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his authority and reject it, to the life, the death, the resurrection, the ascension of, and the future judgment by, the Lord Jesus Christ."
But are we to accept his authority? In what light are we to regard his testimony? Was he a deliberate impostor ? Impossible. Breaking family ties, disowning the religion of his fathers, preaching a transcendent morality, living an upright life, inculcating an unpopular doctrine, running risks of life and limb in the discharge of a mission which offered no worldly inducements —this is strange business for an impostor. We should expect that his courage would break down if his career had been a cheat. But what are the facts? Writing to the Corinthians, who, whether Jews or Pagans, would hardly look with favor on the doctrine of salvation through a crucified Galilean, he flung down the challenge, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation into every one that believeth.” Paul's life was a commentary on this courageous utteravce. It is monstrous, then, for to suppose that he lent himself to the work of imposture. But perhaps he perverted the teaching of his Master? ' Has he not grafted upon the simple doctrine of Christ a set of dogmas which are to be put to the credit of his own genius? In reply, it is enough to say with Mr. Leathes, that Paul's appeal to a “contemporary verdict" must be considered decisive. He said, “If we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other doctrine, let him be accursed." Panl would not have thrown down the gauntlet at the feet of those who had been with Jesus, if he had gone before the world with a perverted gospel. It would have been a dangerous thing to preach as Christianity what was only a perversion of Christianity. And the amazing thing is, that if Paul's doctrine was not in accordance with the teaching of Christ, it gained such root in the minds of the early Christians as completely to supplant the teachings of Jesus, supposing them to have been different, and to have become recognized as representative of the gospel. How was it that the liar doctrines of Paul--doctrines which modern critics are so anxious to dispose of; doctrines, therefore, which we may suppose were always uupalatable to the unregenerate heart; doctrines which, from their mysterious nature as well as from
pecu. the humbling views of human power which they suggest, we may suppose no man seeking popularity would venture to propound—how is it that these doctrines gained such currency that Paul could throw down the challenge before the Christian world and say: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accursed ?”
But if Paul did not deliberately invent or pervert Christianity, was he the victim of deception himself? Was be under the control of some hallucination when he said, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel !” Was he the subject of religious insanity that he exhibited such perseverance in publishing what he called the glad tidings? Was he led astray by some ignis-fatuns that he was “in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of his own countrymen, in perils of the heathen, in perils of the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness, in painfulness, in watchings often, in cold and nakedness ?"
Now there was no room for deception with regard to the facts to which Paul appealed, provided he could trust his own eyes and ears. A sane man could not be unistaken. The simple question then is, whether Paul was crazy, or in his right mind. Are Rationalists prepared to say that his career, from beginning to end, is one of insanity? And if they are, can they explain how it was that it escaped detection ? Was a delusion so easily propagated that all the churches between Jerusalem and Rome were carried away by it? Were Sergius Paulus, and the chamberlain at Corinth, and the saints in Cesar's palace the d upes of a religious enthusiast? Rationalists niust have a prompt affirmative ready in reply to these questions if they wish to set aside Paul's testimony.
After discussing in successive lectures the early life of Paul, his conversion, faith, and courage, Mr. Leathes, under the head of “The Influence of Paul,” treats of the miracnlons gifts which the early Christians exercised.
That they possessed these gifts we can hardly doubt if we attach any importance to Paul's testimony. And even if we should be slow to call them miraculous, it is at least clear that certain events were of frequent occurrence among the Christians which were so strange that the heathen looked upon them as indications of supernatural interference. It enhances the value of the testimony to know that these gifts were not possessed by all; they were of so exceptional a character that they cannot be imputed to any collusion among the early Christians. The Apostle himself alludes to them incidentally, and in no labored, apologetic manner. He wrote to correct the abuses which had attended the exercise of gifts, and, so far from magnifying the importance of miraculous powers, is careful to subordinate them to the grace of charity. "It is no less certain that many Christians at Corinth spoke with tongues, and prophesied, possessed gifts of healing, and wrought miracles, and that some abused these gifts, than that in the same church the Eucharistic feast was profaned by drunkenness, unseemly conduct, and excess. No one would deny the latter, but the former is equally undeniable.” “No one writing a letter to a number of persons deeply attached to him, and to whom likewise he was deeply attached, could possibly think of rebuking them for errors of which they were guiltless ; of charging them with offences they had not committed. The idea is preposterous. The Corinthian church was guilty, on the one hand, of incest, and, on the other, of gross profanation of spiritual gifts.”
Now we must remember that the position of the early Christians was very different from that of medieval ecclesiastics. There was no church authority to back a pious fraud. Every thing was against them; Christianity was fighting its way, inch by inch, against the combined prejudice of Jew and Pagan; chicanery would have killed it. Shrewd Turks and Jews were in no danger of mistaking an ordinary recovery for a miraculous cure.
We cannot take ground against New Testament miracles without asserting either that the early Christians, the Apostle Paul included, were a set of cheats, or that they were the victims of deception.
Now, the moral character of the system which they professed is against the first supposition. Both in theory and in practice, in precept and in life, Christianity was in advance of any thing in the world. To suppose that such a system was born in sin, that a religion of such transcendent excellence was rocked in its cradle by a set of liars, that a faith which made men love what is honest, and lovely, and of good report, was propagated by jugglery; to suppose that a man of Paul's moral stature would go before the world with a lie in his right hand, is a moral impossibility.
And if we take the latter supposition, we do but little credit to the intelligence of one people among whom the most subtle philosophy was born; we under-estimate the shrewdness of another people who, in all matters of worldly gain, are known in history as a keen-eyed race, if we believe that among those who witnessed the so-called miracles there were none who could see through the delusion and
These miracles, however (since we are shut up to the admission of them), no less than Paul's conversion, witness to the resurrection of Christ and the cardinal facts of the gospel. For “their bestowal was the exclusive dowry of a particular confession of faith—of faith, that is, in a person, marked by a particular history, and exercising at the time particular functions." The Christians claimed to perform the miracles in Christ's name and in confirmation of Christian doctrine. If God allowed them to control the powers of nature for the purpose of corroborating the doctrines which they preached, it is equivalent to an indorsement, on God's part, of the doctrines themselves.
“ The Mission of Paul" is the title of the seventh lecture. In the opening verse of the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul declares that he is "an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father who raised him from the dead.” The Galatians, we may gather from this epistle, were disposed to admit his claims; nay, we are told they "received him as an angel of God, even as Jesus Christ.” The question which Mr. Leathes discusses in this lecture are, “why did they so receive him ?-and, how did he know that he had a divine message ?"
Why did the Galatians receive him as a messenger of God? In the first place, his conversion must have been a powerful
argument. Here was a man preaching “ the faith which he once destroyed.”
Then, as the Apostle could show, he was " in good repute among the brethren who were in Christ before him." Then the effect of the gospel upon themselves sustained the Apostle's claim. Whereas they had been blind, now they could see. And if faith were yet lacking, the iniracles which they had witnessed would more than convince them. But, more than all, they had the witness in themselves. “ Panl had done something more than impose upon the senses. He had led captive the heart, and had convinced the reason. He had wrought miracles, not only before their eyes, but in themselves. If he had made them conscious of the living power of the living Jesus, there was a third witness independent of themselves and independent of him.” God had sent forth the spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
" In one word, the Apostle proved his divine mission by its divine results.”
To say divine results, however, is to overleap the objections of Rationalism. Yet, if not divine, what were they?
What are the facts? The Apostle marvels that the Galatians are “so soon removed from him that called them into the grace of Christ, nnto another gospel.” He calls them "foolish Galatians,” and wonders who had “bewitched” them that they “should not obey the truth.” He reminds them of a time when they “knew not God," and did“ service to them who are no gods.” He urges them to “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”
These expressions all imply that the preaching of the gospel had been attended with certain good resnlts, which, however, were only of too short duration. Were these results only imaginary, or were they only what we might naturally look for under the circumstances ? They were not imaginary; for then the defection would be only imaginary, and the Apostle would be charging them with an offence which they had never committed; and the epistle, as the result of whim, wonld carry on its face its own condemnation.
Nor can these results he credited to nature. "If the results were natural, then it has still to be shown how it was they