Paul, |were created through Christ and unto Christ: and He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.| Col.1:16-18. |The Gospel,| says John von Müller, summing up the final result of his lifelong studies in history, |is the fulfilment of all hopes, the perfection of all philosophy, the interpreter of all revolutions, the key of all seeming contradictions of the physical and moral worlds; it is life — it is immortality.|

The history of the church is the rise and progress of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. It begins with the creation of Adam, and with that promise of the serpent-bruiser, which relieved the loss of the paradise of innocence by the hope of future redemption from the curse of sin. It comes down through the preparatory revelations under the patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets, to the immediate forerunner of the Saviour, who pointed his followers to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. But this part of its course was only introduction. Its proper starting-point is the incarnation of the Eternal Word, who dwelt among us and revealed his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; and next to this, the miracle of the first Pentecost, when the Church took her place as a Christian institution, filled with the Spirit of the glorified Redeemer and entrusted with the conversion of all nations. Jesus Christ, the God-Man and Saviour of the world, is the author of the new creation, the soul and the head of the church, which is his body and his bride. In his person and work lies all the fulness of the Godhead and of renewed humanity, the whole plan of redemption, and the key of all history from the creation of man in the image of God to the resurrection of the body unto everlasting life.

This is the objective conception of church history.

In the subjective sense of the word, considered as theological science and art, church history is the faithful and life-like description of the origin and progress of this heavenly kingdom. It aims to reproduce in thought and to embody in language its outward and inward development down to the present time. It is a continuous commentary on the Lord’s twin parables of the mustard-seed and of the leaven. It shows at once how Christianity spreads over the world, and how it penetrates, transforms, and sanctifies the individual and all the departments and institutions of social life. It thus embraces not only the external fortunes of Christendom, but more especially her inward experience, her religious life, her mental and moral activity, her conflicts with the ungodly world, her sorrows and sufferings, her joys and her triumphs over sin and error. It records the deeds of those heroes of faith |who subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the months of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of aliens.|

From Jesus Christ, since his manifestation in the flesh, an unbroken stream of divine light and life has been and is still flowing, and will continue to flow, in ever-growing volume through the waste of our fallen race; and all that is truly great and good and holy in the annals of church history is due, ultimately, to the impulse of his spirit. He is the fly-wheel in the world’s progress. But he works upon the world through sinful and fallible men, who, while as self-conscious and free agents they are accountable for all their actions, must still, willing or unwilling, serve the great purpose of God. As Christ, in the days of his flesh, was bated, mocked, and crucified, his church likewise is assailed and persecuted by the powers of darkness. The history of Christianity includes therefore a history of Antichrist. With an unending succession of works of saving power and manifestations of divine truth and holiness, it uncovers also a fearful mass of corruption and error. The church militant must, from its very nature, be at perpetual warfare with the world, the flesh, and the devil, both without and within. For as Judas sat among the apostles, so |the man of sin| sits in the temple of God; and as even a Peter denied the Lord, though he afterwards wept bitterly and regained his holy office, so do many disciples in all ages deny him in word and in deed.

But on the other hand, church history shows that God is ever stronger than Satan, and that his kingdom of light puts the kingdom of darkness to shame. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has bruised the head of the serpent. With the crucifixion of Christ his resurrection also is repeated ever anew in the history of his church on earth; and there has never yet been a day without a witness of his presence and power ordering all things according to his holy will. For he has received all power in heaven and in earth for the good of his people, and from his heavenly throne he rules even his foes. The infallible word of promise, confirmed by experience, assures us that all corruptions, heresies, and schisms must, under the guidance of divine wisdom and love, subserve the cause of truth, holiness, and peace; till, at the last judgment, Christ shall make his enemies his footstool, and rule undisputed with the sceptre of righteousness and peace, and his church shall realize her idea and destiny as |the fullness of him that filleth all in all.|

Then will history itself, in its present form, as a struggling and changeful development, give place to perfection, and the stream of time come to rest in the ocean of eternity, but this rest will be the highest form of life and activity in God and for God.

Section 2. Branches of Church History.

The kingdom of Christ, in its principle and aim, is as comprehensive as humanity. It is truly catholic or universal, designed and adapted for all nations and ages, for all the powers of the soul, and all classes of society. It breathes into the mind, the heart, and the will a higher, supernatural life, and consecrates the family, the state, science, literature, art, and commerce to holy ends, till finally God becomes all in all. Even the body, and the whole visible creation, which groans for redemption from its bondage to vanity and for the glorious liberty of the children of God, shall share in this universal transformation; for we look for the resurrection of the body, and for the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. But we must not identify the kingdom of God with the visible church or churches, which are only its temporary organs and agencies, more or less inadequate, while the kingdom itself is more comprehensive, and will last for ever.

Accordingly, church history has various departments, corresponding to the different branches of secular history and of natural life. The principal divisions are:

I. The history of missions, or of the spread of Christianity among unconverted nations, whether barbarous or civilized. This work must continue, till |the fullness of the Gentiles shall come in,| and |Israel shall be saved.| The law of the missionary progress is expressed in the two parables of the grain of mustard-seed which grows into a tree, and of the leaven which gradually pervades the whole lump. The first parable illustrates the outward expansion, the second the all-penetrating and transforming power of Christianity. It is difficult to convert a nation; it is more difficult to train it to the high standard of the gospel; it is most difficult to revive and reform a dead or apostate church.

The foreign mission work has achieved three great conquests: first, the conversion of the elect remnant of the Jews, and of civilized Greeks and Romans, in the first three centuries; then the conversion of the barbarians of Northern and Western Europe, in the middle ages; and last, the combined efforts of various churches and societies for the conversion of the savage races in America, Africa, and Australia, and the semi-civilized nations of Eastern Asia, in our own time. The whole non-Christian world is now open to missionary labor, except the Mohammedan, which will likewise become accessible at no distant day.

The domestic or home mission work embraces the revival of Christian life in corrupt or neglected portions of the church in old countries, the supply of emigrants in new countries with the means of grace, and the labors, among the semi-heathenism populations of large cities. Here we may mention the planting of a purer Christianity among the petrified sects in Bible Lands, the labors of the Gustavus Adolphus Society, and the Inner mission of Germany, the American Home Missionary Societies for the western states and territories, the City Mission Societies in London, New York, and other fast-growing cities.

II. The history of Persecution by hostile powers; as by Judaism and Heathenism in the first three centuries, and by Mohammedanism in the middle age. This apparent repression of the church proves a purifying process, brings out the moral heroism of martyrdom, and thus works in the end for the spread and establishment of Christianity. |The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church.| There are cases, however, where systematic and persistent persecution has crushed out the church or reduced it to a mere shadow, as in Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa, under the despotism of the Moslems.

Persecution, like missions, is both foreign and domestic. Besides being assailed from without by the followers of false religions, the church suffers also from intestine wars and violence. Witness the religious wars in France, Holland, and England, the Thirty Years’ War in Germany, all of which grew out of the Protestant Reformation and the Papal Reaction; the crusade against the Albigenses and Waldenses, the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, the massacre of the Huguenots, the dragonnades of Louis XIV., the crushing out of the Reformation in Bohemia, Belgium, and Southern Europe; but also, on the Protestant side, the persecution of Anabaptists, the burning of Servetus in Geneva the penal laws of the reign of Elizabeth against Catholic and Puritan Dissenters, the hanging of witches and Quakers in New England. More Christian blood has been shed by Christians than by heathens and Mohammedans.

The persecutions of Christians by Christians form the satanic chapters, the fiendish midnight scenes, in the history of the church. But they show also the gradual progress of the truly Christian spirit of religious toleration and freedom. Persecution exhausted ends in toleration, and toleration is a step to freedom. The blood of patriots is the price of civil, the blood of martyrs the price of religious liberty. The conquest is dear, the progress slow and often interrupted, but steady and irresistible. The principle of intolerance is now almost universally disowned in the Christian world, except by ultramontane Romanism (which indirectly reasserts it in the Papal Syllabus of 1864); but a ruling church, allied to the state, under the influence of selfish human nature, and, relying on the arm of flesh rather than the power of truth, is always tempted to impose or retain unjust restrictions on dissenting sects, however innocent and useful they may have proved to be.

In the United States all Christian denominations and sects are placed on a basis of equality before the law, and alike protected by the government in their property and right of public worship, yet self-supporting and self-governing; and, in turn, they strengthen the moral foundations of society by training loyal and virtuous citizens. Freedom of religion must be recognized as one of the inalienable rights of man, which lies in the sacred domain of conscience, beyond the restraint and control of politics, and which the government is bound to protect as much as any other fundamental right. Freedom is liable to abuse, and abuse may be punished. But Christianity is itself the parent of true freedom from the bondage of sin and error, and is the best protector and regulator of freedom.

III. The history of Church Government and Discipline. The church is not only an invisible communion of saints, but at the same time a visible body, needing organs, laws, and forms, to regulate its activity. Into this department of history fall the various forms of church polity: the apostolic, the primitive episcopal, the patriarchal, the papal, the consistorial, the presbyterial, the congregational, etc.; and the history of the law and discipline of the church, and her relation to the state, under all these forms.

IV. The history of Worship, or divine service, by which the church celebrates, revives, and strengthens her fellowship with her divine head. This falls into such subdivisions as the history of preaching, of catechisms, of liturgy, of rites and ceremonies, and of religious art, particularly sacred poetry and music.

The history of church government and the history of worship are often put together under the title of Ecclesiastical Antiquities or Archaeology, and commonly confined to the patristic age, whence most of the, Catholic institutions and usages of the church date their origin. But they may as well be extended to the formative period of Protestantism.

V. The history of Christian Life, or practical morality and religion: the exhibition of the distinguishing virtues and vices of different ages, of the development of Christian philanthropy, the regeneration of domestic life, the gradual abatement and abolition of slavery and other social evils, the mitigation and diminution of the horrors of war, the reform of civil law and of government, the spread of civil and religious liberty, and the whole progress of civilization, under the influence of Christianity.

VI. The history of Theology, or of Christian learning and literature. Each branch of theology — exegetical, doctrinal, ethical, historical, and practical — has a history of its own.

The history of doctrines or dogmas is here the most important, and is therefore frequently treated by itself. Its object is to show how the mind of the church has gradually apprehended and unfolded the divine truths of revelation, how the teachings of scripture have been formulated and shaped into dogmas, and grown into creeds and confessions of faith, or systems of doctrine stamped with public authority. This growth of the church in the knowledge of the infallible word of God is a constant struggle against error, misbelief, and unbelief; and the history of heresies is an essential part of the history of doctrines.

Every important dogma now professed by the Christian church is the result of a severe conflict with error. The doctrine of the holy Trinity, for instance, was believed from the beginning, but it required, in addition to the preparatory labors of the ante-Nicene age, fifty years of controversy, in which the strongest intellects were absorbed, until it was brought to the clear expression of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The Christological conflict was equally long and intense, until it was brought to a settlement by the council of Chalcedon. The Reformation of the sixteenth century was a continual warfare with popery. The doctrinal symbols of the various churches, from the Apostles’ Creed down to the confessions of Dort and Westminster, and more recent standards, embody the results of the theological battles of the militant church.

The various departments of church history have not a merely external and mechanical, but an organic relation to each other, and form one living whole, and this relation the historian must show. Each period also is entitled to a peculiar arrangement, according to its character. The number, order, and extent of the different divisions must be determined by their actual importance at a given time.

Section 3. Sources of Church History.

The sources of church history, the data on which we rely for our knowledge, are partly divine, partly human. For the history of the kingdom of God from the creation to the close of the apostolic age, we have the inspired writings of the Old and New Testaments. But after the death of the apostles we have only human authorities, which of course cannot claim to be infallible. These human sources are partly written, partly unwritten.

I. The written sources include:

(a) Official documents of ecclesiastical and civil authorities: acts of councils and synods, confessions of faith, liturgies, church laws, and the official letters of popes, patriarchs, bishops, and representative bodies.

(b) Private writings of personal actors in the history: the works of the church fathers, heretics, and heathen authors, for the first six centuries; of the missionaries, scholastic and mystic divines, for the middle age; and of the reformers and their opponents, for the sixteenth century. These documents are the richest mines for the historian. They give history in its birth and actual movement. But they must be carefully sifted and weighed; especially the controversial writings, where fact is generally more or less adulterated with party spirit, heretical and orthodox.

(c) Accounts of chroniclers and historians, whether friends or enemies, who were eye-witnesses of what they relate. The value of these depends, of course, on the capacity and credibility of the authors, to be determined by careful criticism. Subsequent historians can be counted among the direct or immediate sources only so far as they have drawn from reliable and contemporary documents, which have either been wholly or partially lost, like many of Eusebius authorities for the period before Constantine, or are inaccessible to historians generally, as are the papal regesta and other documents of the Vatican library.

(d) Inscriptions, especially those on tombs and catacombs, revealing the faith and hope of Christians in times of persecution. Among the ruins of Egypt and Babylonia whole libraries have been disentombed and deciphered, containing mythological and religious records, royal proclamations, historical, astronomical, and poetical compositions, revealing an extinct civilization and shedding light on some parts of Old Testament history.

II. The Unwritten sources are far less numerous: church edifices, works of sculpture and painting, and other monuments, religious customs and ceremonies, very important for the history of worship and ecclesiastical art, and significant of the spirit of their age.

The works of art are symbolical embodiments of the various types of Christianity. The plain symbols and crude sculptures of the catacombs correspond to the period of persecution; the basilicas to the Nicene age; the Byzantine churches to the genius of the Byzantine state-churchism; the Gothic cathedrals to the Romano-Germanic catholicism of the middle ages; the renaissance style to the revival of letters.

To come down to more recent times, the spirit of Romanism can be best appreciated amidst the dead and living monuments of Rome, Italy, and Spain. Lutheranism must be studied in Wittenberg, Northern Germany, and Scandinavia; Calvinism in Geneva, France, Holland, and Scotland; Anglicanism at Oxford, Cambridge, and London; Presbyterianism in Scotland and the United States; Congregationalism in England and New England. For in the mother countries of these denominations we generally find not only the largest printed and manuscript sources, but also the architectural, sculptural, sepulchral, and other monumental remains, the natural associations, oral traditions, and living representatives of the past, who, however they may have departed from the faith of their ancestors, still exhibit their national genius, social condition, habits, and customs — often in a far more instructive manner than ponderous printed volumes.

Section 4. Periods of Church History.

The purely chronological or annalistic method, though pursued by the learned Baronius and his continuators, is now generally abandoned. It breaks the natural flow of events, separates things which belong together, and degrades history to a mere chronicle.

The centurial plan, which prevailed from Flacius to Mosheim, is an improvement. It allows a much better view of the progress and connection of things. But it still imposes on the history a forced and mechanical arrangement; for the salient points or epochs very seldom coincide with the limits of our centuries. The rise of Constantine, for example, together with the union of church and state, dates from the year 311; that of the absolute papacy, in Hildebrand, from 1049; the Reformation from 1517; the peace of Westphalia took place in 1648; the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers of New England in 1620; the American emancipation in 1776; the French revolution in 1789; the revival of religious life in Germany began in 1817.

The true division must grow out of the actual course of the history itself, and present the different phases of its development or stages of its life. These we call periods or ages. The beginning of a new period is called an epoch, or a stopping and starting point.

In regard to the number and length of periods there is, indeed, no unanimity; the less, on account of the various denominational differences establishing different points of view, especially since the sixteenth century. The Reformation, for instance, has less importance for the Roman church than for the Protestant, and almost none for the Greek; and while the edict of Nantes forms a resting-place in the history of French Protestantism, and the treaty of Westphalia in that of German, neither of these events had as much to do with English Protestantism as the accession of Elizabeth, the rise of Cromwell, the restoration of the Stuarts, and the revolution of 1688.

But, in spite of all confusion and difficulty in regard to details, it is generally agreed to divide the history of Christianity into three principal parts — ancient, mediaeval, and modern; though there is not a like agreement as to the dividing epochs, or points of departure and points of termination.

I. The history of Ancient Christianity, from the birth of Christ to Gregory the Great. a.d.1-590.

This is the age of the Graeco-Latin church, or of the Christian Fathers. Its field is the countries around the Mediterranean — Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Southern Europe — just the theatre of the old Roman empire and of classic heathendom. This age lays the foundation, in doctrine, government, and worship, for all the subsequent history. It is the common progenitor of all the various confessions.

The Life of Christ and the Apostolic Church are by far the most important sections, and require separate treatment. They form the divine-human groundwork of the church, and inspire, regulate, and correct all subsequent periods.

Then, at the beginning of the fourth century, the accession of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, marks a decisive turn; Christianity rising from a persecuted sect to the prevailing religion of the Graeco-Roman empire. In the history of doctrines, the first oecumenical council of Nicaea, falling in the midst of Constantine’s reign, a.d.325, has the prominence of an epoch.

Here, then, are three periods within the first or patristic era, which we may severally designate as the period of the Apostles, the period of the Martyrs, and the period of the Christian Emperors and Patriarchs.

II. Medieval Christianity, from Gregory I to the Reformation. a.d.590-1517.

The middle age is variously reckoned — from Constantine, 306 or 311; from the fall of the West Roman empire, 476; from Gregory the Great, 590; from Charlemagne, 800. But it is very generally regarded as closing at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and more precisely, at the outbreak of the Reformation in 1517. Gregory the Great seems to us to form the most proper ecclesiastical point of division. With him, the author of the Anglo-Saxon mission, the last of the church fathers, and the first of the proper popes, begins in earnest, and with decisive success, the conversion of the barbarian tribes, and, at the same time, the development of the absolute papacy, and the alienation of the eastern and western churches.

This suggests the distinctive character of the middle age: the transition of the church from Asia and Africa to Middle and Western Europe, from the Graeco-Roman nationality to that of the Germanic, Celtic, and Slavonic races, and from the culture of the ancient classic world to the modern civilization. The great work of the church then was the conversion and education of the heathen barbarians, who conquered and demolished the Roman empire, indeed, but were themselves conquered and transformed by its Christianity. This work was performed mainly by the Latin church, under a firm hierarchical constitution, culminating in the bishop of Rome. The Greek church though she made some conquests among the Slavic tribes of Eastern Europe, particularly in the Russian empire, since grown so important, was in turn sorely pressed and reduced by Mohammedanism in Asia and Africa, the very seat of primitive Christianity, and at last in Constantinople itself; and in doctrine, worship, and organization, she stopped at the position of the oecumenical councils and the patriarchal constitution of the fifth century.

In the middle age the development of the hierarchy occupies the foreground, so that it may be called the church of the Popes, as distinct from the ancient church of the Fathers, and the modern church of the Reformers.

In the growth and decay of the Roman hierarchy three popes stand out as representatives of as many epochs: Gregory I., or the Great (590), marks the rise of absolute papacy; Gregory VII., or Hildebrand (1049), its summit; and Boniface VIII. (1294), its decline. We thus have again three periods in mediaeval church history. We may briefly distinguish them as the Missionary, the Papal, and the pre- or ante-Reformatory ages of Catholicism.

III. Modern Christianity, from the Reformation of the sixteenth century to the present time. a.d.1517-1880.

Modern history moves chiefly among the nations of Europe, and from the seventeenth century finds a vast new theatre in North America. Western Christendom now splits into two hostile parts — one remaining on the old path, the other striking out a new one; while the eastern church withdraws still further from the stage of history, and presents a scene of almost undisturbed stagnation, except in modern Russia and Greece. Modern church history is the age of Protestantism in conflict with Romanism, of religious liberty and independence in conflict with the principle of authority and tutelage, of individual and personal Christianity against an objective and traditional church system.

Here again three different periods appear, which may be denoted briefly by the terms, Reformation, Revolution, and Revival.

The sixteenth century, next to the apostolic age the most fruitful and interesting period of church history, is the century of the evangelical renovation of the Church, and the papal counter-reform. It is the cradle of all Protestant denominations and sects, and of modern Romanism.

The seventeenth century is the period of scholastic orthodoxy, polemic confessionalism, and comparative stagnation. The reformatory motion ceases on the continent, but goes on in the mighty Puritanic struggle in England, and extends even into the primitive forests of the American colonies. The seventeenth century is the most fruitful in the church history of England, and gave rise to the various nonconformist or dissenting denominations which were transplanted to North America, and have out-grown some of the older historic churches. Then comes, in the eighteenth century, the Pietistic and Methodistic revival of practical religion in opposition to dead orthodoxy and stiff formalism. In the Roman church Jesuitism prevails but opposed by the half-evangelical Jansenism, and the quasiliberal Gallicanism.

In the second half of the eighteenth century begins the vast overturning of traditional ideas and institutions, leading to revolution in state, and infidelity in church, especially in Roman Catholic France and Protestant Germany. Deism in England, atheism in France, rationalism in Germany, represent the various degrees of the great modern apostasy from the orthodox creeds.

The nineteenth century presents, in part, the further development of these negative and destructive tendencies, but with it also the revival of Christian faith and church life, and the beginnings of a new creation by the everlasting gospel. The revival may be dated from the third centenary of the Reformation, in 1817.

In the same period North America, English and Protestant in its prevailing character, but presenting an asylum for all the nations, churches, and sects of the old world, with a peaceful separation of the temporal and the spiritual power, comes upon the stage like a young giant full of vigor and promise.

Thus we have, in all, nine periods of church history, as follows:

First Period:
The Life of Christ, and the Apostolic church.
From the Incarnation to the death of St. John. a.d.1-100.

Second Period:
Christianity under persecution in the Roman empire. From the death of St. John to Constantine, the first Christian emperor. a.d.100-311.

Third Period:
Christianity in union with the Graeco-Roman empire, and amidst the storms of the great migration of nations.
From Constantine the Great to Pope Gregory I. a.d.311-590.

Fourth Period:
Christianity planted among the Teutonic, Celtic, and Slavonic nations. From Gregory I. to Hildebrand, or Gregory VII. a.d.590-1049.

Fifth Period:
The Church under the papal hierarchy, and the scholastic theology. From Gregory VII. to Boniface VIII. a.d.1049-1294.

Sixth Period:
The decay of mediaeval Catholicism, and the preparatory movements for the Reformation.
From Boniface VIII. to Luther. a.d.1294-1517.

Seventh Period:
The evangelical Reformation, and the Roman Catholic Reaction. From Luther to the Treaty of Westphalia. a.d.1517-1648.

Eighth Period:
The age of polemic orthodoxy and exclusive confessionalism, with reactionary and progressive movements.
From the Treaty of Westphalia to the French Revolution. a.d.1648-1790.

Ninth Period:
The spread of infidelity, and the revival of Christianity in Europe and America, with missionary efforts encircling the globe. From the French Revolution to the present time. a.d.1790-1880.

Christianity has thus passed through many stages of its earthly life, and yet has hardly reached the period of full manhood in Christ Jesus. During this long succession of centuries it has outlived the destruction of Jerusalem, the dissolution of the Roman empire, fierce persecutions from without, and heretical corruptions from within, the barbarian invasion, the confusion of the dark ages, the papal tyranny, the shock of infidelity, the ravages of revolution, the attacks of enemies and the errors of friends, the rise and fall of proud kingdoms, empires, and republics, philosophical systems, and social organizations without number. And, behold, it still lives, and lives in greater strength and wider extent than ever; controlling the progress of civilization, and the destinies of the world; marching over the ruins of human wisdom and folly, ever forward and onward; spreading silently its heavenly blessings from generation to generation, and from country to country, to the ends of the earth. It can never die; it will never see the decrepitude of old age; but, like its divine founder, it will live in the unfading freshness of self-renewing youth and the unbroken vigor of manhood to the end of time, and will outlive time itself. Single denominations and sects, human forms of doctrine, government, and worship, after having served their purpose, may disappear and go the way of all flesh; but the Church Universal of Christ, in her divine life and substance, is too strong for the gates of hell. She will only exchange her earthly garments for the festal dress of the Lamb’s Bride, and rise from the state of humiliation to the state of exaltation and glory. Then at the coming of Christ she will reap the final harvest of history, and as the church triumphant in heaven celebrate and enjoy the eternal sabbath of holiness and peace. This will be the endless end of history, as it was foreshadowed already at the beginning of its course in the holy rest of God after the completion of his work of creation.

Section 5. Uses of Church History.

Church history is the most extensive, and, including the sacred history of the Old and New Testaments, the most important branch of theology. It is the backbone of theology or which it rests, and the storehouse from which it derives its supplies. It is the best commentary of Christianity itself, under all its aspects and in all its bearings. The fulness of the stream is the glory of the fountain from which it flows.

Church history has, in the first place, a general interest for every cultivated mind, as showing the moral and religious development of our race, and the gradual execution of the divine plan of redemption.

It has special value for the theologian and minister of the gospel, as the key to the present condition of Christendom and the guide to successful labor in her cause. The present is the fruit of the past, and the germ of the future. No work can stand unless it grow out of the real wants of the age and strike firm root in the soil of history. No one who tramples on the rights of a past generation can claim the regard of its posterity. Church history is no mere curiosity shop. Its facts are not dry bones, but embody living realities, the general principles and laws for our own guidance and action. Who studies church history studies Christianity itself in all its phases, and human nature under the influence of Christianity as it now is, and will be to the end of time.

Finally, the history of the church has practical value for every Christian, as a storehouse of warning and encouragement, of consolation and counsel. It is the philosophy of facts, Christianity in living examples. If history in general be, as Cicero describes it, |testis temporum, lux veritatis, et magistra vitae,| or, as Diodorus calls it, |the handmaid of providence, the priestess of truth, and the mother of wisdom,| the history of the kingdom of heaven is all these in the highest degree. Next to the holy scriptures, which are themselves a history and depository of divine revelation, there is no stronger proof of the continual presence of Christ with his people, no more thorough vindication of Christianity, no richer source of spiritual wisdom and experience, no deeper incentive to virtue and piety, than the history of Christ’s kingdom. Every age has a message from God to man, which it is of the greatest importance for man to understand.

The Epistle to the Hebrews describes, in stirring eloquence, the cloud of witnesses from the old dispensation for the encouragement of the Christians. Why should not the greater cloud of apostles, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, fathers, reformers, and saints of every age and tongue, since the coming of Christ, be held up for the same purpose? They were the heroes of Christian faith and love, the living epistles of Christ, the salt of the earth, the benefactors and glory of our race; and it is impossible rightly to study their thoughts and deeds, their lives and deaths, without being elevated, edified, comforted, and encouraged to follow their holy example, that we at last, by the grace of God, be received into their fellowship, to spend with them a blessed eternity in the praise and enjoyment of the same God and Saviour.

Section 6. Duty of the Historian.

The first duty of the historian, which comprehends all others, is fidelity and justice. He must reproduce the history itself, making it live again in his representation. His highest and only aim should be, like a witness, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and, like a judge, to do full justice to every person and event which comes under his review.

To be thus faithful and just he needs a threefold
qualification — scientific, artistic, and religious.

1. He must master the sources. For this purpose he must be acquainted with such auxiliary sciences as ecclesiastical philology (especially the Greek and Latin languages, in which most of the earliest documents are written), secular history, geography, and chronology. Then, in making use of the sources, he must thoroughly and impartially examine their genuineness and integrity, and the credibility and capacity of the witnesses. Thus only can he duly separate fact from fiction, truth from error.

The number of sources for general history is so large and increasing so rapidly, that it is, of course, impossible to read and digest them all in a short lifetime. Every historian rests on the shoulders of his predecessors. He must take some things on trust even after the most conscientious search, and avail himself of the invaluable aid of documentary collections and digests, ample indexes, and exhaustive monographs, where he cannot examine all the primary sources in detail. Only he should always carefully indicate his authorities and verify facts, dates, and quotations. A want of accuracy is fatal to the reputation of an historical work.

2. Then comes the composition. This is an art. It must not simply recount events, but reproduce the development of the church in living process. History is not a heap of skeletons, but an organism filled and ruled by a reasonable soul.

One of the greatest difficulties here lies in arranging the material. The best method is to combine judiciously the chronological and topical principles of division; presenting at once the succession of events and the several parallel (and, indeed, interwoven) departments of the history in due proportion. Accordingly, we first divide the whole history into periods, not arbitrary, but determined by the actual course of events; and then we present each of these periods in as many parallel sections or chapters as the material itself requires. As to the number of the periods and chapters, and as to the arrangement of the chapters, there are indeed conflicting opinions, and in the application of our principle, as in our whole representation, we can only make approaches to perfection. But the principle itself is, nevertheless, the only true one.

The ancient classical historians, and most of the English and French, generally present their subject in one homogeneous composition of successive books or chapters, without rubrical division. This method might seem to bring out better the living unity and variety of the history at every point. Yet it really does not. Language, unlike the pencil and the chisel, can exhibit only the succession in time, not the local concomitance. And then this method, rigidly pursued, never gives a complete view of any one subject, of doctrine, worship, or practical life. It constantly mixes the various topics, breaking off from one to bring up another, even by the most sudden transitions, till the alternation is exhausted. The German method of periodical and rubrical arrangement has great practical advantages for the student, in bringing to view the order of subjects as well as the order of time. But it should not be made a uniform and monotonous mechanism, as is done in the Magdeburg Centuries and many subsequent works. For, while history has its order, both of subject and of time, it is yet, like all life, full of variety. The period of the Reformation requires a very different arrangement from the middle age; and in modern history the rubrical division must be combined with and made subject to a division by confessions and countries, as the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed churches in Germany, France, England, and America.

The historian should aim then to reproduce both the unity and the variety of history, presenting the different topics in their separate completeness, without overlooking their organic connection. The scheme must not be arbitrarily made, and then pedantically applied, as a Procrustean framework, to the history; but it must be deduced from the history itself, and varied as the facts require.

Another difficulty even greater than the arrangement of the material consists in the combination of brevity and fulness. A general church history should give a complete view of the progress of Christ’s kingdom in all its departments. But the material is so vast and constantly increasing, that the utmost condensation should be studied by a judicious selection of the salient points, which really make up the main body of history. There is no use in writing books unless they are read. But who has time in this busy age to weary through the forty folios of Baronius and his continuators, or the thirteen folios of Flacius, or the forty-five octaves of Schroeckh? The student of ecclesiastical history, it is true, wants not miniature pictures only (as in Hase’s admirable compend), but full-length portraits. Yet much space may be gained by omitting the processes and unessential details, which may be left to monographs and special treatises. Brevity is a virtue in the historian, unless it makes him obscure and enigmatic.

The historian, moreover, must make his work readable and interesting, without violating truth. Some parts of history are dull and wearisome; but, upon the whole, the truth of history is |stranger than fiction.| It is God’s own epos. It needs no embellishment. It speaks for itself if told with earnestness, vivacity, and freshness. Unfortunately, church historians, with very few exceptions, are behind the great secular historians in point of style, and represent the past as a dead corpse rather than as a living and working power of abiding interest. Hence church histories are so little read outside of professional circles.

3. Both scientific research and artistic representation must be guided by a sound moral and religious, that is, a truly Christian spirit. The secular historian should be filled with universal human sympathy, the church historian with universal Christian sympathy. The motto of the former is: |Homo sum, nihil humani a me alienum puto;| the motto of the latter: |Christianus sum, nihil Christiani a me alienum puto.|

The historian must first lay aside all prejudice and party zeal, and proceed in the pure love of truth. Not that he must become a tabula rasa. No man is able, or should attempt, to cast off the educational influences which have made him what he is. But the historian of the church of Christ must in every thing be as true as possible to the objective fact, |sine ira et studio;| do justice to every person and event; and stand in the centre of Christianity, whence he may see all points in the circumference, all individual persons and events, all confessions, denominations, and sects, in their true relations to each other and to the glorious whole. The famous threefold test of catholic truth — universality of time (semper), place (ubique), and number (ab omnibus) — in its literal sense, is indeed untrue and inapplicable. Nevertheless, there is a common Christianity in the Church, as well as a common humanity in the world, which no Christian can disregard with impunity. Christ is the divine harmony of all the discordant human creeds and sects. It is the duty and the privilege of the historian to trace the image of Christ in the various physiognomies of his disciples, and to act as a mediator between the different sections of his kingdom.

Then he must be in thorough sympathy with his subject, and enthusiastically devoted thereto. As no one can interpret a poet without poetic feeling and taste, or a philosopher without speculative talent, so no one can rightly comprehend and exhibit the history of Christianity without a Christian spirit. An unbeliever could produce only a repulsive caricature, or at best a lifeless statue. The higher the historian stands on Christian ground, the larger is his horizon, and the more full and clear his view of single regions below, and of their mutual bearings. Even error can be fairly seen only from the position of truth. |Verum est index sui et falsi.| Christianity is the absolute truth, which, like the sun, both reveals itself and enlightens all that is dark. Church history, like the Bible, is its own best interpreter.

So far as the historian combines these three qualifications, he fulfils his office. In this life we can, of course, only distantly approach perfection in this or in any other branch of study. Absolute success would require infallibility; and this is denied to mortal man. It is the exclusive privilege of the Divine mind to see the end from the beginning, and to view events from all sides and in all their bearings; while the human mind can only take up things consecutively and view them partially or in fragments.

The full solution of the mysteries of history is reserved for that heavenly state, when we shall see no longer through a gloss darkly, but face to face, and shall survey the developments of time from the heights of eternity. What St. Augustine so aptly says of the mutual relation of the Old and New Testament, |Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet, Vetus in Novo patet,| may be applied also to the relation of this world and the world to come. The history of the church militant is but a type and a prophecy of the triumphant kingdom of God in heaven — a prophecy which will be perfectly understood only in the light of its fulfilment.

Section 7. Literature of Church History.

Stäudlin: Geschichte u. Literatur der K. Geschichte. Hann.1827.

J. G. Dowling: An Introduction to the Critical Study of Eccles. History. London, 1838. Quoted p.1. The work is chiefly an account of the ecclesiastical historians. pp.1-212.

F. C. Baur: Die Epochen der kirchlichen Geschichtschreibung. Tüb.1852.

Philip Schaff: Introduction to History of the Apost. Church (N. York, 1853), pp.51-134.

Engelhardt: Uebersicht der kirchengeschichtlichen Literatur vom Jahre 1825-1850. In Niedner’s |Zeitschrift für historische Theologie,| 1851.

G. Uhlhorn: Die kirchenhist. Arbeiten von 1851-1860. In Niedner’s |Zeitschrift für histor. Theologie,| for 1866, Gotha, pp.3-160. The same: Die ältere Kirchengesch. in ihren neueren Darstellungen. In |Jahrbücher für deutsche Theol.| Vol. II.648 sqq.

Brieger’s |Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte| (begun in 1877 and published in Gotha) contains bibliographical articles of Ad. Harnack, Möller, and others, on the latest literature.

Ch. K. Adams: A Manual of Historical Literature. N. York, 3d ed.1888.

Like every other science and art, church historiography has a history of development toward its true perfection. This history exhibits not only a continual growth of material, but also a gradual, though sometimes long interrupted, improvement of method, from the mere collection of names and dates in a Christian chronicle, to critical research and discrimination, pragmatic reference to causes and motives, scientific command of material, philosophical generalization, and artistic reproduction of the actual history itself. In this progress also are marked the various confessional and denominational phases of Christianity, giving different points of view, and consequently different conceptions and representations of the several periods and divisions of Christendom; so that the development of the Church itself is mirrored in the development of church historiography.

We can here do no more than mention the leading works which mark the successive epochs in the growth of our science.

I. The Apostolic Church.

The first works on church history are the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the inspired biographical memoirs of Jesus Christ, who is the theanthropic head of the Church universal.

These are followed by Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, which describes the planting of Christianity among Jews and Gentiles from Jerusalem to Rome, by the labors of the apostles, especially Peter and Paul.

II. The Greek Church historians.

The first post-apostolic works on church history, as indeed all branches of theological literature, take their rise in the Greek Church.

Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, in Palestine, and contemporary with Constantine the Great, composed a church history in ten books (ejkklhsiastikh; iJstoriva, from the incarnation of the Logos to the year 324), by which he has won the title of the Father of church history, or the Christian Herodotus. Though by no means very critical and discerning, and far inferior in literary talent and execution to the works of the great classical historians, this ante-Nicene church history is invaluable for its learning, moderation, and love of truth; for its use of so since totally or partially lost; and for its interesting position of personal observation between the last persecutions of the church and her establishment in the Byzantine empire.

Eusebius was followed in similar spirit and on the same plan by Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret in the fifth century, and Theodorus and Evagrius in the sixth, each taking up the thread of the narrative where his predecessor had dropped it, and covering in part the same ground, from Constantine the Great till toward the middle of the fifth century.

Of the later Greek historians, from the seventh century, to the fifteenth, the |Scriptores Byzantini,| as they are called, Nicephorus Callisti (son of Callistus, about a.d.1333) deserves special regard. His Ecclesiastical History was written with the use of the large library of the church of St. Sophia in Constantinople, and dedicated to the emperor Andronicus Palaeologus (d.1327). It extends in eighteen books (each of which begins with a letter of his name) from the birth of Christ to the death of Phocas, a.d.610, and gives in the preface a summary of five books more, which would have brought it down to 911. He was an industrious and eloquent, but uncritical and superstitious writer.

III. Latin Church historians of the middle ages.

The Latin Church, before the Reformation, was, in church history, as in all other theological studies, at first wholly dependent on the Greek, and long content with mere translations and extracts from Eusebius and his continuators.

The most popular of these was the Historia Tripartita, composed by Cassiodorus, prime minister of Theodoric, and afterwards abbot of a convent in Calabria (d. about a.d.562). It is a compilation from the histories of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret, abridging and harmonizing them, and supplied — together with the translation of Eusebius by Rufinus — the West for several centuries with its knowledge of the fortunes of the ancient church.

The middle age produced no general church history of consequence, but a host of chronicles, and histories of particular nations, monastic orders, eminent popes, bishops, missionaries, saints, etc. Though rarely worth much as compositions, these are yet of great value as material, after a careful sifting of truth from legendary fiction.

The principal mediaeval historians are Gregory of Tours (d.595), who wrote a church history of the Franks; the Venerable Bede, (d.735), the father of English church history; Paulus Diaconus (d.799), the historian of the Lombards; Adam of Bremen, the chief authority for Scandinavian church history from a.d.788-1072; Haimo (or Haymo, Aimo, a monk of Fulda, afterwards bishop of Halberstadt, d.853), who described in ten books, mostly from Rufinus, the history of the first four centuries (Hist oriae Sacrae Epitome); Anastasius (about 872), the author in part of the Liber Pontificalis, i.e., biographies of the Popes till Stephen VI. (who died 891); Bartholomaeus of Lucca. (about 1312), who composed a general church history from Christ to a.d.1312; St. Antoninus (Antonio Pierozzi), archbishop of Florence (d.1459), the author of the largest mediaeval work on secular and sacred history (Summa Historialis), from the creation to a.d.1457.

Historical criticism began with the revival of letters, and revealed itself first in the doubts of Laurentius Valla (d.1457) and Nicolaus of Cusa (d.1464) concerning the genuineness of the donation of Constantine, the Isidorian Decretals, and other spurious documents, which are now as universally rejected as they were once universally accepted.

IV. Roman Catholic historians.

The Roman Catholic Church was roused by the shock of the Reformation, in the sixteenth century, to great activity in this and other departments of theology, and produced some works of immense learning and antiquarian research, but generally characterized rather by zeal for the papacy, and against Protestantism, than by the purely historical spirit. Her best historians are either Italians, and ultramontane in spirit, or Frenchmen, mostly on the side of the more liberal but less consistent Gallicanism.

(a) Italians:

First stands the Cardinal Caesar Baronius (d.1607), with his Annales Ecclesiastici(Rom.1588 sqq.), in 12 folio volumes, on which he spent thirty years of unwearied study. They come down only to the year 1198, but are continued by Raynaldi (to 1565), Laderchi (to 1571), and Theiner (to 1584).

This truly colossal and monumental work is even to this day an invaluable storehouse of information from the Vatican library and other archives, and will always be consulted by professional scholars. It is written in dry, ever broken, unreadable style, and contains many spurious documents. It stands wholly on the ground of absolute papacy, and is designed as a positive refutation of the Magdeburg Centuries, though it does not condescend directly to notice them. It gave immense aid and comfort to the cause of Romanism, and was often epitomized and popularized in several languages. But it was also severely criticized, and in part refuted, not only by such Protestants as Casaubon, Spanheim, and Samuel Basnage, but by Roman Catholic scholars also, especially two French Franciscans, Antoine and François Pagi, who corrected the chronology.

Far less known and used than the Annals of Baronius is the Historia Ecclesiasticaof Caspar Sacharelli, which comes down to a.d.1185, and was published in Rome, 1771-1796, in 25 quarto volumes.

Invaluable contributions to historical collections and special researches have been made by other Italian scholars, as Muratori, Zaccagni, Zaccaria, Mansi, Gallandi, Paolo Sarpi, Pallavicini (the last two on the Council of Trent), the three Assemani, and Angelo Mai

(b) French Catholic historians.

Natalis (Noel) Alexander, Professor and Provincial of the Dominican order (d.1724), wrote his Historia Ecclesiastica Veteris et Nova Testamentito the year 1600 (Paris, 1676, 2d ed.1699 sqq.8 vols. fol.) in the spirit of Gallicanism, with great learning, but in dry scholastic style. Innocent XI. put it in the Index (1684). This gave rise to the corrected editions.

The abbot Claude Fleury (d.1723), in his Histoire ecclésiastique(Par.1691-1720, in 20 vols. quarto, down to a.d.1414, continued by Claude Fabre, a very decided Gallican, to a.d.1595), furnished a much more popular work, commended by mildness of spirit and fluency of style, and as useful for edification as for instruction. It is a minute and, upon the whole, accurate narrative of the course of events as they occurred, but without system and philosophical generalization, and hence tedious and wearisome. When Fleury was asked why he unnecessarily darkened his pages with so many discreditable facts, he properly replied that the survival and progress of Christianity, notwithstanding the vices and crimes of its professors and preachers, was the best proof of its divine origin.

Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, the distinguished bishop of Meaux (d.1704), an advocate of Romanism on the one hand against Protestantism, but of Gallicanism on the other against Ultramontanism, wrote with brilliant eloquence, and in the spirit of the Catholic church, a universal history, in bold outlines for popular effect. This was continued in the German language by the Protestant Cramer, with less elegance but more thoroughness, and with special reference to the doctrine history of the middle age.

Sebastien le Nain de Tillemont (d.1698), a French nobleman and priest, without office and devoted exclusively to study and prayer — a pupil and friend of the Jansenists and in partial sympathy with Gallicanism — composed a most learned and useful history of the first six centuries (till 513), in a series of minute biographies, with great skill and conscientiousness, almost entirely in the words of the original authorities, from which he carefully distinguishes his own additions. It is, as far as it goes, the most valuable church history produced by Roman Catholic industry and learning.

Contemporaneously with Tillemont, the Gallican, L. Ellies Dupin (d.1719), furnished a biographical and bibliographical church history down to the seventeenth century. Remi Ceillier (d.1761) followed with a similar work, which has the advantage of greater completeness and accuracy. The French Benedictines of the congregation of St. Maur, in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, did immense service to historical theology by the best critical editions of the fathers and extensive archaeological works. We can only mention the names of Mabillon, Massuet, Montfaucon, D’achery, Ruinart, Martène, Durand. Among the Jesuits, Sirmond and Petau occupy a prominent place.

The Abbé Rohrbacher. (Professor of Church History at Nancy, d.1856) wrote an extensive Universal History of the Church, including that of the Old Testament, down to 1848. It is less liberal than the great Gallican writers of the seventeenth century, but shows familiarity with German literature.

(c) German Catholic historians.

The pioneer of modern German Catholic historians of note is a poet and an ex-Protestant, Count Leopold Von Stolberg (d.1819). With the enthusiasm of an honest, noble, and devout, but credulous convert, he began, in 1806, a very full Geschichte der Religion Jesu Christi, and brought it down in 15 volumes to the year 430. It was continued by F. Kerz (vols.16-45, to a.d.1192) and J. N. Brischar (vols.45-53, to a.d.1245).

Theod. Katerkamp (d. at Münster, 1834) wrote a church history, in the same spirit and pleasing style, down to a.d.1153. It remained unfinished, like the work of Locherer(d.1837), which extends to 1073.

Bishop Hefele’s History of the Councils(Conciliengeschichte, 1855-’86; revised edition and continuation, 1873 sqq.) is a most valuable contribution to the history of doctrine and discipline down to the Council of Trent.

The best compendious histories from the pens of German Romanists are produced by Jos. Ign. Ritter, Professor in Bonn and afterward in Breslau (d.1857); Joh. Adam Möhler, formerly Professor in Tübingen, and then in Munich, the author of the famous Symbolik(d.1838); Joh. Alzog (d.1878); H. Brück (Mayence, 2d ed., 1877); F. X. Kraus (Treves, 1873; 3d ed., 1882); Card. Hergenröther(Freiburg, 3d ed., 1886, 3 vols.); F. X. Funk (Tübingen, 1886; 2d ed., 1890).

A. F. Gfrörer (d.1861) began his learned General Church History as a Protestant, or rather as a Rationalist (1841-’46, 4 vols., till a.d.1056), and continued it from Gregory VII. on as a Romanist (1859-’61).

Dr. John Joseph Ignatius Döllinger (Professor in Munich, born 1799), the most learned historian of the Roman Church in the nineteenth century, represents the opposite course from popery to anti-popery. He began, but never finished, a Handbook of Christian Church History(Landshut, 1833, 2 vols.) till a.d.680, and a Manual of Church History(1836, 2d ed., 1843, 2 vols.) to the fifteenth century, and in part to 1517. He wrote also learned works against the Reformation (Die Reformation, 1846-’48, in 3 vols.), on Hippolytus and Callistus (1853), on the preparation for Christianity (Heidenthum u Judenthum, 1857), Christianity and the Church in the time of its Founding (1860), The Church and the Churches (1862), Papal Fables of the Middle Age (1865), The Pope and the Council (under the assumed name of |Janus,| 1869), etc.

During the Vatican Council in 1870 Döllinger broke with Rome, became the theological leader of the Old Catholic recession, and was excommunicated by the Archbishop of Munich (his former pupil), April 17, 1871, as being guilty of |the crime of open and formal heresy.| He knows too much of church history to believe in the infallibility of the pope. He solemnly declared (March 28, 1871) that |as a Christian, as a theologian, as a historian, and as a citizen,| he could not accept the Vatican decrees, because they contradict the spirit of the gospel and the genuine tradition of the church, and, if carried out, must involve church and state, the clergy and the laity, in irreconcilable conflict.

V. The Protestant Church historians.

The Reformation of the sixteenth century is the mother church history as a science and art in the proper sense of term. It seemed at first to break off from the past and to depreciate church history, by going back directly to the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, and especially to look most unfavorably on the Catholic middle age, as a progressive corruption of the apostolic doctrine and discipline. But, on the other hand, it exalted primitive Christianity, and awakened a new and enthusiastic interest in all the documents of the apostolic church, with an energetic effort to reproduce its spirit and institutions. It really repudiated only the later tradition in favor of the older, taking its stand upon the primitive historical basis of Christianity. Then again, in the course of controversy with Rome, Protestantism found it desirable and necessary to wrest from its opponent not only the scriptural argument, but also the historical, and to turn it as far as possible to the side of the evangelical cause. For the Protestants could never deny that the true Church of Christ is built on a rock, and has the promise of indestructible permanence. Finally, the Reformation, by, liberating the mind from the yoke of a despotic ecclesiastical authority, gave an entirely new impulse, directly or indirectly to free investigation in every department, and produced that historical criticism which claims to clear fact from the accretions of fiction, and to bring out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, of history. Of course this criticism may run to the extreme of rationalism and scepticism, which oppose the authority of the apostles and of Christ himself; as it actually did for a time, especially in Germany. But the abuse of free investigation proves nothing against the right use of it; and is to be regarded only as a temporary aberration, from which all sound minds will return to a due appreciation of history, as a truly rational unfolding of the plan of redemption, and a standing witness for the all-ruling providence of God, and the divine character of the Christian religion.

(a) German, Swiss, and Dutch historians.

Protestant church historiography has thus far flourished most on German soil. A patient and painstaking industry and conscientious love of truth and justice qualify German scholars for the mining operations of research which bring forth the raw material for the manufacturer; while French and English historians know best how to utilize and popularize the material for the general reader.

The following are the principal works:

Matthias Flacius (d 1575), surnamed Illyricus, a zealous Lutheran, and an unsparing enemy of Papists, Calvinists, and Melancthonians, heads the list of Protestant historians with his great Eccelesiastica Historia Novi Testamenti, commonly called Centuriae Magdeburgenses(Basle, 1560-’74), covering thirteen centuries of the Christian era in as many folio volumes. He began the work in Magdeburg, in connection with ten other, scholars of like Spirit and zeal, and in the face of innumerable difficulties, for the purpose of exposing the corruptions and, errors of the papacy, and of proving the doctrines of the Lutheran Reformation orthodox by the |witnesses of the truth| in all ages. The tone is therefore controversial throughout, and quite as partial as that of the Annals of Baronius on the papal side. The style is tasteless and repulsive, but the amount of persevering labor, the immense, though ill-digested and unwieldy mass of material, and the boldness of the criticism, are imposing and astonishing. The |Centuries| broke the path of free historical study, and are the first general church history deserving of the name. They introduced also a new method. They divide the material by centuries, and each century by a uniform Procrustean scheme of not less than sixteen rubrics: |de loco et propagatione ecclesiae; de persecutione et tranquillitate ecclesiae; de doctrina; de haeresibus; de ceremoniis; de politia; de schismatibus; de conciliis; de vitis episcoporum; de haereticis; de martyribus; de miraculis et prodigiis; de rebus Judaicis; de aliis religionibus; de mutationibus politicis.| This plan destroys all symmetry, and occasions wearisome diffuseness and repetition. Yet, in spite of its mechanical uniformity and stiffness, it is more scientific than the annalistic or chronicle method, and, with material improvements and considerable curtailment of rubrics, it has been followed to this day.

The Swiss, J. H. Hottinger (d.1667), in his Historia Ecclesiastica N. Testamenti(Zurich, 1655-’67, 9 vols. fol.), furnished a Reformed counterpart to the Magdeburg Centuries. It is less original and vigorous, but more sober and moderate. It comes down to the sixteenth century, to which alone five volumes are devoted.

From Fred. Spanheim of Holland (d.1649) we have a Summa Historia Ecclesiasticae (Lugd. Bat.1689), coming down to the sixteenth century. It is based on a thorough and critical knowledge of the sources, and serves at the same time as a refutation of Baronius.

A new path was broken by Gottfried Arnold (d.1714), in his, Impartial History of the Church and Hereticsto a.d.1688. He is the historian of the pietistic and mystic school. He made subjective piety the test of the true faith, and the persecuted sects the main channel of true Christianity; while the reigning church from Constantine down, and indeed not the Catholic church only, but the orthodox Lutheran with it, he represented as a progressive apostasy, a Babylon full of corruption and abomination. In this way he boldly and effectually broke down the walls of ecclesiastical exclusiveness and bigotry; but at the same time, without intending or suspecting it, he opened the way to a rationalistic and sceptical treatment of history. While, in his zeal for impartiality and personal piety, he endeavored to do justice to all possible heretics and sectaries, he did great injustice to the supporters of orthodoxy and ecclesiastical order. Arnold was also the first to use the German language instead of the Latin in learned history; but his style is tasteless and insipid.

J. L. von Mosheim (Chancellor of the University at Göttingen, d.1755), a moderate and impartial Lutheran, is the father of church historiography as an art, unless we prefer to concede this merit to Bossuet. In skilful construction, clear, though mechanical and monotonous arrangement, critical sagacity, pragmatic combination, freedom from passion, almost bordering on cool indifferentism, and in easy elegance of Latin style, he surpasses all his predecessors. His well-known Institutiones Historiae Ecclesiasticae antiquae et recentioris(Helmstädt, 1755) follows the centurial plan of Flacius, but in simpler form, and, as translated and supplemented by Maclaine, and Murdock, is still used extensively as a text-book in England and America.

J. M. Schröckh (d.1808), a pupil of Mosheim, but already touched with the neological spirit which Semler (d.1791) introduced into the historical theology of Germany, wrote with unwearied industry the largest Protestant church history after the Magdeburg Centuries. He very properly forsook the centurial plan still followed by Mosheim, and adopted the periodic. His Christian Church History comprises forty-five volumes, and reaches to the end of the eighteenth century. It is written in diffuse but clear and easy style, with reliable knowledge of sources, and in a mild and candid spirit, and is still a rich storehouse of historical matter.

The very learned Institutiones Historiae Ecclesiasticae V. et N. Testamentiof the Dutch Reformed divine, H. Venema (d.1787), contain the history of the Jewish and Christian Church down to the end of the sixteenth century (Lugd. Bat.1777-’83, in seven parts).

H. P. C. Henke (d.1809) is the leading representative of the rationalistic church historiography, which ignores Christ in history. In his spirited and able Allgemeine Geschichte der christlichen Kirche, continued by Vater (Braunschweig, 1788-1820, 9 vols.), the church appears not as the temple of God on earth, but as a great infirmary and bedlam.

August Neander. (Professor of Church History in Berlin, d.1850), the |father of modern church history,| a child in spirit, a giant in learning, and a saint in piety, led back the study of history from the dry heath of rationalism to the fresh fountain of divine life in Christ, and made it a grand source of edification as well as instruction for readers of every creed. His General History of the Christian Religion and Church begins after the apostolic age (which he treated in a separate work), and comes down to the Council of Basle in 1430, the continuation being interrupted by his death. It is distinguished for thorough and conscientious use of the sources, critical research, ingenious combination, tender love of truth and justice, evangelical catholicity, hearty piety, and by masterly analysis of the doctrinal systems and the subjective Christian life of men of God in past ages. The edifying character is not introduced from without, but naturally grows out of his conception of church history, viewed as a continuous revelation of Christ’s presence and power in humanity, and as an illustration of the parable of the leaven which gradually pervades and transforms the whole lump. The political and artistic sections, and the outward machinery of history, were not congenial to the humble, guileless simplicity of Neander. His style is monotonous, involved, and diffuse, but unpretending, natural, and warmed by a genial glow of sympathy and enthusiasm. It illustrates his motto: Pectus est quod theologum facit.

Torrey’s excellent translation (Rose translated only the first three centuries), published in Boston, Edinburgh, and London, in multiplied editions, has given Neander’s immortal work even a much larger circulation in England and America than it has in Germany itself.

Besides this general history, Neander’s indefatigable industry produced also special works on the Life of Christ (1837, 4th ed.1845), the Apostolic Age (1832, 4th ed.1842, translated by J. E. Ryland, Edinburgh, 1842, and again by E. G. Robinson, N. York, 1865), Memorials of Christian Life (1823, 3d ed.1845, 3 vols.), the Gnostic Heresies (1818), and biographies of representative characters, as Julian the Apostate (1812), St. Bernard (1813, 2d ed.1848), St. Chrysostom (1822, 3d ed.1848), and Tertullian (1825, 2d ed.1849). His History a Christian Doctrines was published after his death by Jacobi (1855), and translated by J. E. Ryland (Lond., 1858).

From J. C. L. Gieseler (Professor of Church History in Göttingen, d.1854), a profoundly learned, acute, calm, impartial, conscientious, but cold and dry scholar, we have a Textbook of Church Historyfrom the birth of Christ to 1854. He takes Tillemont’s method of giving the history in the very words of the sources; only he does not form the text from them, but throws them into notes. The chief excellence of this invaluable and indispensable work is in its very carefully selected and critically elucidated extracts from the original authorities down to the year 1648 (as far as he edited the work himself). The skeleton-like text presents, indeed, the leading facts clearly and concisely, but does not reach the inward life and spiritual marrow of the church of Christ. The theological views of Gieseler hardly rise above the jejune rationalism of Wegscheider, to whom he dedicated a portion of his history; and with all his attempt at impartiality he cannot altogether conceal the negative effect of a rationalistic conception of Christianity, which acts like a chill upon the narrative of its history, and substitutes a skeleton of dry bones for a living organism.

Neander and Gieseler matured their works in respectful and friendly rivalry, during the same period of thirty years of slow, but solid and steady growth. The former is perfectly subjective, and reproduces the original sources in a continuous warm and sympathetic composition, which reflects at the same time the author’s own mind and heart; the latter is purely objective, and speaks with the indifference of an outside spectator, through the ipsissima verbaof the same sources, arranged as notes, and strung together simply by a slender thread of narrative. The one gives the history ready-made, and full of life and instruction; the other furnishes the material and leaves the reader to animate and improve it for himself. With the one, the text is everything; with the other, the notes. But both admirably complete each other, and exhibit together the ripest fruit of German scholarship in general church history in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Ferdinand Christian Baur (Prof. of Church History in Tübingen, d.1860) must be named alongside with Neander and Gieseler in the front rank of German church historians. He was equal to both in independent and thorough scholarship, superior in constructive criticism and philosophical generalization, but inferior in well-balanced judgment and solid merit. He over-estimated theories and tendencies, and undervalued persons and facts. He was an indefatigable investigator and bold innovator. He completely revolutionized the history of apostolic and post-apostolic Christianity, and resolved its rich spiritual life of faith and love into a purely speculative process of conflicting tendencies, which started from an antagonism of Petrinism and Paulinism, and were ultimately reconciled in the compromise of ancient Catholicism. He fully brought to light, by a keen critical analysis, the profound intellectual fermentation of the primitive church, but eliminated from it the supernatural and miraculous element; yet as an honest and serious sceptic he had to confess at last a psychological miracle in the conversion of St. Paul, and to bow before the greater miracle of the resurrection of Christ, without which the former is an inexplicable enigma. His critical researches and speculations gave a powerful stimulus to a reconsideration and modification of the traditional views on early Christianity.

We have from his fertile pen a general History of the Christian Church, in five volumes (1853-1863), three of which were, published after his death and lack the originality and careful finish of the first and second, which cover the first six centuries;Lectures on Christian Doctrine History (Dogmengeschichte), published by his son (1865-’67, in 3 volumes), and a briefLehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, edited by himself (1847, 2d ed.1858). Even more valuable are his monographs: on St. Paul, for whom he had a profound veneration, although he recognized only four of his Epistles as genuine (1845, 2d ed. by E. Zeller, 1867, 2 vols., translated into English, 1875); on Gnosticism, with which he had a strong spiritual affinity (Die christliche Gnosis oder die christliche Religionsphilosophie, 1835); the history of the Doctrine of the Atonement (1838, 1 vol.), and of the Trinity and Incarnation (1841-’43, in 3 vols.), and his masterly vindication of Protestantism against Möhler’s Symbolik (2d ed.1836).

Karl Rudolph Hagenbach (Professor of Church History at Basel, d.1874) wrote, in the mild and impartial spirit of Neander, with poetic taste and good judgment, and in pleasing popular style, a general History of the Christian Church in seven volumes (4th ed.1868-’72), and a History of Christian Doctrines, in two volumes (1841, 4th ed.1857).

Protestant Germany is richer than any other country in, manuals and compends of church history for the use of students. We mention Engelhardt (1834), Niedner (Geschichte der christl. Kirche, 1846, and Lehrbuch, 1866), Hase (11th ed.1886), Guericke (9th ed.1866, 3 vols.), Lindner (1848-’54), Jacobi (1850, unfinished), Fricke (1850), Kurtz (Lehrbuch, 10th ed.1887, in 2 vols., the larger Handbuch, unfinished), Hasse (edited by Köhler, 1864, in 3 small vols.), Köllner (1864), Ebrard (1866) 2 vols.), Rothe (lectures edited by Weingarten, 1875, 2 vols.), Herzog (1876-’82, 3 vols.), H. Schmid (1881, 2 vols.). Niedner’s Lehrbuch (1866) stands first for independent and thorough scholarship, but is heavy. Hase’s Compend is unsurpassed for condensation, wit, point, and artistic taste, as a miniature picture. Herzog’s Abriss keeps the medium between voluminous fulness and enigmatic brevity, and is written in a candid Christian spirit. Kurtz is clear, concise, and evangelical. A new manual was begun by Möller, 1889.

The best works on doctrine history (Dogmengeschichte) are by Münscher, Geiseler, Neander, Baur, Hagenbach, Thomasius, H. Schmid, Nitzsch, and Harnack (1887).

It is impossible to do justice here to the immense service which Protestant Germany has done to special departments of church history. Most of the fathers, popes, schoolmen and reformers, and the principal doctrines of Christianity have been made the subject of minute and exhaustive historical treatment. We have already mentioned the monographs of Neander and Baur, and fully equal to them are such masterly and enduring works as Rothe’s Beginnings of the Christian Church, Ullmann’s Reformers before the Reformation, Hasse’s Anselm of Canterbury, and Dorner’s History of Christology.

(b) French works.

Dr. Etienne L. Chastel (Professor of Church History in the National Church at Geneva, d.1886) wrote a complete Histoire du Christianisme(Paris, 1881-’85, 5 vols.).

Dr. Merle D’aubigné (Professor of Church History in the independent Reformed Seminary at Geneva, d.1872) reproduced in elegant and eloquent French an extensive history both of the Lutheran and Calvinistic Reformation, with an evangelical enthusiasm and a dramatic vivacity which secured it an extraordinary circulation in England and America (far greater, than on the Continent), and made it the most popular work on that important period. Its value as a history is somewhat diminished by polemical bias and the occasional want of accuracy. Dr. Merle conceived the idea of the work during the celebration of the third centenary of the German Reformation in 1817, in the Wartburg at Eisenach, where Luther translated, the New Testament and threw his inkstand at the devil. He labored on it till the year of his death.

Dr. Edmund De Pressensé (pastor of a free church in Paris, member of the National Assembly, then senator of France), and able scholar, with evangelical Protestant convictions similar to those of Dr. Merle, wrote a Life of Christ against Renan, and a History of Ancient Christianity, both of which are translated into English.

Ernest Renan, the celebrated Orientalist and member of the French Academy, prepared from the opposite standpoint of sceptical criticism, and mixing history with romance, but in brilliant, and fascinating style, the Life of Christ, and the history of the Beginnings of Christianity to the middle of the second century.

(c) English works.

English literature is rich in works on Christian antiquity, English church history, and other special departments, but poor in general histories of Christianity.

The first place among English historians, perhaps, is due to Edward Gibbon (d.1794). In his monumental History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire(finished after twenty years’ labor, at Lausanne, June 27,1787), he notices throughout the chief events in ecclesiastical history from the introduction of the Christian religion to the times of the crusades and the capture of Constantinople (1453), with an accurate knowledge of the chief sources and the consummate skill of a master in the art of composition, with occasional admiration for heroic characters like Athanasius and Chrysostom, but with a keener eye to the failings of Christians and the imperfections of the visible church, and unfortunately without sympathy and understanding of the spirit of Christianity which runs like a golden thread even through the darkest centuries. He conceived the idea of his magnificent work in papal Rome, among the ruins of the Capitol, and in tracing the gradual decline and fall of imperial Rome, which he calls |the greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene in the history of mankind,| he has involuntarily become a witness to the gradual growth and triumph of the religion of the cross, of which no historian of the future will ever record a history of decline and fall, though some |lonely traveller from New Zealand,| taking his stand on |a broken arch| of the bridge of St. Angelo, may sketch the ruins of St. Peter’s.

Joseph Milner (Vicar of Hull, d.1797) wrote a History of the Church of Christfor popular edification, selecting those portions which best suited his standard of evangelical orthodoxy and piety. |Nothing,| he says in the preface, |but what appears to me to belong to Christ’s kingdom shall be admitted; genuine piety is the only thing I intend to celebrate. He may be called the English Arnold, less learned, but free from polemics and far more readable and useful than the German pietist. His work was corrected and continued by his brother,Isaac Milner (d.1820), by Thomas Granthamand Dr. Stebbing.

Dr. Waddington (Dean of Durham) prepared three volumes on the history of the Church before the Reformation (1835) and three volumes on the Continental Reformation (1841). Evangelical.

Canon James C. Robertson of Canterbury (Prof. of Church History in King’s College, d.1882) brings his History of the Christian Churchfrom the Apostolic Age down to the Reformation (a.d.64-1517). The work was first published in four octavo volumes (1854 sqq.) and then in eight duodecimo volumes (Lond.1874), and is the best, as it is the latest, general church history written by an Episcopalian. It deserves praise for its candor, moderation, and careful indication of authorities.

From Charles Hardwick (Archdeacon of Ely, d.1859) we have a useful manual of the Church History of the Middle Age (1853, 3d ed. by Prof. W. Stubbs, 1872), and another on the Reformation (1856, 3d ed. by W. Stubbs, London, 1873). His History of the Anglican Articles of Religion (1859) is a valuable contribution to English church history.

Dr. Trench, Archbishop of Dublin, has published his Lectures on Mediaeval Church History (Lond.1877), delivered before the girls of Queen’s College, London. They are conceived in a spirit of devout churchly piety and interspersed with judicious reflections.

Philip Smith’s History of the Christian Church during the First Ten Centuries (1879), and during the Middle Ages (1885), in 2 vols., is a skilful and useful manual for students.

The most popular and successful modern church historians in the English or any other language are Dean Milman of St. Paul’s, Dean Stanley of Westminster Abbey, and Archdeacon Farrar of Westminster. They belong to the broad church school of the Church of England, are familiar with Continental learning, and adorn their chosen themes with all the charms of elegant, eloquent, and picturesque diction. Henry Hart Milman (d.1868) describes, with the stately march of Gibbon and as a counterpart of his decline and fall of Paganism, the rise and progress of Ancient and Latin Christianity, with special reference to its bearing on the progress of civilization. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (d.1881) unrolls a picture gallery of great men and events in the Jewish theocracy, from Abraham to the Christian era, and in the Greek church, from Constantine the Great to Peter the Great. Frederic W. Farrar (b.1831) illuminates with classical and rabbinical learning, and with exuberant rhetoric the Life of Christ, and of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, and the Early Days of Christianity.

(d) American works.

American literature is still in its early youth, but rapidly growing in every department of knowledge. Prescott, Washington Irving, Motley, and Bancroft have cultivated interesting portions of the history of Spain, Holland, and the United States, and have taken rank among the classical historians in the English language.

In ecclesiastical history the Americans have naturally so far been mostly in the attitude of learners and translators, but with every prospect of becoming producers. They have, as already noticed, furnished the best translations of Mosheim, Neander, and Gieseler.

Henry B. Smith (late Professor in the Union Theol. Seminary, New York, d.1877) has prepared the best Chronological Tables of Church History, which present in parallel columns a synopsis of the external and internal history of Christianity, including that of America, down to 1858, with lists of Councils, Popes, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, and Moderators of General Assemblies.

W. G. T. Shedd (Professor in the same institution, b.1820) wrote from the standpoint of Calvinistic orthodoxy an eminently readable History of Christian Doctrine (N. York, 1863, 2 vols.), in clear, fresh, and vigorous English, dwelling chiefly on theology, anthropology, and soteriology, and briefly touching on eschatology, but entirely omitting the doctrine of the Church and the sacraments, with the connected controversies.

Philip Schaff is the author of a special History of the Apostolic Church, in English and German (N. York, 1853, etc., and Leipzig, 1854), of a History of the Creeds of Christendom (N. York, 4th ed., 1884, 3 vols., with documents original and translated), and of a generalHistory of the Christian Church (N. York and Edinb., 1859-’67, in 3 vols.; also in German, Leipzig, 1867; rewritten and enlarged, N. Y. and Edinb., 1882-’88; third revision, 1889, 5 vols.; to be continued).

George P. Fisher (Professor in New Haven, b.1827) has written the best manual in the English language: History of the Christian Church with Maps. N. York, 1887. He has also published a History of the Reformation (1873); Beginnings of Christianity (1877), andOutlines of Universal History (1885), — all in a calm, amiable, and judicious spirit, and a clear, chaste style.

Contributions to interesting chapters in the history of Protestantism are numerous. Dr. E. H. Gillett (d.1875) wrote a Monograph on John Hus (N. York, 1864, 2 vols.), aHistory of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Philad.1864, 2 vols.), and a History of Natural Theology (God in Human Thought, N. York, 1874, 2 vols.); Dr. Abel Stevens, a History of Methodism, viewed as the great religious revival of the eighteenth century, down to the centenary celebration of 1839 (N. York, 1858-’61, 3 vols.), and a History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States (1864-’67, 4 vols.); Henry M. Baird, a History of the Rise and Progress of the Huguenots in France (N. York, 1879, 2 vols.), andThe Huguenots and Henry of Navarre (1886, 2 vols.).

The denominational and sectarian divisions of American Christianity seem to be unfavorable to the study and cultivation of general church history, which requires a large-hearted catholic spirit. But, on the other hand, the social and national intermingling of ecclesiastical organizations of every variety of doctrine and discipline, on a basis of perfect freedom and equality before the law, widens the horizon, and facilitates comparison and appreciation of variety in unity and unity in variety; while the growth and prosperity of the churches on the principle of self-support and self-government encourages a hopeful view of the future. America falls heir to the whole wealth of European Christianity and civilization, and is in a favorable position to review and reproduce in due time the entire course of Christ’s kingdom in the old world with the faith and freedom of the new.

(e) Finally, we must mention biblical and ecclesiastical Encyclopaedias which contain a large number of valuable contributions to church history from leading scholars of the age, viz.:

1. The Bible Dictionariesof Winer. (Leipzig, 1820, 3d ed.1847, 2 vols.); Schenkel (Leipzig, 1869-’75, 5 vols.); Riehm Kitto (Edinb., 1845, third revised ed. by W. L. Alexander, 1862-’65, 3 vols.); Wm. Smith (London, 1860-’64, in 3 vols., American edition much enlarged and improved by H. Hackett and E. Abbot, N. York, 1870, in 4 vols.); Ph. Schaff (Philadelphia, 1880, with maps and illustrations; 4th ed., revised, 1887).

2. The Biblical and Historical Dictionariesof Herzog (Real-Encyklopädie für Protestantische Theologie und Kirche, Gotha 1854 to 1868, in 22 vols., new ed. thoroughly revised by Herzog, Plitt and Hauck, Leipzig, 1877-’88, in 18 vols.), Schaff-Herzog (Religious Encyclopaedia, based on Herzog but condensed, supplemented, and adapted to English and American students, edited by Philip Schaff in connection with Samuel M. Jackson and D. S. Schaff, N. York and Edinburgh, revised ed., 1887, in 3 vols., with a supplementary vol. on Living Divines and Christian Workers, 1887); Wetzer and Welte (Roman Catholic Kirchenlexicon, Freiburg i. Breisgau, 1847-l860, in 12 vols.; second ed. newly elaborated by Cardinal Joseph Hergenröther and Dr. Franz Kaulen, 1880 sqq., promised in 10 vols.); Lichtenberger. (Encyclopédie des sciences religieuses, Paris, 1877-’82, in 13 vols., with supplement); Mcclintock and Strong (Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, New York, 1867-’81, 10 vols. and two supplementary volumes, 1885 and 1887, largely illustrated). The Encyclopaedia Britannica (9th ed., completed 1889 in 25 vols.) contains also many elaborate articles on biblical and ecclesiastical topics.

3. For ancient church history down to the age of Charlemagne: Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities (London and Boston, 1875, 2 vols.); Smith and Wace, Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines during the first eight centuries (London and Boston, 1877-’87, 4 vols.). The articles in these two works are written mostly by scholars of the Church of England, and are very valuable for fulness and accuracy of information.

Note. — The study of church history is reviving in the Greek Church where it began. Philaret Bapheidos has issued a compendious church history under the title: Ekklesiastike istoria apo tou kuriou hemon Iesou Christou mechri ton kath’ hemas chronon hupo Philaretou Bapseidou, archimandritou D. Ph. kai kathegetou tes Theologias en te en Chalke Theologike Schole. Tomos protos. Archaia ekkles; historia. a.d.1-700. En Konstantinopolei , 1884 (Lorentz & Keil, libraries de S. M. I. le Sultan), 380 pp. The second vol. embraces the mediaeval church to the fall of Constantinople, 1453, and has 459 pp. The work is dedicated to Dr. Philotheos Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, the discoverer of the famous Jerusalem Codex. Nearly all the literature quoted is German Protestant; no English, very few Latin, and still fewer Greek works are mentioned. Another compend of Church History in Greek by Diomedes Kyriakos appeared at Athens, 1881, in 2 vols.



J. L. von Mosheim: Historical Commentaries on the State of Christianity in the first three centuries.1753. Transl. by Vidal and Murdock, vol. i. chs.1 and 2 (pp.9-82, of the N. York ed.1853).

Neander: Allg. Gesch. der christl. Religion und Kirche. Vol.1st (1842). Einleit. (p.1-116).

J. P. Lange: Das Apost. Zeitalter.1853, I. pp.224-318.

Schaff: Hist. of the Apostolic Church. pp.137-188 (New York ed.).

Lutterbeck (R. C.): Die N. Testamentlichen Lehrbegriffe, oder Untersuchungen über das Zeitalter der Religionswende, die Vorstufen des Christenthums und die erste Gestaltung desselben. Mainz, 1852, 2 vols.

Döllinger (R. C.): Heidenthum und Judenthum. Vorhalle zur Geschichte des Christenthums. Regensb.1857. Engl. transl. by N. Darnell under the title: The Gentile and the Jew in the courts of the Temple of Christ: an Introduction to the History of Christianity. Lond.1862, 2 vols.

Charles Hardwick (d.1859): Christ and other Masters. London, 4th ed. by Procter, 1875.

M. Schneckenburger (d.1848): Vorlesungen über N. Testamentliche Zeitgeschichte, aus dessen Nachlass herausgegeben von Löhlein, mit Vorwort von Hundeshagen. Frankf. a M.1862.

A. Hausrath: N. Testamentliche Zeitgeschichte. Heidelb.1868 sqq., 2d ed.1873-’77, 4 vols. The first vol. appeared in a third ed.1879. The work includes the state of Judaism and heathenism in the time of Christ, the apostolic and the post-apostolic age to Hadrian (a.d.117). English translation by Poynting and Guenzer, Lond.1878 sqq.

E. Schürer: Lehrbuch der N. Testamentlichen Zeitgeschichte. Leipz.1874. Revised and enlarged under the title: Gesch. des jüd. Volkes im Zeitalter Christi.1886, 2 vols. Engl. translation, Edinb. and N. Y.

H. Schiller: Geschichte des römischen Kaiserreichs unter der Regierung des Nero. Berlin, 1872.

L. Freidländer: Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms in der Zeit von Augustus bis zum Ausgang der Antonine. Leipzig, 5th ed., revised, 1881, 3 vols. A standard work.

Geo. P. Fisher (of Yale College, New Haven): The Beginnings of Christianity. N. York, 1877. Chs. II.-VII.

Gerhard Uhlhorn: The Conflict of Christianity with Heathenism. Transl. by Egbert C. Smyth and C. T H. Ropes. N. York, 1879. Book I. chs.1 and 2. The German original appeared in a 4th ed., 1884.

Section 8. Central Position of Christ in the History of the World.

To see clearly the relation of the Christian religion to the preceding history of mankind, and to appreciate its vast influence upon all future ages, we must first glance at the preparation which existed in the political, moral, and religious condition of the world for the advent of our Saviour.

As religion is the deepest and holiest concern of man, the entrance of the Christian religion into history is the most momentous of all events. It is the end of the old world and the beginning of the new. It was a great idea of Dionysius |the Little| to date our era from the birth of our Saviour. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the prophet, priest, and king of mankind, is, in fact, the centre and turning-point not only of chronology, but of all history, and the key to all its mysteries. Around him, as the sun of the moral universe, revolve at their several distances, all nations and all important events, in the religious life of the world; and all must, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, contribute to glorify his name and advance his cause. The history of mankind before his birth must be viewed as a preparation for his coming, and the history after his birth as a gradual diffusion of his spirit and progress of his kingdom. |All things were created by him, and for him.| He is |the desire of all nations.| He appeared in the |fulness of time,| when the process of preparation was finished, and the world’s need of redemption fully disclosed.

This preparation for Christianity began properly with the very creation of man, who was made in the image of God, and destined for communion with him through the eternal Son; and with the promise of salvation which God gave to our first parents as a star of hope to guide them through the darkness of sin and error. Vague memories of a primitive paradise and subsequent fall, and hopes of a future redemption, survive even in the heathen religions.

With Abraham, about nineteen hundred years before Christ, the religious development of humanity separates into the two independent, and, in their compass, very unequal branches of Judaism and heathenism. These meet and unite — at last in Christ as the common Saviour, the fulfiller of the types and prophecies, desires and hopes of the ancient world; while at the same time the ungodly elements of both league in deadly hostility against him, and thus draw forth the full revelation of his all — conquering power of truth and love.

As Christianity is the reconciliation and union of God and man in and through Jesus Christ, the God-Man, it must have been preceded by a twofold process of preparation, an approach of God to man, and an approach of man to God. In Judaism the preparation is direct and positive, proceeding from above downwards, and ending with the birth of the Messiah. In heathenism it is indirect and mainly, though not entirely, negative, proceeding from below upwards, and ending with a helpless cry of mankind for redemption. There we have a special revelation or self-communication of the only true God by word and deed, ever growing clearer and plainer, till at last the divine Logos appears in human nature, to raise it to communion with himself; here men, guided indeed by the general providence of God, and lighted by the glimmer of the Logos shining in the darkness, yet unaided by direct revelation, and left to |walk in their own ways,| |that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him, and find him.| In Judaism the true religion is prepared for man; in heathenism man is prepared for the true religion. There the divine substance is begotten; here the human forms are moulded to receive it. The former is like the elder son in the parable, who abode in his father’s house; the latter like the prodigal, who squandered his portion, yet at last shuddered before the gaping abyss of perdition, and penitently returned to the bosom of his father’s compassionate love. Heathenism is the starry night, full of darkness and fear, but of mysterious presage also, and of anxious waiting for the light of day; Judaism, the dawn, full of the fresh hope and promise of the rising sun; both lose themselves in the sunlight of Christianity, and attest its claim to be the only true and the perfect religion for mankind.

The heathen preparation again was partly intellectual and literary, partly political and social. The former is represented by the Greeks, the latter by the Romans.

Jerusalem, the holy city, Athens, the city of culture, and Rome, the city of power, may stand for the three factors in that preparatory history which ended in the birth of Christianity.

This process of preparation for redemption in the history of the world, the groping of heathenism after the |unknown God| and inward peace, and the legal struggle and comforting hope of Judaism, repeat themselves in every individual believer; for man is made for Christ, and |his heart is restless, till it rests in Christ.|

Section 9. Judaism.


I. Sources.

1. The Canonical Books of the O. and N. Testaments.

2. The Jewish Apocrypha. Best edition by Otto Frid. Fritzsche: Libri Apocryphi Veteris Testamenti Graece. Lips.1871. German Commentary by Fritzsche and Grimm, Leipz.1851-’60 (in the |Exeget. Handbuch zum A. T.|); English Com. by Dr. E. C. Bissell, N. York, 1880 (vol. xxv. in Schaff’s ed. of Lange’s Bible-Work).

3. Josephus (a Jewish scholar, priest, and historian, patronized by Vespasian and Titus, b. a.d.37, d. about 103): Antiquitates Judaicae (Archaiologia Ioudaike), in 20 books, written first (but not preserved) in Aramaic, and then reproduced in Greek, a.d.94, beginning with the creation and coming down to the outbreak of the rebellion against the Romans, a.d.66, important for the post-exilian period. Bellum Judaicum (peri tou Ioudaikou polemou), in 7 books, written about 75, from his own personal observation (as Jewish general in Galilee, then as Roman captive, and Roman agent), and coming down to the destruction of Jerusalem, a.d.70. Contra. Apionem, a defence of the Jewish nation against the calumnies of the grammarian Apion. His Vita or Autobiography was written after a.d.100. — Editions of Josephus by Hudson, Oxon.1720, 2 vols. fol.; Havercamp, Amst.1726, 2 fol.; Oberthür, Lips.1785, 3 vols.; Richter, Lips.1827, 6 vols.; Dindorf, Par.1849, 2 vols.; Imm. Bekker, Lips.1855, 6 vols. The editions of Havercamp and Dindorf are the best. English translations by Whiston and Traill, often edited, in London, New York, Philadelphia. German translations by Hedio, Ott, Cotta, Demme.

4. Philo of Alexandria (d. after a.d.40) represents the learned and philosophical (Platonic) Judaism. Best ed. by Mangey, Lond.1742, 2 fol., and Richter, Lips.1828, 2 vols. English translation by C. D. Yonge, London, 1854, 4 vols. (in Bohn’s |Ecclesiastical Library|).

5. The Talmud (tlmvd i.e. Doctrine) represents the traditional, post-exilian, and anti-Christian Judaism. It consists of the Mishna (vshnh ,, deuterosisRepetition of the Law), from the end of the second century, and the Gemara (gmr’ i.e. Perfect Doctrine, from gmr to bring to an end). The latter exists in two forms, the Palestinian Gemara, completed at Tiberias about a.d.350, and the Babylonian Gemara of the sixth century. Best eds. of the Talmud by Bomberg, Ven.1520 sqq.12 vols. fol., and Sittenfeld, Berlin, 1862-’68, 12 vols. fol. Latin version of the Mishna by G. Surenhusius, Amst.1698-1703, 6 vols. fol.; German by J. J. Rabe, Onolzbach, 1760-’63.

6. Monumental Sources: of Egypt (see the works of Champollion, Young, Rosellini, Wilkinson, Birch, Mariette, Lepsius, Bunsen, Ebers, Brugsch, etc.); of Babylon and Assyria (see Botta, Layard, George Smith, Sayce, Schrader, etc.).

7. Greek and Roman authors: Polybius (d. b.c.125), Diodorus Siculus (contemporary of Caesar), Strabo ((d. a.d.24), Tacitus (d. about 117), Suetonius(d. about 130), Justinus (d. after a.d.160). Their accounts are mostly incidental, and either simply derived from Josephus, or full of error and prejudice, and hence of very little value.

II. Histories.

(a) By Christian authors.

Prideaux (Dean of Norwich, d.1724): The Old and New Testament Connected in the History of the Jews and neighboring nations, from the declension of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah to the time of Christ. Lond.1715; 11th ed.1749, 4 vols. (and later eds.). The same in French and German.

J. J. Hess (d.1828): Geschichte der Israeliten vor den Zeiten Jesu. Zür.1766 sqq., 12 vols.

Warburton (Bishop of Gloucester, d.1779): The Divine Legation of Moses demonstrated.5th ed. Lond.1766; 10th ed. by James Nichols, Lond.1846, 3 vols.8vo.

Milman (Dean of St. Paul’s, d.1868): History of the Jews. Lond.1829, 3 vols.; revised ed. Lond. and N. York, 1865, 3 vols.

J. C. K. Hofmann (Prof. in Erlangen, d.1878): Weissagung und Erfüllung. Nördl.1841, 2 vols.

Archibald Alexander (d. at Princeton, 1851): A History of the Israelitish Nation. Philadelphia, 1853. (Popular.)

H. Ewald (d.1874): Geschichte des Volkes Israel bis Christus. Gött.1843 sqq.3d ed.1864-’68, 7 vols. A work of rare genius and learning, but full of bold conjectures. Engl. transl. by Russell Martineau and J. E. Carpenter. Lond.1871-’76, 5 vols. Comp. also Ewald’s Prophets, and Poetical Books of the O. T.

E. W. Hengstenberg (d.1869): Geschichte des Reiches Gottes unter dem Alten Bunde. Berl.1869-’71, 2 vols. (Posthumous publication.) English transl., Edinburgh (T. & T. Clark), 1871-272, 2 vols. (Name of the translator not given.)

J. H. Kurtz: Geschichte des Alten Bundes. Berlin, 1848-’55, 2 vols. (unfinished). Engl. transl. by Edersheim, Edinb.1859, in 3 vols. The same: Lehrbuch der heil. Geschichte. Königsb.6th ed.1853; also in English, by C. F. Schäffer. Phil.1855.

P. Cassel: Israel in der Weltgeschichte. Berlin, 1865 (32 pp.).

Joseph Langen (R. C.): Das Judenthum in Palästina zur Zeit Christi. Freiburg i. B.1866.

G. Weber and H. Holtzmann: Geschichte des Volkes Israel und der Gründung des Christenthums. Leipzig, 1867, 2 vols. (the first vol. by Weber, the second by Holtzmann).

H. Holtzmann: Die Messiasidee zur Zeit Christi, in the |Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie,| Gotha, 1867 (vol. xii. pp.389-411).

F. Hitzig: Geschichte des Volkes Israel von Anbeginn bis zur Eroberung Masada’s im J.72 nach Chr. Heidelb.1869, 2 vols.

A. Kuenen (Prof. in Leyden): De godsdienst van Israël tot den ondergang van den joodschen staat. Haarlem, 1870, 2 vols. Transl. into English. The Religion of Israel to the Fall of the Jewish State, by A. H. May. Lond. (Williams & Norgate), 1874-’75, 3 vols. Represents the advanced rationalism of Holland.

A. P. Stanley (Dean of Westminster): Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church. Lond. and N. York, 1863-76, 3 vols. Based on Ewald.

W. Wellhausen: Geschichte Israels. Berlin, 1878, 3d ed.1886. Transl. by Black and Menzies: Prolegomena to the History of Israel. Edinb.1885.

F. Schürer: Geschichte des jüd. Volkes im Zeitalter Christi.1886 sq.2 vols.

A. Edersheim: Prophecy and History in relation to the Messiah. Lond.1885.

A. Köhler: Lehrbuch der bibl. Geschichte des A. T. Erlangen, 1875-’88.

C. A. Briggs: Messianic Prophecy. N. York and Edinb.1886.

V. H. Stanton: The Jewish, and the Christian Messiah. Lond.1886.

B. Stade: Gesch. des Volkes Israel. Berlin, 1888, 2 vols. Radical.

E. Renan: Hist. du peuple d’Israel. Paris, 1887 sqq., 3 vols. Engl. translation, London, 1888 sqq. Radical.

B. Kittel: Gesch. der Hebräer. Gotha, 1888 sqq. Moderate.

(b) By Jewish authors.

J. M. Jost: Geschichte der Israeliten seit der Zeit der Maccabäer bis auf unsere Tage. Leipz.1820-’28, 9 vols. By the same: Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner Secten.1857-159, 3 vols.

Salvador: Histoire de la domination Romaine en Judée et de la ruine de Jerusalem. Par.1847, 2 vols.

Raphall: Post-biblical History of the Jews from the close of the 0. T. about the year 420 till the destruction of the second Temple in the year 70. Lond.1856, 2 vols.

Abraham Geiger (a liberal Rabbi at Frankfort on the M.): Das Judenthum und seine Geschichte. Breslau; 2d ed.1865-’71, 3 vols. With an appendix on Strauss and Renan. Comes down to the 16th century. English transl. by Maurice Mayer. N. York, 1865.

L. Herzfeld: Geschichte des Volkes Jizrael. Nordhausen, 1847-’57, 3 vols. The same work, abridged in one vol. Leipz.1870.

H. Grätz (Prof. in Breslau): Geschichte der Juden von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart. Leipz.1854-’70, 11 vols. (to 1848).

|Salvation is of the Jews.| This wonderful people, whose fit symbol is the burning bush, was chosen by sovereign grace to stand amidst the surrounding idolatry as the bearer of the knowledge of the only true God, his holy law, and cheering promise, and thus to become the cradle of the Messiah. It arose with the calling of Abraham, and the covenant of Jehovah with him in Canaan, the land of promise; grew to a nation in Egypt, the land of bondage; was delivered and organized into a theocratic state on the basis of the law of Sinai by Moses in the wilderness; was led back into Palestine by Joshua; became, after the Judges, a monarchy, reaching the height of its glory in David and Solomon; split into two hostile kingdoms, and, in punishment for internal discord and growing apostasy to idolatry, was carried captive by heathen conquerors; was restored after seventy years’ humiliation to the land of its fathers, but fell again under the yoke of heathen foes; yet in its deepest abasement fulfilled its highest mission by giving birth to the Saviour of the world. |The history of the Hebrew people,| says Ewald, |is, at the foundation, the history of the true religion growing through all the stages of progress unto its consummation; the religion which, on its narrow national territory, advances through all struggles to the highest victory, and at length reveals itself in its full glory and might, to the end that, spreading abroad by its own irresistible energy, it may never vanish away, but may become the eternal heritage and blessing of all nations. The whole ancient world had for its object to seek the true religion; but this people alone finds its being and honor on earth exclusively in the true religion, and thus it enters upon the stage of history.|

Judaism, in sharp contrast with the idolatrous nations of antiquity, was like an oasis in a desert, clearly defined and isolated; separated and enclosed by a rigid moral and ceremonial law. The holy land itself, though in the midst of the three Continents of the ancient world, and surrounded by the great nations of ancient culture, was separated from them by deserts south and east, by sea on the west, and by mountain on the north; thus securing to the Mosaic religion freedom to unfold itself and to fulfil its great work without disturbing influenced from abroad. But Israel carried in its bosom from the first the large promise, that in Abraham’s seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. Abraham, the father of the faithful, Moses, the lawgiver, David, the heroic king and sacred psalmist, Isaiah, the evangelist among the prophets, Elijah the Tishbite, who reappeared with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration to do homage to Jesus, and John the Baptist, the impersonation of the whole Old Testament, are the most conspicuous links in the golden chain of the ancient revelation.

The outward circumstances and the moral and religious condition of the Jews at the birth of Christ would indeed seem at first and on the whole to be in glaring contradiction with their divine destiny. But, in the first place, their very degeneracy proved the need of divine help. In the second place, the redemption through Christ appeared by contrast in the greater glory, as a creative act of God. And finally, amidst the mass of corruption, as a preventive of putrefaction, lived the succession of the true children of Abraham, longing for the salvation of Israel, and ready to embrace Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world.

Since the conquest of Jerusalem by Pompey, b.c.63 (the year made memorable by the consulship of Cicero. the conspiracy of Catiline, and the birth of Caesar Augustus), the Jews had been subject to the heathen Romans, who heartlessly governed them by the Idumean Herod and his sons, and afterwards by procurators. Under this hated yoke their Messianic hopes were powerfully raised, but carnally distorted. They longed chiefly for a political deliverer, who should restore the temporal dominion of David on a still more splendid scale; and they were offended with the servant form of Jesus, and with his spiritual kingdom. Their morals were outwardly far better than those of the heathen; but under the garb of strict obedience to their law, they concealed great corruption. They are pictured in the New Testament as a stiff-necked, ungrateful, and impenitent race, the seed of the serpent, a generation of vipers. Their own priest and historian, Josephus, who generally endeavored to present his countrymen to the Greeks and Romans in the most favorable light, describes them as at that time a debased and wicked people, well deserving their fearful punishment in the destruction of Jerusalem.

As to religion, the Jews, especially after the Babylonish captivity, adhered most tenaciously to the letter of the law, and to their traditions and ceremonies, but without knowing the spirit and power of the Scriptures. They cherished a bigoted horror of the heathen, and were therefore despised and hated by them as misanthropic, though by their judgment, industry, and tact, they were able to gain wealth and consideration in all the larger cities of the Roman empire.

After the time of the Maccabees (b.c.150), they fell into three mutually hostile sects or parties, which respectively represent the three tendencies of formalism, skepticism, and mysticism; all indicating the approaching dissolution of the old religion and the dawn of the new. We may compare them to the three prevailing schools of Greek philosophy — the Stoic, the Epicurean, and the Platonic, and also to the three sects of Mohammedanism — the Sunnis, who are traditionalists, the Sheas, who adhere to the Koran, and the Sufis or mystics, who seek true religion in |internal divine sensation.|

1. The Pharisees, the |separate,| were, so to speak, the Jewish Stoics. They represented the traditional orthodoxy and stiff formalism, the legal self-righteousness and the fanatical bigotry of Judaism. They had most influence with the people and the women, and controlled the public worship. They confounded piety with theoretical orthodoxy. They overloaded the holy Scriptures with the traditions of the elders so as to make the Scriptures |of none effect.| They analyzed the Mosaic law to death, and substituted a labyrinth of casuistry for a living code. |They laid heavy burdens and grievous to be borne on men’s shoulders,| and yet they themselves would |not move them with their fingers.| In the New Testament they bear particularly the reproach of hypocrisy; with, of course, illustrious exceptions, like Nicodemus, Gamaliel, and his disciple, Paul.

2. The less numerous Sadducees were skeptical, rationalistic, and worldly-minded, and held about the same position in Judaism as the Epicureans and the followers of the New Academy in Greek and Roman heathendom. They accepted the written Scriptures (especially the Pentateuch), but rejected the oral traditions, denied the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul, the existence of angels and spirits, and the doctrine of an all-ruling providence. They numbered their followers among the rich, and had for some time possession of the office of the high-priest. Caiaphas belonged to their party.

The difference between the Pharisees and Sadducees reappears among modern Jews, who are divided into the orthodox and the liberal or rationalistic parties.

3. The Essenes (whom we know only from Philo and Josephus) were not a party, but a mystic and ascetic order or brotherhood, and lived mostly in monkish seclusion in villages and in the desert Engedi on the Dead Sea. They numbered about 4,000 members. With an arbitrary, allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament, they combined some foreign theosophic elements, which strongly resemble the tenets of the new Pythagorean and Platonic schools, but were probably derived (like the Gnostic and Manichaean theories) from eastern religions, especially from Parsism. They practised communion of goods, wore white garments, rejected animal food, bloody sacrifices, oaths, slavery, and (with few exceptions) marriage, and lived in the utmost simplicity, hoping thereby to attain a higher degree of holiness. They were the forerunners of Christian monasticism.

The sect of the Essenes came seldom or never into contact with Christianity under the Apostles, except in the shape of a heresy at Colossae. But the Pharisees and Sadducees, particularly the former, meet us everywhere in the Gospels as bitter enemies of Jesus, and hostile as they are to each other, unite in condemning him to that death of the cross, which ended in the glorious resurrection, and became the foundation of spiritual life to believing Gentiles as well as Jews.

Section 10. The Law, and the Prophecy.

Degenerate and corrupt though the mass of Judaism was, yet the Old Testament economy was the divine institution preparatory to the Christian redemption, and as such received deepest reverence from Christ and his apostles, while they sought by terrible rebuke to lead its unworthy representatives to repentance. It therefore could not fail of its saving effect on those hearts which yielded to its discipline, and conscientiously searched the Scriptures of Moses and the prophets.

Law and prophecy are the two great elements of the Jewish religion, and make it a direct divine introduction to Christianity, |the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.|

1. The law of Moses was the clearest expression of the holy will of God before the advent of Christ. The Decalogue is a marvel of ancient legislation, and in its two tables enjoins the sum and substance of all true piety and morality — supreme love to God, and love to our neighbor. It set forth the ideal of righteousness, and was thus fitted most effectually to awaken the sense of man’s great departure from it, the knowledge of sin and guilt. 8 It acted as a schoolmaster to lead men to Christ that they might be justified by faith.|

The same sense of guilt and of the need of reconciliation was constantly kept alive by daily sacrifices, at first in the tabernacle and afterwards in the temple, and by the whole ceremonial law, which, as a wonderful system of types and shadows, perpetually pointed to the realities of the new covenant, especially to the one all-sufficient atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

God in his justice requires absolute obedience and purity of heart under promise of life and penalty of death. Yet he cannot cruelly sport with man; he is the truthful faithful, and merciful God. In the moral and ritual law, therefore, as in a shell, is hidden the sweet kernel of a promise, that he will one day exhibit the ideal of righteousness in living form, and give the penitent sinner pardon for all his transgressions and the power to fulfil the law. Without such assurance the law were bitter irony.

As regards the law, the Jewish economy was a religion of repentance.

2. But it was at the same time, as already, hinted, the vehicle of the divine promise of redemption, and, as such, a religion of hope. While the Greeks and Romans put their golden age in the past, the Jews looked for theirs in the future. Their whole history, their religious, political, and social institutions and customs pointed to the coming of the Messiah, and the establishment of his kingdom on earth.

Prophecy, or the gospel under the covenant of the law, is really older than the law, which was added afterwards and came in between the promise and its fulfilment, between sin and redemption, between the disease and the cure. Prophecy begins in paradise with the promise of the serpent-bruiser immediately after the fall. It predominates in the patriarchal age, especially in the life of Abraham, whose piety has the corresponding character of trust and faith; and Moses, the lawgiver, was at the same time a prophet pointing the people to a greater successor. Without the comfort of the Messianic promise, the law must have driven the earnest soul to despair. From the time of Samuel, some eleven centuries before Christ, prophecy, hitherto sporadic, took an organized form in a permanent prophetical office and order. In this form it accompanied the Levitical priesthood and the Davidic dynasty down to the Babylonish captivity, survived this catastrophe, and directed the return of the people and the rebuilding of the temple; interpreting and applying the law, reproving abuses in church and state, predicting the terrible judgments and the redeeming grace of God, warning and punishing, comforting and encouraging, with an ever plainer reference to the coming Messiah, who should redeem Israel and the world from sin and misery, and establish a kingdom of peace and righteousness on earth.

The victorious reign of David and the peaceful reign of Solomon furnish, for Isaiah and his successors, the historical and typical ground for a prophetic picture of a far more glorious future, which, unless thus attached to living memories and present circumstances, could not have been understood. The subsequent catastrophe and the sufferings of the captivity served to develop the idea of a Messiah atoning for the sins of the people and entering through suffering into glory.

The prophetic was an extraordinary office, serving partly to complete, partly to correct the regular, hereditary priesthood, to prevent it from stiffening into monotonous formality, and keep it in living flow. The prophets were, so to speak, the Protestants of the ancient covenant, the ministers of the spirit and of immediate communion with God, in distinction from the ministers of the letter and of traditional and ceremonial mediation.

The flourishing period of our canonical prophecy began with the eighth century before Christ, some seven centuries after Moses, when Israel was suffering under Assyrian oppression. In this period before the captivity, Isaiah (|the salvation of God|), who appeared in the last years of king Uzziah, about ten years before the founding of Rome, is the leading figure; and around him Micah, Joel, and Obadiah in the kingdom of Judah, and Hosea, Amos, and Jonah in the kingdom of Israel, are grouped. Isaiah reached the highest elevation of prophecy, and unfolds feature by feature a picture of the Messiah — springing from the house of David, preaching the glad tidings to the poor, healing the broken-hearted, opening the eyes to the blind, setting at liberty the captives, offering himself as a lamb to the slaughter, bearing the sins of the people, dying the just for the unjust, triumphing over death and ruling as king of peace over all nations — a picture which came to its complete fulfilment in one person, and one only, Jesus of Nazareth. He makes the nearest approach to the cross, and his book is the Gospel of the Old Testament. In the period of the Babylonian exile, Jeremiah (i.e. |the Lord casts down|) stands chief. He is the prophet of sorrow, and yet of the new covenant of the Spirit. In his denunciations of priests and false prophets, his lamentations over Jerusalem, his holy grief, his bitter persecution he resembles the mission and life of Christ. He remained in the land of his fathers, and sang his lamentation on the ruins of Jerusalem; while Ezekiel warned the exiles on the river Chebar against false prophets and carnal hopes, urged them to repentance, and depicted the new Jerusalem and the revival of the dry bones of the people by the breath of God; and Daniel at the court of Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon saw in the spirit the succession of the four empires and the final triumph of the eternal kingdom of the Son of Man. The prophets of the restoration are Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. With Malachi who lived to the time of Nehemiah, the Old Testament prophecy ceased, and Israel was left to himself four hundred years, to digest during this period of expectation the rich substance of that revelation, and to prepare the birth-place for the approaching redemption.

3. Immediately before the advent of the Messiah the whole Old Testament, the law and the prophets, Moses and Isaiah together, reappeared for a short season embodied in John the Baptist, and then in unrivalled humility disappeared as the red dawn in the splendor of the rising sun of the new covenant. This remarkable man, earnestly preaching repentance in the wilderness and laying the axe at the root of the tree, and at the same time comforting with prophecy, and pointing to the atoning Lamb of God, was indeed, as the immediate forerunner of the New Testament economy, and the personal friend of the heavenly Bridegroom, the greatest of them that were born of woman; yet in his official character as the representative of the ancient preparatory economy he stands lower than the least in that kingdom of Christ, which is infinitely more glorious than all its types and shadows in the past.

This is the Jewish religion, as it flowed from the fountain of divine revelation and lived in the true Israel, the spiritual children of Abraham, in John the Baptist, his parents and disciples, in the mother of Jesus, her kindred and friends, in the venerable Simeon, and the prophetess Anna, in Lazarus and his pious sisters, in the apostles and the first disciples, who embraced Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfiller of the law and the prophets, the Son of God and the Saviour of the world, and who were the first fruits of the Christian Church.

Section 11. Heathenism.


I. Sources.

The works of the Greek and Roman Classics from Homer to Virgil and the age of the Antonines.

The monuments of Antiquity.

The writings of the early Christian Apologists, especially Justin Martyr: Apologia I. and II.; Tertullian: Apologeticus; Minucius Felix: Octavius; Eusebius: Praeparatio Evangelica; and Augustine (d.430): De Civitate Dei (the first ten books).

II. Later Works.

Is. Vossius: De theologia gentili et physiolog. Christ. Frcf.1675, 2 vols.

Creuzer (d.1858): Symbolik und Mythologie der alien Völker. Leipz.3d ed, 1837 sqq.3 vols.

Tholuck (d.1877): Das Wesen und der sittliche Einfluss des Heidenthums, besonders unter den Griechen und Römern, mit Hinsicht auf das Christenthum. Berlin, 1823. In Neander’s Denkwürdigkeiten, vol. i. of the 1st ed. Afterwards separately printed. English translation by Emerson in, |Am. Bibl. Repository| for 1832.

Tzschirner (d.1828): Der Fall des Heidenthums, ed. by Niedner. Leip, 1829, 1st vol.

O. Müller (d.1840): Prolegomena zu einer wissenschaftl. Mythologie. Gött.1825. Transl. into English by J. Leitch. Lond.1844.

Hegel (d.1831): Philosphie der Religion. Berl.1837, 2 vols.

Stuhr: Allgem. Gesch. der Religionsformen der heidnischen Völker. Berl.1836, 1837, 2 vols. (vol.2d on the Hellenic Religion).

Hartung: Die Religion der Römer. Erl.1836, 2 vols.

C. F. Nägelsbach: Homerische Theologie. Nürnb.1840; 2d ed.1861. The same: Die nach-homerische Theologie des Griechischen Volksglaubens bis auf Alexander. Nürnb.1857 .

Sepp (R. C.): Das Heidenthum und dessen Bedeutung für das Christenthum. Regensb.1853, 3 vols.

Wuttke: Geschichte des Heidenthums in Beziehung auf Religion, Wissen, Kunst, Sittlichkeit und Staatsleben. Bresl.1852 sqq.2 vols.

Schelling (d.1854): Einleitung in die Philosophie der Mythologie. Stuttg.1856; and Philosophie der Mythologie . Stuttg.1857.

Maurice (d.1872): The Religions of the World in their Relations to Christianity. Lond.1854 (reprinted in Boston).

Trench: Hulsean Lectures for 1845-’46. No.2: Christ the Desire of all Nations, or the Unconscious Prophecies of Heathendom (a commentary on the star of the wise men, Matt. ii.). Cambr.4th ed.1854 (also 1850).

L. Preller: Griechische Mythologie. Berlin, 1854, 3d ed.1875, 2 vols. By the same; Römische Mythologie. Berlin, 1858; 3d ed., by Jordan, 1881-83, 2 vols.

M. W. Heffter: Griech. und Röm. Mythologie. Leipzig, 1854.

Döllinger: Heidenthum und Judenthum, quoted in § 8.

C. Schmidt: Essai historique sur la societé civil dans le monde romain et sur sa transformation par le christianisme. Paris, 1853.

C. G. Seibert: Griechenthum und Christenthum, oder der Vorhof des Schönen und das Heiligthum der Wahrheit. Barmen, 1857.

Fr. Fabri: Die Entstehung des Heidenthums und die Aufgabe der Heidenmission. Barmen, 1859.

W. E. Gladstone (the English statesman): Studies on Homer and Homeric Age. Oxf.1858, 3 vols. (vol. ii. Olympus; or the Religion of the Homeric Age). The same: Juventus Mundi: the Gods and Men of the Heroic Age.2d ed. Lond.1870. (Embodies the results of the larger work, with several modifications in the ethnological and mythological portions.)

W. S. Tyler (Prof. in Amherst Coll., Mass.): The Theology of the Greek Poets. Boston, 1867.

B. F. Cocker: Christianity and Greek Philosophy; or the Relation between Reflective Thought in Greece and the Positive Teaching of Christ and his Apostles. N. York, 1870.

Edm. Spiess: Logos spermaticós. Parallelstellen zum N. Text. aus den Schriften der alten Griechen. Ein Beitrag zur christl. Apologetik und zur vergleichenden Religionsforschung. Leipz.1871.

G. Boissier: La religion romaine d’Auguste aux Antonins. Paris, 1884, 2 vols.

J Reville: La religion à Rome sous les Sévères. Paris, 1886.

Comp. the histories of Greece by Thirlwall, Grote, and Curtius; the histories of Rome by Gibbon, Niebuhr, Arnold, Merivale, Schwegler, Ihne, Duruy (transl. from the French by W. J. Clarke), and Mommsen. Ranke’s Weltgeschichte. Th. iii.1882. Schiller’s Gesch. der römischen Kaiserzeit.1882.

Heathenism is religion in its wild growth on the soil of fallen human nature, a darkening of the original consciousness of God, a deification of the rational and irrational creature, and a corresponding corruption of the moral sense, giving the sanction of religion to natural and unnatural vices.

Even the religion of Greece, which, as an artistic product of the imagination, has been justly styled the religion of beauty, is deformed by this moral distortion. It utterly lacks the true conception of sin and consequently the true conception of holiness. It regards sin, not as a perverseness of will and an offence against the gods, but as a folly of the understanding and an offence against men, often even proceeding from the gods themselves; for |Infatuation,| or Moral Blindness (Ate), is a |daughter of Jove,| and a goddess, though cast from Olympus, and the source of all mischief upon earth. Homer knows no devil, but he put, a devilish element into his deities. The Greek gods, and also the Roman gods, who were copied from the former, are mere men and women, in whom Homer and the popular faith saw and worshipped the weaknesses and vices of the Grecian character, as well as its virtues, in magnified forms. The gods are born, but never die. They have bodies and senses, like mortals, only in colossal proportions. They eat and drink, though only nectar and ambrosia. They are awake and fall asleep. They travel, but with the swiftness of thought. They mingle in battle. They cohabit with human beings, producing heroes or demigods. They are limited to time and space. Though sometimes honored with the attributes of omnipotence and omniscience, and called holy and just, yet they are subject to an iron fate (Moira), fall under delusion, and reproach each other with folly and crime. Their heavenly happiness is disturbed by all the troubles of earthly life. Even Zeus or Jupiter, the patriarch of the Olympian family, is cheated by his sister and wife Hera (Juno), with whom he had lived three hundred years in secret marriage before he proclaimed her his consort and queen of the gods, and is kept in ignorance of the events before Troy. He threatens his fellows with blows and death, and makes Olympus tremble when he shakes his locks in anger. The gentle Aphrodite or Venus bleeds from a spear-wound on her finger. Mars is felled with a stone by Diomedes. Neptune and Apollo have to serve for hire and are cheated. Hephaestus limps and provokes an uproarious laughter. The gods are involved by their marriages in perpetual jealousies and quarrels. They are full of envy and wrath, hatred and lust prompt men to crime, and provoke each other to lying, and cruelty, perjury and adultery. The Iliad and Odyssey, the most popular poems of the Hellenic genius, are a chronique scandaleuse of the gods. Hence Plato banished them from his ideal Republic. Pindar, Aeschylus, and Sophocles also rose to loftier ideas of the gods and breathed a purer moral atmosphere; but they represented the exceptional creed of a few, while Homer expressed the popular belief. Truly we have no cause to long with Schiller for the return of the |gods of Greece,| but would rather join the poet in his joyful thanksgiving:


|Einen zu bereichern unter allen,

Musste diese Götterwelt vergehen.|

Notwithstanding this essential apostasy from truth and holiness, heathenism was religion, a groping after |the unknown God.| By its superstition it betrayed the need of faith. Its polytheism rested on a dim monotheistic background; it subjected all the gods to Jupiter, and Jupiter himself to a mysterious fate. It had at bottom the feeling of dependence on higher powers and reverence for divine things. It preserved the memory of a golden age and of a fall. It had the voice of conscience, and a sense, obscure though it was, of guilt. It felt the need of reconciliation with deity, and sought that reconciliation by prayer, penance, and sacrifice. Many of its religious traditions and usages were faint echoes of the primal religion; and its mythological dreams of the mingling of the gods with men, of demigods, of Prometheus delivered by Hercules from his helpless sufferings, were unconscious prophecies and fleshly anticipations of Christian truths.

This alone explains the great readiness with which heathens embraced the gospel, to the shame of the Jews.

There was a spiritual Israel scattered throughout the heathen world, that never received the circumcision of the flesh, but the unseen circumcision of the heart by the hand of that Spirit which bloweth where it listeth, and is not bound to any human laws and to ordinary means. The Old Testament furnishes several examples of true piety outside of the visible communion with the Jewish church, in the persons of Melchisedec, the friend of Abraham, the royal priest, the type of Christ; Jethro, the priest of Midian; Rahab, the Canaanite woman and hostess of Joshua and Caleb; Ruth, the Moabitess and ancestress of our Saviour; King Hiram, the friend of David; the queen of Sheba, who came to admire the wisdom of Solomon; Naaman the Syrian; and especially Job, the sublime sufferer, who rejoiced in the hope of his Redeemer.

The elements of truth, morality, and piety scattered throughout ancient heathenism, may be ascribed to three sources. In the first place, man, even in his fallen state, retains some traces of the divine image, a knowledge of God, however weak, a moral sense or conscience, and a longing for union with the Godhead, for truth and for righteousness. In this view we may, with Tertullian, call the beautiful and true sentences of a Socrates, a Plato, an Aristotle, of Pindar, Sophocles, Cicero, Virgil, Seneca, Plutarch, |the testimonies of a soul constitutionally Christian,| of a nature predestined to Christianity. Secondly, some account must be made of traditions and recollections, however faint, coming down from the general primal revelations to Adam and Noah. But the third and most important source of the heathen anticipations of truth is the all-ruling providence of God, who has never left himself without a witness. Particularly must we consider, with the ancient Greek fathers, the influence of the divine Logos before his incarnation, who was the tutor of mankind, the original light of reason, shining in the darkness and lighting every man, the sower scattering in the soil of heathendom the seeds of truth, beauty, and virtue.

The flower of paganism, with which we are concerned here, appears in the two great nations of classic antiquity, Greece and Rome. With the language, morality, literature, and religion of these nations, the apostles came directly into contact, and through the whole first age the church moves on the basis of these nationalities. These, together with the Jews, were the chosen nations of the ancient world, and shared the earth among them. The Jews were chosen for things eternal, to keep the sanctuary of the true religion. The Greeks prepared the elements of natural culture, of science and art, for the use of the church. The Romans developed the idea of law, and organized the civilized world in a universal empire, ready to serve the spiritual universality of the gospel. Both Greeks and Romans were unconscious servants of Jesus Christ, |the unknown God.|

These three nations, by nature at bitter enmity among themselves, joined hands in the superscription on the cross, where the holy name and the royal title of the Redeemer stood written, by the command of the heathen Pilate, |in Hebrew and Greek and Latin.|

Section 12. Grecian Literature, and the Roman Empire.

The literature of the ancient Greeks and the universal empire of the Romans were, next to the Mosaic religion, the chief agents in preparing the world for Christianity. They furnished the human forms, in which the divine substance of the gospel, thoroughly prepared in the bosom of the Jewish theocracy, was moulded. They laid the natural foundation for the supernatural edifice of the kingdom of heaven. God endowed the Greeks and Romans with the richest natural gifts, that they might reach the highest civilization possible without the aid of Christianity, and thus both provide the instruments of human science, art, and law for the use of the church, and yet at the same time show the utter impotence of these alone to bless and save the world.

The Greeks, few in number, like the Jews, but vastly more important in history than the numberless hordes of the Asiatic empires, were called to the noble task of bringing out, under a sunny sky and with a clear mind, the idea of humanity in its natural vigor and beauty, but also in its natural imperfection. They developed the principles of science and art. They liberated the mind from the dark powers of nature and the gloomy broodings of the eastern mysticism. They rose to the clear and free consciousness of manhood, boldly investigated the laws of nature and of spirit, and carried out the idea of beauty in all sorts of artistic forms. In poetry, sculpture, architecture, painting, philosophy, rhetoric, historiography, they left true masterpieces, which are to this day admired and studied as models of form and taste.

All these works became truly valuable and useful only in the hands of the Christian church, to which they ultimately fell. Greece gave the apostles the most copious and beautiful language to express the divine truth of the Gospel, and Providence had long before so ordered political movements as to spread that language over the world and to make it the organ of civilization and international intercourse, as the Latin was in the middle ages, as the French was in the eighteenth century and as the English is coming to be in the nineteenth. |Greek,| says Cicero, |is read in almost all nations; Latin is confined by its own narrow boundaries.| Greek schoolmasters and artists followed the conquering legions of Rome to Gaul and Spain. The youthful hero Alexander the Great, a Macedonian indeed by birth, yet an enthusiastic admirer of Homer, an emulator of Achilles, a disciple of the philosophic world-conqueror, Aristotle, and thus the truest Greek of his age, conceived the sublime thought of making Babylon the seat of a Grecian empire of the world; and though his empire fell to pieces at his untimely death, yet it had already carried Greek letters to the borders of India, and made them a common possession of all civilized nations. What Alexander had begun Julius Caesar completed. Under the protection of the Roman law the apostles could travel everywhere and make themselves understood through the Greek language in every city of the Roman domain.

The Grecian philosophy, particularly the systems of Plato and Aristotle, formed the natural basis for scientific theology; Grecian eloquence, for sacred oratory; Grecian art, for that of the Christian church. Indeed, not a few ideas and maxims of the classics tread on the threshold of revelation and sound like prophecies of Christian truth; especially the spiritual soarings of Plato, the deep religious reflections of Plutarch, the sometimes almost Pauline moral precepts of Seneca. To many of the greatest church fathers, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and in some measure even to Augustine, Greek philosophy was a bridge to the Christian faith, a scientific schoolmaster leading them to Christ. Nay, the whole ancient Greek church rose on the foundation of the Greek language and nationality, and is inexplicable without them.

Here lies the real reason why the classical literature is to this day made the basis of liberal education throughout the Christian world. Youth are introduced to the elementary forms of science and art, to models of clear, tasteful style, and to self-made humanity at the summit of intellectual and artistic culture, and thus they are at the same time trained to the scientific apprehension of the Christian religion, which appeared when the development of Greek and Roman civilization had reached its culmination and began already to decay. The Greek and Latin languages, as the Sanskrit and Hebrew, died in their youth and were embalmed and preserved from decay in the immortal works of the classics. They still furnish the best scientific terms for every branch of learning and art and every new invention. The primitive records of Christianity have been protected against the uncertainties of interpretation incident upon the constant changes of a living language.

But aside from the permanent value of the Grecian literature, the glory of its native land had, at the birth of Christ, already irrecoverably departed. Civil liberty and independence had been destroyed by internal discord and corruption. Philosophy had run down into skepticism and refined materialism. Art had been degraded to the service of levity and sensuality. Infidelity or superstition had supplanted sound religious sentiment. Dishonesty and licentiousness reigned among high and low.

This hopeless state of things could not but impress the more earnest and noble souls with the emptiness of all science and art, and the utter insufficiency of this natural culture to meet the deeper wants of the heart. It must fill them with longings for a new religion.

The Romans were the practical and political nation of antiquity. Their calling was to carry out the idea of the state and of civil law, and to unite the nations of the world in a colossal empire, stretching from the Euphrates to the Atlantic, and from the Libyan desert to the banks of the Rhine. This empire embraced the most fertile and civilized countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe, and about one hundred millions of human beings, perhaps one-third of the whole race at the time of the introduction of Christianity. To this outward extent corresponds its historical significance. The history of every ancient nation ends, says Niebuhr, as the history of every modern nation begins, in that of Rome. Its history has therefore a universal interest; it is a vast storehouse of the legacies of antiquity. If the Greeks had, of all nations, the deepest mind, and in literature even gave laws to their conquerors, the Romans had the strongest character, and were born to rule the world without. This difference of course reached even into the moral and religious life of the two nations. Was the Greek, mythology the work of artistic fantasy and a religion of poesy, so was the Roman the work of calculation adapted to state purposes, political and utilitarian, but at the same time solemn, earnest, and energetic. |The Romans had no love of beauty, like the Greeks. They held no communion with nature, like the Germans. Their one idea was Rome — not ancient, fabulous, poetical Rome, but Rome warring and conquering; and orbis terrarum domina. S. P. Q. R.is inscribed on almost every page of their literature.|

The Romans from the first believed themselves called to govern the world. They looked upon all foreigners — not as barbarians, like the cultured Greeks, but — as enemies to be conquered and reduced to servitude. War and triumph were their highest conception of human glory and happiness. The |Tu, regere imperio populos, Romane, memento!|had been their motto, in fact, long before Virgil thus gave it form. The very name of the urbs aeterna, and the characteristic legend of its founding, prophesied its future. In their greatest straits the Romans never for a moment despaired of the commonwealth. With vast energy, profound policy, unwavering consistency, and wolf-like rapacity, they pursued their ambitious schemes, and became indeed the lords, but also, as their greatest historian, Tacitus, says, the insatiable robbers of the world.

Having conquered the world by the sword, they organized it by law, before whose majesty every people had to bow, and beautified it by the arts of peace. Philosophy, eloquence, history, and poetry enjoyed a golden age under the setting sun of the republic and the rising sun of the empire, and extended their civilizing influence to the borders of barbarianism. Although not creative in letters and fine arts, the Roman authors were successful imitators of Greek philosophers, orators, historians, and poets. Rome was converted by Augustus from a city of brick huts into a city of marble palaces. The finest paintings and sculptures were imported from Greece, triumphal arches and columns were erected on public places, and the treasures of all parts of the world were made tributary to, the pride, beauty, and luxury of the capital. The provinces caught the spirit of improvement, populous cities sprung up, and the magnificent temple of Jerusalem was rebuilt by the ambitious extravagance of Herod. The rights of persons and property were well protected. The conquered nations, though often and justly complaining of the rapacity of provincial governors, yet, on the whole, enjoyed greater security against domestic feuds and foreign invasion, a larger share of social comfort, and rose to a higher degree of secular civilization. The ends of the empire were brought into military, commercial, and literary communication by carefully constructed roads, the traces of which still exist in Syria, on the Alps, on the banks of the Rhine. The facilities and security of travel were greater in the reign of the Caesars than in any subsequent period before the nineteenth century. Five main lines went out from Rome to the extremities of the empire, and were connected at seaports with maritime routes. |We may travel,| says a Roman writer, |at all hours, and sail from east to west.| Merchants brought diamonds from the East, ambers from the shores of the Baltic, precious metals from Spain, wild animals from Africa, works of art from Greece, and every article of luxury, to the market on the banks of the Tiber, as they now do to the banks of the Thames. The Apocalyptic seer, in his prophetic picture of the downfall of the imperial mistress of the world, gives prominence to her vast commerce: |And the merchants of the earth,| he says, |weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stone, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet; and all thine wood, and every vessel of ivory, and every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; and cinnamon, and spice, and incense, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle, and sheep; and merchandise of horses and chariots and slaves; and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul desired are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and sumptuous are perished from thee, and men shall find them no more at all.|

Heathen Rome lived a good while after this prediction, but, the causes of decay were already at work in the first century. The immense extension and outward prosperity brought with it a diminution of those domestic and civil virtues which at first so highly distinguished the Romans above the Greeks. The race of patriots and deliverers, who came from their ploughs to the public service, and humbly returned again to the plough or the kitchen, was extinct. Their worship of the gods, which was the root of their virtue, had sunk to mere form, running either into the most absurd superstitions, or giving place to unbelief, till the very priests laughed each other in the face when they met in the street. Not unfrequently we find unbelief and superstition united in the same persons, according to the maxim that all extremes touch each other. Man must believe something, and worship either God or the devil. Magicians and necromancers abounded, and were liberally patronized. The ancient simplicity and contentment were exchanged for boundless avarice and prodigality. Morality and chastity, so beautifully symbolized in the household ministry of the virgin Vesta, yielded to vice and debauchery. Amusement came to be sought in barbarous fights of beasts and gladiators, which not rarely consumed twenty thousand human lives in a single month. The lower classes had lost all nobler feeling, cared for nothing but |panem et circenses,| and made the proud imperial city on the Tiber a slave of slaves. The huge empire of Tiberius and of Nero was but a giant body without a soul, going, with steps slow but sure, to final dissolution. Some of the emperors were fiendish tyrants and monsters of iniquity; and yet they were enthroned among the gods by a vote of the Senate, and altars and temples were erected for their worship. This characteristic custom began with Caesar, who even during his lifetime was honored as |Divus Julius| for his brilliant victories, although they cost more than a million of lives slain and another million made captives and slaves. The dark picture which St. Paul, in addressing the Romans, draws of the heathenism of his day, is fully sustained by Seneca, Tacitus, Juvenal, Persius, and other heathen writers of that age, and shows the absolute need of redemption. |The world,| says Seneca, in a famous passage, |is full of crimes and vices. More are committed than can be cured by force. There is an immense struggle for iniquity. Crimes are no longer bidden, but open before the eyes. Innocence is not only rare, but nowhere.| Thus far the negative. On the other hand, the universal empire of Rome was a positive groundwork for the universal empire of the gospel. It served as a crucible, in which all contradictory and irreconcilable peculiarities of the ancient nations and religions were dissolved into the chaos of a new creation. The Roman legions razed the partition-walls among the ancient nations, brought the extremes of the civilized world together in free intercourse, and united north and south and east and west in the bonds of a common language and culture, of common laws and customs. Thus they evidently, though unconsciously, opened the way for the rapid and general spread of that religion which unites all nations in one family of God by the spiritual bond of faith and love.

The idea of a common humanity, which underlies all the distinctions of race, society and education, began to dawn in the heathen mind, and found expression in the famous line of Terentius, which was received with applause in the theatre:

|Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto.|

This spirit of humanity breathes in Cicero and Virgil. Hence the veneration paid to the poet of the Aeneid by the fathers and throughout the middle ages. Augustine calls him the noblest of poets, and Dante, |the glory and light of other poets,| and |his master,| who guided him through the regions of hell and purgatory to the very gates of Paradise. It was believed that in his fourth Eclogue he had prophesied the advent of Christ. This interpretation is erroneous; but |there is in Virgil,| says an accomplished scholar, |a vein of thought and sentiment more devout, more humane, more akin to the Christian than is to be found in any other ancient poet, whether Greek or Roman. He was a spirit prepared and waiting, though he knew it not, for some better thing to be revealed.|

The civil laws and institutions, also, and the great administrative wisdom of Rome did much for the outward organization of the Christian church. As the Greek church rose on the basis of the Grecian nationality, so the Latin church rose on that of ancient Rome, and reproduced in higher forms both its virtues and its defects. Roman Catholicism is pagan Rome baptized, a Christian reproduction of the universal empire seated of old in the city of the seven hills.

Section 13. Judaism and Heathenism in Contact.

The Roman empire, though directly establishing no more than an outward political union, still promoted indirectly a mutual intellectual and moral approach of the hostile religious of the Jews and Gentiles, who were to be reconciled in one divine brotherhood by the supernatural power of the cross of Christ.

1. The Jews, since the Babylonish captivity, had been scattered over all the world. They were as ubiquitous in the Roman empire in the first century as they are now throughout, Christendom. According to Josephus and Strabo, there was no country where they did not make up a part of the population. Among the witnesses of the miracle of Pentecost were |Jews from every nation under heaven … Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers of Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians.| In spite of the antipathy of the Gentiles, they had, by talent and industry, risen to wealth, influence, and every privilege, and had built their synagogues in all the commercial cities of the Roman empire. Pompey brought a considerable number of Jewish captives from Jerusalem to the capital (b.c.63), and settled them on the right bank of the Tiber (Trastevere). By establishing this community he furnished, without knowing it, the chief material for the Roman church. Julius Caesar was the great protector of the Jews; and they showed their gratitude by collecting for many nights to lament his death on the forum where his murdered body was burnt on a funeral pile. He granted them the liberty of public worship, and thus gave them a legal status as a religious society. Augustus confirmed these privileges. Under his reign they were numbered already by thousands in the city. A reaction followed; Tiberius and Claudius expelled them from Rome; but they soon returned, and succeeded in securing the free exercise of their rites and customs. The frequent satirical allusions to them prove their influence as well as the aversion and contempt in which they were held by the Romans. Their petitions reached the ear of Nero through his wife Poppaea, who seems to have inclined to their faith; and Josephus, their most distinguished scholar, enjoyed the favor of three emperors — Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. In the language of Seneca (as quoted by Augustin) |the conquered Jews gave laws to their Roman conquerors.|

By this dispersion of the Jews the seeds of the knowledge of the true God and the Messianic hope were sown in the field of the idolatrous world. The Old Testament Scriptures were translated into Greek two centuries before Christ, and were read and expounded in the public worship of God, which was open to all. Every synagogue was a mission-station of monotheism, and furnished the apostles an admirable place and a natural introduction for their preaching of Jesus Christ as the fulfiller of the law and the prophets.

Then, as the heathen religious had been hopelessly undermined by skeptical philosophy and popular infidelity, many earnest Gentiles especially multitudes of women, came over to Judaism either, wholly or in part. The thorough converts, called |proselytes of righteousness,| were commonly still more bigoted and fanatical than the native Jews. The half-converts, |proselytes of the gate| or |fearers of God,| who adopted only the monotheism, the principal moral laws, and the Messianic hopes of the Jews, without being circumcised, appear in the New Testament as the most susceptible hearers of the gospel, and formed the nucleus of many of the first Christian churches. Of this class were the centurion of Capernaum, Cornelius of Caesarea, Lydia of Philippi, Timothy, and many other prominent disciples.

2. On the other hand, the Graeco-Roman heathenism, through its language, philosophy, and literature, exerted no inconsiderable influence to soften the fanatical bigotry of the higher and more cultivated classes of the Jews. Generally the Jews of the dispersion, who spoke the Greek language — the |Hellenists,| as they were called — were much more liberal than the proper |Hebrews,| or Palestinian Jews, who kept their mother tongue. This is evident in the Gentile missionaries, Barnabas of Cyprus and Paul of Tarsus, and in the whole church of Antioch, in contrast with that at Jerusalem. The Hellenistic form of Christianity was the natural bridge to the Gentile.

The most remarkable example of a transitional, though very fantastic and Gnostic-like combination of Jewish and heathen elements meets us in the educated circles of the Egyptian metropolis, Alexandria, and in the system of Philo, who was born about b.c.20, and lived till after a.d.40, though he never came in contact with Christ or the apostles. This Jewish, divine sought to harmonize the religion of Moses with the philosophy of Plato by the help of an ingenious but arbitrary allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament; and from the books of Proverbs and of Wisdom he deduced a doctrine of the Logos so strikingly like that of John’s Gospel, that many expositors think it necessary to impute to the apostle an acquaintance with the writings, or at least with the terminology of Philo. But Philo’s speculation is to the apostle’s |Word made flesh| as a shadow to the body, or a dream to the reality. He leaves no room for an incarnation, but the coincidence of his speculation with the great fact is very remarkable.

The Therapeutae or Worshippers, a mystic and ascetic sect in Egypt, akin to the Essenes in Judaea, carried this Platonic Judaism into practical life; but were, of course, equally unsuccessful in uniting the two religions in a vital and permanent way. Such a union could only be effected by a new religion revealed from heaven.

Quite independent of the philosophical Judaism of Alexandria were the Samaritans, a mixed race, which also combined, though in a different way, the elements of Jewish and Gentile religion. They date from the period of the exile. They held to the Pentateuch, to circumcision, and to carnal Messianic hopes; but they had a temple of their own on Mount Gerizim, and mortally hated the proper Jews. Among these Christianity, as would appear from the interview of Jesus with the woman of Samaria, and the preaching of Philip, found ready access, but, as among the Essenes and Therapeutae fell easily into a heretical form. Simon Magus, for example, and some other Samaritan arch-heretics, are represented by the early Christian writers as the principal originators of Gnosticism.

3. Thus was the way for Christianity prepared on every side, positively and negatively, directly and indirectly, in theory and in practice, by truth and by error, by false belief and by unbelief — those hostile brothers, which yet cannot live apart — by Jewish religion, by Grecian culture, and by Roman conquest; by the vainly attempted amalgamation of Jewish and heathen thought, by the exposed impotence of natural civilization, philosophy, art, and political power, by the decay of the old religions, by the universal distraction and hopeless misery of the age, and by the yearnings of all earnest and noble souls for the religion of salvation.

|In the fulness of the time,| when the fairest flowers of science and art had withered, and the world was on the verge of despair, the Virgin’s Son was born to heal the infirmities of mankind. Christ entered a dying world as the author of a new and imperishable life.

Section 14. Sources and Literature.

A. Sources.

Christ himself wrote nothing, but furnished endless material for books and songs of gratitude and praise. The living Church of the redeemed is his book. He founded a religion of the living spirit, not of a written code, like the Mosaic law. ( His letter to King Abgarus of Edessa, in Euseb., Hist. Eccl., I.13, is a worthless fabrication.) Yet his words and deeds are recorded by as honest and reliable witnesses as ever put pen to paper.

I. Authentic Christian Sources.

(1) The four Canonical Gospels. Whatever their origin and date, they exhibit essentially the same divine-human life and character of Christ, which stands out in sharp contrast with the fictitious Christ of the Apocryphal Gospels, and cannot possibly have been invented, least of all by illiterate Galileans. They would never have thought of writing books without the inspiration of their Master.

(2) The Acts of Luke, the Apostolic Epistles, and the Apocalypse of John. They presuppose, independently of the written Gospels, the main facts of the gospel-history, especially the crucifixion and the resurrection, and abound in allusions to these facts. Four of the Pauline Epistles (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians) are admitted as genuine by the most extreme of liberal critics (Baur and the Tübingen School), and from them alone a great part of the life of Christ might be reconstructed. (See the admissions of Keim, Gesch. Jesu v. Naz., I.35 sqq.)

II. Apocryphal Gospels:

The Apocryphal Gospels are very numerous (about 50), some of them only known by name, others in fragments, and date from the second and later centuries. They are partly heretical (Gnostic and Ebionite) perversions or mutilations of the real history, partly innocent compositions of fancy, or religious novels intended to link together the disconnected periods of Christ’s biography, to satisfy the curiosity concerning his relations, his childhood, his last days, and to promote the glorification of the Virgin Mary. They may be divided into four classes: (1) Heretical Gospels (as the Evangelium Cerinthi, Ev. Marcionis, Ev. Judae Ischariotae, Ev. secundum Hebraeos, etc.); (2) Gospels of Joseph and Mary, and the birth of Christ (Protevangelium Jacobi, Evang. Pseudo-Mathaei sive liber de Ortu Beatae Mariae et Infantia Salvatoris, Evang. de Nativitate Mariae, Historia Josephi Fabri lignarii, etc.); (3) Gospels of the childhood of Jesus from the flight to Egypt till his eighth or twelfth year (Evang. Thomae, of Gnostic origin, Evang. Infantiae Arabicum, etc.); (4) Gospels of the passion and the mysterious triduum in Hades (Evang. Nicodemi, including the Gesta or Acta Pilati and the Descensus ad Inferos, Epistola Pilati, a report of Christ’s passion to the emperor Tiberius, Paradosis Pilati, Epistolae Herodis ad Pilatum and Pilati ad Herodem, Responsum Tiberii ad Pilatum, Narratio Josephi Arimathiensis, etc.). It is quite probable that Pilate sent an account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus to his master in Rome (as Justin Martyr and Tertullian confidentially assert), but the various documents bearing his name are obviously spurious, including the one recently published by Geo. Sluter (The Acta Pilati, Shelbyville, Ind.1879), who professes to give a translation from the supposed authentic Latin copy in the Vatican Library.

These apocryphal productions have no historical, but considerable apologetic value; for they furnish by their contrast with the genuine Gospels a very strong negative testimony to the historical truthfulness of the Evangelists, as a shadow presupposes the light, a counterfeit the real coin, and a caricature the original picture. They have contributed largely to mediaeval art (e.g., the ox and the ass in the history of the nativity), and to the traditional Mariology and Mariolatry of the Greek and Roman churches, and have supplied Mohammed with his scanty knowledge of Jesus and Mary.

See the collections of the apocryphal Gospels by Fabricius (Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, Hamburg, 1703, 2d ed.1719), Thilo (Cod. Apocr. N. Ti., Lips.1832), Tischendorf (Evangelia Apocrypha, Lips.1853), W. Wright (Contributions to the Apocr. Lit. of the N. T. from Syrian MSS. in the British Museum, Lond.1865), B. Harris Cowper (The Apocryphal Gospels, translated, London, 1867), and Alex. Walker (Engl. transl. in Roberts & Donaldson’s |Ante-Nicene Library,| vol. xvi., Edinb.1870; vol. viii. of Am. ed., N. Y.1886).

Comp. the dissertations of Tischendorf: De Evang. aproc. origine et usu (Hagae, 1851), and Pilati circa Christum judicio quid lucis offeratur ex Actis Pilati (Lips.1855). Rud. Hofmann: Das Leben Jesu nach den Apokryphen (Leipz.1851), and his art., Apokryphen des N. T, in Herzog & Plitt, |R. Encykl.,| vol. i. (1877), p.511. G. Brunet: Les évangiles apocryphes, Paris, 1863. Michel Nicolas: Études sur les évangiles apocryphes, Paris, 1866. Lipsius: Die Pilatus-Acten, Kiel, 1871; Die edessenische Abgar-Sage, 1880; Gospels, Apocr., in Smith & Wace, I.700 sqq.; Holtzmann Einl. in’s N. T., pp.534-’54.

III. Jewish Sources.

The O. Test. Scriptures are, in type and prophecy, a preparatory history of Christ, and become fully intelligible only in him who came |to fulfill the law and the prophets.|

The Apocryphal and post-Christian Jewish writings give us a full view of the outward framework of society and religion in which the life of Christ moved, and in this way they illustrate and confirm the Gospel accounts.

IV. The famous testimony of the Jewish historian Josephus (d. after a.d.103) deserves special consideration. In his Antiqu. Jud., 1. xviii. cap.3,§ 3, he gives the following striking summary of the life of Jesus:

|Now there rose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works (paradoxon ergon poietes), a teacher of such men as receive the truth with gladness. He carried away with him many of the Jews and also many of the Greeks. He was the Christ (ho Christos houtos en). And after Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, his first adherents did not forsake him. For he appeared to them alive again the third day (ephane gar autois triten echon hemeran palin zon); the divine prophets having foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things (alla muria thaumasia) concerning him. And the tribe of those called Christians, after him, is not extinct to this day.|

This testimony is first quoted by Eusebius, twice, without a misgiving (Hist. Eccl., I. II; and Demonstr. Evang., III.5), and was considered genuine down to the 16th century, but has been disputed ever since. We have added the most doubtful words in Greek.

The following are the arguments for the genuineness:

(1) The testimony is found in all the MSS. of Josephus.

But these MSS. were written by Christians, and we have none older than from the 11th century.

(2) It agrees with the style of Josephus.

(3) It is extremely improbable that Josephus, in writing a history of the Jews coming down to a.d.66, should have ignored Jesus; all the more since he makes favorable mention of John the Baptist (Antiqu., XVIII.5, 2), and of the martyrdom of James |the Brother of Jesus called the Christ| (Antiqu. XX 9, 1: ton adelphon Iesou tou legomenou Christou, Iakabos onoma auto). Both passages are generally accepted as genuine, unless the words tou legomenou Christoushould be an interpolation.

Against this may be said that Josephus may have had prudential reasons for ignoring Christianity altogether.

Arguments against the genuineness:

(1) The passage interrupts the connection.

But not necessarily. Josephus had just recorded a calamity which befell the Jews under Pontius Pilate, in consequence of a sedition, and he may have regarded the crucifixion of Jesus as an additional calamity. He then goes on (§ 4 and 5) to record another calamity, the expulsion of the Jews from Rome under Tiberius.

(2) It betrays a Christian, and is utterly inconsistent with the known profession of Josephus as a Jewish priest of the sect of the Pharisees. We would rather expect him to have represented Jesus as an impostor, or as an enthusiast.

But it may be urged, on the other hand, that Josephus, with all his great literary merits, is also known as a vain and utterly unprincipled man, as a renegade and sycophant who glorified and betrayed his nation, who served as a Jewish general in the revolt against Rome, and then, after having been taken prisoner, flattered the Roman conquerors, by whom he was richly rewarded. History furnishes many examples of similar inconsistencies. Remember Pontius Pilate who regarded Christ as innocent, and yet condemned him to death, the striking testimonies of Rousseau and Napoleon I. to the divinity of Christ, and also the concessions of Renan, which contradict his position.

(3) It is strange that the testimony should not have been quoted by such men as Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, or any other writer before Eusebius (d.340), especially by Origen, who expressly refers to the passages of Josephus on John the Baptist and James (Contra Cels., I.35, 47). Even Chrysostom (d.407), who repeatedly mentions Josephus, seems to have been ignorant of this testimony.

In view of these conflicting reasons, there are different opinions:

(1) The passage is entirely genuine. This old view is defended by Hauteville, Oberthür, Bretschneider, Böhmert, Whiston, Schoedel (1840), Böttger (Das Zeugniss des Jos., Dresden, 1863).

(2) It is wholly interpolated by a Christian hand. Bekker (in his ed. of Jos., 1855), Hase (1865 and 1876), Keim (1867), Schürer (1874).

(3) It is partly genuine, partly interpolated. Josephus probably wrote Xristos outos elegeto(as in the passage on James), but not henand all other Christian sentences were added by a transcriber before Eusebius, for apologetic purposes. So Paulus, Heinichen, Gieseler (I. § 24, p.81, 4th Germ. ed.), Weizsäcker, Renan, Farrar. In the introduction to his Vie de Jésus (p. xii.), Renan says: |Je crois le passage sur Jésus authentique. Il est parfaitement dans le goût de Joseph, et si cet historian a fait mention de Jésus, c’est bien comme cela qu’il a dû en parler. On sent seulement qu’une main chrétienne a retouché le morceau, y a ajouté quelques mots sans lesquels il eút été presque blasphématoire, a peut-étre retranché ou modifié quelques expressions |

(4) It is radically changed from a Jewish calumny into its present Christian form. Josephus originally described Jesus as a pseudo-Messiah, a magician, and seducer of the people, who was justly crucified. So Paret and Ewald (Gesch. Christus’, p.183, 3d ed.).

It is difficult to resist the conclusion that Josephus must have taken some notice of the greatest event in Jewish history (as he certainly did of John the Baptist and of James), but that his statement — whether non-committal or hostile — was skillfully enlarged or altered by a Christian hand, and thereby deprived of its historical value.

In other respects, the writings of Josephus contain, indirectly, much valuable testimony, to the truth of the gospel history. His History of the Jewish War is undesignedly a striking commentary on the predictions of our Saviour concerning the destruction of the city and the temple of Jerusalem; the great distress and affliction of the Jewish people at that time; the famine, pestilence, and earthquake; the rise of false prophets and impostors, and the flight of his disciples at the approach of these calamities. All these coincidences have been traced out in full by the learned Dr. Lardner, in his Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies to the Truth of the Christian Religion, first published 1764-’67, also in vol. vi. of his Works, ed. by Kippis, Lond.1838.

V. Heathen testimonies are few and meagre. This fact must be accounted for by the mysterious origin, the short duration and the unworldly character of the life and work of Christ, which was exclusively devoted to the kingdom of heaven, and, was enacted in a retired country and among a people despised by the proud Greeks and Romans.

The oldest heathen testimony is probably in the Syriac letter of Mara, a philosopher, to his son Serapion, about a.d.74, first published by Cureton, in Spicilegium Syriacum, Lond.1855, and translated by Pratten in the |Ante-Nicene Library,| Edinb. vol. xxiv. (1872), 104-114. Here Christ is compared to Socrates and Pythagoras, and called |the wise king of the Jews,| who were justly punished for murdering him. Ewald (l.c. p.180) calls this testimony |very remarkable for its simplicity and originality as well as its antiquity.|

Roman authors of the 1st and 2d centuries make only brief and incidental mention of Christ as the founder of the Christian religion, and of his crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tiberius. Tacitus, Annales, I. xv. cap.44, notices him in connection with his account of the conflagration at Rome and the Neronian persecution, in the words: |Auctor nominis ejus [Christiani] Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio affectus erat,| and calls the Christian religion an exitiabilis superstitio.Comp. his equally contemptuous misrepresentation of the Jews in Hist., v. c.3-5. Other notices are found in Suetonius: Vita Claudii, c.25; Vita Neronis, c.16; Plinius, jun.: Epist., X.97, 98; Lucian: De morte Peregr., c.11; Lampridius: Vita Alexandri Severi, c.29, 43.

The heathen opponents of Christianity, Lucian, Celsus, Porphyry, Julian the Apostate, etc., presuppose the principal facts of the gospel-history, even the miracles of Jesus, but they mostly derive them, like the Jewish adversaries, from evil spirits. Comp. my book on the Person of Christ, Appendix, and Dr. Nath. Lardner’s Credibility, and Collection of Testimonies.

B. Biographical and Critical.

The numerous Harmonies of the Gospel began already a.d.170, with Tatian’s to dia tessaron(on which Ephraem Syrus, in the fourth century, wrote a commentary, published in Latin from an Armenian version in the Armenian convent at Venice, 1876). The first biographies of Christ were ascetic or poetic, and partly legendary. See Hase, Leben Jesu, § 17-19. The critical period began with the infidel and infamous attacks of Reimarus, Bahrdt, and Venturini, and the noble apologetic works of Hess, Herder, and Reinhard. But a still greater activity was stimulated by the Leben Jesu of Strauss, 1835 and again by Renan’s Vie de Jésus, 1863.

J. J. Hess (Antistes at Zürich, d.1828): Lebensgeschichte Jesu. Zürich, 1774; 8th ed.1823, 3 vols. Translated into Dutch and Danish. He introduced the psychological and pragmatic treatment.

F. V. Rienhard (d.1812): Versuch über den Plan Jesu. Wittenberg, 1781; 5th ed. by Heubner, 1830. English translation, N. York, 1831. Reinhard proved the originality and superiority of the plan of Christ above all the conceptions of previous sages and benefactors of the race.

J. G. Herder (d.1803): Vom Erlöser der Menschen nach unsern 3 ersten Evang. Riga, 1796. The same: Von Gottes Sohn, der Welt Heiland, nach Joh. Evang. Riga, 1797.

H. E. G. Paulus (Prof. in Heidelberg, d.1851): Leben Jesu als Grundlage einer reinen Geschichte des Urchristenthums. Heidelb.1828, 2 vols. Represents the |vulgar| rationalism superseded afterwards by the speculative rationalism of Strauss.

C. Ullmann (d.1865): Die Sündlosigkeit Jesu. Hamb.1828; 7th ed.1864. Eng. translation (of 7th ed.) by Sophia Taylor, Edinb.1870. The best work on the sinlessness of Jesus. Comp. also his essay (against Strauss), Historisch oder Mythisch? Gotha, 1838.

Karl Hase:Das Leben Jesu. Leipz.1829; 5th ed.1865. The same: Geschichte Jesu. Leipz.1876.

Schleiermacher (d.1834): Vorlesungen über das Leben Jesu, herausgeg. von Rütenik. Berlin, 1864. The lectures were delivered 1832, and published from imperfect manuscripts. |Eine Stimme aus vergangenen Tagen.| Comp. the critique of D. F. Strauss in Der Christus des Glaubens und der Jesus der Geschichte. Berlin, 1865.

D. F. Strauss (d.1874): Das Leben Jesu kritisch bearbeitet. Tübingen, 1835-’36; 4th ed.1840, 2 vols. French transl. by Emile Littré, Par.1856 (2d ed.); Engl. transl. by Miss Marian Evans (better known under the assumed name George Eliot),Lond.1846, in 3 vols., republ. in N. York, 1850. The same: Das Leben Jesu für das deutsche Volk bearbeitet. Leipz.1864; 3d ed.1875. In both these famous works Strauss represents the mythical theory. It has been popularized in the third volume of The Bible for Learners by Oort and Hooykaas, Engl. transl., Boston ed.1879.

A. Neander (d.1850): Das Leben Jesu. Hamb.1837; 5th ed.1852. A positive refutation of Strauss. The same in English by McClintock and Blumenthal, N. York, 1848.

Joh. Nep. Sepp (R. C.): Das Leben Jesu Christi. Regensb.1843 sqq.2d ed.1865, 6 vols. Much legendary matter.

Jordan Bucher (R. C.):Das Leben Jesu Christi. Stuttgart, 1859.

A. Ebrard: Wissenschaftliche Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte. Erl.1842; 3d ed.1868. Against Strauss, Bruno Bauer, etc. Condensed English translation, Edinb.1869.

J. P. Lange: Das Leben Jesu. Heidelb.1844-’47, 3 parts in 5 vols. Engl. transl. by Marcus Dods and others, in 6 vols., Edinb.1864. Rich and suggestive.

J. J. van Oosterzee: Leven van Jesus. First publ. in 1846-’51, 3 vols.2d ed.1863-’65. Comp. his Christologie, Rotterdam, 1855-’61, 3 vols., which describe the Son of God before his incarnation, the Son of God in the flesh, and the Son of God in glory. The third part is translated into German byF. Meyering: Das Bild Christi nach der Schrift, Hamburg, 1864.

Chr. Fr. Schmid: Biblische Theologie des N. Testaments. Ed. by Weizsäcker. Stuttgart, 1853 (3d ed.1854), 2 vols. The first volume contains the life and doctrine of Christ. The English translation byG. H. Venables (Edinb.1870) is an abridgment.

H. Ewald: Geschichte Christus’ und seiner Zeit. Gött.1854; 3d ed 1867 (vol. v. of his Hist. of Israel). Transl. into Engl. by O. Glover, Cambridge, 1865.

J. Young: The Christ of History. Lond. and N. York, 1855.5th ed., 1868.

P. Lichtenstein: Lebensgeschichte Jesu in chronolog. Uebersicht. Erlangen, 1856.

C. J. Riggenbach: Vorlesungen über das Leben Jesu Basel, 1858.

M. Baumgarten: Die Geschichte Jesu für das Verständniss der Gegenwart. Braunschweig, 1859.

W. F. Gess: Christi Person und Werk nach Christi Selbstzeugniss und den Zeugnissen der Apostel. Basel, 1878, in several parts. (This supersedes his first work on the same subject, publ.1856.)

Horace Bushnell (d.1878): The Character of Jesus: forbidding his possible classification with men. N. York, 1861. (A reprint of the tenth chapter of his work on, |Nature and the Supernatural,| N. York, 1859.) It is the best and most useful product of his genius.

C. J. Elliott (Bishop): Historical Lectures on the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ, being the Hulsean Lect. for 1859.5th ed. Lond.1869; republ. in Boston, 1862.

Samuel J. Andrews: The Life of our Lord upon the earth, considered in its historical, chronological, and geographical relations. N. York, 1863; 4th ed.1879

Ernest Renan: Vie de Jésus. Par.1863, and often publ. since (13th ed.1867) and in several translations. Strauss popularized and Frenchified. The legendary theory. Eloquent, fascinating, superficial, and contradictory.

Daniel Schenkel:Das Characterbild Jesu. Wiesbaden, 1864; 4th ed. revised 1873. English transl. by W. H. Furness. Boston, 1867, 2 vols. By the same:Das Christusbild der Apostel und der nachapostolischen Zeit. Leipz.1879. See also his art., Jesus Christus, in Schenkel’s |Bibel-Lexikon,| III.257 sqq. Semi-mythical theory. Comp. the sharp critique of Strauss on the Characterbild: Die Halben und die Ganzen. Berlin, 1865.

Philip Schaff: The Person of Christ: the Perfection of his Humanity viewed as a Proof of his Divinity. With a Collection of Impartial Testimonies. Boston and N. York, 1865; 12th ed., revised, New York, 1882. The same work in German, Gotha, 1865; revised ed., N. York (Am. Tract Soc.), 1871; in Dutch by Cordes, with an introduction by J. J. van Oosterzee. Groningen, 1866; in French by Prof. Sardinoux, Toulouse, 1866, and in other languages. By the same: Die Christusfrage. N. York and Berlin, 1871.

Ecce Homo: A Survey of the Life and Work of Jesus Christ. [By Prof. J. R. Seeley, of Cambridge.] Lond.1864, and several editions and translations. It gave rise also to works on Ecce Deus, Ecce Deus Homo, and a number of reviews and essays (one by Gladstone).

Charles Hardwick (d.1859): Christ and other Masters. Lond., 4th ed., 1875. (An extension of the work of Reinhard; Christ compared with the founders of the Eastern religions.)

E. H. Plumptre: Christ and Christendom. Boyle Lectures. Lond.1866

E. de Pressensé: Jésus Christ, son temps, sa vie, son oeuvre. Paris, 1866. (Against Renan.) The same transl. into English by Annie Harwood (Lond., 7th ed.1879), and into German by Fabarius (Halle, 1866).

F. Delitzsch: Jesus und Hillel. Erlangen, 1867; 3rd ed. revised, 1879.

Theod. Keim (Prof. in Zürich, and then in Giessen, d.1879);Geschichte Jesu von Nazara. Zürich, 1867-’72, 3 vols. Also an abridgment in one volume, 1873, 2d ed.1875. (This 2d ed. has important additions, particularly a critical Appendix.) The large work is translated into English by Geldart and Ransom. Lond. (Williams & Norgate), 1873-82, 6 vols. By the same author: Der geschichtliche Christus. Zürich, 3d ed.1866. Keim attempts to reconstruct a historical Christ from the Synoptical Gospels, especially Matthew, but without John.

Wm. HANNA: The Life of our Lord. Edinb.1868-’69, 6 vols.

Bishop Dupanloup (R. C.): Histoire de noire Sauveur Jésus Christ. Paris, 1870.

Fr. W. Farrar (Canon of Westminster): The Life of Christ. Lond. and N. York, 1874, 2 vols. (in many editions, one with illustrations).

C. Geikie: The Life and Words of Christ. Lond. and N. York, 1878,·2 vols. (Illustrated. Several editions.)

Bernhard Weis (Prof. in Berlin): Das Leben Jesu. Berlin, 1882, 2 vols., 3d ed.1888. English transl. Edinb.1885, 3 vols.

Alfred Edersheim: The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. London and N. Y.1884, 2 vols. Strictly orthodox. Valuable for rabbinical illustrations.,

W. Beyschlag: Das Leben Jesu. Halle, 1885-’86, 2 vols.; 2d ed.1888.

The works of Paulus, Strauss, and Renan (also Joseph Salvador, a learned Jew in France, author of Jésus Christ et sa doctrine, Par.1838) represent the various phases of rationalism and destructive criticism, but have called forth also a copious and valuable apologetic literature. See the bibliography in Hase’s Leben Jesu, 5th ed. p.44 sqq., and in his Geschichte Jesu, p.124 sqq. Schleiermacher, Gfrörer, Weisse, Ewald, Schenkel, Hase, and Keim occupy, in various degrees and with many differences, a middle position. The great Schleiermacher almost perished in the sea of scepticism, but, like Peter, he caught the saving arm of Jesus extended to him (Matt.14:30, 31). Hase is very valuable for the bibliography and suggestive sketches, Ewald and Keim for independent research and careful use of Josephus and the contemporary history. Keim rejects, Ewald accepts, the Gospel of John as authentic; both admit the sinless perfection of Jesus, and Keim, from his purely critical and synoptical standpoint, goes so far as to say (vol. iii.662) that Christ, in his gigantic elevation above his own and succeeding ages, |makes the impression of mysterious loneliness, superhuman miracle, divine creation (den Eindruck geheimnissvoller Einsamkeit, übermenschlichen Wunders, göttlicher Schöpfung).| Weiss and Beyschlag mark a still greater advance, and triumphantly defend the genuineness of John’s Gospel, but make concessions to criticism in minor details.

C. Chronological.

Kepler: De Jesu Christi Servatoris nostri vero anno natalicio. Frankf.1606. De vero anno quo aeternus Dei Filius humanam naturam in utero benedicitae Virginis Mariae assumpsit. Frcf.1614.

J. A. Bengel: Ordo Temporum. Stuttgart, 1741, and 1770.

Henr. Sanclemente: De Vulgaris Aerae Emendatione libri quatuor.

C. Ideler: Handbuch der Chronologie. Berlin, 1825-226, 2 vols. By the same: Lehrbuch der Chronologie, 1831

Fr. Münter: Der Stern der Weisen. Kopenhagen, 1827.

K. Wieseler: Chronolog. Synopse der vier Evangelien. Hamb.1843. Eng. trans. by Venables, 2d ed., 1877. Supplemented by his Beiträge zur richtigen Würdigung der Evangelien. Gotha, 1869.

Henry Browne: Ordo Saeclorum. London, 1844. Comp. his art. Chronology, in the 3d ed. of Kitto’s |Cycl. of Bib. Lit.|

Sam. F. Jarvis (historiographer of the Prot. Episc. Ch. in the U. S., d.1851): A Chronological Introduction to the History of the Church. N. York, 1845.

G. Seyffarth: Chronologia sacra, Untersuchungen über das Geburtsjahr des Herrn. Leipzig, 1846.

Rud. Anger: Der Stern der Weisen und das Geburtsjahr Christi. Leipz.1847. By the same. Zur Chronologie des Lehramtes Christi. Leipz.1848.

Henry F. Clinton: Fasti Romani. Oxford, 1845-’50, 2 vols.

Thomas Lewin: Essay on the Chronology of the New Testament. Oxford, 1854. The same: Fasti Sacri (from b.c.70 to a.d.70). Lond.1865.

F. Piper: Das Datum der Geburt Christi, in his |Evangel. Kalender| for 1856, pp.41 sqq.

Henri Lutteroth: Le recensement de Quirinius en Judée. Paris, 1865 (134 pp.).

Gust. Rösch: Zum Geburtsjahr Jesu, in the |Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theol.| Gotha, 1866, pp.3-48.

Ch. Ed. Caspari: Chronologisch-Geographische Einleitung in das Leben J. C. Hamb.1869 (263 pp.). English translation by M. J. Evans. Edinburgh (T. Clark), 1876.

Francis W. Upham: The Wise Men. N. York, 1869 (ch. viii.145, on Kepler’s Discovery). Star of Our Lord, by the same author. N. Y., 1873.

A. W. Zumpt: Das Geburtsjahr Christi. Leipz.1869 (306 pp.). He makes much account of the double governorship of Quirinus, Luke 2:2. Comp. Pres. Woolsey in Bibl. Sacra, April, 1870.

Herm. Sevin: Chronologie des Lebens Jesu. Tübingen, 2d. ed., 1874.

Florian Riess: (Jesuit): Das Geburtsjahr Christi. Freiburg i. Br.1880.

Peter Schegg: (R. C.): Das Todesjahr des Königs Herodes und das Todesjahr Jesu Christi. Against Riess. München, 1882.

Florian Riess: Nochmals das Geburtsjahr Jesu Christi. Reply to Schegg. Freib. im Br.1883.

Bernhard Matthias:Die römische Grundsteuer und das Vectigalrecht. Erlangen, 1882.

H. Lecoultre: De censu Quiriniano et anno nativitatis Christi secundum Lucam evangelistam Dissertatio. Laussanne, 1883.

Section 15. The Founder of Christianity.

When |the fulness of the time| was come, God sent forth his only-begotten Son, |the Desire of all nations,| to redeem the world from the curse of sin, and to establish an everlasting kingdom of truth, love, and peace for all who should believe on his name.

In Jesus Christ a preparatory history both divine and human comes to its close. In him culminate all the previous revelations of God to Jews and Gentiles; and in him are fulfilled the deepest desires and efforts of both Gentiles and Jews for redemption. In his divine nature, as Logos, he is, according to St. John, the eternal Son of the Father, and the agent in the creation and preservation of the world, and in all those preparatory manifestations of God, which were completed in the incarnation. In his human nature, as Jesus of Nazareth, he is the ripe fruit of the religions growth of humanity, with an earthly ancestry, which St. Matthew (the evangelist of Israel) traces to Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews, and St. Luke (the evangelist of the Gentiles), to Adam, the father of all men. In him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; and in him also is realized the ideal of human virtue and piety. He is the eternal Truth, and the divine Life itself, personally joined with our nature; he is our Lord and our God; yet at the same time flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. In him is solved the problem of religion, the reconciliation and fellowship of man with God; and we must expect no clearer revelation of God, nor any higher religious attainment of man, than is already guaranteed and actualized in his person.

But as Jesus Christ thus closes all previous history, so, on the other hand, he begins an endless future. He is the author of a new creation, the second Adam, the father of regenerate humanity, the head of the church, |which is his body, the fulness of him, that filleth all in all.| He is the pure fountain of that stream of light and life, which has since flowed unbroken through nations and ages, and will continue to flow, till the earth shall be full of his praise, and every tongue shall confess that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The universal diffusion and absolute dominion of the spirit and life of Christ will be also the completion of the human race, the end of history, and the beginning of a glorious eternity.

It is the great and difficult task of the biographer of Jesus to show how he, by external and internal development, under the conditions of a particular people, age, and country, came to be in fact what he was in idea and destination, and what he will continue to be for the faith of Christendom, the God-Man and Saviour of the world. Being divine from eternity, he could not become God; but as man he was subject to the laws of human life and gradual growth. |He advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.| Though he was the Son of God, |yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.| There is no conflict between the historical Jesus of Nazareth and the ideal Christ of faith. The full understanding of his truly human life, by its very perfection and elevation above all other men before and after him, will necessarily lead to an admission of his own testimony concerning his divinity.


|Deep strike thy roots, O heavenly Vine,

Within our earthly sod!

Most human and yet most divine,

The flower of man and God!|

Jesus Christ came into the world under Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor, before the death of king Herod the Great, four years before the traditional date of our Dionysian aera. He was born at Bethlehem of Judaea, in the royal line of David, from Mary, |the wedded Maid and Virgin Mother.| The world was at peace, and the gates of Janus were closed for only the second time in the history of Rome. There is a poetic and moral fitness in this coincidence: it secured a hearing for the gentle message of peace which might have been drowned in the passions of war and the clamor of arms. Angels from heaven proclaimed the good tidings of his birth with songs of praise; Jewish shepherds from the neighboring fields, and heathen sages from the far east greeted the newborn king and Saviour with the homage of believing hearts. Heaven and earth gathered in joyful adoration around the Christ-child, and the blessing of this event is renewed from year to year among high and low, rich and poor, old and young, throughout the civilized world.

The idea of a perfect childhood, sinless and holy, yet truly human and natural, had never entered the mind of poet or historian before; and when the legendary fancy of the Apocryphal Gospels attempted to fill out the chaste silence of the Evangelists, it painted an unnatural prodigy of a child to whom wild animals, trees, and dumb idols bowed, and who changed balls of clay into flying birds for the amusement of his playmates.

The youth of Jesus is veiled in mystery. We know only one, but a very significant fact. When a boy of twelve years he astonished the doctors in the temple by his questions and answers, without repelling them by immodesty and premature wisdom, and filled his parents with reverence and awe by his absorption in the things of his heavenly Father, and yet was subject and obedient to them in all things. Here, too, there is a clear line of distinction between the supernatural miracle of history and the unnatural prodigy of apocryphal fiction, which represents Jesus as returning most learned answers to perplexing questions of the doctors about astronomy, medicine, physics, metaphysics, and hyperphysics.

The external condition and surroundings of his youth are in sharp contrast with the amazing result of his public life. He grew up quietly and unnoticed in a retired Galilean mountain village of proverbial insignificance, and in a lowly carpenter-shop, far away from the city of Jerusalem, from schools and libraries, with no means of instruction save those which were open to the humblest Jew — the care of godly parents, the beauties of nature, the services of the synagogue, the secret communion of the soul with God, and the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which recorded in type and prophecy his own character and mission. All attempts to derive his doctrine from any of the existing schools and sects have utterly failed. He never referred to the traditions of the elders except to oppose them. From the Pharisees and Sadducees he differed alike, and provoked their deadly hostility. With the Essenes he never came in contact. He was independent of human learning and literature, of schools and parties. He taught the world as one who owed nothing to the world. He came down from heaven and spoke, out of the fulness of his personal intercourse with the great Jehovah. He was no scholar, no artist, no orator; yet was he wiser than all sages, he spake as never man spake, and made an impression on his age and all ages after him such as no man ever made or can make. Hence the natural surprise of his countrymen as expressed in the question: |From whence hath this men these things?| |How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?|

He began his public ministry in the thirtieth year of his age, after the Messianic inauguration by the baptism of John, and after the Messianic probation in the wilderness — the counterpart of the temptation of the first Adam in Paradise. That ministry lasted only three years — and yet in these three years is condensed the deepest meaning of the history of religion. No great life ever passed so swiftly, so quietly, so humbly, so far removed from the noise and commotion of the world; and no great life after its close excited such universal and lasting interest. He was aware of this contrast: he predicted his deepest humiliation even to the death on the cross, and the subsequent irresistible attraction of this cross, which may be witnessed from day to day wherever his name is known. He who could say, |If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto myself,| knew more of the course of history and of the human heart than all the sages and legislators before and after him.

He chose twelve apostles for the Jews and seventy disciples for the Gentiles, not from among the scholars and leaders, but from among the illiterate fishermen of Galilee. He had no home, no earthly possessions, no friends among the mighty and the rich. A few pious women from time to time filled his purse; and this purse was in the bands of a thief and a traitor. He associated with publicans and sinners, to raise them up to a higher and nobler life, and began his reformation among them lower classes, which were despised and neglected by the proud: hierarchy of the day. He never courted the favor of the great, but incurred their hatred and persecution. He never flattered, the prejudices of the age, but rebuked sin and vice among the high and the low, aiming his severest words at the blind leaders of the blind, the self-righteous hypocrites who sat on Moses’ seat. He never encouraged the carnal Messianic hopes of the people, but withdrew when they wished to make him a king, and declared before the representative of the Roman empire that his kingdom was not of this world. He announced to his disciples his own martyrdom, and promised to them in this life only the same baptism of blood. He went about in Palestine, often weary of travel, but never weary of his work of love, doing good to the souls and bodies of men, speaking words of spirit and life, and working miracles of power and mercy.

He taught the purest doctrine, as a direct revelation of his heavenly Father, from his own intuition and experience, and with a power and authority which commanded unconditional trust and obedience. He rose above the prejudices of party and sect, above the superstitions of his age and nation. He addressed the naked heart of man and touched the quick of the conscience. He announced the founding of a spiritual kingdom which should grow from the smallest seed to a mighty tree, and, working like leaven from within, should gradually pervade all nations and countries. This colossal idea, had never entered the imagination of men, the like of which he held fast even in the darkest hour of humiliation, before the tribunal of the Jewish high-priest and the Roman governor, and when suspended as a malefactor on the cross; and the truth of this idea is illustrated by every page of church history and in every mission station on earth.

The miracles or signs which accompanied his teaching are supernatural, but not unnatural, exhibitions of his power over man and nature; no violations of law, but manifestations of a higher law, the superiority of mind over matter, the superiority of spirit over mind, the superiority of divine grace over human nature. They are all of the highest moral and of a profoundly symbolical significance, prompted by pure benevolence, and intended for the good of men; in striking contrast with deceptive juggler works and the useless and absurd miracles of apocryphal fiction. They were performed without any ostentation, with such simplicity and ease as to be called simply his |works.| They were the practical proof of his doctrine and the natural reflex of his wonderful person. The absence of wonderful works in such a wonderful man would be the greatest wonder.

His doctrine and miracles were sealed by the purest and holiest life in private and public. He could challenge his bitterest opponents with the question: |Which of you convinceth me of sin?| well knowing that they could not point to a single spot.

At last he completed his active obedience by the passive obedience of suffering in cheerful resignation to the holy will of God. Hated and persecuted by the Jewish hierarchy, betrayed into their hands by Judas, accused by false witnesses, condemned by the Sanhedrin, rejected by the people denied by Peter, but declared innocent by the representative of the Roman law and justice, surrounded by his weeping mother and faithful disciples, revealing in those dark hours by word and silence the gentleness of a lamb and the dignity of a God, praying for his murderers, dispensing to the penitent thief a place in paradise, committing his soul to his heavenly Father he died, with the exclamation: |It is finished!| He died before he had reached the prime of manhood. The Saviour of the world a youth! He died the shameful death of the cross the just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty, a free self, sacrifice of infinite love, to reconcile the world unto God. He conquered sin and death on their own ground, and thus redeemed and sanctified all who are willing to accept his benefits and to follow his example. He instituted the Lord’s Supper, to perpetuate the memory of his death and the cleansing and atoning power of his blood till the end of time.

The third day he rose from the grave, the conqueror of death and hell, the prince of life and resurrection. He repeatedly appeared to his disciples; he commissioned them to preach the gospel of the resurrection to every creature; he took possession of his heavenly throne, and by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit he established the church, which he has ever since protected, nourished, and comforted, and with which he has promised to abide, till he shall come again in glory to judge the quick and the dead.

This is a meagre outline of the story which the evangelists tell us with childlike simplicity, and yet with more general and lasting effect than could be produced by the highest art of historical composition. They modestly abstained from adding their own impressions to the record of the words and acts of the Master whose |glory they beheld, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.|

Who would not shrink from the attempt to describe the moral character of Jesus, or, having attempted it, be not dissatisfied with the result? Who can empty the ocean into a bucket? Who (we may ask with Lavater) |can paint the glory of the rising sun with a charcoal?| No artist’s ideal comes up to the reality in this case, though his ideals may surpass every other reality. The better and holier a man is, the more he feels his need of pardon, and how far he falls short of his own imperfect standard of excellence. But Jesus, with the same nature as ours and tempted as we are, never yielded to temptation; never had cause for regretting any thought, word, or action; he never needed pardon, or conversion, or reform; he never fell out of harmony with his heavenly Father. His whole life was one unbroken act of self-consecration to the glory of God and the eternal welfare of his fellow-men. A catalogue of virtues and graces, however complete, would give us but a mechanical view. It is the spotless purity and sinlessness of Jesus as acknowledged by friend and foe; it is the even harmony and symmetry of all graces, of love to God and love to man, of dignity and humility of strength and tenderness, of greatness and simplicity, of self-control and submission, of active and passive virtue; it is, in one word, the absolute perfection which raises his character high above the reach of all other men and makes it an exception to a universal rule, a moral miracle in history. It is idle to institute comparisons with saints and sages, ancient or modern. Even the infidel Rousseau was forced to exclaim: |If Socrates lived and died like a sage, Jesus lived and died like a God.| Here is more than the starry heaven above us, and the moral law within us, which filled the soul of Kant with ever-growing reverence and awe. Here is the holy of holies of humanity, here is the very gate of heaven.

Going so far in admitting the human perfection of Christ — and how can the historian do otherwise? — we are driven a step farther, to the acknowledgment of his amazing claims, which must either be true, or else destroy all foundation for admiration and reverence in which he is universally held. It is impossible to construct a life of Christ without admitting its supernatural and miraculous character.

The divinity of Christ, and his whole mission as Redeemer, is an article of faith, and, as such, above logical or mathematical demonstration. The incarnation or the union of the infinite divinity and finite humanity in one person is indeed the mystery of mysteries. |What can be more glorious than God? What more vile than flesh? What more wonderful than God in the flesh?| Yet aside from all dogmatizing which lies outside of the province of the historian, the divinity of Christ has a self-evidencing power which forces itself irresistibly upon the reflecting mind and historical inquirer; while the denial of it makes his person an inexplicable enigma.

It is inseparable from his own express testimony respecting himself, as it appears in every Gospel, with but a slight difference of degree between the Synoptists and St. John. Only ponder over it! He claims to be the long-promised Messiah who fulfilled the law and the prophets, the founder and lawgiver of a new and universal kingdom, the light of the world, the teacher of all nations and ages, from whose authority there is no appeal. He claims to have come into this world for the purpose to save the world from sin — which no merely human being can possibly do. He claims the power to forgive sins on earth; he frequently exercised that power, and it was for the sins of mankind, as he foretold, that he shed his own blood. He invites all men to follow him, and promises peace and life eternal to every one that believes in him. He claims pre-existence before Abraham and the world, divine names, attributes, and worship. He disposes from the cross of places in Paradise. In directing his disciples to baptize all nations, he coordinates himself with the eternal Father and the Divine Spirit, and promises to be with them to the consummation of the world and to come again in glory as the Judge of all men. He, the humblest and meekest of men, makes these astounding pretensions in the most easy and natural way; he never falters, never apologizes, never explains; he proclaims them as self-evident truths. We read them again and again, and never feel any incongruity nor think of arrogance and presumption.

And yet this testimony, if not true, must be downright blasphemy or madness. The former hypothesis cannot stand a moment before the moral purity and dignity of Jesus, revealed in his every word and work, and acknowledged by universal consent. Self-deception in a matter so momentous, and with an intellect in all respects so clear and so sound, is equally out of the question. How could He be an enthusiast or a madman who never lost the even balance of his mind, who sailed serenely over all the troubles and persecutions, as the sun above the clouds, who always returned the wisest answer to tempting questions, who calmly and deliberately predicted his death on the cross, his resurrection on the third day, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the founding of his Church, the destruction of Jerusalem — predictions which have been literally fulfilled? A character so original, so complete, so uniformly consistent, so perfect, so human and yet so high above all human greatness, can be neither a fraud nor a fiction. The poet, as has been well said, would in this case be greater than the hero. It would take more than a Jesus to invent a Jesus.

We are shut up then to the recognition of the divinity of Christ; and reason itself must bow in silent awe before the tremendous word: |I and the Father are one!| and respond with skeptical Thomas: |My Lord and my God!|

This conclusion is confirmed by the effects of the manifestation of Jesus, which far transcend all merely human capacity and power. The history of Christianity, with its countless fruits of a higher and purer life of truth and love than was ever known before or is now known outside of its influence, is a continuous commentary on the life of Christ, and testifies on every page to the inspiration of his holy example. His power is felt on every Lord’s Day from ten thousand pulpits, in the palaces of kings and the huts of beggars, in universities and colleges, in every school where the sermon on the Mount is read, in prisons, in almshouses, in orphan asylums, as well as in happy homes, in learned works and simple tracts in endless succession. If this history of ours has any value at all, it is a new evidence that Christ is the light and life of a fallen world.

And there is no sign that his power is waning. His kingdom is more widely spread than ever before, and has the fairest prospect of final triumph in all the earth. Napoleon at St. Helena is reported to have been struck with the reflection that millions are now ready to die for the crucified Nazarene who founded a spiritual empire by love, while no one would die for Alexander, or Caesar, or himself, who founded temporal empires by force. He saw in this contrast a convincing argument for the divinity of Christ, saying: |I know men, and I tell you, Christ was not a man. Everything about Christ astonishes me. His spirit overwhelms and confounds me. There is no comparison between him and any other being. He stands single and alone. And Goethe, another commanding genius, of very different character, but equally above suspicion of partiality for religion, looking in the last years of his life over the vast field of history, was constrained to confess that |if ever the Divine appeared on earth, it was in the Person of Christ,| and that |the human mind, no matter how far it may advance in every other department, will never transcend the height and moral culture of Christianity as it shines and glows in the Gospels.|

The rationalistic, mythical, and legendary attempts to explain the life of Christ on purely human and natural grounds, and to resolve the miraculous elements either into common events, or into innocent fictions, split on the rock of Christ’s character and testimony. The ablest of the infidel biographers of Jesus now profess the profoundest regard for his character, and laud him as the greatest sage and saint that ever appeared on earth. But, by rejecting his testimony concerning his divine origin and mission, they turn him into a liar; and, by rejecting the miracle of the resurrection, they make the great fact of Christianity a stream without a source, a house without a foundation, an effect without a cause. Denying the physical miracles, they expect us to believe even greater psychological miracles; yea, they substitute for the supernatural miracle of history an unnatural prodigy and incredible absurdity of their imagination. They moreover refute and supersede each other. The history of error in the nineteenth century is a history of self-destruction. A hypothesis was scarcely matured before another was invented and substituted, to meet the same fate in its turn; while the old truth and faith of Christendom remains unshaken, and marches on in its peaceful conquest against sin and error

Truly, Jesus Christ, the Christ of the Gospels, the Christ of history, the crucified and risen Christ, the divine-human Christ, is the most real, the most certain, the most blessed of all facts. And this fact is an ever-present and growing power which pervades the church and conquers the world, and is its own best evidence, as the sun shining in the heavens. This fact is the only solution of the terrible mystery of sin and death, the only inspiration to a holy life of love to God and man, and only guide to happiness and peace. Systems of human wisdom will come and go, kingdoms and empires will rise and fall, but for all time to come Christ will remain |the Way, the Truth, and the Life.|

Section 16. Chronology of the Life of Christ.

See the Lit. in §14, p.98, especially Browne, Wieseler, Zumpt, Andrews, and Keim

We briefly consider the chronological dates of the life of Christ.

I. The Year of the Nativity. — This must be ascertained by historical and chronological research, since there is no certain and harmonious tradition on the subject. Our Christians aera, which was introduced by the Roman abbot Dionysius Exiguus, in the sixth century, and came into general use two centuries later, during the reign of Charlemagne, puts the Nativity Dec.25, 754 Anno Urbis, that is, after the founding of the city of Rome. Nearly all chronologers agree that this is wrong by at least four years. Christ was born a.u.750 (or b.c.4), if not earlier.

This is evident from the following chronological hints in the Gospels, as compared with and confirmed by Josephus and contemporary writers, and by astronomical calculations.

The Death of Herod.

(1) According to Matthew 2:1 (Comp. Luke 1:5, 26), Christ was born |in the days of king Herod| I. or the Great, who died, according to Josephus, at Jericho, a.u.750, just before the Passover, being nearly seventy years of age, after a reign of thirty-seven years This date has been verified by the astronomical calculation of the eclipse of the moon, which took place March 13, a.u.750, a few days before Herod’s death. Allowing two months or more for the events between the birth of Christ and the murder of the Innocents by Herod, the Nativity must be put back at least to February or January, a.u.750 (or b.c.4), if not earlier.

Some infer from the slaughter of the male children in Bethlehem, |from two years old and under,| that Christ must have been born two years before Herod’s death; but he counted from the time when the star was first seen by the Magi (Matt.2:7), and wished to make sure of his object. There is no good reason to doubt the fact itself, and the flight of the holy family to Egypt, which is inseparably connected with it. For, although the horrible deed is ignored by Josephus, it is in keeping with the well-known cruelty of Herod, who from jealousy murdered Hyrcanus, the grandfather of his favorite wife, Mariamne; then Mariamne herself, to whom he was passionately attached; her two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus, and, only five days before his death, his oldest son, Antipater; and who ordered all the nobles assembled around him in his last moments to be executed after his decease, so that at least his death might be attended by universal mourning. For such a monster the murder of one or two dozen infants in a little town was a very small matter, which might easily have been overlooked, or, owing to its connection with the Messiah, purposely ignored by the Jewish historian. But a confused remembrance of it is preserved in the anecdote related by Macrobius (a Roman grammarian and probably a heathen, about a.d.410), that Augustus, on hearing of Herod’s murder of |boys under two years| and of his own son, remarked |that it was better to be Herod’s swine than his son.| The cruel persecution of Herod and the flight into Egypt were a significant sign of the experience of the early church, and a source of comfort in every period of martyrdom.

The Star of the Magi.

(2) Another chronological hint of Matthew 2:1-4, 9, which has been verified by astronomy, is the Star of the Wise Men, which appeared before the death of Herod, and which would naturally attract the attention of the astrological sages of the East, in connection with the expectation of the advent of a great king among the Jews. Such a belief naturally arose from Balaam’s prophecy of |the star that was to rise out of Jacob| (Num.24:17), and from the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah and Daniel, and widely prevailed in the East since the dispersion of the Jews.

The older interpretation of that star made it either a passing meteor, or a strictly miraculous phenomenon, which lies beyond astronomical calculation, and was perhaps visible to the Magi alone. But Providence usually works through natural agencies, and that God did so in this case is made at least very probable by a remarkable discovery in astronomy. The great and devout Kepler observed in the years 1603 and 1604 a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, which was made more rare and luminous by the addition of Mars in the month of March, 1604. In the autumn of the same year (Oct.10) he observed near the planets Saturn, Jupiter and Mars a new (fixed) star of uncommon brilliancy, which appeared |in triumphal pomp, like, some all-powerful monarch on a visit to the metropolis of his realm.| It was blazing and glittering |like the most beautiful and glorious torch ever seen when driven by a strong wind,| and seemed to him to be |an exceedingly wonderful work of God.| His genius perceived that this phenomenon must lead to the determination of the year of Christ’s birth, and by careful calculation he ascertained that a similar conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, with the later addition of Mars, and probably some, extraordinary star, took place repeatedly a.u.747 and 748 in the sign of the Pisces.

It is worthy of note that Jewish astrologers ascribe a special signification to the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the sign of the Pisces, and connect it with the advent of the Messiah.

The discovery of Kepler was almost forgotten till the nineteenth century, when it was independently confirmed by several eminent astronomers, Schubert of Petersburg, Ideler and Encke of Berlin, and Pritchard of London. It is pronounced by Pritchard to be |as certain as any celestial phenomenon of ancient date.| It certainly makes the pilgrimage of the Magi to Jerusalem and Bethlehem more intelligible. |The star of astrology has thus become a torch of chronology| (as Ideler says), and an argument for the truthfulness of the first Gospel.

It is objected that Matthew seems to mean a single star (aster, comp. Matt.2:9) rather than a combination of stars (astron). Hence Dr. Wieseler supplements the calculation of Kepler and Ideler by calling to aid a single comet which appeared from February to April, a.u.750, according to the Chinese astronomical tables, which Pingré and Humboldt acknowledge as historical. But this is rather far-fetched and hardly necessary; for that extraordinary star described by Kepler, or Jupiter at its most luminous appearance, as described by Pritchard, in that memorable conjunction, would sufficiently answer the description of a single star by Matthew, which must at all events not be pressed too literally; for the language of Scripture on the heavenly bodies is not scientific, but phenomenal and popular. God condescended to the astrological faith of the Magi, and probably made also an internal revelation to them before, as well as after the appearance of the star (comp.2:12).

If we accept the result of these calculations of astronomers we are brought to within two years of the year of the Nativity, namely, between a.u.748 (Kepler) and 750 (Wieseler). The difference arises, of course, from the uncertainty of the time of departure and the length of the journey of the Magi.

As this astronomical argument is often very carelessly and erroneously stated, and as the works of Kepler and Ideler are not easy of access, at least in America (I found them in the Astor Library), I may be permitted to state the case more at length. John Kepler wrote three treatises on the year of Christ’s birth, two in Latin (1606 and 1614), one in German (1613), in which he discusses with remarkable learning the various passages and facts bearing on that subject. They are reprinted in Dr. Ch. Frisch’s edition of his Opera Omnia (Frcf. et Erlang.1858-’70, 8 vols.), vol. IV. pp.175 sqq.; 201 sqq.; 279 sqq. His astronomical observations on the constellation which led him to this investigation are fully described in his treatises De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii (Opera, vol. II.575 sqq.), and Phenomenon singulare seu Mercurius in Sole (ibid. II.801 sqq.). Prof. Ideler, who was himself an astronomer and chronologist, in his Handbuch der mathemat. und technischen Chronologie (Berlin, 1826, vol. III.400 sqq.), gives the following clear summary of Kepler’s and of his own observations:

|It is usually supposed that the star of the Magi was, if not a fiction of the imagination, some meteor which arose accidentally, or ad hoc. We will belong neither to the unbelievers nor the hyper-believers (weder zu den Ungläubigen noch zu den Uebergläubigen), and regard this starry phenomenon with Kepler to be real and well ascertainable by calculation, namely, as a conjunction of the Planets Jupiter and Saturn. That Matthew speaks only of a star (aster), not a constellation (astron), need not trouble us, for the two words are not unfrequently confounded. The just named great astronomer, who was well acquainted with the astrology of his and former times, and who used it occasionally as a means for commending astronomy to the attention and respect of the laity, first conceived this idea when he observed the conjunction of the two planets mentioned at the close of the year 1603. It took place Dec.17. In the spring following Mars joined their company, and in autumn 1604 still another star, one of those fixed star-like bodies (einer jener fixstern-artigen Körper) which grow to a considerable degree of brightness, and then gradually disappear without leaving a trace behind. This star stood near the two planets at the eastern foot of Serpentarius (Schlangenträger), and appeared when last seen as a star of the first magnitude with uncommon splendor. From month to month it waned in brightness, and at the end of 1605 was withdrawn from the eyes which at that time could not yet be aided by good optical instruments. Kepler wrote a special work on this Stella nova in pede Serpentarii (Prague, 1606), and there he first set forth the view that the star of the Magi consisted in a conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and some other extraordinary star, the nature of which he does not explain more fully.| Ideler then goes on to report (p.404) that Kepler, with the imperfect tables at his disposal, discovered the same conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn a.u.747 in June, August and December, in the sign of the Pisces; in the next year, February and March, Mars was added, and probably another extraordinary star, which must have excited the astrologers of Chaldaea to the highest degree. They probably saw the new star first, and then the constellation.

Dr. Münter, bishop of Seeland, in 1821 directed new attention to this remarkable discovery, and also to the rabbinical commentary of Abarbanel on Daniel, according to which the Jewish astrologers expected a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the sign of the Pisces before the advent of the Messiah, and asked the astronomers to reinvestigate this point. Since then Schubert of Petersburg (1823), Ideler and Encke of Berlin (1826 and 1830), and more recently Pritchard of London, have verified Kepler’s calculations.

Ideler describes the result of his calculation (vol. II.405) thus: I have made the calculation with every care …. The results are sufficiently remarkable. Both planets [Jupiter and Saturn] came in conjunction for the first time a.u.747, May 20, in the 20th degree of Pisces. They stood then on the heaven before sunrise and were only one degree apart. Jupiter passed Saturn to the north. In the middle of September both came in opposition to the sun at midnight in the south. The difference in longitude was one degree and a half. Both were retrograde and again approached each other. On the 27th of October a second conjunction took place in the sixteenth degree of the Pisces, and on the 12th of November, when Jupiter moved again eastward, a third in the fifteenth degree of the same sign. In the last two constellations also the difference in longitude was only about one degree, so that to a weak eye both planets might appear as one star. If the Jewish astrologers attached great expectations to conjunction of the two upper planets in the sign of the Pisces, this one must above all have appeared to them as most significant.|

In his shorter Lehrbuch der Chronologie, which appeared Berlin 1831 in one vol., pp.424-431, Ideler gives substantially the same account somewhat abridged, but with slight changes of the figures on the basis of a new calculation with still better tables made by the celebrated astronomer Encke, who puts the first conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn a.u.747, May 29th, the second Sept.30th, the third Dec.5th. See the full table of Encke, p.429.

We supplement this account by an extract from an article on the Star of the Wise Men by the Rev. Charles Pritchard, M.A., Hon. Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society, who made a fresh calculation of the constellation in a.u.747, from May to December, and published the results in Memoirs of Royal Ast. Society, vol. xxv., and in Smith’s |Bible Dictionary,| p.3108, Am. ed., where he says: |At that time [end of Sept., b.c.7] there can be no doubt Jupiter would present to astronomers, especially in so clear an atmosphere, a magnificent spectacle. It was then at its most brilliant apparition, for it was at its nearest approach both to the sun and to the earth. Not far from it would be seen its duller and much less conspicuous companion, Saturn. This glorious spectacle continued almost unaltered for several days, when the planets again slowly separated, then came to a halt, when, by reassuming a direct motion, Jupiter again approached to a conjunction for a third time with Saturn, just as the Magi may be supposed to have entered the Holy City. And, to complete the fascination of the tale, about an hour and a half after sunset, the two planets might be seen from Jerusalem, hanging as it were in the meridian, and suspended over Bethlehem in the distance. These celestial phenomena thus described are, it will be seen, beyond the reach of question, and at the first impression they assuredly appear to fulfil the conditions of the Star of the Magi.| If Pritchard, nevertheless, rejects the identity of the constellation with the single star of Matthew, it is because of a too literal understanding of Matthew’s language, that the star proegen autousand estathe epano, which would make it miraculous in either case.

The Fifteenth Year of Tiberius.

(3) Luke 3:1, 23, gives us an important and evidently careful indication of the reigning powers at the time when John the Baptist and Christ entered upon their public ministry, which, according to Levitical custom, was at the age of thirty. John the Baptist began his ministry |in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius,| and Jesus, who was only about six months younger than John (comp. Luke 1:5, 26), was baptized and began to teach when he was |about thirty years of age.| Tiberius began to reign jointly with Augustus, as |collega imperii,| a.u.764 (or, at all events, in the beginning of 765), and independently, Aug.19, a.u.767 (a.d.14); consequently, the fifteenth year of his reign was either a.u.779, if we count from the joint reign (as Luke probably did, using the more general term hegemoniarather than monarchiaor basileia or 782, if we reckon from the independent reign (as was the usual Roman method).

Now, if we reckon back thirty years from a.u.779 or 782, we come to a.u.749 or 752 as the year of John’s birth, which preceded that of Christ about six months. The former date (749) is undoubtedly to be preferred, and agrees with Luke’s own statement that Christ was born under Herod (Luke 1:5, 26).

Dionysius probably (for we have no certainty on the subject) calculated from the independent reign of Tiberius; but even that would not bring us to 754, and would involve Luke in contradiction with Matthew and with himself.

The other dates in Luke 3:1 generally agree with this result, but are less definite. Pontius Pilate was ten years governor of Judaea, from a.d.26 to 36. Herod Antipas was deposed by Caligula, a.d.39. Philip, his brother, died a.d.34. Consequently, Christ must have died before a.d.34, at an age of thirty-three, if we allow three years for his public ministry.

The Census of Quirinius.

(4) The Census of Quirinius Luke 2:2. Luke gives us another chronological date by the incidental remark that Christ was born about the time of that census or enrolment, which was ordered by Caesar Augustus, and which was |the first made when Quirinius (Cyrenius) was governor [enrolment] of Syria.| He mentions this fact as the reason for the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. The journey of Mary makes no difficulty, for (aside from the intrinsic propriety of his company for protection) all women over twelve years of age (and slaves also) were subject in the Roman empire to a head-tax, as well as men over fourteen) till the age of sixty-five. There is some significance in the coincidence of the birth of the King of Israel with the deepest humiliation of Israel. and its incorporation in the great historical empire of Rome.

But the statement of Luke seems to be in direct conflict with the fact that the governorship and census of Quirinius began a.d.6, i.e., ten years after the birth of Christ Hence many artificial interpretations. But this difficulty is now, if not entirely removed, at least greatly diminished by archaeological and philological research independent of theology. It has been proved almost to a demonstration by Bergmann, Mommsen, and especially by Zumpt, that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria — first, a.u.750 to 753, or b.c.4 to 1 (when there happens to be a gap in our list of governors of Syria), and again, a.u.760-765 (a.d.6-11). This double legation is based upon a passage in Tacitus, and confirmed by an old monumental inscription discovered between the Villa Hadriani and the Via Tiburtina. Hence Luke might very properly call the census about the time of Christ’s birth |the first| (prote) under Quirinius, to distinguish it from the second and better known, which he himself mentions in his second treatise on the history of the origin of Christianity (Acts 5:37). Perhaps the experience of Quirinius as the superintendent of the first census was the reason why he was sent to Syria a second time for the same purpose.

There still remain, however, three difficulties not easily solved: (a) Quirinius cannot have been governor of Syria before autumn a.u.750 (b.c.4), several months after Herod’s death (which occurred in March, 750), and consequently after Christ’s birth; for we know from coins that Quintilius Varus was governor from a.u.748 to 750 (b.c.6-4), and left his post after the death of Herod. (b) A census during the first governorship of Quirinius is nowhere mentioned but in Luke. (c) A Syrian governor could not well carry out a census in Judaea during the lifetime of Herod, before it was made a Roman province (i.e., a.u.759).

In reply to these objections we may say: (a) Luke did not intend to give an exact, but only an approximate chronological statement, and may have connected the census with the well-known name of Quirinius because be completed it, although it was begun under a previous administration. (b) Augustus ordered several census populi between a.u.726 and 767, partly for taxation, partly for military and statistical purposes; and, as a good statesman and financier, he himself prepared a rationarium or breviarium totius imperii, that is, a list of all the resources of the empire, which was read, after his death, in the Senate. (c) Herod was only a tributary king (rex sosius), who could exercise no act of sovereignty without authority from the emperor. Judaea was subject to taxation from the time of Pompey, and it seems not to have ceased with the accession of Herod. Moreover, towards the end of his life he lost the favor of Augustus, who wrote him in anger that |whereas of old he had used him as his friend, he would now use him as his subject.|

It cannot, indeed, be proven by direct testimony of Josephus or the Roman historians, that Augustus issued a decree for a universal census, embracing all the Provinces (|that all the world,| i.e., the Roman world, |should be taxed,| Luke 2:1), but it is in itself by no means improbable, and was necessary to enable him to prepare his breviarium totius imperii. In the nature of the case, it would take several years to carry out such a decree, and its execution in the provinces would be modified according to national customs. Zumpt assumes that Sentius Saturninus, who was sent as governor to Syria a.u.746 (b.c.9), and remained there till 749 (b.c.6), began a census in Judaea with a view to substitute a head tax in money for the former customary tribute in produce; that his successor, Quintilius Varus (b.c.6-4), continued it, and that Quirinius (b.c.4) completed the census. This would explain the confident statement of Tertullian, which he must have derived from some good source, that enrolments were held under Augustus by Sentius Saturninus in Judaea. Another, but less probable view is that Quirinius was sent to the East as special commissioner for the census during the administration of his predecessor. In either case Luke might call the census |the first| under Quirinius, considering that he finished the census for personal taxation or registration according to the Jewish custom of family registers, and that afterwards he alone executed the second census for the taxation of property according to the Roman fashion.

The problem is not quite solved; but the establishment of the fact that Quirinius was prominently connected with the Roman government in the East about the time of the Nativity, is a considerable step towards the solution, and encourages the hope of a still better solution in the future.

The Forty-Six Years of Building of Herod’s Temple.

(5) St. John, 2:20, furnishes us a date in the remark of the Jews, in the first year of Christ’s ministry: |Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days?|

We learn from Josephus that Herod began the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem in the eighteenth year of his reign, i.e., a.u.732, if we reckon from his appointment by the Romans (714), or a.u.735, if we reckon from the death of Antigonus and the conquest of Jerusalem (717). The latter is the correct view; otherwise Josephus would contradict himself, since, in another passage, he dates the building from the fifteenth year, of Herod’s reign. Adding forty-six years to 735, we have the year a.u.781 (a.d.27) for the first year of Christ’s ministry; and deducting thirty and a half or thirty-one years from 781, we come back to a.u.750 (b.c.4) as the year of the Nativity.

The Time of the Crucifixion.

(6) Christ was crucified under the consulate of the two Gemini (i.e., C. Rubellius Geminus and C. Fufius Geminus), who were consuls a.u.782 to 783 (a.d.28 to 29). This statement is made by Tertullian, in connection with an elaborate calculation of the time of Christ’s birth and passion from the seventy weeks of Daniel. He may possibly have derived it from some public record in Rome. He erred in identifying the year of Christ’s passion with the first year of his ministry (the 15th year of Tiberius, Luke 3:1). Allowing, as we must, two or three years for his public ministry, and thirty-three years for his life, we reach the year 750 or 749 as the year of the Nativity.

Thus we arrive from these various incidental notices of three Evangelists, and the statement of Tertullian essentially at the same conclusion, which contributes its share towards establishing the credibility of the gospel history against the mythical theory. Yet in the absence of a precise date, and in view of uncertainties in calculation, there is still room for difference of opinion between the years a.u.747 (b.c.7), as the earliest, and a.u.750 (b.c.4), as the latest, possible date for the year of Christ’s birth. The French Benedictines, Sanclemente, Münter, Wurm, Ebrard, Jarvis, Alford, Jos. A. Alexander, Zumpt, Keim, decide for a.u.747; Kepler (reckoning from the conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars in that year), Lardner, Ideler, Ewald, for 748; Petavius, Ussher, Tillemont, Browne, Angus, Robinson, Andrews, McClellan, for 749; Bengel, Wieseler, Lange, Lichtenstein, Anger, Greswell, Ellicott, Plumptre, Merivale, for 750.

II. The Day of the Nativity. — The only indication of the season of our Saviour’s birth is the fact that the Shepherds were watching their flocks in the field at that time, Luke 2:8. This fact points to any other season rather than winter, and is therefore not favorable to the traditional date, though not conclusive against it. The time of pasturing in Palestine (which has but two seasons, the dry and the wet, or summer and winter) begins, according to the Talmudists, in March, and lasts till November, when the herds are brought in from the fields, and kept under shelter till the close of February. But this refers chiefly to pastures in the wilderness, far away from towns and villages, and admits of frequent exceptions in the close neighborhood of towns, according to the character of the season. A succession of bright days in December and January is of frequent occurrence in the East, as in Western countries. Tobler, an experienced traveller in the Holy Land, says that in Bethlehem the weather about Christmas is favorable to the feeding of flocks and often most beautiful. On the other hand strong and cold winds often prevail in April, and. explain the fire mentioned John 18:18.

No certain conclusion can be drawn from the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, and to Egypt; nor from the journey of the Magi. As a rule February, is the best time for travelling in Egypt, March the best in the Sinaitic Peninsula, April and May, and next to it autumn, the best in Palestine; but necessity knows no rule.

The ancient tradition is of no account here, as it varied down to the fourth century. Clement of Alexandria relates that some regarded the 25th Pachon. (i.e. May 20), others the 24th or 25th Pharmuthi (April 19 or 20), as the day of Nativity.

(1) The traditional 25th of December is defended by Jerome, Chrysostom, Baronius, Lamy, Ussher, Petavius, Bengel (Ideler), Seyffarth and Jarvis. It has no historical authority beyond the fourth century, when the Christmas festival was introduced first in Rome (before a.d.360), on the basis of several Roman festivals (the Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Juvenalia, Brumalia, or Dies natalis Invicti Solis), which were held in the latter part of December in commemoration of the golden age of liberty and equality, and in honor of the sun, who in the winter solstice is, as it were, born anew and begins his conquering march. This phenomenon in nature was regarded as an appropriate symbol of the appearance of the Sun of Righteousness dispelling the long night of sin and error. For the same reason the summer solstice (June 24) was afterwards selected for the festival of John the Baptist, as the fittest reminder of his own humble self-estimate that he must decrease, while Christ must increase (John 3:30). Accordingly the 25th of March was chosen for the commemoration of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, and the 24th of September for that of the conception of Elizabeth.

(2) The 6th of January has in its favor an older tradition (according to Epiphanius and Cassianus), and is sustained by Eusebius. It was celebrated in the East from the third century as the feast of the Epiphany, in commemoration of the Nativity as well as of Christ’s baptism, and afterwards of his manifestation to the Gentiles (represented by the Magi).

(3) Other writers have selected some day in February (Hug, Wieseler, Ellicott), or March (Paulus, Winer), or April (Greswell), or August (Lewin), or September (Lightfoot, who assumes, on chronological grounds, that Christ was born on the feast of Tabernacles, as he died on the Passover and sent the Spirit on Pentecost), or October (Newcome). Lardner puts the birth between the middle of August and the middle of November; Browne December 8; Lichtenstein in summer; Robinson leaves it altogether uncertain.

III. The Duration of Christ’s Life. — This is now generally confined to thirty-two or three years. The difference of one or two years arises from the different views on the length of his public ministry. Christ died and rose again in the full vigor of early manhood and so continues to live in the memory of the church. The decline and weakness of old age is inconsistent with his position as the Renovator and Saviour of mankind.

Irenaeus, otherwise (as a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John) the most trustworthy witness of apostolic traditions among the fathers, held the untenable opinion that Christ attained to the ripe age of forty or fifty years and taught over ten years (beginning with the thirtieth), and that he thus passed through all the stages of human life, to save and sanctify |old men| as well as |infants and children and boys and youths.| He appeals for this view to tradition dating from St. John and supports it by an unwarranted inference from the loose conjecture of the Jews when, surprised at the claim of Jesus to have existed before Abraham was born, they asked him: |Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?| A similar inference from another passage, where the Jews speak of the |forty-six years| since the temple of Herod began to be constructed, while Christ spoke of the, temple his body (John 2:20), is of course still less conclusive.

IV. Duration of Christ’s Public Ministry. — It began with the baptism by John and ended with the crucifixion. About the length of the intervening time there are (besides the isolated and decidedly erroneous view of Irenaeus) three theories, allowing respectively one, two, or three years and a few months, and designated as the bipaschal, tripaschal, and quadripaschal schemes, according to the number of Passovers. The Synoptists mention only the last Passover during the public ministry of our Lord, at which he was crucified, but they intimate that he was in Judaea more than once. John certainly mentions three Passovers, two of which (the first and the last) Christ did attend, and perhaps a fourth, which he also attended.

(1) The bipaschal scheme confines the public ministry to one year and a few weeks or months. This was first held by the Gnostic sect of the Valentinians (who connected it with their fancy about thirty aeons), and by several fathers, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian) and perhaps by Origen and Augustine (who express themselves doubtfully). The chief argument of the fathers and those harmonists who follow them, is derived from the prophecy of |the acceptable year of the Lord,| as quoted by Christ, and from the typical meaning of the paschal lamb, which must be of |one year| and without blemish. Far more important is the argument drawn by some modern critics from the silence of the synoptical Gospels concerning the other Passovers. But this silence is not in itself conclusive, and must yield to the positive testimony of John, which cannot be conformed to the bipaschal scheme. Moreover, it is simply impossible to crowd the events of Christ’s life, the training of the Twelve, and the development of the hostility of the Jews, into one short year.

(2) The choice therefore lies between the tripaschal and the quadripaschal schemes. The decision depends chiefly on the interpretation of the unnamed |feast of the Jews,| John 5:1, whether it was a Passover, or another feast; and this again depends much (though not exclusively) on a difference of reading (the feast, or a feast). The parable of the barren fig-tree, which represents the Jewish people, has been used as an argument in favor of a three years’ ministry: |Behold, these three year I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none.| The three years are certainly significant; but according to Jewish reckoning two and a half years would be called three years. More remote is the reference to the prophetic announcement of Daniel 9:27: |And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week, and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.| The tripaschal theory is more easily reconciled with the synoptical Gospels, while the quadripaschal theory leaves more room for arranging the discourses and miracles of our Lord, and has been adopted by the majority of harmonists.

But even if we extend the public ministry to three years, it presents a disproportion between duration and effect without a parallel in history and inexplicable on purely natural grounds. In the language of an impartial historian, |the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists. This has indeed been the wellspring of whatever is best and purest in the Christian life.|

V. The Date of the Lord’s Death. — The day of the week on which Christ suffered on the cross was a Friday, during the week of the Passover, in the month of Nisan, which was the first of the twelve lunar months of the Jewish year, and included the vernal equinox. But the question is whether this Friday was the 14th, or the 15th of Nisan, that is, the day before the feast or the first day of the feast, which lasted a week. The Synoptical Gospels clearly decide for the 15th, for they all say (independently) that our Lord partook of the paschal supper on the legal day, called the |first day of unleavened bread,| that is on the evening of the 14th, or rather at the beginning of the 15th (the paschal lambs being slain |between the two evenings,| i.e. before and after sunset, between 3 and 5 p.m. of the 14th). John, on the other hand, seems at first sight to point to the 14th, so that the death of our Lord would very nearly have coincided with the slaying of the paschal lamb. But the three or four passages which look in that direction can, and on closer examination, must be harmonized with the Synoptical statement, which admits only of one natural interpretation. It seems strange, indeed, that, the Jewish priests should have matured their bloody counsel in the solemn night of the Passover, and urged a crucifixion on a great festival, but it agrees, with the satanic wickedness of their crime. Moreover it is on the other hand equally difficult to explain that they, together with the people, should have remained about the cross till late in the afternoon of the fourteenth, when, according to the law, they were to kill the paschal lamb and prepare for the feast; and that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea, with the pious women, should have buried the body of Jesus and so incurred defilement at that solemn hour.

The view here advocated is strengthened by astronomical calculation, which shows that in a.d.30 the probable year of the crucifixion, the 15th of Nisan actually fell on a Friday (April 7);and this was the case only once more between the years a.d.28 and 36, except perhaps also in 33. Consequently Christ must have been Crucified a.d.30.

To sum up the results, the following appear to us the most probable dates in the earthly life of our Lord:

Birth a.u.750 (Jan.?) or 749 (Dec.?) b.c.4 or 5.

Baptism a.u.780 (Jan.?) a.d.27.

Length of Public Ministry

(three years and three or

four months) a.u.780-783 a.d.27-30.

Crucifixion a.u.783 (15th of Nisan) a.d.30 (April 7)

Section 17. The Land and the People.


I. The geographical and descriptive works on the Holy Land by Reland (1714), Robinson (1838 and 1856), Ritter (1850-1855), Raumer (4th ed.1860), Tobler (several monographs from 1849 to 1869), W. M. Thomson (revised ed.1880), Stanley (1853, 6th ed.1866), Tristram (1864), Schaff (1878; enlarged ed.1889), Guérin (1869, 1875, 1880).

See Tobler’s Bibliographia geographica Palaestinae (Leipz.1867) and the supplementary lists of more recent works by Ph. Wolff in the |Jahrbücher für deutsche Theologie, | 1868 and 1872, and by Socin in the |Zeitschrift des deutschen Palaestina-Vereins,| 1878, p.40, etc.

II. The |Histories of New Testament Times| (Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, a special department of historical theology recently introduced), by Schneckburger (1862), Hausrath (1868 sqq.), and Schürer (1874).

See Lit. in § 8, p.56.

There is a wonderful harmony between the life of our Lord as described by the Evangelists, and his geographical and historical environment as known to us from contemporary writers, and illustrated and confirmed by modern discovery and research. This harmony contributes not a little to the credibility of the gospel history. The more we come to understand the age and country in which Jesus lived, the more we feel, in reading the Gospels, that we are treading on the solid ground of real history illuminated by the highest revelation from heaven. The poetry of the canonical Gospels, if we may so call their prose, which in spiritual beauty excels all poetry, is not (like that of the Apocryphal Gospels) the poetry of human fiction — |no fable old, no mythic lore, nor dream of bards and seers;| it is the poetry of revealed truth, the poetry of the sublimest facts the poetry of the infinite wisdom and love of God which, ever before had entered the imagination of man, but which assumed human flesh and blood in Jesus of Nazareth and solved through his life and work the deepest problem of our existence.

The stationary character of Oriental countries and peoples enables us to infer from their present aspect and condition what they were two thousand years ago. And in this we are aided by the multiplying discoveries which make even stones and mummies eloquent witnesses of the past. Monumental evidence appeals to the senses and overrules the critical conjectures and combinations of unbelieving skepticism, however ingenious and acute they may be. Who will doubt the history of the Pharaohs when it can be read in the pyramids and sphinxes, in the ruins of temples and rock-tombs, in hieroglyphic inscriptions and papyrus rolls which antedate the founding of Rome and the exodus of Moses and the Israelites? Who will deny the biblical records of Babylon and Nineveh after these cities have risen from the grave of centuries to tell their own story through cuneiform inscriptions, eagle-winged lions and human-headed bulls, ruins of temples and palaces disentombed from beneath the earth? We might as well erase Palestine from the map and remove it to fairy-land, as to blot out the Old and New Testament from history and resolve them into airy myths and legends.

The Land.

Jesus spent his life in Palestine. It is a country of about the size of Maryland, smaller than Switzerland, and not half as large as Scotland, but favored with a healthy climate, beautiful scenery, and great variety and fertility of soil, capable of producing fruits of all lands from the snowy north to the tropical south; isolated from other countries by desert, mountain and sea, yet lying in the centre of the three continents of the eastern hemisphere and bordering on the Mediterranean highway of the historic nations of antiquity, and therefore providentially adapted to develop not only the particularism of Judaism, but also the universalism of Christianity. From little Phoenicia the world has derived the alphabet, from little Greece philosophy and art, from little Palestine the best of all — the true religion and the cosmopolitan Bible. Jesus could not have been born at any other time than in the reign of Caesar Augustus, after the Jewish religion, the Greek civilization, and the Roman government had reached their maturity; nor in any other land than Palestine, the classical soil of revelation, nor among any other people than the Jews, who were predestinated and educated for centuries to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah and the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. In his infancy, a fugitive from the wrath of Herod, He passed through the Desert (probably by the short route along the Mediterranean coast) to Egypt and back again; and often may his mother have spoken to him of their brief sojourn in |the land of bondage,| out of which Jehovah had led his people, by the mighty arm of Moses, across the Red Sea and through |the great and terrible wilderness| into the land of promise. During his forty days of fasting |in the wilderness| he was, perhaps, on Mount Sinai communing with the spirits of Moses and Elijah, and preparing himself in the awfully eloquent silence of that region for the personal conflict with the Tempter of the human race, and for the new legislation of liberty from the Mount of Beatitudes. Thus the three lands of the Bible, Egypt, the cradle of Israel, the Desert, its school and playground, and Canaan, its final home, were touched and consecrated by |those blessed feet which, eighteen centuries ago, were nailed for our advantage on the bitter cross.|

He travelled on his mission of love through Judaea, Samaria, Galilee, and Peraea; he came as far north as mount Hermon, and once he crossed beyond the land of Israel to the Phoenician border and healed the demonized daughter of that heathen mother to whom he said, |O woman, great is thy faith: be it done unto thee even as thou wilt.|

We can easily follow him from place to place, on foot or on horseback, twenty or thirty miles a day, over green fields and barren rocks over hill and dale among flowers and thistles, under olive and fig-trees, pitching our tent for the night’s rest, ignoring the comforts of modern civilization, but delighting in the unfading beauties of God’s nature, reminded at every step of his wonderful dealings with his people, and singing the psalms of his servants of old.

We may kneel at his manger in Bethlehem, the town of Judaea where Jacob buried his beloved Rachel, and a pillar, now a white mosque, marks her grave; where Ruth was rewarded for her filial devotion, and children may still be seen gleaning after the reapers in the grainfields, as she did in the field of Boaz; where his ancestor, the poet-king, was born and called from his father’s flocks to the throne of Israel; where shepherds are still watching the sheep as in that solemn night when the angelic host thrilled their hearts with the heavenly anthem of glory to God, and peace on earth to men of his good pleasure; where the sages from the far East offered their sacrifices in the name of future generations of heathen converts; where Christian gratitude has erected the oldest church in Christendom, the |Church of the Nativity,| and inscribed on the solid rock in the |Holy Crypt,| in letters of silver, the simple but pregnant inscription: |Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est.| When all the surroundings correspond with the Scripture narrative, it is of small account whether the traditional grotto of the Nativity is the identical spot — though pointed out as such it would seem already in the middle of the second century.

We accompany him in a three days’ journey from Bethlehem to Nazareth, his proper home, where he spent thirty silent years of his life in quiet preparation for his public work, unknown in his divine character to his neighbors and even the members of his own household (John 7:5), except his saintly parents. Nazareth is still there, a secluded, but charmingly located mountain village, with narrow, crooked and dirty streets, with primitive stone houses where men, donkeys and camels are huddled together, surrounded by cactus hedges and fruitful gardens of vines, olive, fig, and pomegranates, and favorably distinguished from the wretched villages of modern Palestine by comparative industry, thrift, and female beauty; the never failing |Virgin’s Fountain,| whither Jesus must often have accompanied his mother for the daily supply of water, is still there near the Greek Church of the Annunciation, and is the evening rendezvous of the women and maidens, with their water-jars gracefully poised on the head or shoulder, and a row of silver coins adorning their forehead; and behind the village still rises the hill, fragrant with heather and thyme, from which he may often have cast his eye eastward to Gilboa, where Jonathan fell, and to the graceful, cone-like Tabor — the Righi of Palestine — northward to the lofty Mount Hermon — the Mont Blanc of Palestine — southward to the fertile plain of Esdraëlon — the classic battle-ground of Israel — and westward to the ridge of Carmel, the coast of Tyre and Sidon and the blue waters of the Mediterranean sea — the future highway of his gospel of peace to mankind. There he could feast upon the rich memories of David and Jonathan, Elijah and Elisha, and gather images of beauty for his lessons of wisdom. We can afford to smile at the silly superstition which points out the kitchen of the Virgin Mary beneath the Latin Church of the Annunciation, the suspended column where she received the angel’s message, the carpenter shop of Joseph and Jesus, the synagogue in which he preached on the acceptable year of the Lord, the stone table at which he ate with his disciples, the Mount of Precipitation two miles off, and the stupendous monstrosity of the removal of the dwelling-house of Mary by angels in the air across the sea to Loretto in Italy! These are childish fables, in striking contrast with the modest silence of the Gospels, and neutralized by the rival traditions of Greek and Latin monks; but nature in its beauty is still the same as Jesus saw and interpreted it in his incomparable parables, which point from nature to nature’s God and from visible symbols to eternal truths.

Jesus was inaugurated into his public ministry by his baptism in the fast-flowing river Jordan, which connects the Old and New Covenant. The traditional spot, a few miles from Jericho, is still visited by thousands of Christian pilgrims from all parts of the world at the Easter season, who repeat the spectacle of the multitudinous baptisms of John, when the people came |from Jerusalem and all Judaea and all the region round about the Jordan| to confess their sins and to receive his water-baptism of repentance.

The ruins of Jacob’s well still mark the spot where Jesus sat down weary of travel, but not of his work of mercy and opened to the poor woman of Samaria the well of the water of life and instructed her in the true spiritual worship of God; and the surrounding landscape, Mount Gerizim, and Mount Ebal, the town of Shechem, the grain-fields whitening to the harvest, all illustrate and confirm the narrative in the fourth chapter of John; while the fossil remnant of the Samaritans at Nablous (the modern Shechem) still perpetuates the memory of the paschal sacrifice according to the Mosaic prescription, and their traditional hatred of the Jews.

We proceed northward to Galilee where Jesus spent the most popular part of his public ministry and spoke so many of his undying words of wisdom and love to the astonished multitudes. That province was once thickly covered with forests, cultivated fields, plants and trees of different climes, prosperous villages and an industrious population. The rejection of the Messiah and the Moslem invasion have long since turned that paradise of nature into a desolate wilderness, yet could not efface the holy memories and the illustrations of the gospel history. There is the lake with its clear blue waters, once whitened with ships sailing from shore to shore, and the scene of a naval battle between the Romans and the Jews, now utterly forsaken, but still abounding in fish, and subject to sudden violent storms, such as the one which Jesus commanded to cease; there are the hills from which he proclaimed the Sermon on the Mount, the Magna Charta of his kingdom, and to which he often retired for prayer; there on the western shore is the plain of Gennesaret, which still exhibits its natural fertility by the luxuriant growth of briers and thistles and the bright red magnolias overtopping them; there is the dirty city of Tiberias, built by Herod Antipas, where Jewish rabbis still scrupulously search the letter of the Scriptures without finding Christ in them; a few wretched Moslem huts called Mejdel still indicate the birth-place of Mary Magdalene, whose penitential tears and resurrection joys are a precious legacy of Christendom. And although the cities of Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazim, |where most of his mighty works were done| have utterly disappeared from the face of the earth, and their very sites are disputed among scholars, thus verifying to the letter the fearful prophecy of the Son of Man, yet the ruins of Tell Hum and Kerazeh bear their eloquent testimony to the judgment of God for neglected privileges, and the broken columns and friezes with a pot of manna at Tell Hum are probably the remains of the very synagogue which the good Roman centurion built for the people of Capernaum, and in which Christ delivered his wonderful discourse on the bread of life from heaven.

Caesarea Philippi, formerly and now called Banias (or Paneas, Paneion, from the heathen sanctuary of Pan), at the foot of Hermon, marks the northern termination of the Holy Land and of the travels of the Lord, and the boundary-line between the Jews and the Gentiles; and that Swiss-like, picturesque landscape, the most beautiful in Palestine, in full view of the fresh, gushing source of the Jordan, and at the foot of the snow-crowned monarch of Syrian mountains seated on a throne of rock, seems to give additional force to Peter’s fundamental confession and Christ’s prophecy of his Church universal built upon the immovable rock of his eternal divinity.

The closing scenes of the earthly life of our Lord and the beginning of his heavenly life took place in Jerusalem and the immediate neighborhood, where every spot calls to mind the most important events that ever occurred or can occur in this world. Jerusalem, often besieged and destroyed, and as often rebuilt |on her own heap,| is indeed no more the Jerusalem of Herod, which lies buried many feet beneath the rubbish and filth of centuries; even the site of Calvary is disputed, and superstition has sadly disfigured and obscured the historic associations. |Christ is not there, He is risen.| There is no more melancholy sight in the world than the present Jerusalem as contrasted with its former glory, and with the teeming life of Western cities; and yet so many are the sacred memories clustering around it and perfuming the very air, that even Rome must yield the palm of interest to the city which witnessed the crucifixion and the resurrection. The Herodian temple on Mount Moriah, once the gathering place of pious Jews from all the earth, and enriched with treasures of gold and silver which excited the avarice of the conquerors, has wholly disappeared, and |not one stone is left upon another,| in literal fulfilment of Christ’s prophecy; but the massive foundations of Solomon’s structure around the temple area still bear the marks of the Phoenician workmen; the |wall of wailing| is moistened with the tears of the Jews who assemble there every Friday to mourn over the sins and misfortunes of their forefathers; and if we look down from Mount Olivet upon Mount Moriah and the Moslem Dome of the Rock, the city even now presents one of the most imposing, as well as most profoundly affecting sights on earth. The brook Kedron, which Jesus crossed in that solemn night after the last Passover, and Gethsemane with its venerable olive-trees and reminiscences of the agony, and Mount Olivet from which he rose to heaven, are still there, and behind it the remnant of Bethany, that home of peace and holy friendship which sheltered him the last nights before the crucifixion. Standing on that mountain with its magnificent view, or at the turning point of the road from Jericho and Bethany, and looking over Mount Moriah and the holy city, we fully understand why the Saviour wept and exclaimed, |Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!

Thus the Land and the Book illustrate and confirm each other. The Book is still full of life and omnipresent in the civilized world; the Land is groaning under the irreformable despotism of the |unspeakable| Turk, which acts like a blast of the Sirocco from the desert. Palestine lies under the curse of God. It is at best a venerable ruin |in all the imploring beauty of decay,| yet not without hope of some future resurrection in God’s own good time. But in its very desolation it furnishes evidence for the truth of the Bible. It is |a fifth Gospel,| engraven upon rocks.

The People.

Is there a better argument for Christianity than the Jews? Is there a more patent and a more stubborn fact in history than that intense and unchangeable Semitic nationality with its equally intense religiosity? Is it not truly symbolized by the bush in the desert ever burning and never consumed? Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus Epiphanes, Titus, Hadrian exerted their despotic power for the extermination of the Jews; Hadrian’s edict forbade circumcision and all the rites of their religion; the intolerance of Christian rulers treated them for ages with a sort of revengeful cruelty, as if every Jew were personally responsible for the crime of the crucifixion. And, behold, the race still lives as tenaciously as ever, unchanged and unchangeable in its national traits, an omnipresent power in Christendom. It still produces, in its old age, remarkable men of commanding influence for good or evil in the commercial, political, and literary world; we need only recall such names as Spinoza, Rothschild, Disraeli, Mendelssohn, Heine, Neander. If we read the accounts of the historians and satirists of imperial Rome about the Jews in their filthy quarter across the Tiber, we are struck by the identity of that people with their descendants in the ghettos of modern Rome, Frankfurt, and New York. Then they excited as much as they do now the mingled contempt and wonder of the world; they were as remarkable then for contrasts of intellectual beauty and striking ugliness, wretched poverty and princely wealth; they liked onions and garlic, and dealt in old clothes, broken glass, and sulphur matches, but knew how to push themselves from poverty and filth into wealth and influence; they were rigid monotheists and scrupulous legalists who would strain out a gnat and swallow a camel; then as now they were temperate, sober, industrious, well regulated and affectionate in their domestic relations and careful for the religious education of their children. The majority were then, as they are now, carnal descendants of Jacob, the Supplanter, a small minority spiritual children of Abraham, the friend of God and father of the faithful. Out of this gifted race have come, at the time of Jesus and often since, the bitterest foes and the warmest friends of Christianity.

Among that peculiar people Jesus spent his earthly life, a Jew of the Jews, yet in the highest sense the Son of Man, the second Adam, the representative Head and Regenerator of the whole race. For thirty years of reserve and preparation he hid his divine glory and restrained his own desire to do good, quietly waiting till the voice of prophecy after centuries of silence announced, in the wilderness of Judaea and on the banks of the Jordan, the coming of the kingdom of God, and startled the conscience of the people with the call to repent. Then for three years he mingled freely with his countrymen. Occasionally he met and healed Gentiles also, who were numerous in Galilee; he praised their faith the like of which he had not found in Israel, and prophesied that many shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness. He conversed with a woman of Samaria, to the surprise of his disciples, on the sublimest theme, and rebuked the national prejudice of the Jews by holding up a good Samaritan as a model for imitation. It was on the occasion of a visit from some |Greeks,| shortly before the crucifixion, that he uttered the remarkable prophecy of the universal attraction of his cross. But these were exceptions. His mission, before the resurrection, was to the lost sheep of Israel.

He associated with all ranks of Jewish society, attracting the good and repelling the bad, rebuking vice and relieving misery, but most of his time he spent among the middle classes who constituted the bone and sinew of the nation, the farmers and workingmen of Galilee, who are described to us as an industrious, brave and courageous race, taking the lead in seditious political movements, and holding out to the last moment in the defence of Jerusalem. At the same time they were looked upon by the stricter Jews of Judaea as semi-heathens and semi-barbarians; hence the question, |Can any good come out of Nazareth, and |Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.| He selected his apostles from plain, honest, unsophisticated fishermen who became fishers of men and teachers of future ages. In Judaea he came in contact with the religious leaders, and it was proper that he should close his ministry and establish his church in the capital of the nation.

He moved among the people as a Rabbi (my Lord) or a Teacher, and under this name he is usually addressed. The Rabbis were the intellectual and moral leaders of the nation, theologians, lawyers, and preachers, the expounders of the law, the keepers of the conscience, the regulators of the daily life and conduct; they were classed with Moses and the prophets, and claimed equal reverence. They stood higher than the priests who owed their position to the accident of birth, and not to personal merit. They coveted the chief seats in the synagogues and at feasts; they loved to be greeted in the markets and to be called of men, |Rabbi, Rabbi.| Hence our Lord’s warning: |Be not ye called ‘Rabbi:’ for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.| They taught in the temple, in the synagogue, and in the schoolhouse (Bethhamidrash), and introduced their pupils, sitting on the floor at their feet, by asking, and answering questions, into the intricacies of Jewish casuistry. They accumulated those oral traditions which were afterwards embodied in the Talmud, that huge repository of Jewish wisdom and folly. They performed official acts gratuitously. They derived their support from an honorable trade or free gifts of their pupils, or they married into rich families. Rabbi Hillel warned against making gain of the crown (of the law), but also against excess of labor, saying, |Who is too much given to trade, will not become wise.| In the book of Jesus Son of Sirach (which was written about 200 b.c.) a trade is represented as incompatible with the vocation of a student and teacher, but the prevailing sentiment at the time of Christ favored a combination of intellectual and physical labor as beneficial to health and character. One-third of the day should be given to study one-third to prayer, one third to work. |Love manual labor,| was the motto of Shemaja, a teacher of Hillel. |He who does not teach his son a trade,| said Rabbi Jehuda, |is much the same as if he taught him to be a robber.| |There is no trade,| says the Talmud, |which can be dispensed with; but happy is he who has in his parents the example of a trade of the more excellent sort.|

Jesus himself was not only the son of a carpenter, but during his youth he worked at that trade himself. When he entered upon his public ministry the zeal for God’s house claimed all his time and strength, and his modest wants were more than supplied by a few grateful disciples from Galilee, so that something was left for the benefit of the poor. St. Paul learned the trade of tentmaking, which was congenial to his native Cilicia, and derived from it his support even as an apostle, that he might relieve his congregations and maintain a noble independence.

Jesus availed himself of the usual places of public instruction in the synagogue and the temple, but preached also out of doors, on the mountain, at the, sea-side, and wherever the people assembled to hear him. |I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret spake I nothing. Paul likewise taught in the synagogue wherever he had an opportunity on his missionary journeys. The familiar mode of teaching was by disputation, by asking and answering questions on knotty points, of the law, by parables and sententious sayings, which easily lodged in the memory; the Rabbi sat on a chair, the pupils stood or sat on the floor at his feet. Knowledge of the Law of God was general among the Jews and considered the most important possession. They remembered the commandments better than their own name. Instruction began in early childhood in the family and was carried on in the school and the synagogue. Timothy learned the sacred Scriptures on the knees of his mother and grandmother. Josephus boasts, at the expense of his superiors, that when only fourteen years of age he had such an exact knowledge of the law that he was consulted by the high priest and the first men of Jerusalem. Schoolmasters were appointed in every town, and children were taught to read in their sixth or seventh year, but writing was probably a rare accomplishment.

The synagogue was the local, the temple the national centre of religious and social life; the former on the weekly Sabbath (and also on Monday and Thursday), the latter on the Passover and the other annual festivals. Every town had a synagogue, large cities had many, especially Alexandria and Jerusalem. The worship was very simple: it consisted of prayers, singing, the reading of sections from the Law and the Prophets in Hebrew, followed by a commentary and homily in the vernacular Aramaic. There was a certain democratic liberty of prophesying, especially outside of Jerusalem. Any Jew of age could read the Scripture lessons and make comments on invitation of the ruler of the synagogue. This custom suggested to Jesus the most natural way of opening his public ministry. When he returned from his baptism to Nazareth, |he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the roll of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the roll and found the place where it was written (61:1, 2) ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; he hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, ‘To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.’ And all bare witness unto him, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth: and they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?|

On the great festivals he visited from his twelfth year the capital of the nation where the Jewish religion unfolded all its splendor and attraction. Large caravans with trains of camels and asses loaded with provisions and rich offerings to the temple, were set in motion from the North and the South, the East and the West for the holy city, |the joy of the whole earth;| and these yearly pilgrimages, singing the beautiful Pilgrim Psalms (Ps, 120 to 134), contributed immensely to the preservation and promotion of the common faith, as the Moslem pilgrimages to Mecca keep up the life of Islam. We may greatly reduce the enormous figures of Josephus, who on one single Passover reckoned the number of strangers and residents in Jerusalem at 2,700,000 and the number of slaughtered lambs at 256,500, but there still remains the fact of the vast extent and solemnity of the occasion. Even now in her decay, Jerusalem (like other Oriental cities) presents a striking picturesque appearance at Easter, when Christian pilgrims from the far West mingle with the many-colored Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Latins, Spanish and Polish Jews, and crowd to suffocation the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. How much more grand and dazzling must this cosmopolitan spectacle have been when the priests (whose number Josephus estimates at 20,000) with the broidered tunic, the fine linen girdle, the showy turban, the high priests with the ephod of blue and purple and scarlet, the breastplate and the mitre, the Levites with their pointed caps, the Pharisees with their broad phylacteries and fringes, the Essenes in white dresses and with prophetic mien, Roman soldiers with proud bearing, Herodian courtiers in oriental pomposity, contrasted with beggars and cripples in rags, when pilgrims innumerable, Jews and proselytes from all parts of the empire, |Parthians and Medes and Elamites and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judaea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans, and Arabians,| all wearing their national costume and speaking a Babel of tongues, surged through the streets, and pressed up to Mount Moriah where |the glorious temple rear’d her pile, far off appearing like a mount of alabaster, topp’d with golden spires| and where on the fourteenth day of the first month columns of sacrificial smoke arose from tens of thousands of paschal lambs, in historical commemoration of the great deliverance from the land of bondage, and in typical prefiguration of the still greater redemption from the slavery of sin and death.

To the outside observer the Jews at that time were the most religious people on earth, and in some sense this is true. Never was a nation so ruled by the written law of God; never did a nation so carefully and scrupulously study its sacred books, and pay greater reverence to its priests and teachers. The leaders of the nation looked with horror and contempt upon the unclean, uncircumcised Gentiles, and confirmed the people in their spiritual pride and conceit. No wonder that the Romans charged the Jews with the odium generis humani.

Yet, after all, this intense religiosity was but a shadow of true religion. It was a praying corpse rather than a living body. Alas! the Christian Church in some ages and sections presents a similar sad spectacle of the deceptive form of godliness without its power. The rabbinical learning and piety bore the same relation to the living oracles of God as sophistic scholasticism to Scriptural theology, and Jesuitical casuistry to Christian ethics. The Rabbis spent all their energies in |fencing| the law so as to make it inaccessible. They analyzed it to death. They surrounded it with so many hair-splitting distinctions and refinements that the people could not see the forest for the trees or the roof for the tiles, and mistook the shell for the kernel. Thus they made void the Word of God by the traditions of men. A slavish formalism and mechanical ritualism was substituted for spiritual piety, an ostentatious sanctimoniousness for holiness of character, scrupulous casuistry for genuine morality, the killing letter for the life-giving spirit, and the temple of God was turned into a house of merchandise.

The profanation and perversion of the spiritual into the carnal, and of the inward into the outward, invaded even the holy of holies of the religion of Israel, the Messianic promises and hopes which run like a golden thread from the protevangelium in paradise lost to the voice of John the Baptist pointing to the Lamb of God. The idea of a spiritual Messiah who should crush the serpent’s head and redeem Israel from the bondage of sin, was changed into the conception of a political deliverer who should re-establish the throne of David in Jerusalem, and from that centre rule over the Gentiles to the ends of the earth. The Jews of that time could not separate David’s Son, as they called the Messiah, from David’s sword, sceptre and crown. Even the apostles were affected by this false notion, and hoped to secure the chief places of honor in that great revolution; hence they could not understand the Master when he spoke to them of his, approaching passion and death.

The state of public opinion concerning the Messianic expectations as set forth in the Gospels is fully confirmed by the preceding and contemporary Jewish literature, as the Sibylline Books (about b.c.140), the remarkable Book of Enoch (of uncertain date, probably from b.c.130-30), the Psalter of Solomon (b.c.63-48), the Assumption of Moses, Philo and Josephus, the Apocalypse of Baruch, and the Fourth Book of Esdras. In all of them the Messianic kingdom, or the kingdom of God, is represented as an earthly paradise of the Jews, as a kingdom of this world, with Jerusalem for its capital. It was this popular idol of a pseudo-Messiah with which Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, when he showed him all the kingdoms of the world; well knowing that if he could convert him to this carnal creed, and induce him to abuse his miraculous power for selfish gratification, vain ostentation, and secular ambition, he would most effectually defeat the scheme of redemption. The same political aspiration was a powerful lever of the rebellion against the Roman yoke which terminated in the destruction of Jerusalem, and it revived again in the rebellion of Bar-Cocheba only to end in a similar disaster.

Such was the Jewish religion at the time of Christ. He was the only teacher in Israel who saw through the hypocritical mask to the rotten heart. None of the great Rabbis, no Hillel, no Shammai, no Gamaliel attempted or even conceived of a reformation; on the contrary, they heaped tradition upon tradition and accumulated the talmudic rubbish of twelve large folios and 2947 leaves, which represents the anti-Christian petrifaction of Judaism; while the four Gospels have regenerated humanity and are the life and the light of the civilized world to this day.

Jesus, while moving within the outward forms of the Jewish religion of his age, was far above it and revealed a new world of ideas. He, too, honored the law of God, but by unfolding its deepest spiritual meaning and fulfilling it in precept and example. Himself a Rabbi, he taught as one having direct authority from God, and not as the scribes. How he arraigned those hypocrites seated on Moses’ seat, those blind leaders of the blind, who lay heavy burdens on men’s shoulders without touching them with their finger; who shut the kingdom of heaven against men, and will not enter themselves; who tithe the mint and the anise and the cumin, and leave undone the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel; who are like unto whited sepulchres which outwardly appear beautiful indeed, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. But while he thus stung the pride of the leaders, he cheered and elevated the humble and lowly. He blessed little children, he encouraged the poor, he invited the weary, he fed the hungry he healed the sick, he converted publicans and sinners, and laid the foundation strong and deep, in God’s eternal love, for a new society and a new humanity. It was one of the sublimest as well as loveliest moments in the life of Jesus when the disciples asked him, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? and when he called a little child, set him in the midst of them and said, |Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.| And that other moment when he thanked his heavenly Father for revealing unto babes the things of the kingdom which were hid from the wise, and invited all that labor and are heavy laden to come to him for rest.

He knew from the beginning that he was the Messiah of God and the King of Israel. This consciousness reached its maturity at his baptism when he received the Holy Spirit without measure. To this conviction he clung unwaveringly, even in those dark hours of the apparent failure of his cause, after Judas had betrayed him, after Peter, the confessor and rock-apostle, had denied him, and everybody had forsaken him. He solemnly affirmed his Messiahship before the tribunal of the Jewish highpriest; he assured the heathen representative of the Roman empire that he was a king, though not of this world, and when hanging on the cross he assigned to the dying robber a place in his kingdom. But before that time and in the days of his greatest popularity he carefully avoided every publication and demonstration which might have encouraged the prevailing idea of a political Messiah and an uprising of the people. He chose for himself the humblest of the Messianic titles which represents his condescension to our common lot, while at the same time it implies his unique position as the representative head of the human family, as the ideal, the perfect, the universal, the archetypal Man. He calls himself habitually |the Son of Man| who |hath not where to lay his head,| who |came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many,| who |hath power to forgive sins,| who |came to seek and to save that which was lost.| When Peter made the great confession at Caesarea Philippi, Christ accepted it, but immediately warned him of his approaching passion and death, from which the disciple shrunk in dismay. And with the certain expectation of his crucifixion, but also of his triumphant resurrection on the third day, he entered in calm and sublime fortitude on his last journey to Jerusalem which |killeth the prophets,| and nailed him to the cross as a false Messiah and blasphemer. But in the infinite wisdom and mercy of God the greatest crime in history was turned into the greatest blessing to mankind.

We must conclude then that the life and work of Christ, while admirably adapted to the condition and wants of his age and people, and receiving illustration and confirmation from his environment, cannot be explained from any contemporary or preceding intellectual or moral resources. He learned nothing from human teachers. His wisdom was not of this world. He needed no visions and revelations like the prophets and apostles. He came directly from his great Father in heaven, and when he spoke of heaven he spoke of his familiar home. He spoke from the fullness of God dwelling in him. And his words were verified by deeds. Example is stronger than precept. The wisest sayings remain powerless until they are incarnate in a living person. It is the life which is the light of men. In purity of doctrine and holiness of character combined in perfect harmony, Jesus stands alone, unapproached and unapproachable. He breathed a fresh life from heaven into his and all subsequent ages. He is the author of a new moral creation.

Jesus and Hillel. — The infinite elevation of Christ above the men of his time and nation, and his deadly conflict with the Pharisees and scribes are so evident that it seems preposterous and absurd to draw a parallel between him and Hillel or any other Rabbi. And yet this has been done by some modern Jewish Rabbis, as Geiger, Grätz, Friedlander, who boldly affirm, without a shadow of historical proof, that Jesus was a Pharisee, a pupil of Hillel, and indebted to him for his highest moral principles. By this left-handed compliment they mean to depreciate his originality. Abraham Geiger (d.1874) says, in his Das Judenthum und seine Geschichte (Breslau, 2d ed.1865, vol. I. p.117): |Jesus war ein Jude, ein pharisäischer Jude mit galiläischer Färbung, ein Mann der die Hofnungen der Zeit theilte und diese Hoffnungen in sich erfüllt glaubte. Einen neuen Gedanken sprach er keineswegs aus [!], auch brach er nicht etwa die Schranken der Nationalität …. Er hob nicht im Entferntesten etwas vom Judenthum auf; er war ein Pharisäer, der auch in den Wegen Hillels ging.| This view is repeated by Rabbi Dr. M. H. Friedlander, in his Geschichtsbilder aus der Zeit der Tanaite n und Amoräer. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Talmuds (Brünn, 1879, p.32): |Jesus, oder Jeschu, war der Sohn eines Zimmermeisters, Namens Josef, aus Nazareth. Seine Mutter hiess Mirjam oder Maria. Selbst der als conservativer Katholik [sic!] wie als bedeutender Gelehrter bekannte Ewald nennt ihn ‘Jesus den Sohn Josef’,…. Wenn auch Jesus’ Gelehrsamkeit nicht riesig war, da die Galiläer auf keiner hohen Stufe der Cultur standen, so zeichnete er sich doch durch Seelenadel, Gemüthlichkeit und Herzensgü te vortheilhaft aus. Hillel I. scheint sein Vorbild und Musterbild gewesen zu sein; denn der hillelianische Grundsatz: ‘Was dir nicht recht ist, füge, deinen Nebenmenschen nicht zu,’ war das Grundprincip seiner Lehren.|Renan makes a similar assertion in his Vie de Jésus (Chap. III. p.35), but with considerable qualifications: |Par sa pauvreté humblement supportée, par la douceur de son caractère, par l’opposition qu’il faisait aux hypocrites et aux prêtres, Hillel fut le vrai maître de Jésus, s’il est permis de parler de maître, quand il s’agit d’une si haute originalité.| This comparison has been effectually disposed of by such able scholars as Dr. Delitzsch, in his valuable pamphlet Jesus und Hillel (Erlangen, 3d revised ed.1879, 40 pp.); Ewald, V.12-48 (Die Schule Hillel’s und deren Geqner); Keim I.268-272; Schürer, p.456; and Farrar, Life of Christ, II.453-460. All these writers come to the same conclusion of the perfect independence and originality of Jesus. Nevertheless it is interesting to examine the facts in the case.

Hillel and Shammai are the most distinguished among the Jewish Rabbis. They were contemporary founders of two rival schools of rabbinical theology (as Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus of two schools of scholastic theology). It is strange that Josephus does not mention them, unless he refers to them under the Hellenized names of Sameas and Pollion; but these names agree better with Shemaja and Abtalion, two celebrated Pharisees and teachers of Hillel and Shammai; moreover he designates Sameas as a disciple of Pollion. (See Ewald, v.22-26; Schürer, p.455). The Talmudic tradition has obscured their history and embellished it with many fables.

Hillel I. or the Great was a descendant of the royal family of David, and born at Babylon. He removed to Jerusalem in great poverty, and died about a.d.10. He is said to have lived 120 years, like Moses, 40 years without learning, 40 years as a student, 40 years as a teacher. He was the grandfather of the wise Gamaliel in whose family the presidency of the Sanhedrin was hereditary for several generations. By his burning zeal for knowledge, and his pure, gentle and amiable character, he attained the highest renown. He is said to have understood all languages, even the unknown tongues of mountains, hills, valleys, trees, wild and tame beasts, and demons. He was called |the gentle, the holy, the scholar of Ezra.| There was a proverb: |Man should be always as meek as Hillel, and not quick-tempered as Shammai.| He differed from Rabbi Shammai by a milder interpretation of the law, but on some points, as the mighty question whether it was right or wrong to eat an egg laid on a Sabbath day, he took the more rigid view. A talmudic tract is called Beza, The Egg, after this famous dispute. What a distance from him who said: |The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: so then the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.|

Many wise sayings, though partly obscure and of doubtful interpretation, are attributed to Hillel in the tract Pirke Aboth (which is embodied in the Mishna and enumerates, in ch.1, the pillars of the legal traditions from Moses down to the destruction of Jerusalem). The following are the best:

|Be a disciple of Aaron, peace-loving and peace-making; love men, and draw them to the law.|

|Whoever abuses a good name (or, is ambitious of aggrandizing his name) destroys it.|

|Whoever does not increase his knowledge diminishes it.|

|Separate not thyself from the congregation, and have no confidence in thyself till the day of thy death.|

|If I do not care for my soul, who will do it for me? If I care only for my own soul, what am I? If not now, when then?|

|Judge not thy neighbor till thou art in his situation.|

|Say not, I will repent when I have leisure, lest that leisure should never be thine.|

|The passionate man will never be a teacher.|

|In the place where there is not a man, be thou a man.|

Yet his haughty Pharisaism is clearly seen in this utterance: |No uneducated man easily avoids sin; no common person is pious.| The enemies of Christ in the Sanhedrin said the same (John 7:49): |This multitude that knoweth not the law are accursed.| Some of his teachings are of doubtful morality, e.g. his decision that, in view of a vague expression in Deut.24:1, a man might put away his wife |even if she cooked his dinner badly.| This is, however, softened down by modern Rabbis so as to mean: |if she brings discredit on his home.|

Once a heathen came to Rabbi Shammai and promised to become a proselyte if he could teach him the whole law while he stood on one leg. Shammai got angry and drove him away with a stick. The heathen went with the same request to Rabbi Hillel, who never lost his temper, received him courteously and gave him, while standing on one leg, the following effective answer:

Do not to thy neighbor what is disagreeable to thee. This is the whole Law; all the rest is commentary: go and do that.| (See Delitzsch, p.17; Ewald, V.31, Comp. IV.270).

This is the wisest word of Hillel and the chief ground of a comparison with Jesus. But

1. It is only the negative expression of the positive precept of the gospel, |Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,| and of the golden rule, |All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, even so do ye also to them|(Matt.7:12; Luke 6:31). There is a great difference between not doing any harm, and doing good. The former is consistent with selfishness and every sin which does not injure our neighbor. The Saviour, by presenting God’s benevolence (Matt.7:11) as the guide of duty, directs us to do to our neighbor all the good we can, and he himself set the highest example of self-denying love by sacrificing his life for sinners.

2. It is disconnected from the greater law of supreme love to God, without which true love to our neighbor is impossible. |On these two commandments,| combined and inseparable, hang all the law and the prophets| (Matt.22:37-40).

3. Similar sayings are found long before Hillel, not only in the Pentateuch and the Book of Tobith 4:15: (ho miseis medeni poieses, |Do that to no man which thou hatest|), but substantially even among the heathen (Confucius, Buddha, Herodotus, Isocrates, Seneca, Quintilian), but always either in the negative form, or with reference to a particular case or class; e.g. Isocrates, Ad Demonic. c.4: |Be such towards your parents as thou shalt pray thy children shall be towards thyself;| and the same In Aeginet. c.23: |That you would be such judges to me as you would desire to obtain for yourselves.| See Wetstein on Matt.7:12 (Nov. Test. I.341 sq.). Parallels to this and other biblical maxims have been gathered in considerable number from the Talmud and the classics by Lightfoot, Grotius, Wetstein, Deutsch, Spiess, Ramage; but what are they all compared with the Sermon on the Mount? Moreover, si duo idem dicunt, non est idem. As to the rabbinical parallels, we must remember that they were not committed to writing before the second century, and that, Delitzsch says (Ein Tag in Capernaum, p.137), |not a few sayings of Christ, circulated by Jewish Christians, reappeared anonymously or under false names in the Talmuds and Midrashim.|

4. No amount of detached words of wisdom constitute an organic system of ethics any, more than a heap of marble blocks constitute a palace or temple; and the best system of ethics is unable to produce a holy life, and is worthless without it.

We may admit without hesitation that Hillel was |the greatest and best of all Pharisees| (Ewald), but he was far inferior to John the Baptist; and to compare him with Christ is sheer blindness or folly. Ewald calls such comparison |utterly perverse| (grundverkehrt, v.48). Farrar remarks that the distance between Hillel and Jesus is |a distance absolutely immeasurable, and the resemblance of his teaching to that of Jesus is the resemblance of a glow-worm to the sun| (II.455). |The fundamental tendencies of both,| says Delitzsch (p.23), |are as widely apart as he and earth. That of Hillel is legalistic, casuistic, and nationally contracted; that of Jesus is universally religious, moral and human. Hillel lives and moves in the externals, Jesus in the spirit of the law.| He was not even a reformer, as Geiger and Friedlander would make him, for what they adduce as proofs are mere trifles of interpretation, and involve no new principle or idea.

Viewed as a mere human teacher, the absolute originality of Jesus consists in this, |that his words have touched the hearts of all men in all ages, and have regenerated the moral life of the world| (Farrar, II.454). But Jesus is far more than a Rabbi, more than a sage and saint more than a reformer, more than a benefactor; he is the author of the true religion, the prophet, priest and king, the renovator, the Saviour of men, the founder of a spiritual kingdom as vast as the race and as long as eternity.

Section 18. Apocryphal Traditions.

We add some notes of minor interest connected with the history of Christ outside of the only authentic record in the Gospel.

I. The Apocryphal Sayings of our Lord. — The canonical Gospels contain all that is necessary for us to know about the words and deeds of our Lord, although many more might have been recorded (John 20:30; 21:25). Their early composition and reception in the church precluded the possibility of a successful rivalry of oral tradition. The extra-biblical sayings of our Lord are mere fragments, few in number, and with one exception rather unimportant, or simply variations of genuine words.

They have been collected by Fabricius, in Codex Apocr. N. T., I pp.321-335; Grabe: Spicilegium SS. Patrum, ed. alt. I.12 sqq., 326 sq.; Koerner: De sermonibus Christi agraphois (Lips.1776); Routh, in Reliq. Sacrae, vol. I.9-12, etc.; Rud. Hofmann, in Das Leben Jesu nach den Apokryphen (Leipz.1851, § 75, pp.317-334); Bunsen, in Anal. ante-Nic. I.29 sqq.; Anger, in Synops. Evang. (1852); Westcott: Introd. to the Study of the Gospels, Append. C. (pp.446 sqq. of the Boston ed. by Hackett); Plumptre, in Ellicott’s Com. for English Readers, I. p. xxxiii.; J. T. Dodd: Sayings ascribed to our Lord by the Fathers (1874); E. B. Nicholson:The Gospel according to the Hebrews (Lond.1879, pp.143-162). Comp. an essay of Ewald in his |Jahrbücher der Bibl. Wissenschaft,| VI.40 and 54 sqq., and Geschichte Christus’, p.288. We avail ourselves chiefly of the collections of Hofmann, Westcott, Plumptre, and Nicholson.

(1) |It is more blessed to give than to receive.| Quoted by Paul, Acts 20:35. Comp. Luke 6:30, 31; also Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. c.2, edion didontes e lambanontes, |more gladly giving than receiving.| This is unquestionably authentic, pregnant with rich meaning, and shining out like a lone star all the more brilliantly. It is true in the highest sense of the love of God and Christ. The somewhat similar sentences of Aristotle, Seneca, and Epicurus, as quoted by Plutarch (see the passages in Wetstein on Acts 20:35), savor of aristocratic pride, and are neutralized by the opposite heathen maxim of mean selfishness: |Foolish is the giver, happy the receiver.| Shakespeare may have had the sentence in his mind when he put into the mouth of Portia the golden words:


|The quality of mercy is not strained,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown.|

(2) |And on the same day Jesus saw a man working at his craft on the Sabbath-day, and He said unto him, ‘O man, if thou knowest what thou doest, then art thou blessed; but if thou knowest not, then art thou accursed, and art a transgressor of the Law.’ | An addition to Luke 6:4, in Codex D. or Bezae (in the University library at Cambridge), which contains several remarkable additions. See Tischendorf’s apparatus in ed. VIII. Luc.6:4, and Scrivener, lntrod. to Criticism of the N. T. p.8. epikataratosis used John 7:49 (text. rec.) by the Pharisees of the people who know not the law (also Gal.3:10, 13 in quotations from the O. T.); parabates tou nomouby Paul (Rom.2:25, 27; Gal.2:18) and James (2:9, 11). Plumptre regards the narrative as authentic, and remarks that |it brings out with a marvellous force the distinction between the conscious transgression of a law recognized as still binding, and the assertion of a higher law as superseding the lower. Comp. also the remarks of Hofmann, l.c. p.318.

(3) |But ye seek (or, in the imperative, seek ye, zeteite) to increase from little, and (not) from greater to be less.| An addition in Codex D. to Matt 20:28. See Tischendorf. Comp. Luke 14:11; John 5:44. Westcott regards this as a genuine fragment. Nicholson inserts |not,| with the Curetonian Syriac, D; all other authorities omit it. Juvencus has incorporated the passage in his poetic Hist. Evang. III.613 sqq., quoted by Hofmann, p.319.

(4) |Be ye trustworthy money-changers, or, proved bankers (trapezitai dokimoi); i.e. expert in distinguishing the genuine coin from the counterfeit. Quoted by Clement of Alexandria (several times), Origen (in Joann, xix.), Eusebius, Epiphanius, Cyril of Alexandria, and many others. Comp.1 Thess.5:21: |Prove all things, hold fast the good,| and the parable of the talents, Matt.25:27. Delitzsch, who with many others regards this maxim as genuine, gives it the meaning: Exchange the less valuable for the more valuable, esteem sacred coin higher than common coin, and highest of all the one precious pearl of the gospel.(Ein Tag in Capernaum, p.136.) Renan likewise adopts it as historical, but explains it in an Ebionite and monastic sense as an advice of voluntary poverty. |Be ye good bankers (soyez de bons banquiers), that is to say: Make good investments for the kingdom of God, by giving your goods to the poor, according to the ancient proverb (Prov.19:17): ‘He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth to the Lord’ | (Vie de Jésus, ch. XI. p.180, 5th Par. ed.).

[(5) |The Son of God says,(?) ‘Let us resist all iniquity, and hold it in abhorrence.’ | From the Epistle of Barnabas, c.4. This Epistle, though incorporated in the Codex Sinaiticus, is probably not a work of the apostolic Barnabas. Westcott and Plumptre quote the passage from the Latin version, which introduces the sentence with the words: sicut dicit Filius Dei. But this seems to be a mistake for sicut decet filios Dei, |as becometh the sons of God.| This is evident from the Greek original (brought to light by the discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus), which reads, hos prepei huiois theou and connects the words with the preceding sentence. See the edition of Barnabae Epistula by Gebhardt and Harnack in Patr. Apost. Op. I.14. For the sense comp.2 Tim.2:19: apostato apo adikiasJames 4:7: anistete to diabolo, Ps.119:163: adikian emisesa.]

(6) |They who wish to see me, and to lay hold on my kingdom, must receive me with affliction and suffering.| From the Epistle of Barnabas, c.7, where the words are introduced by |Thus he [Jesus] saith,| phesin But it is doubtful whether they are meant as a quotation or rather as a conclusion of the former remarks and a general reminiscence of several passages. Comp. Matt.16:24; 20:3; Acts 14:22: |We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.|

(7) |He that wonders [ho thaumasaswith the wonder of reverential faith] shall reign, and he that reigns shall be made to rest.| From the |Gospel of the Hebrews,| quoted by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II.9, § 45). The Alexandrian divine quotes this and the following sentence to show, as Plumptre finely says, |that in the teaching of Christ, as in that of Plato, wonder is at once the beginning and the end of knowledge.|

(8) |Look with wonder at the things that are before thee (thaumason ta paronta).| From Clement of Alexandria (Strom. II.9, § 45.).

(9) |I came to abolish sacrifices, and unless ye cease from sacrificing, the wrath [of God] will not cease from you.| From the Gospel of the Ebionites (or rather Essaean Judaizers), quoted by Epiphanius (Haer. xxx.16). Comp. Matt.9:13, |I will have mercy and not sacrifice.|

(10) |Ask great things, and the small shall be added to you: ask heavenly and there shall be added unto you earthly things.| Quoted by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. I.24, § 154; comp. IV.6, § 34) and Origen (de Oratione, c.2), with slight differences. Comp. Matt.6:33, of which it is probably a free quotation from memory. Ambrose also quotes the sentence (Ep. xxxvi.3): |Denique scriptum est: ‘Petite magna, et parva adjicientur vobis. Petite coelestia, et terrena adjicientur.’|

(11) |In the things wherein I find you, in them will I judge you.| Quoted by Justin Martyr (Dial. c. Tryph. c.47), and Clement of Alexandria (Quis dives, § 40). Somewhat different Nilus: |Such as I find thee, I will judge thee, saith the Lord.| The parallel passages in Ezekiel 7:3, 8; 18:30; 24:14; 33:20 are not sufficient to account for this sentence. It is probably taken from an apocryphal Gospel. See Hofmann, p.323.

(12) |He who is nigh unto me is nigh unto the fire: he who is far from me is far from the kingdom. From Origen (Comm. in Jer. III. p.778), and Didymus of Alexandria (in Ps.88:8). Comp, Luke 12:49. Ignatius (Ad Smyrn. c.4) has a similar saying, but not as a quotation, |To be near the sword is to be near God| (engus machairas engus theou).

(13) |If ye kept not that which is little, who will give you that which is great? For I say unto you, he that is faithful in the least is faithful also in much.| From the homily of Pseudo-Clement of Rome (ch.8). Comp. Luke 16:10-12 and Matt.25:21, 23. Irenaeus (II.34, 3) quotes similarly, probably from memory: |Si in modico fideles non fuistis, quod magnum est quis dabit nobis?|

(14) |Keep the flesh pure, and the seal [probably baptism] without stain that we (ye) may receive eternal life.| From Pseudo-Clement, ch.8. But as this is connected with the former sentence by ara oun touto legei, it seems to be only an explanation (|he means this|) not a separate quotation. See Lightfoot, St. Clement of Rome, pp.200 and 201, and his Appendix containing the newly recovered Portions, p.384:. On the sense comp.2 Tim.2:19; Rom.4:11; Eph.1:13; 4:30.

(15) Our Lord, being asked by Salome when His kingdom should come, and the things which he had spoken be accomplished, answered, |When the two shall be one, and the outward as the inward, and the male with the female, neither male nor female.| From Clement of Alexandria, as a quotation from |the Gospel according to the Egyptians| (Strom.III.13, § 92), and the homily of Pseudo-Clement of Rome (ch.12). Comp. Matt.22:30; Gal.3:28; 1 Cor.7:29. The sentence has a mystical coloring which is alien to the genuine Gospels, but suited the Gnostic taste.

(16) |For those that are infirm was I infirm, and for those that hunger did I hunger, and for those that thirst did I thirst.| From Origen (in Matt. xiii.2). Comp. Matt.25:35, 36; 1 Cor.9:20-22.

(17) |Never be ye joyful, except when ye have seen your brother [dwelling] in love.| Quoted from the Hebrew Gospel by Jerome (in Eph. v.3).

(18) |Take hold, handle me, and see that I am not a bodiless demon [i.e. spirit].| From Ignatius (Ad Symrn. c.3), and Jerome, who quotes it from the Nazarene Gospel (De Viris illustr.16). Words said to have been spoken to Peter and the apostles after the resurrection. Comp. Luke 24:39; John 20:27.

(19) |Good must needs come, but blessed is he through whom it cometh; in like manner evil must needs come, but woe to him through whom it cometh.| From the |Clementine Homilies,| xii.29. For the second clause comp. Matt.18:7; Luke 17:1.

(20) |My mystery is for me, and for the sons of my house.| From Clement of Alexandria (Strom. V.10, § 64), the Clementine Homilies (xix.20), and Alexander of Alexandria (Ep. ad Alex. c.5, where the words are ascribed to the Father). Comp. Isa.24:16 (Sept.); Matt.13:11; Mark 4:11.

(21) |If you do not make your low things high and your crooked things straight ye shall not enter into my kingdom.| From the Acta Philippi in Tischendorf’s Acta Apost. Apocr. p.90, quoted by Ewald, Gesch. Christus, p.288, who calls these words a weak echo of more excellent sayings.

(22) |I will choose these things to myself. Very excellent are those whom my Father that is in heaven hath given to me.| From the Hebrew Gospel, quoted by Eusebius (Theophan. iv.13).

(23) |The Lord said, speaking of His kingdom, ‘The days will come in which vines will spring up, each having ten thousand stocks, and on each stock ten thousand branches, and on each branch ten thousand shoots, and on each shoot ten thousand bunches, and on each bunch ten thousand grapes, and each grape when pressed shall give five-and-twenty measures of wine. And when any saint shall have laid hold on one bunch, another shall cry, I am a better bunch, take me; through me bless the Lord.’ Likewise also [he said], ‘that a grain of wheat shall produce ten thousand ears of corn, and each grain ten pounds of fine pure flour; and so all other fruits and seeds and each herb according to its proper nature. And that all animals, using for food what is received from the earth, shall live in peace and concord with one another, subject to men with all subjection.’ | To this description Papias adds: |These things are credible to those who believe. And when Judas the traitor believed not and asked, ‘How shall such products come from the Lord?’ the Lord said, ‘They shall see who come to me in these times.’ | From the |weak-minded| Papias (quoted by Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. V.33, 3). Comp. Isa.11:6-9.

This is a strongly figurative description of the millennium. Westcott thinks it is based on a real discourse, but to me it sounds fabulous, and borrowed from the Apocalypse of Baruch which has a similar passage (cap.29, first published in Monumenta Sacra et Profana opera collegii Doctorum Bibliothecae Ambrosianae, Tom. I. Fasc. II. Mediol.1866, p.80, and then in Fritzsche’s ed. of Libri Apocryphi Veteris Test. Lips.1871, p.666): |Etiam terra dabit fructus suos unum in decem millia, et in vite una erunt Mille palmites, et unus palmes faciet mille botros, et botrus unus faciet mille acinos, et unus acinus faciet corum vini. Et qui esurierunt jucundabuntur, iterum autem videbunt prodigia quotidie …. Et erit in illo tempore, descendet iterum desuper thesaurus manna, et comedent ex eo in istis annis.|

Westcott quotes eleven other apocryphal sayings which are only loose quotations or perversions of genuine words of Christ, and may therefore be omitted. Nicholson has gathered the probable or possible fragments of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which correspond more or less to passages in the canonical Gospels.

Mohammedan tradition has preserved in the Koran and in other writings several striking words of Christ, which Hofmann, l.c. pp.327-329, has collected. The following is the best:

|Jesus, the Son of Mary, said, ‘He who longs to be rich is like a man who drinks sea-water; the more he drinks the more thirsty he becomes, and never leaves off drinking till he perishes.|

II. Personal Appearance of Jesus. None of the Evangelists, not even the beloved disciple and bosom-friend of Jesus, gives us the least hint of his countenance and stature, or of his voice, his manner, his food, his dress, his mode of daily life. In this respect our instincts of natural affection have been wisely overruled. He who is the Saviour of all and the perfect exemplar for all should not be identified with the particular lineaments of one race or nationality or type of beauty. We should cling to the Christ in spirit and in glory rather than to the Christ in the flesh So St. Paul thought (2 Cor.5:16; Comp.1 Pet.1:8). Though unseen, he is loved beyond all human beings.


I see Thee not, I hear Thee not,

Yet art Thou oft with me;

And earth hath ne’er so dear a spot,

As when I meet with Thee.|

Jesus no doubt accommodated himself in dress and general appearance to the customs of his age and people, and avoided all ostentation. He probably passed unnoticed through busy crowds. But to the closer observer he must have revealed a spiritual beauty and an overawing majesty in his countenance and personal bearing. This helps to explain the readiness with which the disciples, forsaking all things, followed him in boundless reverence and devotion. He had not the physiognomy of a sinner. He had more than the physiognomy of a saint. He reflected from his eyes and countenance the serene peace and celestial purity of a sinless soul in blessed harmony with God. His presence commanded reverence, confidence and affection.

In the absence of authentic representation, Christian art in its irrepressible desire to exhibit in visible form the fairest among the children of men, was left to its own imperfect conception of ideal beauty. The church under persecution in the first three centuries, was averse to pictorial representations of Christ, and associated with him in his state of humiliation (but not in his state of exaltation) the idea of uncomeliness, taking too literally the prophetic description of the suffering Messiah in the twenty-second Psalm and the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. The victorious church after Constantine, starting from the Messianic picture in the forty-fifth Psalm and the Song of Solomon, saw the same Lord in heavenly glory, |fairer than the children of men| and |altogether lovely.| Yet the difference was not so great as it is sometimes represented. For even the ante-Nicene fathers (especially Clement of Alexandria), besides expressly distinguishing between the first appearance of Christ in lowliness and humility, and his second appearance in glory and, majesty, did not mean to deny to the Saviour even in the days of his flesh a higher order of spiritual beauty, |the glory of the only-begotten of the Father full of grace and truth,| which shone through the veil of his humanity, and which at times, as on the mount of transfiguration, anticipated his future glory. |Certainly,| says Jerome, |a flame of fire and starry brightness flashed from his eye, and the majesty of the God head shone in his face.|

The earliest pictures of Christ, in the Catacombs, are purely symbolic, and represent him under the figures of the Lamb, the good Shepherd, the Fish. The last has reference to the Greek word Ichthys, which contains the initials of the words Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter. |Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.| Real pictures of Christ in the early church would have been an offence to the Jewish, and a temptation and snare to the heathen converts.

The first formal description of the personal appearance of Christ, which, though not authentic and certainly not older than the fourth century, exerted great influence on the pictorial representations, is ascribed to the heathen Publius Lentulus, a supposed contemporary of Pilate and |President of the people of Jerusalem| (there was no such office), in an apocryphal Latin letter to the Roman Senate, which was first discovered in a MS. copy of the writings of Anselm of Canterbury in the twelfth century, and published with slight variations by, Fabricius, Carpzov, Gabler, etc. It is as follows:

|In this time appeared a man, who lives till now, a man endowed with great powers. Men call him a great prophet; his own disciples term Him the Son of God. His name is Jesus Christ. He restores the dead to life, and cures the sick of all manner of diseases. This man is of noble and well-proportioned stature, with a face full of kindness and yet firmness, so that the beholders both love Him and fear Him. His hair is of the color of wine, and golden at the root; straight, and without lustre, but from the level of the ears curling and glossy, and divided down the centre after the fashion of the Nazarenes [Nazarites?]. His forehead is even and smooth, his face without wrinkle or blemish, and glowing with delicate bloom. His countenance is frank and kind. Nose and mouth are in no way faulty. His beard is full, of the same hazel color as his hair, not long, but forked. His eyes are blue, and extremely brilliant. In reproof and rebuke he is formidable; in exhortation and teaching, gentle and amiable. He has never been seen to laugh, but oftentimes to weep, (numquam visus est ridere, flere autem saepe). His person is tall and erect; his hands and limbs beautiful and straight. In speaking he is deliberate and grave, and little given to loquacity. In beauty he surpasses the children of men.|

Another description is found in the works of the Greek theologian, John of Damascus, of the 8th century (Epist. ad Theoph. Imp. de venerandis Imag., spurious), and a similar one in the Church History of Nicephorus (I.40), of the 14th century. They represent Christ as resembling his mother, and ascribe to him a stately person though slightly stooping, beautiful eyes, blond, long, and curly hair, pale, olive complexion, long fingers, and a look expressive of nobility, wisdom, and patience.

On the ground of these descriptions, and of the Abgar and the Veronica legends, arose a vast number of pictures of Christ, which are divided into two classes: the Salvator pictures, with the expression of calm serenity and dignity, without the faintest mark of grief, and the Ecce Homo pictures of the suffering Saviour with the crown of thorns. The greatest painters and sculptors have exhausted the resources of their genius in representations of Christ; but neither color nor chisel nor pen can do more than produce a feeble reflection of the beauty and glory of Him who is the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Among modern biographers of Christ, Dr. Sepp (Rom. Cath., Das Leben Jesu Christi, 1865, vol. VI.312 sqq.) defends the legend of St. Veronica of the Herodian family, and the genuineness of the picture, of the suffering Saviour with the crown of thorns which he impressed on her silken veil. He rejects the philological explanation of the legend from |the true image| (vera eikon= Veronica), and derives the name from pherenike (Berenice), the Victorious. But Bishop Hefele (Art. Christusbilder, in the Cath. Kirchen-Lexikon of Wetzer and Welte, II.519-524) is inclined, with Grimm, to identify Veronica with the Berenice who is said to have erected a statue to Christ at Caesarea Philippi (Euseb. VII.18), and to see in the Veronica legend only the Latin version of the Abgar legend of the Greek Church. Dr. Hase (Leben Jesu, p.79) ascribes to Christ manly beauty, firm health, and delicate, yet not very characteristic features. He quotes John 20:14 and Luke 24:16, where it is said that his friends did not recognize him, but these passages refer only to the mysterious appearances of the risen Lord. Renan (Vie de Jésus, ch. X-XIV. p.403) describes him in the frivolous style of a novelist, as a doux Galilèen, of calm and dignified attitude, as a beau jeune hommewho made a deep impression upon women, especially Mary of Magdala; even a proud Roman lady, the wife of Pontius Pilate, when she caught a glimpse of him from the window (?), was enchanted, dreamed of him in the night and was frightened at the prospect of his death. Dr. Keim (I.463) infers from his character, as described in the Synoptical Gospels, that he was perhaps not strikingly handsome, yet certainly noble, lovely, manly, healthy and vigorous, looking like a prophet, commanding reverence, making men, women, children, sick and poor people feel happy in his presence. Canon Farrar (I.150) adopts the view of Jerome and Augustine, and speaks of Christ as |full of mingled majesty and tenderness in —


‘That face

How beautiful, if sorrow had not made

Sorrow more beautiful than beauty’s self.’ |

On artistic representations of Christ see J. B. Carpzov: De oris et corpor is J. Christi forma Pseudo-Lentuli, J. Damasceni et Nicephori proso – pographiae. Helmst.1777. P. E. Jablonski: De origine imaginum Christi Domini. Lugd. Batav.1804. W. Grimm: Die Sage vom Ursprung der Christusbilder. Berlin, 1843. Dr. Legis Glückselig: Christus-Archäologie; Das Buch von Jesus Christus und seinem wahren Ebenbilde. Prag, 1863 4to. Mrs. Jameson and Lady Eastlake: The History of our Lord as exemplified in Works of Art (with illustrations). Lond., 2d ed.1865 2 vols. Cowper: Apocr. Gospels. Lond.1867, pp.217-226. Hase: Leben Jesu, pp.76-80 (5th ed.), Keim: Gesch. Jesu von Naz. I.459-464. Farrar: Life of Christ. Lond.1874, I.148-150, 312-313; II.464.

III. The Testimony of Josephus on John the Baptist. Antiq. Jud. xviii. c.5, § 2. Whatever may be thought of the more famous passage of Christ which we have discussed in § 14 (p.92), the passage on John is undoubtedly genuine and so accepted by most scholars. It fully and independently confirms the account of the Gospels on John’s work and martyrdom, and furnishes, indirectly, an argument in favor of the historical character of their account of Christ, for whom he merely prepared the way. We give it in Whiston’s translation: |Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, who was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man (agathon andra), and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body: supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise), thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Machaerus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God’s displeasure to him.|

IV. The Testimony of Mara to Christ, a.d.74. This extra-biblical notice of Christ, made known first in 1865, and referred to above § 14 p.94) reads as follows (as translated from the Syriac by Cureton and Pratten):

|What are we to say, when the wise are dragged by force by hands of tyrants, and their wisdom is deprived of its freedom by slander, and they are plundered for their [superior] intelligence, without [the opportunity of making] a defence? [They are not wholly to be pitied.] For what benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death, seeing that they received as retribution for it famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, seeing that in one hour the whole of their country was covered with sand? Or The Jews [by the murder] of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away [from them]? For with justice did God grant a recompense to the wisdom of [all] three of them. For the Athenians died by famine; and the people of Samos were covered by the sea without remedy; and the Jews, brought to destruction and expelled from their kingdom, are driven away into every land. [Nay], Socrates did not die, because of Plato; nor yet Pythagoras, because of the statue of Hera; nor yet The Wise King, because of the new laws he enacted.

The nationality and position of Mara are unknown. Dr. Payne Smith supposes him to have been a Persian. He wrote from prison and wished to die, |by what kind of death concerns me not.| In the beginning of his letter Mara says: |On this account, lo, I have written for thee this record, [touching] that which I have by careful observation discovered in the world. For the kind of life men lead has been carefully observed by me. I tread the path of learning, and from the study of Greek philosophy have I found out all these things, although they suffered shipwreck when the birth of life took place.| The birth of life may refer to the appearance of Christianity in the world, or to Mara’s own conversion. But there is no other indication that he was a Christian. The advice he gives to his son is simply to |devote himself to wisdom, the fount of all things good, the treasure that fails not.|

Section 19. The Resurrection of Christ.

The resurrection of Christ from the dead is reported by the four Gospels, taught in the Epistles, believed throughout Christendom, and celebrated on every |Lord’s Day,| as an historical fact, as the crowning miracle and divine seal of his whole work, as the foundation of the hopes of believers, as the pledge of their own future resurrection. It is represented in the New Testament both as an act of the Almighty Father who raised his Son from the dead, and as an act of Christ himself, who had the power to lay down his life and to take it again. The ascension was the proper conclusion of the resurrection: the risen life of our Lord, who is |the Resurrection and the Life,| could not end in another death on earth, but must continue in eternal glory in heaven. Hence St. Paul says, |Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death no more hath dominion over him. For the death that he died he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God.|

The Christian church rests on the resurrection of its Founder. Without this fact the church could never have been born, or if born, it would soon have died a natural death. The miracle of the resurrection and the existence of Christianity are so closely connected that they must stand or fall together. If Christ was raised from the dead, then all his other miracles are sure, and our faith is impregnable; if he was not raised, he died in vain and our faith is vain. It was only his resurrection that made his death available for our atonement, justification and salvation; without the resurrection, his death would be the grave of our hopes; we should be still unredeemed and under the power of our sins. A gospel of a dead Saviour would be a contradiction and wretched delusion. This is the reasoning of St. Paul, and its force is irresistible.

The resurrection of Christ is therefore emphatically a test question upon which depends the truth or falsehood of the Christian religion. It is either the greatest miracle or the greatest delusion which history records.

Christ had predicted both his crucifixion and his resurrection, but the former was a stumbling-block to the disciples, the latter a mystery which they could not understand till after the event. They no doubt expected that he would soon establish his Messianic kingdom on earth. Hence their utter disappointment and downheartedness after the crucifixion. The treason of one of their own number, the triumph of the hierarchy, the fickleness of the people, the death and burial of the beloved Master, had in a few hours rudely blasted their Messianic hopes and exposed them to the contempt and ridicule of their enemies. For two days they were trembling on the brink of despair. But on the third day, behold, the same disciples underwent a complete revolution from despondency to hope, from timidity to courage, from doubt to faith, and began to proclaim the gospel of the resurrection in the face of an unbelieving world and at the peril of their lives. This revolution was not isolated, but general among them; it was not the result of an easy credulity, but brought about in spite of doubt and hesitation; it was not superficial and momentary, but radical and lasting; it affected, not only the apostles, but the whole history of the world. It reached even the leader of the persecution, Saul of Tarsus one of the clearest and strongest intellects, and converted him into the most devoted and faithful champion of this very gospel to the hour of his martyrdom.

This is a fact patent to every reader of the closing chapters of the Gospels, and is freely admitted even by the most advanced skeptics.

The question now rises whether this inner revolution in the, life of the disciples, with its incalculable effects upon the fortunes of mankind, can be rationally explained without a corresponding outward revolution in the history of Christ; in other words, whether the professed faith of the disciples in the risen Christ was true and real, or a hypocritical lie, or an honest self-delusion.

There are four possible theories which have been tried again and again, and defended with as much learning and ingenuity as can be summoned to their aid. Historical questions are not like mathematical problems. No argument in favor of the resurrection will avail with those critics who start with the philosophical assumption that miracles are impossible, and still less with those who deny not only the resurrection of the body, but even the immortality of the soul. But facts are stubborn, and if a critical hypothesis can be proven to be psychologically and historically impossible and unreasonable, the result is fatal to the philosophy which underlies the critical hypothesis. It is not the business of the historian to construct a history from preconceived notions and to adjust it to his own liking, but to reproduce it from the best evidence and to let it speak for itself.

1. The Historical view, presented by the Gospels and believed in the Christian church of every denomination and sect. The resurrection of Christ was an actual though miraculous event, in harmony with his previous history and character, and in fulfilment of his own prediction. It was a re-animation of the dead body of Jesus by a return of his soul from the spirit-world, and a rising of body and soul from the grave to a new life, which after repeated manifestations to believers during a short period of forty days entered into glory by the ascension to heaven. The object of the manifestations was not only to convince the apostles personally of the resurrection, but to make them witnesses of the resurrection and heralds of salvation to all the world.

Truth compels us to admit that there are serious difficulties in harmonizing the accounts of the evangelists, and in forming a consistent conception of the nature of Christ’s, resurrection-body, hovering as it were between heaven and earth, and oscillating for forty days between a natural and a supernatural state of the body clothed with flesh and blood and bearing the wound-prints, and yet so spiritual as to appear and disappear through closed doors and to ascend visibly to heaven. But these difficulties are not so great as those which are created by a denial of the fact itself. The former can be measurably solved, the latter cannot. We, do not know all the details and circumstances which might enable us to clearly trace the order of events. But among all the variations the great central fact of the resurrection itself and its principal features |stand out all the more sure.| The period of the forty days is in the nature of the case the most mysterious in the life of Christ, and transcends all ordinary Christian experience. The Christophanies resemble in some respect, the theophanies of the Old Testament, which were granted only to few believers, yet for the general benefit. At all events the fact of the resurrection furnishes the only key for the solution of the psychological problem of the sudden, radical, and permanent change in the mind and conduct of the disciples; it is the necessary link in the chain which connects their history before and after that event. Their faith in the resurrection was too clear, too strong, too steady, too effective to be explained in any other way. They showed the strength and boldness of their conviction by soon returning to Jerusalem, the post of danger, and founding there, in the very face of the hostile Sanhedrin, the mother-church of Christendom.

2. The Theory of Fraud. The apostles stole and hid the body of Jesus, and deceived the world.

This infamous lie carries its refutation on its face: for if the Roman soldiers who watched the grave at the express request of the priests and Pharisees, were asleep, they could not see the thieves, nor would they have proclaimed their military crime; if they, or only some of them, were awake, they would have prevented the theft. As to the, disciples, they were too timid and desponding at the time to venture on such a daring act, and too honest to cheat the world. And finally a self-invented falsehood could not give them the courage and constancy of faith for the proclamation of the resurrection at the peril of their lives. The whole theory is a wicked absurdity, an insult to the common sense and honor of mankind.

3. The Swoon-Theory. The physical life of Jesus was not extinct, but only exhausted, and was restored by the tender care of his friends and disciples, or (as some absurdly add) by his own medical skill; and after a brief period he quietly died a natural death.

Josephus, Valerius Maximus, psychological and medical authorities have been searched and appealed to for examples of such apparent resurrections from a trance or asphyxy, especially on the third day, which is supposed to be a critical turning-point for life or putrefaction.

But besides insuperable physical difficulties — as the wounds and loss of blood from the very heart pierced by the spear of the Roman soldier — this theory utterly fails to account for the moral effect. A brief sickly existence of Jesus in need of medical care, and terminating in his natural death and final burial, without even the glory of martyrdom which attended the crucifixion, far from restoring the faith of the apostles, would have only in the end deepened their gloom and driven them to utter despair.

4. The Vision-Theory. Christ rose merely in the imagination of his friends, who mistook a subjective vision or dream for actual reality, and were thereby encouraged to proclaim their faith in the resurrection at the risk of death. Their wish was father to the belief, their belief was father to the fact, and the belief, once started, spread with the power of a religious epidemic from person to person and from place to place. The Christian society wrought the miracle by its intense love for Christ. Accordingly the resurrection does not belong to the history of Christ at all, but to the inner life of his disciples. It is merely the embodiment of their reviving faith.

This hypothesis was invented by a heathen adversary in the second century and soon buried out of sight, but rose to new life in the nineteenth, and spread with epidemical rapidity among skeptical critics in Germany, France, Holland and England.

The advocates of this hypothesis appeal first and chiefly to the vision of St. Paul on the way to Damascus, which occurred several years later, and is nevertheless put on a level with the former appearances to the older apostles (1 Cor.15:8); next to supposed analogies in the history of religious enthusiasm and mysticism, such as the individual visions of St. Francis of Assisi, the Maid of Orleans, St. Theresa (who believed that she had seen Jesus in person with the eyes of the soul more distinctly than she could have seen him with the eyes of the body), Swedenborg, even Mohammed, and the collective visions of the Montanists in Asia Minor, the Camisards in France, the spectral resurrections of the martyred Thomas à Becket of Canterbury and Savonarola of Florence in the excited imagination of their admirers, and the apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin at Lourdes.

Nobody will deny that subjective fancies and impressions are often mistaken for objective realities. But, with the exception of the case of St. Paul — which we shall consider in its proper place, and which turns out to be, even according to the admission of the leaders of skeptical criticism, a powerful argument against the mythical or visionary theory — these supposed analogies are entirely irrelevant; for, not to speak of other differences, they were isolated and passing phenomena which left no mark on history; while the faith in the resurrection of Christ has revolutionized the whole world. It must therefore be treated on its own merits as an altogether unique case.

(a) The first insuperable argument against the visionary nature, and in favor of the objective reality, of the resurrection is the empty tomb of Christ. If he did not rise, his body must either have been removed, or remained in the tomb. If removed by the disciples, they were guilty of a deliberate falsehood in preaching the resurrection, and then the vision-hypothesis gives way to the exploded theory of fraud. If removed by the enemies, then these enemies had the best evidence against the resurrection, and would not have failed to produce it and thus to expose the baselessness of the vision. The same is true, of course, if the body had remained in the tomb. The murderers of Christ would certainly not have missed such an opportunity to destroy the very foundation of the hated sect.

To escape this difficulty, Strauss removes the origin of the illusion away off to Galilee, whether the disciples fled; but this does not help the matter, for they returned in a few weeks to Jerusalem, where we find them all assembled on the day of Pentecost.

This argument is fatal even to the highest form of the vision hypothesis, which admits a spiritual manifestation of Christ from heaven, but denies the resurrection of his body.

(b) If Christ did not really rise, then the words which he spoke to Mary Magdalene, to the disciples of Emmaus, to doubting Thomas, to Peter on the lake of Tiberias, to all the disciples on Mount Olivet, were likewise pious fictions. But who can believe that words of such dignity and majesty, so befitting the solemn moment of the departure to the throne of glory, as the commandment to preach the gospel to every creature, to baptize the nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the promise to be with his disciples alway to the end of the world — a promise abundantly verified in the daily experience of the church — could proceed from dreamy and self-deluded enthusiasts or crazy fanatics any more than the Sermon on the Mount or the Sacerdotal Prayer! And who, with any spark of historical sense, can suppose that Jesus never instituted baptism, which has been performed in his name ever since the day of Pentecost, and which, like the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, bears testimony to him every day as the sunlight does to the sun!

(c) If the visions of the resurrection were the product of an excited imagination, it is unaccountable that they should suddenly have ceased on the fortieth day (Acts 1:15), and not have occurred to any of the disciples afterwards, with the single exception of Paul, who expressly represents his vision of Christ as |the last.| Even on the day of Pentecost Christ did not appear to them, but, according to his promise, |the other Paraclete| descended upon them; and Stephen saw Christ in heaven, not on earth.

(d) The chief objection to the vision-hypothesis is its intrinsic impossibility. It makes the most exorbitant claim upon our credulity. It requires us to believe that many persons, singly and collectively, at different times, and in different places, from Jerusalem to Damascus, had the same vision and dreamed the same dream; that the women at the open sepulchre early in the morning, Peter and John soon afterwards, the two disciples journeying to Emmaus on the afternoon of the resurrection day, the assembled apostles on the evening in the absence of Thomas, and again on the next Lord’s Day in the presence of the skeptical Thomas, seven apostles at the lake of Tiberias, on one occasion five hundred brethren at once most of whom were still alive when Paul reported the fact, then James, the brother of the Lord, who formerly did not believe in him, again all the apostles on Mount Olivet at the ascension, and at last the clearheaded, strong-minded persecutor on the way to Damascus — that all these men and women on these different occasions vainly imagined they saw and heard the self-same Jesus in bodily shape and form; and that they were by this baseless vision raised all at once from the deepest gloom in which the crucifixion of their Lord had left them, to the boldest faith and strongest hope which impelled them to proclaim the gospel of the resurrection from Jerusalem to Rome to the end of their lives! And this illusion of the early disciples created the greatest revolution not only in their own views and conduct, but among Jews and Gentiles and in the subsequent history of mankind! This illusion, we are expected to believe by these unbelievers, gave birth to the most real and most mighty of all facts, the Christian Church which has lasted these eighteen hundred years and is now spread all over the civilized world, embracing more members than ever and exercising more moral power than all the kingdoms and all other religions combined!

The vision-hypothesis, instead of getting rid of the miracle, only shifts it from fact to fiction; it makes an empty delusion more powerful than the truth, or turns all history itself at last into a delusion. Before we can reason the resurrection of Christ out of history we must reason the apostles and Christianity itself out of existence. We must either admit the miracle, or frankly confess that we stand here before an inexplicable mystery.

Remarkable Concessions. — The ablest advocates of the vision-theory are driven against their wish and will to admit some unexplained objective reality in the visions of the risen or ascended Christ.

Dr. Baur, of Tübingen (d.1860), the master-critic among sceptical church historians, and the corypheus of the Tübingen school, came at last to the conclusion (as stated in the revised edition of his Church History of the First Three Centuries, published shortly before his death, 1860) that |nothing but the miracle of the resurrection could disperse the doubts which threatened to drive faith itself into the eternal night of death (Nur das Wunder der Auferstehung konnte die Zweifel zerstreuen, welche den Glauben selbst in die ewige Nacht des Todes verstossen zu müssen schienen).|Geschichte der christlichen Kirche, I.39. It is true he adds that the nature of the resurrection itself lies outside of historical investigation (|Was die Auferstehung an sich ist, liegt ausserhalb des Kreises der geschichtlichen Untersuchung|), but also, that |for the faith of the disciples the resurrection of Jesus became the most solid and most irrefutable certainty. In this faith only Christianity gained a firm foothold of its historical development. (In diesem Glauben hat erst das Christenthum den festen Grund seiner geschichtlichen Entwicklung gewonnen.) What history requires as the necessary prerequisite of all that follows is not so much the fact of the resurrection itself [?] as the faith in that fact. In whatever light we may consider the resurrection of Jesus, whether as an actual objective miracle or as a subjective psychological one (als ein objectiv geschehenes Wunder, oder als ein subjectiv psychologisches), even granting the possibility of such a miracle, no psychological analysis can penetrate the inner spiritual process by which in the consciousness of the disciples their unbelief at the death of Jesus was transformed into a belief of his resurrection …. We must rest satisfied with this, that for them the resurrection of Christ was a fact of their consciousness, and had for them all the reality of an historical event.| (Ibid., pp.39, 40.) Baur’s remarkable conclusion concerning the conversion of St. Paul (ibid., pp.44, 45) we shall consider in its proper place.

Dr. Ewald, of Göttingen (d.1874), the great orientalist and historian of Israel, antagonistic to Baur, his equal in profound scholarship and bold, independent, often arbitrary criticism, but superior in religious sympathy with the genius of the Bible, discusses the resurrection of Christ in his History of the Apostolic Age (Gesch. des Volkes Israel, vol. VI.52 sqq.), instead of his Life of Christ, and resolves it into a purely spiritual, though long continued manifestation from heaven. Nevertheless he makes the strong statement (p.69) that |nothing is historically more certain than that Christ rose from the dead and appeared to his own, and that this their vision was the beginning of their new higher faith and of an their Christian labors.| |Nichts steht geschichtlich fester,| he says, |als dass Christus aus den Todten auferstanden den Seinigen wiederschien und dass dieses ihr wiedersehen der anfang ihres neuen höhern glaubens und alles ihres Christlichen wirkens selbst war. Es ist aber ebenso gewiss dass sie ihn nicht wie einen gewöhnlichen menschen oder wie einen aus dem grabe aufsteigenden schatten oder gespenst wie die sage von solchen meldet, sondern wie den einzigen Sohn Gottes, wie ein durchaus schon übermächtiges und übermenschliches wesen wiedersahen und sich bei späteren zurückerinnerungen nichts anderes denken konnten als dass jeder welcher ihn wiederzusehen gewürdigt sei auch sogleich unmittelbar seine einzige göttliche würde erkannt und seitdem felsenfest daran geglaubt habe. Als den ächten König und Sohn Gottes hatten ihn aber die Zwölfe und andre schon im leben zu erkennen gelernt: der unterschied ist nur der dass sie ihn jetzt auch nach seiner rein göttlichen seite und damit auch als den über den tod siegreichen erkannt zu haben sich erinnerten. Zwischen jenem gemeinen schauen des irdischen Christus wie er ihnen sowohl bekannt war und diesem höhern tieferregten entzückten schauen des himmlischen ist also dock ein innerer zusammenhang, so dass sie ihn auch jetzt in diesen ersten tagen und wochen nach seinem tode nie als den himmlischen Messias geschauet hätten wenn sie ihn nicht schon vorher als den irdischen so wohl gekannt hätten.|

Dr. Keim, of Zürich (d. at Giessen, 1879), an independent pupil of Baur, and author of the most elaborate and valuable Life of Christ which the liberal critical school has produced, after giving every possible advantage to the mythical view of the resurrection, confesses that it is, after all, a mere hypothesis and fails to explain the main point. He says (Geschichte Jesu von Nazara, III.600): |Nach allen diesen Ueberlegungen wird man zugestehen müssen, dass auch die neuerdings beliebt gewordene Theorie nur eine Hypothese ist, welche Einiges erklärt, die Hauptsache nicht erklärt, ja im Ganzen und Grossen das geschichtlich Bezeugte schiefen und hinfälligen Gesichtspunkten unterstellt. Misslingt aber gleichmässig der Versuch, die überlieferte Aufs Auferstehungsgeschichte festzuhalten, wie das Unternehmen, mit Hilfe der paulinischen Visionen eine natürliche Erklärung des Geschehenen aufzubauen, so bleibt für die Geschichte zunächst kein Weg übrig als der des Eingeständnisses, dass die Sagenhaftigkeit der redseligen Geschichte und die dunkle Kürze der glaubwürdigen Geschichte es nicht gestattet, über die räthselhaften Ausgange des Lebens Jesu, so wichtig sie an und für sich und in der Einwirkung auf die Weltgeschichte gewesen sind, ein sicheres unumstössliches Resultat zu geben. Für die Geschichte, sofern sie nur mit benannten evidenten Zahlen und mit Reihen greifbarer anerkannter Ursachen und Wirkungen rechnet, existirt als das Thatsächliche und Zweifellose lediglich der feste Glaube der Apostel, dass Jesus auferstanden, und die ungeheure Wirkung dieses Glaubens, die Christianisirung der Menschheit. On p.601 he expresses the conviction that |it was the crucified and living Christ who, not as the risen one, but rather as the divinely glorified one (als der wenn nicht Auferstandene, so doch vielmehr himmlisch Verherrlichte), gave visions to his disciples and revealed himself to his society.| In his last word on the great problem, Keim, in view of the exhaustion and failure of the natural explanations, comes to the conclusion, that we must either, with Dr. Baur, humbly confess our ignorance, or return to the faith of the apostles who |have seen the Lord| (John 20:25). See the third and last edition of his abridged Geschichte Jesu, Zürich, 1875, p.362.

Dr. Schenkel, of Heidelberg, who in his Charakterbild Jesu (third ed.1864, pp.231 sqq.) had adopted the vision-theory in its higher form as a purely spiritual, though real manifestation from heaven, confesses in his latest work, Das Christusbild der Apostel (1879, p.18), his inability to solve the problem of the resurrection of Christ, and says: |Niemals wird es der Forschung gelingen, das Räthsel des Auferstehungsglaubens zu ergründen. Nichts aber steht fester in der Geschichte als die Thatsache dieses Glaubens; auf ihm beruht die Stiftung der christlichen Gemeinschaft … Der Visionshypothese, welche die Christuserscheinungen der Jünger aus Sinnestäuschungen erklären will, die in einer Steigerung des ‘Gemüths und Nervenlebens’ ihre physische und darum auch psychische Ursache hatten,… steht vor allem die Grundfarbe der Stimmung in den Jüngern, namentlich in Petrus, im Wege: die tiefe Trauer, das gesunkene Selbstvertrauen, die nagende Gewissenspein, der verlorne Lebensmuth. Wie soll aus einer solchen Stimmung das verklärte Bild des Auferstandenen hervorgehen, mit dieser unverwüstlichen Sicherheit und unzerstörbaren Freudigkeit, durch welche der Auferstehungsglaube die Christengemeinde in allen Stürmen und Verfolgungen aufrecht zu erhalten vermochte?|

Section 20. Sources and Literature of the Apostolic Age.

I. Sources.

1. The Canonical Books of the New Testament. — The twenty-seven books of the New Testament are better supported than any ancient classic, both by a chain of external testimonies which reaches up almost to the close of the apostolic age, and by the internal evidence of a spiritual depth and unction which raises them far above the best productions of the second century. The church has undoubtedly been guided by the Holy Spirit in the selection and final determination of the Christian canon. But this does, of course, not supersede the necessity of criticism, nor is the evidence equally strong in the case of the seven Eusebian Antilegomena. The Tübingen and Leyden schools recognized at first only five books of the New Testament as authentic, namely, four Epistles of Paul-Romans, First and Second Corinthians, and Galatians — and the Revelation of John. But the progress of research leads more and more to positive results, and nearly all the Epistles of Paul now find advocates among liberal critics. (Hilgenfeld and Lipsius admit seven, adding First Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon; Renan concedes also Second Thessalonians, and Colossians to be Pauline, thus swelling the number of genuine Epistles to nine.) The chief facts and doctrines of apostolic Christianity are sufficiently guaranteed even by those five documents, which are admitted by the extreme left of modern criticism.

The Acts of the Apostles give us the external, the Epistles the internal history of primitive Christianity. They are independent contemporaneous compositions and never refer to each other; probably Luke never read the Epistles of Paul, and Paul never read the Acts of Luke, although he no doubt supplied much valuable information to Luke. But indirectly they illustrate and confirm each other by a number of coincidences which have great evidential value, all the more as these coincidences are undesigned and incidental. Had they been composed by post-apostolic writers, the agreement would have been more complete, minor disagreements would have been avoided, and the lacunae in the Acts supplied, especially in regard to the closing labors and death of Peter and Paul.

The Acts bear on the face all the marks of an original, fresh, and trustworthy narrative of contemporaneous events derived from the best sources of information, and in great part from personal observation and experience. The authorship of Luke, the companion of Paul, is conceded by a majority of the best modern scholars, even by Ewald. And this fact alone establishes the credibility. Renan (in his St. Paul, ch.1) admirably calls the Acts |a book of joy, of serene ardor. Since the Homeric poems no book has been seen full of such fresh sensations. A breeze of morning, an odor of the sea, if I dare express it so, inspiring something joyful and strong, penetrates the whole book, and makes it an excellent compagnon de voyage, the exquisite breviary for him who is searching for ancient remains on the seas of the south. This is the second idyl of Christianity. The Lake of Tiberias and its fishing barks had furnished the first. Now, a more powerful breeze, aspirations toward more distant lands, draw us out into the open sea.|

2. The Post-Apostolic and Patristic writings are full of reminiscences of, and references to, the apostolic books, and as dependent on them as the river is upon its fountain.

3. The Apocryphal and Heretical literature. The numerous Apocryphal Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses were prompted by the same motives of curiosity and dogmatic interest as the Apocryphal Gospels, and have a similar apologetic, though very little historical, value. The heretical character is, however, more strongly marked. They have not yet been sufficiently investigated. Lipsius (in Smith and Wace’s, |Dict. of Christ. Biog.| vol. I. p.27) divides the Apocryphal Acts into four classes: (1) Ebionitic; (2) Gnostic; (3) originally Catholic; (4) Catholic adaptations or recensions of heretical documents. The last class is the most numerous, rarely older than the fifth century, but mostly resting on documents from the second and third centuries.

(a) Apocryphal Acts: Acta Petri et Pauli (of Ebionite origin, but recast), Acta Pauli et Theclae (mentioned by Tertullian at the end of the second century, of Gnostic origin), Acta Thomae (Gnostic), Acta Matthaei, Acta Thaddei, Martyrium Bartholomaei, Acta Barnabae, Acta Andreae, Acta Andreae et Mathiae, Acta Philippi, Acta Johannis, Acta Simonis et Judae, Acta Thaddaei, The Doctrine of Addai, the Apostle (ed. in Syriac and English by Dr. G. Phillips, London, 1876).

(b) Apocryphal Epistles: the correspondence between Paul and Seneca (six by Paul and eight by Seneca, mentioned by Jerome and Augustine), the third Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Epistolae Mariae, Epistolae Petri ad Jacobum.

(c) Apocryphal Apocalypses: Apocalypsis Johannis, Apocalypsis Petri, Apocalypsis Pauli (or anabatikon Paulou, based on the report of his rapture into Paradise, 2 Cor.12:2-4), Apocalypsis Thomae, Apoc. Stephani, Apoc. Mariae, Apoc. Mosis, Apoc. Esdrae.

Editions and Collections:

Fabricius: Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti. Hamburg, 1703, 2d ed.1719, 1743, 3 parts in 2 vols. (vol. II.)

Grabe: Spicilegium Patrum et Haereticorum. Oxford, 1698, ed. II.1714.

Birch: Auctarium Cod. Apoc. N. Ti Fabrician. Copenh.1804 (Fasc. I.). Contains the pseudo-Apocalypse of John.

Thilo: Acta Apost. Petri et Pauli. Halis, 1838. Acta Thomae. Lips.1823.

Tischendorf: Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha. Lips.1851.

Tischendorf: Apocalypses Apocryphae Mosis, Esdrae, Pauli, Joannis, item Mariae Dormitio. Lips.1866.

R. A. Lipsius: Die apokryph Apostel geschichten und Apostel legenden. Leipz.1883 sq.2 vols.

4. Jewish sources: Philo and Josephus, see § 14, p.92. Josephus is all-important for the history of the Jewish war and the destruction of Jerusalem, a.d.70, which marks the complete rapture of the Christian Church with the Jewish synagogue and temple. The apocryphal Jewish, and the Talmudic literature supplies information and illustrations of the training of the Apostles and the form of their teaching and the discipline and worship of the primitive church. Lightfoot, Schöttgen, Castelli, Delitzsch, Wünsche, Siegfried, Schürer, and a few others have made those sources available for the exegete and historian. Comp. here also the Jewish works of Jost, Graetz, and Geiger, mentioned § 9, p.61, and Hamburger’s Real-Ecyclopädie des Judenthums (für Bibel und Talmud), in course of publication.

5. Heathen writers: Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius, Lucian, Celsus, Porphyry, Julian. They furnish only fragmentary, mostly incidental, distorted and hostile information, but of considerable apologetic value.

Comp. Nath. Lardner (d.1768): Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies to the Truth of the Christian Religion. Originally published in 4 vols. Lond.1764-’67, and then in the several editions of his Works (vol. VI.365-649, ed. Kippis).

II. Histories of the Apostolic Age.

William Cave (Anglican, d.1713): Lives of the Apostles, and the two Evangelists, St. Mark and St. Luke. Lond.1675, new ed. revised by H. Cary, Oxford, 1840 (reprinted in New York, 1857). Comp. also Cave’s Primitive Christianity, 4th ed. Lond.1862.

Joh. Fr. Buddeus (Luth., d. at Jena, 1729): Ecclesia Apostolica. Jen.1729.

George Benson (d.1763): History of the First Planting of the Christian Religion. Lond.1756, 3 vols.4to (in German by Bamberger, Halle, 1768).

J. J. Hess (d. at Zurich, 1828): Geschichte der Apostel Jesu. Zür.1788; 4th ed.1820.

Gottl. Jac. Planck (d. in Göttingen, 1833): Geschichte des Christenthums in der Periode seiner Einführung in die Welt durch Jesum und die Apostel. Göttingen, 1818, 2 vols.

*Aug. Neander (d. in Berlin, 1850): Geschichte der Pflanzung und Leitung der Christlichen Kirche durch die Apostel. Hamb.1832.2 vols.; 4th ed. revised 1847. The same in English (History of the Planting and Training of the Christ. Church), by J. E. Ryland, Edinb.1842, and in Bohn’s Standard Library, Lond.1851; reprinted in Philad.1844; revised by E. G. Robinson, N. York, 1865. This book marks an epoch and is still valuable.

F. C. Albert Schwegler (d. at Tübingen, 1857): Das nachapostolische Zeitalter in den Hauptmomenten seiner Entwicklung. Tübingen, 1845, 1846, 2 vols. An ultra-critical attempt to transpose the apostolic literature (with the exception of five books) into the post-apostolic age.

*Ferd. Christ. Baur (d.1860): Das Christenthum und die christliche Kirche der drei ersten Jahrhunderte. Tübingen, 1853, 2d revised ed.1860 (536 pp.). The third edition is a mere reprint or title edition of the second and forms the first volume of his General Church History, edited by his son, in 5 vols.1863. It is the last and ablest exposition of the Tübingen reconstruction of the apostolic history from the pen of the master of that school. See vol. I. pp.1-174. English translation by Allen Menzies, in 2 vols. Lond.1878 and 1879. Comp. also Baur’s Paul, second ed. by Ed. Zeller, 1866 and 1867, and translated by A. Menzies, 2 vols.1873, 1875. Baur’s critical researches have compelled a thorough revision of the traditional views on the apostolic age, and have so far been very useful, notwithstanding their fundamental errors.

A. P. Stanley (Dean of Westminster): Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age. Oxford, 1847.3d ed.1874.

*Heinrich W. J. Thiersch (Irvingite, died 1885 in Basle): Die Kirche im apostolischen Zeitalter. Francf. a. M.1852; 3d ed. Augsburg, 1879, |improved,| but very slightly. (The same in English from the first ed. by Th. Carlyle. Lond.1852.)

*J. P. Lange (d.1884):Das apostolische Zeitalter. Braunschw.1854.2 vols.

Philip Schaff: History of the Apostolic Church, first in German, Mercersburg, Penns.1851; 2d ed. enlarged, Leipzig, 1854; English translation by Dr. E. D. Yeomans, N. York, 1853, in 1 vol.; Edinb.1854, in 2 vols.; several editions without change. (Dutch translation from the second Germ. ed. by T. W. Th. Lublink Weddik, Tiel, 1857.)

*G. V. Lechler (Prof. in Leipzig): Das apostolische und das nachapostolische Zeitalter.2d ed.1857; 3d ed. thoroughly revised, Leipzig, 1885. Engl. trsl. by Miss Davidson, Edinb.1887. Conservative.

*Albrecht Ritschl (d. in Göttingen, 1889): Die Entstehung der altkatholischen Kirche.2d ed. Bonn, 1857. The first edition was in harmony with the Tübingen School; but the second is materially improved, and laid the foundation for the Ritschl School.

*Heinrich Ewald (d. at Göttingen, 1874): Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vols. VI. and VII.2d ed. Göttingen, 1858 and 1859. Vol. VI. of this great work contains the History of the Apostolic Age to the destruction of Jerusalem; vol. VII. the History of the post-Apostolic Age to the reign of Hadrian. English translation of the History of Israel by R. Martineau and J. E. Carpenter. Lond.1869 sqq. A trans. of vols. VI. and VII. is not intended. Ewald (the |Urvogel von Göttingen|) pursued an independent path in opposition both to the traditional orthodoxy and to the Tübingen school, which he denounced as worse than heathenish. See Preface to vol. VII.

*E. de Pressensé: Histoire des trois premiers siècles de l’église chrétienne. Par.1858 sqq.4 vols. German translation by E. Fabarius (Leipz.1862-’65); English translation by Annie Harwood-Holmden (Lond. and N. York, 1870, new ed. Lond.1879). The first volume contains the first century under the title Le siècle apostolique; rev. ed.1887.

*Joh. Jos. Ign. von Döllinger (Rom. Cath., since 1870 Old Cath.): Christenthum und Kirche in der Zeit der Gründung. Regensburg, 1860.2d ed.1868. The same translated into English by H. N. Oxenham. London, 1867.

C. S. Vaughan: The Church of the First Days. Lond.1864-‘65.3 vols. Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles.

N. Sepp (Rom. Cath.): Geschichte der Apostel Jesu his zur Zerstörung Jerusalems. Schaffhausen, 1866.

C. Holsten: Zum Evangelium des Paulus und des Petrus. Rostock, 1868 (447 pp.).

Paul Wilh. Schmidt und Franz v. Holtzendorf: Protestanten-Bibel Neuen Testaments. Zweite, revid. Auflage. Leipzig, 1874. A popular exegetical summary of the Tübingen views with contributions from Bruch, Hilgenfeld, Holsten, Lipsius, Pfleiderer and others.

A. B. Bruce (Professor in Glasgow): The Training of the Twelve. Edinburgh, 1871, second ed.1877.

*Ernest Renan (de l’Académie Francaise): Histoire des origines du Christianisme. Paris, 1863 sqq. The first volume is Vie de Jésus, 1863, noticed in § 14 (pp.97 and 98); then followed II. Les Apôtres, 1866; III. St. Paul, 1869; IV. L’Antechrist, 1873; V. Les Évangiles, 1877; VI. L’Église Chrétienne, 1879; VII. and last volume, Marc-Auréle, 1882. The II., III., IV., and V. volumes belong to the Apostolic age; the last two to the next. The work of a sceptical outsider, of brilliant genius, eloquence, and secular learning. It increases in value as it advances. The Life of Jesus is the most interesting and popular, but also by far the most objectionable volume, because it deals almost profanely with the most sacred theme.

Emil Ferriére: Les Apôtres. Paris, 1875.

Supernatural Religion. An Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation. Lond.1873, (seventh), |complete ed., carefully revised,| 1879, 3 vols. This anonymous work is an English reproduction and repository of the critical speculations of the Tübingen School of Baur, Strauss, Zeller, Schwegler, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, etc. It may be called an enlargement of Schwegler’s Nachapostolisches Zeitalter. The first volume is mostly taken up with a philosophical discussion of the question of miracles; the remainder of vol. I. (pp.212-485) and vol. II. contain an historical inquiry into the apostolic origin of the canonical Gospels, with a negative result. The third volume discusses the Acts, the Epistles and the Apocalypse, and the evidence for the Resurrection and Ascension, which are resolved into hallucinations or myths. Starting with the affirmation of the antecedent incredibility of miracles, the author arrives at the conclusion of their impossibility; and this philosophical conclusion determines the historical investigation throughout. Dr. Schürer, in the |Theol. Literaturzeitung| for 1879, No.26 (p.622), denies to this work scientific value for Germany, but gives it credit for extraordinary familiarity with recent German literature and great industry in collecting historical details. Drs. Lightfoot, Sanday, Ezra Abbot, and others have exposed the defects of its scholarship, and the false premises from which the writer reasons. The rapid sale of the work indicates the extensive spread of skepticism and the necessity of fighting over again, on Anglo-American ground, the theological battles of Germany and Holland; it is to be hoped with more triumphant success.

*J. B. Lightfoot (Bishop of Durham since 1879): A series of elaborate articles against |Supernatural Religion,| in the |Contemporary Review| for 1875 to 1877. They should be republished in book form. Comp. also the reply of the anonymous author in the lengthy preface to the sixth edition. Lightfoot’s Commentaries on Pauline Epistles contain valuable Excursuses on several historical questions of the apostolic age, especially St. Paul and the Three, in the Com. on the Galatians, pp.283-355.

W. Sanday: The Gospels in the Second Century. London, 1876. This is directed against the critical part of |Supernatural Religion.| The eighth chapter on Marcion’s Gnostic mutilation and reconstruction of St. Luke’s Gospel (pp.204 sqq.) had previously appeared in the |Fortnightly Review| for June, 1875, and finishes on English soil, a controversy which had previously been fought out on German soil, in the circle of the Tübingen School. The preposterous hypothesis of the priority of Marcion’s Gospel was advocated by Ritschl, Baur and Schwegler, but refuted by Volkmar and Hilgenfeld, of the same school; whereupon Baur and Ritschl honorably abandoned their error. The anonymous author of |Supernatural Religion,| in his seventh edition, has followed their example. The Germans conducted the controversy chiefly under its historic and dogmatic aspects; Sanday has added the philological and textual argument with the aid of Holtzmann’s analysis of the style and vocabulary of Luke.

A. Hausrath (Prof. in Heidelberg): Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte. Heidelberg, 1873 sqq. Parts II. and III. (second ed.1875) embrace the apostolic times, Part IV. (1877) the post-apostolic times. English translation by Poynting and Quenzer. Lond.1878 sqq. H. belongs to the School of Tübingen.

Dan. Schenkel (Prof. in Heidelberg): Das Christusbild der Apostel und der nachapostolischen Zeit. Leipz.1879. Comp. the review by H. Holtzmann in Hilgenfeld’s |Zeitschrift für wissensch. Theol.| 1879, p.392.

H. Oort and I. Hooykaas: The Bible for Learners, translated from the Dutch by Philip H. Wicksteed, vol. III. (the New Test., by Hooykaas), Book III. pp.463-693 of the Boston ed.1879. (In the Engl. ed. it is vol. VI.) This is a popular digest of the rationalistic Tübingen and Leyden criticism under the inspiration of Dr. A. Kuenen, Professor of Theology at Leyden. It agrees substantially with the Protestanten-Bibel noticed above.

*George P. Fisher (Prof. in Yale College, New Haven): The Beginnings of Christianity. N. York, 1877. Comp. also the author’s former work: Essays on the Supernatural Origin of Christianity, with special reference to the Theories of Renan, Strauss, and the Tübingen School. New York, 1865. New ed. enlarged, 1877.

*C. Weizsäcker (successor of Baur in Tübingen): Das Apostolische Zeitalter. Freiburg, 1886. Critical and very able.

*O. Pfleiderer (Prof. in Berlin): Das Urchristenthum, seine Schriften und Lehren. Berlin, 1887. (Tübingen School.)

III. The Chronology of the Apostolic Age.

Rudolph Anger: De temporum in Actis Apostolorum ratione. Lips.1833 (208 pp.).

Henry Browne: Ordo Saeculorum. A Treatise on the Chronology of the Holy Scriptures. Lond.1844. Pp.95-163.

Karl Wieseler: Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters. Göttingen, 1848 (606 pp.).

The older and special works are noticed in Wieseler, pp.6-9. See also the elaborate Synopsis of the dates of the Apostolic Age in Schäffer’s translation of Lechler on Acts (in the Am. ed. of Lange’s Commentary); Henry B. Smith’s Chronological Tables of Church History (1860); and Weingarten: Zeittafeln zur K-Gesch.3d ed.1888.

§21. General Character of the Apostolic Age.


|Der Schlachtruf, der St. Pauli Brust entsprungen,

Rief nicht sein Echo auf zu tausend Streiten?

Und welch’ ein Friedensecho hat geklungen

Durch tausend Herzen von Johannis Saiten!

Wie viele rasche Feuer sind entglommen

Als Wiederschein von Petri Funkensprühen!

Und sieht man Andre still mit Opfern kommen,

Ist’s, weil sie in Jakobi Schul’gediehen: —

Ein Satz ist’s, der in Variationen

Vom ersten Anfang forttönt durch Aeonen.|


Extent and Environment of the Apostolic Age.

The apostolic period extends from the Day of Pentecost to the death of St. John, and covers about seventy years, from a.d.30 to 100. The field of action is Palestine, and gradually extends over Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. The most prominent centres are Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome, which represent respectively the mother churches of Jewish, Gentile, and United Catholic Christianity. Next to them are Ephesus and Corinth. Ephesus acquired a special importance by the residence and labors of John, which made themselves felt during the second century through Polycarp and Irenaeus. Samaria, Damascus, Joppa, Caesarea, Tyre, Cyprus, the provinces of Asia Minor, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Beraea, Athens, Crete, Patmos, Malta, Puteoli, come also into view as points where the Christian faith was planted. Through the eunuch converted by Philip, it reached Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians. As early as a.d.58 Paul could say: |From Jerusalem and round about even unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.| He afterwards carried it to Rome, where it had already been known before, and possibly as far as Spain, the western boundary of the empire.

The nationalities reached by the gospel in the first century were the Jews, the Greeks, and the Romans, and the languages used were the Hebrew or Aramaic, and especially the Greek, which was at that time the organ of civilization and of international intercourse within the Roman empire.

The contemporary secular history includes the reigns of the Roman Emperors from Tiberius to Nero and Domitian, who either ignored or persecuted Christianity. We are brought directly into contact with King Herod Agrippa I. (grandson of Herod the Great), the murderer of the apostle, James the Elder; with his son King Agrippa II. (the last of the Herodian house), who with his sister Bernice (a most corrupt woman) listened to Paul’s defense; with two Roman governors, Felix and Festus; with Pharisees and Sadducees; with Stoics and Epicureans; with the temple and theatre at Ephesus, with the court of the Areopagus at Athens, and with Caesar’s palace in Rome.

Sources of Information.

The author of Acts records the heroic march of Christianity from the capital of Judaism to the capital of heathenism with the same artless simplicity and serene faith as the Evangelists tell the story of Jesus; well knowing that it needs no embellishment, no apology, no subjective reflections, and that it will surely triumph by its inherent spiritual power.

The Acts and the Pauline Epistles accompany us with reliable information down to the year 63. Peter and Paul are lost out of sight in the lurid fires of the Neronian persecution which seemed to consume Christianity itself. We know nothing certain of that satanic spectacle from authentic sources beyond the information of heathen historians. A few years afterwards followed the destruction of Jerusalem, which must have made an overpowering impression and broken the last ties which bound Jewish Christianity to the old theocracy. The event is indeed brought before us in the prophecy of Christ as recorded in the Gospels, but for the terrible fulfilment we are dependent on the account of an unbelieving Jew, which, as the testimony of an enemy, is all the more impressive.

The remaining thirty years of the first century are involved in mysterious darkness, illuminated only by the writings of John. This is a period of church history about which we know least and would like to know most. This period is the favorite field for ecclesiastical fables and critical conjectures. How thankfully would the historian hail the discovery of any new authentic documents between the martyrdom of Peter and Paul and the death of John, and again between the death of John and the age of Justin Martyr and Irenaeus.

Causes of Success.

As to the numerical strength of Christianity at the close of the first century, we have no information whatever. Statistical reports were unknown in those days. The estimate of half a million among the one hundred millions or more inhabitants of the Roman empire is probably exaggerated. The pentecostal conversion of three thousand in one day at Jerusalem, and the |immense multitude| of martyrs under Nero, favor a high estimate. The churches in Antioch also, Ephesus, and Corinth were strong enough to bear the strain of controversy and division into parties. But the majority of congregations were no doubt small, often a mere handful of poor people. In the country districts paganism (as the name indicates) lingered longest, even beyond the age of Constantine. The Christian converts belonged mostly to the middle and lower classes of society, such as fishermen, peasants, mechanics, traders, freedmen, slaves. St. Paul says: |Not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble were called, but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea, and the things that are not, that he might bring to naught the things that are: that no flesh should glory before God.| And yet these poor, illiterate churches were the recipients of the noblest gifts, and alive to the deepest problems and highest thoughts which can challenge the attention of an immortal mind. Christianity built from the foundation upward. From the lower ranks come the rising men of the future, who constantly reinforce the higher ranks and prevent their decay.

At the time of the conversion of Constantine, in the beginning of the fourth century, the number of Christians may have reached ten or twelve millions, that is about one-tenth of the total population of the Roman empire. Some estimate it higher.

The rapid success of Christianity under the most unfavorable circumstances is surprising and its own best vindication. It was achieved in the face of an indifferent or hostile world, and by purely spiritual and moral means, without shedding a drop of blood except that of its own innocent martyrs. Gibbon, in the famous fifteenth chapter of his |History,| attributes the rapid spread to five causes, namely: (1) the intolerant but enlarged religious zeal of the Christians inherited from the Jews; (2) the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, concerning which the ancient philosophers had but vague and dreamy ideas; (3) the miraculous powers attributed to the primitive church; (4) the purer but austere morality of the first Christians; (5) the unity and discipline of the church, which gradually formed a growing commonwealth in the heart of the empire. But every one of these causes, properly understood, points to the superior excellency and to the divine origin of the Christian religion, and this is the chief cause, which the Deistic historian omits.

Significance of the Apostolic Age.

The life of Christ is the divine-human fountainhead of the Christian religion; the apostolic age is the fountainhead of the Christian church, as an organized society separate and distinct from the Jewish synagogue. It is the age of the Holy Spirit, the age of inspiration and legislation for all subsequent ages.

Here springs, in its original freshness and purity, the living water of the new creation. Christianity comes down front heaven as a supernatural fact, yet long predicted and prepared for, and adapted to the deepest wants of human nature. Signs and wonders and extraordinary demonstrations of the Spirit, for the conversion of unbelieving Jews and heathens, attend its entrance into the world of sin. It takes up its permanent abode with our fallen race, to transform it gradually, without war or bloodshed, by a quiet, leaven-like process, into a kingdom of truth and righteousness. Modest and humble, lowly and unseemly in outward appearance, but steadily conscious of its divine origin and its eternal destiny; without silver or gold, but rich in supernatural gifts and powers, strong in faith, fervent in love, and joyful in hope; bearing in earthen vessels the imperishable treasures of heaven, it presents itself upon the stage of history as the only true, the perfect religion, for all the nations of the earth. At first an insignificant and even contemptible sect in the eyes of the carnal mind, hated and persecuted by Jews and heathens, it confounds the wisdom of Greece and the power of Rome, soon plants the standard of the cross in the great cities of Asia, Africa, and Europe, and proves itself the hope of the world.

In virtue of this original purity, vigor, and beauty, and the permanent success of primitive Christianity, the canonical authority of the single but inexhaustible volume of its literature, and the character of the apostles, those inspired organs of the Holy Spirit, those untaught teachers of mankind, the apostolic age has an incomparable interest and importance in the history of the church. It is the immovable groundwork of the whole. It has the same regulative force for all the subsequent developments of the church as the inspired writings of the apostles have for the works of all later Christian authors.

Furthermore, the apostolic Christianity is preformative, and contains the living germs of all the following periods, personages, and tendencies. It holds up the highest standard of doctrine and discipline; it is the inspiring genius of all true progress; it suggests to every age its peculiar problem with the power to solve it. Christianity can never outgrow Christ, but it grows in Christ; theology cannot go beyond the word of God, but it must ever progress in the understanding and application of the word of God. The three leading apostles represent not only the three stages of the apostolic church, but also as many ages and types of Christianity, and yet they are all present in every age and every type.

The Representative Apostles.

Peter, Paul, and John stand out most prominently as the chosen Three who accomplished the great work of the apostolic age, and exerted, by their writings and example, a controlling influence on all subsequent ages. To them correspond three centres of influence, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome.

Our Lord himself had chosen Three out of the Twelve for his most intimate companions, who alone witnessed the Transfiguration and the agony in Gethsemane. They fulfilled all the expectations, Peter and John by their long and successful labors, James the Elder by drinking early the bitter cup of his Master, as the proto-martyr of the Twelve. Since his death, a.d.44, James, |the brother of the Lord| seems to have succeeded him, as one of the three |pillars| of the church of the circumcision, although he did not belong to the apostles in the strict sense of the term, and his influence, as the head of the church at Jerusalem, was more local than oecumenical.

Paul was called last and out of the regular order, by the personal appearance of the exalted Lord from heaven, and in authority and importance he was equal to any of the three pillars, but filled a place of his own, as the independent apostle of the Gentiles. He had around him a small band of co-laborers and pupils, such as Barnabas, Silas, Titus, Timothy, Luke.

Nine of the original Twelve, including Matthias, who was chosen in the place of Judas, labored no doubt faithfully and effectively, in preaching the gospel throughout the Roman empire and to the borders of the barbarians, but in subordinate positions, and their labors are known to us only from vague and uncertain traditions.

The labors of James and Peter we can follow in the Acts to the Council of Jerusalem, a.d.50, and a little beyond; those of Paul to his first imprisonment in Rome, a.d.61-63; John lived to the close of the first century. As to their last labors we have no authentic information in the New Testament, but the unanimous testimony of antiquity that Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome during or after the Neronian persecution, and that John died a natural death at Ephesus. The Acts breaks off abruptly with Paul still living and working, a prisoner in Rome, |preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, with all boldness, none forbidding him.| A significant conclusion.

It would be difficult to find three men equally great and good, equally endowed with genius sanctified by grace, bound together by deep and strong love to the common Master, and laboring for the same cause, yet so different in temper and constitution, as Peter, Paul, and John. Peter stands out in history as the main pillar of the primitive church, as the Rock-apostle, as the chief of the twelve foundation-stones of the new Jerusalem; John as the bosom-friend of the Saviour, as the son of thunder, as the soaring eagle, as the apostle of love; Paul as the champion of Christian freedom and progress, as the greatest missionary, with |the care of all the churches| upon his heart, as the expounder of the Christian system of doctrine, as the father of Christian theology. Peter was a man of action, always in haste and ready to take the lead; the first to confess Christ, and the first to preach Christ on the day of Pentecost; Paul a man equally potent in word and deed; John a man of mystic contemplation. Peter was unlearned and altogether practical; Paul a scholar and thinker as well as a worker; John a theosophist and seer. Peter was sanguine, ardent, impulsive, hopeful, kind-hearted, given to sudden changes, |consistently inconsistent| (to use an Aristotelian phrase); Paul was choleric, energetic, bold, noble, independent, uncompromising; John some what melancholic, introverted, reserved, burning within of love to Christ and hatred of Antichrist. Peter’s Epistles are full of sweet grace and comfort, the result of deep humiliation and rich experience; those of Paul abound in severe thought and logical argument, but rising at times to the heights of celestial eloquence, as in the seraphic description of love and the triumphant paean of the eighth chapter of the Romans; John’s writings are simple, serene, profound, intuitive, sublime, inexhaustible.

We would like to know more about the personal relations of these pillar-apostles, but must be satisfied with a few hints. They labored in different fields and seldom met face to face in their busy life. Time was too precious, their work too serious, for sentimental enjoyments of friendship. Paul went to Jerusalem a.d.40, three years after his conversion, for the express purpose of making the personal acquaintance of Peter, and spent two weeks with him; he saw none of the other apostles, but only James, the Lord’s brother. He met the pillar-apostles at the Conference in Jerusalem, a.d.50, and concluded with them the peaceful concordat concerning the division of labor, and the question of circumcision; the older apostles gave him and Barnabas |the right hands of fellowship| in token of brotherhood and fidelity. Not long afterwards Paul met Peter a third time, at Antioch, but came into open collision with him on the great question of Christian freedom and the union of Jewish and Gentile converts. The collision was merely temporary, but significantly reveals the profound commotion and fermentation of the apostolic age, and foreshadowed future antagonisms and reconciliations in the church. Several years later (a.d.57) Paul refers the last time to Cephas, and the brethren of the Lord, for the right to marry and to take a wife with him on his missionary journeys. Peter, in his first Epistle to Pauline churches, confirms them in their Pauline faith, and in his second Epistle, his last will and testament, he affectionately commends the letters of his |beloved brother Paul,| adding, however, the characteristic remark, which all commentators must admit to be true, that (even beside the account of the scene in Antioch) there are in them |some things hard to be understood.| According to tradition (which varies considerably as to details), the great leaders of Jewish and Gentile Christianity met at Rome, were tried and condemned together, Paul, the Roman citizen, to the death by the sword on the Ostian road at Tre Fontane; Peter, the Galilean apostle, to the more degrading death of the cross on the hill of Janiculum. John mentions Peter frequently in his Gospel, especially in the appendix, but never names Paul; he met him, as it seems, only once, at Jerusalem, gave him the right hand of fellowship, became his successor in the fruitful field of Asia Minor, and built on his foundation.

Peter was the chief actor in the first stage of apostolic Christianity and fulfilled the prophecy of his name in laying the foundation of the church among the Jews and the Gentiles. In the second stage he is overshadowed by the mighty labors of Paul; but after the apostolic age he stands out again most prominent in the memory of the church. He is chosen by the Roman communion as its special patron saint and as the first pope. He is always named before Paul. To him most of the churches are dedicated. In the name of this poor fisherman of Galilee, who had neither gold nor silver, and was crucified like a malefactor and a slave, the triple-crowned popes deposed kings, shook empires, dispensed blessings and curses on earth and in purgatory, and even now claim the power to settle infallibly all questions of Christian doctrine and discipline for the Catholic world.

Paul was the chief actor in the second stage of the apostolic church, the apostle of the Gentiles, the founder of Christianity in Asia Minor and Greece, the emancipator of the new religion from the yoke of Judaism, the herald of evangelical freedom, the standard-bearer of reform and progress. His controlling influence was felt also in Rome, and is clearly seen in the genuine Epistle of Clement, who makes more account of him than of Peter. But soon afterwards he is almost forgotten, except by name. He is indeed associated with Peter as the founder of the church of Rome, but in a secondary line; his Epistle to the Romans is little read and understood by the Romans even to this day; his church lies outside of the walls of the eternal city, while St. Peter’s is its chief ornament and glory. In Africa alone he was appreciated, first by the rugged and racy Tertullian, more fully by the profound Augustine, who passed through similar contrasts in his religious experience; but Augustine’s Pauline doctrines of sin and grace had no effect whatever on the Eastern church, and were practically overpowered in the Western church by Pelagian tendencies. For a long time Paul’s name was used and abused outside of the ruling orthodoxy and hierarchy by anti-catholic heretics and sectaries in their protest against the new yoke of traditionalism and ceremonialism. But in the sixteenth century he celebrated a real resurrection and inspired the evangelical reformation. Then his Epistles to the Galatians and Romans were republished, explained, and applied with trumpet tongues by Luther and Calvin. Then his protest against Judaizing bigotry and legal bondage was renewed, and the rights of Christian liberty asserted on the largest scale. Of all men in church history, St. Augustine not excepted, Martin Luther, once a contracted monk, then a prophet of freedom, has most affinity in word and work with the apostle of the Gentiles, and ever since Paul’s genius has ruled the theology and religion of Protestantism. As the gospel of Christ was cast out from Jerusalem to bless the Gentiles, so Paul’s Epistle to the Romans was expelled from Rome to enlighten and to emancipate Protestant nations in the distant North and far West.

St. John, the most intimate companion of Jesus, the apostle of love, the seer who looked back to the ante-mundane beginning and forward to the post-mundane end of all things, and who is to tarry till the coming of the Lord, kept aloof from active part in the controversies between Jewish and Gentile Christianity. He appears prominent in the Acts and the Epistle to the Galatians, as one of the pillar-apostles, but not a word of his is reported. He was waiting in mysterious silence, with a reserved force, for his proper time, which did not come till Peter and Paul had finished their mission. Then, after their departure, he revealed the hidden depths of his genius in his marvellous writings, which represent the last and crowning work of the apostolic church. John has never been fully fathomed, but it has been felt throughout all the periods of church history that he has best understood and portrayed the Master, and may yet speak the last word in the conflict of ages and usher in an era of harmony and peace. Paul is the heroic captain of the church militant, John the mystic prophet of the church triumphant.

Far above them all, throughout the apostolic age and all subsequent ages, stands the one great Master from whom Peter, Paul, and John drew their inspiration, to whom they bowed in holy adoration, whom alone they served and glorified in life and in death, and to whom they still point in their writings as the perfect image of God, as the Saviour from sin and death, as the Giver of eternal life, as the divine harmony of conflicting creeds and schools, as the Alpha and Omega of the Christian faith.

Section 21. The Critical Reconstruction of the History of the Apostolic Age.

|Die Botschaft hör’ ich wohl, allein mir fehlt der Glaube.|


Never before in the history of the church has the origin of Christianity, with its original documents, been so thoroughly examined from standpoints entirely opposite as in the present generation. It has engaged the time and energy of many of the ablest scholars and critics. Such is the importance and the power of that little book which |contains the wisdom of the whole world,| that it demands ever new investigation and sets serious minds of all shades of belief and unbelief in motion, as if their very life depended upon its acceptance or rejection. There is not a fact or doctrine which has not been thoroughly searched. The whole life of Christ, and the labors and writings of the apostles with their tendencies, antagonisms, and reconciliations are theoretically reproduced among scholars and reviewed under all possible aspects. The post-apostolic age has by necessary connection been drawn into the process of investigation and placed in a new light.

The great biblical scholars among the Fathers were chiefly concerned in drawing from the sacred records the catholic doctrines of salvation, and the precepts for a holy life; the Reformers and older Protestant divines studied them afresh with special zeal for the evangelical tenets which separated them from the Roman church; but all stood on the common ground of a reverential belief in the divine inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. The present age is preëminently historical and critical. The Scriptures are subjected to the same process of investigation and analysis as any other literary production of antiquity, with no other purpose than to ascertain the real facts in the case. We want to know the precise origin, gradual growth, and final completion of Christianity as an historical phenomenon in organic connection with contemporary events and currents of thought. The whole process through which it passed from the manger in Bethlehem to the cross of Calvary, and from the upper room in Jerusalem to the throne of the Caesars is to be reproduced, explained and understood according to the laws of regular historical development. And in this critical process the very foundations of the Christian faith have been assailed and undermined, so that the question now is, |to be or not to be.| The remark of Goethe is as profound as it is true: |The conflict of faith and unbelief remains the proper, the only, the deepest theme of the history of the world and mankind, to which all others are subordinated.|

The modern critical movement began, we may say, about 1830, is still in full progress, and is likely to continue to the end of the nineteenth century, as the apostolic church itself extended over a period of seventy years before it had developed its resources. It was at first confined to Germany (Strauss, Baur, and the Tübingen School), then spread to France (Renan) and Holland (Scholten, Kuenen), and last to England (|Supernatural Religion|) and America, so that the battle now extends along the whole line of Protestantism.

There are two kinds of biblical criticism, verbal and historical.

Textual Criticism.

The verbal or textual criticism has for its object to restore as far as possible the original text of the Greek Testament from the oldest and most trustworthy sources, namely, the uncial manuscripts (especially, the Vatican and Sinaitic), the ante-Nicene versions, and the patristic quotations. In this respect our age has been very successful, with the aid of most important discoveries of ancient manuscripts. By the invaluable labors of Lachmann, who broke the path for the correct theory (Novum Testament. Gr., 1831, large Graeco-Latin edition, 1842-50, 2 vols.), Tischendorf (8th critical ed., 1869-72, 2 vols.), Tregelles (1857, completed 1879), Westcott and Hort (1881, 2 vols.), we have now in the place of the comparatively late and corrupt textus receptus of Erasmus and his followers (Stephens, Beza, and the Elzevirs), which is the basis of au Protestant versions in common use, a much older and purer text, which must henceforth be made the basis of all revised translations. After a severe struggle between the traditional and the progressive schools there is now in this basal department of biblical learning a remarkable degree of harmony among critics. The new text is in fact the older text, and the reformers are in this case the restorers. Far from unsettling the faith in the New Testament, the results have established the substantial integrity of the text, notwithstanding the one hundred and fifty thousand readings which have been gradually gathered from all sources. It is a noteworthy fact that the greatest textual critics of the nineteenth century are believers, not indeed in a mechanical or magical inspiration, which is untenable and not worth defending, but in the divine origin and authority of the canonical writings, which rest on fax stronger grounds than any particular human theory of inspiration.

Historical Criticism.

The historical or inner criticism (which the Germans call the |higher criticism,| höhere Kritik) deals with the origin, spirit, and aim of the New Testament writings, their historical environments, and organic place in the great intellectual and religious process which resulted in the triumphant establishment of the catholic church of the second century. It assumed two very distinct shapes under the lead of Dr. Neander in Berlin (d.1850), and Dr. Baur in Tübingen (d.1860), who labored in the mines of church history at a respectful distance from each other and never came into personal contact. Neander and Baur were giants, equal in genius and learning, honesty and earnestness, but widely different in spirit. They gave a mighty impulse to historical study and left a long line of pupils and independent followers who carry on the historico-critical reconstruction of primitive Christianity. Their influence is felt in France, Holland and England. Neander published the first edition of his Apostolic Age in 1832, his Life of Jesus (against Strauss) in 1837 (the first volume of his General Church History had appeared already in 1825, revised ed.1842); Baur wrote his essay on the Corinthian Parties in 1831, his critical investigations on the canonical Gospels in 1844 and 1847, his |Paul| in 1845 (second ed. by Zeller, 1867), and his |Church History of the First Three Centuries| in 1853 (revised 1860). His pupil Strauss had preceded him with his first Leben Jesu (1835), which created a greater sensation than any of the works mentioned, surpassed only by that of Renan’s Vie de Jésus, nearly thirty years later (1863). Renan reproduces and popularizes Strauss and Baur for the French public with independent learning and brilliant genius, and the author of |Supernatural Religion| reëchoes the Tübingen and Leyden speculations in England. On the other hand Bishop Lightfoot, the leader of conservative criticism; declares that he has learnt more from the German Neander than from any recent theologian (|Contemp. Review| for 1875, p.866. Matthew Arnold says (Literature and Dogma, Preface, p. xix.): |To get the facts, the data, in all matters of science, but notably in theology and Biblical learning, one goes to Germany. Germany, and it is her high honor, has searched out the facts and exhibited them. And without knowledge of the facts, no clearness or fairness of mind can in any study do anything; this cannot be laid down too rigidly.| But he denies to the Germans |quickness and delicacy of perception.| Something more is necessary than learning and perception to draw the right conclusions from the facts: sound common sense and well-balanced judgment. And when we deal with sacred and supernatural facts, we need first and last a reverential spirit and that faith which is the organ of the supernatural. It is here where the two schools depart, without difference of nationality; for faith is not a national but an individual gift.

The Two Antagonistic Schools.

The two theories of the apostolic history, introduced by Neander and Baur, are antagonistic in principle and aim, and united only by the moral bond of an honest search for truth. The one is conservative and reconstructive, the other radical and destructive. The former accepts the canonical Gospels and Acts as honest, truthful, and credible memoirs of the life of Christ and the labors of the apostles; the latter rejects a great part of their contents as unhistorical myths or legends of the post-apostolic age, and on the other hand gives undue credit to wild heretical romances of the second century. The one draws an essential line of distinction between truth as maintained by the orthodox church, and error as held by heretical parties; the other obliterates the lines and puts the heresy into the inner camp of the apostolic church itself. The one proceeds on the basis of faith in God and Christ, which implies faith in the supernatural and miraculous wherever it is well attested; the other proceeds from disbelief in the supernatural and miraculous as a philosophical impossibility, and tries to explain the gospel history and the apostolic history from purely natural causes like every other history. The one has a moral and spiritual as well is intellectual interest in the New Testament, the other a purely intellectual and critical interest. The one approaches the historical investigation with the subjective experience of the divine truth in the heart and conscience, and knows and feels Christianity to be a power of salvation from sin and error; the other views it simply as the best among the many religions which are destined to give way at last to the sovereignty of reason and philosophy. The controversy turns on the question whether there is a God in History or not; as the contemporaneous struggle in natural science turns on the question whether there is a God in nature or not. Belief in a personal God almighty and omnipresent in history and in nature, implies the possibility of supernatural and miraculous revelation. Absolute freedom from prepossession (Voraussetzungslosigkeit such as Strauss demanded) is absolutely impossible, |ex nihilo nihil fit.| There is prepossession on either side of the controversy, the one positive, the other negative, and history itself must decide between them. The facts must rule philosophy, not philosophy the facts. If it can be made out that the life of Christ and the apostolic church can be psychologically and historically explained only by the admission of the supernatural element which they claim, while every other explanation only increases the difficulty, of the problem and substitutes an unnatural miracle for a supernatural one, the historian has gained the case, and it is for the philosopher to adjust his theory to history. The duty of the historian is not to make the facts, but to discover them, and then to construct his theory wide enough to give them all comfortable room.

The Alleged Antagonism in the Apostolic Church.

The theory of the Tübingen school starts from the assumption of a fundamental antagonism between Jewish or primitive Christianity represented by Peter, and Gentile or progressive Christianity represented by Paul, and resolves all the writings of the New Testament into tendency writings (Tendenzschriften), which give us not history pure and simple, but adjust it to a doctrinal and practical aim in the interest of one or the other party, or of a compromise between the two. The Epistles of Paul to the Galatians, Romans, First and Second Corinthians — which are admitted to be genuine beyond any doubt, exhibit the anti-Jewish and universal Christianity, of which Paul himself must be regarded as the chief founder. The Apocalypse, which was composed by the apostle John in 69, exhibits the original Jewish and contracted Christianity, in accordance with his position as one of the |pillar|-apostles of the circumcision (Gal.2:9), and it is the only authentic document of the older apostles.

Baur (Gesch. der christl. Kirche, I., 80 sqq.) and Renan (St. Paul, ch. X.) go so far as to assert that this genuine John excludes Paul from the list of the apostles (Apoc.21:14, which leaves no room for more than twelve), and indirectly attacks him as a |false Jew| (Apoc.2:9; 3:9), a |false apostle| (2:2), a |false prophet| (2:20), as |Balaam| (2:2, 6, 14, 15; comp. Jude 11; 2 Pet.2:15); just as the Clementine Homilies assail him under the name of Simon the Magician and arch-heretic. Renan interprets also the whole Epistle of Jude, a brother of James, as an attack upon Paul, issued from Jerusalem in connection with the Jewish counter-mission organized by James, which nearly ruined the work of Paul.

The other writings of the New Testament are post-apostolic productions and exhibit the various phases of a unionistic movement, which resulted in the formation of the orthodox church of the second and third centuries. The Acts of the Apostles is a Catholic Irenicon which harmonizes Jewish and Gentile Christianity by liberalizing Peter and contracting or Judaizing Paul, and concealing the difference between them; and though probably based on an earlier narrative of Luke, it was not put into its present shape before the close of the first century. The canonical Gospels, whatever may have been the earlier records on which they are based, are likewise post-apostolic, and hence untrustworthy as historical narratives. The Gospel of John is a purely ideal composition of some unknown Gnostic or mystic of profound religious genius, who dealt with the historic Jesus as freely as Plato in his Dialogues dealt with Socrates, and who completed with consummate literary skill this unifying process in the age of Hadrian, certainly not before the third decade of the second century. Baur brought it down as late as 170; Hilgenfeld put it further back to 140, Keim to 130, Renan to the age of Hadrian.

Thus the whole literature of the New Testament is represented as the living growth of a century, as a collection of polemical and irenical tracts of the apostolic and post-apostolic ages. Instead of contemporaneous, reliable history we have a series of intellectual movements and literary fictions. Divine revelation gives way to subjective visions and delusions, inspiration is replaced by development, truth by a mixture of truth and error. The apostolic literature is put on a par with the controversial literature of the Nicene age, which resulted in the Nicene orthodoxy, or with the literature of the Reformation period, which led to the formation of the Protestant system of doctrine.

History never repeats itself, yet the same laws and tendencies reappear in ever-changing forms. This modern criticism is a remarkable renewal of the views held by heretical schools in the second century. The Ebionite author of the pseudo-Clementine Homilies and the Gnostic Marcion likewise assumed an irreconcilable antagonism between Jewish and Gentile Christianity, with this difference, that the former opposed Paul as the arch-heretic and defamer of Peter, while Marcion (about 140) regarded Paul as the only true apostle, and the older apostles as Jewish perverters of Christianity; consequently he rejected the whole Old Testament and such books of the New Testament as he considered Judaizing, retaining in his canon only a mutilated Gospel of Luke and ton of the Pauline Epistles (excluding the Pastoral Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews). In the eyes of modern criticism these wild heretics are better historians of the apostolic age than the author of the Acts of the Apostles.

The Gnostic heresy, with all its destructive tendency, had an important mission as a propelling force in the ancient church and left its effects upon patristic theology. So also this modern gnosticism must be allowed to have done great service to biblical and historical learning by removing old prejudices, opening new avenues of thought, bringing to light the immense fermentation of the first century, stimulating research, and compelling an entire scientific reconstruction of the history of the origin of Christianity and the church. The result will be a deeper and fuller knowledge, not to the weakening but to the strengthening of our faith.


There is considerable difference among the scholars of this higher criticism, and while some pupils of Baur (e.g. Strauss, Volkmar) have gone even beyond his positions, others make concessions to the traditional views. A most important change took place in Baur’s own mind as regards the conversion of Paul, which he confessed at last, shortly before his death (1860), to be to him an insolvable psychological problem amounting to a miracle. Ritschl, Holtzmann, Lipsius, Pfleiderer, and especially Reuss, Weizsäcker, and Keim (who are as free from orthodox prejudices as the most advanced critics) have modified and corrected many of the extreme views of the Tübingen school. Even Hilgenfeld, with all his zeal for the
|Fortschrittstheologie| and against the |Rückschrittstheologie,| admits seven instead of four Pauline Epistles as genuine, assigns an earlier date to the Synoptical Gospels and the Epistle to the Hebrews (which he supposes to have been written by Apollos before 70), and says: |It cannot be denied that Baur’s criticism went beyond the bounds of moderation and inflicted too deep wounds on the faith of the church| (Hist. Krit. Einleitung in das N. T.1875, p.197). Renan admits nine Pauline Epistles, the essential genuineness of the Acts, and even the, narrative portions of John, while he rejects the discourses as pretentious, inflated, metaphysical, obscure, and tiresome! (See his last discussion of the subject in L’église chrétienne, ch. I-V. pp.45 sqq.) Matthew Arnold and other critics reverse the proposition and accept the discourses as the sublimest of all human compositions, full of |heavenly glories| (himmlische Herrlichkeiten, to use an expression of Keim, who, however, rejects the fourth Gospel altogether). Schenkel (in his Christusbild der Apostel, 1879) considerably moderates the antagonism between Petrinism and Paulinism, and confesses (Preface, p. xi.) that in the progress of his investigations he has been |forced to the conviction that the Acts of the Apostles is a more trustworthy source of information than is commonly allowed on the part of the modern criticism; that older documents worthy of credit, besides the well known We-source (Wirquelle) are contained in it; and that the Paulinist who composed it has not intentionally distorted the facts, but only placed them in the light in which they appeared to him and must have appeared to him from the time and circumstances under which he wrote. He has not, in my opinion, artificially brought upon the stage either a Paulinized Peter, or a Petrinized Paul, in order to mislead his readers, but has portrayed the two apostles just as he actually conceived of them on the basis of his incomplete information.| Keim, in his last work (Aus dem Urchristenthum, 1878, a year before his death), has come to a similar conclusion, and proves (in a critical essay on the Apostelkonvent, pp.64-89) in opposition to Baur, Schwegler, and Zeller, yet from the same standpoint of liberal criticism, and allowing later additions, the substantial harmony between the Acts and the Epistle to the Galatians as regards the apostolic conference and concordat of Jerusalem. Ewald always pursued his own way and equalled Baur in bold and arbitrary criticism, but violently opposed him and defended the Acts and the Gospel of John.

To these German voices we may add the testimony of Matthew Arnold, one of the boldest and broadest of the broad-school divines and critics, who with all his admiration for Baur represents him as an |unsafe guide,| and protests against his assumption of a bitter hatred of Paul and the pillar-apostles as entirely inconsistent with the conceded religious greatness of Paul and with the nearness of the pillar-apostles to Jesus (God and the Bible, 1875, Preface, vii-xii). As to the fourth Gospel, which is now the most burning spot of this burning controversy, the same author, after viewing it from without and from within, comes to the conclusion that it is, |no fancy-piece, but a serious and invaluable document, full of incidents given by tradition and genuine ‘sayings of the Lord’ |(p.370), and that |after the most free criticism has been fairly and strictly applied,… there is yet left an authentic residue comprising all the profoundest, most important, and most beautiful things in the fourth Gospel| (p.372 sq.).

The Positive School.

While there are signs of disintegration in the ranks of destructive criticism, the historic truth and genuineness of the New Testament writings have found learned and able defenders from different standpoints, such as Neander, Ullmann, C. F. Schmid (the colleague of Baur in Tübingen), Rothe, Dorner, Ebrard, Lechler, Lange, Thiersch, Wieseler, Hofmann (of Erlangen), Luthardt, Christlieb, Beyschlag, Uhlhorn, Weiss, Godet, Edm. de Pressensé.

The English and American mind also has fairly begun to grapple manfully and successfully, with these questions in such scholars as Lightfoot, Plumptre, Westcott, Sanday, Farrar, G. P. Fisher, Ezra Abbot (on the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 1880). English and American theology is not likely to be extensively demoralized by these hypercritical speculations of the Continent. It has a firmer foothold in an active church life and the convictions and affections of the people. The German and French mind, like the Athenian, is always bent upon telling and hearing something new, while the Anglo-American mind cares more for what is true, whether it be old or new. And the truth must ultimately prevail.

St. Paul’s Testimony to Historical Christianity.

Fortunately even the most exacting school of modern criticism leaves us a fixed fulcrum from which we can argue the truth of Christianity, namely, the four Pauline Epistles to the Galatians, Romans, and Corinthians, which are pronounced to be unquestionably genuine and made the Archimedean point of assault upon the other parts of the New Testament. We propose to confine ourselves to them. They are of the utmost historical as well as doctrinal importance; they represent the first Christian generation, and were written between 54 and 58, that is within a quarter of the century after the crucifixion, when the older apostles and most of the principal eye-witnesses of the life of Christ were still alive. The writer himself was a contemporary of Christ; he lived in Jerusalem at the time of the great events on which Christianity rests; he was intimate with the Sanhedrin and the murderers of Christ; he was not blinded by favorable prejudice, but was a violent persecutor, who had every motive to justify his hostility; and after his radical conversion (a.d.37) he associated with the original disciples and could learn their personal experience from their own lips (Gal.1:18; 2:1-11).

Now in these admitted documents of the best educated of the apostles we have the clearest evidence of all the great events and truths of primitive Christianity, and a satisfactory answer to the chief objections and difficulties of modern skepticism.

They prove

1. The leading facts in the life of Christ, his divine mission, his birth from a woman, of the royal house of David, his holy life and example, his betrayal, passion, and death for the sins of the world, his resurrection on the third day, his repeated manifestations to the disciples, his ascension and exaltation to the right hand of God, whence he will return to judge mankind, the adoration of Christ as the Messiah, the Lord and Saviour from sin, the eternal Son of God; also the election of the Twelve, the institution of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the mission of the Holy Spirit, the founding of the church. Paul frequently alludes to these facts, especially the crucifixion and resurrection, not in the way of a detailed narrative, but incidentally and in connection with doctrinal expositions arid exhortations as addressed to men already familiar with them from oral preaching and instruction. Comp. Gal 3:13; 4:4-6; 6:14; Rom.1:3; 4:24, 25; 5:8-21; 6:3-10; 8:3-11, 26, 39; 9:5; 10:6, 7; 14:5; 15:3 1 Cor.1:23; 2:2, 12; 5:7; 6:14; 10:16; 11:23-26; 15:3-8, 45-49; 2 Cor.5:21.

2. Paul’s own conversion and call to the apostleship by the personal appearance to him of the exalted Redeemer from heaven. Gal.1:1, 15, 16; 1 Cor.9:1; 15:8.

3. The origin and rapid progress of the Christian church in all parts of the Roman empire, from Jerusalem to Antioch and Rome, in Judaea, in Syria, in Asia Minor, in Macedonia and Achaia. The faith of the Roman church, he says, was known |throughout the world,| and |in every place |there were worshippers of Jesus as their Lord. And these little churches maintained a lively and active intercourse with each other, and though founded by different teachers and distracted by differences of opinion and practice, they worshipped the same divine Lord, and formed one brotherhood of believers. Gal.1:2, 22; 2:1, 11; Rom.1:8; 10:18; 16:26; 1 Cor.1:12; 8:1; 16:19, etc.

4. The presence of miraculous powers in the church at that time. Paul himself wrought the signs and mighty deeds of an apostle. Rom.15:18, 19; 1 Cor.2:4; 9:2; 2 Cor.12:12. He lays, however, no great stress on the outer sensible miracles, and makes more account of the inner moral miracles and the constant manifestations of the power of the Holy Spirit in regenerating and sanctifying sinful men in an utterly corrupt state of society.1 Cor.12 to 14; 6:9-11; Gal.5:16-26; Rom.6 and 8.

5. The existence of much earnest controversy in these young churches, not indeed about the great facts on which their faith was based, and which were fully admitted on both sides, but about doctrinal and ritual inferences from these facts, especially the question of the continued obligation of circumcision and the Mosaic law, and the personal question of the apostolic authority of Paul. The Judaizers maintained the superior claims of the older apostles and charged him with a radical departure from the venerable religion of their fathers; while Paul used against them the argument that the expiatory death of Christ and his resurrection were needless and useless if justification came from the law. Gal.2:21; 5:2-4.

6. The essential doctrinal and spiritual harmony of Paul with the elder apostles, notwithstanding their differences of standpoint and field of labor. Here the testimony of the Epistle to the Galatians 2:1-10, which is the very bulwark of the skeptical school, bears strongly against it. For Paul expressly states that the, |pillar|-apostles of the circumcision, James, Peter, and John, at the conference in Jerusalem a.d.50, approved the gospel he had been preaching during the preceding fourteen years; that they |imparted nothing| to him, gave him no new instruction, imposed on him no now terms, nor burden of any kind, but that, on the contrary, they recognized the grace of God in him and his special mission to the Gentiles, and gave him and Barnabas |the right hands of fellowship| in token of their brotherhood and fidelity. He makes a clear and sharp distinction between the apostles and |the false brethren privily brought in, who came to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage,| and to whom he would not yield, |no, not for an hour.| The hardest words he has for the Jewish apostles are epithets of honor; he calls them, the pillars of the church, |the men in high repute| (hoi stuloi, hoi dokountes, Gal.2:6, 9); while he considered himself in sincere humility |the least of the apostles,| because he persecuted the church of God (1 Cor.15:9).

This statement of Paul makes it simply impossible and absurd to suppose (with Baur, Schwegler, Zeller, and Renan) that John should have so contradicted and stultified himself as to attack, in the Apocalypse, the same Paul whom he had recognized as a brother during his life, as a false apostle and chief of the synagogue of Satan after his death. Such a reckless and monstrous assertion turns either Paul or John into a liar. The antinomian and antichristian heretics of the Apocalypse who plunged into all sorts of moral and ceremonial pollutions (Apoc.2:14, 15) would have been condemned by Paul as much as by John; yea, he himself, in his parting address to the Ephesian elders, had prophetically foreannounced and described such teachers as |grievous wolves| that would after his departure enter in among them or rise from the midst of them, not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29, 30). On the question of fornication he was in entire harmony with the teaching of the Apocalypse (1 Cor.3:15, 16; 6:15-20); and as to the question of eating meat offered in sacrifice to idols Gr215(rA fi8coX6zvra), though he regarded it as a thing indifferent in itself, considering the vanity of idols, yet he condemned it whenever it gave offence to the weak consciences of the more scrupulous Jewish converts (1 Cor.8:7-13; 10:23-33; Rom.14:2, 21); and this was in accord with the decree of the Apostolic Council (Acts 15:29).

7. Paul’s collision with Peter at Antioch, Gal.2:11-14. which is made the very bulwark of the Tübingen theory, proves the very reverse. For it was not a difference in principle and doctrine; on the contrary, Paul expressly asserts that Peter at first freely and habitually (mark the imperfect sunesthien, Gal.2:12) associated with the Gentile converts as brethren in Christ, but was intimidated by emissaries from the bigoted Jewish converts in Jerusalem and acted against his better conviction which he had entertained ever since the vision at Joppa (Acts 10:10-16), and which he had so boldly confessed at the Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:7-11) and carried out in Antioch. We have here the same impulsive, impressible, changeable disciple, the first to confess and the first to deny his Master, yet quickly returning to him in bitter repentance and sincere humility. It is for this inconsistency of conduct, which Paul called by the strong term of dissimulation or hypocrisy, that he, in his uncompromising zeal for the great principle of Christian liberty, reproved him publicly before the church. A public wrong had to be publicly rectified. According to the Tübingen hypothesis the hypocrisy would have been in the very opposite conduct of Peter. The silent submission of Peter on the occasion proves his regard for his younger colleague, and speaks as much to his praise as his weakness to his blame. That the alienation was only temporary and did not break up their fraternal relation is apparent from the respectful though frank manner in which, several years after the occurrence, they allude to each other as fellow apostles, Comp. Gal.1:18, 19; 2:8, 9; 1 Cor.9:5; 2 Pet.3:15, 16, and from the fact that Mark and Silas were connecting links between them and alternately served them both.

The Epistle to the Galatians then furnishes the proper solution of the difficulty, and essentially confirms the account of the Acts. It proves the harmony as well as the difference between Paul and the older apostles. It explodes the hypothesis that they stood related to each other like the Marcionites and Ebionites in the second century. These were the descendants of the heretics of the apostolic age, of the |false brethren insidiously brought in| (Pseudadelphoi pareisaktoi, Gal.2:4); while the true apostles recognized and continued to recognize the same grace of God which wrought effectually through Peter for the conversion of the Jews, and through Paul for the conversion of the Gentiles. That the Judaizers should have appealed to the Jewish apostles, and the antinomian Gnostics to Paul, as their authority, is not more surprising than the appeal of the modern rationalists to Luther and the Reformation.

We have thus discussed at the outset, and at some length, the fundamental difference of the two standpoints from which the history of the apostolic church is now viewed, and have vindicated our own general position in this controversy.

It is not to be supposed that all the obscure points have already been satisfactorily cleared up, or ever will be solved beyond the possibility of dispute. There must be some room left for faith in that God who has revealed himself clearly enough in nature and in history to strengthen our faith, and who is concealed enough to try our faith. Certain interstellar spaces will always be vacant in the firmament of the apostolic age that men may gaze all the more intensely at the bright stars, before which the post-apostolic books disappear like torches. A careful study of the ecclesiastical writers of the second and third centuries, and especially of the numerous Apocryphal Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses, leaves on the mind a strong impression of the immeasurable superiority of the New Testament in purity and truthfulness, simplicity and majesty; and this superiority points to a special agency of the Spirit of God, without which that book of books is an inexplicable mystery.

Section 22. Chronology of the Apostolic Age.

See the works quoted in § 20 p.193, 194, especially Wieseler. Comp. also, Hackett on Acts, pp.22 to 30 (third ed.).

The chronology of the apostolic age is partly certain, at least within a few years, partly conjectural: certain as to the principal events from a.d.30 to 70, conjectural as to intervening points and the last thirty years of the first century. The sources are the New Testament (especially the Acts and the Pauline Epistles), Josephus, and the Roman historians. Josephus ( b.37, d.103) is especially valuable here, as he wrote the Jewish history down to the destruction of Jerusalem.

The following dates are more or less certain and accepted by most historians:

1. The founding of the Christian Church on the feast of Pentecost in May a.d.30. This is on the assumption that Christ was born b.c.4 or 5, and was crucified in April a.d.30, at an age of thirty-three.

2. The death of King Herod Agrippa I. a.d.44 (according to Josephus). This settles the date of the preceding martyrdom of James the elder, Peter’s imprisonment and release Acts 12:2, 23).

3. The Apostolic Council in Jerusalem, a.d.50 (Acts 15:1 sqq.; Gal.2:1-10). This date is ascertained by reckoning backwards to Paul’s conversion, and forward to the Caesarean captivity. Paul was probably converted in 37, and |fourteen years| elapsed from that event to the Council. But chronologists differ on the year of Paul’s conversion, between 31 and 40.

4. The dates of the Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans, between 56 and 58. The date of the Epistle to the Romans can be fixed almost to the month from its own indications combined with the statements of the Acts. It was written before the apostle had been in Rome, but when he was on the point of departure for Jerusalem and Rome on the way to Spain, after having finished his collections in Macedonia and Achaia for the poor brethren in Judaea; and he sent the epistle through Phebe, a deaconess of the congregation in the eastern port of Corinth, where he was at that time. These indications point clearly to the spring of the year 58, for in that year he was taken prisoner in Jerusalem and carried to Caesarea.

5. Paul’s captivity in Caesarea, a.d.58 to 60, during the procuratorship of Felix and Festus, who changed places in 60 or 61, probably in 60. This important date we can ascertain by combination from several passages in Josephus, and Tacitus. It enables us at the same time, by reckoning backward, to fix some preceding events in the life of the apostle.

6. Paul’s first captivity in Rome, a.d.61 to 63. This follows from the former date in connection with the statement in Acts 28:30.

7. The Epistles of the Roman captivity, Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, a.d.61-63.

8. The Neronian persecution, a.d.64 (the tenth year of Nero, according to Tacitus). The martyrdom of Paul and Peter occurred either then, or (according to tradition) a few years later. The question depends on the second Roman captivity of Paul.

9. The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, a.d.70 (according to Josephus and Tacitus).

10. The death of John after the accession of Trajan, a.d.98 (according to general ecclesiastical tradition).

The dates of the Synoptical Gospels, the Acts, the Pastoral Epistles, the Hebrews, and the Epistles of Peter, James, and Jude cannot be accurately ascertained except that they were composed before the destruction of Jerusalem, mostly between 60 and 70. The writings of John were written after that date and towards the close of the first century, except the Apocalypse, which some of the best scholars, from internal indications assign to the year 68 or 69, between the death of Nero and the destruction of Jerusalem.

The details are given in the following table:

Chronological Table of the Apostolic Age.


Scripture History

Events In Palestine

Events In The Roman Empire


b.c.5 or 4

Birth of Christ

Death of Herod I. or the Great (a.u.750, or b.c.4).

Augustus Emperor of Rome, B. C.27-a.d.14.


His visit to the Temple at twelve years of age

Cyrenius (Quirinius), Governor of Syria (for the second time). The registration, or |taxing.| Acts 5:37. Revolt of |Judas of Galilee.| Coponius Procurator of Judaea. Marcus Ambivius Procurator.

Tiberius colleague of Augustus


Annius Rufus Procurator (about)


Valerius Gratus Procurator

Augustus dies. Tiberius sole emperor (14-37)


Pontius Pilate Procurator from a.d.26



Christ’s Baptism.

Caiaphas high priest from a.d.26


His three years’ ministry.


His Crucifixion, Resurrection (April), and Ascension (May).

Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Birthday of the Church (May). Acts, ch.2.

Marcellus Procurator. Pilate sent to Rome by the Prefect of Syria.



Martyrdom of Stephen. Acts, ch 7. Peter and John in Samaria. Acts, ch.8. Conversion of Saul. Acts, ch.9, comp.22 and 26, and Gal.1:16; 1 Cor.15:8.

Maryllus appointed Hipparch.

Herod Agrippa I King of Judea and Samaria

Caligula Emperor (37-41)



Saul’s escape from Damascus, and first visit to Jerusalem (after his conversion). Gal.1:18. Admission of Cornelius into the Church. Acts, chs.10 and 11.

Philo at Rome


Claudius Emperor (41-54).



Persecution of the Church in Jerusalem. James the Elder, the son of Zebedee, beheaded. Peter imprisoned and delivered. He leaves Palestine. Acts 12:2-23. Paul’s second visit to Jerusalem, with alms from the church at Antioch. Acts 11:30.

Herod Agrippa I dies at Caesarea

Conquest of Britain, 43-51.



Paul is set apart as an apostle. Acts 13:2.

Cuspius Fadus Procurator of Judea. Tiberius Alexander Procurator


Ventidius Cumanus Procurator



Paul’s first missionary journey with Barnabas and Mark, Cyprus, Pisidia, Lystra, Derbe. Return to Antioch. Acts chs.13 and 14. The Epistle of James (variously dated from 44 to 62). The apostolic council of Jerusalem. Conflict between Jewish and Gentile Christianity. Paul’s third visit to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus. Peaceful adjustment of the quesiton of circumcision. Acts, ch.15 and Gal.2:1-10. Temporary collision with Peter and Barnabas at Antioch. Gal.2:11-14.


Paul sets out on his second missionary journey from Antioch to Asia Minor (Cilicia, Lycaonia, Galatia, Troas) and Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Beraea, Athens, Corinth). The Christianization of Europe. Acts, 15:36 to 18:22.

Antonius Felix Procurator



Paul at Corinth a year and a half. Writes First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians from Corinth.

The Tetrarchy of Trachonitis given to Herod Agrippa II (the last of the Herodian family).

Decree of Claudius banishing Jews from Rome.



Paul’s, fourth visit to Jerusalem (spring). Short stay at Antioch. Enters (autumn, 54) on his third missionary journey, occupying about four years. Paul at Ephesus, 54 to 57. Acts, ch.19.

Nero Emperor (54-68).


Revolt of the Sicarii, headed by an Egyptian (Acts, 21:38).



Paul writes to the Galatians (?) from Ephesus, or from some part of Greece on his journey to Corinth (57). Acts, ch.20.


Paul writes First Epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus; starts for Macedonia and writes Second Epistle to the Corinthians from Macedonia.


Epistle to the Romans from Corinth, where he spent three months. He visits (the fifth time) Jerusalem; is apprehended, brought before Felix, and imprisoned at Caesarea for two years. Acts, 21:37 to 26:31.


Paul appears before Festus, appeals to Caesar, is sent to Italy (in autumn). Shipwreck at Malta. Acts, chs.27 and 28.

Porcius Festus Procurator



Arrives a prisoner at Rome (in spring).

Embassy from Jerusalem to Rome respecting the wall.

War with Boadicea in Britian



Paul writes to the Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, from his prison in Rome.

Apollonius of Tyana at the Olympic games



Martyrdom of James, the Lord’s brother, at Jerusalem (according to Josephus, or 69 according to Hegesippus).

Josephus at Rome



Paul is supposed to have been released. Acts, 28:30

Albinus Procurator



Epistle to the Hebrews, written from Italy after the release of Timothy (ch.13:23).

Gessius Florus Procurator

Great fire at Rome (in July); first imperial persecution of the Christians (martyrdom of Peter and Paul)



First Epistle of Peter. Epistle of Jude (?). Second Epistle of Peter.


The Synoptical Gospels and Acts.

Seneca and Lucan put to death by Nero


Beginning of the great war between the Romans and the Jews



Paul visits Crete and Macedonia, and writes First Epistle to Timothy, and Epistle to Titus (?). Paul writes Second Epistle to Timothy (?).

Vespasian General in Palestine



Paul’s and Peter’s martyrdom in Rome (?).


The Revelation of John (?).

Galba Emperor


Otho and Vitellius Emperors


Vespasian Emperor


Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus


(Josephus released.)

Coliseum begun


Destruction of Pompeii and Heraculaneum


Titus Emperor



John writes his Gospel and Epistles (?).

Domitian Emperor



John writes the Revelation (?).

Persecution of Christians


Nerva Emperor


Death of Apollonius



Death of John.

Trajan Emperor


Section 23. The Miracle of Pentecost and the Birthday of the Christian

Church. a.d.30.

Kai eplesthesan pantes pneumatos hagiou, kai erxanto lalein heterais glossais, Kathos to pneuma edidou apophthengesthai autois — Acts 2:4

|The first Pentecost which the disciples celebrated after the ascension of our Saviour, is, next to the appearance of the Son of God on earth, the most significant event. It is the starting-point of the apostolic church and of that new spiritual life in humanity which proceeded from Him, and which since has been spreading and working, and will continue to work until the whole humanity is transformed into the image of Christ.| — Neander (Geschichte der Pflanzung und Leitung der christlichen Kirche durch die Apostel., I.3, 4).


I. Sources: Acts 2:1-47. Comp.1 Cor.12 and 14. See Commentaries on the Acts by Olshausen, De Wette, Meyer, Lechler, Hackett, Alexander, Gloag, Alford, Wordsworth, Plumptre Jacobson, Howson and Spence, etc., and on the Corinthians by Billroth, Kling, Stanley, Heinrici, Edwards, Godet, Ellicott.

II. Special treatises o the Pentecostal Miracle and the Gift of Tongues (glossolalia) by Herder (Die Gabe der Sprachen, Riga, 1794) Hase (in Winer’s |Zeitschrift für wissenschaftl. Theol.| 1827), Bleek in |Studien und Kritiken| for 1829 and 1830), Baur in the |Tübinger Zeitschrift für Theol.| for 1830 and 1831, and in the |Studien und Krit.| 1838), Schneckenburger (in his Beiträge zur Einleitung in das N. T.1832), Bäumlein (1834), Dav. Schulz (1836), Zinsler (1847), Zeller (Acts of the Apostles, I.171, of the E. translation by J. Dare), Böhm (Irvingite,Reden mit Zungen und Weissagen, Berlin, 1848), Rossteuscher (Irvingite, Gabe der Sprachen im apost. Zeitalter, Marburg, 1855), Ad. Hilgenfeld (Glossolalie, Leipz.1850), Maier (Glossolalie des apost. Zeitalters, 1855), Wieseler (in |Stud. u. Krit.| 1838 and 1860), Schenkel (art. Zungenreden in his |Bibel-Lex.| V.732), Van Hengel (De gave der talen, Leiden, 1864), Plumptre (art. Gift of Tongues in Smith’s, |B. D.| IV.3305, Am. ed.), Delitzsch (art. Pfingsten in Riehm’s |H. B. A.| 1880, p.1184); K. Schmidt (in Herzog, 2d ed., xvii., 570 sqq.).

Comp. also Neander (I.1), Lange (II.13), Ewald (VI.106), Thiersch (p.65, 3d ed.), Schaff (191 and 469), Farrar (St. Paul, ch. V. vol. I.83).

The ascension of Christ to heaven was followed ten days afterwards by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon earth and the birth of the Christian Church. The Pentecostal event was the necessary result of the Passover event. It could never have taken place without the preceding resurrection and ascension. It was the first act of the mediatorial reign of the exalted Redeemer in heaven, and the beginning of an unbroken series of manifestations in fulfilment of his promise to be with his people |alway, even unto the end of the world.| For his ascension was only a withdrawal of his visible local presence, and the beginning of his spiritual omnipresence in the church which is |his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.| The Easter miracle and the Pentecostal miracle are continued and verified by the daily moral miracles of regeneration and sanctification throughout Christendom.

We have but one authentic account of that epoch-making event, in the second chapter of Acts, but in the parting addresses of our Lord to his disciples the promise of the Paraclete who should lead them into the whole truth is very prominent, and the entire history of the apostolic church is illuminated and heated by the Pentecostal fire.

Pentecost, i.e. the fiftieth day after the Passover-Sabbath, was a feast of joy and gladness, in the loveliest season of the year, and attracted a very large number of visitors to Jerusalem from foreign lands. It was one of the three great annual festivals of the Jews in which all the males were required to appear before the Lord. Passover was the first, and the feast of Tabernacles the third. Pentecost lasted one day, but the foreign Jews, after the period of the captivity, prolonged it to two days. It was the |feast of harvest,| or |of the first fruits,| and also (according to rabbinical tradition) the anniversary celebration of the Sinaitic legislation, which is supposed to have taken place on the fiftieth day after the Exodus from the land of bondage.

This festival was admirably adapted for the opening event in the history of the apostolic church. It pointed typically to the first Christian harvest, and the establishment of the new theocracy in Christ; as the sacrifice of the paschal lamb and the exodus from Egypt foreshadowed the redemption of the world by the crucifixion of the Lamb of God. On no other day could the effusion of the Spirit of the exalted Redeemer produce such rich results and become at once so widely known. We may trace to this day not only the origin of the mother church at Jerusalem, but also the conversion of visitors from other cities, as Damascus, Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome, who on their return would carry the glad tidings to their distant homes. For the strangers enumerated by Luke as witnesses of the great event, represented nearly all the countries in which Christianity was planted by the labors of the apostles.

The Pentecost in the year of the Resurrection was the last Jewish (i.e. typical) and the first Christian Pentecost. It became the spiritual harvest feast of redemption from sin, and the birthday of the visible kingdom of Christ on earth. It marks the beginning of the dispensation of the Spirit, the third era in the history of the revelation of the triune God. On this day the Holy Spirit, who had hitherto wrought only sporadically and transiently, took up his permanent abode in mankind as the Spirit of truth and holiness, with the fulness of saving grace, to apply that grace thenceforth to believers, and to reveal and glorify Christ in their hearts, as Christ had revealed and glorified the Father.

While the apostles and disciples, about one hundred and twenty (ten times twelve) in number, no doubt mostly Galilaeans, were assembled before the morning devotions of the festal day, and were waiting in prayer for the fulfilment of the promise, the exalted Saviour sent from his heavenly throne the Holy Spirit upon them, and founded his church upon earth. The Sinaitic legislation was accompanied by |thunder and lightning, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud, and all the people that was in the camp trembled.| The church of the new covenant war, ushered into existence with startling signs which filled the spectators with wonder and fear. It is quite natural, as Neander remarks, that |the greatest miracle in the inner life of mankind should have been accompanied by extraordinary outward phenomena as sensible indications of its presence.| A supernatural sound resembling that of a rushing mighty wind, came down from heaven and filled the whole house in which they were assembled; and tongues like flames of fire, distributed themselves among them, alighting for a while on each head. It is not said that these phenomena were really wind and fire, they are only compared to these elements, as the form which the Holy Spirit assumed at the baptism of Christ is compared to a dove. The tongues of flame were gleaming, but neither burning nor consuming; they appeared and disappeared like electric sparks or meteoric flashes. But these audible and visible signs were appropriate symbols of the purifying, enlightening, and quickening power of the Divine Spirit, and announced a new spiritual creation. The form of tongues referred to the glossolalia, and the apostolic eloquence as a gift of inspiration.

|And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.| This is the real inward miracle, the main fact, the central idea of the Pentecostal narrative. To the apostles it was their baptism, confirmation, and ordination, all in one, for they received no other. To them it was the great inspiration which enabled them hereafter to be authoritative teachers of the gospel by tongue and pen. Not that it superseded subsequent growth in knowledge, or special revelations on particular points (as Peter receive at Joppa, and Paul on several occasions); but they were endowed with such an understanding of Christ’s words and plan of salvation as they never had before. What was dark and mysterious became now clear and full of meaning to them. The Spirit revealed to them the person and work of the Redeemer in the light of his resurrection and exaltation, and took full possession of their mind and heart. They were raised, as it were, to the mount of transfiguration, and saw Moses and Elijah and Jesus above them, face to face, swimming in heavenly light. They had now but one desire to gratify, but one object to live for, namely, to be witnesses of Christ and instruments of the salvation of their fellow-men, that they too might become partakers of their |inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven.|

But the communication of the Holy Spirit was not confined to the Twelve. It extended to the brethren of the Lord, the mother of Jesus, the pious women who had attended his ministry, and the whole brotherhood of a hundred and twenty souls who were assembled in that chamber. They were |all| filled with the Spirit, and all spoke with tongues; and Peter saw in the event the promised outpouring of the Spirit upon |all flesh,| sons and daughters, young men and old men, servants and handmaidens. It is characteristic that in this spring season of the church the women were sitting with the men, not in a separate court as in the temple, nor divided by a partition as in the synagogue and the decayed churches of the East to this day, but in the same room as equal sharers in the spiritual blessings. The beginning was a prophetic anticipation of the end, and a manifestation of the universal priesthood and brotherhood of believers in Christ, in whom all are one, whether Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female.

This new spiritual life, illuminated, controlled, and directed by the Holy Spirit, manifested itself first in the speaking with tongues towards God, and then in the prophetic testimony towards the people. The former consisted of rapturous prayers and anthems of praise, the latter of sober teaching and exhortation. From the Mount of Transfiguration the disciples, like their Master, descended to the valley below to heal the sick and to call sinners to repentance.

The mysterious gift of tongues, or glossolalia, appears here for the first time, but became, with other extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, a frequent phenomenon in the apostolic churches, especially at Corinth, and is fully described by Paul. The distribution of the flaming tongues to each of the disciples caused the speaking with tongues. A new experience expresses itself always in appropriate language. The supernatural experience of the disciples broke through the confines of ordinary speech and burst out in ecstatic language of praise and thanksgiving to God for the great works he did among them. It was the Spirit himself who gave them utterance and played on their tongues, as on new tuned harps, unearthly melodies of praise. The glossolalia was here, as in all cases where it is mentioned, an act of worship and adoration, not an act of teaching and instruction, which followed afterwards in the sermon of Peter. It was the first Te Deum of the new-born church. It expressed itself in unusual, poetic, dithyrambic style and with a peculiar musical intonation. It was intelligible only to those who were in sympathy with the speaker; while unbelievers scoffingly ascribed it to madness or excess of wine. Nevertheless it served as a significant sign to all and arrested their attention to the presence of a supernatural power.

So far we may say that the Pentecostal glossolalia was the same as that in the household of Cornelius in Caesarea after his conversion, which may be called a Gentile Pentecost, as that of the twelve disciples of John the Baptist at Ephesus, where it appears in connection with prophesying, and as that in the Christian congregation at Corinth.

But at its first appearance the speaking with tongues differed in its effect upon the hearers by coming home to them at once in their own mother-tongues; while in Corinth it required an interpretation to be understood. The foreign spectators, at least a number of them, believed that the unlettered Galilaeans spoke intelligibly in the different dialects represented on the occasion. We must therefore suppose either that the speakers themselves, were endowed, at least temporarily, and for the particular purpose of proving their divine mission, with the gift of foreign languages not learned by them before, or that the Holy Spirit who distributed the tongues acted also as interpreter of the tongues, and applied the utterances of the speakers to the susceptible among the hearers.

The former is the most natural interpretation of Luke’s language. Nevertheless I suggest the other alternative as preferable, for the following reasons: 1. The temporary endowment with a supernatural knowledge of foreign languages involves nearly all the difficulties of a permanent endowment, which is now generally abandoned, as going far beyond the data of the New Testament and known facts of the early spread of the gospel.2. The speaking with tongues began before the spectators arrived, that is before there was any motive for the employment of foreign languages. 3. The intervening agency of the Spirit harmonizes the three accounts of Luke, and Luke and Paul, or the Pentecostal and the Corinthian glossolalia; the only difference remaining is that in Corinth the interpretation of tongues was made by men in audible speech, in Jerusalem by the Holy Spirit in inward illumination and application.4. The Holy Spirit was certainly at work among the hearers as well as the speakers, and brought about the conversion of three thousand on that memorable day. If he applied and made effective the sermon of Peter, why not also the preceding doxologies and benedictions? 5. Peter makes no allusion to foreign languages, nor does the prophecy of Joel which he quotes.6. This view best explains the opposite effect upon the spectators. They did by no means all understand the miracle, but the mockers, like those at Corinth, thought the disciples were out of their right mind and talked not intelligible words in their native dialects, but unintelligible nonsense. The speaking in a foreign language could not have been a proof of drunkenness. It may be objected to this view that it implies a mistake on the part of the hearers who traced the use of their mother-tongues directly to the speakers; but the mistake referred not to the fact itself, but only to the mode. It was the same Spirit who inspired the tongues of the speakers and the hearts of the susceptible hearers, and raised both above the ordinary level of consciousness.

Whichever view we take of this peculiar feature of the Pentecostal glossolalia, in this diversified application to the cosmopolitan multitude of spectators, it was a symbolical anticipation and prophetic announcement of the universalness of the Christian religion, which was to be proclaimed in all the languages of the earth and to unite all nations in one kingdom of Christ. The humility and love of the church united what the pride and hatred of Babel had scattered. In this sense we may say that the Pentecostal harmony of tongues was the counterpart of the BabyIonian confusion of tongues..

The speaking with tongues was followed by the sermon of Peter; the act of devotion, by an act of teaching; the rapturous language of the soul in converse with God, by the sober words of ordinary self-possession for the benefit of the people.

While the assembled multitude wondered at this miracle with widely various emotions, St. Peter, the Rock-man, appeared in the name of all the disciples, and addressed them with remarkable clearness and force, probably in his own vernacular Aramaic, which would be most familiar to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, possibly in Greek, which would be better understood by the foreign visitors. He humbly condescended to refute the charge of intoxication by reminding them of the early hour of the day, when even drunkards are sober, and explained from the prophecies of Joel and the sixteenth Psalm of David the meaning of the supernatural phenomenon, as the work of that Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Jews had crucified, but who was by word and deed, by his resurrection from the dead, his exaltation to the right hand of God, and the effusion of the Holy Ghost, accredited as the promised Messiah, according to the express prediction of the Scripture. Then he called upon his hearers to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, as the founder and head of the heavenly kingdom, that even they, though they had crucified him, the Lord and the Messiah, might receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost, whose wonderful workings they saw and heard in the disciples.

This was the first independent testimony of the apostles, the first Christian sermon: simple, unadorned, but full of Scripture truth, natural, suitable, pointed, and more effective than any other sermon has been since, though fraught with learning and burning with eloquence. It resulted in the conversion and baptism of three thousand persons, gathered as first-fruits into the garners of the church.

In these first-fruits of the glorified Redeemer, and in this founding of the new economy of Spirit and gospel, instead of the old theocracy of letter and law, the typical meaning of the Jewish Pentecost was gloriously fulfilled. But this birth-day of the Christian church is in its turn only the beginning, the type and pledge, of a still greater spiritual harvest and a universal feast of thanksgiving, when, in the full sense of the prophecy of Joel, the Holy Spirit shall be poured out on all flesh, when all the sons and daughters of men shall walk in his light, and God shall be praised with new tongues of fire for the completion of his wonderful work of redeeming love.


I. Glossolalia. — The Gift of Tongues is the most difficult feature of the Pentecostal miracle. Our only direct source of information is in Acts 2, but the gift itself is mentioned in two other passages, 10:46 and 19:6, in the concluding section of Mark 16 (of disputed genuineness), and fully described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. There can be no doubt as to the existence of that gift in the apostolic age, and if we had only either the account of Pentecost, or only the account of Paul, we would not hesitate to decide as to its nature, but the difficulty is in harmonizing the two.

(1) The terms employed for the strange tongues are |new tongues| (kainai glossai, Mark 16:17, where Christ promises the gift), |other tongues,| differing from ordinary tongues (heterai gl. Acts 2:4, but nowhere else), |kinds| or |diversities of tongues| (gene glosson, 1 Cor.12:28), or simply, |tongues| (glossai,1 Cor.14:22), and in the singular, |tongue| (glossa, 14:2, 13, 19, 27, in which passages the E. V. inserts the interpolation |unknown tongue|). To speak in tongues is called glossaisorglosse lalein(Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6; 1 Cor.14:2, 4, 13, 14, 19, 27). Paul uses also the phrase to |pray with the tongue| (proseuchesthai glosse), as equivalent to |praying and singing with the spirit| (Proseuchesthai andpsallein to pneumati, and as distinct from proseuchesthaiand psallein to noi, 1 Cor.14:14, 15). The plural and the term |diversities| of tongues, as well as the distinction between tongues of |angels| and tongues of |men| (1 Cor.13:1) point to different manifestations (speaking, praying, singing), according to the individuality, education, and mood of the speaker, but not to various foreign languages, which are excluded by Paul’s description.

The term tongue has been differently explained.

(a) Wieseler (and Van Hengel): the organ of speech, used as a passive instrument; speaking with the tongue alone, inarticulately, and in a low whisper. But this does not explain the plural, nor the terms |new| and |other| tongues; the organ of speech remaining the same.

(b) Bleek: rare, provincial, archaic, poetic words, or glosses (whence our |glossary|). But this technical meaning of glossaioccurs only in classical writers (as Aristotle, Plutarch, etc.) and among grammarians, not in Hellenistic Greek, and the interpretation does not suit the singular glossaand glosse lalein, as glossacould only mean a single gloss.

(c) Most commentators: language or dialect (dialektos, comp. Acts 1:19; 2:6, 8; 21:40; 26:14). This is the correct view. |Tongue| is an abridgment for |new tongue| (which was the original term, Mark 16:17). It does not necessarily mean one of the known languages of the earth, but may mean a peculiar handling of the vernacular dialect of the speaker, or a new spiritual language never known before, a language of immediate inspiration in a state of ecstasy. The |tongues| were individual varieties of this language of inspiration.

(2) The glossolalia in the Corinthian church, with which that at Caesarea in Acts 10:46, and that at Ephesus, 19:6, are evidently identical, we know very well from the description of Paul. It occurred in the first glow of enthusiasm after conversion and continued for some time. It was not a speaking in foreign languages, which would have been entirely useless in a devotional meeting of converts, but a speaking in a language differing from all known languages, and required an interpreter to be intelligible to foreigners. It had nothing to do with the spread of the gospel, although it may, like other devotional acts, have become a means of conversion to susceptible unbelievers if such were present. It was an act of self-devotion, an act of thanksgiving, praying, and singing, within the Christian congregation, by individuals who were wholly absorbed in communion with God, and gave utterance to their rapturous feelings in broken, abrupt, rhapsodic, unintelligible words. It was emotional rather than intellectual, the language of the excited imagination, not of cool reflection. It was the language of the spirit (pneuma) or of ecstasy, as distinct from the language of the understanding (nous). We might almost illustrate the difference by a comparison of the style of the Apocalypse which was conceiveden pneumati(Apoc.1:10) with that of the Gospel of John, which was written en noi. The speaker in tongues was in a state of spiritual intoxication, if we may use this term, analogous to the poetic |frenzy| described by Shakespeare and Goethe. His tongue was a lyre on which the divine Spirit played celestial tunes. He was unconscious or only half conscious, and scarcely knew whether he was, |in the body or out of the body.| No one could understand this unpremeditated religious rhapsody unless he was in a similar trance. To an unbelieving outsider it sounded like a barbarous tongue, like the uncertain sound of a trumpet, like the raving of a maniac (1 Cor.14:23), or the incoherent talk of a drunken man (Acts 2:13, 15). |He that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not to men, but to God; for no one understandeth; and in the spirit he speaketh mysteries; but he that prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and encouragement, and comfort. He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church| (1 Cor.14:2-4; comp.26-33).

The Corinthians evidently overrated the glossolalia, as a showy display of divine power; but it was more ornamental than useful, and vanished away with the bridal season of the church. It is a mark of the great wisdom of Paul who was himself a master in the glossolalia (1 Cor.14:18), that he assigned to it a subordinate and transient position, restrained its exercise, demanded an interpretation of it, and gave the preference to the gifts of permanent usefulness in which God displays his goodness and love for the general benefit. Speaking with tongues is good, but prophesying and teaching in intelligible speech for the edification of the congregation is better, and love to God and men in active exercise is best of all (1 Cor.13).

We do not know how long the glossolalia, as thus described by Paul, continued. It passed away gradually with the other extraordinary or strictly supernatural gifts of the apostolic age. It is not mentioned in the Pastoral, nor in the Catholic Epistles. We have but a few allusions to it at the close of the second century. Irenaeus (Adv. Haer.1. v. c.6, § 1) speaks of |many brethren| whom he heard in the church having the gift of prophecy and of speaking in |diverse tongues| (Pantodapais glossais), bringing the hidden things of men (Ta kpuphia ton anthpopon) to light and expounding the mysteries of God (ta musteria tou theou). It is not clear whether by the term |diverse,| which does not elsewhere occur, he means a speaking in foreign languages, or in diversities of tongues altogether peculiar, like those meant by Paul. The latter is more probable. Irenaeus himself had to learn the language of Gaul. Tertullian (Adv. Marc. V.8; comp. De Anima, c.9) obscurely speaks of the spiritual gifts, including the gift of tongues, as being still manifest among the Montanists to whom he belonged. At the time of Chrysostom it had entirely disappeared; at least he accounts for the obscurity of the gift from our ignorance of the fact. From that time on the glossolalia was usually misunderstood as a miraculous and permanent gift of foreign languages for missionary purposes. But the whole history of missions furnishes no clear example of such a gift for such a purpose.

Analogous phenomena, of an inferior kind, and not miraculous, yet serving as illustrations, either by approximation or as counterfeits, reappeared from time to time in seasons of special religious excitement, as among the Camisards and the prophets of the Cevennes in France, among the early Quakers and Methodists, the Mormons, the Readers (|Läsare|) in Sweden in 1841 to 1843, in the Irish revivals of 1859, and especially in the |Catholic Apostolic Church,| commonly called Irvingites, from 1831 to 1833, and even to this day. See Ed. Irving’s articles on Gifts of the Holy Ghost called Supernatural, in his |Works,| vol. V., p.509, etc.; Mrs. Oliphant’s Life of Irving, vol. II.; the descriptions quoted in my Hist. Ap. Ch. § 55, p.198; and from friend and foe in Stanley’s Com. on Corinth., p.252, 4th ed.; also Plumptre in Smith’s, |Bible Dict.,| IV.3311, Am. ed. The Irvingites who have written on the subject (Thiersch, Böhm, and Rossteuscher) make a marked distinction between the Pentecostal glossolalia in foreign languages and the Corinthian glossolalia in devotional meetings; and it is the latter only which they compare to their own experience. Several years ago I witnessed this phenomenon in an Irvingite congregation in New York; the words were broken, ejaculatory and unintelligible, but uttered in abnormal, startling, impressive sounds, in a state of apparent unconsciousness and rapture, and without any control over the tongue, which was seized as it were by a foreign power. A friend and colleague (Dr. Briggs), who witnessed it in 1879 in the principal Irvingite church at London, received the same impression.

(3) The Pentecostal glossolalia cannot have been essentially different from the Corinthian: it was likewise an ecstatic act of worship, of thanksgiving and praise for the great deeds of God in Christ, a dialogue of the soul with God. It was the purest and the highest utterance of the jubilant enthusiasm of the new-born church of Christ in the possession of the Holy Spirit. It began before the spectators arrived (comp. Acts 2:4 and 6), and was followed by a missionary discourse of Peter in plain, ordinary language. Luke mentions the same gift twice again (Luke 10 and 19) evidently as an act of devotion, and not of teaching.

Nevertheless, according to the evident meaning of Luke’s narrative, the Pentecostal glossolalia differed from the Corinthian not only by its intensity, but also by coming home to the hearers then present in their own vernacular dialects, without the medium of a human interpreter. Hence the term |different| tongues, which Paul does not use, nor Luke in any other passage; hence the astonishment of the foreigners at hearing each his own peculiar idiom from the lips of those unlettered Galileans. It is this heteroglossolalia, as I may term it, which causes the chief difficulty. I will give the various views which either deny, or shift, or intensify, or try to explain this foreign element.

(a) The rationalistic interpretation cuts the Gordian knot by denying the miracle, as a mistake of the narrator or of the early Christian tradition. Even Meyer surrenders the heteroglossolalia, as far as it differs from the Corinthian glossolalia, as an unhistorical tradition which originated in a mistake, because he considers the sudden communication of the facility of speaking foreign languages as |logically impossible, and psychologically and morally inconceivable| (Com. on Acts 2:4, 4th ed.). But Luke, the companion of Paul, must have been familiar with the glossolalia in the apostolic churches, and in the two other passages where he mentions it he evidently means the same phenomenon as that described by Paul.

(b) The heteroglossolalia was a mistake of the hearers (a Hörwunder), who in the state of extraordinary excitement and profound sympathy imagined that they heard their own language from the disciples; while Luke simply narrates their impression without correcting it. This view was mentioned (though not adopted) by Gregory of Nyssa, and held by Pseudo-Cyprian, the venerable Bede, Erasmus, Schneckenburger and others. If the pentecostal language was the Hellenistic dialect, it could, with its composite character, its Hebraisms and Latinisms, the more easily produce such an effect when spoken by persons stirred in the inmost depth of their hearts and lifted out of themselves. St. Xavier is said to have made himself understood by the Hindoos without knowing their language, and St. Bernard, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Vincent Ferrer were able, by the spiritual power of their eloquence, to kindle the enthusiasm and sway the passions of multitudes who were ignorant of their language. Olshausen and Bäumlein call to aid the phenomena of magnetism and somnambulism, by which people are brought into mysterious rapport.

(c) The glossolalia was speaking in archaic, poetic glosses, with an admixture of foreign words. This view, learnedly defended by Bleek (1829), and adopted with modifications by Baur (1838), has already been mentioned above (p.233), as inconsistent with Hellenistic usage, and the natural meaning of Luke.

(d) The mystical explanation regards the Pentecostal Gift of Tongues in some way as a counterpart of the Confusion of Tongues, either as a temporary restoration of the original language of Paradise, or as a prophetic anticipation of the language of heaven in which all languages are united. This theory, which is more deep than clear, turns the heteroglossolalia into a homoglossolalia, and puts the miracle into the language itself and its temporary restoration or anticipation. Schelling calls the Pentecostal miracle |Babel reversed| (das umgekehrte Babel), and says: |Dem Ereigniss der Sprachenverwirrung lässt sich in der ganzen Folge der religiösen Geschichte nur Eines an die Seite stellen, die momentan wiederhergestellte Spracheinheit (homoglossia) am Pfingstfeste, mit dem das Christenthum, bestimmt das ganze Menschengeschlecht durch die Erkenntniss des Einen wahren Gottes wieder zur Einheit zu verknüpfen, seinen grossen Weg beginnt | (Einl. in d. Philos. der Mythologie, p.109). A similar view was defended by Billroth (in his Com. on 1 Cor.14, p.177), who suggests that the primitive language combined elements of the different derived languages, so that each listener heard fragments of his own. Lange (II.38) sees here the normal language of the inner spiritual life which unites the redeemed, and which runs through all ages of the church as the leaven of languages, regenerating, transforming, and consecrating them to sacred uses, but he assumes also, like Olshausen, a sympathetic rapport between speakers and hearers. Delitzsch (l.c. p.1186) says: |Die apostolische Verkündigung erging damals in einer Sprache des Geistes, welche das Gegenbild der in Babel zerschellten EinenMenschheitssprache war und von allen ohne Unterschied der Sprachen gleichmässig verstanden wurde. Wie das weisse Licht alle Farben aus sich erschliesst, so fiel die geistgewirkte Apostelsprache wie in prismatischer Brechung verständlich in aller Ohren und ergreifend in aller Herzen. Es war ein Vorspiel der Einigung, in welcher die von Babel datirende Veruneinigung sich aufheben wird. Dem Sivan-Tag des steinernen Buchstabens trat ein Sivan-Tag des lebendigmachenden Geistes entgegen. Es war der Geburtstag der Kirche, der Geistesgemeinde im Unterschiede von der altestamentlichen Volksgemeinde; darum nennt Chrysostomus in einer Pfingsthomilie die Pentekoste die Metropole der Feste | Ewald’s view (VI.116 sqq.) is likewise mystical, but original and expressed with his usual confidence. He calls the glossolalia an |Auflallen und Aufjauchzen der Christlichen Begeisterung, ein stürmisches Hervorbrechen aller der verborgenen Gefühle und Gedanken in ihrer vollsten Unmittelbarkeit und Gewalt | He says that on the day of Pentecost the most unusual expressions and synonyms of different languages (as abba ho pater, Gal.4:6; Rom.8:15, and maran atha1 Cor.16:22), with reminiscences of words of Christ as resounding from heaven, commingled in the vortex of a new language of the Spirit, and gave utterance to the exuberant joy of the young Christianity in stammering hymns of praise never heard before or since except in the weaker manifestations of the same gift in the Corinthian and other apostolic churches.

(e) The Pentecostal glossolalia was a permanent endowment of the apostles with a miraculous knowledge of all those foreign languages in which they were to preach the gospel. As they were sent to preach to all nations, they were gifted with the tongues of all nations. This theory was first clearly brought out by the fathers in the fourth and fifth centuries, long after the gift of tongues had disappeared, and was held by most of the older divines, though with different modifications, but is now abandoned by nearly all Protestant commentators except Bishop Wordsworth, who defends it with patristic quotations. Chrysostom supposed that each disciple was assigned the particular language which he needed for his evangelistic work (Hom. on Acts 2). Augustine went much further, saying (De Civ. Dei, XVIII. c.49): |Every one of them spoke in the tongues of all nations; thus signifying that the unity of the catholic church would embrace all nations, and would in like manner speak in all tongues.| Some confined the number of languages to the number of foreign nations and countries mentioned by Luke (Chrysostom), others extended it to 70 or 72 (Augustine and Epiphanius), or 75, after the number of the sons of Noah (Gen.10), or even to 120 (Pacianus), after the number of the disciples present. Baronius mentions these opinions in Annal. ad Ann.34, vol. I.197. The feast of languages in the Roman Propaganda perpetuates this theory, but turns the moral miracle of spiritual enthusiasm into a mechanical miracle of acquired learning in unknown tongues. Were all the speakers to speak at once, as on the day of Pentecost, it would be a more than Babylonian confusion of tongues.

Such a stupendous miracle as is here supposed might be justified by the far-reaching importance of that creative epoch, but it is without a parallel and surrounded by insuperable difficulties. The theory ignores the fact that the glossolalia began before the spectators arrived, that is, before there was any necessity of using foreign languages. It isolates the Pentecostal glossolalia and brings Luke into conflict with Paul and with himself; for in all other cases the gift of tongues appears, as already remarked, not as a missionary agency, but as an exercise of devotion. It implies that all the one hundred disciples present, including the women — for a tongue as of fire |sat upon each of them| — were called to be traveling evangelists. A miracle of that kind was superfluous (a Luxuswunder); for since the conquest of Alexander the Great the Greek language was so generally understood throughout the Roman empire that the apostles scarcely needed any other — unless it was Latin and their native Aramaean — for evangelistic purposes; and the Greek was used in fact by all the writers of the New Testament, even by James of Jerusalem, and in a way which shows that they had learnt it like other people, by early training and practice. Moreover there is no trace of such a miraculous knowledge, nor any such use of it after Pentecost. On the contrary, we must infer that Paul did not understand the Lycaonian dialect (Acts 14:11-14), and we learn from early ecclesiastical tradition that Peter used Mark as an interpreter (hermeneus orhermeneutes, interpres, according to Papias, Irenaeus, and Tertullian). God does not supersede by miracle the learning of foreign languages and other kinds of knowledge which can be attained by the ordinary use of our mental faculties and opportunities.

(f) It was a temporary speaking in foreign languages confined to the day of Pentecost and passing away with the flame-like tongues. The exception was justified by the object, namely, to attest the divine mission of the apostles and to foreshadow the universalness of the gospel. This view is taken by most modern commentators who accept the account of Luke, as Olshausen (who combines with it the theory b), Baumgarten, Thiersch, Rossteuscher, Lechler, Hackett, Gloag, Plumptre (in his Com. on Acts), and myself (in H. Ap. Ch.), and accords best with the plain sense of the narrative. But it likewise makes an essential distinction between the Pentecostal and the Corinthian glossolalia, which is extremely improbable. A temporary endowment with the knowledge of foreign languages unknown before is as great if not a greater miracle than a permanent endowment, and was just as superfluous at that time in Jerusalem as afterwards at Corinth; for the missionary sermon of Peter, which was in one language only, was intelligible to all.

(g) The Pentecostal glossolalia was essentially the same as the Corinthian glossolalia, namely, an act of worship, and not of teaching; with only a slight difference in the medium of interpretation: it was at once internally interpreted and applied by the Holy Spirit himself to those hearers who believed and were converted, to each in his own vernacular dialect; while in Corinth the interpretation was made either by the speaker in tongues, or by one endowed with the gift of interpretation.

I can find no authority for this theory, and therefore suggest it with modesty, but it seems to me to avoid most of the difficulties of the other theories, and it brings Luke into harmony with himself and with Paul. It is certain that the Holy Spirit moved the hearts of the hearers as well as the tongues of the speakers on that first day of the new creation in Christ. In a natural form the Pentecostal heteroglossolalia is continued in the preaching of the gospel in all tongues, and in more than three hundred translations of the Bible.

II. False interpretations of the Pentecostal miracle.

(1) The older rationalistic interpretation resolves the wind into a thunderstorm or a hurricane surcharged with electricity, the tongues of fire into flashes of lightning falling into the assembly, or electric sparks from a sultry atmosphere, and the glossolalia into a praying of each in his own vernacular, instead of the sacred old Hebrew, or assumes that some of the disciples knew several foreign dialects before and used them on the occasion. So Paulus, Thiess, Schulthess, Kuinöl, Schrader, Fritzsche, substantially also Renan, who dwells on the violence of Oriental thunderstorms, but explains the glossolalia differently according to analogous phenomena of later times. This view makes the wonder of the spectators and hearers at such an ordinary occurrence a miracle. It robs them of common sense, or charges dishonesty on the narrator. It is entirely inapplicable to the glossolalia in Corinth, which must certainly be admitted as an historical phenomenon of frequent occurrence in the apostolic church. It is contradicted by the comparative hosper andhoseiof the narrative, which distinguishes the sound from ordinary wind and the tongues of flame from ordinary fire; just as the words, |like a dove,| to which all the Gospels compare the appearance of the Holy Spirit at Christ’s baptism, indicate that no real dove is intended.

(2) The modern rationalistic or mythical theory resolves the miracle into a subjective vision which was mistaken by the early Christians for an objective external fact. The glossolalia of Pentecost (not that in Corinth, which is acknowledged as historical) symbolizes the true idea of the universalness of the gospel and the Messianic unification of languages and nationalities (eis laos Kuriou kai glossa mia as the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs expresses it). It is an imitation of the rabbinical fiction (found already in Philo) that the Sinaitic legislation was proclaimed through the bath-kol, the echo of the voice of God, to all nations in the seventy languages of the world. So Zeller (Contents and Origin of the Acts, I.203-205), who thinks that the whole pentecostal fact, if it occurred at all. |must have been distorted beyond recognition in our record.| But his chief argument is: |the impossibility and incredibility of miracles,| which he declares (p.175, note) to be |an axiom| of the historian; thus acknowledging the negative presupposition or philosophical prejudice which underlies his historical criticism. We hold, on the contrary, that the historian must accept the facts as he finds them, and if he cannot explain them satisfactorily from natural causes or subjective illusions, he must trace them to supernatural forces. Now the Christian church, which is certainly a most palpable and undeniable fact, must have originated in a certain place, at a certain time, and in a certain manner, and we can imagine no more appropriate and satisfactory account of its origin than that given by Luke. Baur and Zeller think it impossible that three thousand persons should have been converted in one day and in one place. They forget that the majority of the hearers were no skeptics, but believers in a supernatural revelation, and needed only to be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. Ewald says against Zeller, without naming him (VI.119) |Nothing can be more perverse than to deny the historical truth of the event related in Acts 2.| We hold with Rothe (Vorlesungen über Kirchengeschichte I.33) that the Pentecostal event was a real miracle (|ein eigentliches Wunder|), which the Holy Spirit wrought on the disciples and which endowed them with the power to perform miracles (according to the promise, Mark 16:17, 18). Without these miraculous powers Christianity could not have taken hold on the world as it then stood. The Christian church itself, with its daily experiences of regeneration and conversion at home and in heathen lands, is the best living and omnipresent proof of its supernatural origin.

III. Time and Place, of Pentecost. Did it occur on a Lord’s Day (the eighth after Easter), or on a Jewish Sabbath? In a private house, or in the temple ? We decide for the Lord’s Day, and for a private house. But opinions are much divided, and the arguments almost equally balanced.

(1) The choice of the day in the week depends partly on the interpretation of |the morrow after the (Passover) Sabbath| from which the fiftieth day was to be counted, according to the legislative prescription in Lev.23:11, 15, 16 — namely, whether it was the morrow following the first day of the Passover, i.e. the 16th of Nisan, or the day after the regular Sabbath in the Passover week; partly on the date of Christ’s crucifixion, which took place on a Friday, namely, whether this was the 14th or 15th of Nisan. If we assume that the Friday of Christ’s death was the 14th of Nisan, then the 15th was a Sabbath, and Pentecost in that year fall on a Sunday; but if the Friday of the crucifixion was the 15th of Nisan (as I hold myself, see § 16, p.133), then Pentecost fell on a Jewish Sabbath (so Wieseler, who fixes it on Saturday, May 27, a.d.30), unless we count from the end of the 16th of Nisan (as Wordsworth and Plumptre do, who put Pentecost on a Sunday). But if we take the |Sabbath| in Lev.23 in the usual sense of the weekly Sabbath (as the Sadducees and Karaites did), then the Jewish Pentecost fell always on a Sunday. At all events the Christian church has uniformly observed Whit-Sunday on the eighth Lord’s Day after Easter, adhering in this case, as well as in the festivals of the resurrection (Sunday) and of the ascension (Thursday), to the old tradition as to the day of the week when the event occurred. This view would furnish an additional reason for the substitution of Sunday, as the day of the Lord’s resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit, for the Jewish Sabbath. Wordsworth: |Thus the first day of the week has been consecrated to all the three Persons of the ever-blessed and undivided Trinity; and the blessings of Creation, Redemption, and Sanctification are commemorated on the Christian Sunday.| Wieseler assumes, without good reason, that the ancient church deliberately changed the day from opposition to the Jewish Sabbath; but the celebration of Pentecost together with that of the Resurrection seems to be as old as the Christian church and has its precedent in the example of Paul, Acts 18:21; 20:16. — Lightfoot (Horae Hebr. in Acta Ap.2:1; Opera II.692) counts Pentecost from the 16th of Nisan, but nevertheless puts the first Christian Pentecost on a Sunday by an unusual and questionable interpretation of Acts 2:1 en to sunplerousthai ten hemeran tes Pentekostes, which he makes to mean |when the day of Pentecost was fully gone,| instead of |was fully come.| But whether Pentecost fell on a Jewish Sabbath or on a Lord’s Day, the coincidence in either case was significant.

(2) As to the place, Luke calls it simply a |house| (oikos,Acts 2:2), which can hardly mean the temple (not mentioned till 2:46). It was probably the same |upper room| or chamber which he had mentioned in the preceding chapter, as the well known usual meeting place of the, disciples after the ascension, to huperoon…hou esan katamenontes, 1:13). So Neander, Meyer, Ewald, Wordsworth, Plumptre, Farrar, and others. Perhaps it was the same chamber in which our Lord partook of the Paschal Supper with them (Mark 14:14, 15; Matt.26:28). Tradition locates both events in the |Coenaculum,| a room in an irregular building called |David’s Tomb,| which lies outside of Zion Gate some distance from Mt. Moriah. (See William M. Thomson, The Land and the Book, new ed.1880, vol. I. p.535 sq.). But Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech. XVI.4) states that the apartment where the Holy Spirit descended was afterwards converted into a church. The uppermost room under the flat roof of Oriental houses. (huperoon, ?lyh) as often used as a place of devotion (comp. Acts 20:8). But as a private house could not possibly hold so great a multitude, we must suppose that Peter addressed the people in the street from the roof or from the outer staircase.

Many of the older divines, as also Olshausen, Baumgarten, Wieseler, Lange, Thiersch (and myself in first ed. of Ap. Ch., p.194), locate the Pentecostal scene in the temple, or rather in one of the thirty side buildings around it, which Josephus calls |houses| (oikous) in his description of Solomon’s temple (Ant. VIII.3, 2), or in Solomon’s porch, which remained from the first temple, and where the disciples assembled afterwards (Acts 5:12, comp.3:11). In favor of this view may be said, that it better agrees with the custom of the apostles (Luke 24:53; Acts 2:46; 5:12, 42), with the time of the miracle (the morning hour of prayer), and with the assembling of a large multitude of at least three thousand hearers, and also that it seems to give additional solemnity to the event when it took place in the symbolical and typical sanctuary of the old dispensation. But it is difficult to conceive that the hostile Jews should have allowed the poor disciples to occupy one of those temple buildings and not interfered with the scene. In the dispensation of the Spirit which now began, the meanest dwelling, and the body of the humblest Christian becomes a temple of God. Comp. John 4:24.

IV. Effects of the Day of Pentecost. From Farrar’s Life and Work of St. Paul (I.93): |That this first Pentecost marked an eternal moment in the destiny of mankind, no reader of history will surely deny. Undoubtedly in every age since then the sons of God have, to an extent unknown before, been taught by the Spirit of God. Undoubtedly since then, to an extent unrealized before, we may know that the Spirit of Christ dwelleth in us. Undoubtedly we may enjoy a nearer sense of union with God in Christ than was accorded to the saints of the Old Dispensation, and a thankful certainty that we see the days which kings and prophets desired to see and did not see them, and hear the truths which they desired to hear and did not hear them. And this New Dispensation began henceforth in all its fulness. It was no exclusive consecration to a separated priesthood, no isolated endowment of a narrow apostolate. It was the consecration of a whole church — its men, its women, its children — to be all of them ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people;’ it was an endowment, of which the full free offer was meant ultimately to be extended to all mankind. Each one of that hundred and twenty was not the exceptional recipient of a blessing and witness of a revelation, but the forerunner and representative of myriads more. And this miracle was not merely transient, but is continuously renewed. It is not a rushing sound and gleaming light, seen perhaps for a moment, but it is a living energy and an unceasing inspiration. It is not a visible symbol to a gathered handful of human souls in the upper room of a Jewish house, but a vivifying wind which shall henceforth breathe in all ages of the world’s history; a tide of light which is rolling, and shall roll, from shore to shore until the earth is fall of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.|

Section 24. The Church of Jerusalem and the Labors of Peter.

Su hei Petros, kai epi taute petra oikodomeso mou ten ekklesian, kai pulai hadou ou katischusousin autes. — Matt.16:18.


I. Genuine sources: Acts 2 to 12; Gal.2; and two Epistles of Peter.

Comp. the Commentaries on Acts, and the Petrine Epistles.

Among the commentators of Peter’s Epp. I mention Archbishop Leighton (in many editions, not critical, but devout and spiritual), Steiger (1832, translated by Fairbairn, 1836), John Brown (1849, 2 vols.), Wiesinger (1856 and 1862, in Olshausen’s Com.), Schott (1861 and 1863), De Wette (3d ed. by Brückner, 1865), Huther (in Meyer’s Com., 4th ed.1877), Fronmüller (in Lange’s Bibelwerk, transl. by Mombert, 1867), Alford (3d ed.1864), John Lillie (ed. by Schaff, 1869), Demarest (Cath. Epp 1879), Mason and Plumptre (in Ellicott’s Com., 1879), Plumptre (in the |Cambridge Bible,| 1879, with a very full introduction, pp.1-83), Salmond (in Schaff’s Pop. Com.1883). Comp. also the corresponding sections in the works on the Apostolic Age mentioned in §20, and my H. Ap. Ch. pp.348-377.

II. Apocryphal sources: Euangelion kata Petron oph Ebionite origin, Kerugma Petrou , Praxeis Petrou, Apokalupsis Petrou, Periodoi Petrou(Itinerarium Petri), Praxeis ton hagion apostolon Petrou kai Paulou(Acta Petri et Pauli). See Tischendorf’s Acta Apost. Apocr 1-39, and Hilgenfeld’s Novum Testamentum extra canonem receptum (1866), IV.52 sqq. The Pseudo-Clementine |Homilies| are a glorification of Peter at the expense of Paul; the, |Recognitions| are a Catholic recension and modification of the |Homilies.| The pseudo-Clementine literature will be noticed in the second Period.

III. Special works on Peter:

E. Th. Mayerhoff: Historisch-Kritische Einleitung in die Petrinischen Schriften. Hamb.1835.

Windischmann (R. C.): Vindiciae Petrinae. Ratisb.1836.

Stenglein (R. C.): Ueber den 25 jahrigen Aufenthalt des heil. Petrus in Rom. In the |Tübinger Theol. Quartalschrift,| 1840.

J. Ellendorf: 1st Petrus in Rom und Bishof der römischen Gemeinde gewesen? Darmstadt, 1841. Transl. in the |Bibliotheca Sacra,| Andover, 1858, No.3. The author, a liberal R. Cath., comes to the conclusion that Peter’s presence in Rome can never be proven.

Carlo Passaglia (Jesuit): De Praerogativis Beati Petri, Apostolorum Principis. Ratisbon, 1850.

Thomas W. Allies (R. C.): St. Peter, his Name and his Office as set forth in Holy Scripture. London, 1852. Based upon the preceding work of Father Passaglia.

Bernh. Weiss: Der Petrinische Lehrbegriff. Berlin, 1855. Comp. his Bibl. Theol. des N. T, 3d ed.1880, and his essay, Die petrinische Frage in |Studien und Kritiken,| 1865, pp.619-657, 1866, pp.255-308, and 1873, pp.539-546.

Thos. Greenwood: Cathedra Petri. Lond., vol. I.1859, chs. I and II. pp.1-50.

Perrone (R. C.):S. Pietro in Roma. Rome, 1864.

C. Holsten (of the Tübingen School): Zum Evangelium des Paulus und des Petrus. Rostock, 1868.

R. A. Lipsius: Die Quellen der röm. Petrussage. Kiel, 1872. By the same: Chronologie der röm Bischöfe. Kiel, 1869. Lipsius examines carefully the heretical sources of the Roman Peter-legend, and regards it as a fiction from beginning to end. A summary of his view is given by

Samuel M. Jackson: Lipsius on the Roman Peter-Legend. In the |Presbyterian Quarterly and Princeton Review| (N. York) for 1876, pp.265 sqq.

G. Volkmar: Die römische Papstmythe. Zürich, 1873.

A. Hilgenfeld: Petrus in Rom und Johannes in Kleinasien. In his |Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theol.| for 1872. Also his Einleitung in das N. T., 1875, pp.618 sqq.

W. Krafft: Petrus in Rom. Bonn, 1877. In the |Theol. Arbeiten des rhein. wissenschaftl. Predigervereins, | III.185-193.

Joh. Friedrich (Old Cath.): Zur ältesten Gesch. des Primates in der Kirche. Bonn, 1879.

William M. Taylor: Peter the Apostle. N. York, 1879.

The congregation of Jerusalem became the mother church of Jewish Christianity, and thus of all Christendom. It grew both inwardly and outwardly under the personal direction of the apostles, chiefly of Peter, to whom the Lord had early assigned a peculiar prominence in the work of building his visible church on earth. The apostles were assisted by a number of presbyters, and seven deacons or persons appointed to care for the poor and the sick. But the Spirit moved in the whole congregation, bound to no particular office. The preaching of the gospel, the working of miracles in the name of Jesus, and the attractive power of a holy walk in faith and love, were the instruments of progress. The number of the Christians, or, as they at first called themselves, disciples, believers, brethren, saints, soon rose to five thousand. They continued steadfastly under the instruction and in the fellowship of the apostles, in the daily worship of God and celebration of the holy Supper with their agapae or love-feasts. They felt themselves to be one family of God, members of one body under one head, Jesus Christ; and this fraternal unity expressed itself even in a voluntary community of goods — an anticipation, as it were, of an ideal state at the end of history, but without binding force upon any other congregation. They adhered as closely to the temple worship and the Jewish observances as the new life admitted and as long as there was any hope of the conversion of Israel as a nation. They went daily to the temple to teach, as their Master had done, but held their devotional meetings in private houses.

The addresses of Peter to the people and the Sanhedrin are remarkable for their natural simplicity and adaptation. They are full of fire and vigor, yet full of wisdom and persuasion, and always to the point. More practical and effective sermons were never preached. They are testimonies of an eye-witness so timid a few weeks before, and now so bold and ready at any moment to suffer and die for the cause. They are an expansion of his confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God, the Saviour. He preached no subtle theological doctrines, but a few great facts and truths: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, already known to his hearers for his mighty signs and wonders, his exaltation to the right hand of Almighty God, the descent and power of the Holy Spirit, the fulfilment of prophecy, the approaching judgment and glorious restitution of all things, the paramount importance of conversion and faith in Jesus as the only name whereby we can be saved. There breathes in them an air of serene joy and certain triumph.

We can form no clear conception of this bridal season of the Christian church when no dust of earth soiled her shining garments, when she was wholly absorbed in the contemplation and love of her divine Lord, when he smiled down upon her from his throne in heaven, and added daily to the number of the saved. It was a continued Pentecost, it was paradise restored. |They did take their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people.|

Yet even in this primitive apostolic community inward corruption early appeared, and with it also the severity of discipline and self-purification, in the terrible sentence of Peter on the hypocritical Ananias and Sapphira.

At first Christianity found favor with the people. Soon, however, it had to encounter the same persecution as its divine founder had undergone, but only, as before, to transform it into a blessing and a means of growth.

The persecution was begun by the skeptical sect of the Sadducees, who took offence at the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, the centre of all the apostolic preaching.

When Stephen, one of the seven deacons of the church at Jerusalem, a man full of faith and zeal, the forerunner of the apostle Paul, boldly assailed the perverse and obstinate spirit of Judaism, and declared the approaching downfall of the Mosaic economy, the Pharisees made common cause with the Sadducees against the gospel. Thus began the emancipation of Christianity from the temple-worship of Judaism, with which it had till then remained at least outwardly connected. Stephen himself was falsely accused of blaspheming Moses, and after a remarkable address in his own defence, he was stoned by a mob (a.d.37), and thus became the worthy leader of the sacred host of martyrs, whose blood was thenceforth to fertilize the soil of the church. From the blood of his martyrdom soon sprang the great apostle of the Gentiles, now his bitterest persecutor, and an eye-witness of his heroism and of the glory of Christ in his dying face.

The stoning of Stephen was the signal for a general persecution, and thus at the same time for the spread of Christianity over all Palestine and the region around. And it was soon followed by the conversion of Cornelius of Caesarea, which opened the door for the mission to the Gentiles. In this important event Peter likewise was the prominent actor.

After some seven years of repose the church at Jerusalem suffered a new persecution under king Herod Agrippa (a.d.44). James the elder, the brother of John, was beheaded. Peter was imprisoned and condemned to the same fate; but he was miraculously liberated, and then forsook Jerusalem, leaving the church to the care of James the |brother of the Lord.| Eusebius, Jerome, and the Roman Catholic historians assume that he went at that early period to Rome, at least on a temporary visit, if not for permanent residence. But the book of Acts (12:17) says only: |He departed, and went into another place.| The indefiniteness of this expression, in connection with a remark of Paul.1 Cor.9:5, is best explained on the supposition that he had hereafter no settled home, but led the life of a travelling missionary like most of the apostles.

The Later Labors of Peter.

Afterwards we find Peter again in Jerusalem at the apostolic council (a.d.50); then at Antioch (51); where he came into temporary collision with Paul; then upon missionary tours, accompanied by his wife (57); perhaps among the dispersed Jews in Babylon or in Asia Minor, to whom he addressed his epistles. Of a residence of Peter in Rome the New Testament contains no trace, unless, as the church fathers and many modern expositors think, Rome is intended by the mystic |Babylon| mentioned in 1 Pet.5:13 (as in the Apocalypse), but others think of Babylon on the Euphrates, and still others of Babylon on the Nile (near the present Cairo, according to the Coptic tradition). The entire silence of the Acts of the Apostles 28, respecting Peter, as well as the silence of Paul in his epistle to the Romans, and the epistles written from Rome during his imprisonment there, in which Peter is not once named in the salutations, is decisive proof that he was absent from that city during most of the time between the years 58 and 63. A casual visit before 58 is possible, but extremely doubtful, in view of the fact that Paul labored independently and never built on the foundation of others; hence he would probably not have written his epistle to the Romans at all, certainly not without some allusion to Peter if he had been in any proper sense the founder of the church of Rome. After the year 63 we have no data from the New Testament, as the Acts close with that year, and the interpretation of |Babylon| at the end of the first Epistle of Peter is doubtful, though probably meant for Rome. The martyrdom of Peter by crucifixion was predicted by our Lord, John 21:18, 19, but no place is mentioned.

We conclude then that Peter’s presence in Rome before 63 is made extremely doubtful, if not impossible, by the silence of Luke and Paul, when speaking of Rome and writing from Rome, and that His presence after 63 can neither be proved nor disproved from the New Testament, and must be decided by post-biblical testimonies.

It is the uniform tradition of the eastern and western churches that Peter preached the gospel in Rome, and suffered martyrdom there in the Neronian persecution. So say more or less clearly, yet not without admixture of error, Clement of Rome (who mentions the martyrdom, but not the place), at the close of the first century; Ignatius of Antioch (indistinctly), Dionysius of Corinth, Irenaeus of Lyons, Caius of Rome, in the second century; Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Hippolytus, Tertullian, in the third; Lactantius, Eusebius, Jerome, and others, in the fourth. To these patristic testimonies may be added the apocryphal testimonies of the pseudo-Petrine and pseudo-Clementine fictions, which somehow connect Peter’s name with the founding of the churches of Antioch, Alexandria, Corinth, and Rome. However these testimonies from various men and countries may differ in particular circumstances, they can only be accounted for on the supposition of some fact at the bottom; for they were previous to any use or abuse of this, tradition for heretical or for orthodox and hierarchical purposes. The chief error of the witnesses from Dionysius and Irenaeus onward is that Peter is associated with Paul as |founder| of the church of Rome; but this may be explained from the very probable fact that some of the |strangers from Rome| who witnessed the Pentecostal miracle and heard the sermon of Peter, as also some disciples who were scattered abroad by the persecution after the martyrdom of Stephen, carried the seed of the gospel to Rome, and that these converts of Peter became the real founders of the Jewish-Christian congregation in the metropolis. Thus the indirect agency of Peter was naturally changed into a direct agency by tradition which forgot the names of the pupils in the glorification of the teacher.

The time of Peter’s arrival in Rome, and the length of his residence there, cannot possibly be ascertained. The above mentioned silence of the Acts and of Paul’s Epistles allows him only a short period of labor there, after 63. The Roman tradition of a twenty or twenty-five years’ episcopate of Peter in Rome is unquestionably a colossal chronological mistake. Nor can we fix the year of his martyrdom, except that it must have taken place after July, 64, when the Neronian persecution broke out (according to Tacitus). It is variously assigned to every year between 64 and 69. We shall return to it again below, and in connection with the martyrdom of Paul, with which it is associated in tradition.

Section 25. The Peter of History and the Peter of Fiction.

No character in the New Testament is brought before us in such life-like colors, with all his virtues and faults, as that of Peter. He was frank and transparent, and always gave himself as he was, without any reserve.

We may distinguish three stages in his development. In the Gospels, the human nature of Simon appears most prominent the Acts unfold the divine mission of Peter in the founding of the church, with a temporary relapse at Antioch (recorded by Paul); in his Epistles we see the complete triumph of divine grace. He was the strongest and the weakest of the Twelve. He had all the excellences and all the defects of a sanguine temperament. He was kind-hearted, quick, ardent, hopeful, impulsive, changeable, and apt to run from one extreme to another. He received from Christ the highest praise and the severest censure. He was the first to confess him as the Messiah of God, for which he received his new name of Peter, in prophetic anticipation of his commanding position in church history; but he was also the first to dissuade him from entering the path of the cross to the crown, for which he brought upon himself the rebuke, |Get thee behind me, Satan.| The rock of the church had become a rock of offence and a stumbling-block. He protested, in presumptive modesty, when Christ would wash his feet; and then, suddenly changing his mind, he wished not his feet only, but his hands and head to be washed. He cut off the ear of Malchus in carnal zeal for his Master; and in a few minutes afterwards he forsook him and fled. He solemnly promised to be faithful to Christ, though all should forsake him; and yet in the same night he betrayed him thrice. He was the first to cast off the Jewish prejudices against the unclean heathen and to fraternize with the Gentile converts at Caesarea and at Antioch; and he was the first to withdraw from them in cowardly fear of the narrow-minded Judaizers from Jerusalem, for which inconsistency he had to submit to a humiliating rebuke of Paul.

But Peter was as quick in returning to his right position as in turning away from it. He most sincerely loved the Lord from the start and had no rest nor peace till he found forgiveness. With all his weakness he was a noble, generous soul, and of the greatest service in the church. God overruled his very sins and inconsistencies for his humiliation and spiritual progress. And in his Epistles we find the mature result of the work of purification, a spirit most humble, meek, gentle, tender, loving, and lovely. Almost every word and incident in the gospel history connected with Peter left its impress upon his Epistles in the way of humble or thankful reminiscence and allusion. His new name, |Rock,| appears simply as a |stone| among other living stones in the temple of God, built upon Christ, |the chief corner-stone.| His charge to his fellow-presbyters is the same which Christ gave to him after the resurrection, that they should be faithful |shepherds of the flock| under Christ, the chief |shepherd and bishop of their souls.| The record of his denial of Christ is as prominent in all the four Gospels, as Paul’s persecution of the church is in the Acts, and it is most prominent — as it would seem under his own direction — in the Gospel of his pupil and |interpreter| Mark, which alone mentions the two cock-crows, thus doubling the guilt of the denial, and which records Christ’s words of censure (|Satan|), but omits Christ’s praise (|Rock|). Peter made as little effort to conceal his great sin, as Paul. It served as a thorn in his flesh, and the remembrance kept him near the cross; while his recovery from the fall was a standing proof of the power and mercy of Christ and a perpetual call to gratitude. To the Christian Church the double story of Peter’s denial and recovery has been ever since an unfailing source of warning and comfort. Having turned again to his Lord, who prayed for him that his personal faith fail not, he is still strengthening the brethren.

As to his official position in the church, Peter stood from the beginning at the head of the Jewish apostles, not in a partisan sense, but in a large-hearted spirit of moderation and comprehension. He never was a narrow, contracted, exclusive sectarian. After the vision at Joppa and the conversion of Cornelius he promptly changed his inherited view of the necessity of circumcision, and openly professed the change at Jerusalem, proclaiming the broad principle |that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to him;| and |that Jews and Gentiles alike are saved only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.| He continued to be the head of the Jewish Christian church at large, and Paul himself represents him as the first among the three |pillar|-apostles of the circumcision But he stood mediating between James, who represented the right wing of conservatism, and Paul, who commanded the left wing of the apostolic army. And this is precisely the position which Peter occupies in his Epistles, which reproduce to a great extent the teaching of both Paul and James, and have therefore the character of a doctrinal Irenicum; as the Acts are a historical Irenicum, without violation of truth or fact.

The Peter of Fiction.

No character of the Bible, we may say, no personage in all history, has been so much magnified, misrepresented and misused for doctrinal and hierarchical ends as the plain fisherman of Galilee who stands at the head of the apostolic college. Among the women of the Bible the Virgin Mary has undergone a similar transformation for purposes of devotion, and raised to the dignity of the queen of heaven. Peter as the Vicar of Christ, and Mary as the mother of Christ, have in this idealized shape become and are still the ruling powers in the polity and worship of the largest branch of Christendom.

In both cases the work of fiction began among the Judaizing heretical sects of the second and third centuries, but was modified and carried forward by the Catholic, especially the Roman church, in the third and fourth centuries.

1. The Peter of the Ebionite fiction. The historical basis is Peter’s encounter with Simon Magus in Samaria, Paul’s rebuke of Peter at Antioch, and the intense distrust and dislike of the Judaizing party to Paul. These three undoubted facts, together with a singular confusion of Simon Magus with an old Sabine deity, Semo Sancus, in Rome, furnished the material and prompted the motive to religious tendency — novels written about and after the middle of the second century by ingenious semi-Gnostic Ebionites, either anonymously or under the fictitious name of Clement of Rome, the reputed successor of Peter. In these productions Simon Peter appears as the great apostle of truth in conflict with Simon Magus, the pseudo-apostle of falsehood, the father of all heresies, the Samaritan possessed by a demon; and Peter follows him step by step from Caesarea Stratonis to Tyre, Sidon, Berytus, Antioch, and Rome, and before the tribunal of Nero, disputing with him, and refuting his errors, until at last the impostor, in the daring act of mocking Christ’s ascension to heaven, meets a miserable end.

In the pseudo-Clementine Homilies the name of Simon represents among other heresies also the free gospel of Paul, who is assailed as a false apostle and hated rebel against the authority of the Mosaic law. The same charges which the Judaizers brought against Paul, are here brought by Peter against Simon Magus, especially the assertion that one may be saved by grace alone. His boasted vision of Christ by which he professed to have been converted, is traced to a deceptive vision of the devil. The very words of Paul against Peter at Antioch, that he was |self-condemned| (Gal.2:11), are quoted as an accusation against God. In one word, Simon Magus is, in part at least, a malignant Judaizing caricature of the apostle of the Gentiles.

2. The Peter of the Papacy. The orthodox version of the Peter-legend, as we find it partly in patristic notices of Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian, and Eusebius, partly in apocryphal productions, retains the general story of a conflict of Peter with Simon Magus in Antioch and Rome, but extracts from it its anti-Pauline poison, associates Paul at the end of his life with Peter as the joint, though secondary, founder of the Roman church, and honors both with the martyr’s crown in the Neronian persecution on the same day (the 29th of June), and in the same year or a year apart, but in different localities and in a different manner. Peter was crucified like his Master (though head-downwards ), either on the hill of Janiculum (where the church S. Pietro in Montorio stands), or more probably on the Vatican hill (the scene of the Neronian circus and persecution); Paul, being a Roman citizen, was beheaded on the Ostian way at the Three Fountains (Tre Fontane), outside of the city. They even walked together a part of the Appian way to the place of execution. Caius (or Gaius), a Roman presbyter at the close of the second century, pointed to their monuments or trophies on the Vatican, and in the via Ostia. The solemn burial of the remains of Peter in the catacombs of San Sebastiano, and of Paul on the Via Ostia, took place June 29, 258, according to the Kalendarium of the Roman church from the time of Liberius. A hundred years later the remains of Peter were permanently transferred to the Basilica of St. Peter on the Vatican, those of St. Paul to the Basilica of St. Paul (San Paolo fuori le mura) outside of the Porta Ostiensis (now Porta San Paolo).

The tradition of a twenty-five years’ episcopate in Rome (preceded by a seven years’ episcopate in Antioch) cannot be traced beyond the fourth century (Jerome), and arose, as already remarked, from chronological miscalculations in connection with the questionable statement of Justin Martyr concerning the arrival of Simon Magus in Rome under the reign of Claudius (41-54). The |Catalogus Liberianus,| the oldest list of popes (supposed to have been written before 366), extends the pontificate of Peter to 25 years, 1 month, 9 days, and puts his death on June 29, 65 (during the consulate of Nerva and Vestinus), which would date his arrival in Rome back to a.d.40. Eusebius, in his Greek Chronicle as far as it is preserved, does not fix the number of years, but says, in his Church History, that Peter came to Rome in the reign of Claudius to preach against the pestilential errors of Simon Magus. The Armenian translation of his Chronicle mentions |twenty| years; Jerome, in his translation or paraphrase rather, |twenty-five| years, assuming, without warrant, that Peter left Jerusalem for Antioch and Rome in the second year of Claudius (42; but Acts 12:17 would rather point to the year 44), and died in the fourteenth or last year of Nero (68). Among modern Roman Catholic historians there is no agreement as to the year of Peter’s martyrdom: Baronius puts it in 69; Pagi and Alban Butler in 65; Möhler, Gams, and Alzog indefinitely between 66 and 68. In all these cases it must be assumed that the Neronian persecution was continued or renewed after 64, of which we have no historical evidence. It must also be assumed that Peter was conspicuously absent from his flock during most of the time, to superintend the churches in Asia Minor and in Syria, to preside at the Council of Jerusalem, to meet with Paul in Antioch, to travel about with his wife, and that he made very little impression there till 58, and even till 63, when Paul, writing to and from Rome, still entirely ignores him. Thus a chronological error is made to overrule stubborn facts. The famous saying that |no pope shall see the (twenty-five) years of Peter,| which had hitherto almost the force of law, has been falsified by the thirty-two years’ reign of the first infallible pope) Pius IX., who ruled from 1846 to 1878.

Note. — On the Claims of the Papacy.

On this tradition and on the indisputable preëminence of Peter in the Gospels and the Acts, especially the words of Christ to him after the great confession (Matt.16:18), is built the colossal fabric of the papacy with all its amazing pretensions to be the legitimate succession of a permanent primacy of honor and supremacy of jurisdiction in the church of Christ, and — since 1870 — with the additional claim of papal infallibility in all official utterances, doctrinal or moral. The validity of this claim requires three premises:

1. The presence of Peter in Rome. This may be admitted as an historical fact, and I for my part cannot believe it possible that such a rock-firm and world-wide structure as the papacy could rest on the sand of mere fraud and error. It is the underlying fact which gives to fiction its vitality, and error is dangerous in proportion to the amount of truth which it embodies. But the fact of Peter’s presence in Rome, whether of one year or twenty-five, cannot be of such fundamental importance as the papacy assumes it to be: otherwise we would certainly have some allusion to it in the New Testament. Moreover, if Peter was in Rome, so was Paul, and shared with him on equal terms the apostolic supervision of the Roman congregation, as is very evident from his Epistle to the Romans.

2. The transferability of Peter’s preëminence on a successor. This is derived by inference from the words of Christ: |Thou art Rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.| This passage, recorded only by Matthew, is the exegetical rock of Romanism, and more frequently quoted by popes and papists than any other passage of the Scriptures. But admitting the obvious reference of petra to Peter, the significance of this prophetic name evidently refers to the peculiar mission of Peter in laying the foundation of the church once and for all time to come. He fulfilled it on the day of Pentecost and in the conversion of Cornelius; and in this pioneer work Peter can have no successor any more than St. Paul in the conversion of the Gentiles, and John in the consolidation of the two branches of the apostolic church.

3. The actual transfer of this prerogative of Peter — not upon the bishops of Jerusalem, or Antioch, where he undoubtedly resided — but upon the bishop of Rome, where he cannot be proven to have been from the New Testament. Of such a transfer history knows absolutely nothing. Clement, bishop of Rome, who first, about a.d.95, makes mention of Peter’s martyrdom, and Ignatius of Antioch, who a few years later alludes to Peter and Paul as exhorting the Romans, have not a word to say about the transfer. The very chronology and succession of the first popes is uncertain.

If the claims of the papacy cannot be proven from what we know of the historical Peter, there are, on the other hand, several undoubted facts in the real history of Peter which bear heavily upon those claims, namely:

1. That Peter was married, Matt.8:14, took his wife with him on his missionary tours, 1 Cor.9:5, and, according to a possible interpretation of the |coëlect| (sister), mentions her in 1 Pet.5:13. Patristic tradition ascribes to him children, or at least a daughter (Petronilla). His wife is said to have suffered martyrdom in Rome before him. What right have the popes, in view of this example, to forbid clerical marriage? We pass by the equally striking contrast between the poverty of Peter, who had no silver nor gold (Acts 3:6) and the gorgeous display of the triple-crowned papacy in the middle ages and down to the recent collapse of the temporal power.

2. That in the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-11), Peter appears simply as the first speaker and debater, not as president and judge (James presided), and assumes no special prerogative, least of all an infallibility of judgment. According to the Vatican theory the whole question of circumcision ought to have been submitted to Peter rather than to a Council, and the decision ought to have gone out from him rather than from |the apostles and elders, brethren| (or |the elder brethren,| 15:23).

3. That Peter was openly rebuked for inconsistency by a younger apostle at Antioch (Gal.2:11-14). Peter’s conduct on that occasion is irreconcilable with his infallibility as to discipline; Paul’s conduct is irreconcilable with Peter’s alleged supremacy; and the whole scene, though perfectly plain, is so inconvenient to Roman and Romanizing views, that it has been variously distorted by patristic and Jesuit commentators, even into a theatrical farce gotten up by the apostles for the more effectual refutation of the Judaizers!

4. That, while the greatest of popes, from Leo I. down to Leo XIII. never cease to speak of their authority over all the bishops and all the churches, Peter, in his speeches in the Acts, never does so. And his Epistles, far from assuming any superiority over his |fellow-elders| and over |the clergy| (by which he means the Christian people), breathe the spirit of the sincerest humility and contain a prophetic warning against the besetting sins of the papacy, filthy avarice and lordly ambition (1 Pet.5:1-3). Love of money and love of power are twin-sisters, and either of them is |a root of all evil.|

It is certainly very significant that the weaknesses even more than the virtues of the natural Peter — his boldness and presumption, his dread of the cross, his love for secular glory, his carnal zeal, his use of the sword, his sleepiness in Gethsemane — are faithfully reproduced in the history of the papacy; while the addresses and epistles of the converted and inspired Peter contain the most emphatic protest against the hierarchical pretensions and worldly vices of the papacy, and enjoin truly evangelical principles — the general priesthood and royalty of believers, apostolic poverty before the rich temple, obedience to God rather than man, yet with proper regard for the civil authorities, honorable marriage, condemnation of mental reservation in Ananias and Sapphira, and of simony in Simon Magus, liberal appreciation of heathen piety in Cornelius, opposition to the yoke of legal bondage, salvation in no other name but that of Jesus Christ.

Section 26. James the Brother of the Lord.

He pistis choris ergon nekra estin. — James 2:26


I. Genuine sources: Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; 1 Cor.15:7; Gal.1:19; 2:9, 12. Comp. James |the brother of the Lord,| Matt.13:55; Mark 6:3; Gal.1:19.

The Epistle of James.

II. Post-apostolic: Josephus: Ant. XX.9, 1. — Hegesippus in Euseb. Hist. Ecc. II. ch.23. — Jerome: Catal. vir. ill. c.2, under |Jacobus.| Epiphanius, Haer. XXIX.4; XXX.16; LXXVIII.13 sq.

III. Apocryphal: Protevangelium Jacobi, ed. in Greek by Tischendorf, in |Evangelia Apocrypha,| pp.1-49, comp. the Prolegg. pp. xii-xxv. James is honorably mentioned in several other apocryphal
Gospels. — Epiphanius, Haer. XXX.16, alludes to an Ebionite and strongly anti-Pauline book, the Ascents of James (Anabathmoi Iakobou), descriptions of his ascension to heaven, which are lost. — The Liturgy of James, ed. by W. Trollope, Edinb.1848. Composed in the third century, after the Council of Nicaea (as it contains the terms homoousios and theotokos), but resting on some older traditions. It was intended for the church of Jerusalem, which is styled |the mother of all churches.| It is still used once a year on the festival of St. James, Oct.23, in the Greek Church at Jerusalem. (See vol. II.527 sqq.)

Exegetical and Doctrinal.

Commentaries on the Epistle of James by Herder (1775), Storr (1784), Gebser (1828), Schneckenburger (1832), Theile (1833), Kern (1838), De Wette (1849, 3d ed. by Brückner, 1865), Cellerier (1850), Wiesinger (in Olshausen’s Com., 1854), Stier (1845), Huther and Beyschlag (in Meyer’s Com., 1858, 4th ed.1882), Lange and Van Oosterzee (in Lange’s Bibelwerk, 1862, Engl. transl. enlarged by Mombert, 1867), Alford, Wordsworth, Bassett (1876, ascribes the Ep. to James of Zebedee), Plumptre (in the Cambridge series, 1878), Punchard (in Ellicott’s Com.1878), Erdmann (1882), GLOAG (1883).

Woldemar G. Schmidt: Der Lehrgehalt des Jakobusbriefes. Leipzig, 1869.

W. Beyschlag: Der Jacobusbrief als urchristliches Geschichtsdenkmal. In the |Stud. u. Kritiken,| 1874, No.1, pp.105-166. See his Com.

Comp. also the expositions of the doctrinal type of James in Neander, Schmid, Schaff, Weiss (pp.176-194, third ed.).

Historical and Critical.

Blom: De tois adelthois et tais adelphais Kuriou. Leyden, 1839. (I have not seen this tract, which advocates the brother-theory. Lightfoot says of it: |Blom gives the most satisfactory statement of the patristic authorities, and Schaff discusses the scriptural arguments most carefully.|)

Schaff: Jakobus Alphäi, und Jakobus der Bruder des Herrn. Berlin, 1842 (101 pages).

Mill: The Accounts of our Lord’s Brethren in the New Test. vindicated. Cambridge, 1843. (Advocates the cousin-theory of the Latin church.)

Lightfoot: The Brethren of the Lord. Excursus in his Com. on Galatians. Lond.2d ed.1866, pp.247-282. (The ablest defence of the step-brother-theory of the Greek Church.)

H. Holtzmann: Jakobus der Gerechte und seine Namensbrüder, in Hilgenfeld’s |Zeitschrift für wissenschaftl. Theol.| Leipz.1880, No.2.

Next to Peter, who was the oecumenical leader of Jewish Christianity, stands James, the brother, of the Lord (also called by post-apostolic writers |James the Just,| and |Bishop of Jerusalem|), as the local head of the oldest church and the leader of the most conservative portion of Jewish Christianity. He seems to have taken the place of James the son of Zebedee, after his martyrdom, a.d.44. He became, with Peter and John, one of the three |pillars| of the church of the circumcision. And after the departure of Peter from Jerusalem James presided over the mother church of Christendom until his death. Though not one of the Twelve, he enjoyed, owing to his relationship to our Lord and his commanding piety, almost apostolic authority, especially in Judaea and among the Jewish converts. On one occasion even Peter yielded to his influence or that of his representatives, and was misled into his uncharitable conduct towards the Gentile brethren.

James was not a believer before the resurrection of our Lord. He was the oldest of the four |brethren| (James, Joseph, Judas, Simon), of whom John reports with touching sadness: |Even his brethren did not believe in him.| It was one of the early and constant trials of our Lord in the days of his nomination that he was without honor among his fellow-townsmen, yea, |among his own kin, and in his own house.| James was no doubt imbued with the temporal and carnal Messianic misconceptions of the Jews, and impatient at the delay and unworldliness of his divine brother. Hence the taunting and almost disrespectful language: |Depart hence and go into Judaea …. If thou doest these things, manifest thyself to the world.| The crucifixion could only deepen his doubt and sadness.

But a special personal appearance of the risen Lord brought about his conversion, as also that of his brothers, who after the resurrection appear in the company of the apostles. This turning-point in his life is briefly but significantly alluded to by Paul, who himself was converted by a personal appearance of Christ. It is more fully reported in an interesting fragment of the, |Gospel according to the Hebrews| (one of the oldest and least fabulous of the apocryphal Gospels), which shows the sincerity and earnestness of James even before his conversion. He had sworn, we are here told, |that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein the Lord had drunk the cup [of his passion] until he should see him rising from the dead.| The Lord appeared to him and communed with him, giving bread to James the Just and saying: |My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of man is risen from them that sleep.|

In the Acts and in the Epistle to the Galatians, James appears as the most conservative of the Jewish converts, at the head of the extreme right wing; yet recognizing Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles, giving him the right hand of fellowship, as Paul himself reports, and unwilling to impose upon the Gentile Christians the yoke of circumcision. He must therefore not be identified with the heretical Judaizers (the forerunners of the Ebionites), who hated and opposed Paul, and made circumcision a condition of justification and church membership. He presided at the Council of Jerusalem and proposed the compromise which saved a split in the church. He probably prepared the synodical letter which agrees with his style and has the same greeting formula peculiar to him.

He was an honest, conscientious, eminently practical, conciliatory Jewish Christian saint, the right man in the right place and at the right time, although contracted in his mental vision as in his local sphere of labor.

From an incidental remark of Paul we may infer that James, like Peter and the other brothers of the Lord, was married.

The mission of James was evidently to stand in the breach between the synagogue and the church, and to lead the disciples of Moses gently to Christ. He was the only man that could do it in that critical time of the approaching judgment of the holy city. As long as there was any hope of a conversion of the Jews as a nation, he prayed for it and made the transition as easy as possible. When that hope vanished his mission was fulfilled.

According to Josephus he was, at the instigation of the younger Ananus, the high priest, of the sect of the Sadducees, whom he calls |the most unmerciful of all the Jews in the execution of judgment,| stoned to death with some others, as |breakers of the law,| i.e. Christians, in the interval between the procuratorship of Festus and that of Albinus, that is, in the year 63. The Jewish historian adds that this act of injustice created great indignation among those most devoted to the law (the Pharisees), and that they induced Albinus and King Agrippa to depose Ananus (a son of the Annas mentioned in Luke 3:2; John 18:13). He thus furnishes an impartial testimony to the high standing of James even among the Jews.

Hegesippus, a Jewish Christian historian about a.d.170, puts the martyrdom a few years later, shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem (69). He relates that James was first thrown down from the pinnacle of the temple by the Jews and then stoned to death. His last prayer was an echo of that of his brother and Lord on the cross: |God, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.|

The dramatic account of James by Hegesippus is an overdrawn picture from the middle of the second century, colored by Judaizing traits which may have been derived from the |Ascents of James| and other apocryphal sources. He turns James into a Jewish priest and Nazirite saint (comp. his advice to Paul, Acts 21:23, 24), who drank no wine, ate no flesh, never shaved, nor took a bath, and wore only linen. But the biblical James is Pharisaic and legalistic rather than Essenic and ascetic. In the pseudo-Clementine writings, he is raised even above Peter as the head of the holy church of the Hebrews, as |the lord and bishop of bishops,| as |the prince of priests.| According to tradition, mentioned by Epiphanius. James, like St. John at Ephesus, wore the high-priestly petalon, or golden plate on the forehead, with the inscription: |Holiness to the Lord| (Ex.28:36). And in the Liturgy of St. James, the brother of Jesus is raised to the dignity of |the brother of the very God| (adelphotheos). Legends gather around the memory of great men, and reveal the deep impression they made upon their friends and followers. The character which shines through these James-legends is that of a loyal, zealous, devout, consistent Hebrew Christian, who by his personal purity and holiness secured the reverence and affection of all around him.

But we must carefully distinguish between the Jewish-Christian, yet orthodox, overestimate of James in the Eastern church, as we find it in the fragments of Hegesippus and in the Liturgy of St. James, and the heretical perversion of James into an enemy of Paul and the gospel of freedom, as he appears in apocryphal fictions. We have here the same phenomenon as in the case of Peter and Paul. Every leading apostle has his apocryphal shadow and caricature both in the primitive church and in the modern critical reconstruction of its history. The name and authority of James was abused by the Judaizing party in undermining the work of Paul, notwithstanding the fraternal agreement of the two at Jerusalem. The Ebionites in the second century continued this malignant assault upon the memory of Paul under cover of the honored names of James and Peter; while a certain class of modern critics (though usually from the opposite ultra- or pseudo-Pauline point of view) endeavor to prove the same antagonism from the Epistle of James (as far as they admit it to be genuine at all).

The Epistle in our canon, which purports to be written by |James, a bond-servant of God and of Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes of the dispersion,| though not generally acknowledged at the time of Eusebius and Jerome, has strong internal evidence of genuineness. It precisely suits the character and position of the historical James as we know him from Paul and the Acts, and differs widely from the apocryphal James of the Ebionite fictions. It hails undoubtedly from Jerusalem, the theocratic metropolis, amid the scenery of Palestine. The Christian communities appear not as churches, but as synagogues, consisting mostly of poor people, oppressed and persecuted by the rich and powerful Jews. There is no trace of Gentile Christians or of any controversy between them and the Jewish Christians. The Epistle was perhaps a companion to the original Gospel of Matthew for the Hebrews, as the first Epistle of John was such a companion to his Gospel. It is probably the oldest of the epistles of the New Testament. It represents, at all events, the earliest and meagerest, yet an eminently practical and necessary type of Christianity, with prophetic earnestness, proverbial sententiousness, great freshness, and in fine Greek. It is not dogmatic but ethical. It has a strong resemblance to the addresses of John the Baptist and the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, and also to the book of Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon. It never attacks the Jews directly, but still less St. Paul, at least not his genuine doctrine. It characteristically calls the gospel the |perfect law of liberty,| thus connecting it very closely with the Mosaic dispensation, yet raising it by implication far above the imperfect law of bondage. The author has very little to say about Christ and the deeper mysteries of redemption, but evidently presupposes a knowledge of the gospel history, and reverently calls Christ |the Lord of glory,| and himself humbly his |bond-servant.| He represents religion throughout in its practical aspect as an exhibition of faith by good works. He undoubtedly differs widely from Paul, yet does not contradict, but supplements him, and fills an important place in the Christian system of truth which comprehends all types of genuine piety. There are multitudes of sincere, earnest, and faithful Christian workers who never rise above the level of James to the sublime heights of Paul or John. The Christian church would never have given to the Epistle of James a place in the canon if she had felt that it was irreconcilable with the doctrine of Paul. Even the Lutheran church did not follow her great leader in his unfavorable judgment, but still retains James among the canonical books.

After the martyrdom of James he was succeeded by Symeon, a son of Clopas and a cousin of Jesus (and of James). He continued to guide the church at Jerusalem till the reign of Trajan, when he died a martyr at the great age of a hundred and twenty years. The next thirteen bishops of Jerusalem, who came, however, in rapid succession, were likewise of Jewish descent.

Throughout this period the church of Jerusalem preserved its strongly Israelitish type, but joined with it |the genuine knowledge of Christ,| and stood in communion with the Catholic church, from which the Ebionites, as heretical Jewish Christians, were excluded. After the line of the fifteen circumcised bishops had run out, and Jerusalem was a second time laid waste under Hadrian, the mass of the Jewish Christians gradually merged in the orthodox Greek Church.


I. James and the Brothers of the Lord. – There are three, perhaps four, eminent persons in the New Testament bearing the name of James (abridged from Jacob, which from patriarchal memories was a more common name among the Jews than any other except Symeon or Simon, and Joseph or Joses):

1. James (the son) of Zebedee, the brother of John and one of the three favorite apostles, the proto-martyr among the Twelve (beheaded a.d.44, see Acts 12:2), as his brother John was the survivor of all the apostles. They were called the |sons of thunder.|

2. James (the son) of Alphaeus, who was likewise one of the Twelve, and is mentioned in the four apostle-catalogues, Matt.10:3; Mark 3:10; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13.

3. James the Little, Mark 15:40 (ho mikros, not, |the Less,| as in the E. V.), probably so called from his small stature (as Zacchaeus, Luke 19:3), the son of a certain Mary and brother of Joseph, Matt.27:56 (Maria he tou Iakobou kai Ioseph meter ); Mark 15:40, 47; 16:1; Luke 24:10. He is usually identified with James the son of Alphaeus, on the assumption that his mother Mary was the wife of Clopas, mentioned John 19:25, and that Clopas was the same person as Alphaeus. But this identification is at least very problematical.

4. James, simply so called, as the most distinguished after the early death of James the Elder, or with the honorable epithet Brother of the Lord (ho adelphos tou Kuriou), and among post-apostolic writers, the Just, also Bishop of Jerusalem. The title connects him at once with the four brothers and the unnamed sisters of our Lord, who are repeatedly mentioned in the Gospels, and he as the first among them. Hence the complicated question of the nature of this relationship. Although I have fully discussed this intricate subject nearly forty years ago (1842) in the German essay above mentioned, and then again in my annotations to Lange on Matthew (Am. ed.1864, pp.256-260), I will briefly sum up once more the chief points with reference to the most recent discussions (of Lightfoot and Renan).

There are three theories on James and the brothers of Jesus. I would call them the brother-theory, the half-brother-theory, and the cousin-theory. Bishop Lightfoot (and Canon Farrar) calls them after their chief advocates, the Helvidian (an invidious designation), the Epiphanian, and the Hieronymian theories. The first is now confined to Protestants, the second is the Greek, the third the Roman view.

(1) The brother-theory takes the term adelphoithe usual sense, and regards the brothers as younger children of Joseph and Mary, consequently as full brothers of Jesus in the eyes of the law and the opinion of the people, though really only half-brothers, in view of his supernatural conception. This is exegetically the most natural view and favored by the meaning of adelphos(especially when used as a standing designation), the constant companionship of these brethren with Mary (John 2:12; Matt.12:46; 13:55), and by the obvious meaning of Matt.1:25 (ouk eginosken auten heos ohu,comp.1:18 prin e sunelthein autous) and Luke 2:7 (prototokos), as explained from the standpoint of the evangelists, who used these terms in full view of the subsequent history of Mary and Jesus. The only serious objection to it is of a doctrinal and ethical nature, viz., the assumed perpetual virginity of the mother of our Lord and Saviour, and the committal of her at the cross to John rather than her own sons and daughters (John 19:25). If it were not for these two obstacles the brother-theory would probably be adopted by every fair and honest exegete. The first of these objections dates from the post-apostolic ascetic overestimate of virginity, and cannot have been felt by Matthew and Luke, else they would have avoided those ambiguous terms just noticed. The second difficulty presses also on the other two theories, only in a less degree. It must therefore be solved on other grounds, namely, the profound spiritual sympathy and congeniality of John with Jesus and Mary, which rose above carnal relationships, the probable cousinship of John (based upon the proper interpretation of the same passage, John 19:25), and the unbelief of the real brethren at the time of the committal.

This theory was held by Tertullian (whom Jerome summarily disposes of as not being a, |homo ecclesiae,| i.e. a schismatic), defended by Helvidius at Rome about 380 (violently attacked as a heretic by Jerome), and by several individuals and sects opposed to the incipient worship of the Virgin Mary; and recently by the majority of German Protestant exegetes since Herder, such as Stier, De Wette, Meyer, Weiss, Ewald, Wieseler, Keim, also by Dean Alford, and Canon Farrar (Life of Christ, I.97 sq.). I advocated the same theory in my German tract, but admitted afterwards in my Hist. of Ap. Ch., p.378, that I did not give sufficient weight to the second theory.

(2) The half-brother-theory regards the brethren and sisters of Jesus as children of Joseph by a former wife, consequently as no blood-relations at all, but so designated simply as Joseph was called the father of Jesus, by an exceptional use of the term adapted to the exceptional fact of the miraculous incarnation. This has the dogmatic advantage of saving the perpetual virginity of the mother of our Lord and Saviour; it lessens the moral difficulty implied in John 19:25; and it has a strong traditional support in the apocryphal Gospels and in the Eastern church. It also would seem to explain more easily the patronizing tone in which the brethren speak to our Lord in John 7:3, 4. But it does not so naturally account for the constant companionship of these brethren with Mary; it assumes a former marriage of Joseph nowhere alluded to in the Gospels, and makes Joseph an old man and protector rather than husband of Mary; and finally it is not free from suspicion of an ascetic bias, as being the first step towards the dogma of the perpetual virginity. To these objections may be added, with Farrar, that if the brethren had been elder sons of Joseph, Jesus would not have been regarded as legal heir of the throne of David (Matt.1:16; Luke 1:27; Rom.1:3; 2 Tim.2:8; Rev.22:16).

This theory is found first in the apocryphal writings of James (the Protevangelium Jacobi, the Ascents of James, etc.), and then among the leading Greek fathers (Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, Epiphanius, Cyril of Alexandria); it is embodied in the Greek, Syrian, and Coptic services, which assign different dates to the commemoration of James the son of Alphaeus (Oct.9), and of James the Lord’s brother (Oct.23). It may therefore be called the theory of the Eastern church. It was also held by some Latin fathers before Jerome (Hilary of Poitiers and Ambrose), and has recently been ably advocated by Bishop Lightfoot (l.c.), followed by Dr. Plumptre (in the introduction to his Com. on the Ep. of James).

(3) The cousin-theory regards the brethren as more distant relatives, namely, as children of Mary, the wife of Alphaeus and sister of the Virgin Mary, and identifies James, the brother of the Lord, with James the son of Alphaeus and James the Little, thus making him (as well as also Simon and Jude) an apostle. The exceptive ei me, Gal.1:19 (but I saw only James), does not prove this, but rather excludes James from the apostles proper (comp. ei mein Gal.2:16; Luke 4:26, 27).

This theory was first advanced by Jerome in 383, in a youthful polemic tract against Helvidius, without any traditional support, but with the professed dogmatic and ascetic aim to save the virginity of both Mary and Joseph, and to reduce their marriage relation to a merely nominal and barren connection. In his later writings, however, after his residence in Palestine, he treats the question with less confidence (see Lightfoot, p.253). By his authority and the still greater weight of St. Augustin, who at first (394) wavered between the second and third theories, but afterwards adopted that of Jerome, it became the established theory of the Latin church and was embodied in the Western services, which acknowledge only two saints by the name of James. But it is the least tenable of all and must be abandoned, chiefly for the following reasons:

(a) It contradicts the natural meaning of the word |brother,| when the New Testament has the proper term for cousin Col.4:10, comp. also sungenesLuke 2:44; 21:16; Mark 6:4, etc.), and the obvious sense of the passages where the brothers and sisters of Jesus appear as members of the holy family.

(b) It assumes that two sisters had the same name, Mary, which is extremely improbable.

(c) It assumes the identity of Clopas and Alphaeus, which is equally doubtful; for Alphaiosis a Hebrew name (chlphy), while Klopas, like Kleopas, Luke 24:18, is an abbreviation of the Greek Kleopatros, as Antipas is contracted from Antipatros.(d) It is absolutely irreconcilable with the fact that the brethren of Jesus, James among them, were before the resurrection unbelievers, John 7:5, and consequently none of them could have been an apostle, as this theory assumes of two or three.

Renan’s theory. — I notice, in conclusion, an original combination of the second and third theories by Renan, who discusses the question of the brothers and cousins of Jesus in an appendix to his Les évangiles, 537-540. He assumes four Jameses, and distinguishes the son of Alphaeus from the son of Clopas. He holds that Joseph was twice married, and that Jesus had several older brothers and cousins as follows:

1. Children of Joseph from the first marriage, and older brothers of Jesus:

a. James, the brother of the Lord, or Just, or Obliam. his is the one mentioned Matt.13:55; Mark 6:3; Gal.1:19; 2:9, 12; 1 Cor.15:7; Acts 12:17, etc.; James 1:1 Jude 1:1, and in Josephus and Hegesippus.

b. Jude, mentioned Matt.13:55; Mark 6:3; Jude 1:1; Hegesippus in Eusebius’ Hist. Eccl. III.19, 20, 32. From him were descended those two grandsons, bishops of different churches, who were presented to the emperor Domitian as descendants of David and relations of Jesus. Hegesippus in Euseb. III.19, 20, 32

c. Other sons and daughters unknown. Matt.13:56; Mark 6:3; 1 Cor.9:5.

2. Children of Joseph (?) from the marriage with Mary: Jesus.

3. Children of Clopas, and cousins of Jesus, probably from the father’s side, since Clopas, according to Hegesippus, was a brother of Joseph, and may have married also a woman by the name of Mary (John 19:25).

a. James the Little (ho mikros), so called to distinguish him from his older cousin of that name. Mentioned Matt.27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1; Luke 24:10; otherwise unknown.

b. Joses, Matt.27:56; Mark 15:40, 47, but erroneously (?) numbered among the brothers of Jesus: Matt.13:55; Mark 6:3; otherwise unknown.

c. Symeon, the second bishop of Jerusalem (Hegesippus in Eus. III.11, 22, 32; IV.5, 22), also erroneously (?) put among the brothers of Jesus by Matt.13:55; Mark 6:3.

d. Perhaps other sons and daughters unknown.

II. The description of James by Hegesippus (from Eusebius, H. E. II.23).| Hegesippus also, who flourished nearest the days of the apostles, gives (in the fifth book of his Memorials) this most accurate account of him:

| ‘Now James, the brother of the Lord, who (as there are many of this name) was surnamed the Just by all (ho adelphos tou Kuriou Iakobos ho onomastheis hupo panton dikaios), from the Lord’s time even to our own, received the government of the church with (or from) the apostles [meta, in conjunction with, or according to another reading, para ton apostolon, which would more clearly distinguish him from the apostles]. This man [houtosnot this apostle] was consecrated from his mother’s womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, and abstained from animal food. No razor came upon his head, he never anointed himself with oil, and never used a bath [probably the luxury of the Roman bath, with its sudatorium, frigidarium, etc., but not excluding the usual ablutions practised by all devout Jews]. He alone was allowed to enter the sanctuary [not the holy of holies, but the court of priests]. He wore no woolen, but linen garments only. He was in the habit of entering the temple alone, and was often found upon his bended knees, and interceding for the forgiveness of the people; so that his knees became as hard as a camel’s, on account of his constant supplication and kneeling before God. And indeed, on account of his exceeding great piety, he was called the Just [Zaddik] and Oblias [dikaios kai oblias, probably a corruption of the Hebrew Ophel am, Tower of the People], which signifies justice and the bulwark of the people (perioche tou laou); as the prophets declare concerning him. Some of the seven sects of the people, mentioned by me above in my Memoirs, used to ask him what was the door, [probably the estimate or doctrine] of Jesus? and he answered that he was the Saviour. And of these some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the aforesaid sects did not believe either a resurrection, or that he was coming to give to every one according to his works; as many, however, as did believe, did so on account of James. And when many of the rulers also believed, there arose a tumult among the Jews, Scribes, and Pharisees, saying that the whole people were in danger of looking for Jesus as the Messiah. They came therefore together, and said to James: We entreat thee, restrain the people, who are led astray after Jesus, as though he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all that are coming to the feast of the Passover rightly concerning Jesus; for we all have confidence in thee. For we and all the people bear thee testimony that thou art just, and art no respecter of persons. Persuade therefore the people not to be led astray by Jesus, for we and all the people have great confidence in thee. Stand therefore upon the pinnacle of the temple, that thou mayest be conspicuous on high, and thy words may be easily heard by all the people; for all the tribes have come together on account of the Passover, with some of the Gentiles also. The aforesaid Scribes and Pharisees, therefore, placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple, and cried out to him: |O thou just man, whom we ought all to believe, since the people are led astray after Jesus that was crucified, declare to us what is the door of Jesus that was crucified.| And he answered with a loud voice: |Why do ye ask me respecting Jesus the Son of Man? He is now sitting in the heavens, on the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come on the clouds of heaven.| And as many were confirmed, and gloried in this testimony of James, and said:, |Hosanna to the Son of David,| these same priests and Pharisees said to one another: |We have done badly in affording such testimony to Jesus, but let us go up and cast him down, that they may dread to believe in him.| And they cried out: |Ho, ho, the Just himself is deceived.| And they fulfilled that which is written in Isaiah, |Let us take away the Just, because he is offensive to us; wherefore they shall eat the fruit of their doings.| [Comp. Is.3:10.]

And going up, they cast down the just man, saying to one another: |Let us stone James the Just.| And they began to stone him, as he did not die immediately when cast down; but turning round, he knelt down, saying:, I entreat thee, O Lord God and Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.| Thus they were stoning him, when one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, a son of the Rechabites, spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet (Jer.35:2), cried out, saying: |Cease, what are you doing? The Just is praying for you.| And one of them, a fuller, beat out the brains of the Just with the club that he used to beat out clothes. Thus he suffered martyrdom, and they buried him on the spot where his tombstone is still remaining, by the temple. He became a faithful witness, both to the Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the Christ. Immediately after this, Vespasian invaded and took Judaea.’ |

|Such,| adds Eusebius, |is the more ample testimony of Hegesippus, in which he fully coincides with Clement. So admirable a man indeed was James, and so celebrated among all for his justice, that even the wiser part of the Jews were of opinion that this was the cause of the immediate siege of Jerusalem, which happened to them for no other reason than the crime against him. Josephus also has not hesitated to superadd this testimony in his works: ‘These things,’ says he, ‘happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was the brother of him that is called Christ and whom the Jews had slain, notwithstanding his preeminent justice.’ The same writer also relates his death, in the twentieth book of his Antiquities, in the following words,’ | etc.

Then Eusebius gives the account of Josephus.

Section 27. Preparation for the Mission to the Gentiles.

The planting of the church among the Gentiles is mainly the work of Paul; but Providence prepared the way for it by several steps, before this apostle entered upon his sublime mission.

1. By the conversion of those half-Gentiles and bitter enemies of the Jews, the Samaritans, under the preaching and baptism of Philip the evangelist, one of the seven deacons of Jerusalem, and under the confirming instruction of the apostles Peter and John. The gospel found ready entrance into Samaria, as had been prophetically hinted by the Lord in the conversation at Jacob’s well. But there we meet also the first heretical perversion of Christianity by Simon Magus, whose hypocrisy and attempt to degrade the gift of the Holy Spirit received from Peter a terrible rebuke. (Hence the term simony, for sordid traffic in church offices and dignities.) This encounter of the prince of the apostles with the arch-heretic was regarded in the ancient church, and fancifully represented, as typifying the relation of ecclesiastical orthodoxy to deceptive heresy.

2. Somewhat later (between 37 and 40) occurred the conversion of the noble centurion, Cornelius of Caesarea, a pious proselyte of the gate, whom Peter, in consequence of a special revelation, received into the communion of the Christian church directly by baptism, without circumcision. This bold step the apostle had to vindicate to the strict Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, who thought circumcision a condition of salvation, and Judaism the only way to Christianity. Thus Peter laid the foundation also of the Gentile-Christian church. The event marked a revolution in Peter’s mind, and his emancipation from the narrow prejudices of Judaism.

3. Still more important was the rise, at about the same time, of the church at Antioch the capital of Syria. This congregation formed under the influence of the Hellenist Barnabas of Cyprus and Paul of Tarsus, seems to have consisted from the first of converted heathens and Jews. It thus became the mother of Gentile Christendom, as Jerusalem was the mother and centre of Jewish. In Antioch, too, the name |Christian| first appeared, which was soon everywhere adopted, as well denoting the nature and mission as the followers of Christ, the divine-human prophet, priest, and king.

The other and older designations were disciples (of Christ the only Master), believers (in Christ as their Saviour), brethren (as members of the same family of the redeemed, bound together by a love which springs not from earth and will never cease), and saints (as those who are purified and consecrated to the service of God and called to perfect holiness).


chariti theou eimi ho eimi, kai he charis autou he eis eme ou kene egenethe, alla perissoteron auton panton ekopiasa, ouk ego de, alla he charis tou theou sun emoi. — 1 Cor.15:10.

Christos Iesous elthen eis ton kosmon hamartolous sosai, hon protos eimi ego. — 1 Tim.1:15.

|Paul’s mind was naturally and perfectly adapted to take up into itself and to develop the free, universal, and absolute principle of Christianity.| — Dr. Baur (Paul, II.281, English translation).

|Did St. Paul’s life end with his own life? May we not rather believe that in a sense higher than Chrysostom ever dreamt of [when he gave him the glorious name of ‘the Heart of the world’], the pulses of that mighty heart are still the pulses of the world’s life, still beat in these later ages with even greater force than ever?| — Dean Stanley (Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age. p.166).

Section 28. Sources and Literature on St. Paul and his Work.

I. Sources.

1. The authentic sources:

The Epistles of Paul, and the Acts of the Apostles 9:1-30 and 13 to 28. Of the Epistles of Paul the four most important Galatians, Romans, two Corinthians — are universally acknowledged as genuine even by the most exacting critics; the Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, and Ephesians are admitted by nearly all critics; the Pastoral Epistles, especially First Timothy, and Titus, are more or less disputed, but even they bear the stamp of Paul’s genius.

On the coincidences between the Acts and the Epistles see the section on the Acts. Comp. also § 22, pp.213 sqq.

2. The legendary and apocryphal sources:

Acta Pauli et Theclae, edition in Greek by E. Grabe (from a Bodleian MS. in Spicileg. SS. PP., Oxon.1698, tom. I. pp.95-128; republished by Jones, 1726), and by Tischendorf (from three Paris MSS, in Acta Apost. Apocrypha, Lips.1851); in Syriac, with an English version by W. Wright (in Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, Lond.1871); Engl. transl. by Alex. Walker (in Clark’s |Ante-Nicene Christian Library,| vol. XVI.279 sqq.). Comp. C. Schlau: Die Acten des Paulus und der Thecla und die ältere Thecla-Legende, Leipz.1877.

The Acts of Paul and Thecla strongly advocate celibacy. They are probably of Gnostic origin and based on some local tradition. They were originally written, according to Tertullian (De Bapt. cap.17, comp. Jerome, Catal. cap.7), by a presbyter in Asia |out of love to Paul,| and in support of the heretical opinion that women have the right to preach and to baptize after the example of Thecla; hence the author was deposed. The book was afterwards purged of its most obnoxious features and extensively used in the Catholic church. (See the patristic quotations in Tischendorf’s Prolegomena, p. xxiv.) Thecla is represented as a noble virgin of Iconium, in Lycaonia, who was betrothed to Thamyris, converted by Paul in her seventeenth year, consecrated herself to perpetual virginity, was persecuted, carried to the stake, and thrown before wild beasts, but miraculously delivered, and died 90 years old at Seleucia. In the Greek church she is celebrated as the first female martyr. Paul is described at the beginning of this book (Tischend. p.41) as |little in stature, bald-headed, bow-legged, well-built (or vigorous), with knitted eye-brows, rather long-nosed, full of grace, appearing now as a man, and now having the face of an angel.| From this description Renan has borrowed in part his fancy-sketch of Paul’s personal appearance.

Acta Pauli (Praxeis Paulou], used by Origen and ranked by Eusebiu| with the Antilegomena »or notharather). They are, like the Acta Petri (Praxeis, orPeriodoi Petrou), a Gnostic reconstruction of the canonical Acts and ascribed to the authorship of St. Linus. Preserved only in fragments.

Acta Petri et Pauli. A Catholic adaptation of an Ebionite work. The Greek and Latin text was published first in a complete form by Thilo, Halle, 1837-’38, the Greek by Tischendorf (who collated six MSS.) in his Acta Apost. Apoc.1851, 1-39; English transl. byWalker in |Ante-Nicene Libr., | XVI.256 sqq. This book records the arrival of Paul in Rome, his meeting with Peter and Simon Magus, their trial before the tribunal of Nero, and the martyrdom of Peter by crucifixion, and of Paul by decapitation. The legend of Domine quo vadis is here recorded of Peter, and the story of Perpetua is interwoven with the martyrdom of Paul.

The pseudo-Clementine Homilies, of the middle of the second century or later, give a malignant Judaizing caricature of Paul under the disguise of Simon Magus (in part at least), and misrepresent him as an antinomian arch-heretic; while Peter, the proper hero of this romance, is glorified as the apostle of pure, primitive Christianity.

The Correspondence of Paul and Seneca, mentioned by Jerome (De vir. ill. c.12) and Augustin (Ep. ad Maced.153, al.54), and often copied, though with many variations, edited by Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. N. T., and in several editions of Seneca. It consists of eight letters of Seneca and six of Paul. They are very poor in thought and style, full of errors of chronology and history, and undoubtedly a forgery. They arose from the correspondence of the moral maxims of Seneca with those of Paul, which is more apparent than real, and from the desire to recommend the Stoic philosopher to the esteem of the Christians, or to recommend Christianity to the students of Seneca and the Stoic philosophy. Paul was protected at Corinth by Seneca’s brother, Gallio (Acts 18:12-16), and might have become acquainted with the philosopher who committed suicide at Rome in 65, but there is no trace of such acquaintance. Comp. Amédée Fleury: Saint-Paul et Sénèque (Paris, 1853, 2 vols.); C. Aubertin: Étude critique sur les rapports supposé entre Sénèque et Saint-Paul (Par.1887); F. C. Baur: Seneca und Paulus, 1858 and 1876; Reuss: art. Seneca in Herzog, vol. XIV.273 sqq.; Lightfoot: Excursus in Com. on Philippians, pp 268-331; art. Paul and Seneca, in |Westminster Review,| Lond.1880, pp.309 sqq.

II. Biographical and Critical.

Bishop Pearson (d.1686): Annales Paulini. Lond.1688. In the various editions of his works, and also separately: Annals of St. Paul, transl. with geographical and critical notes. Cambridge, 1825.

Lord Lyttleton (d.1773): The Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul.3d ed. Lond.1747. Apologetic as an argument for the truth of Christianity from the personal experience of the author.

Archdeacon William Paley (d.1805): Horae Paulinae: or The Truth of the Scripture History of Paul evinced by a comparison of the Epistles which bear his name, with the Acts of the Apostles and with one another. Lond.1790 (and subsequent editions). Still valuable for apologetic purposes.

J. Hemsen: Der Apostel Paulus. Gött.1830.

Carl Schrader: Der Apostel Paulus. Leipz.1830-‘36.5 Parts. Rationalistic.

F. Chr. Baur (d.1860): Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi. Tüb.1845, second ed. by E. Zeller, Leipzig, 1866-’67, in 2 vols. Transl. into English by Allan Menzies. Lond. (Williams & Norgate) 1873 and ’75, 2 vols. This work of the great leader of the philosophico-critical reconstruction of the Apostolic Age (we may call him the modern Marcion) was preceded by several special treatises on the Christ-Party in Corinth (1831), on the Pastoral Epistles (1835), on the Epistle to the Romans (1836), and a Latin programme on Stephen’s address before the Sanhedrin (1829). It marks an epoch in the literature on Paul and opened new avenues of research. It is the standard work of the Tübingen school of critics.

Conybeare and Howson: The Life and Epistles of St. Paul. Lond.1853, 2 vols., and N. York, 1854; 2d ed. Lond.1856, and later editions; also an abridgment in one vol. A very useful and popular work, especially on the geography of Paul’s travels. Comp. also Dean Howson: Character of St. Paul (Lond.1862; 2d ed.1864); Scenes from the Life of St. Paul (1867); Metaphors of St. Paul (1868); The Companions of St. Paul (1871). Most of these books were republished in America.

Ad. Monod (d.1856): Saint Paul. Six sermons. See hisSermons, Paris, 1860, vol. II.121-296. The same in German and English.

W. F. Besser: Paulus. Leipz.1861. English transl. by F. Bultmann, with Introduction by J. S. Howson. Lond. and N. York, 1864.

F. Bungener: St. Paul, sa vie, son oeuvre et ses épitres. Paris, 1865.

A. Hausrath: Der Apostel Paulus. Heidelb.1865; 2d ed.1872. Comp. also his N. T. liche Zeitgeschichte, Part III.

M. Krenkel: Paulus, der Apostel der Heiden. Leipz.1869.

Ernest Renan: Saint Paul. Paris, 1869. Transl. from the French by J. Lockwood, N.York, 1869. Very fresh and entertaining, but full ,of fancies and errors.

Thomas Lewin (author of |Fasti Sacri|) The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, new ed. Lond. and N. York, 1875, 2 vols. A magnificent work of many years’ labor, with 370 illustrations.

Canon F. W. Farrar: The Life and Work of St. Paul. Lond. and N. York, 1879, 2 vols. Learned and eloquent.

W. M. Taylor: Paul as a Missionary. N. York, 1881.

As biographies, the works of Conybeare and Howson, Lewin, and Farrar are the most complete and instructive.

Also the respective sections in the Histories of the Ap. Age by Neander, Lechler, Thiersch, Lange, Schaff (226-347 and 634-640), Pressensé.

III. Chronological.

Thomas Lewin: Fasti Sacri, a Key to the Chronology of the New Testament. London, 1865. Chronological Tables from b.c.70 to a.d.70.

Wieseler: Chronologie des apostolischen Zeitalters. Göttingen, 1848.

IV. Doctrinal and Exegetical.

L. Usteri: Entwicklung des Paulinischen Lehrbegriffs. Zürich, 1824, 6th ed.1851.

A. P. Dähne: Entwicklung des Paulinischen Lehrbegriffs. Halle, 1835.

Baur: Paulus. See above.

R. A. Lipsius: Die Paulinische Rechtfertigungslehre. Leipz.1853.

C. Holsten: Zum Evangelium des Paulus und des Petrus. Rostock, 1868. This book, contains: 1. An essay on the Christusvision des Paulus und die Genesis des paulinischen Evangeliums, which had previously appeared in Hilgenfeld’s |Zeitschrift,| 1861, but is here enlarged by a reply to Beyschlag; 2. Die Messiasvision des Petrus (new); 3. An analysis of the Epistle to the Galatians (1859); 4. A discussion of the meaning of sarxin Paul’s system (1855). By the same: Das Evangelium des Paulus. Part I. Berlin, 1880.

TH. Simar (R. C.): Die Theologie des heil. Paulus. Freiberg, 1864.

Ernesti: Die Ethik des Ap. Paulus. Braunschweig, 1868; 3d ed.1880.

R. Schmidt: Die Christologie des Ap. Paulus. Gött., 1870.

Matthew Arnold: St. Paul and Protestantism. Lond.1870; 3d ed.1875.

William I. Irons (Episcop.): Christianity as taught by St. Paul. Eight Bampton Lectures for 1870. Oxf. and Lond.1871; 2d ed.1876.

A. Sabatier: L’apôtre Paul. Esquisse d’une histoire de sa pensée. Strasb. and Paris, 1870.

Otto Pfleiderer (Prof. in Berlin): Der Paulinismus. Leipzig, 1873. Follows Baur and Holsten in developing the doctrinal system of Paul from his conversion. English translation by E. Peters. Lond.1877, 2 vols. Lectures on the Influence of the Apostle Paul on the Development of Christianity (The Hibbert Lectures). Trsl. by J. Fr. Smith. Lond. and N. Y.1885. Also his Urchristenthum, 1887.

C. Weizsäcker: D. Apost. Zeitalter (1886), pp.68-355.

Fr. Bethge: Die Paulinischen Reden der Apostelgesch. Göttingen, 1887.

V. Commentaries.

The Commentators on Paul’s Epistles (in whole or in part) are so numerous that we can only mention some of the most important:

1. On all the Pauline Epp.: Calvin, Beza, Estius (b.c.), Corn. A Lapide (R. C.), Grotius, Wetstein, Bengel, Olshausen, De Wette, Meyer, Lange (Am. ed. enlarged), Ewald, Von Hofmann, Reuss (French), Alford, Wordsworth, Speaker’s Com., Ellicott (Pop. Com.), Schaff (Pop. Com., vol. III.1882). Compare also P. J. Gloag: Introduction to the Pauline Epistles. Edinburgh, 1874.

2. On single Epp.: Romans by Tholuck (5th ed.1856), Fritzsche (3 vols. in Latin), Reiche, Rückert, Philippi (3d ed.1866, English transl. by Banks, 1878-’79, 2 vols.), Mos. Stuart, Turner, Hodge, Forbes, Jowett, Shedd (1879), Godet (L’épitre aux Romains, 1879 and 1880, 2 vols). — Corinthians by Neander, Osiander, Hodge, Stanley, Heinrici, Edwards, Godet, Ellicott. — Galatians by Luther, Winer, Wieseler, Hilgenfeld, Holsten, Jowett, Eadie, Ellicott, Lightfoot. — Ephesians by Harless, Matthies, Stier, Hodge, Eadie, Ellicott, J. L. Davies. — Other minor Epp. explained by Bleek (Col., Philemon, and Eph.), Koch (Thess.), van Hengel (Phil.), Eadie (Col.), Ellicott (Phil., Col., Thess., Philem.), Lightfoot (Phil, Col., Philemon). — Pastoral Epp. by Matthies, Mack (R. C.), Beck (ed. Lindenmeyer, 1879), Holtzmann (1880), Fairbairn, Ellicott, Weiss (1886), Knoke (1887), Kölling (1887).

3. The Commentaries on the second part of Acts by De Wette, Meyer, Baumgarten, Alexander, Hackett, Lechler, Gloag, Plumptre, Jacobson, Lumby, Howson and Spence.

Section 29. Paul before his Conversion.

His Natural Outfit.

We now approach the apostle of the Gentiles who decided the victory of Christianity as a universal religion, who labored more, both in word and deed, than all his colleagues, and who stands out, in lonely grandeur, the most remarkable and influential character in history. His youth as well as his closing years are involved in obscurity, save that he began a persecutor and ended a martyr, but the midday of his life is better known than that of any other apostle, and is replete with burning thoughts and noble deeds that can never die, and gather strength with the progress of the gospel from age to age and country to country.

Saul or Paul was of strictly Jewish parentage, but was born, a few years after Christ, in the renowned Grecian commercial and literary city of Tarsus, in the province of Cilicia, and inherited the rights of a Roman citizen. He received a learned Jewish education at Jerusalem in the school of the Pharisean Rabbi, Gamaliel, a grandson of Hillel, not remaining an entire stranger to Greek literature, as his style, his dialectic method, his allusions to heathen religion and philosophy, and his occasional quotations from heathen poets show. Thus, a |Hebrew of the Hebrews,| yet at the same time a native Hellenist, and a Roman citizen, be combined in himself, so to speak, the three great nationalities of the ancient world, and was endowed with all the natural qualifications for a universal apostleship. He could argue with the Pharisees as a son of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin, and as a disciple of the renowned Gamaliel, surnamed |the Glory of the Law.| He could address the Greeks in their own beautiful tongue and with the convincing force of their logic. Clothed with the dignity and majesty of the Roman people, he could travel safely over the whole empire with the proud watchword: Civis Romanus sum.

This providential outfit for his future work made him for a while the most dangerous enemy of Christianity, but after his conversion its most useful promoter. The weapons of destruction were turned into weapons of construction. The engine was reversed, and the direction changed; but it remained the same engine, and its power was increased under the new inspiration.

The intellectual and moral endowment of Saul was of the highest order. The sharpest thinking was blended with the tenderest feeling, the deepest mind with the strongest will. He had Semitic fervor, Greek versatility, and Roman energy. Whatever he was, he was with his whole soul. He was totus in illis, a man of one idea and of one purpose, first as a Jew, then as a Christian. His nature was martial and heroic. Fear was unknown to him — except the fear of God, which made him fearless of man. When yet a youth, he had risen to high eminence; and had he remained a Jew, he might have become a greater Rabbi than even Hillel or Gamaliel, as he surpassed them both in original genius and fertility of thought.

Paul was the only scholar among the apostles. He never displays his learning, considering it of no account as compared with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, for whom he suffered the loss of all things, but he could not conceal it, and turned it to the best use after his conversion. Peter and John had natural genius, but no scholastic education; Paul had both, and thus became the founder of Christian theology and philosophy.

His Education.

His training was thoroughly Jewish, rooted and grounded in the Scriptures of the Old Covenant, and those traditions of the elders which culminated in the Talmud. He knew the Hebrew and Greek Bible almost by heart. In his argumentative epistles, when addressing Jewish converts, he quotes from the Pentateuch, the Prophets, the Psalms, now literally, now freely, sometimes ingeniously combining several passages or verbal reminiscences, or reading between the lines in a manner which betrays the profound student and master of the hidden depths of the word of God, and throws a flood of light on obscure passages. He was quite familiar with the typical and allegorical methods of interpretation; and he occasionally and incidentally uses Scriptural arguments, or illustrations rather, which strike a sober scholar as far-fetched and fanciful, though they were quite conclusive to a Jewish reader. But he never bases a truth on such an illustration without an independent argument; he never indulges in the exegetical impositions and frivolities of those |letter-worshipping Rabbis who prided themselves on suspending dogmatic mountains by textual hairs.| Through the revelation of Christ, the Old Testament, instead of losing itself in the desert of the Talmud or the labyrinth of the Kabbala, became to him a book of life, full of types and promises of the great facts and truths of the gospel salvation. In Abraham he saw the father of the faithful, in Habakkuk a preacher of justification by faith, in the paschal lamb a type of Christ slain for the sins of the world, in the passage of Israel through the Red Sea a prefigurement of Christian baptism, and in the manna of the wilderness a type of the bread of life in the Lord’s Supper.

The Hellenic culture of Paul is a matter of dispute, denied by some, unduly exalted by others. He no doubt acquired in the home of his boyhood and early manhood a knowledge of the Greek language, for Tarsus was at that time the seat of one of the three universities of the Roman empire, surpassing in some respects even Athens and Alexandria, and furnished tutors to the imperial family. His teacher, Gamaliel, was comparatively free from the rabbinical abhorrence and contempt of heathen literature. After his conversion he devoted his life to the salvation of the heathen, and lived for years at Tarsus, Ephesus, Corinth, and other cities of Greece, and became a Greek to the Greeks in order to save them. It is scarcely conceivable that a man of universal human sympathies, and so wide awake to the deepest problems of thought, as he, should have under such circumstances taken no notice of the vast treasures of Greek philosophy, poetry, and history. He would certainly do what we expect every missionary to China or India to do from love to the race which he is to benefit, and from a desire to extend his usefulness. Paul very aptly, though only incidentally, quotes three times from Greek poets, not only a proverbial maxim from Menander, and a hexameter from Epimenides, which may have passed into common use, but also a half-hexameter with a connecting particle, which he must have read in the tedious astronomical poem of his countryman, Aratus (about b.c.270), or in the sublime hymn of Cleanthes to Jupiter, in both of which the passage occurs. He borrows some of his favorite metaphors from the Grecian games; he disputed with Greek philosophers of different schools and addressed them from the Areopagus with consummate wisdom and adaptation to the situation; some suppose that he alludes even to the terminology of the Stoic philosophy when he speaks of the |rudiments| or |elements of the world.| He handles the Greek language, not indeed with classical purity and elegance, yet with an almost creative vigor, transforming it into an obedient organ of new ideas, and pressing into his service the oxymoron, the paronomasia, the litotes, and other rhetorical figures. Yet all this does by no means prove a regular study or extensive knowledge of Greek literature, but is due in part to native genius. His more than Attic urbanity and gentlemanly refinement which breathe in his Epistles to Philemon and the Philippians, must be traced to the influence of Christianity rather than his intercourse with accomplished Greeks. His Hellenic learning seems to have been only casual, incidental, and altogether subordinate to his great aim. In this respect he differed widely from the learned Josephus, who affected Attic purity of style, and from Philo, who allowed the revealed truth of the Mosaic religion to be controlled, obscured, and perverted by Hellenic philosophy. Philo idealized and explained away the Old Testament by allegorical impositions which he substituted for grammatical expositions; Paul spiritualized the Old Testament and drew out its deepest meaning. Philo’s Judaism evaporated in speculative abstractions, Paul’s Judaism was elevated and transformed into Christian realities.

His Zeal for Judaism.

Saul was a Pharisee of the strictest sect, not indeed of the hypocritical type, so witheringly rebuked by our Saviour, but of the honest, truth-loving and truth-seeking sort, like that of Nicodemus and Gamaliel. His very fanaticism in persecution arose from the intensity of his conviction and his zeal for the religion of his fathers. He persecuted in ignorance, and that diminished, though it did not abolish, his guilt. He probably never saw or heard Jesus until he appeared to him at Damascus. He may have been at Tarsus at the time of the crucifixion and resurrection. But with his Pharisaic education he regarded Jesus of Nazareth, like his teachers, as a false Messiah, a rebel, a blasphemer, who was justly condemned to death. And he acted according to his conviction. He took the most prominent part in the persecution of Stephen and delighted in his death. Not satisfied with this, he procured from the Sanhedrin, which had the oversight of all the synagogues and disciplinary punishments for offences against the law, full power to persecute and arrest the scattered disciples. Thus armed, he set out for Damascus, the capital of Syria, which numbered many synagogues. He was determined to exterminate the dangerous sect from the face of the earth, for the glory of God. But the height of his opposition was the beginning of his devotion to Christianity.

His External Relations and Personal Appearance.

On the subordinate questions of Paul’s external condition and relations we have no certain information. Being a Roman citizen, he belonged to the respectable class of society, but must have been poor; for he depended for support on a trade which he learned in accordance with rabbinical custom; it was the trade of tent-making, very common in Cilicia, and not profitable except in large cities.

He had a sister living at Jerusalem whose son was instrumental in saving his life.

He was probably never married. Some suppose that he was a widower. Jewish and rabbinical custom, the completeness of his moral character, his ideal conception of marriage as reflecting the mystical union of Christ with his church, his exhortations to conjugal, parental, and filial duties, seem to point to experimental knowledge of domestic life. But as a Christian missionary moving from place to place, and exposed to all sorts of hardship and persecution, he felt it his duty to abide alone. He sacrificed the blessings of home and family to the advancement of the kingdom of Christ.

His |bodily presence was weak, and his speech contemptible| (of no value), in the superficial judgment of the Corinthians, who missed the rhetorical ornaments, yet could not help admitting that his |letters were weighty and strong.| Some of the greatest men have been small in size, and some of the purest souls forbidding in body. Socrates was the homeliest, and yet the wisest of Greeks. Neander, a converted Jew, like Paul, was short, feeble, and strikingly odd in his whole appearance, but a rare humility, benignity, and heavenly aspiration beamed from his face beneath his dark and bushy eyebrows. So we may well imagine that the expression of Paul’s countenance was highly intellectual and spiritual, and that he looked |sometimes like a man and sometimes like an angel.|

He was afflicted with a mysterious, painful, recurrent, and repulsive physical infirmity, which he calls a |thorn in the flesh, | and which acted as a check upon spiritual pride and self-exultation over his abundance of revelations. He bore the heavenly treasure in an earthly vessel and his strength was made perfect in weakness. But all the more must we admire the moral heroism which turned weakness itself into an element of strength, and despite pain and trouble and persecution carried the gospel salvation triumphantly from Damascus to Rome.

Section 30. The Conversion of Paul.

Eudokesen ho theos … apokalupsai ton huion autou en emoi, hina euangelizomai auton en tois ethnesin Gal.1:15, 16.

The conversion of Paul marks not only a turning-point in his personal history, but also an important epoch in the history of the apostolic church, and consequently in the history of mankind. It was the most fruitful event since the miracle of Pentecost, and secured the universal victory of Christianity.

The transformation of the most dangerous persecutor into the most successful promoter of Christianity is nothing less than a miracle of divine grace. It rests on the greater miracle of the resurrection of Christ. Both are inseparably connected; without the resurrection the conversion would have been impossible, and on the other hand the conversion of such a man and with such results is one of the strongest proofs of the resurrection.

The bold attack of Stephen — the forerunner of Paul — upon the hard, stiff-necked Judaism which had crucified the Messiah, provoked a determined and systematic attempt on the part of the Sanhedrin to crucify Jesus again by destroying his church. In this struggle for life and death Saul the Pharisee, the bravest and strongest of the rising rabbis, was the willing and accepted leader.

After the martyrdom of Stephen and the dispersion of the congregation of Jerusalem, he proceeded to Damascus in suit of the fugitive disciples of Jesus, as a commissioner of the Sanhedrin, a sort of inquisitor-general, with full authority and determination to stamp out the Christian rebellion, and to bring all the apostates he could find, whether they were men or women, in chains to the holy city to be condemned by the chief priests.

Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world, known in the days of Abraham, and bursts upon the traveller like a vision of paradise amidst a burning and barren wilderness of sand; it is watered by the never-failing rivers Abana and Pharpar (which Naaman of old preferred to all the waters of Israel), and embosomed in luxuriant gardens of flowers and groves of tropical fruit trees; hence glorified by Eastern poets as |the Eye of the Desert.|

But a far higher vision than this earthly paradise was in store for Saul as he approached the city. A supernatural light from heaven, brighter than the Syrian sun, suddenly flashed around him at midday, and Jesus of Nazareth, whom he persecuted in his humble disciples, appeared to him in his glory as the exalted Messiah, asking him in the Hebrew tongue: |Shaûl, Shaûl, why persecutest thou Me? It was a question both of rebuke and of love, and it melted his heart. He fell prostrate to the ground. He saw and heard, he trembled and obeyed, he believed and rejoiced. As he rose from the earth he saw no man. Like a helpless child, blinded by the dazzling light, he was led to Damascus, and after three days of blindness and fasting he was cured and baptized — not by Peter or James or John, but — by one of the humble disciples whom he had come to destroy. The haughty, self-righteous, intolerant, raging Pharisee was changed into an humble, penitent, grateful, loving servant of Jesus. He threw away self-righteousness, learning, influence, power, prospects, and cast in his lot with a small, despised sect at the risk of his life. If there ever was an honest, unselfish, radical, and effective change of conviction and conduct, it was that of Saul of Tarsus. He became, by a creative act of the Holy Spirit, a |new creature in Christ Jesus.|

We have three full accounts of this event in the Acts, one from Luke, two from Paul himself, with slight variations in detail, which only confirm the essential harmony. Paul also alludes to it five or six times in his Epistles. In all these passages he represents the change as an act brought about by a direct intervention of Jesus, who revealed himself in his glory from heaven, and struck conviction into his mind like lightning at midnight. He compares it to the creative act of God when He commanded the light to shine out of darkness. He lays great stress on the fact that he was converted and called to the apostolate directly by Christ, without any human agency; that he learned his gospel of free and universal grace by revelation, and not from the older apostles, whom he did not even see till three years after his call.

The conversion, indeed, was not a moral compulsion, but included the responsibility of assent or dissent. God converts nobody by force or by magic. He made man free, and acts upon him as a moral being. Paul might have |disobeyed the heavenly vision.| He might have |kicked against the goads,| though it was |hard| (not impossible) to do so. These words imply some psychological preparation, some doubt and misgiving as to his course, some moral conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which he himself described twenty years afterwards from personal experience, and which issues in the cry of despair: |O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?| On his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, which takes a full week on foot or horseback — the distance being about 140 miles — as he was passing, in the solitude of his own thoughts, through Samaria, Galilee, and across Mount Hermon, he had ample time for reflection, and we may well imagine how the shining face of the martyr Stephen, as he stood like a holy angel before the Sanhedrin, and as in the last moment he prayed for his murderers, was haunting him like a ghost and warning him to stop his mad career.

Yet we must not overrate this preparation or anticipate his riper experience in the three days that intervened between his conversion and his baptism, and during the three years of quiet meditation in Arabia. He was no doubt longing for truth and for righteousness, but there was a thick veil over his mental eye which could only be taken away by a hand from without; access to his heart was barred by an iron door of prejudice which had to be broken in by Jesus himself. On his way to Damascus he was |yet breathing threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,| and thinking he was doing |God service;| he was, to use his own language, |beyond measure| persecuting the church of God and endeavoring to destroy it, |being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of his fathers| than many of his age, when |it pleased God to reveal his Son in him.| Moreover it is only in the light of faith that we see the midnight darkness of our sin, and it is only beneath the cross of Christ that we feel the whole crushing weight of guilt and the unfathomable depth of God’s redeeming love. No amount of subjective thought and reflection could have brought about that radical change in so short a time. It was the objective appearance of Jesus that effected it.

This appearance implied the resurrection and the ascension, and this was the irresistible evidence of His Messiahship, God’s own seal of approval upon the work of Jesus. And the resurrection again shed a new light upon His death on the cross, disclosing it as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, as the means of procuring pardon and peace consistent with the claims of divine justice. What a revelation! That same Jesus of Nazareth whom he hated and persecuted as a false prophet justly crucified between two robbers, stood before Saul as the risen, ascended, and glorified Messiah! And instead of crushing the persecutor as he deserved, He pardoned him and called him to be His witness before Jews and Gentiles! This revelation was enough for an orthodox Jew waiting for the hope of Israel to make him a Christian, and enough for a Jew of such force of character to make him an earnest and determined Christian. The logic of his intellect and the energy of his will required that he should love and promote the new faith with the same enthusiasm with which he had hated and persecuted it; for hatred is but inverted love, and the intensity of love and hatred depends on the strength of affection and the ardor of temper.

With all the suddenness and radicalness of the transformation there is nevertheless a bond of unity between Saul the Pharisee and Paul the Christian. It was the same person with the same end in view, but in opposite directions. We must remember that he was not a worldly, indifferent, cold-blooded man, but an intensely religious man. While persecuting the church, he was |blameless| as touching the righteousness of the law. He resembled the rich youth who had observed the commandments, yet lacked the one things needful, and of whom Mark says that Jesus |loved him.| He was not converted from infidelity to faith, but from a lower faith to a purer faith, from the religion of Moses to the religion of Christ, from the theology of the law to the theology of the gospel. How shall a sinner be justified before the tribunal of a holy God? That was with him the question of questions before as well as after his conversion; not a scholastic question merely, but even far more a moral and religious question. For righteousness, to the Hebrew mind, is conformity to the will of God as expressed in his revealed law, and implies life eternal as its reward. The honest and earnest pursuit of righteousness is the connecting link between the two periods of Paul’s life. First he labored to secure it by works of the law, then obedience of faith. What he had sought in vain by his fanatical zeal for the traditions of Judaism, he found gratuitously and at once by trust in the cross of Christ: pardon and peace with God. By the discipline of the Mosaic law as a tutor he was led beyond its restraints and prepared for manhood and freedom. Through the law he died to the law that he might live unto God. His old self, with its lusts, was crucified with Christ, so that henceforth he lived no longer himself, but Christ lived in him. He was mystically identified with his Saviour and had no separate existence from him. The whole of Christianity, the whole of life, was summed up to him in the one word: Christ. He determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified for our sins, and risen again for our justification.

His experience of justification by faith, his free pardon and acceptance by Christ were to him the strongest stimulus to gratitude and consecration. His great sin of persecution, like Peter’s denial, was overruled for his own good: the remembrance of it kept him humble, guarded him against temptation, and intensified his zeal and devotion. |I am the least of the apostles,| he said in unfeigned humility that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.| This confession contains, in epitome, the whole meaning of his life and work.

The idea of justification by the free grace of God in Christ through a living faith which makes Christ and his merits our own and leads to consecration and holiness, is the central idea of Paul’s Epistles. His whole theology, doctrinal, ethical, and practical, lies, like a germ, in his conversion; but it was actually developed by a sharp conflict with Judaizing teachers who continued to trust in the law for righteousness and salvation, and thus virtually frustrated the grace of God and made Christ’s death unnecessary and fruitless.

Although Paul broke radically with Judaism and opposed the Pharisaical notion of legal righteousness at every step and with all his might, he was far from opposing the Old Testament or the Jewish people. Herein he shows his great wisdom and moderation, and his infinite superiority over Marcion and other ultra- and pseudo-Pauline reformers. He now expounded the Scriptures as a direct preparation for the gospel, the law as a schoolmaster leading to Christ, Abraham as the father of the faithful. And as to his countrymen after the flesh, he loved them more than ever before. Filled with the amazing love of Christ who had pardoned him, |the chief of sinners,| he was ready for the greatest possible sacrifice if thereby he might save them. His startling language in the ninth chapter of the Romans is not rhetorical exaggeration, but the genuine expression of that heroic self-denial and devotion which animated Moses, and which culminated in the sacrifice of the eternal Son of God on the cross of Calvary.

Paul’s conversion was at the same time his call to the apostleship, not indeed to a place among the Twelve (for the vacancy of Judas was filled), but to the independent apostleship of the Gentiles. Then followed an uninterrupted activity of more than a quarter of a century, which for interest and for permanent and ever-growing usefulness has no parallel in the annals of history, and affords an unanswerable proof of the sincerity of his conversion and the truth of Christianity.

Analogous Conversions.

God deals with men according to their peculiar character and condition. As in Elijah’s vision on Mount Horeb, God appears now in the mighty rushing wind that uproots the trees, now in the earthquake that rends the rocks, now in the consuming fire, now in the still small voice. Some are suddenly converted, and can remember the place and hour; others are gradually and imperceptibly changed in spirit and conduct; still others grow up unconsciously in the Christian faith from the mother’s knee and the baptismal font. The stronger the will the more force it requires to overcome the resistance, and the more thorough and lasting is the change. Of all sudden and radical conversions that of Saul was the most sudden and the most radical. In several respects it stands quite alone, as the man himself and his work. Yet there are faint analogies in history. The divines who most sympathized with his spirit and system of doctrine, passed through a similar experience, and were much aided by his example and writings. Among these Augustin, Calvin, and Luther are the most conspicuous.

St. Augustin, the son of a pious mother and a heathen father, was led astray into error and vice and wandered for years through the labyrinth of heresy and scepticism, but his heart was restless and homesick after God. At last, when he attained to the thirty-third year of his life (Sept., 386), the fermentation of his soul culminated in a garden near Milan, far away from his African home, when the Spirit of God, through the combined agencies of the unceasing prayers of Monica, the sermons of Ambrose, the example of St. Anthony, the study of Cicero and Plato, of Isaiah and Paul, brought about a change not indeed as wonderful — for no visible appearance of Christ was vouchsafed to him — but as sincere and lasting as that of the apostle. As he was lying in the dust of repentance and wrestling with God in prayer for deliverance, be suddenly heard a sweet voice as from heaven, calling out again and again: ‘Take and read, take and read!| He opened the holy book and read the exhortation of Paul: |Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.| It was a voice of God; he obeyed it, he completely changed his course of life, and became the greatest and most useful teacher of his age.

Of Calvin’s conversion we know very little, but he himself characterizes it as a sudden change (subita conversio) from papal superstition to the evangelical faith. In this respect it resembles that of Paul rather than Augustin. He was no sceptic, no heretic, no immoral man, but as far as we know, a pious Romanist until the brighter life of the Reformation burst on his mind from the Holy Scriptures and showed him a more excellent way. |Only one haven of salvation is left for our souls,| he says, |and that is the mercy of God in Christ. We are saved by grace — not by our merits, not by our works.| He consulted not with flesh and blood, and burned the bridge after him. He renounced all prospects of a brilliant career, and exposed himself to the danger of persecution and death. He exhorted and strengthened the timid Protestants of France, usually closing with the words of Paul If God be for us, who can be against us?| He prepared in Paris a flaming address on reform, which was ordered to be burned; he escaped from persecution in a basket from a window, like Paul at Damascus, and wandered for two years as a fugitive evangelist from place to place until he found his sphere of labor in Geneva. With his conversion was born his Pauline theology, which sprang from his brain like Minerva from the head of Jupiter. Paul never had a more logical and theological commentator than John Calvin.

But the most Paul-like man in history is the leader of the German Reformation, who combined in almost equal proportion depth of mind, strength of will, tenderness of heart, and a fiery vehemence of temper, and was the most powerful herald of evangelical freedom; though inferior to Augustin and Calvin (not to say Paul) in self-discipline, consistency, and symmetry of character. Luther’s commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, though not a grammatical or logical exposition, is a fresh reproduction and republication of the Epistle against the self-righteousness, and bondage of the papacy. Luther’s first conversion took place in his twenty-first year (1505), when, as a student of law at Erfurt, on his return from a visit to his parents, he was so frightened by a fearful thunder-storm and flashes of lightning that he exclaimed: |Help, dear St. Anna, I will become a monk!| But that conversion, although it has often been compared with that of the apostle, had nothing to do with his Paulinism and Protestantism; it made him a pious Catholic, it induced him to flee from the world to the retreat of a convent for the salvation of his soul. And he became one of the most humble, obedient, and self-denying of monks, as Paul was one of the most earnest and zealous of Pharisees. |If ever a monk got to heaven by monkery,| says Luther, |I ought to have gotten there.| But the more he sought righteousness and peace by ascetic self denial and penal exercises, the more painfully he felt the weight of sin and the wrath of God, although unable to mention to his confessor any particular transgression. The discipline of the law drove him to the brink of despair, when by the kind interposition of Staupitz he was directed away from himself to the cross of Christ, as the only source of pardon and peace, and found, by implicit faith in His all-sufficient merits, that righteousness which he had vainly sought in his own strength. This, his second conversion, as we may call it, which occurred several years later (1508), and gradually rather than suddenly, made him an evangelical freeman in Christ and prepared him for the great conflict with Romanism, which began in earnest with the nailing of the ninety-nine theses against the traffic in indulgences (1517). The intervening years may be compared to Paul’s sojourn in Arabia and the subordinate labors preceding his first great missionary tour.

False Explanations.

Various attempts have been made by ancient heretics and modern rationalists to explain Paul’s conversion in a purely natural way, but they have utterly failed, and by their failure they indirectly confirm the true view as given by the apostle himself and as held in all ages by the Christian church.

1. The Theory of Fraud. — The heretical and malignant faction of the Judaizers was disposed to attribute Paul’s conversion to selfish motives, or to the influence of evil spirits.

The Ebionites spread the lie that Paul was of heathen parents, fell in love with the daughter of the high priest in Jerusalem, became a proselyte and submitted to circumcision in order to secure her, but failing in his purpose, he took revenge and attacked the circumcision, the sabbath, and the whole Mosaic law.

In the pseudo-Clementine Homilies, which represent a speculative form of the Judaizing heresy, Paul is assailed under the disguise of Simon Magus, the arch-heretic, who struggled antinomian heathenism into the church. The manifestation of Christ was either a manifestation of his wrath, or a deliberate lie.

2. The Rationalistic Theory of Thunder and Lightning. — It attributes the conversion to physical causes, namely, a violent storm and the delirium of a burning Syrian fever, in which Paul superstitiously mistook the thunder for the voice of God and the lightning for a heavenly vision. But the record says nothing about thunderstorm and fever, and both combined could not produce such an effect upon any sensible man, much less upon the history of the world. Who ever heard the thunder speak in Hebrew or in any other articulate language? And had not Paul and Luke eyes and ears and common sense, as well as we, to distinguish an ordinary phenomenon of nature from a supernatural vision?

3. The Vision-Hypothesis resolves the conversion into a natural psychological process and into an honest self-delusion. It is the favorite theory of modern rationalists, who scorn all other explanations, and profess the highest respect for the intellectual and moral purity and greatness of Paul. It is certainly more rational and creditable than the second hypothesis, because it ascribes the mighty change not to outward and accidental phenomena which pass away, but to internal causes. It assumes that an intellectual and moral fermentation was going on for some time in the mind of Paul, and resulted at last, by logical necessity, in an entire change of conviction and conduct, without any supernatural influence, the very possibility of which is denied as being inconsistent with the continuity of natural development. The miracle in this case was simply the mythical and symbolical reflection of the commanding presence of Jesus in the thoughts of the apostle.

That Paul saw a vision, he says himself, but he meant, of course, a real, objective, personal appearance of Christ from heaven, which was visible to his eyes and audible to his ears, and at the same time a revelation to his mind through the medium of the senses. The inner spiritual manifestation was more important than the external, but both combined produced conviction. The vision-theory turns the appearance of Christ into a purely subjective imagination, which the apostle mistook for an objective fact.

It is incredible that a man of sound, clear, and keen mind as that of Paul undoubtedly was, should have made such a radical and far reaching blunder as to confound subjective reflections with an objective appearance of Jesus whom he persecuted, and to ascribe solely to an act of divine mercy what he must have known to be the result of his own thoughts, if he thought at all.

The advocates of this theory throw the appearances of the risen Lord to the older disciples, the later visions of Peter, Philip, and John in the Apocalypse, into the same category of subjective illusions in the high tide of nervous excitement and religious enthusiasm. It is plausibly maintained that Paul was an enthusiast, fond of visions and revelations, and that he justifies a doubt concerning the realness of the resurrection itself by putting all the appearances of the risen Christ on the same level with his own, although several years elapsed between those of Jerusalem and Galilee, and that on the way to Damascus.

But this, the only possible argument for the vision-hypothesis, is entirely untenable. When Paul says: |Last of all, as unto an untimely offspring, Christ appeared to me also,| he draws a clear line of distinction between the personal appearances of Christ and his own later visions, and closes the former with the one vouchsafed to him at his conversion. Once, and once only, he claims to have seen the Lord in visible form and to have heard his voice; last, indeed, and out of due time, yet as truly and really as the older apostles. The only difference is that they saw the risen Saviour still abiding on earth, while he saw the ascended Saviour coming down from heaven, as we may expect him to appear to all men on the last day. It is the greatness of that vision which leads him to dwell on his personal unworthiness as |the least of the apostles and not worthy to be called an apostle, because he persecuted the church of God.| He uses the realness of Christ’s resurrection as the basis for his wonderful discussion of the future resurrection of believers, which would lose all its force if Christ had not actually been raised from the dead.

Moreover his conversion coincided with his call to the apostleship. If the former was a delusion, the latter must also have been a delusion. He emphasizes his direct call to the apostleship of the Gentiles by the personal appearance of Christ without any human intervention, in opposition to his Judaizing adversaries who tried to undermine his authority.

The whole assumption of a long and deep inward preparation, both intellectual and moral, for a change, is without any evidence, and cannot set aside the fact that Paul was, according to his repeated confession, at that time violently persecuting Christianity in its followers. His conversion can be far less explained from antecedent causes, surrounding circumstances, and personal motives than that of any other disciple. While the older apostles were devoted friends of Jesus, Paul was his enemy, bent at the very time of the great change on an errand of cruel persecution, and therefore in a state of mind most unlikely to give birth to a vision so fatal to his present object and his future career. How could a fanatical persecutor of Christianity, |breathing threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,| stultify and contradict himself by an imaginative conceit which tended to the building up of that very religion which he was laboring to destroy!

But supposing (with Renan) that his mind was temporarily upset in the delirium of feverish excitement, he certainly soon recovered health and reason, and had every opportunity to correct his error; he was intimate with the murderers of Jesus, who could have produced tangible evidence against the resurrection if it had never occurred; and after a long pause of quiet reflection he went to Jerusalem, spent a fortnight with Peter, and could learn from him and from James, the brother of Christ, their experience, and compare it with his own. Everything in this case is against the mythical and legendary theory which requires a change of environment and the lapse of years for the formation of poetic fancies and fictions.

Finally, the whole life-work of Paul, from his conversion at Damascus to his martyrdom in Rome, is the best possible argument against this hypothesis and for the realness of his conversion, as an act of divine grace. |By their fruits ye shall know them.| How could such an effective change proceed from an empty dream? Can an illusion change the current of history? By joining the Christian sect Paul sacrificed everything, at last life itself, to the service of Christ. He never wavered in his conviction of the truth as revealed to him, and by his faith in this revelation he has become a benediction to all ages.

The vision-hypothesis denies objective miracles, but ascribes miracles to subjective imaginations, and makes a he more effect ive and beneficial than the truth.

All rationalistic and natural interpretations of the conversion of Paul turn out to be irrational and unnatural; the supernatural interpretation of Paul himself, after all, is the most rational and natural.

Remarkable Concessions.

Dr. Baur, the master-spirit of skeptical criticism and the founder of the |Tübingen School,| felt constrained, shortly before his death (1860), to abandon the vision-hypothesis and to admit that |no psychological or dialectical analysis can explore the inner mystery of the act in which God revealed his Son in Paul (keine, weder psychologische noch dialektische Analyse kann das innere Geheimniss des Actes erforschen, in welchem Gott seinen Sohn in ihm enthülte). In the same connection he says that in, |the sudden transformation of Paul from the most violent adversary of Christianity into its most determined herald| he could see |nothing short of a miracle (Wunder);| and adds that |this miracle appears all the greater when we remember that in this revulsion of his consciousness he broke through the barriers of Judaism and rose out of its particularism into the universalism of Christianity.| This frank confession is creditable to the head and heart of the late Tübingen critic, but is fatal to his whole anti-supernaturalistic theory of history. Si falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. If we admit the miracle in one case, the door is opened for all other miracles which rest on equally strong evidence.

The late Dr. Keim, an independent pupil of Baur, admits at least spiritual manifestations of the ascended Christ from heaven, and urges in favor of the objective reality of the Christophanies as reported by Paul, 1 Cor.15:3 sqq., |the whole character of Paul, his sharp understanding which was not weakened by his enthusiasm, the careful, cautious, measured, simple form of his statement, above all the favorable total impression of his narrative and the mighty echo of it in the unanimous, uncontradicted faith of primitive Christendom.|

Dr. Schenkel, of Heidelberg, in his latest stage of development, says that Paul, with full justice, put his Christophany on a par with the Christophanies of the older apostles; that all these Christophanies are not simply the result of psychological processes, but |remain in many respects psychologically inconceivable,| and point back to the historic background of the person of Jesus; that Paul was not an ordinary visionary, but carefully distinguished the Christophany at Damascus from his later visions; that he retained the full possession of his rational mind even in the moments of the highest exaltation; that his conversion was not the sudden effect of nervous excitement, but brought about by the influence of the divine Providence which quietly prepared his soul for the reception of Christ; and that the appearance of Christ vouchsafed to him was |no dream, but reality.|

Professor Reuss, of Strasburg, likewise an independent critic of the liberal school, comes to the same conclusion as Baur, that the conversion of Paul, if not an absolute miracle, is at least an unsolved psychological problem. He says: |La conversion de Paul, après tout ce qui en a été dit de notre temps, reste toujours, si ce n’est un miracle absolu, dans le sens traditionnel de ce mot (c’est-à-dire un événement qui arrête ou change violemment le cours naturel des choses, un effet sans autre cause que l’intervention arbitraire et immédiate de Dieu), du moins un problème psychologique aujourd’hui insoluble. L’explication dite naturelle, qu’elle fasse intervenir un orage on qu’elle se retranche dans le domaine des hallucinations … ne nous donne pas la clef de cette crise elle-même, qui a décidé la métamorphose du pharisien en chrétien |

Canon Farrar says (I.195): |One fact remains upon any hypothesis and that is, that the conversion of St. Paul was in the highest sense of the word a miracle, and one of which the spiritual consequences have affected every subsequent age of the history of mankind.|

Section 31. The Work of Paul.

|He who can part from country and from kin,

And scorn delights, and tread the thorny way,

A heavenly crown, through toil and pain, to win —

He who reviled can tender love repay,

And buffeted, for bitter foes can pray —

He who, upspringing at his Captain’s call,

Fights the good fight, and when at last the day

Of fiery trial comes, can nobly fall —

Such were a saint — or more — and such the holy Paul!|

— Anon.

The conversion of Paul was a great intellectual and moral revolution, yet without destroying his identity. His noble gifts and attainments remained, but were purged of Selfish motives, inspired by a new principle, and consecrated to a divine end. The love of Christ who saved him, was now his all-absorbing passion, and no sacrifice was too great to manifest his gratitude to Him. The architect of ruin became an architect of the temple of God. The same vigor, depth and acuteness of mind, but illuminated by the Holy Spirit; the same strong temper and burning zeal, but cleansed, subdued and controlled by wisdom and moderation; the same energy and boldness, but coupled with gentleness and meekness; and, added to all this, as crowning gifts of grace, a love and humility, a tenderness and delicacy of feeling such as are rarely, if ever, found in a character so proud, manly and heroic. The little Epistle to Philemon reveals a perfect Christian gentleman, a nobleman of nature, doubly ennobled by grace. The thirteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians could only be conceived by a mind that had ascended on the mystic ladder of faith to the throbbing heart of the God of love; yet without inspiration even Paul could not have penned that seraphic description of the virtue which beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, which never faileth, but will last for ever the greatest in the triad of celestial graces: faith, hope, love.

Saul converted became at once Paul the missionary. Being saved himself, he made it his life-work to save others. |Straight way| he proclaimed Christ in the synagogues, and confounded the Jews of Damascus, proving that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the Son of God. But this was only a preparatory testimony in the fervor of the first love. The appearance of Christ, and the travails of his soul during the three days and nights of prayer and fasting, when he experienced nothing less than a spiritual death and a spiritual resurrection, had so shaken his physical and mental frame that he felt the need of protracted repose away from the noise and turmoil of the world. Besides there must have been great danger threatening his life as soon as the astounding news of his conversion became known at Jerusalem. He therefore went to the desert of Arabia and spent there three years, not in missionary labor (as Chrysostom thought), but chiefly in prayer, meditation and the study of the Hebrew Scriptures in the light of their fulfilment through the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. This retreat took the place of the three years’ preparation of the Twelve in the school of Christ. Possibly he may have gone as far as Mount Sinai, among the wild children of Hagar and Ishmael. On that pulpit of the great lawgiver of Israel, and in view of the surrounding panorama of death and desolation which reflects the terrible majesty of Jehovah, as no other spot on earth, he could listen with Elijah to the thunder and earthquake, and the still small voice, and could study the contrast between the killing letter and the life-giving spirit, between the ministration of death and the ministration of righteousness. The desert, like the ocean, has its grandeur and sublimity, and leaves the meditating mind alone with God and eternity.

|Paul was a unique man for a unique task.| His task was twofold: practical and theoretical. He preached the gospel of free and universal grace from Damascus to Rome, and secured its triumph in the Roman empire, which means the civilized world of that age. At the same time he built up the church from within by the exposition and defence of the gospel in his Epistles. He descended to the humblest details of ecclesiastical administration and discipline, and mounted to the sublimest heights of theological speculation. Here we have only to do with his missionary activity; leaving his theoretical work to be considered in another chapter.

Let us first glance at his missionary spirit and policy.

His inspiring motive was love to Christ and to his fellow-men. |The love of Christ,| he says, |constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died: and He died for all that they who live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again.| He regarded himself as a bondman and ambassador of Christ, entreating men to be reconciled to God. Animated by this spirit, he became |as a Jew to the Jews, as a Gentile to the Gentiles, all things to all men that by all means he might save some.|

He made Antioch, the capital of Syria and the mother church of Gentile Christendom, his point of departure for, and return from, his missionary journeys, and at the same time he kept up his connection with Jerusalem, the mother church of Jewish Christendom. Although an independent apostle of Christ, he accepted a solemn commission from Antioch for his first great missionary tour. He followed the current of history, commerce, and civilization, from East to West, from Asia to Europe, from Syria to Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, and perhaps as far as Spain. In the larger and more influential cities, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, he resided a considerable time. From these salient points he sent the gospel by his pupils and fellow-laborers into the surrounding towns and villages. But he always avoided collision with other apostles, and sought new fields of labor where Christ was not known before, that he might not build on any other man’s foundation. This is true independence and missionary courtesy, which is so often, alas! violated by missionary societies inspired by sectarian rather than Christian zeal.

His chief mission was to the Gentiles, without excluding the Jews, according to the message of Christ delivered through Ananias: |Thou shalt bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.| Considering that the Jews had a prior claim in time to the gospel, and that the synagogues in heathen cities were pioneer stations for Christian missions, he very naturally addressed himself first to the Jews and proselytes, taking up the regular lessons of the Old Testament Scriptures, and demonstrating their fulfilment in Jesus of Nazareth. But almost uniformly he found the half-Jews, or |proselytes of the gate,| more open to the gospel than his own brethren; they were honest and earnest seekers of the true religion, and formed the natural bridge to the pure heathen, and the nucleus of his congregations, which were generally composed of converts from both religions.

In noble self-denial he earned his subsistence with his own hands, as a tent-maker, that he might not be burthensome to his congregations (mostly belonging to the lower classes), that he might preserve his independence, stop the mouths of his enemies, and testify his gratitude to the infinite mercy of the Lord, who had called him from his headlong, fanatical career of persecution to the office of an apostle of free grace. He never collected money for himself, but for the poor Jewish Christians in Palestine. Only as an exception did he receive gifts from his converts at Philippi, who were peculiarly dear to him. Yet he repeatedly enjoins upon the churches to care for the liberal temporal support of their teachers who break to them the bread of eternal life. The Saviour of the world a carpenter! the greatest preacher of the gospel a tent-maker!

Of the innumerable difficulties, dangers, and sufferings which he encountered with Jews, heathens, and false brethren, we can hardly form an adequate idea; for the book of Acts is only a summary record. He supplements it incidentally. |Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Three times was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my countrymen, in perils from the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: in labor and toil, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, the anxious care for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?| Thus he wrote reluctantly to the Corinthians, in self-vindication against his calumniators, in the year 57, before his longest and hardest trial in the prisons of Caesarea and Rome, and at least seven years before his martyrdom. He was |pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not in despair; pursued, yet not forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed.| His whole public career was a continuous warfare. He represents the church militant, or |marching and conquering Christianity.| He was |unus versus mundum,| in a far higher sense than this has been said of Athanasius the Great when confronted with the Arian heresy and the imperial heathenism of Julian the Apostate.

Yet he was never unhappy, but full of joy and peace. He exhorted the Philippians from his prison in Rome: |Rejoice in the Lord alway; again I will say, Rejoice.| In all his conflicts with foes from without and foes from within Paul was |more than conqueror| through the grace of God which was sufficient for him. |For I am persuaded,| he writes to the Romans in the strain of a sublime ode of triumph, |that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.| And his dying word is an assurance of victory: |I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved his appearing.|

Section 32. Paul's Missionary Labors.

The public life of Paul, from the third year after his conversion to his martyrdom, a.d.40-64, embraces a quarter of a century, three great missionary campaigns with minor expeditions, five visits to Jerusalem, and at least four years of captivity in Caesarea and Rome. Some extend it to a.d.67 or 68. It may be divided into five or six periods, as follows:

1. a.d.40-44. The period of preparatory labors in Syria and his native Cilicia, partly alone, partly in connection with Barnabas, his senior fellow-apostle among the Gentiles.

On his return from the Arabian retreat Paul began his public ministry in earnest at Damascus, preaching Christ on the very spot where he had been converted and called. His testimony enraged the Jews, who stirred up the deputy of the king of Arabia against him, but he was saved for future usefulness and let down by the brethren in a basket through a window in the wall of the city. Three years after his conversion he went up to Jerusalem to make the acquaintance of Peter and spent a fortnight with him. Besides him he saw James the brother of the Lord. Barnabas introduced him to the disciples, who at first were afraid of him, but when they heard of his marvellous conversion they |glorified God| that their persecutor was now preaching the faith he had once been laboring to destroy. He did not come to learn the gospel, having received it already by revelation, nor to be confirmed or ordained, having been called |not from men, or through man, but through Jesus Christ.| Yet his interview with Peter and James, though barely mentioned, must have been fraught with the deepest interest. Peter, kind-hearted and generous as he was, would naturally receive him with joy and thanksgiving. He had himself once denied the Lord — not malignantly but from weakness — as Paul had persecuted the disciples — ignorantly in unbelief. Both had been mercifully pardoned, both had seen the Lord, both were called to the highest dignity, both could say from the bottom of the heart: |Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.| No doubt they would exchange their experiences and confirm each other in their common faith.

It was probably on this visit that Paul received in a vision in the temple the express command of the Lord to go quickly unto the Gentiles. Had he stayed longer at the seat of the Sanhedrin, he would undoubtedly have met the fate of the martyr Stephen.

He visited Jerusalem a second time during the famine under Claudius, in the year 44, accompanied by Barnabas, on a benevolent mission, bearing a collection of the Christians at Antioch for the relief of the brethren in Judaea. On that occasion he probably saw none of the apostles on account of the persecution in which James was beheaded, and Peter imprisoned.

The greater part of these four years was spent in missionary work at Tarsus and Antioch.

2. a.d.45-50. First missionary journey. In the year 45 Paul entered upon the first great missionary journey, in company with Barnabas and Mark, by the direction of the Holy Spirit through the prophets of the congregation at Antioch. He traversed the island of Cyprus and several provinces of Asia Minor. The conversion of the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus, at Paphos; the rebuke and punishment of the Jewish sorcerer, Elymas; the marked success of the gospel in Pisidia, and the bitter opposition of the unbelieving Jews; the miraculous healing of a cripple at Lystra; the idolatrous worship there offered to Paul and Barnabas by the superstitious heathen, and its sudden change into hatred against them as enemies of the gods; the stoning of the missionaries, their escape from death, and their successful return to Antioch, are the leading incidents of this tour, which is fully described in Acts 13 and 14.

This period closes with the important apostolic conference at Jerusalem, a.d.50, which will require separate consideration in the next section.

3. From a.d.51-54. Second missionary journey. After the council at Jerusalem and the temporary adjustment of the difference between the Jewish and Gentile branches of the church, Paul undertook, in the year 51, a second great journey, which decided the Christianization of Greece. He took Silas for his companion. Having first visited his old churches, he proceeded, with the help of Silas and the young convert, Timothy, to establish new ones through the provinces of Phrygia and Galatia, where, notwithstanding his bodily infirmity, he was received with open arms like an angel of God.

From Troas, a few miles south of the Homeric Troy and the entrance to the Hellespont, he crossed over to Greece in answer to the Macedonian cry: |Come over and help us!| He preached the gospel with great success, first in Philippi, where he converted the purple dealer, Lydia, and the jailor, and was imprisoned with Silas, but miraculously delivered and honorably released; then in Thessalonica, where he was persecuted by the Jews, but left a flourishing church; in Beraea, where the converts showed exemplary zeal in searching the Scriptures. In Athens, the metropolis of classical literature, he reasoned with Stoic and Epicurean philosophers, and unveiled to them on Mars’ Hill (Areopagus), with consummate tact and wisdom, though without much immediate success, the |unknown God,| to whom the Athenians, in their superstitious anxiety to do justice to all possible divinities, had unconsciously erected an altar, and Jesus Christ, through whom God will judge the world in righteousness. In Corinth, the commercial bridge between the East and the West, a flourishing centre of wealth and culture, but also a sink of vice and corruption, the apostle spent eighteen months, and under almost insurmountable difficulties he built up a church, which exhibited all the virtues and all the faults of the Grecian character under the influence of the gospel, and which he honored with two of his most important Epistles.

In the spring of 54 he returned by way of Ephesus, Caesarea, and Jerusalem to Antioch.

During this period he composed the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, which are the earliest of his literary remains excepting his missionary addresses preserved in the Acts.

4. a.d.54-58. Third missionary tour. Towards the close of the year 54 Paul went to Ephesus, and in this renowned capital of proconsular Asia and of the worship of Diana, he fixed for three years the centre of his missionary work. He then revisited his churches in Macedonia and Achaia, and remained three months more in Corinth and the vicinity.

During this period he wrote the great doctrinal Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans, which mark the height of his activity and usefulness.

5. a.d.58-63. The period of his two imprisonments, with the intervening winter voyage from Caesarea to Rome. In the spring of 58 he journeyed, for the fifth and last time, to Jerusalem, by way of Philippi, Troas, Miletus (where he delivered his affecting valedictory to the Ephesian presbyter-bishops), Tyre, and Caesarea, to carry again to the poor brethren in Judaea a contribution from the Christians of Greece, and by this token of gratitude and love to cement the two branches of the apostolic church more firmly together.

But some fanatical Jews, who bitterly bated him as an apostate and a seducer of the people, raised an uproar against him at Pentecost; charged him with profaning the temple, because he had taken into it an uncircumcised Greek, Trophimus; dragged him out of the sanctuary, lest they should defile it with blood, and would undoubtedly have killed him had not Claudius Lysias, the Roman tribune, who lived near by, come promptly with his soldiers to the spot. This officer rescued Paul, out of respect for his Roman citizenship, from the fury of the mob, set him the next day before the Sanhedrin, and after a tumultuous and fruitless session of the council, and the discovery of a plot against his life, sent him, with a strong military guard and a certificate of innocence, to the procurator Felix in Caesarea.

Here the apostle was confined two whole years (58-60), awaiting his trial before the Sanhedrin, uncondemned, occasionally speaking before Felix, apparently treated with comparative mildness, visited by the Christians, and in some way not known to us promoting the kingdom of God.

After the accession of the new and better procurator, Festus, who is known to have succeeded Felix in the year 60, Paul, as a Roman citizen, appealed to the tribunal of Caesar and thus opened the way to the fulfilment of his long-cherished desire to preach the Saviour of the world in the metropolis of the world. Having once more testified his innocence, and spoken for Christ in a masterly defence before Festus, King Herod Agrippa II. (the last of the Herods), his sister Bernice, and the most distinguished men of Caesarea, he was sent in the autumn of the year 60 to the emperor. He had a stormy voyage and suffered shipwreck, which detained him over winter at Malta. The voyage is described with singular minuteness and nautical accuracy by Luke as an eye-witness. In the month of March of the year 61, the apostle, with a few faithful companions, reached Rome, a prisoner of Christ, and yet freer and mightier than the emperor on the throne. It was the seventh year of Nero’s reign, when he had already shown his infamous character by the murder of Agrippina, his mother, in the previous year, and other acts of cruelty.

In Rome Paul spent at least two years till the spring of 63, in easy confinement, awaiting the decision of his case, and surrounded by friends and fellow-laborers |in his own hired dwelling.| He preached the gospel to the soldiers of the imperial body-guard, who attended him; sent letters and messages to his distant churches in Asia Minor and Greece; watched over all their spiritual affairs, and completed in bonds his apostolic fidelity to the Lord and his church.

In the Roman prison he wrote the Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon.

6. a.d.63 and 64. With the second year of Paul’s imprisonment in Rome the account of Luke breaks off, rather abruptly, yet appropriately and grandly. Paul’s arrival in Rome secured the triumph of Christianity. In this sense it was true, |Roma locuta est, causa finita est.| And he who spoke at Rome is not dead; he is still |preaching (everywhere) the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, with all boldness, none forbidding him.|

But what became of him after the termination of those two years in the spring of 63? What was the result of the trial so long delayed? Was he condemned to death? or was he released by Nero’s tribunal, and thus permitted to labor for another season? This question is still unsettled among scholars. A vague tradition says that Paul was acquitted of the charge of the Sanhedrin, and after travelling again in the East, perhaps also into Spain, was a second time imprisoned in Rome and condemned to death. The assumption of a second Roman captivity relieves certain difficulties in the Pastoral Epistles; for they seem to require a short period of freedom between the first and a second Roman captivity, and a visit to the East, which is not recorded in the Acts, but which the apostle contemplated in case of his release. A visit to Spain, which he intended, is possible, though less probable. If he was set at liberty, it must have been before the terrible persecution in July, 64, which would not have spared the great leader of the Christian sect. It is a remarkable coincidence that just about the close of the second year of Paul’s confinement, the celebrated Jewish historian, Josephus, then in his 27th year, came to Rome (after a tempestuous voyage and shipwreck), and effected through the influence of Poppaea (the wife of Nero and a half proselyte of Judaism) the release of certain Jewish priests who had been sent to Rome by Felix as prisoners. It is not impossible that Paul may have reaped the benefit of a general release of Jewish prisoners.

The martyrdom of Paul under Nero is established by the unanimous testimony of antiquity. As a Roman citizen, he was not crucified, like Peter, but put to death by the sword. The scene of his martyrdom is laid by tradition about three miles from Rome, near the Ostian way, on a green spot, formerly called Aquae Salviae, afterwards Tre Fontane, from the three fountains which are said to have miraculously gushed forth from the blood of the apostolic martyr. His relics were ultimately removed to the basilica of San Paolo-fuori-le-Mura, built by Theodosius and Valentinian in 388, and recently reconstructed. He lies outside of Rome, Peter inside. His memory is celebrated, together with that of Peter, on the 29th and 30th of June. As to the year of his death, the views vary from a.d.64 to 69. The difference of the place and manner of his martyrdom suggests that he was condemned by a regular judicial trial, either shortly before, or more probably a year or two after the horrible wholesale massacre of Christians on the Vatican hill, in which his Roman citizenship would not have been regarded. If he was released in the spring of 63, he had a year and a half for another visit to the East and to Spain before the outbreak of the Neronian persecution (after July, 64); but tradition favors a later date. Prudentius separates the martyrdom of Peter from that of Paul by one year. After that persecution the Christians were everywhere exposed to danger.

Assuming the release of Paul and another visit to the East, we must locate the First Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus between the first and second Roman captivity, and the Second Epistle to Timothy in the second captivity. The last was evidently written in the certain view of approaching martyrdom; it is the affectionate farewell of the aged apostle to his beloved Timothy, and his last will and testament to the militant church below in the bright prospect of the unfading crown in the church triumphant above.

Thus ended the earthly course of this great teacher of nations, this apostle of victorious faith, of evangelical freedom, of Christian progress. It was the heroic career of a spiritual conqueror of immortal souls for Christ, converting them from the service of sin and Satan to the service of the living God, from the bondage of the law to the freedom of the gospel, and leading them to the fountain of life eternal. He labored more abundantly than all the other apostles; and yet, in sincere humility, he considered himself |the least of the apostles,| and |not meet to be called an apostle,| because he persecuted the church of God; a few years later he confessed: |I am less than the least of all saints,| and shortly before his death: |I am the chief of sinners.| His humility grew as he experienced God’s mercy and ripened for heaven. Paul passed a stranger and pilgrim through this world, hardly observed by the mighty and the wise of his age. And yet how infinitely more noble, beneficial, and enduring was his life and work than the dazzling march of military conquerors, who, prompted by ambitions absorbed millions of treasure and myriads of lives, only to die at last in a drunken fit at Babylon, or of a broken heart on the rocks of St. Helena! Their empires have long since crumbled into dust, but St. Paul still remains one of the foremost benefactors of the human race, and the pulses of his mighty heart are beating with stronger force than ever throughout the Christian world.

Note on the Second Roman Captivity of Paul.

The question of a second Roman captivity of Paul is a purely historical and critical problem, and has no doctrinal or ethical bearing, except that it facilitates the defence of the genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles. The best scholars are still divided on the subject. Neander, Gieseler, Bleek, Ewald, Lange, Sabatier, Godet, also Renan (Saint Paul, p.560, and L’Antechrist, p.106), and nearly all English biographers and commentators, as Alford, Wordsworth, Howson, Lewin, Farrar, Plumptre, Ellicott, Lightfoot, defend the second captivity, and thus prolong the labors of Paul for a few years. On the other hand not only radical and skeptical critics, as Baur, Zeller, Schenkel, Reuss, Holtzmann, and all who reject the Pastoral Epistles (except Renan), but also conservative exegetes and historians, as Niedner, Thiersch, Meyer, Wieseler, Ebrard, Otto, Beck, Pressensé, deny the second captivity. I have discussed the problem at length in my Hist. of the Apost. Church, § 87, pp.328-347, and spin in my annotations to Lange on Romans, pp.10-12. I will restate the chief arguments in favor of a second captivity, partly in rectification of my former opinion.

1. The main argument are the Pastoral Epistles, if genuine, as I hold them to be, notwithstanding all the objections of the opponents from De Wette (1826) and Baur (1835) to Renan (1873) and Holtzmann (1880). It is, indeed, not impossible to assign them to any known period in Paul’s life before his captivity, as during his three years’ sojourn in Ephesus (54-57), or his eighteen months’ sojourn in Corinth (52-53), but it is very difficult to do so. The Epistles presuppose journeys of the apostle not mentioned in Acts, and belong apparently to an advanced period in his life, as well as in the history of truth and error in the apostolic church.

2. The release of Timothy from a captivity in Italy, probably in Rome, to which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews 13:23 alludes, may have some connection with the release of Paul, who had probably a share in the inspiration, if not in the composition, of that remarkable production.

3. The oldest post-apostolic witness is Clement of Rome, who wrote about 95:, Paul … having come to the limit of the West (epi to terma tes duseos elthon) and borne witness before the magistrates (marturesas epi ton hegoumenon, which others translate, |having suffered martyrdom under the rulers|), departed from the world and went to the holy place, having furnished the sublimest model of endurance| (Ad Corinth. c.5). Considering that Clement wrote in Rome, the most natural interpretation of terma tes duseos, |the extreme west,| is Spain or Britain; and as Paul intended to carry the gospel to Spain, one would first think of that country, which was in constant commercial intercourse with Rome, and had produced distinguished statesmen and writers like Seneca and Lucan. Strabo (II.1) calls the pillars of Hercules perata tes oikoumenes; and Velleius Paterc. calls Spain |extremus nostri orbis terminus.| See Lightfoot, St. Clement, p.50. But the inference is weakened by the absence of any trace or tradition of Paul’s visit to Spain. Still less can he have suffered martyrdom there, as the logical order of the words would imply. And as Clement wrote to the Corinthians, he may, from their geographical standpoint, have called the Roman capital the end of the West. At all events the passage is rhetorical (it speaks of seven imprisonments, heptakis desma phoresas), and proves nothing for further labors in the East.

4. An incomplete passage in the fragmentary Muratorian canon (about a.d.170): |Sed profectionem Pauli ab urbe ad Spaniam proficiscentis …| seems to imply a journey of Paul to Spain, which Luke has omitted; but this is merely a conjecture, as the verb has to be supplied. Comp., however, Westcott, The Canon of the N. Test., p.189, and Append. C., p.467, and Renan, L’Antechrist, p.106 sq.

5. Eusebius (d.310) first clearly asserts that |there is a tradition (logos echei) that the apostle, after his defence, again set forth to the ministry of his preaching and having entered a second time the same city [Rome], was perfected by his martyrdom before him [Nero].| Hist. Eccl. II.22 (comp. ch.25). But the force of this testimony is weakened first by its late date; secondly, by the vague expression logos echei, |it is said,| and the absence of any reference to older authorities (usually quoted by Eusebius); thirdly, by his misunderstanding of 2 Tim.4:16, 17, which he explains in the same connection of a deliverance from the first imprisonment (as if apologiawere identical with aichmalosia); and lastly by his chronological mistake as to the time of the first imprisonment which, in his |Chronicle,| he misdates a.d.58, that is, three years before the actual arrival of Paul in Rome. On the other hand he puts the conflagration of Rome two years too late, a.d.66, instead of 64, and the Neronian persecution, and the martyrdom of Paul and Peter, in the year 70.

6. Jerome (d.419): |Paul was dismissed by Nero that he might preach Christ’s gospel also in the regions of the West (in Occidentis quoque partibus). De Vir. ill. sub Paulus. This echoes the terma tes duseosof Clement. Chrysostom (d.407), Theodoret, and other fathers assert that Paul went to Spain (Rom.15:28), but without adducing any proof.

These post-apostolic testimonies, taken together, make it very probable, but not historically certain, that Paul was released after the spring of 63, and enjoyed an Indian summer of missionary work before his Martyrdom. The only remaining monuments, as well as the best proof, of this concluding work are the Pastoral Epistles, if we admit them to be genuine. To my mind the historical difficulties of the Pastoral Epistles are an argument for rather than against their Pauline origin. For why should a forger invent difficulties when he might so easily have fitted his fictions in the frame of the situation known from the Acts and the other Pauline Epistles? The linguistic and other objections are by no means insurmountable, and are overborne by the evidence of the Pauline spirit which animates these last productions of his pen.

Section 33. The Synod of Jerusalem, and the Compromise between Jewish and Gentile Christianity.


I. Acts 15, and Gal.2, and the Commentaries thereon.

II. Besides the general literature already noticed (in §§ 20 and 29), compare the following special discussions on the Conference of the Apostles, which tend to rectify the extreme view of Baur (Paulus, ch. V.) and Overbeck (in the fourth edition of De Wette’s Com. on Acts) on the conflict between Acts 15 and Gal.2, or between Petrinism and Paulinism, and to establish the true historic view of their essential unity in diversity.

Bishop Lightfoot: St. Paul and the Three, in Com. on Galat., London, 1866 (second ed.), pp.283-355. The ablest critical discussion of the problem in the English language.

R. A. Lipsius: Apostelconvent, in Schenkel’s Bibel-Lexikon, I. (1869), pp.194-207. A clear and sharp statement of eight apparent contradictions between Acts 15 and Gal.2. He admits, however, some elements of truth in the account of Acts, which he uses to supplement the account of Paul. Schenkel, in his Christusbild der Apostel, 1879, p.38, goes further, and says, in opposition to Overbeck, who regards the account of Acts as a Tendenz- Roman, or partisan fiction: |The narrative of Paul is certainly trustworthy, but one-sided, which was unavoidable, considering his personal apologetic aim, and passes by in silence what is foreign to that aim. The narrative of Acts follows oral and written traditions which were already influenced by later views and prejudices, and it is for this reason unreliable in part, yet by no means a conscious fiction.|

Otto Pfleiderer: Der Paulinismus. Leipzig, 1873, pp.278 sqq. and 500 sqq. He tones down the differences to innocent inaccuracies of the Acts, and rejects the idea of |intentional invention.|

C. Weizsäcker (successor of Dr. Baur in Tübingen, but partly dissenting from him): Das Apostelconcil in the |Jahrbücher für deutsche Theologie| for 1873, pp.191-246. And his essay on Paulus und die Gemeinde in Korinth, ibid., 1876, pp.603-653. In the last article he concludes (p.652) that the real opponents of Paul, in Corinth as well as in Galatia, were not the primitive apostles (as asserted by Baur, Schwegler, etc.), but a set of fanatics who abused the authority of Peter and the name of Christ, and imitated the agitation of Jewish proselytizers, as described by Roman writers.

K. Schmidt: Der Apostel-Konvent, in Herzog and Plitt, R. E. I. (1877), 575-584. Conservative.

Theod. Keim: Aus dem Urchristenthum. Zürich, 1879, Der Apostelkonvent, pp.64-89. (Comp. Hilgenfeld’s review in the |Zeitschrift für wissenschaftl. Theologie,| 1879, pp.100f sqq.) One of the last efforts of the author of the Leben Jesu von Nazara. Keim goes a step further than Weizsäcker, strongly maintains the public as well as the private character of the apostolic agreement, and admits the circumcision of Timothy as a fact. He also entirely rejects the view of Baur, Weizsäcker, and Overbeck that the author of Acts derived his information from the Ep. to the Galatians, and perverted it for his irenic purpose.

F. W. Farrar: The Life and Work of Paul (Lond., 1879), chs. XXII.-XXIII. (I.398-454).

Wilibald Grimm: Der Apostelconvent, in the |Theol. Studien und Kritiken| (Gotha), for 1880, pp.405-432. A critical discussion in the right direction. The exegetical essay of Wetzel on Gal.2:14, 21, in the same periodical, pp.433 sqq., bears in part on the same subject.

F. Godet: Com. on the Ep. to the Romans, vol. I. (1879), pp.3742, English translation. Able and sound.

Karl Wieseler: Zur Gesch. der N. T.lichen Schrift und des Urchristenthums. Leipzig, 1880, pp.1-53, on the Corinthian parties and their relation to the errorists in the Galatians and the Nicolaitans in the Apocalypse. Learned, acute, and conservative.

Comp. above § 22, pp.213 sqq.; my Hist. of the Apost. Church, §§ 67-70, pp.245-260; and Excursus on the Controversy between Peter and Paul, in my Com. on the Galat.2:11-14.

The question of circumcision, or of the terms of admission of the Gentiles to the Christian church, was a burning question of the apostolic age. It involved the wider question of the binding authority of the Mosaic law, yea, the whole relation of Christianity to Judaism. For circumcision was in the synagogue what baptism is in the church, a divinely appointed sign and seal of the covenant of man with God, with all its privileges and responsibilities, and bound the circumcised person to obey the whole law on pain of forfeiting the blessing promised. Upon the decision of this question depended the peace of the church within, and the success of the gospel without. With circumcision, as a necessary condition of church membership, Christianity would forever have been confined to the Jewish race with a small minority of proselytes of the gate, or half-Christians while the abrogation of circumcision and the declaration of the supremacy and sufficiency of faith in Christ ensured the conversion of the heathen and the catholicity of Christianity. The progress of Paul’s mission among the Gentiles forced the question to a solution and resulted in a grand act of emancipation, yet not without great struggle and temporary reactions.

All the Christians of the first generation were converts from Judaism or heathenism. It could not be expected that they should suddenly lose the influence of opposite kinds of religious training and blend at once in unity. Hence the difference between Jewish and Gentile Christianity throughout the apostolic age, more or less visible in all departments of ecclesiastical life, in missions, doctrine, worship, and government. At the head of the one division stood Peter, the apostle of the circumcision; at the head of the other, Paul, to whom was intrusted the apostleship of the uncircumcision. In another form the same difference even yet appears between the different branches of Christendom. The Catholic church is Jewish-Christian or Petrine in its character; the Evangelical church is Gentile or Pauline. And the individual members of these bodies lean to one or the other of these leading types. Where-ever there is life and motion in a denomination or sect, there will be at least two tendencies of thought and action — whether they be called old and new school, or high church and low church, or by any other party name. In like manner there is no free government without parties. It is only stagnant waters that never run and overflow, and corpses that never move.

The relation between these two fundamental forms of apostolic Christianity is in general that of authority and freedom, law and gospel, the conservative and the progressive, the objective and the subjective. These antithetic elements are not of necessity mutually exclusive. They are mutually complemental, and for perfect life they must co-exist and co-operate. But in reality they often run to extremes, and then of course fall into irreconcilable contradiction. Exclusive Jewish Christianity sinks into Ebionism; exclusive Gentile Christianity into Gnosticism. And these heresies were by no means confined to the apostolic and post-apostolic ages; pseudo-Petrine and pseudo-Pauline errors, in ever-varying phases, run more or less throughout the whole history of the church.

The Jewish converts at first very naturally adhered as closely as possible to the sacred traditions of their fathers. They could not believe that the religion of the Old Testament, revealed by God himself, should pass away. They indeed regarded Jesus as the Saviour of Gentiles as well as Jews; but they thought Judaism the necessary introduction to Christianity, circumcision and the observance of the whole Mosaic law the sole condition of an interest in the Messianic salvation. And, offensive as Judaism was, rather than attractive, to the heathen, this principle would have utterly precluded the conversion of the mass of the Gentile world. The apostles themselves were at first trammelled by this Judaistic prejudice, till taught better by the special revelation to Peter before the conversion of Cornelius.

But even after the baptism of the uncircumcised centurion, and Peter’s defence of it before the church of Jerusalem, the old leaven still wrought in some Jewish Christians who had formerly belonged to the rigid and exclusive sect of the Pharisees. They came from Judaea to Antioch, and taught the converts of Paul and Barnabas: |Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.| They no doubt appealed to the Pentateuch, the universal Jewish tradition, the circumcision of Christ, and the practice of the Jewish apostles, and created a serious disturbance. These ex-Pharisees were the same whom Paul, in the heat of controversy, more severely calls |false brethren insidiously or stealthily foisted in,| who intruded themselves into the Christian brotherhood as spies and enemies of Christian liberty. He clearly distinguishes them not only from the apostles, but also from the great majority of the brethren in Judaea who sincerely rejoiced in his conversion and glorified God for it. They were a small, but very active and zealous minority, and full of intrigue. They compassed sea and land to make one proselyte. They were baptized with water, but not with the Holy Spirit. They were Christians in name, but narrow-minded and narrow-hearted Jews in fact. They were scrupulous, pedantic, slavish formalists, ritualists, and traditionalists of the malignant type. Circumcision of the flesh was to them of more importance than circumcision of the heart, or at all events an indispensable condition of salvation. Such men could, of course, not understand and appreciate Paul, but hated and feared him as a dangerous radical and rebel. Envy and jealousy mixed with their religious prejudice. They got alarmed at the rapid progress of the gospel among the unclean Gentiles who threatened to soil the purity of the church. They could not close their eyes to the fact that the power was fast passing from Jerusalem to Antioch, and from the Jews to the Gentiles, but instead of yielding to the course of Providence, they determined to resist it in the name of order and orthodoxy, and to keep the regulation of missionary operations and the settlement of the terms of church membership in their own hands at Jerusalem, the holy centre of Christendom and the expected residence of the Messiah on his return.

Whoever has studied the twenty-third chapter of Matthew and the pages of church history, and knows human nature, will understand perfectly this class of extra-pious and extra-orthodox fanatics, whose race is not dead yet and not likely to die out. They serve, however, the good purpose of involuntarily promoting the cause of evangelical liberty.

The agitation of these Judaizing partisans and zealots brought the Christian church, twenty years after its founding, to the brink of a split which would have seriously impeded its progress and endangered its final success.

The Conferences in Jerusalem.

To avert this calamity and to settle this irrepressible conflict, the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch resolved to hold a private and a public conference at Jerusalem. Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas as commissioners to represent the Gentile converts. Paul, fully aware of the gravity of the crisis, obeyed at the same time an inner and higher impulse. He also took with him Titus, a native Greek, as a living specimen of what the Spirit of God could accomplish without circumcision. The conference was held a.d.50 or 51 (fourteen years after Paul’s conversion). It was the first and in some respects the most important council or synod held in the history of Christendom, though differing widely from the councils of later times. It is placed in the middle of the book of Acts as the connecting link between the two sections of the apostolic church and the two epochs of its missionary history.

The object of the Jerusalem consultation was twofold: first, to settle the personal relation between the Jewish and Gentile apostles, and to divide their field of labor; secondly, to decide the question of circumcision, and to define the relation between the Jewish and Gentile Christians. On the first point (as we learn from Paul) it effected a complete and final, on the second point (as we learn from Luke) a partial and temporary settlement. In the nature of the case the public conference in which the whole church took part, was preceded and accompanied by private consultations of the apostles.

1. Apostolic Recognition. The pillars of the Jewish Church, James, Peter, and John — whatever their views may have been before — were fully convinced by the logic of events in which they recognized the hand of Providence that Paul as well as Barnabas by the extraordinary success of his labors had proven himself to be divinely called to the apostolate of the Gentiles. They took no exception and made no addition to his gospel. On the contrary, when they saw that God who gave grace and strength to Peter for the apostleship of the circumcision, gave grace and strength to Paul also for the conversion of the uncircumcision, they extended to him and to Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, with the understanding that they would divide as far as practicable the large field of labor, and that Paul should manifest his brotherly love and cement the union by aiding in the support of the poor, often persecuted and famine-stricken brethren of Judaea. This service of charity he had cheerfully done before, and as cheerfully and faithfully did afterward by raising collections among his Greek congregations and carrying the money in person to Jerusalem. Such is the unequivocal testimony of the fraternal understanding among the apostles from the mouth of Paul himself. And the letter of the council officially recognizes this by mentioning |beloved| Barnabas and Paul, as |men who have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.| This double testimony of the unity of the apostolic church is quite conclusive against the modern invention of an irreconcilable antagonism between Paul and Peter.

2. As regards the question of circumcision and the status of the Gentile Christians, there was a sharp conflict of opinions in open debate, under the very shadow of the inspired apostles. There was strong conviction and feeling on both sides, plausible arguments were urged, charges and countercharges made, invidious inferences drawn, fatal consequences threatened. But the Holy Spirit was also present, as he is with every meeting of disciples who come together in the name of Christ, and overruled the infirmities of human nature which will crop out in every ecclesiastical assembly.

The circumcision of Titus, as a test case, was of course strongly demanded by the Pharisaical legalists, but as strongly resisted by Paul, and not enforced. To yield here even for a moment would have been fatal to the cause of Christian liberty, and would have implied a wholesale circumcision of the Gentile converts, which was impossible.

But how could Paul consistently afterwards circumcise Timothy? The answer is that he circumcised Timothy as a Jew, not as a Gentile, and that he did it as a voluntary act of expediency, for the purpose of making Timothy more useful among the Jews, who had a claim on him as the son of a Jewish mother, and would not have allowed him to teach in a synagogue without this token of membership; while in the case of Titus, a pure Greek, circumcision was demanded as a principle and as a condition of justification and salvation. Paul was inflexible in resisting the demands of false brethren, but always willing to accommodate himself to weak brethren, and to become as a Jew to the Jews and as a Gentile to the Gentiles in order to save them both. In genuine Christian freedom he cared nothing for circumcision or uncircumcision as a mere rite or external condition, and as compared with the keeping of the commandments of God and the new creature in Christ.

In the debate Peter, of course, as the oecumenical chief of the Jewish apostles, although at that time no more a resident of Jerusalem, took a leading part, and made a noble speech which accords entirely with his previous experience and practice in the house of Cornelius, and with his subsequent endorsement of Paul’s doctrine. He was no logician, no rabbinical scholar, but he had admirable good sense and practical tact, and quickly perceived the true line of progress and duty. He spoke in a tone of personal and moral authority, but not of official primacy. He protested against imposing upon the neck of the Gentile disciples the unbearable yoke of the ceremonial law, and laid down, as clearly as Paul, the fundamental principle that |Jews as well as Gentiles are saved only by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.|

After this bold speech, which created a profound silence in the assembly, Barnabas and Paul reported, as the best practical argument, the signal miracles which God had wrought among the Gentiles through their instrumentality.

The last and weightiest speaker was James, the brother of the Lord, the local head of the Jewish Christian church and bishop of Jerusalem, who as such seems to have presided over the council. He represented as it were the extreme right wing of the Jewish church bordering close on the Judaizing faction. It was through his influence chiefly no doubt that the Pharisees were converted who created this disturbance. In a very characteristic speech he endorsed the sentiments of Symeon — he preferred to call Peter by his Jewish name — concerning the conversion of the Gentiles as being in accordance with ancient prophecy and divine fore-ordination; but he proposed a compromise to the effect that while the Gentile disciples should not be troubled with circumcision, they should yet be exhorted to abstain from certain practices which were particularly offensive to pious Jews, namely, from eating meat offered to idols, from tasting blood, or food of strangled animals, and from every form of carnal uncleanness. As to the Jewish Christians, they knew their duty from the law, and would be expected to continue in their time-honored habits.

The address of James differs considerably from that of Peter, and meant restriction as well as freedom, but after all it conceded the main point at issue — salvation without circumcision. The address entirely accords in spirit and language with his own epistle, which represents the gospel as law, though |the perfect law of freedom,| with his later conduct toward Paul in advising him to assume the vow of the Nazarites and thus to contradict the prejudices of the myriads of converted Jews, and with the Jewish Christian tradition which represents him as the model of an ascetic saint equally revered by devout Jews and Christians, as the |Rampart of the People| (Obliam), and the intercessor of Israel who prayed in the temple without ceasing for its conversion and for the aversion of the impending doom. He had more the spirit of an ancient prophet or of John the Baptist than the spirit of Jesus (in whom he did not believe till after the resurrection), but for this very reason he had most authority over the Jewish Christians, and could reconcile the majority of them to the progressive spirit of Paul.

The compromise of James was adopted and embodied in the following brief and fraternal pastoral letter to the Gentile churches. It is the oldest literary document of the apostolic age and bears the marks of the style of James:

|The apostles and the elder brethren unto the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greeting: Forasmuch as we have heard, that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, to whom we gave no commandment, it seemed good unto us, having come to be of one accord, to choose out men and send them unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also shall tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that ye abstain from meats sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication; from which if ye keep yourselves, it shall be well with you. Farewell.|

The decree was delivered by four special messengers, two representing the church at Antioch, Barnabas and Paul, and two from Jerusalem, Judas Barsabbas and Silas (or Silvanus), and read to the Syrian and Cilician churches which were agitated by the controversy. The restrictions remained in full force at least eight years, since James reminded Paul of them on his last visit to Jerusalem in 58. The Jewish Christians observed them no doubt with few exceptions till the downfall of idolatry, and the Oriental church even to this day abstains from blood and things strangled; but the Western church never held itself bound to this part of the decree, or soon abandoned some of its restrictions.

Thus by moderation and mutual concession in the spirit of peace and brotherly love a burning controversy was settled, and a split happily avoided.

Analysis of the Decree.

The decree of the council was a compromise and had two aspects: it was emancipatory, and restrictive.

(1.) It was a decree of emancipation of the Gentile disciples from circumcision and the bondage of the ceremonial law. This was the chief point in dispute, and so far the decree was liberal and progressive. It settled the question of principle once and forever. Paul had triumphed. Hereafter the Judaizing doctrine of the necessity of circumcision for salvation was a heresy, a false gospel, or a perversion of the true gospel, and is denounced as such by Paul in the Galatians.

(2.) The decree was restrictive and conservative on questions of expediency and comparative indifference to the Gentile Christians. Under this aspect it was a wise and necessary measure for the apostolic age, especially in the East, where the Jewish element prevailed, but not intended for universal and permanent use. In Western churches, as already remarked, it was gradually abandoned, as we learn from Augustine. It imposed upon the Gentile Christians abstinence from meat offered to idols, from blood, and from things strangled (as fowls and other animals caught in snares). The last two points amounted to the same thing. These three restrictions had a good foundation in the Jewish abhorrence of idolatry, and every thing connected with it, and in the Levitical prohibition. Without them the churches in Judaea would not have agreed to the compact. But it was almost impossible to carry them out in mixed or in purely Gentile congregations; for it would have compelled the Gentile Christians to give up social intercourse with their unconverted kindred and friends, and to keep separate slaughter-houses, like the Jews, who from fear of contamination with idolatrous associations never bought meat at the public markets. Paul takes a more liberal view of this matter — herein no doubt dissenting somewhat from James — namely, that the eating of meat sacrificed to idols was in itself indifferent, in view of the vanity of idols; nevertheless he likewise commands the Corinthians to abstain from such meat out of regard for tender and weak consciences, and lays down the golden rule: |All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient; all things are lawful, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but his neighbor’s good.|

It seems strange to a modern reader that with these ceremonial prohibitions should be connected the strictly moral prohibition of fornication. But it must be remembered that the heathen conscience as to sexual intercourse was exceedingly lax, and looked upon it as a matter of indifference, like eating and drinking, and as sinful only in case of adultery where the rights of a husband are invaded. No heathen moralist, not even Socrates, or Plato, or Cicero, condemned fornication absolutely. It was sanctioned by the worship of Aphrodite at Corinth and Paphos, and practised to her honor by a host of harlot-priestesses! Idolatry or spiritual whoredom is almost inseparable from bodily pollution. In the case of Solomon polytheism and polygamy went hand in hand. Hence the author of the Apocalypse also closely connects the eating of meat offered to idols with fornication, and denounces them together. Paul had to struggle against this laxity in the Corinthian congregation, and condemns all carnal uncleanness as a violation and profanation of the temple of God. In this absolute prohibition of sexual impurity we have a striking evidence of the regenerating and sanctifying influence of Christianity. Even the ascetic excesses of the post-apostolic writers who denounced the second marriage as |decent adultery| (euprepes moicheia), and glorified celibacy as a higher and better state than honorable wedlock, command our respect, as a wholesome and necessary reaction against the opposite excesses of heathen licentiousness.

So far then as the Gentile Christians were concerned the question was settled.

The status of the Jewish Christians was no subject of controversy, and hence the decree is silent about them. They were expected to continue in their ancestral traditions and customs as far as they were at all consistent with loyalty to Christ. They needed no instruction as to their duty, |for,| said James, in his address to the Council, |Moses from generations of old has in every city those who preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.| And eight years afterwards he and his elders intimated to Paul that even he, as a Jew, was expected to observe the ceremonial law, and that the exemption was only meant for the Gentiles.

But just here was a point where the decree was deficient. It went far enough for the temporary emergency, and as far as the Jewish church was willing to go, but not far enough for the cause of Christian union and Christian liberty in its legitimate development.


1. The Apostolic Conference at Jerusalem. — This has been one of the chief battle-fields of modern historical criticism. The controversy of circumcision has been fought over again in German, French, Dutch, and English books and essays, and the result is a clearer insight both into the difference and into the harmony of the apostolic church.

We have two accounts of the Conference, one from Paul in the second chapter of the Galatians, and one from his faithful companion, Luke, in Acts 15. For it is now almost universally admitted that they refer to the same event. They must be combined to make up a full history. The Epistle to the Galatians is the true key to the position, the Archimedian pou sto.

The accounts agree as to the contending parties — Jerusalem and Antioch — the leaders on both sides, the topic of controversy, the sharp conflict, and the peaceful result.

But in other respects they differ considerably and supplement each other. Paul, in a polemic vindication of his independent apostolic authority against his Judaizing antagonists in Galatia, a few years after the Council (about 56), dwells chiefly on his personal understanding with the other apostles and their recognition of his authority, but he expressly hints also at public conferences, which could not be avoided; for it was a controversy between the churches, and an agreement concluded by the leading apostles on both sides was of general authority, even if it was disregarded by a heretical party. Luke, on the other hand, writing after the lapse of at least thirteen years (about 63) a calm and objective history of the primitive church, gives (probably from Jerusalem and Antioch documents, but certainly not from Paul’s Epistles) the official action of the public assembly, with an abridgment of the preceding debates, without excluding private conferences; on the contrary he rather includes them; for he reports in Acts 15:5, that Paul and Barnabas |were received by the church and the apostles and elders and declared all things that God had done with them,| before he gives an account of the public consultation, ver.6. In all assemblies, ecclesiastical and political, the more important business is prepared and matured by Committees in private conference for public discussion and action; and there is no reason why the council in Jerusalem should have made an exception. The difference of aim then explains, in part at least, the omissions and minor variations of the two accounts, which we have endeavored to adjust in this section.

The ultra- and pseudo-Pauline hypercriticism of the Tübingen school in several discussions (by Baur, Schwegler, Zeller, Hilgenfeld, Volkmar, Holsten, Overbeck, Lipsius, Hausrath, and Wittichen) has greatly exaggerated these differences, and used Paul’s terse polemic allusions as a lever for the overthrow of the credibility of the Acts. But a more conservative critical reaction has recently taken place, partly in the same school (as indicated in the literature above), which tends to harmonize the two accounts and to vindicate the essential consensus of Petrinism and Paulinism.

2. The Circumcision of Titus. — We hold with most commentators that Titus was not circumcised. This is the natural sense of the difficult and much disputed passage, Gal.2:3-5, no matter whether we take dein 2:4 in the explanatory sense (nempe, and that), or in the usual adversative sense (autem, sed, but). In the former case the sentence is regular, in the latter it is broken, or designedly incomplete, and implies perhaps a slight censure of the other apostles, who may have first recommended the circumcision of Titus as a measure of prudence and conciliation out of regard to conservative scruples, but desisted from it on the strong remonstrance of Paul. If we press the enankasthecompelled, in 2:3, such an inference might easily be drawn, but there was in Paul’s mind a conflict between the duty of frankness and the duty of courtesy to his older colleagues. So Dr. Lightfoot accounts for the broken grammar of the sentence, |which was wrecked on the hidden rock of the counsels of the apostles of the circumcision.|

Quite another view was taken by Tertullian (Adv. Marc., V.3), and recently by Renan (ch. III. p.89) and Farrar (I.415), namely, that Titus voluntarily submitted to circumcision for the sake of peace, either in spite of the remonstrance of Paul, or rather with his reluctant consent. Paul seems to say that Titus was not circumcised, but implies that he was. This view is based on the omission of ois oudein 2:5. The passage then would have to be supplemented in this way: |But not even Titus was compelled to be circumcised, but [he submitted to circumcision voluntarily] on account of the stealthily introduced false brethren, to whom we yielded by way of submission for an hour [i.e., temporarily].| Renan thus explains the meaning: |If Titus was circumcised, it is not because he was forced, but on account of the false brethren, to whom we might yield for a moment without submitting ourselves in principle.| He thinks that pros horanis opposed to the following diameine.In other words, Paul stooped to conquer. He yielded for a moment by a stretch of charity or a stroke of policy, in order to save Titus from violence, or to bring his case properly before the Council and to achieve a permanent victory of principle. But this view is entirely inconsistent not only with the frankness and firmness of Paul on a question of principle, with the gravity of the crisis, with the uncompromising tone of the Epistle to the Galatians, but also with the addresses of Peter and James, and with the decree of the council. If Titus was really circumcised, Paul would have said so, and explained his relation to the fact. Moreover, the testimony of Irenaeus and Tertullian against hois oudemust give way to the authority of the best uncials (‘B A C, etc) and versions in favor of these words. The omission can be better explained from carelessness or dogmatic prejudice rather than the insertion.

Section 34. The Conservative Reaction, and the Liberal Victory--

Peter and Paul at Antioch.

The Jerusalem compromise, like every other compromise, was liable to a double construction, and had in it the seed of future troubles. It was an armistice rather than a final settlement. Principles must and will work themselves out, and the one or the other must triumph.

A liberal construction of the spirit of the decree seemed to demand full communion of the Jewish Christians with their uncircumcised Gentile brethren, even at the Lord’s table, in the weekly or daily agapae, on the basis of the common saving faith in Christ, their common Lord and Saviour. But a strict construction of the letter stopped with the recognition of the general Christian character of the Gentile converts, and guarded against ecclesiastical amalgamation on the ground of the continued obligation of the Jewish converts to obey the ceremonial law, including the observance of circumcision, of the Sabbath and new moons, and the various regulations about clean and unclean meats, which virtually forbid social intercourse with unclean Gentiles.

The conservative view was orthodox, and must not be confounded with the Judaizing heresy which demanded circumcision from the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and made it a term of church membership and a condition of salvation. This doctrine had been condemned once for all by the Jerusalem agreement, and was held hereafter only by the malignant pharisaical faction of the Judaizers.

The church of Jerusalem, being composed entirely of Jewish converts, would naturally take the conservative view; while the church of Antioch, where the Gentile element prevailed, would as naturally prefer the liberal interpretation, which had the certain prospect of ultimate success. James, who perhaps never went outside of Palestine, far from denying the Christian character of the Gentile converts, would yet keep them at a respectful distance; while Peter, with his impulsive, generous nature, and in keeping with his more general vocation, carried out in practice the conviction he had so boldly professed in Jerusalem, and on a visit to Antioch, shortly after the Jerusalem Council (a.d.51), openly and habitually communed at table with the Gentile brethren. He had already once before eaten in the house of the uncircumcised Cornelius at Caesarea, seeing that |God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to him.|

But when some delegates of James arrived from Jerusalem and remonstrated with him for his conduct, he timidly withdrew from fellowship with the uncircumcised followers of Christ, and thus virtually disowned them. He unwittingly again denied his Lord from the fear of man, but this time in the persons of his Gentile disciples. The inconsistency is characteristic of his impulsive temper, which made him timid or bold according to the nature of the momentary impression. It is not stated whether these delegates simply carried out the instructions of James or went beyond them. The former is more probable from what we know of him, and explains more easily the conduct of Peter, who would scarcely have been influenced by casual and unofficial visitors. They were perhaps officers in the congregation of Jerusalem; at all events men of weight, not Pharisees exactly, yet extremely conservative and cautious, and afraid of miscellaneous company, which might endanger the purity and orthodoxy of the venerable mother church of Christendom. They did, of course, not demand the circumcision of the Gentile Christians, for this would have been in direct opposition to the synodical decree, but they no doubt reminded Peter of the understanding of the Jerusalem compact concerning the duty of Jewish Christians, which he above all others should scrupulously keep. They represented to him that his conduct was at least very hasty and premature, and calculated to hinder the conversion of the Jewish nation, which was still the object of their dearest hopes and most fervent prayers. The pressure must have been very strong, for even Barnabas, who had stood side by side with Paul at Jerusalem in the defence of the rights of the Gentile Christians, was intimidated and carried away by the example of the chief of the apostles.

The subsequent separation of Paul from Barnabas and Mark, which the author of Acts frankly relates, was no doubt partly connected with this manifestation of human weakness.

The sin of Peter roused the fiery temper of Paul, and called upon him a sharper rebuke than he had received from his Master. A mere look of pity from Jesus was enough to call forth bitter tears of repentance. Paul was not Jesus. He may have been too severe in the manner of his remonstrance, but he knew Peter better than we, and was right in the matter of dispute, and after all more moderate than some of the greatest and best men have been in personal controversy. Forsaken by the prince of the apostles and by his own faithful ally in the Gentile mission, he felt that nothing but unflinching courage could save the sinking ship of freedom. A vital principle was at stake, and the Christian standing of the Gentile converts must be maintained at all hazards, now or never, if the world was to be saved and Christianity was not to shrink into a narrow corner as a Jewish sect. Whatever might do in Jerusalem, where there was scarcely a heathen convert, this open affront to brethren in Christ could not be tolerated for a moment at Antioch in the church which was of his own planting and full of Hellenists and Gentiles. A public scandal must be publicly corrected. And so Paul confronted Peter and charged him with downright hypocrisy in the face of the whole congregation. He exposed his misconduct by his terse reasoning, to which Peter could make no reply. |If thou,| he said to him in substance, |who art a Jew by nationality and training, art eating with the Gentiles in disregard of the ceremonial prohibition, why art thou now, by the moral force of thy example as the chief of the Twelve, constraining the Gentile converts to Judaize or to conform to the ceremonial restraints of the elementary religion? We who are Jews by birth and not gross sinners like the heathen, know that justification comes not from works of the law, but from faith in Christ. It may be objected that by seeking gratuitous justification instead of legal justification, we make Christ a promoter of sin. Away with this monstrous and blasphemous conclusion! On the contrary, there is sin in returning to the law for justification after we have abandoned it for faith in Christ. I myself stand convicted of transgression if I build up again (as thou doest now) the very law which I pulled down (as thou didst before), and thus condemn my former conduct. For the law itself taught me to exchange it for Christ, to whom it points as its end. Through the Mosaic law as a tutor leading me beyond itself to freedom in Christ, I died to the Mosaic law in order that I might live a new life of obedience and gratitude to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer my old self that lives, but it is Christ that lives in me; and the new life of Christ which I now live in this body after my conversion, I live in the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if the observance of the law of Moses or any other human work could justify and save, there was no good cause of Christ’s death his atoning sacrifice on the cross was needless and fruitless.|

From such a conclusion Peter’s soul shrank back in horror. He never dreamed of denying the necessity and efficacy of the death of Christ for the remission of sins. He and Barnabas stood between two fires on that trying occasion. As Jews they seemed to be bound by the restrictions of the Jerusalem compromise on which the messengers of James insisted; but by trying to please the Jews they offended the Gentiles, and by going back to Jewish exclusiveness they did violence to their better convictions, and felt condemned by their own conscience. They no doubt returned to their more liberal practice.

The alienation of the apostles was merely temporary. They were too noble and too holy to entertain resentment. Paul makes honorable mention afterwards of Peter and Barnabas, and also of Mark, who was a connecting link between the three. Peter in his Epistles endorses the teaching of the |beloved brother Paul,| and commends the wisdom of his Epistles, in one of which his own conduct is so severely rebuked, but significantly adds that there are some |things in them hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.|

The scene of Antioch belongs to these things which have been often misunderstood and perverted by prejudice and ignorance in the interest both of heresy and orthodoxy. The memory of it was perpetuated by the tradition which divided the church at Antioch into two parishes with two bishops, Evodius and Ignatius, the one instituted by Peter, the other by Paul. Celsus, Porphyry, and modern enemies of Christianity have used it as an argument against the moral character and inspiration of the apostles. The conduct of Paul left a feeling of intense bitterness and resentment in the Jewish party which manifested itself even a hundred years later in a violent attack of the pseudo-Clementine Homilies and Recognitions upon Paul, under the disguise of Simon Magus. The conduct of both apostles was so unaccountable to Catholic taste that some of the fathers substituted an unknown Cephas for Peter; while others resolved the scene into a hypocritical farce gotten up by the apostles themselves for dramatic effect upon the ignorant congregation.

The truth of history requires us to sacrifice the orthodox fiction of moral perfection in the apostolic church. But we gain more than we lose. The apostles themselves never claimed, but expressly disowned such perfection. They carried the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels, and thus brought it nearer to us. The infirmities of holy men are frankly revealed in the Bible for our encouragement as well as for our humiliation. The bold attack of Paul teaches the right and duty of protest even against the highest ecclesiastical authority, when Christian truth and principle are endangered; the quiet submission of Peter commends him to our esteem for his humility and meekness in proportion to his high standing as the chief among the pillar-apostles; the conduct of both explodes the Romish fiction of papal supremacy and infallibility; and the whole scene typically foreshadows the grand historical conflict between Petrine Catholicism and Pauline Protestantism, which, we trust, will end at last in a grand Johannean reconciliation.

Peter and Paul, as far as we know, never met afterwards till they both shed their blood for the testimony of Jesus in the capital of the world.

The fearless remonstrance of Paul had probably a moderating effect upon James and his elders, but did not alter their practice in Jerusalem. Still less did it silence the extreme Judaizing faction; on the contrary, it enraged them. They were defeated, but not convinced, and fought again with greater bitterness than ever. They organized a countermission, and followed Paul into almost every field of his labor, especially to Corinth and Galatia. They were a thorn, if not the thorn, in his flesh. He has them in view in all his Epistles except those to the Thessalonians and to Philemon. We cannot understand his Epistles in their proper historical sense without this fact. The false apostles were perhaps those very Pharisees who caused the original trouble, at all events men of like spirit. They boasted of their personal acquaintance with the Lord in the days of his flesh, and with the primitive apostles; hence Paul calls these |false apostles| sarcastically |super-eminent| or |over-extra-apostles.| They attacked his apostolate as irregular and spurious, and his gospel as radical and revolutionary. They boldly told his Gentile converts that the, must submit to circumcision and keep the ceremonial law; in other words, that they must be Jews as well as Christians in order to insure salvation, or at all events to occupy a position of pre-eminence over and above mere proselytes of the gate in the outer court. They appealed, without foundation, to James and Peter and to Christ himself, and abused their name and authority for their narrow sectarian purposes, just as the Bible itself is made responsible for all sorts of heresies and vagaries. They seduced many of the impulsive and changeable Galatians, who had all the characteristics of the Keltic race. They split the congregation in Corinth into several parties and caused the apostle the deepest anxiety. In Colossae, and the churches of Phrygia and Asia, legalism assumed the milder form of Essenic mysticism and asceticism. In the Roman church the legalists were weak brethren rather than false brethren, and no personal enemies of Paul, who treats them much more mildly than the Galatian errorists.

This bigoted and most persistent Judaizing reaction was overruled for good. It drew out from the master mind of Paul the most complete and most profound vindication and exposition of the doctrines of sin and grace. Without the intrigues and machinations of these legalists and ritualists we should not have the invaluable Epistles to the Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans. Where error abounded, truth has still more abounded.

At last the victory was won. The terrible persecution under Nero, and the still more terrible destruction of Jerusalem, buried the circumcision controversy in the Christian church. The ceremonial law, which before Christ was |alive but not life-giving,| and which from Christ to the destruction of Jerusalem was |dying but not deadly,| became after that destruction |dead and deadly.| The Judaizing heresy was indeed continued outside of the Catholic church by the sect of the Ebionites during the second century; and in the church itself the spirit of formalism and bigotry assumed new shapes by substituting Christian rites and ceremonies for the typical shadows of the Mosaic dispensation. But whenever and wherever this tendency manifests itself we have the best antidote in the Epistles of Paul.

Section 35. Christianity in Rome.

I. On the general, social, and moral condition of Rome under the Emperors:

Ludwig Friedländer: Sittengeschichte Roms. Leipzig, 1862, 5th ed. revised and enlarged, 1881, 3 vols.

Rod. Lanciani: Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Discoveries. Boston, 1889 (with 100 illustrations).

II. On the Jews in Rome and the allusions of Roman Writers to Them:

Renan: Les Apôtres, 287-293; Merivale:History of the Romans, VI., 203 sqq.; Friedländer: l.c. III., 505 sqq.; Hausrath: Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, III., 383-392 (2d ed.); Schürer: Lehrbuch der Neutestamentlichen Zeitgeschichte, pp.624 sq., and Die Gemeindeverfassung der Juden in Rom in der Kaiserzeit, Leipz., 1879; Huidekoper: Judaism at Rome, 1876. Also John Gill: Notices of the Jews and their Country by the Classic Writers of Antiquity.2d ed. London, 1872. On Jewish Roman inscriptions see Garrucci (several articles in Italian since 1862), von Engeström (in a Swedish work, Upsala, 1876), and Schürer (1879).

III. On the Christian Congregation in Rome:

The Histories of the Apostolic Age (see pp.189 sqq.); the Introductions to the Commentaries on Romans (mentioned p.281), and a number of critical essays on the origin and composition of the Church of Rome and the aim of the Epistle to the Romans, by Baur (Ueber Zweck und Veranlassung des Römerbriefs, 1836; reproduced in his Paul, I., 346 sqq., Engl. transl.), Beyschlag (Das geschichtliche Problem des Römerbriefs in the |Studien und Kritiken| for 1867), Hilgenfeld (Einleitung in das N. T., 1875, pp.302 sqq.), C. Weizsäcker (Ueber die älteste römische Christengemeinde, 1876, and his Apost. Zeitalter, 1886, pp.415-467).

W. Mangold: Der Römerbrief und seine gesch. Voraussetzungen, Marburg, 1884. Defends the Jewish origin and character of the Roman church (against Weizsäcker).

Rud. Seyerlen: Entstehung und erste Schicksale der Christengemeinde in Rom. Tübingen, 1874.

Adolf Harnack: Christianity and Christians at the Court of the Roman Emperors before the Time of Constantine. In the |Princeton Review,| N. York, 1878, pp.239-280.

J. Spencer Northcote and W. R. Brownlow (R. C.): Roma Sotterranea, new ed., London, 1879, vol. I., pp.78-91. Based upon Caval. de Rossi’s large Italian work under the same title (Roma, 1864-1877, in three vols. fol.). Both important for the remains of early Roman Christianity in the Catacombs.

Formby: Ancient Rome and its Connect. with the Chr. Rel. Lond., 1880.

Keim: Rom. u. das Christenthum. Berlin, 1881.

[MAP INSET] From |Roma Sotteranea,| by Northcote and Brownlow.

The City of Rome.

The city of Rome was to the Roman empire what Paris is to France, what London to Great Britain: the ruling head and the beating heart. It had even a more cosmopolitan character than these modern cities. It was the world in miniature, |orbis in urbe.| Rome had conquered nearly all the nationalities of the then civilized world, and drew its population from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South. All languages, religious, and customs of the conquered provinces found a home there. Half the inhabitants spoke Greek, and the natives complained of the preponderance of this foreign tongue, which, since Alexander’s conquest, had become the language of the Orient and of the civilized world. The palace of the emperor was the chief centre of Oriental and Greek life. Large numbers of the foreigners were freedmen, who generally took the family name of their masters. Many of them became very wealthy, even millionnaires. The rich freedman was in that age the type of the vulgar, impudent, bragging upstart. According to Tacitus, |all things vile and shameful| were sure to flow from all quarters of the empire into Rome as a common sewer. But the same is true of the best elements: the richest products of nature, the rarest treasures of art, were collected there; the enterprising and ambitious youths, the men of genius, learning, and every useful craft found in Rome the widest field and the richest reward for their talents.

With Augustus began the period of expensive building. In his long reign ofpeace and prosperity he changed the city of bricks into a city of marble. It extended in narrow and irregular streets on both banks of the Tiber, covered the now desolate and feverish Campagna to the base of the Albanian hills, and stretched its arms by land and by sea to the ends of the earth. It was then (as in its ruins it is even now) the most instructive and interesting city in the world. Poets, orators, and historians were lavish in the praises of the urbs aeterna,

|qua nihil posis visere majus.|

The estimates of the population of imperial Rome are guesswork, and vary from one to four millions. But in all probability it amounted under Augustus to more than a million, and increased rapidly under the following emperors till it received a check by the fearful epidemic of 79, which for many days demanded ten thousand victims a day. Afterwards the city grew again and reached the height of its splendor under Hadrian and the Antonines.

The Jews in Rome.

The number of Jews in Rome during the apostolic age is estimated at twenty or thirty thousand souls. They all spoke Hellenistic Greek with a strong Hebrew accent. They had, as far as we know, seven synagogues and three cemeteries, with Greek and a few Latin inscriptions, sometimes with Greek words in Latin letters, or Latin words with Greek letters. They inhabited the fourteenth region, beyond the Tiber (Trastevere), at the base of the Janiculum, probably also the island of the Tiber, and part of the left bank towards the Circus Maximus and the Palatine hill, in the neighborhood of the present Ghetto or Jewry. They were mostly descendants of slaves and captives of Pompey, Cassius, and Antony. They dealt then, as now, in old clothing and broken ware, or rose from poverty to wealth and prominence as bankers, physicians, astrologers, and fortunetellers. Not a few found their way to the court. Alityrus, a Jewish actor, enjoyed the highest favor of Nero. Thallus, a Samaritan and freedman of Tiberius, was able to lend a million denarii to the Jewish king, Herod Agrippa. The relations between the Herods and the Julian and Claudian emperors were very intimate.

The strange manners and institutions of the Jews, as circumcision, Sabbath observance, abstinence from pork and meat sacrificed to the gods whom they abhorred as evil spirits, excited the mingled amazement, contempt, and ridicule of the Roman historians and satirists. Whatever was sacred to the heathen was profane to the Jews. They were regarded as enemies of the human race. But this, after all, was a superficial judgment. The Jews had also their friends. Their indomitable industry and persistency, their sobriety, earnestness, fidelity and benevolence, their strict obedience to law, their disregard of death in war, their unshaken trust in God, their hope of a glorious future of humanity, the simplicity and purity of their worship, the sublimity and majesty of the idea of one omnipotent, holy, and merciful God, made a deep impression upon thoughtful and serious persons, and especially upon females (who escaped the odium of circumcision). Hence the large number of proselytes in Rome and elsewhere. Horace, Persius, and Juvenal, as well as Josephus, testify that many Romans abstained from all business on the Sabbath, fasted and prayed, burned lamps, studied the Mosaic law, and sent tribute to the temple of Jerusalem. Even the Empress Poppaea was inclined to Judaism after her own fashion, and showed great favor to Josephus, who calls her |devout| or |God-fearing| (though she was a cruel and shameless woman). Seneca, who detested the Jews (calling them sceleratissima gens), was constrained to say that this conquered race gave laws to their conquerors.

The Jews were twice expelled from Rome under Tiberius and Claudius, but soon returned to their transtiberine quarter, and continued to enjoy the privileges of a religio licita, which were granted to them by heathen emperors, but were afterwards denied them by Christian popes.

When Paul arrived in Rome he invited the rulers of the synagogues to a conference, that he might show them his good will and give them the first offer of the gospel, but they replied to his explanations with shrewd reservation, and affected to know nothing of Christianity, except that it was a sect everywhere spoken against. Their best policy was evidently to ignore it as much as possible. Yet a large number came to hear the apostle on an appointed day, and some believed, while the majority, as usual, rejected his testimony.

Christianity in Rome.

From this peculiar people came the first converts to a religion which proved more than a match for the power of Rome. The Jews were only an army of defense, the Christians an army of conquest, though under the despised banner of the cross.

The precise origin of the church of Rome is involved in impenetrable mystery. We are informed of the beginnings of the church of Jerusalem and most of the churches of Paul, but we do not know who first preached the gospel at Rome. Christianity with its missionary enthusiasm for the conversion of the world must have found a home in the capital of the world at a very early day, before the apostles left Palestine. The congregation at Antioch grew up from emigrant and fugitive disciples of Jerusalem before it was consolidated and fully organized by Barnabas and Paul.

It is not impossible, though by no means demonstrable, that the first tidings of the gospel were brought to Rome soon after the birthday of the church by witnesses of the pentecostal miracle in Jerusalem, among whom were |sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes.| In this case Peter, the preacher of the pentecostal sermon, may be said to have had an indirect agency in the founding of the church of Rome, which claims him as the rock on which it is built, although the tradition of his early visit (42) and twenty or twenty-five years’ residence there is a long exploded fable. Paul greets among the brethren in Rome some kinsmen who had been converted before him, i.e., before 37. Several names in the list of Roman brethren to whom he sends greetings are found in the Jewish cemetery on the Appian Way among the freedmen of the Empress Livia. Christians from Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece must have come to the capital for various reasons, either as visitors or settlers.

The Edict of Claudius.

The first historic trace of Christianity in Rome we have in a notice of the heathen historian Suetonius, confirmed by Luke, that Claudius, about a.d.52, banished the Jews from Rome because of their insurrectionary disposition and commotion under the instigation of |Chrestus| (misspelt for |Christus|).

This commotion in all probability refers to Messianic controversies between Jews and Christians who were not yet clearly distinguished at that time. The preaching, of Christ, the true King of Israel, would naturally produce a great commotion among the Jews, as it did at Antioch, in Pisidia, in Lystra, Thessalonica, and Beraea; and the ignorant heathen magistrates would as naturally infer that Christ was a political pretender and aspirant to an earthly throne. The Jews who rejected the true Messiah looked all the more eagerly for an imaginary Messiah that would break the yoke of Rome and restore the theocracy of David in Jerusalem. Their carnal millennarianism affected even some Christians, and Paul found it necessary to warn them against rebellion and revolution. Among those expelled by the edict of Claudius were Aquila and Priscilla, the hospitable friends of Paul, who were probably converted before they met him in Corinth.

The Jews, however, soon returned, and the Jewish Christians also, but both under a cloud of suspicion. To this fact Tacitus may refer when he says that the Christian superstition which had been suppressed for a time (by the edict of Claudius) broke out again (under Nero, who ascended the throne in 54).

Paul’s Epistle.

In the early part of Nero’s reign (54-68) the Roman congregation was already well known throughout Christendom, had several meeting places and a considerable number of teachers. It was in view of this fact, and in prophetic anticipation of its future importance, that Paul addressed to it from Corinth his most important doctrinal Epistle (a.d.58), which was to prepare the way for his long desired personal visit. On his journey to Rome three years later he found Christians at Puteoli (the modern Puzzuolo at the bay of Naples), who desired him to tarry with them seven days. Some thirty or forty miles from the city, at Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae (The Three Taverns), he was met by Roman brethren anxious to see the writer of that marvellous letter, and derived much comfort from this token of affectionate regard.

Paul in Rome.

His arrival in Rome, early in the year 61, which two years later was probably followed by that of Peter, naturally gave a great impulse to the growth of the congregation. He brought with him, as he had promised, |the fulness of the blessing of Christ.| His very bonds were overruled for the progress of the gospel, which he was left free to preach under military guard in his own dwelling. He had with him during the whole or a part of the first Roman captivity his faithful pupils and companions: Luke, |the beloved physician| and historian; Timothy, the dearest of his spiritual sons; John Mark, who had deserted him on his first missionary tour, but joined him at Rome and mediated between him and Peter; one Jesus, who is called Justus, a Jewish Christian, who remained faithful to him; Aristarchus, his fellow-prisoner from Thessalonica; Tychicus from Ephesus; Epaphras and Onesimus from Colossae; Epaphroditus from Philippi; Demas, Pudens, Linus, Eubulus, and others who are honorably mentioned in the Epistles of the captivity. They formed a noble band of evangelists and aided the aged apostle in his labors at Rome and abroad. On the other hand his enemies of the Judaizing party were stimulated to counter-activity, and preached Christ from envy and jealousy; but in noble self-denial Paul rose above petty sectarianism, and sincerely rejoiced from his lofty standpoint if only Christ was proclaimed and his kingdom promoted. While he fearlessly vindicated Christian freedom against Christian legalism in the Epistle to the Galatians, he preferred even a poor contracted Christianity to the heathenism which abounded in Rome.

The number which were converted through these various agencies, though disappearing in the heathen masses of the metropolis, and no doubt much smaller than the twenty thousand Jews, must have been considerable, for Tacitus speaks of a |vast multitude| of Christians that perished in the Neronian persecution in 64; and Clement, referring to the same persecution, likewise mentions a |vast multitude of the elect,| who were contemporary with Paul and Peter, and who, |through many indignities and tortures, became a most noble example among ourselves| (that is, the Roman Christians).

Composition and Consolidation of the Roman Church.

The composition of the church of Rome has been a matter of much learned controversy and speculation. It no doubt was, like most congregations outside of Palestine, of a mixed character, with a preponderance of the Gentile over the Jewish element, but it is impossible to estimate the numerical strength and the precise relation which the two elements sustained to each other.

We have no reason to suppose that it was at once fully organized and consolidated into one community. The Christians were scattered all over the immense city, and held their devotional meetings in different localities. The Jewish and the Gentile converts may have formed distinct communities, or rather two sections of one Christian community.

Paul and Peter, if they met together in Rome (after 63), would naturally, in accordance with the Jerusalem compact, divide the field of supervision between them as far as practicable, and at the same time promote union and harmony. This may be the truth which underlies the early and general tradition that they were the joint founders of the Roman church. No doubt their presence and martyrdom cemented the Jewish and Gentile sections. But the final consolidation into one organic corporation was probably not effected till after the destruction of Jerusalem.

This consolidation was chiefly the work of Clement, who appears as the first presiding presbyter of the one Roman church. He was admirably qualified to act as mediator between the disciples of Peter and Paul, being himself influenced by both, though more by Paul. His Epistle to the Corinthians combines the distinctive features of the Epistles of Paul, Peter, and James, and has been called |a typical document, reflecting the comprehensive principles and large sympathies which had been impressed upon the united church of Rome.|

In the second century we see no more traces of a twofold community. But outside of the orthodox church, the heretical schools, both Jewish and Gentile, found likewise au early home in this rendezvous of the world. The fable of Simon Magus in Rome reflects this fact. Valentinus, Marcion, Praxeas, Theodotus, Sabellius, and other arch-heretics taught there. In heathen Rome, Christian heresies and sects enjoyed a toleration which was afterwards denied them by Christian Rome, until, in 1870, it became the capital of united Italy, against the protest of the pope.


The language of the Roman church at that time was the Greek, and continued to be down to the third century. In that language Paul wrote to Rome and from Rome; the names of the converts mentioned in the sixteenth chapter of the Romans, and of the early bishops, are mostly Greek; all the early literature of the Roman church was Greek; even the so-called Apostles’ Creed, in the form held by the church of Rome, was originally Greek. The first Latin version of the Bible was not made for Rome, but for the provinces, especially for North Africa. The Greeks and Greek speaking Orientals were at that time the most intelligent, enterprising, and energetic people among the middle classes in Rome. |The successful tradesmen, the skilled artisans, the confidential servants and retainers of noble houses — almost all the activity and enterprise of the common people, whether for good or for evil, were Greek.|

Social Condition.

The great majority of the Christians in Rome, even down to the close of the second century, belonged to the lower ranks of society. They were artisans, freedmen, slaves. The proud Roman aristocracy of wealth, power, and knowledge despised the gospel as a vulgar superstition. The contemporary writers ignored it, or mentioned it only incidentally and with evident contempt. The Christian spirit and the old Roman spirit were sharply and irreconcilably antagonistic, and sooner or later had to meet in deadly conflict.

But, as in Athens and Corinth, so there were in Rome also a few honorable exceptions.

Paul mentions his success in the praetorian guard and in the imperial household.

It is possible, though not probable, that Paul became passingly acquainted with the Stoic philosopher, Annaeus Seneca, the teacher of Nero and friend of Burrus; for he certainly knew his brother, Annaeus Gallio, proconsul at Corinth, then at Rome, and had probably official relations with Burrus, as prefect of the praetorian guard, to which he was committed as prisoner; but the story of the conversion of Seneca, as well as his correspondence with Paul, are no doubt pious fictions, and, if true, would be no credit to Christianity, since Seneca, like Lord Bacon, denied his high moral principles by his avarice and meanness.

Pomponia Graecina, the wife of Aulus Plautius, the conqueror of Britain, who was arraigned for |foreign superstition| about the year 57 or 58 (though pronounced innocent by her husband), and led a life of continual sorrow till her death in 83, was probably the first Christian lady of the Roman nobility, the predecessor of the ascetic Paula and Eustochium, the companions of Jerome. Claudia and Pudens, from whom Paul sends greetings (2 Tim.4:21), have, by an ingenious conjecture, been identified with the couple of that name, who are respectfully mentioned by Martial in his epigrams; but this is doubtful. A generation later two cousins of the Emperor Domitian (81-96), T. Flavius Clemens, consul (in 95), and his wife, Flavia Domitilla, were accused of |atheism, | that is, of Christianity, and condemned, the husband to death, the wife to exile (a.d.96). Recent excavations in the catacomb of Domitilla, near that of Callistus, establish the fact that an entire branch of the Flavian family had embraced the Christian faith. Such a change was wrought within fifty or sixty years after Christianity had entered Rome.

Section 36. The Roman Conflagration and the Neronian Persecution.

|And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered with a great wonder.| — Apoc.17:6.


I. Tacitus: Annales, 1. XV., c.38-44. Suetonius: Nero, chs.16 and 38 (very brief). Sulpicius Severus: Hist. Sacra, 1. II., c.41. He gives to the Neronian persecution a more general character.

II. Ernest Renan: L’Antechrist. Paris, deuxième ed., 1873. Chs. VI. VIII, pp.123 sqq. Also his Hibbert Lectures, delivered in London, 1880, on Rome and Christianity.

L. Friedländer:Sittengeschichte Roms, I.6, 27; III.529.

Hermann Schiller:Geschichte der röm. Kaiserzeit unter der Regierung des Nero. Berlin, 1872 (173-179; 424 sqq.; 583 sqq.).

Hausrath: N. T.liche Zeitgeschichte, III.392 sqq. (2d ed., 1875).

Theod. Keim: Aus dem Urchristenthum. Zürich, 1878, pp.171-181. Rom u. das Christenthum, 1881, pp.132 sqq.

Karl Wieseler: Die Christenverfolgungen der Cäsaren.1878.

G. Uhlhorn: The Conflict of Christianity with Heathenism. Engl. transl. by Smyth and Ropes, N. Y.1879, pp.241-250.

C. F. Arnold: Die Neron. Christenverfolgung. Leipz.1888.

The preaching of Paul and Peter in Rome was an epoch in the history of the church. It gave an impulse to the growth of Christianity. Their martyrdom was even more effective in the end: it cemented the bond of union between the Jewish and Gentile converts, and consecrated the soil of the heathen metropolis. Jerusalem crucified the Lord, Rome beheaded and crucified his chief apostles and plunged the whole Roman church into a baptism of blood. Rome became, for good and for evil, the Jerusalem of Christendom, and the Vatican hill the Golgotha of the West. Peter and Paul, like a new Romulus and Remus, laid the foundation of a spiritual empire vaster and more enduring than that of the Caesars. The cross was substituted for the sword as the symbol of conquest and power.

But the change was effected at the sacrifice of precious blood. The Roman empire was at first, by its laws of justice, the protector of Christianity, without knowing its true character, and came to the rescue of Paul on several critical occasions, as in Corinth through the Proconsul Annaeus Gallio, in Jerusalem through the Captain Lysias, and in Caesarea through the Procurator Festus. But now it rushed into deadly conflict with the new religion, and opened, in the name of idolatry and patriotism, a series of intermittent persecutions, which ended at last in the triumph of the banner of the cross at the Milvian bridge. Formerly a restraining power that kept back for a while the outbreak of Antichrist, it now openly assumed the character of Antichrist with fire and sword.


The first of these imperial persecutions with which the Martyrdom of Peter and Paul is connected by ecclesiastical tradition, took place in the tenth year of Nero’s reign, a.d.64, and by the instigation of that very emperor to whom Paul, as a Roman citizen, had appealed from the Jewish tribunal. It was, however, not a strictly religious persecution, like those under the later emperors; it originated in a public calamity which was wantonly charged upon the innocent Christians.

A greater contrast can hardly be imagined than that between Paul, one of the purest and noblest of men, and Nero, one of the basest and vilest of tyrants. The glorious first five years of Nero’s reign (54-59) under the wise guidance of Seneca and Burrhus, make the other nine (59-68) only more hideous by contrast. We read his life with mingled feelings of contempt for his folly, and horror of his wickedness. The world was to him a comedy and a tragedy, in which he was to be the chief actor. He had an insane passion for popular applause; he played on the lyre; he sung his odes at supper; he drove his chariots in the circus; he appeared as a mimic on the stage, and compelled men of the highest rank to represent in dramas or in tableaux the obscenest of the Greek myths. But the comedian was surpassed by the tragedian. He heaped crime upon crime until he became a proverbial monster of iniquity. The murder of his brother (Britannicus), his mother (Agrippina), his wives (Octavia and Poppaea), his teacher (Seneca), and many eminent Romans, was fitly followed by his suicide in the thirty-second year of his age. With him the family of Julius Caesar ignominiously perished, and the empire became the prize of successful soldiers and adventurers.

The Conflagration in Rome.

For such a demon in human shape, the murder of a crowd of innocent Christians was pleasant sport. The occasion of the hellish spectacle was a fearful conflagration of Rome, the most destructive and disastrous that ever occurred in history. It broke out in the night between the 18th and 19th of July, among the wooden shops in the south-eastern end of the Great Circus, near the Palatine hill. Lashed by the wind, it defied all exertions of the firemen and soldiers, and raged with unabated fury for seven nights and six days. Then it burst out again in another part, near the field of Mars, and in three days more laid waste two other districts of the city.

The calamity was incalculable. Only four of the fourteen regions into which the city was divided, remained uninjured; three, including the whole interior city from the Circus to the Esquiline hill, were a shapeless mass of ruins; the remaining seven were more or less destroyed; venerable temples, monumental buildings of the royal, republican, and imperial times, the richest creations of Greek art which had been collected for centuries, were turned into dust and ashes; men and beasts perished in the flames, and the metropolis of the world assumed the aspect of a graveyard with a million of mourners over the loss of irreparable treasures.

This fearful catastrophe must have been before the mind of St. John in the Apocalypse when he wrote his funeral dirge of the downfall of imperial Rome (Apoc.18).

The cause of the conflagration is involved in mystery. Public rumor traced it to Nero, who wished to enjoy the lurid spectacle of burning Troy, and to gratify his ambition to rebuild Rome on a more magnificent scale, and to call it Neropolis. When the fire broke out he was on the seashore at Antium, his birthplace; he returned when the devouring element reached his own palace, and made extraordinary efforts to stay and then to repair the disaster by a reconstruction which continued till after his death, not forgetting to replace his partially destroyed temporary residence (domus transitoria) by |the golden house| (domus aurea), as a standing wonder of architectural magnificence and extravagance.

The Persecution of the Christians.

To divert from himself the general suspicion of incendiarism, and at the same time to furnish new entertainment for his diabolical cruelty, Nero wickedly cast the blame upon the hated Christians, who, meanwhile, especially since the public trial of Paul and his successful labors in Rome, had come to be distinguished from the Jews as a genus tertium, or as the most dangerous offshoot from that race. They were certainly despisers of the Roman gods and loyal subjects of a higher king than Caesar, and they were falsely suspected of secret crimes. The police and people, under the influence of the panic created by the awful calamity, were ready to believe the worst slanders, and demanded victims. What could be expected of the ignorant multitude, when even such cultivated Romans as Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, stigmatized Christianity as a vulgar and pestiferous superstition. It appeared to them even worse than Judaism, which was at least an ancient national religion, while Christianity was novel, detached from any particular nationality, and aiming at universal dominion. Some Christians were arrested, confessed their faith, and were |convicted not so much,| says Tacitus, |of the crime of incendiarism as of hating the human race.| Their Jewish origin, their indifference to politics and public affairs, their abhorrence of heathen customs, were construed into an |odium generis humani,| and this made an attempt on their part to destroy the city sufficiently plausible to justify a verdict of guilty. An infuriated mob does not stop to reason, and is as apt to run mad as an individual.

Under this wanton charge of incendiarism, backed by the equally groundless charge of misanthropy and unnatural vice, there began a carnival of blood such as even heathen Rome never saw before or since. It was the answer of the powers of hell to the mighty preaching of the two chief apostles, which had shaken heathenism to its centre. A |vast multitude| of Christians was put to death in the most shocking manner. Some were crucified, probably in mockery of the punishment of Christ, some sewed up in the skins of wild beasts and exposed to the voracity of mad dogs in the arena. The satanic tragedy reached its climax at night in the imperial gardens on the slope of the Vatican (which embraced, it is supposed, the present site of the place and church of St. Peter): Christian men and women, covered with pitch or oil or resin, and nailed to posts of pine, were lighted and burned as torches for the amusement of the mob; while Nero, in fantastical dress, figured in a horse race, and displayed his art as charioteer. Burning alive was the ordinary punishment of incendiaries; but only the cruel ingenuity of this imperial monster, under the inspiration of the devil, could invent such a horrible system of illumination.

This is the account of the greatest heathen historian, the fullest we have — as the best description of the destruction of Jerusalem is from the pen of the learned Jewish historian. Thus enemies bear witness to the truth of Christianity. Tacitus incidentally mentions in this connection the crucifixion of Christ under Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tiberius. With all his haughty Roman contempt for the Christians whom he knew only from rumor and reading, he was convinced of their innocence of incendiarism, and notwithstanding his cold stoicism, he could not suppress a feeling of pity for them because they were sacrificed not to the public good, but to the ferocity of a wicked tyrant.

Some historians have doubted, not indeed the truth of this terrible persecution, but that the Christians, rather than the Jews, or the Christians alone, were the sufferers. It seems difficult to understand that the harmless and peaceful Christians, whom the contemporary writers, Seneca, Pliny, Lucan, Persius, ignore, while they notice the Jews, should so soon have become the subjects of popular indignation. It is supposed that Tacitus and Suetonius, writing some fifty years after the event, confounded the Christians with the Jews, who were generally obnoxious to the Romans, and justified the suspicion of incendiarism by the escape of their transtiberine quarter from the injury of the fire.

But the atrocious act was too public to leave room for such a mistake. Both Tacitus and Suetonius distinguish the two sects, although they knew very little of either; and the former expressly derives the name Christians from Christ, as the founder of the new religion. Moreover Nero, as previously remarked, was not averse to the Jews, and his second wife, Poppaea Sabina, a year before the conflagration, had shown special favor to Josephus, and loaded him with presents. Josephus speaks of the crimes of Nero, but says not a word of any persecution of his fellow-religionists. This alone seems to be conclusive. It is not unlikely that in this (as in all previous persecutions, and often afterwards) the fanatical Jews, enraged by the rapid progress of Christianity, and anxious to avert suspicion from themselves, stirred up the people against the hated Galilaeans, and that the heathen Romans fell with double fury on these supposed half Jews, disowned by their own strange brethren.

The Probable Extent of the Persecution.

The heathen historians, if we are to judge from their silence, seem to confine the persecution to the city of Rome, but later Christian writers extend it to the provinces. The example set by the emperor in the capital could hardly be without influence in the provinces, and would justify the outbreak of popular hatred. If the Apocalypse was written under Nero, or shortly after his death, John’s exile to Patmos must be connected with this persecution. It mentions imprisonments in Smyrna, the martyrdom of Antipas in Pergamus, and speaks of the murder of prophets and saints and all that have been slain on the earth. The Epistle to the Hebrews 10:32-34, which was written in Italy, probably in the year 64, likewise alludes to bloody persecutions, and to the release of Timothy from prison, 13:23. And Peter, in his first Epistle, which may be assigned to the same year, immediately after the outbreak of the persecution, and shortly before his death, warns the Christians in Asia Minor of a fiery trial which is to try them, and of sufferings already endured or to be endured, not for any crime, but for the name of |Christians.| The name |Babylon| for Rome is most easily explained by the time and circumstances of composition.

Christianity, which had just reached the age of its founder, seemed annihilated in Rome. With Peter and Paul the first generation of Christians was buried. Darkness must have overshadowed the trembling disciples, and a despondency seized them almost as deep as on the evening of the crucifixion, thirty-four years before. But the morning of the resurrection was not far distant, and the very spot of the martyrdom of St. Peter was to become the site of the greatest church in Christendom and the palatial residence of his reputed successors.

The Apocalypse on the Neronian Persecution.

None of the leading apostles remained to record the horrible massacre, except John. He may have heard of it in Ephesus, or he may have accompanied Peter to Rome and escaped a fearful death in the Neronian gardens, if we are to credit the ancient tradition of his miraculous preservation from being burnt alive with his fellow-Christians in that hellish illumination on the Vatican hill. At all events he was himself a victim of persecution for the name of Jesus, and depicted its horrors, as an exile on the lonely island of Patmos in the vision of the Apocalypse.

This mysterious book — whether written between 68 and 69, or under Domitian in 95 — was undoubtedly intended for the church of that age as well as for future ages, and must have been sufficiently adapted to the actual condition and surroundings of its first readers to give them substantial aid and comfort in their fiery trials. Owing to the nearness of events alluded to, they must have understood it even better, for practical purposes, than readers of later generations. John looks, indeed, forward to the final consummation, but he sees the end in the beginning. He takes his standpoint on the historic foundation of the old Roman empire in which he lived, as the visions of the prophets of Israel took their departure from the kingdom of David or the age of the Babylonian captivity. He describes the heathen Rome of his day as |the beast that ascended out of the abyss,| as |a beast coming out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads| (or kings, emperors), as |the great harlot that sitteth among many waters,| as a |woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns,| as |Babylon the great, the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth.| The seer must have in view the Neronian persecution, the most cruel that ever occurred, when he calls the woman seated on seven hills, |drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus,| and prophesied her downfall as a matter of rejoicing for the |saints and apostles and prophets.|

Recent commentators discover even a direct allusion to Nero, as expressing in Hebrew letters (Neron Kesar) the mysterious number 666, and as being the fifth of the seven heads of the beast which was slaughtered, but would return again from the abyss as Antichrist. But this interpretation is uncertain, and in no case can we attribute to John the belief that Nero would literally rise from the dead as Antichrist. He meant only that Nero, the persecutor of the Christian church, was (like Antiochus Epiphanes) the forerunner of Antichrist, who would be inspired by the same bloody spirit from the infernal world. In a similar sense Rome was a second Babylon, and John the Baptist another Elijah.


I. The Accounts of the Neronian Persecution.

1. From heathen historians.

We have chiefly two accounts of the first imperial persecution, from Tacitus, who was born about eight years before the event, and probably survived Trajan (d.117), and from Suetonius, who wrote his XII. Caesares a little later, about a.d.120. Dion Cassius (born circa a.d.155), in his History of Rome (Rhomaike Istoria, preserved in fragments, and in the abridgment of the monk Xiphilinus), from the arrival of Aeneas to a.d.229, mentions the conflagration of Rome, but ignores the persecutions of the Christians.

The description of Tacitus is in his terse, pregnant, and graphic style, and beyond suspicion of interpolation, but has some obscurities. We give it in full, from Annal., XV.44

|But not all the relief of men, nor the bounties of the emperor, nor the propitiation of the gods, could relieve him [Nero] from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration. Therefore, in order to suppress the rumor, Nero falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, those persons who, hated for their crimes, were commonly called Christians (subdidit reos, et quaesitissimis poenis affecit, quos per flagitia invisos vulgus ‘Christianos’ appellabat). The founder of that name, Christus, had been put to death (supplicio affectus erat) by the procurator of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, in the reign of Tiberius; but the pernicious superstition (exitiabilis superstitio), repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judaea, the source of this evil, but also through the city [of Rome], whither all things vile and shameful flow from all quarters, and are encouraged (quo cuncta undique atrocia aut pudenda confluunt celebranturque). Accordingly, first, those only were arrested who confessed. Next, on their information, a vast multitude (multitudo ingens), were convicted, not so much of the crime of incendiarism as of hatred of the human race (odio humani generis). And in their deaths they were made the subjects of sport; for they were wrapped in the hides of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set on fire, and when day declined, were burned to serve for nocturnal lights (in usum nocturni luminis urerentur). Nero had offered his own gardens [on the Vatican] for this spectacle, and also exhibited a chariot race on the occasion, now mingling in the crowd in the dress of a charioteer, now actually holding the reins. Whence a feeling of compassion arose towards the sufferers, though justly held to be odious, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but as victims to the ferocity of one man.|

The account of Suetonius, Nero, c.16, is very short and unsatisfactory: |Afflicti suppliciis Christiani, genus hominum superstitionis novae ac maleficaea.| He does not connect the persecution with the conflagration, but with police regulations.

Juvenal, the satirical poet, alludes, probably as an eye-witness, to the persecution, like Tacitus, with mingled feelings of contempt and pity for the Christian sufferers (Sat. I.155):


|Dar’st thou speak of Tigellinus’ guilt?

Thou too shalt shine like those we saw

Stand at the stake with throat transfixed

Smoking and burning.|

2. From Christians.

Clement of Rome, near the close of the first century, must refer to the Neronian persecution when he writes of the |vast multitude of the elect |who suffered, many indignities and tortures, being the victims of jealousy; |and of Christian women who were made to personate |Danaides| and |Dirces,| Ad Corinth., c.6. I have made no use of this passage in the text. Renan amplifies and weaves it into his graphic description of the persecution (L’Antechrist, pp.163 sqq., almost literally repeated in his Hibbert Lectures). According to the legend, Dirce was bound to a raging bull and dragged to death. The scene is represented in the famous marble group in the museum at Naples. But the Danaides can furnish no suitable parallel to Christian martyrs, unless, as Renan suggests, Nero had the sufferings of the Tartarus represented. Lightfoot, following the bold emendation of Wordsworth (on Theocritus, XXVI.1), rejects the reading Danaides kai Dirkai(which is retained in all editions, including that of Gebhardt and Harnack), and substitutes for it neanides, paidiskai, so that Clement would say:, Matrons (gunaikes) maidens, slave-girls, being persecuted, after suffering cruel and unholy insults, safely reached the goal in the race of faith, and received a noble reward, feeble though they were in body.|

Tertullian (d. about 220) thus alludes to the Neronian persecution, Ad Nationes, I. ch.7: |This name of ours took its rise in the reign of Augustus; under Tiberius it was taught with all clearness and publicity; under Nero it was ruthlessly condemned (sub Nerone damnatio invaluit), and you may weigh its worth and character even from the person of its persecutor. If that prince was a pious man, then the Christians are impious; if he was just, if he was pure, then the Christians are unjust and impure; if he was not a public enemy, we are enemies of our country: what sort of men we are, our persecutor himself shows, since he of course punished what produced hostility to himself. Now, although every other institution which existed under Nero has been destroyed, yet this of ours has firmly remained — righteous, it would seem, as being unlike the author [of its persecution].|

Sulpicius Severus, Chron. II.28, 29, gives a pretty full account, but mostly from Tacitus. He and Orosius (Hist. VII.7) first clearly assert that Nero extended the persecution to the provinces.

II. Nero’s Return as Antichrist.

Nero, owing to his youth, beauty, dash, and prodigality, and the startling novelty of his wickedness (Tacitus calls him |incredibilium cupitor,| Ann. XV.42), enjoyed a certain popularity with the vulgar democracy of Rome. Hence, after his suicide, a rumor spread among the heathen that he was not actually dead, but had fled to the Parthians, and would return to Rome with an army and destroy the city. Three impostors under his name used this belief and found support during the reigns of Otho, Titus, and Domitian. Even thirty years later Domitian trembled at the name of Nero. Tacit., Hist. I.2; II.8, 9; Sueton., Ner.57; Dio Cassius, LXIV.9; Schiller, l.c., p.288.

Among the Christians the rumor assumed a form hostile to Nero. Lactantius (De Mort. Persecut., c.2) mentions the Sibylline saying that, as Nero was the first persecutor, he would also be the last, and precede the advent of Antichrist. Augustin (De Civil. Dei, XX.19) mentions that at his time two opinions were still current in the church about Nero: some supposed that he would rise from the dead as Antichrist, others that he was not dead, but concealed, and would live until he should be revealed and restored to his kingdom. The former is the Christian, the latter the heathen belief. Augustin rejects both. Sulpicius Severus (Chron., II.29) also mentions the belief (unde creditur) that Nero, whose deadly wound was healed, would return at the end of the world to work out |the mystery of lawlessness| predicted by Paul (2 Thess.2:7).

Some commentators make the Apocalypse responsible for this absurd rumor and false belief, while others hold that the writer shared it with his heathen contemporaries. The passages adduced are Apoc.17:8: |The beast was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go into perdition| … |the beast was, and is not, and shall be present| (kai parestai, notkaiper estin, |and yet is,| as the E. V. reads with the text. ec.); 17:11: |And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition;| and 13:3: |And I saw one of his heads as though it had been smitten unto death; and his death-stroke was healed: and the whole world wondered after the beast.|

But this is said of the beast, i.e., the Roman empire, which is throughout clearly distinguished from the seven heads, i.e., the emperors. In Daniel, too, the beast is collective. Moreover, a distinction must be made between the death of one ruler (Nero) and the deadly wound which thereby was inflicted on the beast or the empire, but from which it recovered (under Vespasian).

Section 37. The Jewish War and the Destruction of Jerusalem. a.d. 70.

|And as He went forth out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto Him, Master, behold, what manner of stones and what manner of buildings! And Jesus said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left here one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down.| — Mark 13:1,2.


Josephus: Bell. Jud., in 7 books; and Vita, c.4-74. The history of the Jewish war was written by him as eye-witness about a.d.75. English translations by W. Whiston, in Works of Jos., and by Rob. Traill, ed. by Isaac Taylor, new ed., Lond., 1862. German translations by Gfrsörer and W. Hoffmann, Stuttgart, 1836; and Paret, Stuttg., 1855; French translations by Arnauld d’andilly, 1667, Joachim Gillet, 1756, and Abbé Glaire, 1846.

Rabbinical traditions in Derenbourg: Histoire de la Palestine depuis Cyrus jusqu’à Adrien. Paris, 1867 (first part of his L’Histoire et la géographie de la Palestine d’après les Thalmuds et les autres sources rabbiniques), pp.255-295.

Tacitus: Hist., II.4; V.1-13. A mere fragment, full of errors and insults towards the vanquished Jews. The fifth book, except this fragment, is lost. While Josephus, the Jew, is filled with admiration for the power and greatness of Rome, Tacitus, the heathen, treats Jews and Christians with scorn and contempt, and prefers to derive his information from hostile Egyptians and popular prejudice rather than from the Scriptures, and Philo, and Josephus.

Sulpicius Severus: Chronicon, II.30 (p.84, ed. Halm). Short.


Milman: The History of the Jews, Books XIV.-XVII. (New York ed., vol. II., 219 sqq.).

Ewald: Geschichte des Folkes Israel, VI.705-753 (second ed.).

Grätz:Geschichte der Juden, III.336-414.

Hitzig: Geschichte des Volkes Israel, II.594-629.

Lewin: The Siege of Jerusalem by Titus. With the Journal of a recent Visit in the Holy City, and a general Sketch of the Topography of Jerusalem from the Earliest Times down to the Siege. London, 1863.

Count de Champagny: Rome et la Judie au temps de la chute de Néron (ans 66-72 après Jésus-Christ), 2. éd., Paris, 1865. T. I., pp.195-254; T. II., pp.55-200.

Charles Merivale: History of the Romans under the Empire, ch. LIX. (vol. VI., 415 sqq., 4th ed., New York, 1866).

De Saulcy: Les derniers jours de Jérusalem. Paris, 1866.

E. Renan: L’Antechrist (ch. X.-XX., pp.226-551). Paris, second ed., 1873.

Emil Schürer: Lehrbuch der neutestamentlichen Zeitgeschichte (Leipzig, 1874), pp.323-350. He also gives the literature.

A. Hausrath: Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, Part III., second ed., Heidelberg, 1875, pp.424 487.

Alfred J. Church: The Story of the Last Days of Jerusalem, from Josephus. With illustrations. London, 1880.

There is scarcely another period in history so full of vice, corruption, and disaster as the six years between the Neronian persecution and the destruction of Jerusalem. The prophetic description of the last days by our Lord began to be fulfilled before the generation to which he spoke had passed away, and the day of judgment seemed to be close at hand. So the Christians believed and had good reason to believe. Even to earnest heathen minds that period looked as dark as midnight. We have elsewhere quoted Seneca’s picture of the frightful moral depravity and decay under the reign of Nero, his pupil and murderer. Tacitus begins his history of Rome after the death of Nero with these words: |I proceed to a work rich in disasters, full of atrocious battles, of discord and rebellion, yea, horrible even in peace. Four princes [Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Domitian] killed by the sword; three civil wars, several foreign wars; and mostly raging at the same time. Favorable events in the East [the subjugation of the Jews], unfortunate ones in the West. Illyria disturbed, Gaul uneasy; Britain conquered and soon relinquished; the nations of Sarmatia and Suevia rising against us; the Parthians excited by the deception of a pseudo-Nero. Italy also weighed down by Dew or oft-repeated calamities; cities swallowed up or buried in ruins; Rome laid waste by conflagrations, the old temples burned up, even the capitol set on fire by citizens; sanctuaries desecrated; adultery rampant in high places. The sea filled with exiles; the rocky islands contaminated with murder. Still more horrible the fury in the city. Nobility, riches, places of honor, whether declined or occupied, counted as crimes, and virtue sure of destruction.

The Approaching Doom.

The most unfortunate country in that period was Palestine, where an ancient and venerable nation brought upon itself unspeakable suffering and destruction. The tragedy of Jerusalem prefigures in miniature the final judgment, and in this light it is represented in the eschatological discourses of Christ, who foresaw the end from the beginning.

The forbearance of God with his covenant people, who had crucified their own Saviour, reached at last its limit. As many as could be saved in the usual way, were rescued. The mass of the people had obstinately set themselves against all improvement. James the Just, the man who was fitted, if any could be, to reconcile the Jews to the Christian religion, had been stoned by his hardened brethren, for whom he daily interceded in the temple; and with him the Christian community in Jerusalem had lost its importance for that city. The hour of the |great tribulation| and fearful judgment drew near. The prophecy of the Lord approached its literal fulfilment: Jerusalem was razed to the ground, the temple burned, and not one stone was left upon another.

Not long before the outbreak of the Jewish war, seven years before the siege of Jerusalem (a.d.63), a peasant by the name of Joshua, or Jesus, appeared in the city at the Feast of Tabernacles, and in a tone of prophetic ecstasy cried day and night on the street among the people:, A voice from the morning, a voice from the evening! A voice from the four winds! A voice of rain against Jerusalem and the Temple! A voice against the bridegrooms and the brides! A voice against the whole people! Woe, woe to Jerusalem! |The magistrates, terrified by this woe, had the prophet of evil taken up and scourged. He offered no resistance, and continued to cry his |Woe.| Being brought before the procurator, Albinus, he was scourged till his bones could be seen, but interposed not a word for himself; uttered no curse on his enemies; simply exclaimed at every blow in a mournful tone: |Woe, woe to Jerusalem!| To the governor’s question, who and whence he was, He answered nothing. Finally they let him go, as a madman. But he continued for seven years and five months, till the outbreak of the war, especially at the three great feasts, to proclaim the approaching fall of Jerusalem. During the siege he was singing his dirge, for the last time, from the wall. Suddenly he added: |Woe, woe also to me!| — and a stone of the Romans hurled at his head put an end to his prophetic lamentation.

The Jewish Rebellion.

Under the last governors, Felix, Festus, Albinus, and Florus, moral corruption and the dissolution of all social ties, but at the same time the oppressiveness of the Roman yoke, increased every year. After the accession of Felix, assassins, called |Sicarians| (from sica, a dagger), armed with daggers and purchasable for any crime, endangering safety in city and country, roamed over Palestine. Besides this, the party spirit among the Jews themselves, and their hatred of their heathen oppressors, rose to the most insolent political and religious fanaticism, and was continually inflamed by false prophets and Messiahs, one of whom, for example, according to Josephus, drew after him thirty thousand men. Thus came to pass what our Lord had predicted: |There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall lead many astray.|

At last, in the month of May, a.d.66, under the last procurator, Gessius Florus (from 65 onward), a wicked and cruel tyrant who, as Josephus says, was placed as a hangman over evil-doers, an organized rebellion broke out against the Romans, but it the same time a terrible civil war also between different parties of the revolters themselves, especially between the Zealots, and the Moderates, or the Radicals and Conservatives. The ferocious party of the Zealots had all the fire and energy which religious and patriotic fanaticism could inspire; they have been justly compared with the Montagnards of the French Revolution. They gained the ascendancy in the progress of the war, took forcible possession of the city and the temple and introduced a reign of terror. They kept up the Messianic expectations of the people and hailed every step towards destruction as a step towards deliverance. Reports of comets, meteors, and all sorts of fearful omens and prodigies were interpreted as signs of the common of the Messiah and his reign over the heathen. The Romans recognized the Messiah in Vespasian and Titus.

To defy Rome in that age, without a single ally, was to defy the world in arms; but religious fanaticism, inspired by the recollection of the heroic achievements of the Maccabees, blinded the Jews against the inevitable failure of this mad and desperate revolt.

The Roman Invasion.

The emperor Nero, informed of the rebellion, sent his most famous general, Vespasian, with a large force to Palestine Vespasian opened the campaign in the year 67 from the Syrian port-town, Ptolemais (Acco), and against a stout resistance overran Galilee with an army of sixty thousand men. But events in Rome hindered him from completing the victory, and required him to return thither. Nero had killed himself. The emperors, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius followed one another in rapid succession. The latter was taken out of a dog’s kennel in Rome while drunk, dragged through the streets, and shamefully put to death. Vespasian, in the year 69, was universally proclaimed emperor, and restored order and prosperity.

His son, Titus, who himself ten years after became emperor, and highly distinguished himself by his mildness and philanthropy, then undertook the prosecution of the Jewish war, and became the instrument in the hand of God of destroying the holy city and the temple. He had an army of not less than eighty thousand trained soldiers, and planted his camp on Mount Scopus and the adjoining Mount Olivet, in full view of the city and the temple, which from this height show to the best advantage. The valley of the Kedron divided the besiegers from the besieged.

In April, a.d.70, immediately after the Passover, when Jerusalem was filled with strangers, the siege began. The zealots rejected, with sneering defiance, the repeated proposals of Titus and the prayers of Josephus, who accompanied him as interpreter and mediator; and they struck down every one who spoke of surrender. They made sorties down the valley of the Kedron and tip the mountain, and inflicted great loss oil the Romans. As the difficulties multiplied their courage increased. The crucifixion of hundreds of prisoners (as many as five hundred a day) only enraged them the more. Even the famine which began to rage and sweep away thousands daily, and forced a woman to roast her own child, the cries of mothers and babes, the most pitiable scenes of misery around them, could not move the crazy fanatics. History records no other instance of such obstinate resistance, such desperate bravery and contempt of death. The Jews fought, not only for civil liberty, life, and their native land, but for that which constituted their national pride and glory, and gave their whole history its significance — for their religion, which, even in this state of horrible degeneracy, infused into them an almost superhuman power of endurance.

The Destruction of the City and the Temple.

At last, in July, the castle of Antonia was surprised and taken by night. This prepared the way for the destruction of the Temple in which the tragedy culminated. The daily sacrifices ceased July 17th, because the hands were all needed for defence. The last and the bloodiest sacrifice at the altar of burnt offerings was the slaughter of thousands of Jews who had crowded around it.

Titus (according to Josephus) intended at first to save that magnificent work of architecture, as a trophy of victory, and perhaps from some superstitious fear; and when the flames threatened to reach the Holy of Holies he forced his way through flame and smoke, over the dead and dying, to arrest the fire. But the destruction was determined by a higher decree. His own soldiers, roused to madness by the stubborn resistance, and greedy of the golden treasures, could not be restrained from the work of destruction. At first the halls around the temple were set on fire. Then a firebrand was hurled through the golden gate. When the flames arose the Jews raised a hideous yell and tried to put out the fire; while others, clinging with a last convulsive grasp to their Messianic hopes, rested in the declaration of a false prophet, that God in the midst of the conflagration of the Temple would give a signal for the deliverance of his people. The legions vied with each other in feeding the flames, and made the unhappy people feel the full force of their unchained rage. Soon the whole prodigious structure was in a blaze and illuminated the skies. It was burned on the tenth of August, a.d.70, the same day of the year on which, according to tradition, the first temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. |No one,| says Josephus, |can conceive a louder, more terrible shriek than arose from all sides during the burning of the temple. The shout of victory and the jubilee of the legions sounded through the wailings of the people, now surrounded with fire and sword, upon the mountain, and throughout the city. The echo from all the mountains around, even to Peraea (?), increased the deafening roar. Yet the misery itself was more terrible than this disorder. The hill on which the temple stood was seething hot, and seemed enveloped to its base in one sheet of flame. The blood was larger in quantity than the fire, and those that were slain more in number than those that slew them. The ground was nowhere visible. All was covered with corpses; over these heaps the soldiers pursued the fugitives.|

The Romans planted their eagles on the shapeless ruins, over against the eastern gate, offered their sacrifices to them, and proclaimed Titus Imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy concerning the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.|

Jerusalem was razed to the ground; only three towers of the palace of Herod — Hippicus (still standing), Phasael, and Mariamne — together with a portion of the western wall, were left as monuments of the strength of the conquered city, once the centre of the Jewish theocracy and the cradle of the Christian Church.

Even the heathen Titus is reported to have publicly declared that God, by a special providence, aided the Romans and drove the Jews from their impregnable strongholds. Josephus, who went through the war himself from beginning to end, at first as governor of Galilee and general of the Jewish army, then as a prisoner of Vespasian, finally as a companion of Titus and mediator between the Romans and Jews, recognized in this tragical event a divine judgment and admitted of his degenerate countrymen, to whom he was otherwise sincerely attached: |I will not hesitate to say what gives me pain: I believe that, had the Romans delayed their punishment of these villains, the city would have been swallowed up by the earth, or overwhelmed with a flood, or, like Sodom, consumed with fire from heaven. For the generation which was in it was far more ungodly than the men on whom these punishments had in former times fallen. By their madness the whole nation came to be ruined.|

Thus, therefore, must one of the best Roman emperors execute the long threatened judgment of God, and the most learned Jew of his time describe it, and thereby, without willing or knowing it, bear testimony to the truth of the prophecy and the divinity of the mission of Jesus Christ, the rejection of whom brought all this and the subsequent misfortune upon the apostate race.

The destruction of Jerusalem would be a worthy theme for the genius of a Christian Homer. It has been called |the most soul-stirring struggle of all ancient history.| But there was no Jeremiah to sing the funeral dirge of the city of David and Solomon. The Apocalypse was already written, and had predicted that the heathen |shall tread the holy city under foot forty and two months.| One of the master artists of modern times, Kaulbach, has made it the subject of one of his greatest paintings in the museum at Berlin. It represents the burning temple: in the foreground, the high-priest burying his sword in his breast; around him, the scenes of heart-rending suffering; above, the ancient prophets beholding the fulfilment of their oracles; beneath them, Titus with the Roman army as the unconscious executor of the Divine wrath; below, to the left, Ahasuerus, the Wandering Jew of the mediaeval legend, driven by furies into the undying future; and to the right the group of Christians departing in peace from the scene of destruction, and Jewish children imploring their protection.

The Fate of the Survivors, and the Triumph in Rome.

After a siege of five months the entire city was in the hands of the victors. The number of the Jews slain during the siege, including all those who had crowded into the city from the country, is stated by Josephus at the enormous and probably exaggerated figure of one million and one hundred thousand. Eleven thousand perished from starvation shortly after the close of the siege. Ninety-seven thousand were carried captive and sold into slavery, or sent to the mines, or sacrificed in the gladiatorial shows at Caesarea, Berytus, Antioch, and other cities. The strongest and handsomest men were selected for the triumphal procession in Rome, among them the chief defenders and leaders of the revolt, Simon Bar-Giora and John of Gischala.

Vespasian and Titus celebrated the dearly bought victory together (71). No expense was spared for the pageant. Crowned with laurel, and clothed in purple garments, the two conquerors rode slowly in separate chariots, Domitian on a splendid charger, to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, amid the shouts of the people and the aristocracy. They were preceded by the soldiers in festive attire and seven hundred Jewish captives. The images of the gods, and the sacred furniture of the temple — the table of show-bread, the seven-armed candlestick, the trumpets which announced the year of jubilee, the vessel of incense, and the rolls of the Law — were borne along in the procession and deposited in the newly built Temple of Peace, except the Law and the purple veils of the holy place, which Vespasian reserved for his palace. Simon Bar-Giora was thrown down from the Tarpeian Rock; John of Gischala doomed to perpetual imprisonment. Coins were cast with the legend Judaea capta, Judaea devicta. But neither Vespasian nor Titus assumed the victorious epithet Judaeus; they despised a people which had lost its fatherland.

Josephus saw the pompous spectacle of the humiliation and wholesale crucifixion of his nation, and described it without a tear. The thoughtful Christian, looking at the representation of the temple furniture borne by captive Jews on the triumphal arch of Titus, still standing between the Colosseum and the Forum, is filled with awe at the fulfilment of divine prophecy.

The conquest of Palestine involved the destruction of the Jewish commonwealth. Vespasian retained the land as his private property or distributed it among his veterans. The people were by the five years’ war reduced to extreme poverty, and left without a magistrate (in the Jewish sense), without a temple, without a country. The renewal of the revolt under the false Messiah, Bar-Cocheba, led only to a still more complete destruction of Jerusalem and devastation of Palestine by the army of Hadrian (132-135). But the Jews still had the law and the prophets and the sacred traditions, to which they cling to this day with indestructible tenacity and with the hope of a great future. Scattered over the earth, at home everywhere and nowhere; refusing to mingle their blood with any other race, dwelling in distinct communities, marked as a peculiar people in every feature of the countenance, in every rite of religion; patient, sober, and industrious; successful in every enterprise, prosperous in spite of oppression, ridiculed yet feared, robbed yet wealthy, massacred yet springing up again, they have outlived the persecution of centuries and are likely to continue to live to the end of time: the object of the mingled contempt, admiration, and wonder of the world.

Section 38. Effects of the Destruction of Jerusalem on the Christian Church.

The Christians of Jerusalem, remembering the Lord’s admonition, forsook the doomed city in good time and fled to the town of Pella in the Decapolis, beyond the Jordan, in the north of Peraea, where king Herod Agrippa II., before whom Paul once stood, opened to them a safe asylum. An old tradition says that a divine voice or angel revealed to their leaders the duty of flight. There, in the midst of a population chiefly Gentile, the church of the circumcision was reconstructed. Unfortunately, its history is hidden from us. But it never recovered its former importance. When Jerusalem was rebuilt as a Christian city, its bishop was raised to the dignity of one of the four patriarchs of the East, but it was a patriarchate of honor, not of power, and sank to a mere shadow after the Mohammedan invasion.

The awful catastrophe of the destruction of the Jewish theocracy must have produced the profoundest sensation among the Christians, of which we now, in the absence of all particular information respecting it, can hardly form a true conception. It was the greatest calamity of Judaism and a great benefit to Christianity; a refutation of the one, a vindication and emancipation of the other. It not only gave a mighty impulse to faith, but at the same time formed a proper epoch in the history of the relation between the two religious bodies. It separated them forever. It is true the apostle Paul had before now inwardly completed this separation by the Christian universality of his whole system of doctrine; but outwardly he had in various ways accommodated himself to Judaism, and had more than once religiously visited tile temple. He wished not to appear as a revolutionist, nor to anticipate the natural course of history, tile ways of Providence. But now the rupture was also outwardly consummated by the thunderbolt of divine omnipotence. God himself destroyed the house, in which he had thus far dwelt, in which Jesus had taught, in which the apostles had prayed; he rejected his peculiar people for their obstinate rejection of the Messiah; he demolished the whole fabric of the Mosaic theocracy, whose system of worship was, in its very nature, associated exclusively with the tabernacle at first and afterwards with the temple; but in so doing he cut the cords which had hitherto bound, and according to the law of organic development necessarily bound the infant church to the outward economy of the old covenant, and to Jerusalem as its centre. Henceforth the heathen could no longer look upon Christianity as a mere sect of Judaism, but must regard and treat it as a new, peculiar religion. The destruction of Jerusalem, therefore, marks that momentous crisis at which the Christian church as a whole burst forth forever from the chrysalis of Judaism, awoke to a sense of its maturity, and in government and worship at once took its independent stand before the world.

This breaking away from hardened Judaism and its religious forms, however, involved no departure from the spirit of the Old Testament revelation. The church, on the contrary, entered into the inheritance of Israel. The Christians appeared as genuine Jews, as spiritual children of Abraham, who, following the inward current of the Mosaic religion, had found Him, who was the fulfilment of the law and the prophets; the perfect fruit of the old covenant and the living germ of the new; the beginning and the principle of a new moral creation.

It now only remained to complete the consolidation of the church in this altered state of things; to combine the premises in their results; to take up the conservative tendency of Peter and the progressive tendency of Paul, as embodied respectively in the Jewish-Christian and the Gentile-Christian churches, and to fuse them into a third and higher tendency in a permanent organism; to set forth alike the unity of the two Testaments in diversity, and their diversity in unity; and in this way to wind up the history of the apostolic church.

This was the work of John, the apostle of completion.


Kai ho logos sarx egeneto kai eskenosen en emin, kai etheasametha ten doxan autou. — John 1:14.

Section 39. The Johannean Literature.

I. Sources.

1. The Gospel, Epistles, and Revelation of John. The notices of John in the Synoptical Gospels, in the Acts, and in Gal.2:9. (See the passages in Young’s Analytical Concordance.)

2. Patristic traditions. Irenaeus: Adv. Haer. II.22, 5 (John lived to the age of Trajan); III.1, 1 (John at Ephesus); III.3, 4 (John and Cerinthus); V.30, 3 (John and the Apocalypse). Clemens Alex.: Quis dives salvus, c.42 (John and the young robber). Polycrates of Ephesus in Eus. Hist. Eccl., III.31; V.24 (John, one of the megala stoicheia, and a hiereus to petalon pephorekos). Tertullian: De praescr. haer., c.36 (the legend of John’s martyrdom in Rome by being steeped in oil, and his miraculous preservation). Eusebius: Hist. Eccl, III. chs.18, 23, 31; IV.14; V.24 (the paschal controversy). Jerome: Ad Gal.6:10 (the last words of John); De vir. ill., c.9. Augustin: Tract.124 in Evang. Joann. (Opera III.1970, ed. Migne). Nicephorus Cal.: Hist. Eccl., II.42.

II. Apocryphal Traditions.

Acta Johannis, ed. Const. Tischendorf, in his Acta Apost. Apocr., Lips., 1851, pp.266-276. Comp. Prolegg. LXXIII. sqq., where the patristic testimonies on the apocryphal Acts of John are collected.

Acta Joannis, unter Benutzung von C. v. Tischendorf’s Nachlass bearbeitet von Theod. Zahn. Erlangen, 1880 (264 pages and clxxii. pages of Introd.).

The |Acta |contain the praxeis tou … Ioannou tou theologou Prochorus, who professes to be one of the Seventy Disciples, one of the Seven Deacons of Jerusalem (Acts 6:5), and a pupil of St. John; and fragments of the periodoi Ioannou, |the Wanderings of John,| by Leucius Charinus, a friend and pupil of John. The former work is a religious romance, written about 400 years after the death of John; the latter is assigned by Zahn to an author in Asia Minor before 160, and probably before 140; it uses the fourth as well as the Synoptical Gospels, and so far has some apologetic value. See p. cxlviii.

Max Bonnet, the French philologist, promises a new critical edition of the Acts of John. See E. Leroux’s |Revue critique,| 1880, p.449.

Apocalypsis Johannis, in Tischindorf’s Apocalypses Apocryphae Mosis, Esdrae, Pauli, Johannis, item Mariae Dormitio. Lips., 1866, pp.70-94.

This pseudo-Johannean Apocalypse purports to have been written shortly after the ascension of Christ, by St. John, on Mount Tabor. It exists in MS. from the ninth century, and was first edited by A. Birch, 1804.

On the legends of St. John comp. Mrs. Jameson: Sacred and Legendary Art, I.157-172, fifth edition.

III. Biographical and Critical.

Francis Trench: Life and Character of St. John the Evangelist. London, 1850.

Dean Stanley (d.1881): Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age. Oxford and London, 1847, third ed., 1874, pp.234-281.

Max Krenkel: Der Apostel Johannes. Leipzig, 1871.

James M. Macdonald: The Life and Writings of St. John. With Introduction by Dean Howson. New York, 1877 (new ed.1880).

Weizsäcker: Das Apost. Zeitalter.1886, pp.493-559.

Comp. the biographical sketches in the works on the Apostolic Church, mentioned § 20 (p.189); and the Introductions to the Commentaries of Lücke, Meyer, Lange, Luthardt, Godet, Westcott, Plummer.

IV. Doctrinal.

The Johannean type of doctrine is expounded by Neander (in his work on the Apost. Age, 4th ed., 1847; E. transl. by Robinson, N. York, 1865, pp.508-531); Frommann (Der Johanneische Lehrbegriff, Leipz., 1839); C. Reinh. Köstlin (Der Lehrbegriff des Ev. und der Briefe Johannis, Berlin, 1843); Reuss (Die Johann. Theologie, in the Strasburg |Beiträge zu den Theol. Wissenschaften,| 1847, in La Théologie johannique, Paris, 1879, and in his Theology of the Apost. Age, 2d ed.1860, translated from the third French ed. by Annie Harwood, Lond.1872-74, 2 vols.); Schmid (in his Bibl. Theol. des N. T, Stuttg.1853); Baur (in Vorlesungen über N. T. Theol, Leipz.1864); Hilgenfeld (1849 and 1863); B. Weiss (Der Johanneische Lehrbegriff, Berlin, 1862, and in his Bibl. Theol. des N. T., 4th ed.1884). There are also special treatises on John’s Logos-doctrine and Christology by Weizsäcker (1862), Beyerschlag (1866), and others.

V. Commentaries on the Gospel of John.

The Literature on the Gospel of John and its genuineness, from 1792 to 1875 (from Evanson to Luthardt), is given with unusual fulness and accuracy by Dr. Caspar René Gregory (an American scholar), in an appendix to his translation of Luthardt’s St. John, the Author of the Fourth Gospel. Edinb.1875, pp.283-360. Comp. also the very careful lists of Dr. Ezra Abbot (down to 1869) in the article John, Gospel of, in the Am. ed. of Smith’s |Dict. of the Bible,| I.1437-1439.

Origen (d.254) Chrysostom (407); Augustin (430); Cyril of Alexandria (444) Calvin (1564); Lampe (1724, 3 vols.); Bengel (Gnomen, 1752); Lücke (1820, 3d ed.1843); Olshausen (1832, 4th ed. by Ebrard, 1861) Tholuck (1827, 7th ed.1857); Hengstesnberg (1863, 2d, I.1867 Eng. transl.1865); Luthardt (1852, 2d ed. entirely rewritten 1875; Eng. transl. by Gregory, in 2 vols., and a special volume on the Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, 1875) De Wette-Brückner (5th ed.1863); Meyer (5th and last ed. of Meyer, 1869; 6th ed. by Weiss, 1880); Ewald (1861); Alford (6th ed.1868; Wordsworth (5th ed.1866), Godet (1865, 2 vols., 2d ed.1877, Eng. transl. in 3 vols.; 3d edition, Paris, 1881, trsl. by T. Dwight, 1886); Lange (as translated and enlarged by Schaff, N. Y. and Edinb.1871); Watkins (in Ellicott’s |N.T. Com. for English Readers,| 1878); Westcott (in |Speaker’s Commentary,| 1879, and separately); Milligan and Moulton (in |Schaff’s Popul. Com.,| 1880); Keil (1881); Plummer (1881); Thoma (Die Genesis des Joh. Evangeliums, 1882); Paul Schanz (Tübingen, 1885).

VI. Special Treatises on the Genuineness and Credibility of the

Fourth Gospel.

We have no room to give all the titles of books, or the pages in the introductions to Commentaries, and refer to the lists of Abbot and Gregory.

a. Writers against the Genuineness:

E. Evanson (The Dissonance of the Four generally received Evangelists, Gloucester, 1792). K. G. Bretschneider (Probabilia de Ev. et Ep. Joh. Ap. Indole et Origine, Leips.1820, refuted by Schott, Eichhorn, Lücke, and others; retracted by the author himself in 1828). D. F. Strauss (in his Leben Jesu, 1835; withdrawn in the 3d ed.1838, but renewed in the 4th, 1840 in his Leben Jesu für das deutsche Volk, 1864); Lützelberger (1840); Bruno Baum (1840). — F. Chr. BAUR (first in a very acute and ingenious analysis of the Gospel, in the |Theol. Jahrbücher,| of Tübingen, 1844, and again in 1847, 1848, 1853, 1855, 1859). He represents the fourth Gospel as the ripe result of a literary development, or evolution, which proceeded, according to the Hegelian method, from thesis to antithesis and synthesis, or from Judaizing Petrinism to anti-Jewish Paulinism and (pseudo-) Johannean reconciliation. He was followed by the whole Tübingen School; Zeller (1845, 1847, 1853); Schwegler (1846); Hilgenfeld (1849, 1854, 1855, 1875); Volkmar (1870, 1876); Schenkel (1864 and 1873); Holtzmann (in Schenkel’s |Bibellexikon.| 1871, and Einleitung, 1886). Keim (Gesch. Jesu v. Nazara, since 1867, vol. I., 146 sqq.; 167 sqq., and in the 3d ed. of his abridgement, 1875, p.40); Hausrath (1874); Mangold (in the 4th ed. of Bleek’s Introd., 1886); Thoma (1882). In Holland, Scholten (Leyden, 1865, and again 1871). In England, J. J. Tayler (London, 1867); Samuel Davidson (in the new ed. of his Introduction to the N. T., 1868, II.323 sqq. and 357 sqq.); the anonymous author of Supernatural Religion (vol. II.251 sqq., of the 6th ed., London, 1875); and E. A. A. (Edwin A. Abbott, D. D., of London, in art. Gospels, |Encycl. Brit.,| vol. X., 1879, pp.818-843).

The dates assigned to the composition of the Fourth Gospel by these opponents vary from 110 to 170, but the best scholars among them are more and more forced to retreat from 170 (Baur’s date) to 130 (Keim), or to the very beginning of the second century (110). This is fatal to their theory; for at that time many of the personal friends and pupils of John must have been still living to prevent a literary fiction from being generally accepted in the church as a genuine work of the apostle.

Reuss (in his Théologie johannique, 1879, in the sixth part of his great work, |La Bible| and in the Sixth edition of hisGeschichte der heil. Schriften N. T., 1887, pp.249 sqq.) leaves the question undecided, though inclining against the Johannean authorship. Sabatier, who had formerly defended the authenticity (in his Essai sur les sources de la vie de Jésus, 1866), follows the steps of Reuss, and comes to a negative conclusion (in his art. Jean in Lichtenberger’s |Encycl. des Sciences Relig.,| Tom. VII., Paris, 1880, pp.173 sqq.).

Weisse (1836), Schweizer (1841), Weizsäcker (1857, 1859, 1862, 1886), Hase (in his Geschichte Jesu, 1875, while in his earlier writings he had defended the genuineness), and Renan (1863, 1867, and 1879) admit genuine portions in the Fourth Gospel, but differ among themselves as to the extent. Some defend the genuineness of the discourses, but reject the miracles. Renan, on the contrary, favors the historical portions, but rejects the discourses of Christ, in a special discussion in the 13th ed. of his Vie de Jésus, pp.477 sqq. He changed his view again in his L’église chrétienne, 1879, pp.47 sqq. |Ce qui paraît le plus probable,| he says, |c’est qu’un disciple de l’apôtre, dépositaire de plusieurs de ses souvenirs, se crut autorisé à parler en son nom et à écrire, vingt-cinq ou trente ans aprés sa mort, ce que l’on regrettait qu’il n’eût pas lui-même fixé de son vivant.| He is disposed to ascribe the composition to the |Presbyter John| (whose very existence is doubtful) and to Aristion, two Ephesian disciples of John the Apostle. In characterizing the discourses in the Gospel of John he shows his utter incapacity of appreciating its spirit. Matthew Arnold (God and the Bible, p.248) conjectures that the Ephesian presbyters composed the Gospel with the aid of materials furnished by John.

It should be remarked that Baur and his followers, and Renan, while they reject the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel, strongly defend the Johannean origin of the Apocalypse, as one of the certain documents of the apostolic age. But Keim, by denying the whole tradition of John’s sojourn at Ephesus, destroys the foundation of Baur’s theory.

b. The genuineness has been defended by the following writers:

Jos. Priestley (Unitarian, against Evanson, 1793). Schleiermacher and his school, especially Lücke (1820 and 1840), Bleek (1846 and 1862), and De Wette (after some hesitation, 1837, 5th ed., by Brückner, 1863). Credner (1836); Neander (Leben Jesu, 1837) Tholuck (in Glaubwürdigkeit der evang. Geschichte, against Strauss, 1837); Andrews Norton (Unitarian, in Evidences of the Genuineness of the Gospels, 1837-1844, 3 vols., 2d ed.1846, abridged ed., Boston, 1875); Ebrard (1845, against Baur; again 1861, 1868, and 1880, in Herzog’s |Encykl.| Thiersch (1845, against Baur); Schneider (1854); Hengstenberg (1863); Astié, (1863); Hofstede de Groot (Basilides, 1863; Germ. transl.1868); Van Oosterzee (against Scholten, Germ. ed.1867; Engl. transl. by Hurst); Tischendorf (Wann wurden unsere Evangelien verfasst? 1865, 4th ed.1866; also translated into English, but very poorly); Riggenbach (1866, against Volkmar). Meyer (Com., 5th ed.1869); Weiss (6th ed. of Meyer, 1880); Lange (in his Leben Jesu, and in his Com., 3d ed.1868, translated and enlarged by Schaff, 1871); Sanday (Authorship and Historical Character of the Fourth Gospel, London, 1872); Beyschlag (in the |Studien und Kritiken| for 1874 and 1875); Luthardt (2d ed.1875); Lightfoot (in the Contemporary Review, | 1875-1877, against Supernatural Religion); Geo. P. Fisher (Beginnings of Christianity, 1877, ch. X., and art. The Fourth Gospel, in |The Princeton Review| for July, 1881, pp.51-84); Godet (Commentaire sur l’Évangile de Saint Jean, 2d ed.1878; 3d ed.|complètement revue,| vol. I., Introduction historique et critique, Paris, 1881, 376 pages); Westcott (Introd. to the Gospels, 1862, 1875, and Com.1879); McClellan (The Four Gospels, 1875); Milligan (in several articles in the |Contemp. Review| for 1867, 1868, 1871, and in his and Moulton’s Com., 1880); Ezra Abbot (The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel, Boston, 1880; republished in hisCritical Essays, Boston, 1888; conclusive on the external evidences, especially the important testimony of Justin Martyr); George Salmon (Historical Introd. to the N. T., London, 1886; third ed.1888, pp.210 sqq.). See also A. H. Francke: Das Alte Test. bei Johannes, Göttingen, 1885.

VIII. Commentaries on the Epistles of John.

Oecumenius (1000); Theophylact (1071); Luther; Calvin; Bullinger; Lücke (3d ed.1856); De Wette (1837, 5th ed. by Brückner, 1863); Neander (1851, Engl. transl. by Mrs. Conant, 1852); Düsterdieck 1852-1856, 2 vols.); Huther (in Meyer’s Com., 1855, 4th ed.1880); F. D. Maurice, (1857); Ebrard (in Olshausen’s Com., 1859, transl. by W. B. Pope, Edinb.1860); Ewald (1861); Braune (in Lange’s Com., 1865, Engl. ed. by Mombert, 1867); Candlish (1866); Erich Haupt (1869, Engl. transl. by W. B. Pope, Edinb., 1879); R. Rothe (posthumous ed. by K. Mühlhäuser, 1879); W. B. Pope (in Schaff’s Pop. Com., 1883); Westcott (1883).

IX. Commentaries on the Apocalypse of John.

Bullinger (1535, 6th ed.1604); Grotius (1644); Jos. Mede (Clavis Apocalyptica, 1682); Bossuet (R. C., 1689); Vitringa (1719); Bengel (1740, 1746, and new ed.1834); Herder (1779); Eichhorn (1791); E. P. Elliott (Horae Apocalypticae, or, a Com. on the Apoc., 5th ed., Lond., 1862, 4 vols.) Lücke (1852); Ewald (1828 and 1862); Züllig (1834 and 1840) Moses Stuart (1845, 2 vols.); De Wette (1848, 3d ed.1862); Alford (3d ed.1866); Hengstenberg (1849 and 1861); Ebrard (1853); Auberlen (Der Prophet Daniel und die Offenbarung Johannis, 1854; Engl. transl. by Ad. Saphir, 1856, 2d Germ. ed.1857); Düsterdieck (1859, 3d ed.1877); Bleek (1820 and 1862); Luthardt (1861); Volkmar (1862); Kienlen (1870); Lange (1871, Am. ed., with large additions by Craven, 1874); Cowles (1871); Gebhardt (Der Lehrbegriff der Apocalypse, 1873; Engl. transl., The Doctrine of the Apocalypse, by J. Jefferson, 1878); Kliefoth (1874); Lee (1882); Milligan (in Schaff’s Internat. Com., 1883, and in Lectures on the Revel., 1886); Spitta (1889). Völter (1882) and Vischer (1886) deny the unity of the book. Vischer makes it a Jewish Apocalypse worked over by a Christian, in spite of the warning, Apoc.22:18, 19, which refutes this hypothesis.

Section 40. Life and Character of John

|Volat avis sine meta,

Quo nec votes nec propheta

Evolavit altius:

Tam implenda quam impleta,

Numquam vidit tot secreta

Purus homo purius.

(Adam of St. Victor.)

The Mission of John.

Peter, the Jewish apostle of authority, and Paul, the Gentile apostle of freedom, had done their work on earth before the destruction of Jerusalem — had done it for their age and for all ages to come; had done it, and by the influence of their writings are doing it still, in a manner that can never be superseded. Both were master-builders, the one in laying the foundation, the other in rearing the superstructure, of the church of Christ, against which the gates of Hades can never prevail.

But there remained a most important additional work to be done, a work of union and consolidation. This was reserved for the apostle of love, the bosom-friend of Jesus, who had become his most perfect reflection so far as any human being can reflect the ideal of divine-human purity and holiness. John was not a missionary or a man of action, like Peter and Paul. He did little, so far as we know, for the outward spread of Christianity, but all the more for the inner life and growth of Christianity where it was already established. He has nothing to say about the government, the forms, and rites of the visible church (even the name does not occur in his Gospel and first Epistle), but all the more about the spiritual substance of the church — the vital union of believers with Christ and the brotherly communion of believers among themselves. He is at once the apostle, the evangelist, and the seer, of the new covenant. He lived to the close of the first century, that he might erect on the foundation and superstructure of the apostolic age the majestic dome gilded by the light of the new heaven.

He had to wait in silent meditation till the church was ripe for his sublime teaching. This is intimated by the mysterious word of our Lord to Peter with reference to John: |If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?| No doubt the Lord did come in the terrible judgment of Jerusalem. John outlived it personally, and his type of doctrine and character will outlive the earlier stages of church history (anticipated and typified by Peter and Paul) till the final coming of the Lord. In that wider sense he tarries even till now, and his writings, with their unexplored depths and heights still wait for the proper interpreter. The best comes last. In the vision of Elijah on Mount Horeb, the strong wind that rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks, and the earthquake, and the fire preceded the still small voice of Jehovah. The owl of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, begins its flight at twilight. The storm of battle prepares the way for the feast of peace. The great warrior of the apostolic age already sounded the keynote of love which was to harmonize the two sections of Christendom; and John only responded to Paul when he revealed the inmost heart of the supreme being by the profoundest of all definitions: |God is love.|

John in the Gospels.

John was a son (probably the younger son) of Zebedee and Salome, and a brother of the elder James, who became the protomartyr of the apostles. He may have been about ten years younger than Jesus, and as, according to the unanimous testimony of antiquity, he lived till the reign of Trajan, i.e., till after 98, he must have attained an age of over ninety years. He was a fisherman by trade, probably of Bethsaida in Galilee (like Peter, Andrew, and Philip). His parents seem to have been in comfortable circumstances. His father kept hired servants; his mother belonged to the noble band of women who followed Jesus and supported him with their means, who purchased spices to embalm him, who were the last at the cross and the first at the open tomb. John himself was acquainted with the high priest, and owned a house in Jerusalem or Galilee, into which he received the mother of our Lord.

He was a cousin of Jesus, according to the flesh, from his mother, a sister of Mary. This relationship, together with the enthusiasm of youth and the fervor of his emotional nature, formed the basis of his intimacy with the Lord.

He had no rabbinical training, like Paul, and in the eyes of the Jewish scholars he was, like Peter and the other Galilaean disciples, an |unlearned and ignorant man.| But he passed through the preparatory school of John the Baptist who summed up his prophetic mission in the testimony to Jesus as the |Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,| a testimony which he afterwards expanded in his own writings. It was this testimony which led him to Jesus on the banks of the Jordan in that memorable interview of which, half a century afterwards, he remembered the very hour. He was not only one of the Twelve, but the chosen of the chosen Three. Peter stood out more prominently before the public as the friend of the Messiah; John was known in the private circle as the friend of Jesus. Peter always looked at the official character of Christ, and asked what he and the other apostles should do; John gazed steadily at the person of Jesus, and was intent to learn what the Master said. They differed as the busy Martha, anxious to serve, and the pensive Mary, contented to learn. John alone, with Peter and his brother James, witnessed the scene of the transfiguration and of Gethsemane — the highest exaltation and the deepest humiliation in the earthly life of our Lord. He leaned on his breast at the last Supper and treasured those wonderful farewell discourses in his heart for future use. He followed him to the court of Caiaphas. He alone of all the disciples was present at the crucifixion, and was intrusted by the departing Saviour with the care of his mother. This was a scene of unique delicacy and tenderness: the Mater dolorosa and the beloved disciple gazing at the cross, the dying Son and Lord uniting them in maternal and filial love. It furnishes the type of those heaven-born spiritual relationships, which are deeper and stronger than those of blood and interest. As John was the last at the cross, so he was also, next to Mary Magdalene, the first of the disciples who, outrunning even Peter, looked into the open tomb on the resurrection morning; and he first recognized the risen Lord when he appeared to the disciples on the shore of the lake of Galilee.

He seems to have been the youngest of the apostles, as he long outlived them all; he certainly was the most gifted and the most favored. He had a religious genius of the highest order — not indeed for planting, but for watering; not for outward action and aggressive work, but for inward contemplation and insight into the mystery of Christ’s person and of eternal life in him. Purity and simplicity of character, depth and ardor of affection, and a rare faculty of spiritual perception and intuition, were his leading traits, which became ennobled and consecrated by divine grace.

There are no violent changes reported in John’s history; he grew silently and imperceptibly into the communion of his Lord and conformity to his example; he was in this respect the antipode of Paul. He heard more and saw more, but spoke less, than the other disciples. He absorbed his deepest sayings, which escaped the attention of others; and although he himself did not understand them at first, he pondered them in his heart till the Holy Spirit illuminated them. His intimacy with Mary must also have aided him in gaining an interior view of the mind and heart of his Lord. He appears throughout as the beloved disciple, in closest intimacy and in fullest sympathy with the Lord.

The Son of Thunder and the Beloved Disciple.

There is an apparent contradiction between the Synoptic and the Johannean picture of John, as there is between the Apocalypse and the fourth Gospel; but on closer inspection it is only the twofold aspect of one and the same character. We have a parallel in the Peter of the Gospels and the Peter of his Epistles: the first youthful, impulsive, hasty, changeable, the other matured, subdued, mellowed, refined by divine grace.

In the Gospel of Mark, John appears as a Son of Thunder (Boanerges). This surname, given to him and to his elder brother by our Saviour, was undoubtedly an epithet of honor and foreshadowed his future mission, like the name Peter given to Simon. Thunder to the Hebrews was the voice of God. It conveys the idea of ardent temper, great strength and vehemence of character whether for good or for evil, according to the motive and aim. The same thunder which terrifies does also purify the air and fructify the earth with its accompanying showers of rain. Fiery temper under the control of reason and in the service of truth is as great a power of construction as the same temper, uncontrolled and misdirected, is a power of destruction. John’s burning zeal and devotion needed only discipline and discretion to become a benediction and inspiration to the church in all ages.

In their early history the sons of Zebedee misunderstood the difference between the law and the gospel, when, in an outburst of holy indignation against a Samaritan village which refused to receive Jesus, they were ready, like Elijah of old, to call consuming fire from heaven. But when, some years afterwards, John went to Samaria to confirm the new converts, he called down upon them the fire of divine life and light, the gift of the Holy Spirit. The same mistaken zeal for his Master was at the bottom of his intolerance towards those who performed a good work in the name of Christ, but outside of the apostolic circle. The desire of the two brothers, in which their mother shared, for the highest positions in the Messianic kingdom, likewise reveals both their strength and their weakness, a noble ambition to be near Christ, though it be near the fire and the sword, yet an ambition that was not free from selfishness and pride, which deserved the rebuke of our Lord, who held up before them the prospect of the baptism of blood.

All this is quite consistent with the writings of John. He appears there by no means as a soft and sentimental, but as a positive and decided character. He had no doubt a sweet and lovely disposition, but at the same time a delicate sensibility, ardent feelings, and strong convictions. These traits are by no means incompatible. He knew no compromise, no division of loyalty. A holy fire burned within him, though he was moved in the deep rather than on the surface. In the Apocalypse, the thunder rolls loud and mighty against the enemies of Christ and his kingdom, while on the other hand there are in the same book episodes of rest and anthems, of peace and joy, and a description of the heavenly Jerusalem, which could have proceeded only from the beloved disciple. In the Gospel and the Epistles of John, we feel the same power, only subdued and restrained. He reports the severest as well as the sweetest discourses of the Saviour, according as he speaks to the enemies of the truth, or in the circle of the disciples. No other evangelist gives us such a profound inside-view of the antagonism between Christ and the Jewish hierarchy, and of the growing intensity of that hatred which culminated in the bloody counsel; no apostle draws a sharper line of demarcation between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, Christ and Antichrist, than John. His Gospel and Epistles move in these irreconcilable antagonisms. He knows no compromise between God and Baal. With what holy horror does he speak of the traitor, and the rising rage of the Pharisees against their Messiah! How severely does he, in the words of the Lord, attack the unbelieving Jews with their murderous designs, as children of the devil! And, in his Epistles, he terms every one who dishonors his Christian profession a liar; every one who hates his brother a murderer; every one who wilfully sins a child of the devil; and he earnestly warns against teachers who deny the mystery of the incarnation, as Antichrists, and he forbids even to salute them. The measure of his love of Christ was the measure of his hatred of antichrist. For hatred is inverted love. Love and hatred are one and the same passion, only revealed in opposite directions. The same sun gives light and heat to the living, and hastens the decay of the dead.

Christian art has so far well understood the double aspect of John by representing him with a face of womanly purity and tenderness, but not weakness, and giving him for his symbol a bold eagle soaring with outspread wings above the clouds.

The Apocalypse and the Fourth Gospel.

A proper appreciation of John’s character as thus set forth removes the chief difficulty of ascribing the Apocalypse and the fourth Gospel to one and the same writer. The temper is the same in both: a noble, enthusiastic nature, capable of intense emotions of love and hatred, but with the difference between vigorous manhood and ripe old age, between the roar of battle and the repose of peace. The theology is the same, including the most characteristic features of Christology and soteriology. By no other apostle is Christ called the Logos. The Gospel is, |the Apocalypse spiritualized,| or idealized. Even the difference of style, which is startling at first sight, disappears on closer inspection. The Greek of the Apocalypse is the most Hebraizing of all the books of the New Testament, as may be expected from its close affinity with Hebrew prophecy to which the classical Greek furnished no parallel, while the Greek of the fourth Gospel is pure, and free from irregularities; yet after all John the Evangelist also shows the greatest familiarity with, and the deepest insight into, the Hebrew religion, and preserves its purest and noblest elements; and his style has all the childlike simplicity and sententious brevity of the Old Testament; it is only a Greek body inspired by a Hebrew soul.

In accounting for the difference between the Apocalypse and the other writings of John, we must also take into consideration the necessary difference between prophetic composition under direct inspiration, and historical and didactic composition, and the intervening time of about twenty years; the Apocalypse being written before the destruction of Jerusalem, the fourth Gospel towards the close of the first century, in extreme old age, when his youth was renewed like the eagle’s, as in the case of some of the greatest poets, Homer, Sophocles, Milton, and Goethe.


I. The Son of Thunder and the Apostle of Love.

I quote some excellent remarks on the character of John from my friend, Dr. Godet (Com. I.35, English translation by Crombie and Cusin):

|How are we to explain two features of character apparently so opposite? There exist profound receptive natures which are accustomed to shut up their impressions within themselves, and this all the more that these impressions are keen and thrilling. But if it happens that these persons once cease to be masters of themselves, their long-restrained emotions then burst forth in sudden explosions, which fill the persons around them with amazement. Does not the character of John belong to this order? And when Jesus gave to him and his brother the surname of Boanerges, sons of thunder (Mark 3:17), could he have described them better? I cannot think that, by that surname, Jesus intended, as all the old writers have believed, to signalize the eloquence which distinguished them. Neither can I allow that he desired by that surname to perpetuate the recollection of their anger in one of the cases indicated. We are led by what precedes to a more natural explanation, and one more worthy of Jesus himself. As electricity is stored up by degrees in the cloud until it bursts forth suddenly in the lightning and thunderbolt, so in those two loving and passionate natures impressions silently accumulated till the moment when the heart overflowed, and they took an unexpected and violent flight. We love to represent St. John to ourselves as of a gentle rather than of an energetic nature, tender even to weakness. Do not his writings insist before and above all else upon love? Were not the last sermons of the old man ‘Love one another?’ That is true; but we forget other features of a different kind, during the first and last periods of his life, which reveal something decisive, sharp, absolute, even violent in his disposition. If we take all the facts stated into consideration, we shall recognize in him one of those sensitive, ardent souls, worshippers of an ideal, who attach themselves at first sight, and without reservation, to that being who seems to them to realize that of which they have dreamt, and whose devotion easily becomes exclusive and intolerant. They feel themselves repelled by everything which is not in sympathy with their enthusiasm. They no longer understand a division of heart which they themselves know not how to practice. All for all! such is their motto. Where that all is not, there is in their eyes nothing. Such affections do not subsist without including an alloy of impure egoism. A divine work is needed, in order that the true devotion, which constitutes the basis of such, may shine forth at the last in all its sublimity. Such was, if we are not deceived, the inmost history of John.| Comp. the third French ed. of Godet’s Com., I. p.50.

Dr. Westcott (in his Com., p. xxxiii.): |John knew that to be with Christ was life, to reject Christ was death; and he did not shrink from expressing the thought in the spirit of the old dispensation. He learned from the Lord, as time went on, a more faithful patience, but he did not unlearn the burning devotion which consumed him. To the last, words of awful warning, like the thunderings about the throne, reveal the presence of that secret fire. Every page of the Apocalypse is inspired with the cry of the souls beneath the altar, ‘How long’ (Rev.6:10); and nowhere is error as to the person of Christ denounced more sternly than in his Epistles (2 John 10; 1 John 4:1ff.).| Similar passages in Stanley.

II. The Mission of John.

Dean Stanley (Sermons and Essays on the Apost. Age, p.249 sq., 3d ed.): |Above all John spoke of the union of the soul with God, but it was by no mere process of oriental contemplation, or mystic absorption; it was by that word which now for the first time took its proper place in the order of the world — by Love. It has been reserved for St. Paul to proclaim that the deepest principle in the heart of man was Faith; it was reserved for St. John to proclaim that the essential attribute of God is Love. It had been taught by the Old Testament that ‘the beginning of wisdom was the fear of God;’ it remained to be taught by the last apostle of the New Testament that ‘the end of wisdom was the love of God.’ It had been taught of old time by Jew and by heathen, by Greek philosophy and Eastern religion, that the Divinity was well pleased with the sacrifices, the speculations, the tortures of man; it was to St. John that it was left to teach in all its fulness that the one sign of God’s children is ‘the love of the brethren.’ And as it is Love that pervades our whole conception of his teaching, so also it pervades our whole conception of his character. We see him — it surely is no unwarranted fancy — we see him declining with the declining century; every sense and faculty waxing feebler, but that one divinest faculty of all burning more and more brightly; we see it breathing through every look and gesture; the one animating principle of the atmosphere in which he lives and moves; earth and heaven, the past, the present, and the future alike echoing to him that dying strain of his latest words, ‘We love Him because He loved us.’ And when at last he disappears from our view in the last pages of the sacred volume, ecclesiastical tradition still lingers in the close: and in that touching story, not the less impressive because so familiar to us, we see the aged apostle borne in the arms of his disciples into the Ephesian assembly, and there repeating over and over again the same saying, ‘Little children, love one another;’ till, when asked why he said this and nothing else, he replied in those well known words, fit indeed to be the farewell speech of the Beloved Disciple, ‘Because this is our Lord’s command and if you fulfil this, nothing else is needed.’ |

Section 41. Apostolic Labors of John.

John in the Acts.

In the first stadium of Apostolic Christianity John figures as one of the three pillars of the church of the circumcision, together with Peter and James the brother of the Lord; while Paul and Barnabas represented the Gentile church. This seems to imply that at that time he had not yet risen to the full apprehension of the universalism and freedom of the gospel. But he was the most liberal of the three, standing between James and Peter on the one hand, and Paul on the other, and looking already towards a reconciliation of Jewish and Gentile Christianity. The Judaizers never appealed to him as they did to James, or to Peter. There is no trace of a Johannean party, as there is of a Cephas party and a party of James. He stood above strife and division.

In the earlier chapters of the Acts he appears, next to Peter, as the chief apostle of the new religion; he heals with him the cripple at the gate of the temple; he was brought with him before the Sanhedrin to bear witness to Christ; he is sent with him by the apostles from Jerusalem to Samaria to confirm the Christian converts by imparting to them the Holy Spirit; he returned with him to Jerusalem. But Peter is always named first and takes the lead in word and act; John follows in mysterious silence and makes the impression of a reserved force which will manifest itself at some future time. He must have been present at the conference of the apostles in Jerusalem, a.d.50, but he made no speech and took no active part in the great discussion about circumcision and the terms of church membership. All this is in entire keeping with the character of modest and silent prominence given to him in the Gospels.

After the year 50 he seems to have left Jerusalem. The Acts no more mention him nor Peter. When Paul made his fifth and last visit to the holy City (a.d.58) he met James, but none of the apostles.

John at Ephesus.

The later and most important labors of John are contained in his writings, which we shall fully consider in another chapter. They exhibit to us a history that is almost exclusively inward and spiritual, but of immeasurable reach and import. They make no allusion to the time and place of residence and composition. But the Apocalypse implies that he stood at the head of the churches of Asia Minor. This is confirmed by the unanimous testimony of antiquity which is above all reasonable doubt, and assigns Ephesus to him as the residence of his latter years. He died there in extreme old age during the reign of Trajan, which began in 98. His grave also was shown there in the second century.

We do not know when he removed to Asia Minor, but he cannot have done so before the year 63. For in his valedictory address to the Ephesian elders, and in his Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians and the second to Timothy, Paul makes no allusion to John, and speaks with the authority of a superintendent of the churches of Asia Minor. It was probably the martyrdom of Peter and Paul that induced John to take charge of the orphan churches, exposed to serious dangers and trials.

Ephesus, the capital of proconsular Asia, was a centre of Grecian culture, commerce, and religion; famous of old for the songs of Homer, Anacreon, and Mimnermus, the philosophy of Thales, Anaximenes, and Anaximander, the worship and wonderful temple of Diana. There Paul had labored three years (54-57) and established an influential church, a beacon-light in the surrounding darkness of heathenism. From there he could best commune with the numerous churches he had planted in the provinces. There he experienced peculiar joys and trials, and foresaw great dangers of heresies that should spring up from within. All the forces of orthodox and heretical Christianity were collected there. Jerusalem was approaching its downfall; Rome was not yet a second Jerusalem. Ephesus, by the labors of Paul and of John, became the chief theatre of church history in the second half of the first and during the greater part of the second century. Polycarp, the patriarchal martyr, and Irenaeus, the leading theologian in the conflict with Gnosticism, best represent the spirit of John and bear testimony to his influence. He alone could complete the work of Paul and Peter, and give the church that compact unity which she needed for her self-preservation against persecution from without and heresy and corruption from within.

If it were not for the writings of John the last thirty years of the first century would be almost an entire blank. They resemble that mysterious period of forty days between the resurrection and the ascension, when the Lord hovered, as it were, between heaven and earth, barely touching the earth beneath, and appearing to the disciples like a spirit from the other world. But the theology of the second and third centuries evidently presupposes the writings of John, and starts from his Christology rather than from Paul’s anthropology and soteriology, which were almost buried out of sight until Augustin, in Africa, revived them.

John at Patmos.

John was banished to the solitary, rocky, and barren island of Patmos (now Patmo or Palmosa), in the Aegean sea, southwest of Ephesus. This rests on the testimony of the Apocalypse, 1:9, as usually understood: |I, John, your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patience in Jesus, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for (on account of) the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.| There he received, while |in the spirit, on the Lord’s day,| those wonderful revelations concerning the struggles and victories of Christianity.

The fact of his banishment to Patmos is confirmed by the unanimous testimony of antiquity. It is perpetuated in the traditions of the island, which has no other significance. |John — that is the thought of Patmos; the island belongs to him; it is his sanctuary. Its stones preach of him, and in every heart, he lives.|

The time of the exile is uncertain, and depends upon the disputed question of the date of the Apocalypse. External evidence points to the reign of Domitian, a.d.95; internal evidence to the reign of Nero, or soon after his death, a.d.68.

The prevailing — we may say the only distinct tradition, beginning with so respectable a witness as Irenaeus about 170, assigns the exile to the end of the reign of Domitian, who ruled from 81 to 96. He was the second Roman emperor who persecuted Christianity, and banishment was one of his favorite modes of punishment. Both facts give support to this tradition. After a promising beginning he became as cruel and bloodthirsty as Nero, and surpassed him in hypocrisy and blasphemous self-deification. He began his letters: |Our Lord and God commands,| and required his subjects to address him so. He ordered gold and silver statues of himself to be placed in the holiest place of the temples. When he seemed most friendly, he was most dangerous. He spared neither senators nor consuls when they fell under his dark suspicion, or stood in the way of his ambition. He searched for the descendants of David and the kinsmen of Jesus, fearing their aspirations, but found that they were poor and innocent persons. Many Christians suffered martyrdom under his reign, on the charge of atheism — among them his own cousin, Flavius Clemens, of consular dignity, who was put to death, and his wife Domitilla, who was banished to the island of Pandateria, near Naples. In favor of the traditional date may also be urged an intrinsic propriety that the book which closes the canon, and treats of the last things till the final consummation, should have been written last.

Nevertheless, the internal evidence of the Apocalypse itself, and a comparison with the fourth Gospel, favor an earlier date, before the destruction of Jerusalem, and during the interregnum which followed the death of Nero (68), when the beast, that is the Roman empire, was wounded, but was soon to be revived (by the accession of Vespasian). If there is some foundation for the early tradition of the intended oil-martyrdom of John at Rome, or at Ephesus, it would naturally point to the Neronian persecution, in which Christians were covered with inflammable material and burned as torches. The unmistakable allusions to imperial persecutions apply much better to Nero than to Domitian. The difference between the Hebrew coloring and fiery vigor of the Apocalypse and the pure Greek and calm repose of the fourth Gospel, to which we have already alluded, are more easily explained if the former was written some twenty years earlier. This view has some slight support in ancient tradition, and has been adopted by the majority of modern critical historians and commentators.

We hold, then, as the most probable view, that John was exiled to Patmos under Nero, wrote the Apocalypse soon after Nero’s death, a.d.68 or 69, returned to Ephesus, completed his Gospel and Epistles several (perhaps twenty) years later, and fell asleep in peace during the year of Trajan, after a.d.98.

The faithful record of the historical Christ in the whole fulness of his divine-human person, as the embodiment and source of life eternal to all believers, with the accompanying epistle of practical application, was the last message of the Beloved Disciple at the threshold of the second century, at the golden sunset of the apostolic age. The recollections of his youth, ripened by long experience, transfigured by the Holy Spirit, and radiant with heavenly light of truth and holiness, are the most precious legacy of the last of the apostles to all future generations of the church.

Section 42. Traditions Respecting John.

The memory of John sank deep into the heart of the church, and not a few incidents more or less characteristic and probable have been preserved by the early fathers.

Clement of Alexandria, towards the close of the second century, represents John as a faithful and devoted pastor when, in his old age, on a tour of visitation, he lovingly pursued one of his former converts who had become a robber, and reclaimed him to the church.

Irenaeus bears testimony to his character as |the Son of Thunder| when he relates, as from the lips of Polycarp, that, on meeting in a public bath at Ephesus the Gnostic heretic Cerinthus, who denied the incarnation of our Lord, John refused to remain under the same roof, lest it might fall down. This reminds one of the incident recorded in Luke 9:49, and the apostle’s severe warning in 2 John 10 and 11. The story exemplifies the possibility of uniting the deepest love of truth with the sternest denunciation of error and moral evil.

Jerome pictures him as the disciple of love, who in his extreme old age was carried to the meeting-place on the arms of his disciples, and repeated again and again the exhortation, |Little children, love one another,| adding: |This is the Lord’s command, and if this alone be done, it is enough.| This, of all the traditions of John, is the most credible and the most useful.

In the Greek church John bears the epithet |the theologian (theologos), for teaching most clearly the divinity of Christ (ten theoteta tou logou). He is also called |the virgin| (parthenos), for his chastity and supposed celibacy. Augustin says that the singular chastity of John from his early youth was supposed by some to be the ground of his intimacy with Jesus.

The story of John and the huntsman, related by Cassian, a monk of the fifth century, represents him as gently playing with a partridge in his hand, and saying to a huntsman, who was surprised at it: |Let not this brief and slight relaxation of my mind offend thee, without which the spirit would flag from over-exertion and not be able to respond to the call of duty when need required.| Childlike simplicity and playfulness are often combined with true greatness of mind.

Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, at the close of the second century, relates (according to Eusebius) that John introduced in Asia Minor the Jewish practice of observing Easter on the 14th of Nisan, irrespective of Sunday. This fact entered largely into the paschal controversies of the second century, and into the modern controversy about the genuineness of the Gospel of John.

The same Polycrates of Ephesus describes John as wearing the plate, or diadem of the Jewish high-priest (Ex.28:36, 37; 39:30, 31). It is probably a figurative expression of priestly holiness which John attaches to all true believers (Comp. Rev.2:17), but in which he excelled as the patriarch.

From a misunderstanding of the enigmatical word of Jesus, John 21:22, arose the legend that John was only asleep in his grave, gently moving the mound as he breathed, and awaiting the final advent of the Lord. According to another form of the legend he died, but was immediately raised and translated to heaven, like Elijah, to return with him as the herald of the second advent of Christ.



The teaching and example of Christ as exhibited in the Gospels, and of the apostles in the Acts and Epistles; compared and contrasted with the rabbinical ethics and the state of Jewish society, and with the Greek systems of philosophy and the moral condition of the Roman empire, as described in the writings of Seneca, Tacitus, the Roman satirists, etc.


I. The respective sections in the Histories of the Apost. Church by Neander: I.229-283 (Germ. ed.); Schaff: §§ 109-123 (pp.433-492); Lange: II.495-534; Weizsäcker: 647-698.

II The works on the Theology of the Apostolic Age, by Schmid, Reuss, Baur, Weiss, etc.

III. The Systems of Christian Ethics by Schleiermacher, Rothe, Neander, Schmid, Wuttke, Harless, Martensen, Luthardt, and Lecky’s History of European Morals (1869), vol I.357 sqq.

IV. A. Thoma (pastor in Mannheim): Geschichte der christlichen Sittenlehre in der Zeit des Neuen Testamentes, Haarlem, 1879 (380 pp.). A crowned prize-essay of the Teyler Theol. Society. The first attempt of a separate critical history of N. T. ethics, but written from the negative standpoint of the Tübingen school, and hence very unsatisfactory. It is divided in three parts: I. The Ethics of Jesus; II. The Ethics of Paul; III. The Ethics of the Congregation.

V. Works which treat of Christian life in the post-apostolic age (Cave, Arnold, Schmidt, Chastel, Pressensé, etc.) will be noticed in the second period.

Section 43. The Power of Christianity.

Practical Christianity is the manifestation of a new life; a spiritual (as distinct from intellectual and moral) life; a supernatural (as distinct from natural) life; it is a life of holiness and peace; a life of union and communion with God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; it is eternal life, beginning with regeneration and culminating in the resurrection. It lays hold of the inmost centre of man’s personality, emancipates him from the dominion of sin, and brings him into vital union with God in Christ; from this centre it acts as a purifying, ennobling, and regulating force upon all the faculties of man — the emotions, the will, and the intellect — and transforms even the body into a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Christianity rises far above all other religions in the theory and practice of virtue and piety. It sets forth the highest standard of love to God and to man; and this not merely as an abstract doctrine, or an object of effort and hope, but as a living fact in the person of Jesus Christ, whose life and example have more power and influence than all the maxims and precepts of sages and legislators. Deeds speak louder than words. Praecepta docent, exempla trahunt. The finest systems of moral philosophy have not been able to regenerate and conquer the world. The gospel of Christ has done it and is doing it constantly. The wisest men of Greece and Rome sanctioned slavery, polygamy, concubinage, oppression, revenge, infanticide; or they belied their purer maxims by their conduct. The ethical standard of the Jews was much higher; yet none of their patriarchs, kings, or prophets claimed perfection, and the Bible honestly reports the infirmities and sins, as well as the virtues, of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon.

But the character of Christ from the manger to the cross is without spot or blemish; he is above reproach or suspicion, and acknowledged by friend and foe to be the purest as well as the wisest being that ever appeared on earth. He is the nearest approach which God can make to man, and which man can make to God; he represents the fullest imaginable and attain able harmony of the ideal and real, of the divine and human. The Christian church may degenerate in the hands of sinful men, but the doctrine and life of her founder are a never-failing fountain of purification.

The perfect life of harmony with God and devotion to the welfare of the human race, is to pass from Christ to his followers. Christian life is an imitation of the life of Christ. From his word and spirit, living and ruling in the church, an unbroken stream of redeeming, sanctifying, and glorifying power has been flowing forth upon individuals, families, and nations for these eighteen centuries, and will continue to flow till the world is transformed into the kingdom of heaven, and God becomes all in all.

One of the strongest proofs of the supernatural origin of Christianity, is its elevation above the natural culture and moral standard of its first professors. The most perfect doctrine and life described by unschooled fishermen of Galilee, who never before had been outside of Palestine, and were scarcely able to read and to write! And the profoundest mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, the incarnation, redemption, regeneration, resurrection, taught by the apostles to congregations of poor and illiterate peasants, slaves and freedmen! For |not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble| were called, |but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise; and God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, did God choose, yea, and the things that are not, that he might bring to naught the things that are: that no flesh should glory before God. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption: that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.|

If we compare the moral atmosphere of the apostolic churches with the actual condition of surrounding Judaism and heathenism, the contrast is as startling as that between a green oasis with living fountains and lofty palm trees, and a barren desert of sand and stone. Judaism in its highest judicatory committed the crime of crimes, the crucifixion of the Saviour of the world, and hastened to its doom. Heathenism was fitly represented by such imperial monsters as Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, and Domitian, and exhibited a picture of hopeless corruption and decay, as described in the darkest colors not only by St. Paul, but by his heathen contemporary, the wisest Stoic moralist, the teacher and victim of Nero.


The rationalistic author of Supernatural Religion (vol. II.487) makes the following remarkable concession: |The teaching of Jesus carried morality to the sublimest point attained, or even attainable, by humanity. The influence of his spiritual religion has been rendered doubly great by the unparalleled purity and elevation of his character. Surpassing in his sublime simplicity and earnestness the moral grandeur of Sâkya Muni, and putting to the blush the sometimes sullied, though generally admirable, teaching of Socrates and Plato, and the whole round of Greek philosophers, he presented the rare spectacle of a life, so far as we can estimate it, uniformly noble and consistent with his own lofty principles, so that the ‘imitation of Christ’ has become almost the final word in the preaching of his religion, and must continue to be one of the most powerful elements of its permanence.|

Lecky, likewise a rationalistic writer and historian of great ability and fairness, makes this weighty remark in his History of European Morals (vol. II.9):, |It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world an ideal character, which through all the changes of eighteen centuries has inspired the hearts of men with an impassioned love; has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; has been not only the highest pattern of virtue, but the strongest incentive to its practice, and has exercised so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and to soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists. This has, indeed, been the wellspring of whatever is best and purest in Christian life. Amid all the sins and failings, amid all the priestcraft and persecution and fanaticism that have defaced the Church, it has preserved, in the character and example of its Founder, an enduring principle of regeneration.|

To this we may add the testimony of the atheistic philosopher, John Stuart Mill from his essay on Theism, written shortly before his death (1873), and published, 1874, in Three Essays on Religion. (Am. ed., p.253): |Above all, the most valuable part of the effect on the character which Christianity has produced, by holding up in a divine person a standard of excellence and a model for imitation, is available even to the absolute unbeliever, and can never more be lost to humanity. For it is Christ rather than God whom Christianity has held up to believers as the pattern of perfection for humanity. It is the God incarnate more than the God of the Jews, or of nature, who, being idealized, has taken so great and salutary a hold on the modem mind. And whatever else may be taken away from us by rational criticism, Christ is still left; a unique figure, not more unlike all his precursors than all his followers, even those who had the direct benefit of his personal teaching. It is of no use to say that Christ, as exhibited in the Gospels, is not historical, and that we know not how much of what is admirable has been super-added by the tradition of his followers. The tradition of followers suffices to insert any number of marvels, and may have inserted all the miracles which he is reputed to have wrought. But who among his disciples, or among their proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus, or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers, in whom nothing is more evident than that the good which was in them was all derived, as they always professed that it was derived, from the higher source.|

Section 44. The Spiritual Gifts.

Comp. the Commentaries on Rom.12:3-9, and 1 Cor.12-14.

The apostolic church was endowed from the day of Pentecost with all the needful spiritual gifts for the moral regeneration of the world. They formed, as it were, her bridal garment and her panoply against Jewish and Gentile opposition. They are called charisms or gifts of grace, as distinguished from, though not opposed to, natural endowments. They are certain special energies and manifestations of the Holy Spirit in believers for the common good. They are supernatural, therefore, in their origin; but they correspond to natural virtues, and in operation they follow all the mental and moral faculties of Dian, raising them to higher activity, and consecrating them to the service of Christ. They all rest on faith, that |gift of gifts.|

The spiritual gifts may be divided into three classes: first, intellectual gifts of knowledge, mainly theoretical in their character, and concerned primarily with doctrine and theology; secondly, emotional gifts of feeling, appearing chiefly in divine worship and for immediate edification; and thirdly, practical gifts of will, devoted to the organization, government, and discipline of the church. They are not, however, abstractly separate, but work together harmoniously for the common purpose of edifying the body of Christ. In the New Testament ten charisms are specially mentioned; the first four have to do chiefly, though not exclusively, with doctrine, the next two with worship, and the remaining four with government and practical affairs.

1. The gift of Wisdom and Knowledge, or of deep insight into the nature and system of the divine word and the doctrines of the Christian salvation.

2. The gift of Teaching. or of practically applying the gift of knowledge; the power of clearly expounding the Scriptures for the instruction and edification of the people.

3. The gift of Prophecy, akin to the two preceding, but addressed rather to pious feeling than to speculative reflection, and employing commonly the language of higher inspiration, rather than that of logical exposition and demonstration. It is by no means confined to the prediction of future events, but consists in disclosing the hidden counsel of God, the deeper sense of the Scriptures, the secret state of the heart, the abyss of sin, and the glory of redeeming grace. It appears particularly in creative periods, times of mighty revival; while the gift of reaching suits better a quiet state of natural growth in the church. Both act not only in the sphere of doctrine and theology, but also in worship, and might in this view be reckoned also among the gifts of feeling.

4. The gift of Discerning Spirits, serves mainly as a guide to the third gift, by discriminating between true prophets and false, between divine inspiration and a merely human or satanic enthusiasm. In a wider sense it is a deep discernment in separating truth and error, and in judging of moral and religious character; a holy criticism still ever necessary to the purity of Christian doctrine and the administration of the discipline of the church.

5. The gift of Tongues, or of an utterance proceeding from a state of unconscious ecstasy in the speaker, and unintelligible to the hearer unless interpreted — thus differing from prophecy, which requires a self-conscious though highly elevated state of feeling, serves directly to profit the congregation, and is therefore preferred by Paul. The speaking with tongues is an involuntary psalm-like prayer or song, uttered from a spiritual trance, and in a peculiar language inspired by the Holy Spirit. The soul is almost entirely passive, an instrument on which the Spirit plays his heavenly melodies. This gift has, therefore, properly, nothing to do with the spread of the church among foreign peoples and in foreign languages, but is purely an act of worship, for the edification primarily of the speaker himself, and indirectly, through interpretation, for the hearers. It appeared, first, indeed, on the day of Pentecost, but before Peter’s address to the people, which was the proper mission-sermon; and we meet with it afterwards in the house of Cornelius and in the Corinthian congregation, as a means of edification for believers, and not, at least not directly, for unbelieving hearers, although it served to them as a significant sign, arresting their attention to the supernatural power in the church.

6. The gift of Interpretation is the supplement of the glossolalia, and makes that gift profitable to the congregation by translating the prayers and songs from the language of the spirit and of ecstasy into that of the understanding and of sober self-consciousness. The preponderance of reflection here puts this gift as properly in the first class as in the second.

7. The gift of Ministry and Help, that is, of special qualification primarily for the office of deacon and deaconess, or for the regular ecclesiastical care of the poor and the sick, and, in the wide sense, for all labors of Christian charity and philanthropy.

8. The gift of church Government and the Care of souls, indispensable to all pastors and rulers of the church, above all to the apostles and apostolic men, in proportion to the extent of their respective fields of labor. Peter warns his co-presbyters against the temptation to hierarchical arrogance and tyranny over conscience, of which so many priests, bishops, patriarchs, and popes have since been guilty; and points them to the sublime example of the great Shepherd and Archbishop, who, in infinite love, laid down his life for the sheep.

9. The gift of Miracles is the power possessed by the apostles and apostolic men, like Stephen, to heal all sorts of physical maladies, to cast out demons, to raise the dead, and perform other similar works, in virtue of an extraordinary energy or faith, by word, prayer, and the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus, and for his glory. These miracles were outward credentials and seals of the divine mission of the apostles in a time and among a people which required such sensible helps to faith. But as Christianity became established in the world, it could point to its continued moral effects as the best evidence of its truth, and the necessity for outward physical miracles ceased.

10. Finally, the gift of Love, the greatest, most precious, most useful, most needful, and most enduring of all, described and extolled by St. Paul in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians with the pen of an angel in the vision and enjoyment of the God of infinite love himself. Love is natural kindness and affection sanctified and raised to the spiritual sphere, or rather a new heavenly affection created in the soul by the experience of the saving love of God in Christ. As faith lies at the bottom of all charisms, so love is not properly a separate gift, but the soul of all the gifts, guarding them from abuse for selfish and ambitious purposes, making them available for the common good, ruling, uniting, and completing them. It alone gives them their true value, and without love even the speaking with tongues of angels, and a faith which removes mountains, are nothing before God. It holds heaven and earth in its embrace. It |believeth all things,| and when faith fails, it |hopeth all things,| and when hope fails, it |endureth all things,| but it |never fails.| As love is the most needful of all the gifts on earth, so it will also outlast all the others and be the ornament and joy of the saints in heaven. For love is the inmost essence, the heart, as it were, of God, the ground of all his attributes, and the motive of all his works. It is the beginning and the end of creation, redemption, and sanctification — the link which unites us with the triune God, the cardinal virtue of Christianity, the fulfilling of the law, the bond of perfectness, and the fountain of bliss.

Section 45. Christianity in Individuals.

The transforming spiritual power of Christianity appears first in the lives of individuals. The apostles and primitive Christians rose to a morality and piety far above that of the heroes of heathen virtue and even that of the Jewish saints. Their daily walk was a living union with Christ, ever seeking the glory of God and the salvation of men. Many of the cardinal virtues, humility, for example, and love for enemies, were unknown before the Christian day.

Peter, Paul, and John represent the various leading forms or types of Christian piety, as well as of theology. They were not without defect, indeed they themselves acknowledged only one sinless being, their Lord and Master, and they confessed their own shortcomings; yet they were as nearly perfect as it is possible to be in a sinful world; and the moral influence of their lives and writings on all generations of the church is absolutely immeasurable. Each exhibits the spirit and life of Christ in a peculiar way. For the gospel does not destroy, but redeems and sanctifies the natural talents and tempers of men. It consecrates the fire of a Peter, the energy of a Paul, and the pensiveness of a John to the same service of God. It most strikingly displays its new creating power in the sudden conversion of the apostle of the Gentiles from a most dangerous foe to a most efficient friend of the church. Upon Paul the Spirit of God came as an overwhelming storm; upon John, as a gentle, refreshing breeze. But in all dwelt the same new, supernatural, divine principle of life. All are living apologies for Christianity, whose force no truth-loving heart can resist.

Notice, too, the moral effects of the gospel in the female characters of the New Testament. Christianity raises woman from the slavish position which she held both in Judaism and in heathendom, to her true moral dignity and importance; makes her an heir of the same salvation with man, and opens to her a field for the noblest and loveliest virtues, without thrusting her, after the manner of modern pseudo-philanthropic schemes of emancipation, out of her appropriate sphere of private, domestic life, and thus stripping her of her fairest ornament and peculiar charm.

The Virgin Mary marks the turning point in the history of the female sex. As the mother of Christ, the second Adam, she corresponds to Eve, and is, in a spiritual sense, the mother of all living. In her, the |blessed among women,| the whole sex wass blessed, and the curse removed which had hung over the era of the fall. She was not, indeed, free from actual and native sin, as is now, taught, without the slightest ground in Scripture, by the Roman church since the 8th of December, 1854. On the contrary, as a daughter of Adam, she needed, like all men, redemption and sanctification through Christ, the sole author of sinless holiness, and she herself expressly calls God her Saviour. But in the mother and educator of the Saviour of the world we no doubt may and should revere, though not worship, the model of female Christian virtue, of purity, tenderness, simplicity, humility, perfect obedience to God, and unreserved surrender to Christ. Next to her we have a lovely group of female disciples and friends around the Lord: Mary, the wife of Clopas; Salome, the mother of James and John; Mary of Bethany, who sat at Jesus’ feet; her busy and hospitable sister, Martha; Mary of Magdala, whom the Lord healed of a demoniacal possession; the sinner, who washed his feet with her tears of penitence and wiped them with her hair; and all the noble women, who ministered to the Son of man in his earthly poverty with the gifts of their love, lingered last around his cross, and were the first at his open sepulchre on the, morning of the resurrection.

Henceforth we find woman no longer a slave of man and tool of lust, but the pride and joy of her husband, the fond mother training her children to virtue and godliness, the ornament and treasure of the family, the faithful sister, the zealous servant of the congregation in every work of Christian charity, the sister of mercy, the martyr with superhuman courage, the guardian angel of peace, the example of purity, humility, gentleness, patience, love, and fidelity unto death. Such women were unknown before. The heathen Libanius, the enthusiastic eulogist of old Grecian culture, pronounced an involuntary eulogy on Christianity when he exclaimed, as he looked at the mother of Chrysostom: |What women the Christians have!|

Section 46. Christianity and the Family.

H. Gregoire: De l’influence du christianisme sur la condition des femmes. Paris, 1821.

F. Münter: Die Christin im heidnischen Hause vor den Zeiten Constantin’s des Grossen. Kopenhagen, 1828.

Julia Kavanagh: Women of Christianity, Exemplary for Acts of Piety and Charity. Lond., 1851; N. York, 1866.

Thus raising the female sex to its true freedom and dignity, Christianity transforms and sanctifies the entire family life. It abolishes polygamy, and makes monogamy the proper form of marriage; it condemns concubinage with all forms of unchastity and impurity. It presents the mutual duties of husband and wife, and of parents and children, in their true light, and exhibits marriage as a copy of the mystical union of Christ with his bride, the church; thus imparting to it a holy character and a heavenly end.

Henceforth the family, though still rooted, as before, in the soil of nature, in the mystery of sexual love, is spiritualized and becomes a nursery of the purest and noblest virtues, a miniature church, where the father, as shepherd, daily leads his household into the pastures of the divine word, and, as priest, offers to the Lord the sacrifice of their common petition, intercession, thanksgiving, and praise.

With the married state, the single also, as an exception to the rule, is consecrated by the gospel to the service of the kingdom of God; as we see in a Paul, a Barnabas, and a John, and in the history of missions and of ascetic piety. The enthusiasm for celibacy, which spread so soon throughout the ancient church, must be regarded as a one-sided, though natural and, upon the whole, beneficial reaction against the rotten condition and misery of family life among the heathen.

Section 47. Christianity and Slavery.


H. Wallon (Prof. of Modern History in Paris): Histoire de l’esclavage dans l’antiquité, Par.1879, 3 vols., treats very thoroughly of Slavery in the Orient, among the Greeks and the Romans, with an Introduction on modern negro slavery in the Colonies.

Augustin Cochin (ancien maire et conseiller municipal de la Ville de Paris): L’abolition de l’esclavage, Paris, 1862, 2 vols. This work treats not only of the modern abolition of slavery, but includes in vol. II., p.348-470, an able discussion of the relation of Christianity and slavery.

Möhler (R. C., d.1848):Bruchstücke aus der Geschichte der Aufhebung der Sklaverei, 1834. (|Vermischte Schriften,| vol. II., p.54.)

H. Wiskemann: Die Sklaverei. Leiden, 1866. A crowned prize-essay.

P. Allard: Les esclaves chrétiens depuis les premiers temps de l’église jusqu’ à la fin de la domination romaine en Occident Paris, 1876 (480 pp.).

G. V. Lechler: Sklaverei und Christenthum. Leipz.1877-78.

Ph. Schaff: Slavery and the Bible, in his |Christ and Christianity,| N. York and London, 1885, pp.184-212.

Compare the Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, especially Braune, and Lightfoot (in Colossians and Philemon, 1875).

The numerous American works on slavery by Channing, Parker, Hodge, Barnes, Wilson, Cheever, Bledsoe, and others, relate to the question of negro slavery, now providentially abolished by the civil war of 1861-65.

To Christianity we owe the gradual extinction of slavery.

This evil has rested as a curse on all nations, and at the time of Christ the greater part of the existing race was bound in beastly degradation — even in civilized Greece and Rome the slaves being more numerous than the free-born and the freedmen. The greatest philosophers of antiquity vindicated slavery as a natural and necessary institution; and Aristotle declared all barbarians to be slaves by birth, fit for nothing but obedience. According to the Roman law, |slaves had no head in the State, no name, no title, no register;| they had no rights of matrimony, and no protection against adultery; they could be bought and sold, or given away, as personal property; they might be tortured for evi