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Atheists, Theists, Pagans, Jews, and Mohammedans, and yet it is certainly true that the controversy is not one “among Christians themselves.” We have, to be sure, the authority of Mr. Morell for speaking of " Unitarian Christians," and by men of his school we should be thought very illiberal. But, inasmuch as the entire scheme of redemption derives its significance from the union of Godhead and humanity in the of Christ, we cannot consider those entitled to the name of Christians who believe that Jesus is still in his grave. A Socinian theology finds the doctrine of the Resurrection inconvenient, and a theology which denies the penal and vicarious character of Christ's death would not be the loser if the doctrine were taken away. We do not mean to impute to Dr. Bushnell any doubt in regard to Christ's triumph over the grave,
when we say that his theory of the atonement would be more consistent without the doctrine of the resurrection than with it. The moral influence theory stands in no need of a Divine Redeemer, and, therefore, would be none the weaker if the proofs of Jesus' resurrection were untenable. If Christ's work was only to set an example and manifest his sympathy for men, it might reasonably be argued that the scope of his mission is not curtailed by denying his resurrection. But believing, as we do, that his death was a penal and substitutionary sacrifice, we are compelled to regard his divinity and resurrection as fundamental truths. We cannot, therefore, throw open the door of liberality so wide as to regard every man as a Christian who says he is one. On the contrary, we consider it one of the most dangerous features of current infidelity, that it gains respectability and countenance by being baptized with a Christian name. Christian people are greatly imposed upon when they give shelter to ideas of infidel birth, because they come recommended by men who call themselves Christians.
We are, to a great extent, indebted to the epistles of Paul for our uncompromising views regarding the cardinal doctrines of the faith. Paul was the chosen instrument through whom the Holy Ghost gave full expression to these doctrives. We are correct, therefore, in regarding the Apostle of the Gentiles as the greatest stumbling-block in the way of all advocates of “advanced views.” Heterodox theologians of every shade would breathe more freely if the way were clear to dispose of the Pauline writings.
In dealing with the thirteen epistles attributed to Paul, the enemies of evangelical theology have three courses open to them. They may endeavor to prove (1) that the epistles are forgeries; (2) that they have been misinterpreted; or (3) that Paul alone is responsible for the teaching embodied in them.
Any one of these would serve the cause of Rationalism, and each has been perseveringly tried.
The first has the advantage of being more thorough-going and destructive. For, if it can be proved that the epistles usually attributed to Paul are forgeries, that pnts an end at once to all appeal to them. Renan, in that case, might feel greater confidence in saying that “ Paul is coming to the end of his
The task of meeting the attacks of destructive criticism belongs to those who have made New Testament introduction a specialty ;—and has been accomplished with a thoroughness which sets the question at rest in the minds of all who are not obstinately prejudiced. In fact, it requires but little critical learning to perceive that the conclusions reached by critics of the school of Baur are of the most arbitrary kind. To determine beforehand what Paul ought to write, and then condemn nine well-authenticated epistles because they do not meet the critic's idea of Pauline authorship, is, to say the least, a very high-handed proceeding. Yet this is, in plain English, just what has been done.
The point, however, which concerns us in this article is, that there are four of Paul's epistles which the most reckless critic acknowledges as authentic. We take up our New Testament with all the more confidence when we know that even Baur admits that the epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians came from Paul's pen. Negative critics have halted too soon in their work of destruction, and, singularly enough, have left unquestioned the very epistles which contain the most pronounced expression of Pauline doctrine.
We are willing to test our convictions regarding the fundamental doctrines of Christianity by these epistles. Is it possi
ble to cite the Apostle Paul as an advocate of the advanced views of sin and the atonement, by a fair interpretation of these four epistles? Have Christians been reading Paul with a veil upon their faces, as the Jews read Moses? Have the doctrines of original sin and vicarious sacrifice been perpetuated from century to century, through a persistent mistranslation of the New Testament? Matthew Arnold asserts distinctly that “Protestantism has misinterpreted Paul, and is based upon a blunder.” He adopts the second of the three courses which we pointed out. Is he right? We cannot answer the question in detail. A few words must suffice.
It is important to remember that what Paul said is one thing; and the authoritative value of what he said, quite a different thing. The one can be determined by an appeal to the grammar and the dictionary; the other involves an inquiry into Paul's claim to be an accredited messenger from God. Strangely enough, writers sometimes get these two questions confused, and even Matthew Arnold, in his articles published some months ago in the Cornhill Magazine, while laboring hard to show that the Apostle Paul did not teach the doctrines usually ascribed to him, really rests his case against evangelical theology on the ground that the Apostle had imported into Christianity notions which he had acquired from Judaism.
Now the question is not whether any abatement is to be made from Paul's teaching on the ground of his educational bias, but whether the doctrines ascribed to him are really to be found in his pages. The two facts on which all Paul's teaching turns, and which give shape to all his utterances, are the literal death and resurrection of Christ. Whether he had sufficient reason for believing these doctrines, or whether he believed them at all, does not alter the fact that they are of prime importance in his epistles. To give them a secondary place in his system, as Matthew Arnold does, is to betray strange ignorance of the system. The key to the Epistle to the Romans is the seventh chapter, Mr. Arnold tells us a chapter which is inferential from beginning to end. The primary ideas of Paul's teaching, as we learn from the same writer, are the spiritnal dying and rising with Christ of the believers-ideas
which could have no significance, as the most careless reader may see, but for the literal death and resurrection of Christ, of which the Apostle had been previously speaking. This artifice of interpretation has been adopted by Mr. Arnold in order to get rid of the doctrine of justification by faith. It shows us the real strength of our position as advocates of evangelical theology, that a scholar of Matthew Arnold's standing, in order to assail it, is obliged to look for Paul's leading doctrines in the metaphysical application of Christ's literal death and resurrection to the spiritual state of believers. So with regard to the words which Paul uses respecting the atonement. It does not change their meaning to say that Paul was so saturated with Jewish ideas that they influenced his conceptions of Christianity. The very point we are at is the meaning of the words, and an evasion like this only increases our confidence in the generally received interpretation. And of as little avail is it to say that these words of sacrificial and expiatory import are figures of speech. If it be only a question whether we are to interpret Paul figuratively or literally, further argument is unnecessary. For to suppose that Paul's strongest utterances, his most didactic deliverances were all figurative, and at the same time give him credit for speaking seriously regarding the issues of another world, is palpably absurd.
There is yet another refuge for those who deny the system of evangelical truth taught in Paul's epistles. It may be said that, admitting these epistles to be the work of Paul's hand, and admitting, moreover, that the received interpretation of them is correct-after all, we had these doctrines only on Paul's authority. It is still a question whether Paul did not invent them, or was not himself the victim of imposture.
The lectures of Mr. Leathes are intended to meet objectors of this class. His object is, not to combat the opinions of critics, but to show that, after making all the admissions they demand, the structure of Christian doctrine is untouched.
The thesis which he endeavors to establish is as follows: “It is not possible to account for the phenomena which the writings and the history of Paul present to us, except upon VOL. XLII.-NO, II.
the supposition of certain facts which are substantially those of the gospels."
Making now a general acknowledgment of indebtedness to the author under review, we shall, in what follows, endeavor to express in our own way the substance of his argument, and so avoid the necessity of making frequent quotations and ref
The historical apparatus on which this discussion depends, consists of the Acts of the Apostles and the four epistles already mentioned. On their united testimony we learn that the leading features in the character of Paul, as we have been accustomed to regard him, are true. That he was a Jew of Tarsus, a Benjamite, a Pharisee, an enthusiastic lover of the Law of Moses; that he had been a malignant enemy of the Christians, and that, at one period of his life, he did his best to destroy them, are facts which we have on his own confession. It has been said that the representations of Paul's vehement persecution are exaggerated. This is done, of course, in order to remove the difficulty occasioned by the contrast between Paul's life before and his life after conversion, when the attempt is made to explain his altered course by natural circumstances. The Scripture statements, however, must strike us as particularly calm ; and, unless we had a theory to
1 sustain; it would never occur to us that there was any disposition on the part of the sacred writers to exaggerate Paul's persecuting tendencies.
We pass, then, to Paul's conversion. That a great change came over him, from some cause or other, we have no reason to doubt. Even Mr. Jowett assures us that there is no fact in history more certain or independent than the conversion of PaulHow was it brought about? Suddenly or by degrees ? Did Paul gradually come to the conclusion that the balance of truth was on the side of Christianity, or did he, by some sudden revulsion of feeling, pass through all the distance that lay between uncompromising Judaism and uncompromising Christianity? The latter, we shall say, if we attach any importance to the Apostle's own version of the story. In broad daylight, as he approached Damascus, he and his party were encompassed by a brightness greater than that of the midday