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Title: St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians - A Practical Exposition
Author: Gore, Charles, 1853-1932
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians - A Practical Exposition" ***

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_St. Paul's_

_Epistle to the Ephesians_

_A Practical Exposition_









_A Series of Simple Expositions_


_Portions of the New Testament_



THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT.            _Crown 8vo_, 3/6.

THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS.       _Crown 8vo_, 3/6.

THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.          2 _Vols., Crown 8vo_, 3/6 _each_.













The favourable reception accorded to an exposition of the Sermon on the
Mount has encouraged me to attempt another practical explanation of a
portion of the New Testament, in the interest of such readers as are
intelligent indeed, but neither are nor hope to become critical
scholars.  An immense deal has been done of late to assist New
Testament scholarship, but while the studies of the scholar make
progress, the ordinary Christian 'reading of the Bible' is, I fear, at
best at a standstill.  This little book then is intended to make one of
St. Paul's epistles as intelligible as may be to the ordinary reader,
and so to enable him to make a practical religious use of it, 'to read,
mark, learn and inwardly digest' it.


The method pursued, in the main, has been to let each section of the
epistle be preceded by an analysis or paraphrase of the teaching it
contains, in which it is hoped that no element in the teaching is left
unnoticed, and followed by such further explanations of particular
phrases, or practical reflections, as seem to be needed.

I have avoided as far as possible all discussion of rival views, and
given simply what are, in my judgement, the best explanations.

I have ventured to dedicate this book to the President of the
Brotherhood of St. Andrew, because (see app. note D, p. 264) that
society represents surely a brave attempt to realize some of the chief
practical lessons which this epistle is intended to enforce.


  _Christmas_, 1897.




INTRODUCTION . . . Study of the New Testament  . . . . . . . . .    1
                   The gospel of the Catholic Church . . . . . .    6
                   The Roman Empire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   20
                   Ephesus and the Ephesians . . . . . . . . . .   34
                   The letter--to whom written . . . . . . . . .   43


  SALUTATION (i. 1-2)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   48

  DIVISION I (i. 3-iv. 17)

    § 1 (i. 3-14)      St. Paul's leading thoughts:
                         life in Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . .   54
                         predestination  . . . . . . . . . . . .   63
                         the elect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   69
                         the divine secret disclosed . . . . . .   72
                         grace not merit . . . . . . . . . . . .   74

    § 2 (i. 15-23)     St. Paul's prayer . . . . . . . . . . . .   78

    § 3 (ii. 1-10)     Sin and redemption  . . . . . . . . . . .   89

    § 4 (ii. 11-22)    Salvation in the Church . . . . . . . . .  102

    § 5 (iii)          Paul the apostle of catholicity . . . . .  121
                         his second prayer . . . . . . . . . . .  133

    § 6 (iv. 1-16)     The unity of the Church . . . . . . . . .  140


DIVISION II (iv. 17-vi. 24):

                       Doctrine and conduct  . . . . . . . . . .  172

    § 1 (iv. 17-24)    Christianity a new life . . . . . . . . .  178

    § 2 (iv. 25-32)    The new life a corporate life . . . . . .  184

    § 3 (v. 1-14)      The new life an imitation of God  . . . .  192
                         and a life in the light . . . . . . . .  194

    § 4 (v. 15-21)     The new life a buying up of an
                         opportunity . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  204

    § 5 (v. 22-vi. 9)  The law of subordination and authority  .  211
                         husbands and wives (v. 22-33) . . . . .  212
                         parents and children (vi. 1-4)  . . . .  228
                         masters and slaves (vi. 5-9)  . . . . .  233

    § 6 (vi. 10-20)    The personal spiritual struggle . . . . .  237

CONCLUSION (vi. 21-24) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  248


  A. The Roman Empire recognized by Christians as a
       Divine Preparation for the Spread of the Gospel . . . . .  251

  B. The (so-called) 'Letters of Heracleitus'  . . . . . . . . .  253

  C. The Jewish Doctrine of Works in _The Apocalypse of Baruch_   257

  D. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  264

  E. The Conception of the Church Catholic in St. Paul in
       its Relation to Local Churches  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  267

  F. The Ethics of Catholicism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  271

  G. The Lambeth Conference and Industrial Problems  . . . . . .  274





[Sidenote: _Introduction_]

There are two great rivers of Europe which, in their course, offer a
not uninstructive analogy to the Church of God.  The Rhine and the
Rhone both take their rise from mountain glaciers, and for the first
hundred or hundred and fifty miles from their sources they run turbid
as glacier streams always are, and for the most part turbulent as
mountain torrents.  Then they enter the great lakes of Constance and
Geneva.  There, as in vast settling-vats, they deposit all the
discolouring elements which have hitherto defiled their waters, so that
when they re-emerge from the western ends of the lakes to run their
courses in central and southern Europe their {2} waters have a
translucent purity altogether delightful to contemplate.  After this
the two rivers have very different destinies, but either from fouler
affluents or from the commercial activity upon their surfaces or along
their banks they lose the purity which characterized their second
birth, and become as foul as ever they were among their earlier
mountain fastnesses; till after all vicissitudes they lose themselves
to north or south in the vast and cleansing sea.

The history of these rivers offers, I say, a remarkable parallel to the
history of the Church of God.  For that too takes its rude and rough
beginnings high up in wild and remote fastnesses of our human history.
Such books of the Old Testament as those of Judges and Samuel and Kings
represent the turbid and turbulent running of this human nature of
ours, divinely directed indeed, but still unpurified and unregenerate.
But in the great lake of the humanity of Jesus all its acquired
pollution is cut off.  In Him, virgin-born, our manhood is seen as
indeed the pure mirror of the divine glory; and when at Pentecost the
Church of God issues anew, by a second birth of that glorified manhood,
for its second course in this world, it issues unmixed with alien
influences, substantially {3} pure and unsullied.  After a time its
history gains in complexity but its character loses in purity, so that
there are epochs of the history of the Church when its moral level is
possibly not higher than that which is represented in the roughest
books of the Old Testament: and through the whole of its later history
the Church is strangely fused with the world again, until they issue
both together into eternity.

Men from all parts of the world visit Constance and Geneva, and delight
to look at the two famous rivers issuing pure and abundant from the
quiet lakes.  An analogous pleasure belongs to the study of such books
of the New Testament as the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul's Epistle
to the Ephesians, which give us respectively the fortunes and the
theory of the Church at its origin.  Later epochs of Church history
have possibly more richly diversified interests--such as the period of
the Councils, or the Middle Ages, or the Reformation.  But the interest
of the earliest Church unmixed with the world, its principles fresh,
its inspirations strong, its native hue free from discolouring
elements, preoccupies us with a fascination which is unrivalled.  The
divine society is young and inexperienced, but what it is and is meant
{4} to be we can see there better than anywhere else.  We return, when
our minds are aching and our eyes are dim with the complexity and
obscurity of our latter-day problem, to learn insight and simplicity
again at those pure sources.

And to the Christian believer these books are not only documents of
great historical importance as illustrative of a unique period: they
also represent to us in different forms the highest level of that
action of the divine Spirit upon the mind of man which we call
inspiration.  St. Paul for instance, in this Epistle to the Ephesians
claims, as we shall find, to be an 'inspired' man, a recipient of
divine revelation, and makes a similar claim for the apostles and
prophets generally.  'By revelation,' he says, 'God made known unto me
the mystery (or divine secret), as I wrote afore in few words, whereby,
when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of
Christ; which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as
it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the
Spirit.'  Inspiration is a term not easily susceptible of definition.
We are inclined in our generation to recognize its limits more frankly
than has been done in the past, and {5} its compatibility even with
positive error on subjects which are matter of ordinary human inquiry
and not of divine revelation[1]; but its positive meaning in the region
of divine revelation--in what concerns God's moral will, purpose,
character and being, and the consequent moral and spiritual
significance of our human life--ought not to be less apparent to us
than formerly.  Thus when we call a writer of the New Testament
'inspired' we must mean at least this: that the same divine Spirit who
put the message of God in the hearts of the prophets of old, and who
worked His perfect work without let and hindrance in the manhood of
Christ, is here so working upon the will and imagination, the memory
and intelligence, of one of Christ's commissioned witnesses as that he
shall interpret and not misinterpret the mind and person of his Master.
Practically, an inspired writer of the New Testament means a writer
under whom we can put ourselves to school to 'learn Christ' with {6}
whole-hearted confidence and faith.  This, of course, gives an
additional reason of the most cogent force why we should continually
recur to the sacred books of the New Testament.  If Christianity is to
be deterred from a fatal return to nature--that is to the religious or
irreligious tendencies of mankind when left to itself--or if it is to
be recalled when it has lapsed, this can only be by an appeal to
Scripture constantly reiterated and pressed home.  There is for ever
the testing-ground alike of doctrine, of moral character, and of
ecclesiastical tendency; there is the only perfect image of the mind of


The Epistle to the Ephesians gives us St. Paul's gospel of the Catholic
Church.  So far from being a man of one idea, St. Paul fascinates and
sometimes bewilders us by the intricacy and variety of his thoughts;
but like the innumerable leaves and twigs of some finely-grown tree
which emerge, all of them, through branches and boughs, out of one
great trunk, strong and straight, and one deep and firmly-set root, so
it is with the infinitely various topics and suggestions of St. Paul.
They run back {7} into a few dominant thoughts, which in their turn
have one trunk-line of developement and one root.  The root is the
conviction, finally smitten into the soul of St. Paul at the moment of
his conversion on the road to Damascus, that Jesus is the Christ; and
the trunk-line of development is that which is involved in St. Paul's
special commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, that is to
say, the principle that the Christ is the saviour of Gentiles as of
Jews and on an equal basis--or in other words, that the Christian
church is catholic.

When St. Paul acknowledged that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, this
of course meant that he remained no less than formerly an adherent of
the Jewish faith, and that he 'worshipped' without any breach of
continuity, 'the God of his fathers.'  So he is fond of insisting[2].
Thus to him the Church of Christ is still 'the commonwealth of Israel,'
God's ancient church, though reconstructed[3].  For the religion of
Israel had had for its main motive the hope of the Christ.  All that
St. Paul now believed was that this hope had been realized, and
realized to the shame of Israel in One whom they had rejected {8} and
crucified.  But if to believe that Jesus was the Christ involved no
breach with the religion of Israel, yet it did involve the recognition
that it had been reconstituted on a new basis, and in a way that
suggested to existing Israelites nothing less than a revolution.  The
church of God had, in St. Paul's present belief, widened out from being
the church of one nation into being a catholic society, a society for
all mankind.

If St. Paul's epistles are taken in those groups into which they
naturally divide themselves, we find that in the first group, that of
the two epistles to the Thessalonians, all his favourite topics are
present as it were in the germ, but nothing that is specially
characteristic of him is yet developed.  The free admission of the
Gentiles into the Church is, with the accompanying hostility of the
Jews, assumed[4], but not much insisted upon; but in the interval
between these epistles and that to the Galatians the subject had gained
fresh and poignant interest.  A party of Christians having their centre
at Jerusalem had been trying--in spite of the decision of the apostolic
council at Jerusalem--to reimpose upon the consciences of {9} Gentile
Christians, and with especial success in the Galatian province, the
obligation of circumcision; or in other words had been trying to make
it evident that the Church of God was as much as ever the people of the
Jews, and that Gentiles could only become Christians by becoming also
Jewish proselytes pledged to keep the law of Moses.  In view of this
attempt St. Paul re-embarks upon his great campaign for the catholicity
of the Church, and in his epistles of the second group[5] (especially
those to the Galatians and the Romans) the catholicity of Christianity
is vindicated controversially upon the basis of the principle of
_justification by faith, not by works of the law_.

The meaning and real importance of this doctrine ought not to be hard
for us to understand.  To be justified means to be accepted or
acquitted by God.  The Judaizers--that is the Christian representatives
of the narrower religious spirit of Israel--held that, as God's
covenant was with the Jews only, so men could obtain acceptance simply
by the observance of that Mosaic law which was to the Jew at once the
expression of the divine selection of his race, and the grounds of his
arrogant {10} contempt for all who had not 'Abraham to their
father[6].'  But St. Paul had made trial of that theory, and had found
it wanting.  The observance of the law and the glorying in Jewish
privileges had brought him no peace with God: had in fact served only
to produce and deepen a sense of inner alienation from God and
conviction of sin.  Thus in acknowledging the messiahship of that Jesus
whom the chosen people had rejected and surrendered to be crucified, he
was abandoning utterly and for ever the standing-ground of Jewish
pride: he was acknowledging that the only divine function of the law
was to convince men of sin, and of their need of pardon and salvation:
he was taking his stand as a sinner among the Gentiles, and humbly
welcoming the unmerited boon of pardon and acceptance from the hand of
the divine mercy in Christ Jesus.  When St. Paul in familiar arguments,
from the witness of the Old Testament itself, and from the moral
experience of men, convicts the law of inadequacy as an instrument of
justification, his reasoning is full of a strong feeling and conviction
bred of his own experiences.  The true means of justification, he has
come to perceive, is faith, that is, {11} the simple acceptance of the
divine favour freely offered, and this is something that belongs to no
special race, but to all men as such.  For all men everywhere, to whom
the light comes, can know that they are sinners in the sight of God,
and can accept simply from the hand of the divine bounty the unmerited
boon of forgiveness and acceptance in Christ.  Thus, if faith and faith
alone is that whereby men are justified or commended to God, then at
once the catholic basis of the reconstituted Church is secured.  All
men can belong to it who can feel their need and hear the Gospel and
take God at His word.  This is the great principle vindicated in the
compressed and fiery arguments of the Epistle to the Galatians, and
then subsequently developed in the calmer and orderly procedure of the
Epistle to the Romans.

But in the next group of epistles, written out of that captivity at
Rome the record of which closes the Acts of the Apostles, the same
doctrine of the catholicity of the Church is developed from a different
point of view.  Now it is the thought of the person of Christ which has
come to occupy the foreground.  All along St. Paul had believed that
Christ was the Son of God, the divine mediator of creation, who in
these {12} latter days had for our sakes humbled Himself to be made
man[7].  But this thought of Christ's person is elaborated and brought
into prominence in the third group of epistles[8], especially in the
Epistle to the Colossians.  A tendency derived from Jewish sources was
manifesting itself among some of the Asiatic Christians to exalt
angelic beings, conceived probably as representing divine attributes
and powers, into objects of religious worship[9].  There is a certain
spurious humility which has in many ages, and not least in the
Christian Church, led men to shrink from direct approach to the high
and holy God and to resort to lower mediators, as more suitable to
their defiled condition and weakness.  This sort of spurious humility
was already detected by St. Paul, in company with other Judaizing and
falsely ascetic tendencies, as a peril of the Asiatic churches, and
especially of the Colossians.

But he will make no terms with it.  Christ he teaches is the only and
the universal mediator, the one and only reconciler of all things to
the Father.  And He is this because of the {13} position that belongs
to His person in the universe as a whole.  He, as the Father's image or
counterpart, is His unique agent in all the work of creation.  All
created things whatever, from the lowest to the highest, seen or
unseen, be they thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, are
the work of His hand.  All were created through Him and have Him for
their end or goal, and He is the sustaining life of the whole universe
in all its parts.  'In Him all things consist' or have their unity in a
system.  And because He occupies this position in the whole universe,
therefore a similar position and sovereignty belong to Him in the
spiritual kingdom of redemption.  There too He is, through His manhood
and His sacrificial death upon the cross, the unique author of the
reconciliation with God.  He is by His spirit the inherent life of the
redeemed, and the goal of all their perfecting.  There is, in fact, no
divine quality, or attribute, or activity of God towards His creatures
which is not His.  In Him it pleased the Father that all the fulness of
divine attributes and offices should dwell, and in Him as Son of God
made man dwells all this fulness bodily.  The divine attributes, that
is, are not committed to a number of different mediators.  {14} They
exist and are exercised in Him and in Him alone.  It follows therefore
as a matter of course from this position of Christ in the universe and
in the church that the redemption effected by Him must be universal in
range and must extend equally and impartially to all.  There 'cannot be
Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian and Scythian,
bond and free, but Christ is all and in all.'

Thus in the Epistle to the Colossians[10] the doctrine of the
catholicity of Christianity is again vindicated controversially, and
logically based upon the catholic character of Christ and upon His
universal function in creation and redemption; and in the contemporary
Epistle to the Ephesians, without note of controversy, the doctrine of
the catholic church, the brotherhood of all men in Christ, the doctrine
which is, we may truly say, the culmination of all St. Paul's teaching,
is allowed to develope itself in all its glory on the assumed basis of
that teaching about Christ's person which had made any narrower idea of
the church already seem incongruous and impossible.  In the earlier
dispensation in which the covenant of God was with one people, St. Paul
can see only a preparatory process through {15} which the eternal
purpose of God could at last be realized, and out of which His eternal
secret could at last be disclosed.  That purpose so long kept secret,
and now revealed, is to gather together all nations and classes of men
into the one Church of God, one organized body, one brotherhood in
which all men are to find their salvation, and through which is to be
realized an even wider purpose for the whole universe.  In this
doctrine of the catholic church St. Paul finds the expression of all
the length and breadth and height and depth of the divine love.  Its
length, for it represents an age-long purpose slowly worked out; its
breadth, for it is a society of all men and for the whole universe; its
depth, for God has reached a hand of mercy down to the lowest gulfs of
sin and alienation from God; its height, for in this society men are
carried up into nothing less than union with God, to no lower seat than
the heavenly places in Christ.

I have spoken of St. Paul's great arguments for the catholicity of the
Gospel as two.  The first appears mainly as a polemic against the idea
of justification by works of the law.  The second as a positive
argument about the person of Christ and the results which flow from the
right appreciation of it.  But in fact there is {16} a necessary
connexion between the two.  The narrow Judaism of the Galatian
reactionaries did in fact logically involve a narrow and therefore a
false conception of the person of Christ.  As Dr. Hort expresses
it[11], 'to accept Jesus as the Christ without any adequate enlargement
of what was included in the Messiahship could hardly fail to involve
either limitation of His nature to the human sphere, or at most a
counting Him among the angels.'  This logical connexion was in fact
verified in history.  The Judaizers of the earliest period of Christian
history who insisted on circumcision for all Christians pass into the
Ebionites of the second century who rejected the Church's doctrine of
the person of Christ, as the eternal Son of God.  And conversely it
would be scarcely possible to accept the doctrine of the universal
Christ, both divine and human, as St. Paul developes it, without
perceiving that men must be made acceptable to Him and to His Father by
something deeper and wider than any particular set of observances or
'works.'  The relation therefore between the argument of St. Paul's
epistles to the Galatians and the Romans on the one side, and that of
his epistles to the Colossians and {17} the Ephesians on the other is
one of unity rather than of contrast.

The relation of these two groups of epistles may be expressed also in
another way.  The argument of the earlier epistles is directed towards
the Judaizers.  Its purpose is to vindicate the right of the Gentiles
to an equal place and position with the Jews in the kingdom of God.
But at the time of the later group this right had been secured.  On the
basis of their acknowledged title the ingress of Gentiles into the
churches of Asia had been even alarmingly rapid.  Now it is time for
St. Paul to address himself to these emancipated Gentiles and to exhort
them in their turn not to relapse into unworthy and narrow conceptions
of their redeemer, or into conduct unworthy of their new position: they
must 'walk worthily of the vocation wherewith they are called.'

Our present political situation in England offers an analogy which may
bring home to us the position of the Gentile Christians and the
function of the Epistle to the Ephesians.  The time is past for us when
there is any necessity to contend that a vote should be given to all
responsible men.  So far at least as the male population is concerned,
the title of the citizen {18} to the vote has been substantially
acknowledged; but the time is by no means past when the newly
enfranchised citizens need to be stimulated to realize what their
enfranchisement carries with it of privilege and responsibility.  And
we may express this by saying that if our English political Epistle to
the Galatians has been written and has done its work, our Epistle to
the Ephesians is still surely very much needed.

It is very strange, or at least would be strange if we were not
acquainted with the historical circumstances that have accounted for
it, that St. Paul has been, out of all proportion to the facts of the
case, identified in popular estimation with only the earlier of the two
great arguments described above, with that which has given the basis to
Protestantism, and not that which is, in fact, the charter of the
Catholic Church.

We are all familiar with the fact that St. Paul taught the doctrine of
justification by faith, and insisted therefore on the necessity and
privilege of personal acceptance on the part of each individual of the
promises of God in Christ.  We all know how, when this aspect of things
has been ignored and over-ridden--when an almost Jewish doctrine of the
merit of good works[12] {19} has been current in Christendom--it has
afforded a pretext for a Protestant reaction of the most
individualistic kind, of the kind which pays no regard to outward unity
or catholic authority.  But certainly in St. Paul's own teaching there
is nothing individualistic in justifying faith.  It is that by which
man wins admittance into the body of Christ; and the body of Christ is
an organized society, a catholic brotherhood.  Salvation, as we shall
see, is as much social or ecclesiastical as it is individual; and
perhaps there is nothing more wanted to correct our ideas of what St.
Paul understood by justifying faith than an impartial study of the
Epistle to the Ephesians.  It is true that this great epistle only
freely developes thoughts which were already unmistakably in St. Paul's
mind when he wrote his epistles to the Corinthians, and even those to
the Thessalonians.  Already the social organization of the Church is a
prominent topic, and the ethics of Christianity are social ethics.  But
now, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, the idea of the Church has become
the dominant idea, and the ethical teaching can be justly characterized
in no other way than as a Christian socialism.



But it is time to examine somewhat more closely the circumstances under
which St. Paul wrote this epistle and their bearing upon its contents.
It was written by him during that imprisonment at Rome[13] the record
of which brings to an end the Acts of the Apostles.  He can therefore
put into his appeals all the force which naturally belongs to one who
has sacrificed himself for his principles.  'I, Paul,' he writes, 'the
prisoner of Jesus Christ, on behalf of you Gentiles.'  He speaks of
himself as 'an ambassador in a chain' bound, as he was no doubt, to the
soldier which kept him.  But the fact that he is a prisoner does not
occupy a great place in his mind.  In part this is because his
imprisonment was not of a highly restrictive character.  The Acts
conclude by telling us that he was allowed to dwell in his own hired
dwelling and to receive all that came to him without let or hindrance
to his preaching.  And the tone of the 'epistles of the first
captivity' is cheerful as to the present and hopeful for the
future[14].  But it is more important to notice that {21} the thought
of being in prison is apparently swallowed up in St. Paul's imagination
by other considerations.  For, in the first place, St. Paul was, under
whatever restraints, at Rome.  He had reached his goal--a new centre of
evangelization which was also the centre of the world.  Step by step
the centre of Christian evangelization had passed toward Rome as its
goal.  From Jerusalem, which told unmistakably that 'the salvation was
of the Jews,' it had moved to Antioch, where in a Greek city Jew met
Gentile on equal terms.  From Antioch, under St. Paul's leadership, it
had passed to Corinth and Ephesus.  These were indeed thoroughly
Gentile cities, and leading cities of the Empire, but they were
provincial.  No imperial movement could rest satisfied till it
established itself at the centre of the great imperial
organization--till it had got to Rome.

If we are to understand at all adequately the world in which St. Paul
wrote, the thought of the Roman Empire and of the unity which it was
giving the world must be clearly before our minds: and it will not be a
digression if we pause to dwell upon it at this point when we are
considering the significance of St. Paul's situation as at once a
prisoner and an evangelist in the great capital.


The Roman Empire brought the world, that is the whole of the known
world which was thought worth considering, into a great unity of
government.  What had once been independent kingdoms had now become
provinces of the empire, and the whole of the Roman policy was directed
towards drawing closer the unity, and educating the provinces in Roman

If we seek to define Roman unity a little more closely the following
elements will be found perhaps the most important for our purpose.  (1)
It was a unity of government strongly centralized at Rome in the person
of the emperor.  The letters of a provincial governor like Pliny to his
master Trajan at Rome reveal to us how even trivial matters, such as
the formation of a guild of firemen in Pliny's province of Bithynia,
were referred up to the emperor.  Roman government was in fact personal
and centralized in a very complete sense, and had the uniformity which
accompanies such a condition.  (2) This centralized personal government
is, of course, only possible where there is a well-organized system of
inter-communication between the widely-separated parts of a great {23}
empire.  And there was this to an amazing extent in the Roman empire.
We find evidence of it in the great roads representing a highly
developed system of travelling.  'It is not too much to say that
travelling was more highly developed and the dividing power of distance
was weaker under the Empire than at any time before or since until we
come down to the present century.'  This is what gives such a modern
and cosmopolitan flavour to the lives of men of the Empire as unlike
one another in other respects as Strabo and Jerome.  We find the
evidence of such a system of inter-communication also, and not less
impressively, in the multiplied proofs afforded to us that every
movement of thought in the Empire must needs pass to Rome and establish
itself there.  The rapid arrival of all oriental tendencies or beliefs
at Rome was, of course, what from the point of view of conservative
Romans meant the destruction of all that they valued in character and
ideals.  'The Orontes had poured itself into the Tiber.'  But it was
none the less a fact of the utmost significance for the world's
progress.  (3) The unity of the Empire depended largely on the use
which was made of Greek civilization and Greek language.  The Empire
{24} may be rightly described, if we are considering its eastern half,
as Greek no less than Roman from the first.  Everywhere it was the
Greek language which was the instrument of Roman government, and Greek
civilization, tempered by somewhat barbarous Roman 'games,' which was
put into competition with local customs whether social or
religious[16].  (4) Lastly, to a very real extent the Empire was aiming
at the establishment of a universal religion.  Independent local gods
and local cults suited well enough a number of independent little
tribes and kingdoms, but it was felt instinctively that the one empire
involved also one religion, and with more or less of deliberate
intention the one religion was provided in the worship of the emperor,
or, perhaps we should say, of the Empire.

This worship of the emperor has been among us a very byword for what is
monstrous and unintelligible.  It bewilders us when we hear of
something like it in our own Indian empire.  And yet a little
imagination ought to show us that where a pure monotheism has not
taught men the moral purity and personal character of God--where
religion is either pantheism, the deification of the one life, or
idolatry, the deification {25} of separate forms of life--the worship
of the imperial authority is intelligible enough.  Here was a vast
power, universal in its range, mostly beneficent, and yet awful in its
limitless and arbitrary power of chastisement; what should it be but
divine, like nature, and an object to be appealed to, propitiated,
worshipped?  At any rate the cultus of the emperor spread in the Roman
world, and particularly in the Asiatic provinces.  It could ally itself
with the current pantheistic philosophy and also with popular local
cults: for it was tolerant of all and could embrace them all, or in
some cases it could identify itself with them--the emperor being
regarded as a special manifestation of the local god.  And it made
itself popular through games--wild beast shows and gladiatorial
contests--which it was the business of its high priests or presidents
to provide or to organize.  Thus it was that the Roman world came to be
organized by provinces for the purposes of the imperial religion, and
the provincial presidents, whom we hear of in the Acts as 'Asiarchs' or
'chiefs of Asia,' and from other sources as existing in the other
provinces--Galatarchs, Bithyniarchs, Syriarchs, and so on--were also
the high priests of the worship of the Caesars, by which it was sought
{26} to make religion, like everything else, contribute to cement
imperial unity[17].

Now there can be no doubt at all, if we look back from the fourth or
fifth centuries of our era, to how vast an extent this Roman unity had
been made an engine for the propagation of the Church.  And the
Christians--the Spanish poet Prudentius, for instance, or Pope Leo the
Great[18]--betray a strong consciousness of the place held by the
empire in the divine preparation for Christ.  For long periods the
Roman authority was tolerant of Christianity and suffered its
propagation to go on in peace; and at the times when it became alarmed
at its subversive tendencies, and turned to become its persecutor,
still the Church could not be prevented from using the imperial
organization, its roads and its means of communication.  Again, every
step in the progress of the Greek language facilitated the spread of
the new religion, the propagation of which was through Greek; and
conversely Christianity became an instrument for spreading the use of
this language which previously was making but a poor struggle against
the languages {27} of Asia Minor; for it is apparently a simple mistake
to suppose that even the apostles were miraculously dispensed from the
difficulties of acquiring new languages, and were enabled to speak all
languages as it were by instinct.  Even the imperial religion provided
a framework to facilitate the organization of that still more imperial
religion which it found indeed absolutely incompatible with its
prerogatives, but in which it might have found an efficient substitute
to accomplish its own best ends.  Thus the early Christian apologist
Tatian pleads that Christianity alone could supply what was manifestly
needed for a united world, a universal moral law and a universal
gratuitous education or philosophy, open to rich and poor, men and
women, alike[19].  So strong in fact was in many respects the affinity
of the Empire and the Church that the apologists are not infrequently
able to claim, and that plausibly, that if the Roman authorities were
ready to recognize it, they would find in the Church their most
efficient ally.

And there is no doubt that all this tendency to use the empire as the
ally and instrument of the Church began with St. Paul.  The closer St.
Paul's evangelistic travels are examined the {28} more apparent does it
become that he, the apostle who was also the Roman citizen, was by the
very force of circumstances, but also probably deliberately, working
the Church on the lines of the empire.  'The classification adopted in
Paul's own letters of the churches which he founded, is according to
provinces--Achaia, Macedonia, Asia, and Galatia; the same fact is
clearly visible in the narrative of Acts.  It guides and inspires the
expressions from the time when the apostle landed at Perga.  At every
step any one who knows the country recognizes that the Roman division
is implied[20].'  Nor can we fail to be struck with the regularity with
which St. Paul, wherever he mentions the Empire, takes it on its best
side and represents it as a divine institution whose officers are God's
ministers for justice and order and peace[21].  It is from this point
of view alone that he will have Christians think of it and pray for
it[22].  There is the confidence of the true son of the empire in his
'I appeal unto Caesar[23].'

Further than this, when St. Paul is addressing himself to Gentiles who
had received no leavening of Jewish monotheism, it is most striking
{29} how he throws himself back on those common philosophical and
religious ideas which were permeating the thought of the Empire.  'The
popular philosophy inclined towards pantheism, the popular religion was
polytheistic, but Paul starts from the simplest platform common to
both.  There exists something in the way of a divine nature which the
religious try to please and the philosophers try to understand[24].'
Close parallels to St. Paul's language in his two recorded speeches at
Lystra and at Athens, can be found in the writings of the contemporary
Stoic philosopher Seneca[25], and in the so-called 'Letters of
Heracleitus' written by some philosophic student nearly contemporary
with St. Paul at Ephesus[26].  In exposing the folly of idolaters he
was only doing what a contemporary philosopher was doing also, and
repeating ideas which he might have learnt almost as readily in the
schools of his native city Tarsus--which Strabo speaks of as the most
philosophical place in the world, and the place where philosophy was
most of all an indigenous plant[27]--as at the {30} feet of Gamaliel in
Jerusalem.  Certainly Paul the apostle to the Gentiles was also Saul of
Tarsus and the citizen of the Roman Empire in whose mind the idea and
sentiment of the empire lay already side by side with the idea of the
catholic church.

Such a statement as has just been given of the relation of the Roman
organization to the Church is undoubtedly true.  And it is also
indisputable that St. Paul was in fact the pioneer in using the empire
for the purposes of the Church.  But it is more questionable to what
extent the idea of the empire as the handmaid of the Church was
consciously and deliberately, or only unconsciously or instinctively,
present to his mind; and in particular it is questionable how far the
peculiar exaltation of the epistles of the first captivity is due to
St. Paul's realization that in getting to Rome, the capital and centre
of the Empire, he had reached a goal which was {31} also a fresh and
unique starting-point for the evangelization of the world.

To some extent this must certainly have been the case[28].  While he is
at Ephesus[29] preaching, he already has Rome in view, and a sense of
unaccomplished purpose till he has visited it, 'I must also see Rome.'
When a little later he writes to the Romans, the name of Rome is a name
both of attraction and of awe.  He is eager to go to Rome, but he seems
to fear it at the same time.  So much as in him lies, he is ready to
preach the gospel to them also that are at Rome.  Even in face of all
that that imperial name means, he is not ashamed of the Gospel[30].

Later the divine vision at Jerusalem assures him that, as he has borne
witness concerning Christ at Jerusalem, so he must bear witness also at
Rome[31].  The confidence of this divine purpose mingles with and
reinforces the confidence of the Roman citizen in his appeal to Caesar.
The sense of the divine hand upon him to take him to Rome is
strengthened by another vision amid the terrors of the sea voyage[32].
At his first contact with the Roman {32} brethren 'he thanked God and
took courage[33].'  This sense of thankfulness and encouragement
pervades the whole of the first captivity so far as it is represented
in his letters.  He had reached the goal of his labours and a fresh
starting-point for a wide-spreading activity.

Certainly no one can mistake the glow of enthusiasm which pervades the
epistles of the first captivity generally, but especially the Epistle
to the Ephesians.  It is conspicuously, and beyond all the other
epistles, rapturous and uplifted.  And this is not due--as is the
cheerful thankfulness of the Epistle to the Philippians, at least in
part--to the specially intimate relations of St. Paul to the
congregations he was addressing, or to the specially satisfactory
character of their Christian life.  On the contrary, St. Paul perceived
that the Asiatic churches, and especially Ephesus, were threatened by
very ominous perils.  'Very grievous wolves were entering in, not
sparing the flock; and among themselves men were arising, speaking
perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them[34].'  St.
Paul's rapturous tone must be accounted for by causes independent of
the Ephesian or Asiatic Christians in particular.  {33} Among these
causes, as we have just seen, must be reckoned the fact, the
significance of which we have been dwelling upon, that St. Paul had now
reached Rome, the centre of the Gentile world.  But it must also be
remembered that St. Paul had seen a great conflict fought out and won
for the catholicity of Christianity, and that now for the first time
there was a pause and freedom to take advantage of it.

A great conflict had been fought and won.  The backbone of the earlier
Jewish opposition to the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles on
equal terms had been broken.  They had in fact swept into the Church in
increasing numbers.  Their rights were recognized and their position
uncontested.  There is now, in the comparative quiet of the 'hired
house' where St. Paul was confined, a period of pause in which he can
fitly sum up the results which have been won, and let the full meaning
of the catholic brotherhood be freely unfolded.  It is time to pass
from the rudiments of the Christian gospel, the vindication of its most
elementary principles and liberties, the 'milk for babes,' to expound
the spiritual wisdom of the full-grown Christian manhood, the 'solid
meat for them of riper years.'


It is this sense of pause in conflict and free expansion in view of a
vast opportunity, which in great part at least interprets the glow and
glory of St. Paul's epistle.


The Epistle to the Ephesians might, so far as its contents are
concerned, have been addressed to any of the predominantly Gentile
churches; but to none more fitly than to Ephesus and to the churches of
Asia, where the progress of Gentile Christianity had been so rapid, and
where St. Paul's ministry had been so unusually prolonged.  Let us
attempt to answer the questions--what was Ephesus? what was the
history, and what were the circumstances of the Ephesian church?

Ephesus had a double importance as a Greek and as an Asiatic city.  A
colony of Ionians from Athens had early settled on some hills which
rose out of a fertile plain near the mouth of the Cayster.  This was
the origin of the Greek city of Ephesus.  Its position gave it
admirable commercial advantages.  It became the greatest mart of
exchange[35] between East {35} and West in Asia Minor, and though its
commerce was threatened by the filling up of its harbour, it had not
decayed in St. Paul's time.

Among Greek cities it also occupied a not inconspicuous place in the
history of art, and at an earlier period of philosophy also.  Here was
one of the chief homes of the Homeric tradition; hence in the person of
Callinus the Greek elegy is reputed to have had its origin, and in the
person of Hipponax the satire.  It was the home of Heracleitus, one of
the greatest of the early philosophers, and of Apelles and Parrhasius,
the masters of painting[36].

And the greatest artists in sculpture--Phidias and Polycletus, Scopas
and Praxiteles--had adorned with their works the temple of Artemis,
which, in itself one of the wonders of the world, the masterpiece of
Ionic architecture, became also, like some great Christian cathedral, a
very museum of sculpture and painting.

If Greek artists built and decorated the temple of Artemis, they
attempted no doubt to represent the goddess under the form which her
Greek name suggested, the beautiful huntress-goddess; but the Greeks
never in fact succeeded in {36} affecting the thoroughly Asiatic and
oriental character of a worship which had nothing Greek about it except
the name.  The interest of Ephesus as an Asiatic city centred about
that ancient worship which had its home in the plain below the Greek
settlement.  It was there before the Greeks came, it held its own
throughout and in spite of all Greek and Roman influences; all through
the history of Ephesus it gave its main character to the city--the
noted home of superstition and sorcery.

The Artemis of Ephesus was, as Jerome remarks[37], not the
huntress-goddess with her bow, but the many-breasted symbol of the
productive and nutritive powers of nature, the mother of all life, free
and untamed like the wild beasts who accompanied her.  The grotesque
and archaic idol believed to have fallen down from heaven was a stiff,
erect mummy covered with many breasts and symbols of wild beasts.  Her
worship was organized by a hierarchy of eunuch priests--called by a
Persian name Megabyzi--and 'consecrated' virgins.  It was associated,
like other worships of the same divinity called indifferently Artemis
or Cybele or Ma, with ideals of life which from the point {37} of view
of any fixed moral order, Roman or Greek no less than Jewish or
Christian, was lawless and immoral.

It is very well known how the Asiatic nature-worships flooded the Roman
empire, and even at Rome itself became by far more popular than the
traditional state religion.  And among these Asiatic worships none was
more popular than the worship of Artemis of Ephesus, whose temple was
the wonder of the world, and who not only was worshipped publicly at
Ephesus, but was the object of a cult both public and private in
widely-separated parts of the empire.  Such a temple and such a worship
would naturally collect a base and corrupt population; but what would
in any case have been bad was rendered worse by the fact that the area
round the temple was an asylum of refuge from the law, and that, as the
area of 'sanctuary' was extended at different times, the collection of
criminals became greater and greater.  It had reached a point where it
threatened the safety of the city, and not long before St. Paul's time
the Emperor Augustus had found it necessary to curtail the area.  The
history of our own Westminster is enough to assure us that a religious
asylum brings social degradation in its train.


Such was the commercial and religious importance of the beautiful,
wealthy, effeminate, superstitious, and most immoral city which became
for three years the centre of St. Paul's ministry.  On his second
missionary journey St. Paul was making his way to Asia, and no doubt to
Ephesus, when he with his companions were hindered by the Holy Ghost
and turned across the Hellespont to Macedonia[38].  On his return to
Syria, he could not be satisfied without at least setting foot in
Ephesus and making a beginning of preaching there in the synagogue[39];
but he was hastening back to Jerusalem, and, with a promise of return,
left his work there to Priscilla and Aquila.  On his third missionary
journey Ephesus was the centre of his prolonged work.  It was
accordingly the only city of the first rank which, so far as any
trustworthy evidence goes, had as the founder of its Church in the
strictest sense--that is, as the first gatherer of converts as well as
organizer of institutions--either St. Paul or any other apostle[40].

St. Paul's first activity on arriving at Ephesus illustrates the stress
he laid on the gift of the Holy Ghost as the central characteristic of
{39} Christianity.  He was brought in contact with the twelve imperfect
disciples who had been baptized only with John the Baptist's baptism,
and had not so much as heard whether the Holy Ghost was given.  St.
Paul baptized them anew with Christian baptism, and bestowed upon them
the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of his hands[41].  Then it
is recorded how he began his preaching as usual with the Jews in the
synagogue.  The Jews of Asia Minor were regarded by the Jews of
Jerusalem as corrupted and Hellenized[42].  But at any rate they
exhibited the same antagonism to the preaching of Christianity as their
stricter brethren.  Thus St. Paul, when he had given them their chance,
abandoned their synagogue and established himself in the lecture-room
of Tyrannus, where he taught for two years and more[43].  And this
became the centre of an evangelization which, even if St. Paul himself
did not visit other Asiatic towns, yet spread by the agency of his
companions over the whole of the Roman {40} province of Asia--to the
churches of the Lycus, Colossae, Laodicea, Hierapolis, and probably to
the rest of the 'seven churches' to which St. John wrote in his

Ephesus was full of superstitions of all sorts as would be expected,
and St. Paul's miracles were such as would not unnaturally have led the
magicians to regard him as a greater master in their own craft.  So
among others the Jewish chief priest Sceva's seven sons began to use
the central name of Paul's preaching as a new and most efficient
formula for exorcism.  'We adjure thee by Jesus whom Paul preaches.'
But it is frequently noticeable that St. Paul refused to allow himself
to use superstition as a handmaid of religion.  The providential
disaster which befell these exorcists gave St. Paul an opportunity of
striking an effective blow where it was most needed against exorcism
and magic.  The Christian converts came and confessed their
participation in the black arts, and burnt their books of incantations,
in spite of their value.  The whole transaction must have impressed
vividly in the minds of the Ephesians the contrast between Christianity
and superstition.

St. Paul had already encountered opposition as well as success at
Ephesus, for when, writing {41} from Ephesus, he speaks to the
Corinthians[44] of having 'fought with beasts' there, the reference is
probably to what had befallen him in the earlier part of his residence
through the plots of the Jews; that long Epistle to the Corinthians can
hardly have been written _after_ the famous tumult recorded in the
Acts.  But that tumult, raised by the manufacturers of the silver
shrines of Artemis, was of course the most important persecution which
befell St. Paul at Ephesus.  The narrative of it[45] is exceedingly
instructive.  We notice the friendliness of the Asiarchs, i.e. the
presidents of the provincial 'union' and priests of the imperial
worship, and the opinion of the town clerk, that St. Paul must be
acquitted of any insults to the religious beliefs of the Ephesians[46].
Christianity had not, it appears, yet excited the antipathy of the
religious or civil authorities of the Empire, but it had begun to
threaten the pockets of those who were concerned in supplying the needs
of the worshippers who thronged to the great {42} temple at Ephesus.
We need not inquire exactly how the little silver shrines of Artemis
were used; but they were much sought after, and their production gave
occupation to an important trade.  The trade was threatened by the
spread of Christianity.  The philosophers despised indeed the
idolatrous rites, but they despised also the people who practised them,
and had no hope or idea of converting them[47].  St. Paul was the first
teacher at Ephesus who touched the fears of the idol makers by bringing
a pure religion to the hearts of the ordinary people.  Hence the tumult
against the teachers of the new religion, raised not by the civil or
religious authorities of Ephesus, but simply by the trade interest.

As soon as it was over St. Paul left Ephesus not to return there again.
But on his way back to Jerusalem he came not to Ephesus but to Miletus,
and sending for the Ephesian presbyters thither, he made them a
farewell speech[48], which is in conspicuous harmony with the features
of his later Epistle to the Ephesians.  Already the doctrines of a
divine purpose or {43} counsel now revealed, of the Church in general
as the object of the divine self-sacrifice and love, and of the Holy
Ghost as accomplishing her sanctification and developing her structure,
appear to be prominent in his mind, and to have become familiar topics
with the Ephesian Christians.  'I shrank not from declaring unto you
the whole counsel of God.  Take heed unto yourselves and to all the
flock, in the which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feed the
church of God, which he purchased with his own blood....  And now I
commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to
build you up, and to give you the inheritance among all them that are
sanctified.'  These words from St. Paul's speech to the Ephesian
presbyters are in remarkable affinity with the teaching of our epistle.


We have been assuming that this epistle was addressed to Ephesus, but
there are reasons to believe that it was not addressed to Ephesus only,
but rather generally to the churches of the Roman province of Asia, of
which Ephesus was the chief.  The reasons for thinking this are {44}
partly internal to the epistle.  St. Paul's personal relations to
individual Ephesian Christians must have been many and close, and we
know his habit of introducing personal allusions and greetings into his
epistles; but the so-called Epistle to the Ephesians is destitute of
them altogether, contrasting in this respect even with the Epistle to
the Colossians, written at the same time to a church which St. Paul
himself never visited.  This would be a most inexplicable fact if the
Epistle to the Ephesians were really a letter to this one particular
church.  More than this, St. Paul speaks in several passages in a way
which implies that he and those he wrote to were dependent on what they
had heard for mutual knowledge--'having heard of the faith in the Lord
Jesus that is among you'--'if so be ye have heard of the dispensation
of the grace of God which was given me to youward.'  Such language is
much more natural if he is writing to others besides the Ephesians.
And this evidence internal to the substance of the epistle coincides
with evidence of the manuscripts.  Very early manuscripts, some of
those which remain to us and some which are reported to us by primitive
scholars, omit the words 'in Ephesus' from St. Paul's opening greeting
'To the saints {45} and faithful brethren which are [in Ephesus].'
This fact, coupled with the absence of personal reminiscences in the
epistle, has suggested the idea that it was in fact a circular letter
to the saints and faithful brethren at a number of churches of the
Roman province of Asia, and that where the words 'in Ephesus' stand in
our text, there was perhaps a blank left in the epistle as St. Paul
dictated it, which was intended to be filled up in each church where it
was read.  This is a view which has to a certain extent a special
interest for us in Westminster because, if it was first suggested by
the Genevan commentator Beza, it was elaborated by Archbishop Ussher,
who is identified with our Abbey by residence and by the memorable
record of his entombment in our abbey church with Anglican rites by the
command of Cromwell.  It follows naturally from such a view that when
St. Paul writes to the Colossians and bids them send their letter to
Laodicea, and read that which comes from Laodicea[49], the letter which
they should expect from Laodicea would be none other than the so-called
Epistle to the Ephesians which was to be read by them as well as the
other Asiatic Christians.



Enough perhaps has now been said to give a general idea of the
conditions under which this great epistle was written; and the topics
of the epistle have been already indicated.  Its central theme is that
of the great catholic society, the renovated Israel, the Church of God.
In this catholic brotherhood St. Paul sees the realization of an
age-long purpose of God, the fulfilment of a long-secret counsel, now
at last disclosed to His chosen prophets.  He sees nothing incongruous
in finding in the yet young and limited societies of Christian
disciples the consummation of the divine purpose for the world, for
these societies represent the breaking down of all barriers and the
bringing of all men to unity with one another through a recovered unity
with God, through Christ and in His Spirit.  Therefore the work which
the Church is to accomplish is nothing less than a universal work, a
work not even limited to humanity; it is the bringing back of all
things visible or invisible into that unity which lies in God's
original purpose of creation.  St. Paul long ago had spoken to the
Corinthians of a spiritual wisdom which they were not yet ready to
listen {47} to.  But now St. Paul seems to feel--for reasons which we
have tried in part to interpret--that the time has come when all the
depth and richness of the divine secret may be spoken out.  No wonder
that the subject stirs his imagination and gives to his whole tone an
uplifting and a glory without parallel in his other writings.  And yet
it would be altogether false to attach to this epistle any associations
such as are commonly connected with flights of imagination or the
language of rhapsody.  For the epistle has the most direct bearing on
matters of practical life.  If St. Paul glorifies the Christian ideal
it is in order that all that weight of glory may be brought to bear
upon the Asiatic Christians to force them to see that their personal
and social conduct must have a purity, a liberality, a wisdom, a love,
a power, commensurate with the greatness of those motives which are
acting upon them in their new Christian state.

[1] The Committee of the Conference of Bishops at Lambeth, 1897, in a
report commended by the bishops as a body to the 'consideration of all
Christian people,' write: 'Your committee do not hold that a true view
of Holy Scripture forecloses any legitimate question about the literary
character or literal accuracy of different parts or statements of the
Old Testament.'

[2] Acts xxiv 14; xxvi. 6, 7, 22, 23; 2 Tim i. 3.

[3] Eph. ii. 12-19.

[4] 1 Thess. ii. 14-16.

[5] Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans.

[6] See app. note C, p. 257.

[7] Acts ix. 20; 1 Cor. viii. 6; Rom. ix. 5; 2 Cor. viii. 9; Gal. iv. 4.

[8] Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon.

[9] Col. ii. 18: 'by a voluntary humility (or 'taking delight in
humility') and worshipping of the angels.'

[10] See i. 13-20; ii. 2, 3, 9-23; iii. 11.  Cf. i. 27-28.

[11] Hort, _Judaistic Christianity_ (Macmillan, 1894), p. 125.

[12] Cf. app. note C, p. 257.

[13] Cf. Hort, _Prolegomena to Romans and Ephesians_ (Macmillan, 1895),
p. 100.

[14] Col. iv. 2-4; Philemon 22; Phil. i. 12-14.

[15] Ramsay, _Paul the Traveller_ (Hodder and Stoughton, 1895), pp. 130

[16] Ramsay, _l.c._ p. 132.

[17] See Mommsen, _Provinces of Roman Empire_ (Eng. trans.), i. 344
ff.; Lightfoot, _Ign. and Polyc._ iii. pp. 404 ff.

[18] App. note A, p. 251.

[19] Tatian, _Ad Graecos_, 28, 32.

[20] Ramsay, _l.c._  p. 135.

[21] Rom. xiii. 1-7; cf. ii. Thess. ii. 6.

[22] 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2.

[23] Acts xxv. 12.

[24] Ramsay, _l.c._ p. 147.

[25] Lightfoot, _Galatians_, 'St. Paul and Seneca,' pp. 287 ff.

[26] See app. note B, p. 253.

[27] 'The zeal of its inhabitants for philosophy and general culture is
such that they have surpassed even Athens and Alexandria and all other
cities where schools of philosophy can be mentioned.  And its
pre-eminence in this respect is so great because there the students are
all townspeople, and strangers do not readily settle there.'  Strabo,
xiv. v. 13.  I do not suppose that St. Paul received any formal
education in Greek schools at Tarsus.  But I think we must assume that
at some period St. Paul had sufficient contact with Gentile educated
opinion, whether at Tarsus or elsewhere, to be acquainted with
widely-spread religious and philosophical tendencies.

[28] Cf. Hort, _Christian Ecclesia_, p. 143.

[29] Acts xix. 21.

[30] Rom. i. 15, 16.

[31] Acts xxiii. 11.

[32] Acts xxvii. 24.

[33] Acts xxviii. 15.

[34] Acts xx. 29, 30.

[35] Among other articles of commerce, tents made in Ephesus had a
special reputation, and St. Paul and Aquila had special opportunities
there for the exercise of their trade.  Acts xx. 34.

[36] Strabo. xiv. 1, 25.

[37] Migne, _P. L._ xxvi. 441.

[38] Acts xvi. 6-10.

[39] Acts xviii. 19.

[40] Hort, _Prolegomena_, p. 83.

[41] Acts xix. 1-7.

[42] Ramsay, _l.c._ p. 143.

[43] 'From the fifth to the tenth hour' (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), an early
addition to the text of the Acts tells us; i. e. after work hours, when
the school would naturally be vacant and St. Paul would have finished
his manual labour at tent-making.  Ramsay, _l.c._ p. 276.

[44] 1 Cor. xv. 32.

[45] Acts xix. 23 ff.

[46] Prof. Ramsay asserts that instead of 'robbers of temples' (Acts
xix. 37), we should translate 'disloyal to the established government.'
_l.c._ p. 282.  But the word is used in the former sense in special
connexion with Ephesus by Strabo, xiv. 1, 22, and Pseudo-Heracleitus,
_Ep._ 7, p. 64 (Bernays).

[47] See app. note B, p. 253, on the contemporary 'letters of

[48] Acts xx. 17 ff.

[49] Col. iv. 16.





[Sidenote: _Salutation_]

St. Paul begins this, in common with his other epistles, with a brief
salutation to a particular church or group of churches, in which is
expressed in summary the authority he has for writing to them, the
light in which he regards them, and the central wish for them which he
has in his heart.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints
which are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you
and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Here, then, we have three compressed thoughts.

1.  The particular person Paul writes this letter because he is not
only a believer in Christ but also an 'apostle of Christ Jesus through
the will of God.'  The word apostle is a more or less general word for
a delegate, as when St. Paul {49} speaks of the 'apostles (or
messengers) of the churches[1];' but by an apostle in its highest
sense, 'an apostle of Jesus Christ,' St. Paul meant one of those,
originally twelve in number, who had received personally from the risen
Christ a particular commission to represent Him to the world.  This
particular and personal commission he claimed to have received, in
common with the twelve, though later than they--at the time of his
conversion.  'Am I not an apostle?' he cries.  'Have I not seen Jesus
our Lord[2]?'  'He appeared to me also as unto one born out of due
time[3].'  'In nothing was I behind the very chiefest apostles[4].'
And as his claim to the apostolate was challenged by his Judaizing
opponents he had to insist upon it, to insist that it is not a
commission from or through Peter and the other apostles, or dependent
upon them for its exercise, but a direct commission, like theirs, from
the Head of the Church Himself.  He is, he writes to the Galatians,
'Paul, an apostle, not from men, nor (like those subsequently ordained
by himself or the other apostles, like a Timothy, or a Titus, or like
the later clergy) through man,' but directly through, {50} as well as
from, the risen Jesus whom his eyes had seen, and His eternal Father[5].

It is surely a consolation to us of the Church of England, who belong
to a church subject to constant attack on the score of apostolic
character, to remember that St. Paul's apostolate was attacked with
some excuse, and that he had to spend a great deal of effort in
vindicating it, and was in no way ashamed of doing so, because he
perceived that a certain aspect of the life and truth of the Church was
bound up with its recognition.

2.  And he writes to the Asiatic Christians as 'saints' and 'faithful
in Christ Jesus.'  'Saint' does not mean primarily what we understand
by it--one pre-eminent in moral excellence; but rather one consecrated
or dedicated to the service and use of God.  The idea of consecration
was common in all religions, and frequently, as in the Asiatic worships
at Ephesus and elsewhere, carried with it associations quite the
opposite of those which we assign to holiness.  But the special
characteristic of the Old Testament religion had been the righteous and
holy character which it ascribed to Jehovah.  Consecration to Him,
therefore, is seen to require {51} personal holiness, and this
requirement is only deepened in meaning under the Gospel.  But still
'the saints' means primarily the 'consecrated ones'; and all Christians
are therefore saints--'called as saints' rather than 'called to be
saints,' in virtue of their belonging to the consecrated body into
which they were baptized; saints who because of their consecration are
therefore bound to live holily[6].  'The saints' in the Acts of the
Apostles[7] is simply a synonym for the Church.  St. Paul then writes
to the Asiatic Christians as 'consecrated' and 'faithful in Christ
Jesus,' i. e. believing members incorporated by baptism; and he writes
to them for no other purpose than to make them understand what is
implied in their common consecration and common faith.

3.  And his good wishes for them he sums up in the terms 'Grace and
peace in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.'  Grace is that free
and unmerited favour or good-will of God towards man which takes shape
in a continuous outflow of the very riches of God's {52} inmost being
and spirit into the life of man through Christ; and peace of heart,
Godward and manward, 'central peace subsisting at the heart of endless
agitation' is that by the possession and bestowal of which Christianity
best gives assurance of its divine origin.

We notice that these divine gifts are ascribed to 'God our Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ.'  St. Paul does not generally call Christ by the
title God, partly, no doubt, from long engrained habit of language, but
partly also because nothing was more important than that no language
should be used in the first propagation of Christianity which could
give excuse for confusing the Christian belief in the threefold Name
with the worship of many gods.  But, from the first, Christ, in St.
Paul's language, is exalted as Lord into a simply divine supremacy, and
associated most intimately with all the most exclusively divine
operations in the world without, and in the heart of man within.
Moreover, St. Paul refuses absolutely to tolerate any association of
other, however exalted, beings with Christ in lordship or mediatorship,
all created beings whatever being simply the work of His hands[8].
There remains, therefore, no room to {53} question that St. Paul
believed Christ to be strictly divine: to be Himself no creature, no
highest archangel, but one who, with the Holy Spirit alone, is truly
proper and essential to the divine being; and it affords us, therefore,
no manner of surprise that from time to time St. Paul actually calls
Christ God, as in the Epistle to the Romans 'who is over all, God
blessed for ever[9],' and probably in the Epistle to Titus 'our great
God and saviour Jesus Christ[10].'

[1] 2 Cor. viii. 23.

[2] 1 Cor. ix. 1.

[3] 1 Cor. xv. 8.

[4] 2 Cor. xii. 11.

[5] Gal. i. 1.

[6] Tertullian, _de An._ 39, rightly interprets 1 Cor. vii. 14, 'now
are they [the children of whose parents one was a Christian] holy,' as
meaning, now are they already consecrated and marked out for baptismal
sanctification by the prerogative of their birth.

[7] Acts ix. 13, 33.

[8] Cf. 1 Cor. viii. 6; Col. i. 16.

[9] Rom. ix. 5.

[10] Tit. ii. 13.



§ I. CHAPTER i. 3-14.

_St. Paul's leading thoughts._

[Sidenote: _St. Paul's leading thoughts_]

Before we read the opening paragraph of St. Paul's letter we had better
review the great thoughts which are prominent in his mind as he writes.
My ambition is to make my readers feel that ideas which, because they
have become Christian commonplaces or because they have been blackened
by controversy, have by this time a ring of unreality about them, or of
theological remoteness, or of controversial bitterness, are in fact, if
we will 'consider them anew,' ideas the most important, the most
practical, and the most closely adapted to the moral needs of the plain


St. Paul writes to the Christians as 'in Christ,' 'in the beloved,'
'blessed with all spiritual benediction in the heavenly places in
Christ,' 'adopted {55} as sons through Jesus Christ.'  We are all of us
perfectly familiar with the idea of Christ as, so to speak, a personal
and individual redeemer, as the holy and righteous one, the beloved and
accepted Son, who is risen from the dead and exalted to supreme
sovereignty in heaven.  But popular theology has not been quite so
familiar with the idea that Christ was and is all this in our manhood,
not simply because He was God as well as man (true as this is); but
because as man He was anointed with the Holy Spirit of God: that it was
in the power of that Spirit that He lived His life of holiness and
wrought His miracles of power: that it was in the power of that Spirit
that He taught and suffered and died and was glorified.  Nor has
popular Christianity been familiar with the resulting truth: that by
that divine Spirit which possessed Him as man, the life of Christ is
extended beyond Himself to take in those who believe in Him, and make
them members of 'the church which is his body.'  Yet, in fact, this
extension is implied even in the name Christ.  The king Messiah, the
Christ of the Old Testament, is but the central figure of a whole
kingdom associated with Him, and all the characteristic phrases for
Christ in the New Testament {56} express the same idea.  He is the
'first-born among many brethren[1]'; He is the 'first fruits[2]' of a
great harvest; He is the 'head of the body[3]'; He is the 'bridegroom'
inseparable from 'the bride[4]'; He is the second Adam, that is, head
of a new humanity[5].  Thus if the heavens closed around the ascending
Christ, and hid Him from view, they opened again around the descending
Spirit, descending into the heart of the Christian society to
perpetuate Christ's life and presence there.  This historical ascent
and descent only embody in unmistakable facts the truth that the
life-giving Spirit, who made the manhood of Christ so satisfying to our
moral aspirations, is also and with the same reality, though not with
the same perfection or freedom, living and working in that great
society which He founded to represent Him on earth.  Because this
society is possessed by the Spirit, therefore it lives in the same life
as Christ, it and all its individual members are 'in Christ.'  In one
place, indeed, St. Paul includes the Church, the body, with its head
under the one name 'the Christ[6].'

[Sidenote: _Life in Christ_]

It is because the Church thus shares Christ's {57} life that it is
already spoken of as sharing His exaltation.  We 'sit together in the
heavenly places with Christ' for no other reason than because, though
we are on earth, our life is bound up invisibly but in living reality
with the life of the glorified Christ, and we have in Him free access
into the courts of heaven.  For this reason again, as the fulness of
the divine attributes dwells in the glorified Christ--all the fulness
of the Godhead bodily, so the same fulness is attributed, ideally at
least, to the Church too.  It too is 'the fulness of him that filleth
all in all.'  To St. Paul's mind there is one true human life in which
men are one with one another because they are at one with God.  That
true human life is Christ's life, which He once lived on earth, and
which He is at present living in the glory of God, and which is
fulfilled with all the completeness of the divine life itself.  But
that true human life is also shared by each and every member of His
Church, without exception, without reference to race or learning, or
wealth, or sex, or age.

I have said that this is ideally the case.  This identification of
Christ with the Church, that is to say, is not yet fully realized.  The
Church is not yet glorified, not yet morally perfected nor {58} full
grown in the divine attributes.  Its particular members may be living
deceitful and dishonourable lives.  This is to say in other words that
God's work in 'redemption of his own possession,' His acquirement of a
people to Himself, is not yet complete.  The purchase-money is paid,
but it has not yet taken full effect.  But redemption is an
accomplished fact in the sense that all the conditions of the final
success are already there.  The ideal may be freely realized in every
Christian because he has received the 'earnest' or pledge of the
Spirit, the pledge, that is, of all that is to be accomplished in him.
And this Spirit was received by each Christian at a particular and
assignable moment.  We know what stress St. Paul laid at Ephesus on
proper Christian baptism and the laying on of hands which followed
it[7].  By baptism men were spoken of as incorporated into Christ.
With the laying on of hands was associated the bestowal of the Spirit.
Henceforth a Christian had no need to ask for the Spirit as if He were
not already bestowed upon him; he had only to bring into practical use
spiritual forces and powers which the divine bounty had already put at
his disposal.


If we compare this set of ideas with those that have been current in
our popular theology, we shall find that the main difference lies in
this, that here the stress is laid on the work of Christ _in_ man by
His Spirit, while the theology which has been popular among us has laid
the stress rather on the 'vicarious' work of Christ outside us and
_for_ us, by making a propitiation for our sins.  Now in fact this
latter doctrine is an unmistakable part of St. Paul's teaching in this
epistle and elsewhere.  And all the mistakes to which it has led are
due to its not having been kept in proper relation to the set of ideas
which I have just been endeavouring to expound.  'Christ for us,' the
sacrifice of propitiation has been separated from 'Christ in us,' our
new life; whereas really the sacrifice was but a necessary removal of
an obstacle, preliminary to the new life.

It was a necessary preliminary that Christ should put us on a fresh
basis, should enable us to break from our past and make a fresh start
in the divine acceptance.  This He did by making atonement for our
sins, offering as a propitiatory sacrifice His life, even to the
shedding of His blood, that the Father might be enabled to forgive our
sins.  This transaction is always {60} represented in the New Testament
as being the act of the Father as well as of the Son, for the divine
persons are not separable--neither an act by which the Son forces the
unwilling hand of the Father, nor an act in which the Father lays an
undeserved burden upon an unwilling Son--and the idea of propitiation
seems to St. Paul, as indeed it has seemed to men generally, a
thoroughly natural idea.  Only in one place does he make any suggestion
as to why such a preliminary sacrifice of propitiation was necessary.
There[8] he seems to find the moral necessity for it in the fact that
through long ages God's 'forbearance' had left men to work through
their own resources and so to find out their need of Him.  'He suffered
all nations to walk in their own ways.'  He 'winked at' or 'overlooked
times of ignorance.'  He 'passed over sins[9].'  This was part of His
educative process.  One result of it, however, was a lowering of the
moral ideas entertained of the divine character.  Thus God's
righteousness, which means holiness and compassion combined, needed to
be declared especially at that crisis of the divine dealings when God
was coming out towards {61} men, whom He had educated by His seeming
absence to feel their need of Him, with the offer of His love.  The
free bounty of His mercy must not be misunderstood as if it were
indifference or laxity about moral wickedness.  Thus the proclamation
of His compassion must be associated with something which would make
unmistakable the severity of His holiness and His moral claim.  This
twofold end is what Christ accomplishes.  Thus if He is the revealer of
the compassion of the Father, He also vindicates the divine character
by a great act of moral reparation, made in man's name and on man's
behalf, to the divine holiness which our sins have ignored and
outraged.  This great act of reparation is consummated in the
bloodshedding of the Christ.  The sacrifice of consummate obedience is
carried to its extreme point and accepted in its perfection.  God in
Christ receives from man, and that publicly, a perfect reparation: an
acknowledgement without fault or drawback: a perfect sacrifice.  Now
God can forgive the sins of men freely and without moral risk, if they
come to Him in the name of Christ.  To come to God in the name of
Christ means, of course, to come in conscious moral identification of
one's self with Christ, with {62} His Spirit and His motives.  The
faith which simply accepts the bounty of forgiveness through Christ's
sacrifice, must pass necessarily into the faith which corresponds
obediently with the divine love.  Thus the purpose of the atonement is
never expressed as being that we should be let off punishment, or
simply that we should be forgiven, but rather that, being forgiven, we
should be united to Christ in His life[10].  The propitiation which
Christ offered is only the removal of a preliminary obstacle to our
fellowship with Him in the life of God.  The work of Christ 'for us'
has no meaning or efficacy till it has begun to pass into the work of
Christ 'in us' by His assimilating Spirit.  It was only as baptized
into Christ and sharing His Spirit that Christians could accept the
forgiveness of their sins through the shedding of Christ's blood.  The
sacrament of new life is also the sacrament of absolution, and the
washing away of sins.  Nothing in fact can be plainer in this Epistle
to the Ephesians than that 'the redemption through Christ's blood, even
the forgiveness of trespasses[11]' was only a preliminary removal of
{63} obstacles to that fellowship with God in Christ by His Spirit
which is the secret of the Church.


[Sidenote: _Predestination_]

St. Paul's mind is full of the idea of predestination.  He delights to
contemplate the eternal purpose of God as lying behind what seems to us
the painfully slow method by which divine results are actually won.
What age-long processes have been necessary both among the Jews and
among the Gentiles before this young church, this divine society of man
with God has become possible!  What slow working through 'times of
ignorance,' what infinite delay in the divine forbearance--as we should
now say, what age-long processes of developement!  But St. Paul is
quite certain that the result is no afterthought, no accident of the
moment; but that from end to end of the universe there reaches a method
of the divine wisdom, and that here in the catholic church it has
arrived at an issue.  'God chose us in Christ before the foundation of
the world that we should be holy and without blemish (as spotless
victims) before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as
sons through Jesus Christ unto himself.'  'Fore-ordained {64} to be a
heritage according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after
the counsel of his will.'  So he asseverates and repeats and insists.
There are, we may say, two ideas commonly associated with
predestination which St. Paul gives us no warrant for asserting.  The
one is the predestination of individuals to eternal loss or
destruction.  That God should create any single individual with the
intention of eternally destroying or punishing him is a horrible idea,
and, without prying into mysteries, we may say boldly that there is no
warrant for it in the Old or New Testaments.  God is indeed represented
as predestinating men, like Jacob and Esau, to a higher or lower place
in the order of the world or the church.  There are 'vessels' made by
the divine potter to purposes of 'honour,' and 'vessels' made to
purposes (comparatively) of 'dishonour[12]': there are more honourable
and less honourable limbs of the body[13].  But this does not prejudice
the eternal prospects of those who in this world hold the less
advantageous posts.  With God is no respect of persons.  Again God is
represented as predestinating men to moral hardness of heart where such
hardness is a judgement on previous wilfulness.  Thus {65} men may be
predestined to temporary rejection of God, as in St. Paul's mind the
majority of the contemporary Jews were.  That was their judgement, and
their punishment[14].  It was however not God's first intention for
them nor His last.  Those chapters of St. Paul[15] which contain the
most terrible things about the present reprobation of the Jews contain
also the most emphatic repudiation of the idea that moral reprobation
was God's first idea for them, or His last.  'The gifts and calling of
God,' that is, His good gifts and calling, says St. Paul, speaking of
the now 'reprobate' Jews, are 'without repentance[16].'  God's present
reprobation of them is only a process towards a fresh opportunity.
'God hath shut up all into disobedience that he might have mercy upon
all[17].'  Men may baffle the original divine purpose, and that, so far
as their own blessedness is concerned, even finally: they may become
finally 'reprobate': but the divine purpose for them at its root
remains a purpose for good.  'God will have all men to be saved and to
come to the knowledge of the truth[18].'


And once again, the idea of a predestination for good, taking effect
necessarily and irrespective of men's co-operation, is an idea which
has been intruded unjustifiably into St. Paul's thought.  It exalts his
whole being to consider that he is co-operating with God, and that the
conditions under which he lives represent a divine purpose with which
he is called to work.  It is this which makes him feel it is worth
while working: it is this which nerves and sustains him in all
sufferings, and enlarges his horizon in all restraints: but he never
suggests that it does not lie within the mysterious power of his own
will to withdraw himself from co-operation with God.  It is at least
conceivable to him that he should himself be rejected[19].  In that
famous list of external forces which he feels are unable to tear him
from the grasp of the divine love, his own will is not included[20],
nor could be included without gross inconsistency.

Beyond all question there is here one problem which remains for all
time unsolved and insoluble--the relation of divine fore-knowledge[21]
{67} to human freedom.  If we men are free to choose, how can it be, or
can it really be the case at all, that God knows beforehand actually
how each individual will behave in each particular case?  This is a
problem which we cannot fathom any more than we can fathom any of the
problems which require for their solution an experience of what an
absolute and eternal consciousness can mean.  But the problem belongs
to metaphysics.  It inheres in the idea of eternity and God.  The Bible
neither creates it nor solves it.  We may say it does not touch it.

Certainly when St. Paul dwells upon the thought of divine
predestination he dwells upon it in order to emphasize that, through
all the vicissitudes of the world's history, a divine purpose runs; and
especially that God works out His universal purposes through specially
selected agents 'his elect,' on whom His choice rests for special ends
in accordance with an eternal design and intention.  And the sense of
co-operating with an eternal purpose of God inspires and strengthens
him.  For God will not drop His work by the way.  Whom He did foreknow
or mark out beforehand for His divine purposes, them He also
foreordained or predestinated to sonship, and in due time called into
the number {68} of His elect, and justified them, that is, pardoned
their sins and gave them a new standing-ground in Christ, and glorified
or will glorify them by the gradual operation of His grace[22].  The
steps or moments of the divine action recognized in the Epistle to the
Romans are practically the same as those alluded to in the Epistle to
the Ephesians.  There also is the eternal choice, and the
predestination to sonship, and at a particular time the call into the
Church, and the justification or remission of sins through the blood of
Christ, and the gradual promotion through sanctification to glory.  And
the moral fruit of contemplating God's eternal purpose for His elect,
and the stages of His work upon them, is to be cheerful confidence of a
right sort.  God will not drop them by the way, nor the work which they
are 'called' to accomplish.  'God who hath begun a good work will
perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ[23].'  Wherever St. Paul
recognizes a movement towards good in the single soul or in the world,
he knows that it is no accidental or passing phase: it has its roots in
the eternal will, and unless we resist it in wilful obstinacy, the
eternal will shall at last {69} carry it on to perfection.  'There
shall never be one lost good.'

It is not out of place to notice in this connexion how closely akin is
St. Paul's thought to the modern philosophy of evolution.  Only to St.
Paul the slow process of cosmic or human evolution is in no kind of
opposition to the idea of divine design.


[Sidenote: _The elect_]

This predestinated body, the Church, is what in another word St. Paul
calls the 'elect' or 'chosen.'  The idea of election has had a very
false turn given to it, partly through mistakes which have been already
alluded to, partly because the idea of election has been separated from
another idea with which in the Bible it is most closely associated, the
idea of a universal purpose to which the elect minister.  No thought
can be more prominent in the Old Testament than the thought that some
men out of multitudes have been chosen by God to be in a special
relation of intimacy with Him.  'You only have I known, O Israel, of
all the families of the earth.'  But this election to special knowledge
of God, and special spiritual opportunity, {70} carries with it a
corresponding responsibility.  It is no piece of favouritism on God's
part.  The greater our opportunity the more is required of us.  'You
only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I
visit upon you all your iniquities[24].'  The fact is that the
principle of inequality in capacity and opportunity runs through the
whole world both in individuals and in societies.  A great genius or a
great nation has special privileges and opportunities, but also, in the
sight of God who judges men according to their opportunities, special
responsibilities.  But also (and this is by far the most important
point) the special vocation of every elect individual or body is for
the sake of others[25].  It is God's method to work through the few
upon the many.  That is the law of ministry which binds all the world
of strong and weak, of rich and poor, of learned and ignorant, into
one.  Thus Abraham had been chosen alone, but it was that, through his
seed, all the nations of the earth should be blessed.  Israel was
exclusively the people of God, but it was in order that all nations
should learn from them at last the word of God.  The apostles were {71}
the first 'elect' in Christ with a little Jewish company.  'We'--so St.
Paul speaks of the Jewish Christians--'we who had before hoped in
Christ.'  But it was to show the way to all the Gentiles ('ye also, who
have heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,') who
were also to constitute 'God's own possession' and His 'heritage.'  The
purpose to be realized is a universal one: it is the re-union of man
with man, as such, by being all together reunited to God in one body.
And this idea is to have application even beyond the bounds of
humanity.  Unity is the principle of all things as God created the
world.  'In Christ,' St. Paul writes to the Colossians, 'all things
consist' or 'hold together in one system[26].'  It is only sin, whether
in man or in the dimly-known spiritual world which lies beyond, which
has spoiled this unity, and in separating the creatures from God has
separated them from one another.  And the Church of the reconciliation
is God's elect body to represent a divine purpose of restoration far
wider than itself--extending in fact to all creation.  It is the divine
purpose, with a view to 'a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to
sum up' or 'bring together again in unity' all things in {72} Christ;
the things in the heaven, the dim spiritual forces of which we have
only glimpses, and the things upon the earth which we know so much

This great and rich idea of the election of the Church as a special
body to fulfil a universal purpose of recovery, cannot be expressed
better than in the very ancient prayer which forms part of the paschal
ceremonies of the Latin liturgy.  'O God of unchangeable power and
eternal light, look favourably on Thy whole Church, that wonderful and
sacred mystery, and by the tranquil operation of Thy perpetual
providence, carry out the work of man's salvation; and let the whole
world feel and see that things which were cast down are being raised
up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and all things
are returning to perfection through Him, from whom they took their
origin, even through our Lord Jesus Christ.'


[Sidenote: _The divine secret disclosed_]

This universal reconciliation through a catholic church was God's
eternal purpose, but it was kept secret from the ages and the
generations, only at last to be disclosed to His {73} apostles and
prophets.  The word 'mystery' in the New Testament means mostly a
divine secret which has now been disclosed.  Just as the secret of
Nebuchadnezzar's dream, i.e. the purpose of God in the then order of
the world, was imparted to Daniel, so now the great disclosure of the
divine mystery or secret has been made, primarily indeed to apostles
and prophets, but through them to the whole body of the faithful.  The
faithful must of course begin by receiving that simplest spiritual
nourishment which is milk for babes.  They are to welcome the divine
forgiveness of their sins in Christ, and the gift of new life through
Him in their baptism and the laying-on of hands.  They are to be taught
the rudimentary truths and moral lessons which are the first principles
of the oracles of Christ.  But they are not to stop with this.  They
are, and they are all of them without exception[27], intended to grow
up to the full apprehension of the wisdom of the 'perfect' or perfectly
initiated.  They are to dwell upon the divine secret, now revealed, of
God's purpose for the universe through the church till their whole
heart and intellect and imagination is enlightened and enriched by it.



[Sidenote: _It is all of grace_]

And is the greatness of this exaltation and knowledge vouchsafed to the
Church to be a renewed occasion of pride--that spiritual pride, the
fatal results of which had already become apparent through the
rejection of the Jews?  No: unless through a complete mistake, the very
opposite must be the result.  The strength of human pride, as St. Paul
had seen long ago, lay in the idea that man could have merit of his
own, face to face with God: could have good works which were his own
and not God's, and which gave him a claim upon God.  That Jewish
doctrine of merit[28] had been convicted of utter falsity in St. Paul's
own spiritual experience.  He had found himself brought to acknowledge,
like any sinner of the Gentiles, his simple dependence upon the divine
compassion for forgiveness and acceptance.  This spiritual experience
of St. Paul was only the realizing through one channel of what is, in
fact, an elementary truth about human nature.  The idea of human
independence is demonstrably a false idea.  As a matter of fact, man
draws his life, physical and spiritual, from {75} sources beyond
himself--from the one source, God.  In constant dependence on God he
lives necessarily from moment to moment, whether to breathe, or think,
or will.  The freedom of will which he has is not really originative or
creative power, but a capacity of voluntary correspondence with what is
given him from beyond himself.  In that power of correspondence, or
refusal to correspond, man's liberty begins and ends.  He creates
nothing.  It is not that man does something and then God does the rest.
The truth is that when we track man's good action to its root in his
will, we find for certain that God has been beforehand with him.  The
good he does is in correspondence with moral and physical laws and
forces of the universe, or, in other words, with divine powers and
purposes lent and suggested to him.  To attempt independence of God, to
have schemes and plans absolutely one's own, is to work arbitrarily and
ignorantly, and ultimately to fail and to know that one has failed.
Thus men, when they realize the facts of their condition, must depend,
and rejoice to depend, wholly upon God as for forgiveness where they
have done wrong, so also for suggestion and power that they may do
anything aright.  There is {76} then no room for human pride.  It is a
mistake.  We come back to recognize, what St. Paul realized in his own
deep spiritual experience and taught the Church at the beginning.
Whatever is good in the world is all of divine initiation and of divine
grace.  It is all, not to our glory, but (as St. Paul three times
repeats in the opening paragraphs of our epistle) 'to the praise of his
glory,' or 'to the praise of the glory of his grace which he freely
bestows on us' out of His pure love and goodwill.

[Sidenote: _St. Paul's leading thoughts_]

These are the great leading thoughts which are in St. Paul's mind as he
begins to write to the Asiatic Christians.  His heart, his imagination,
his intellect is full of the thought of the catholic society as it
exists in Christ, the extension of His life; of this society as the
outcome of an eternal and slow-working purpose of God; of this society,
as serving universal divine ends for humanity and for the universe; of
this society, as affording a sphere in which all men's faculties may be
enlightened and delighted with the depth and largeness of the divine
purpose; while his whole being is kept, safe from all the delusions of
pride, in continual and conscious dependence upon divine grace.  {77}
With these thoughts reflected in our minds we shall find that we have
the main clue to the whole of the Epistle to the Ephesians, and more
particularly to all the words of the opening chapter, which St. Paul
begins with a great ascription of praise to God for the blessing of the

Blessed _be_ the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath
blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly _places_ in
Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having
foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto
himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of
the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved:
in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of
our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he made to
abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us
the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he
purposed in him unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum
up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon
the earth; in him, _I say_, in whom also we were made a heritage,
having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh
all things after the counsel of his will; to the end that we should be
unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: in
whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your
salvation,--in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy
Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance, unto the
redemption of _God's_ own possession, unto the praise of his glory.

[1] Rom. viii. 29.

[2] 1 Cor. xv. 23.

[3] Eph. iv. 15, 16.

[4] Eph. v. 32; Rev. xxi. 9.

[5] 1 Cor. xv. 45; Rom. v. 12-19.

[6] 1 Cor. xii. 12.

[7] Acts xix. 1-7.

[8] Rom. iii. 24-26.  I have tried to develope St. Paul's hint.

[9] Rom. iii. 25; Acts xiv. 16; Acts xvii. 30.

[10] The earliest and simplest expression of the matter is that in St.
Paul's earliest epistle (1 Thess. v. 10), Christ 'died for us ... that
we should live together with him.'

[11] Eph. i. 7; cf. ii. 13 ff.

[12] Rom. ix. 21.

[13] 1 Cor. xii. 22 ff.

[14] Cf. St. Matt. xiii. 13-15; St. John xii. 39, 40.  We are not (Rom.
ix. 17) told _why_ Pharaoh was brought out on the stage of history as
an example of God's hardening judgement.  But no doubt there was a
moral reason.

[15] Rom. ix-xi.

[16] Rom. xi. 29.

[17] Rom. xi. 33.

[18] 1 Tim. ii. 4.

[19] 1 Cor. ix. 27.

[20] Rom. viii. 38, 39

[21] I am using the word here not in its Bible sense, for in the Bible
God is said to 'know' men in the sense of fixing His choice or approval
upon them; and to 'foreknow' is therefore to approve or choose
beforehand, as suitable instruments for a divine purpose.  I am using
the word in its ordinary sense.

[22] Rom. viii. 28-30.

[23] Phil. i. 6.

[24] Amos iii. 2.

[25] On the Jewish idea of election, cf. app. note C, p. 261.

[26] Col. i. 1.

[27] Col. i. 28.

[28] See app. note C, p. 257.


DIVISION I.  § 2.  CHAPTER I. 15-23.

_St. Paul's Prayer._

St. Paul follows up this first expression of the great thoughts that
fill his mind with a deep and comprehensive thanksgiving for that large
measure of correspondence with the divine purpose which is reported
from the Asiatic churches, and with a prayer for their full
enlightenment in heart and intellect.  He prays that they may rise to
the true science of what their Christian calling, as fellow-inheritors
with the saints of the divine blessing, really means; and to an
adequate expectation of what God intends to do in them, on the analogy
of what He has already done in Christ their head.

For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus
which is among you, and which _ye shew_ toward all the saints, cease
not to give thanks for you, making mention _of you_ in my prayers; that
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto
you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having
the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope
of his calling, what the riches {79} of the glory of his inheritance in
the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward
who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might
which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made
him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly _places_, far above all
rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is
named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and
he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head
over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him
that filleth all in all.

There is very little further explanation needed for this passage.  But
three phrases may be noted:--

(1) St. Paul calls the Father 'the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,' as
our Lord Himself calls Him 'my God' (John xx. 17) in His resurrection
state.  It is no doubt of Christ _as man_ that the Father is God; but
this relation of the Son as man to the Father depends upon an eternal
subordination in which the Son, even as God, stands to the Father from
whom He derives His divine life.  The essential subordination of the
Son (and Spirit) to the Father as the one fount of Godhead, is
continually suggested in the New Testament; but it involves no
inferiority in Godhead, or subsequence in time--'nothing before or
after, nothing greater or less,' as the _Quicunque vult_ says.  And it
conveys to us the moral lesson that a subordinate position is not to be
resented as if it were a dishonour.

(2) The spirit of 'wisdom and revelation' vouchsafed to us is to enable
us to apprehend in a measure the divine 'wisdom and prudence[1]'
manifested in God's work of creation and redemption.  The humility
which is content to correspond patiently and teachably with the method
of God is, as Francis Bacon was at pains to teach, of the essence of
all fruitful human science.

(3) The expression 'the fulness' or 'the fulness of the Godhead[2]'
means the sum total of the divine attributes, which, instead of being
spread over different angelic mediators, as the Colossians were
disposed to imagine, are, by the divine will, all concentrated and
combined in the glorified Christ.  And here St. Paul teaches the
Ephesian Christians that all that belongs to the glorified Christ is to
belong also to the Church, which is His body.  It is Christ who gives
to all creatures whatever various gifts of life they have.  He 'filleth
all in all'; that is, 'He filleth the whole universe with all variety
of {81} gifts.'  But something much more than various gifts--the sum
total of all He is--He pours, or intends to pour, into the Church, so
that the Church as well as the Christ shall embody, and thus be
identified with, the fulness of the divine attributes.  At present the
Church is this only ideally, or in the divine intention: the actually
existing Church has still much need of growth that her members 'may be
filled (as they are not at present) up to the measure of the divine
fulness'; or, in other words, up to 'the measure of the stature of the
fulness of the Christ[3].'

The fulness, according to St. Paul's doctrine, is to be sought first in
the eternal God; then in the glorified Christ; then, through Him, in
the fully developed Church; and, finally, through the Church, in a
sense in the universe as a whole, when the work of redemption is done
and God is at last 'all in all' throughout His creation.

It may be noticed that St. Paul, in this doctrine of 'the fulness,' is
thinking rather of the divine attributes as manifested, than as they
are in themselves: and of Christ, not as the eternal {82} Son of God,
but, more particularly, as incarnate and glorified.  It was the 'good
pleasure' of the Father to fill the exalted Christ, the first-begotten
from the dead, with the fulness of divine glory and power as the reward
of the humility and love which He showed when He 'emptied himself in
taking the form of a servant[4].'  This bestowal was no doubt a giving
anew to Him, as man and as head of the Church, what was eternally His
as Son of the Father.

There is another interpretation adopted by Chrysostom in ancient times,
and by Dr. Hort among moderns, of the phrase 'the church which is his
body, the fulness of him who filleth all in all.'  According to them
the Church is regarded as making the Christ complete.  It is in this
sense the 'fulfilment' of Christ, because without the Church He would
be a head without its members: and then the rest of the sentence should
be translated differently--'the church which is his body, the
fulfilment of him who is fulfilled in all ways with all things.'  But
this is decidedly less agreeable to the general use of the expression
'the fulness' in the epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians[5].


[Sidenote: _Some practical lessons_]

We may also pause to recognize one or two ways in which St. Paul's view
of the Christian religion, as exhibited in the opening of this epistle,
suggests special deficiencies among ourselves.

(1) St. Paul's Christianity is a religion of thankfulness.  This
epistle is a burst of exuberant praise.  Yet he was himself a prisoner,
and the church of Ephesus, with the other Asiatic churches, was sorely
threatened with moral and spiritual perils of all kinds.  The secret of
this thankfulness is that he looks straight away from himself and his
surroundings up to God.  He measures the value of human life and work
not by what immediate experience suggests, but by what he knows of the
purpose of God.  In spite of all the obstacles opposed by human
wilfulness and weakness and sin, he knows that His purpose will effect
itself: therefore he 'rejoices in the Lord always,' and no discouraging
circumstances can quench the springs of his rejoicing.  Our
Christianity is apt to be of a very 'dutiful' kind.  We mean to do our
duty, we attend church and go to our communions.  But our hearts are
full of the difficulties, the hardships, {84} the obstacles which the
situation presents, and we go on our way sadly, downhearted and
despondent.  We need to learn or learn anew from St. Paul that true
Christianity is inseparable from deep joy; and the secret of that joy
lies in a continual looking away from all else--away from sin and its
ways, and from the manifold hindrances to the good we would do--up to
God, His love, His purpose, His will.  In proportion as we do look up
to Him we shall rejoice, and in proportion as we rejoice in the Lord
will our religion have tone and power and attractiveness.

(2) St. Paul appeals to the Asiatic Christians not to become something
they are not, or to acquire some spiritual gift that they have not
received, but simply to realize what they already are, and to claim the
privileges of their baptized state.  They are already 'adopted as
sons[6].'  They have, like the Galatians, received 'the Spirit of
adoption.'  The point now is that they should realize and put into
practice what already belongs to them.  This mode of appeal is based on
the doctrine--in spite of its many perversions the most valuable
doctrine--of baptismal {85} regeneration.  The false method of
appeal--as if careless Christians needed to _become_ sons of God--which
involves a false idea of 'regeneration,' has been so much identified
with popular Protestantism, that I cannot do better than quote some
very apposite remarks by the late Congregationalist teacher, Dr. Dale,
of blessed memory, from his noble commentary on this very epistle to
the Ephesians:--

'This adoption of which Paul speaks is something more than a mere legal
and formal act, conveying certain high prerogatives.  We are "called
the sons of God" because we are really made His sons by a new and
supernatural birth.  Regeneration is sometimes described as though it
were merely a change in a man's principles of conduct in his character,
his tastes, his habits.  The description is theologically false, and
practically most pernicious and misleading.  If regeneration were
nothing more than this, we should have to speak of a man as being more
or less regenerate, according to the extent of his moral reformation;
but this would be contrary to the idiom of New Testament thought.  That
a great change in the moral region of a man's nature will certainly
follow regeneration is true; this change, however, is not regeneration
itself, but the effect of regeneration; and the moral change which
regeneration produces varies in many ways in different men.  In some
the change is immediate, decisive, and apparently complete.  In others
it is extremely gradual, and may be for a long time hardly discernible.
In some regenerate men grave sins remain for a time unforsaken, perhaps
unrecognized.  Look at these Ephesian Christians.  {86} The Apostle has
to tell them that they must put away falsehood and speak the truth;
that they must give up thieving, and foul talk, and covetousness, and
gross sensual sin.

'He addresses them as "saints."  He describes them as having been
chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and foreordained
by God unto adoption as sons unto Himself; and yet he knows that they
are in danger of committing these base and flagrant offences.  It was
hard for them to escape from the vices of heathenism.  They were
regenerate; but as yet, in some of them, the moral effects of
regeneration were very incomplete, the change which regeneration was
ultimately certain to produce in their moral life had only begun, and
it was checked and hindered by a thousand hostile influences.

'The simplest and most obvious account of regeneration is the truest.
When a man is regenerated he receives a new life and receives it from
God.  In itself regeneration is not a change in his old life, but the
beginning of a new life which is conferred by the immediate and
supernatural act of the Holy Spirit.  The man is really "born again."
A higher nature comes to him than that which he inherited from his
human parents; he is "begotten of God," "born of the Spirit."'

This passage, especially as coming from Dr. Dale, supplies a very
valuable corrective to still current religious mistakes.  But surely we
have no ground for saying that the moral effects 'certainly' follow
regeneration, or follow it in all cases.  It is not 'ultimately certain
to produce' them in all persons, but only in those who {87} exhibit,
sooner or later, the moral correspondence of a converted will.

(3) Most Christians who have reacted from Calvinism and its false
doctrine of predestination have ceased to think about the truth which
it represents.  But we need to make a right instead of a wrong use of
these great ideas of predestination and election, and thus to get rid
of all the miserable narrowness and hopelessness which settles down
upon us when we allow ourselves to think of religion as mainly a
process of saving our own souls, and when we live only in our present

What can be more inspiring and strengthening than to believe that there
is an eternal purpose of God working itself out in the universe through
all its stages and parts; that this eternal purpose includes us, and
has fastened upon us individually and brought us into Christ and His
Church, to make true men of us; and that it has done all this not for
our own sakes only, but to disclose something more of God's glory and
for the fulfilment of great and universal purposes, which are to
radiate out even from us?  Wherever St. Paul sees the hand of God in
present experience, at once his mind works back to an eternal will and
therefore also {88} forward to an eternal and adequate result.  And
this backward and forward look transfigures the present with a new
glory and a fresh hope.  So will it be with us if this same
characteristically Christian way of looking at any apparent movement of
God in the present, in our own souls or in the world outside us,
becomes habitually and instinctively ours.  God never acts on a sudden
impulse or without purpose of continuance.  Certainly He can be trusted
not to stop and leave things unfinished.  When He hath begun any good
work He will assuredly perfect it, if we will let Him.

[1] i. 8.

[2] See Col. i. 19; ii. 9; cf. ii. 3, 'in Christ are all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge hidden.'

[3] Eph. iii. 19; iv. 13.  It is not certain that by Him 'who filleth
all in all' St. Paul does not mean the Father rather than the Son.  But
iv. 10 supports the interpretation given above.

[4] Col. i. 19; Phil. ii. 9-11.

[5] And the word rendered 'filleth' may have a middle and not a passive
sense, the idea being perhaps suggested that God 'fills all things for
his own purpose.'

[6] That is, they were 'predestined to an adoption' (Eph. i. 5) which
it is implied they have already received.


DIVISION I.  § 3.  CHAPTER II. 1-10.

_Sin and redemption._

[Sidenote: _The depth of sin_]

In the first chapter of the epistle, St. Paul has had before his eyes
the glory of God's redemptive work--the wonder of His purpose of pure
love for the universe through the Church.  His imagination has kindled
at the thought of the length, the breadth, the height of the divine
operation:--the length, for it is an eternal purpose slowly worked out
through the ages; the breadth, for it is to extend over the whole
universe; the height, for it is to carry men up to no lower point than
the throne of Christ in the heavenly places.  But now he stops to call
the attention of his converts to what we may call a 'fourth dimension'
of the divine operation--its depth.  How wonderfully low God had
stooped, in order to reach the point to which man had sunk!  The
Asiatic Christians are bidden to ponder anew, and by {90} contrast to
their present experience, the life which they had once lived before
they knew Christ or were found in Him.

Let us read the apostle's words, and then consider them in detail:--

And you _did he quicken_, when ye were dead through your trespasses and
sins, wherein aforetime ye walked according to the course of this
world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit
that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all
once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh
and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

We naturally put as a parallel to these and other verses of this
epistle (iv. 17-19) the terrible passage in Romans i, where St. Paul
describes the developement of sin in the Gentile world; how it had its
origin in the refusal of the human will to recognize God, how out of
the perversion of will it spread to the blinding of the understanding,
and then to giving an overmastering power and an unnatural distortion
to the passions, so that a state of moral lawlessness was produced and

What are we to say as to the truth of these accounts of the moral
condition of the heathen world?  No doubt there is a good deal to be
{91} said on the other side.  Roman simplicity and virtue, and the
sanctity of domestic life, had not, as contemporary inscriptions and
historical records make perfectly evident, faded out of the Roman
Empire, and philanthropy and love of the poor were recognized
excellences.  Nor had philosophic virtue vanished from the schools[1].
And all this St. Paul would not be slow to recognize.  In the Epistle
to the Romans[2] itself he speaks in language, such as a Stoic might
have used, of those who, uninstructed by any special divine law, were a
law unto themselves, in that they showed the practical effect of the
law written in their hearts.  We must therefore recognize that St. Paul
is, in the passage we are now considering, speaking ideally; that is to
say, he is speaking of the general tendency of the heathen life, just
as he speaks ideally of the Christian church in view of its general
tendency; and he is speaking of it as he mostly knew it himself in the
notoriously corrupt cities of the east, Antioch and Ephesus.  Ephesus,
in particular, had an extraordinarily bad character for vice as much as
for superstition; and what {92} St. Paul says of the heathen life does
not in fact make up a stronger indictment or present a blacker picture
than what is said by a Stoic philosopher, perhaps his contemporary, who
wrote at Ephesus, under the shelter of the name of the great Ephesian
of ancient days, Heracleitus[3].  Moreover, St. Paul appeals
unhesitatingly to the actual experience of these Asiatic Christians,
and there is no reason to doubt that their consciences would have
responded to what he said to them about the old life out of which they
had been brought.

Let us now analyze a little more exactly this account St. Paul gives of
the state of sin which he saw around him in contemporary society.

(1) 'Ye walked according to the course of this world.'  By 'this world'
St. Paul, like the other New Testament writers, means practically human
society as it organizes itself for its own purposes of pleasure or
profit without thought of God, or at least without thought of God as He
truly is.  These Asiatic Christians, then, had formerly ordered their
life and conduct according to the demands and expectations of the
worldly world, obeying its motives, governed {93} by its fashions and
its laws, and indifferent to those considerations which it repudiated
or ignored.

(2) But to belong to the world in this sense is, in St. Paul's mind, to
belong to the kingdom of Satan.  The worldly world had its origin from
a false desire of independence on man's part.  He did not want to be
controlled by God; he wanted to live his own life for himself.  But in
liberating himself according to his wishes from the control of God he
fell, according to St. Paul's belief, under another control.  Rebellion
had been in the universe before man.  There are invisible rebel
spirits, of whose real existence and influence St. Paul had no more
doubt than any other Jew who was not a Sadducee.  And, indeed, our Lord
had so spoken of good and evil spirits as to assure His disciples of
their existence and influence.  These rebel wills are unseen by us and
in most respects unknown, but they organize and give a certain
coherence and continuity to evil in the world.  There thus arises a
sort of kingdom of evil over against the kingdom of God, and those who
will not surrender themselves to God and His kingdom, become perforce
servants of Satan and his kingdom.  It is in view of this truth that
St. Paul {94} tells these Asiatic Christians that they used to walk
according 'to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now
worketh in the sons of disobedience.'  (These evil spirits were, by a
natural way of thinking, located in the air, according to the
contemporary Jewish ideas; and the idea is, if nothing more, a
convenient metaphor for a subtle and pervading influence.)  This view
of their old life, as a bondage to evil spirits, is one which would be
as easily realized by inhabitants of Asiatic cities, where men were
largely occupied in finding charms against bad spirits, as by modern
Indian converts from devil-worship.  Christianity recognizes a basis of
reality in the superstition from which at the same time it delivers men.

(3) The main characteristic of this old godless life had been
lawlessness, but St. Paul here, as in his Epistle to the Romans,
associates Jews with Gentiles, 'we' with 'you,' in the same
condemnation.  The spirits, or real selves of the Christians, had been,
in their former state, dominated by their appetites or their
imaginations.  They were occupied in doing what their flesh or their
thoughts suggested.  It is noticeable that St. Paul puts 'the mind'
side by side with 'the flesh' as a cause of sin, the intellectual {95}
side by side with the sensual and emotional nature.  We often in fact,
in our age, have experience of people who are not 'sensual' in the
ordinary sense, but who live lives which have no goodness, no
perseverance, no order, no fruitfulness in them, because they are the
slaves of the ideas of their own mind as they present themselves, now
one, now another; unregulated ideas being in fact, just as much as
unregulated passions, fluctuating, arbitrary, and tyrannous.  Nothing
is more truly needed to-day than the discipline of the imagination.

(4) Men living such a life of bondage are described further as 'dead
through their trespasses and sins.'  St. Paul means by death to
describe any state of intellectual and moral insensibility.  He would
have the Christian 'dead' to the motives and voices of the worldly and
sensual world.  So in the same way he reminds the Asiatic Christians
that to all that life of God in which they were now fruitfully living,
they had at one time been insensible or dead--that is, blind to those
things which now seemed most apparent, unterrified at what would now
seem most horrible, unmoved by what now seemed most fascinating.  And
if this was their state viewed in itself, in their relation to God {96}
they were, like the Jews also, 'children of wrath.'  This expression is
used in our catechism to describe 'original sin,' that is to say, that
moral disorder or weakness which belongs to our nature as we inherit
it, before we have had the opportunity of personal wrong doing.  But
the application of the phrase by St. Paul is to describe rather the
state of _actual_ sin in which Jew and Gentile alike 'naturally' lived.
It implies not that God hated them, for in the whole context St. Paul
is emphasizing 'the great love wherewith he loved them'; but that there
was a necessary moral incompatibility between them as they then were,
and God as He essentially and permanently is.  God is so necessarily
holy that His being is, and must be, intolerable to the unholy.  It
must be the case that at the bare idea of the divine coming, 'sinners
in Zion' should be 'afraid,' and should say one to another, 'who among
us shall dwell with the devouring fire, who among us shall dwell with
everlasting burnings[4]?'  God necessarily presents Himself as a terror
to the godless; and from the point of view of God that means that our
sinful nature is the subject of His necessary wrath.  He resents the
{97} perversion, the spoiling, of His own handiwork in us.  He cannot
tolerate uncleanness, rebellion, unbelief.  This wrath of God, in the
case of those whose wills are set to 'hate the light,' is directed
against men's persons.  But so far as sin is only in our natures, and
is something of which we are the unwilling subjects, it appeals only to
God's compassion to lead Him to apply effective remedies.  His wrath is
so far against sin, not against sinners; and none could know better
than these Asiatic Christians what lengths of resourcefulness and
self-sacrifice the divine compassion had gone in order to redeem men
from its tyranny.  Thus St. Paul continues:--

But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
even when we were dead through our trespasses, quickened us together
with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), and raised us up with him,
and made us to sit with him in the heavenly _places_, in Christ Jesus:
that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his
grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: for by grace have ye been
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: _it is_ the gift of
God: not of works, that no man should glory.  For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore
prepared that we should walk in them.

[Sidenote: _The method of redemption_]

Here is St. Paul's description of the method of God in dealing with men
when they were in {98} that state of sin, the conditions of which he
has just summarised.  We take note of the chief points in the method.

(1) St. Paul has in mind here, as always, the divine predestination.
There was an eternal purpose in the divine mind to make St. Paul and
those to whom he wrote such as they were now on the way to become; it
was a purpose not merely general, but extending to details.  It
belongs, in fact, to the divine perfection, that God does nothing, and
purposes nothing, in mere vague generality.  The universal range and
scope of the divine activity as over all creatures whatsoever, hinders
not at all its perfect application to detail.  Thus God had
'predestined,' or held in His eternal purpose, not merely the state of
Christians as a whole or even of the Asiatic Christians in particular,
but the details of conduct which He willed them individually to
exhibit.  It is the particular 'good works' which God 'prepared
beforehand in order that they should walk in them[5].'

(2) What God predestined He accomplished first in summary 'in Christ
Jesus.'  In Him all that God meant to do for man was exhibited {99} and
accomplished as God's own and perfect handiwork, as an effective and
final disclosure.  Men are to look for everything, for every kind of
development and progress, in Christ, but for nothing outside or beyond
Him.  All is there--'all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,' all
'the fulness of the Godhead,' all the perfections of mankind, the
reconciliation of all seeming opposites.  All is brought to the highest
possible level of attainment, 'the heavenly place.'

(3) What had been summarily realized in Christ is progressively
realized in those who are 'in Him.'  Undeterred by their condition of
moral and spiritual death, God, out of the heart of His rich mercy,
simply because of the great love He bore to men, has brought them, by
one act of regeneration, into the new life of His Son; has 'quickened
them together with Christ,' that is, has introduced them, at a definite
moment of initiation, into the life which has once for all triumphed
over death, and been glorified in the heavenly places; and has
introduced them into this life in order that, by the gradual
assimilation of its forces, future ages might witness in them all the
wealth of the goodness which had lain hid in the original act {100} of
incorporation.  Meanwhile, while their growth is yet imperfect, God
sees those who are Christ's as 'in Christ': imputes His merits to them,
so we may legitimately say: that is, sees them and deals with them in
view of the fact that Christ's Spirit is at work in them; sees them and
deals with them 'not as they are, but as they are becoming.'  _This_
doctrine of imputation, instead of being full of moral unreality, is in
accordance with all that is deepest in the philosophy of evolution.
For are we not continually being taught that in order to take a true
view of the value of any single thing, we must view it not as it is at
a particular moment, but in the light of its tendency?  We must ask not
merely 'what,' but 'whence' and 'whither.'

(4) It is all pure grace--the free outpouring of unmerited love.  The
Christians are 'God's workmanship,' His new creation.  He, in Christ,
had wrought the work all by Himself.  They, the subjects of it, had
contributed nothing.  It remained for them only to welcome and to
correspond.  This is the summing up of man's legitimate attitude
towards God.  This is faith.  It is at its first stage simply the
acceptance of a divine mercy in all its undeserved and unconditional
largeness; but it passes at once, as {101} soon as ever the nature of
the divine gift is realized, into a glad co-operation with the divine

This then is, in outline, the method of the great salvation, of which
the Asiatic Christians had been and were the subjects.

[1] On the virtuous aspect of the contemporary empire, see Renan, _Les
Apôtres_, pp. 306 ff.

[2] Rom. ii. 14.

[3] See app. note B, p. 255.

[4] Is. xxxiii. 14, 15.

[5] Cf. app. note C, p. 263, for a similar thought in a contemporary
Jewish book.


DIVISION I.  § 4.  CHAPTER II. 11-22.

_Salvation in the church._

[Sidenote: _The salvation social_]

God's deliverance or 'salvation' of mankind is a deliverance of
individuals indeed, but of individuals in and through a society; not of
isolated individuals, but of members of a body.

It is and has been a popular religious idea that the primary aim of the
gospel is to produce saved individuals; and that it is a matter of
secondary importance that the saved individuals should afterwards
combine to form churches for their mutual spiritual profit, and for
promoting the work of preaching the gospel.  But this way of conceiving
the matter is a reversal of the order of ideas in the Bible.  'The
salvation' in the Bible is supposed usually 'to reach the individual
through the community[1].'  God's dealings with us in redemption thus
follow the lines of His dealings with us in our natural developement.
For man stands {103} out in history as a 'social animal.'  His
individual developement, by a divine law of his constitution, is only
rendered possible because he is first of all a member of some society,
tribe, or nation, or state.  Through membership in such a society
alone, and through the submissions and limitations on his personal
liberty which such membership involves, does he become capable of any
degree of free or high developement as an individual.  This law, then,
of man's nature appears equally in the method of his redemption.  Under
the old covenant it was to members of the 'commonwealth of Israel' that
the blessings of the covenant belonged.  Under the new covenant St.
Paul still conceives of the same commonwealth as subsisting (as we
shall see directly), and as fulfilling no less than formerly the same
religious functions.  True, it has been fundamentally reconstituted and
enlarged to include the believers of all nations, and not merely one
nation; but it is still the same commonwealth, or polity, or church;
and it is still through the church that God's 'covenant' dealings reach
the individual.

It is for this reason that St. Paul goes on to describe the state of
the Asiatic Christians, {104} before their conversion, as a state of
alienation from the 'commonwealth of Israel.'  They were 'Gentiles in
the flesh,' that is by the physical fact that they were not Jews; and
were contemptuously described as the uncircumcised by those who, as
Jews, were circumcised by human hands.  And he conceives this to be
only another way of describing alienation from God and His manifold
covenants of promise, and from the Messiah, the hope of Israel and of
mankind.  They were without the Church of God, and therefore presumably
without God and without hope.

Wherefore remember, that aforetime ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who
are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the
flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from Christ,
alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the
covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the
blood of Christ.

This alienation of Gentiles from the divine covenant was represented in
the structure of the temple at Jerusalem by a beautifully-worked marble
balustrade, separating the outer from the inner court, upon which stood
columns at regular intervals, bearing inscriptions, some in Greek and
some in Latin characters, to warn {105} aliens not to enter the holy
place.  One of the Greek inscriptions was discovered a few years ago,
and is now to be read in the Museum of Constantinople.  It runs thus:
'No alien to pass within the balustrade round the temple and the
enclosure.  Whosoever shall be caught so doing must blame himself for
the penalty of death which he will incur.'

This 'middle wall of partition' was vividly in St. Paul's memory.  He
was in prison at Rome at the time of his writing this epistle, in part
at least because he was believed to have brought Trophimus, an
Ephesian, within the sacred enclosure at Jerusalem.  'He brought Greeks
also into the temple, and hath defiled the holy place.'

It was this 'middle wall of partition,' representing the exclusiveness
of Jewish ordinances, which St. Paul rejoiced to believe Christ had
abolished.  He had made Jew and Gentile one by bringing both alike to
God in one body and on a new basis.

There were in fact two partitions in the Jewish temple of great
symbolical importance.  There was the veil which hid the holy of
holies, and symbolized the alienation of man from God[2]; and there was
'the middle wall of partition' {106} already described, representing
the exclusion of the world from the privileges of the people of God.
The Pharisaic Jews ignored the spiritual lessons of the first
partition, and devoutly believed in the permanence of the second.  But
Saul, while yet a Pharisee, had felt the reality of the first, and had
found in his own experience that the abolition of this first barrier by
Christ involved also the annihilation of the second.

[Sidenote: _The breaking down of partitions_]

It is in the Epistle to the Colossians that he lays stress upon the
abolition in Christ of the enmity between man and God.  'It was the
good pleasure of the Father ... through him to reconcile all things
unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross.'  'You,
being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh
... did he quicken together with Christ, having forgiven us all our
trespasses; having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was
against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out of the
way, nailing it to the cross.'  So with the help of various metaphors
does St. Paul strive to express the mighty truth that, by the shedding
of Christ's blood, that is to say by His sacrifice of perfected
obedience, the way had been opened for the forgiveness of our sins and
our {107} reconciliation to God in one life, one Spirit.  But the
symbols and instruments of that former alienation from God which St.
Paul had experienced so bitterly, were to his mind the 'ordinances' of
the Jewish law.  These, he had come to feel, had no other function than
to awaken and deepen the sense of sin which they were powerless to
overcome.  They were nothing but 'a bond written against us'; a
continual record of condemnation.  To trust in the observance of
ordinances was to remain an unreconciled sinner, alienated in mind and
unpurified in heart.  On the other hand, to have faith in Jesus and
receive from Him the unmerited gift of the divine pardon and the Spirit
of sonship was, for a Jew, to cast away all that trust in the
observance of the ordinances of his nation which was so dear to his
heart.  It was at once to place himself among the sinners of the
Gentiles.  For in Jesus Christ all men were indeed brought near to God,
but not as meritorious Jews; rather as common men and common sinners,
needing and accepting all alike the undeserved mercy of a heavenly
Father.  Thus it was that Christ, in breaking down one partition, had
broken down the other also.  In opening the way to God by a simple
human trust in a {108} heavenly Father, and not by the complicated
arrangements of a special law, He had put all men on the same level of
need and of acceptance.  He had not indeed abolished the covenant or
the covenant people, but He had enlarged its area and altered its
basis: there was still to be one visible body or people of the
covenant, but membership in it was to be open to all, Jew and Gentile
alike, who would feel their need of and put their trust in Jesus.  This
is what St. Paul proceeds to express, and little more need be added to
explain his words.  In the 'blood' or 'blood-shedding' of Jesus--that
is, His self-sacrifice for men, His obedience carried to the point of
the surrender of His life--a way had been opened to the Father that was
purely human, that belonged to the Gentiles who had been 'far off' as
well as to Jews who were already 'nigh' in the divine covenant.  And in
being brought near to God by faith, and not by Jewish ordinances, Jew
and Gentile had been reconciled on a common basis--the two had been
made one in 'the flesh,' that is, the manhood of Christ, for no other
reason than because the 'law of commandments contained in (special
Jewish) ordinances,' which had hitherto been the basis of separation,
was now once for all {109} 'abolished.'  Henceforth there was one new
man, or new manhood, in Christ, in which all men were, potentially at
least, reconciled to God and to one another by His self-sacrifice upon
the cross.  And to the knowledge of this new manhood all men were being
gradually brought by the 'preaching of peace' or of the gospel, which
had its origin from Jesus crucified and risen, and which, even now that
Jesus was invisibly acting through His apostolic and other ministers,
St. Paul attributes directly to Him.

[Sidenote: _The admission of Gentiles_]

But now in Christ Jesus ye that once were far off are made nigh in the
blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who made both one, and brake
down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in his flesh the
enmity, even the law of commandments _contained_ in ordinances; that he
might create in himself of the twain one new man, so making peace; and
might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the cross,
having slain the enmity thereby: and he came and preached peace to you
that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh: for through him we
both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.

Now we can turn from the negative to the positive statement, and
observe what St. Paul says of the new privileges of the once heathen
converts.  He pictures them under four metaphors, each describing a
social state.


(1) They are citizens in the holy state, the commonwealth of the people
consecrated to God--citizens with full rights, and no longer strangers
or unenfranchised residents (sojourners).

(2) More intimately still, they belong to the family or household of

(3) They are being built all together into a sanctuary for God to dwell
in--a holy structure of which the foundation stones are the apostles,
and the Christian prophets who were their companions; and of which the
corner-stone, determining the lines of the building and compacting it
into one, is Jesus Christ, according to the word of God by Isaiah,
'Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious
corner stone of sure foundation.'

(4) But the metaphor of the building passes into the metaphor of the
growing plant.  Christ is, as St. Peter says, 'a _living_ stone[3].'
He not only determines the lines of the spiritual structure, but He
pervades the whole of it as a presence and spirit, so that every other
human 'stone' is also alive and growing with His life.

So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are
fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the {111} household of God,
being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ
Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; in whom each several
building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the
Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in
the Spirit.

These are indeed metaphors expressive of glorious realities, which have
no doubt become dulled in meaning through a conventional Christianity,
which involves no sacrifice and therefore attains no sense of
blessedness, but which a little meditation may easily restore to
something of their original freshness.

(1) The idea of the chosen people all through the Old Testament is that
they are as a whole consecrated to God.  Priests and kings appointed by
God to their several offices may indeed fulfil special functions in the
national life, yet the fundamental idea is never lost that the entire
nation is holy, 'a kingdom of priests.'  It is because this is true
that the prophets can appeal as they do to the people in general, as
well as to priests and rulers, as sharing altogether the responsibility
of the national life.  Now the whole of this idea is transferred, only
deepened and intensified, to the Christian Church.  That too has its
divinely-ordained ministers, its differentiation of functions in the
one body, but the whole {112} body is priestly, and all are
citizens--not merely residents but citizens, that is, intelligent
participators in a common corporate life consecrated to God.  How truly
realized this idea was in the early Christian communities, St. Paul's
letters are our best witnesses.  They are really--except the pastoral
epistles--letters to the churches and not to the clergy.  It is the
whole body which is at Thessalonica and Corinth to concern itself with
the exercise of moral discipline[4]--the whole body in the Galatian
churches and at Colossae who are to concern themselves with the
apprehension and protection of the full Christian truth.  They are all
to be 'perfectly initiated' in Christ Jesus, full participators in the
affairs of the divine society[5].  Whatever needs to be said afterwards
about the special functions of special officers, this is the first
thing to be said and recognized; and it gives us a profound sense of
the distance we have fallen from our ideal.  The laity, it is generally
understood among us, are to come to church and perhaps to communion,
are to accept the ministries of religion at marriages and funerals, and
are to subscribe a little money to religious objects; but they may
leave it to the clergy, as a matter of course, to carry on {113} the
business of religion--that is, worship and doctrine, for discipline has
been dropped out--and confine themselves to a certain amount of
irresponsible criticism of the sermons of the clergy and their
proceedings generally.

[Sidenote: _The catholic church_]

For this state of things--this very false sacerdotalism--the
responsibility is generally laid at the door of 'clerical arrogance.'
It is not necessary to consider how large a factor in the result
clerical arrogance has really been, for certainly what alone has given
the clergy the opportunity to put themselves in false isolation, and
what has been an immensely more powerful factor in the general result,
has been the spiritual apathy of the mass of church members, an apathy
which began as soon as the Christian profession began to cost men
little or nothing.

Are we to set to work to revive St. Paul's ideal of the life of a
Church?  If so, what we need is not more Christians, but better
Christians.  We want to make the moral meaning of church membership
understood and its conditions appreciated.  We want to make men
understand that it costs something to be a Christian; that to be a
Christian, that is a Churchman, is to be an intelligent participator in
a corporate life consecrated to God, and to concern {114} oneself
therefore, as a matter of course, in all that touches the corporate
life--its external as well as its spiritual conditions.  For the houses
people live in, their wages, their social and commercial relations to
one another, their amusements, the education they receive, the
literature they read, these, no less truly than religious forces
strictly so called, affect intimately the health and well-being of any
society of men.  We Christians are fellow-citizens together in the
commonwealth that is consecrated to God, a commonwealth of mortal men
with bodies as well as souls.

(2) But St. Paul also describes the Church as the 'household of God.'
When our Lord was speaking to St. Peter about the ministry which was
being entrusted to the apostles, He said to him, 'Who then is the
faithful and wise steward whom his Lord shall set over his household to
give them their portion of food in due season[6]?'  This description
opens to us part of the meaning of the divine household.  A household
is a place where a family is provided for, where there is a regular and
orderly supply of ordinary needs.  And the Church is the divine
household in which God has provided stewards to make {115} regular
spiritual provision for men, so that they shall feel and know
themselves members of a family, understood, sympathized with, helped,
encouraged, disciplined, fed.  What in fact are the sacraments and
sacramental rites, what are baptism, confirmation and communion,
marriage and ordination, the administration of the word of God, the
dealings with the penitent, the sick, the dead, but the 'portions of
food in due season,' the orderly distribution of the bread of life in
the family or household of God?

But there is another idea which, in St. Paul's mind, attaches itself
strongly to the idea of the 'divine family.'  It is that in this
household we are sons and not servants--that is intelligent
co-operators with God, and not merely submissive slaves.  It is
noticeable how often he speaks with horror of Christians allowing
themselves again to be 'subject to ordinances,' or to 'the weak and
beggarly rudiments,' the alphabet of that earlier education when even
children are treated as slaves under mere obedience.  'Ye observe days,
and months, and seasons, and years, I am afraid of you[7].'  'Why do ye
subject yourselves to ordinances, handle not, taste not, touch not[8].'
It is perfectly true to say that what {116} St. Paul is deprecating is
a return to Jewish or pagan observances.  But this is not all.  He
demands not a change of observance only, but a change of spirit.  Their
attitude towards observances as such is to be different.  Not that St.
Paul does not insist on that readiness to obey reasonable authority
which is a condition of corporate life, or would hesitate to lay stress
upon corporate religious acts in the Christian body.  The truth is very
far from that.  'We have no such custom, neither the churches of God,'
is an argument which ought to be sufficient to suppress eccentricity.
To 'keep the traditions' is a mark of a good Christian[9].  'A man that
is heretical' (or rather 'factious') after the first and second
admonition is to be 'refused'[10].  Government is to be a constant
element in the Christian life.  But the character of authority and of
obedience is to be changed.  The authority is to be reasonable
authority, and the obedience intelligent obedience.  Passive obedience
to an authority which does not explain itself, whether in a spiritual
director or in the Church as a whole, St. Paul would have thought of
meanly as a Christian virtue.  And the multiplication of authoritative
observances he would have dreaded as a {117} bondage.  Our Lord was
very unwilling to give His disciples, when He was on earth, much
direction.  And St. Paul is true to his Master's spirit.  Our life
should be ordered by principles, rather than directed in detail.  For
to rely upon direction from outside dwarfs our sense of personal
responsibility, and personal relationship to the divine Spirit.  A
certain amount of confusion, hesitation, difference, due to men feeling
their way, due to their different individualities having free scope,
St. Paul would apparently have thought preferable to that sort of order
which is the product of a very strong and exacting external government,
and to an undue exaltation of the virtue of passive obedience.

(3) St. Paul describes the Church as a sanctuary which is gradually to
be built for God to dwell in.  We remember how our Lord had said of the
temple at Jerusalem, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will
raise it up.'  'He spake,' St. John explains, 'of the temple of his
body[11].'  That--His own humanity proved triumphant over death--was to
be henceforth the tabernacle of God's presence among men.  Where that
is God is, and the true worship of the Father in spirit and in truth.
But that body, raised again {118} the third day and become 'quickening
Spirit' as the body of the risen Christ, takes within its influence the
whole circle of believers.  The 'body of Christ,' which is God's
temple, comes to mean the Church which lives in Christ's life, and
worships in Christ's Spirit.  This is still the Church of the fathers
of the old covenant, but fundamentally reconstituted.  God, as St.
James perceived[12], was fulfilling His promise to 'build again the
tabernacle of David which had fallen.'  It was being built anew upon
the apostles and their companions the prophets, the immediate
ambassadors of Christ, as foundation-stones of the renewed building,
who themselves have their positions determined and secured by Christ
Jesus as chief corner-stone.  It was a spiritual fabric combining, like
a Gothic cathedral, various parts or 'several buildings,' with their
distinctive characteristics, all however united in one construction,
one great sanctuary of a redeemed humanity in which God dwells.

The metaphor suggests the combination of national and individual
differences in real unity.  It encourages us to pay due regard to the
free developement of our own characters and capacities, but also to
develope ourselves as parts of {119} a greater whole, always
remembering that the work of a Christian individual or a local church
is in God's sight measured, not by its isolated result, but by the
contribution it makes to the life of the whole body.  An eccentric
individuality, a schismatic developement is, even in proportion to its
strength, a source of weakness to the whole.  By its relation to the
whole life of the Church all Christian effort must be both invigorated
and restrained.

The metaphor suggests further that the social organization of the
Church is an organization for worship.  It is a house and a
citizenship, because it is also a sanctuary.  The strength of corporate
Christianity is to be measured by the vitality of corporate worship.  A
church life in which the eucharist is not the centre, for all the
vigour which it may show in learning, or preaching, or philanthropy, is
after all but a maimed life.

(4) But the Church, as a visible organization of men, can be what it
is--the city of God, His household and His sanctuary--only because it
is pervaded by Christ's life and spirit.  The 'stones of the building'
are not merely placed side by side of one another, or held together by
any external agency of government; they {120} are as branches of a
living tree, limbs of a living body.  In this recurrent thought, which
will be presented to us in another form when St. Paul comes to speak of
the head and the body, is the interpretation of all his theory of the
Church.  It is verily and indeed the extension of the life of Christ.

How are we to receive this great and manifold ideal of what the Church
means[13]?  It is by meditating upon it till St. Paul's
conceptions--and not any lower or narrower ones, Roman or Anglican or
Nonconformist--become vivid to our minds.  Then, knowing what we aim at
restoring, we shall seek, in each parish and ecclesiastical centre, to
concentrate almost more than to extend the Church, to give it
spiritual, moral, and social reality, rather than to multiply a
membership which means little.  For if men can understand the meaning
of the Church, as the city of God, the family of God, the sanctuary of
God, in the world, there is little fear that whatever is good in
humanity will fail of allegiance to her.  The kings of the earth will
bring their glory and honour into her, and the nations of the earth
shall walk in her light.

[1] Sanday and Headlam's _Romans_, pp. 122-124.

[2] Hebr. ix. 8.

[3] 1 Peter ii. 4.

[4] 1 Thess. v. 14; 1 Cor. v.-vi. 11.

[5] Col. i. 28.

[6] Luke xii. 42.

[7] Gal. iv. 11; v. 1.

[8] Col. ii. 20-22.

[9] Cor. xi. 2, 16.

[10] Tit. iii. 10.

[11] John ii. 19-21.

[12] Acts xv. 16.

[13] See app. note D, p. 264, on the Brotherhood of St. Andrew.



_Paul the apostle of catholicity._

[Sidenote: _Paul the apostle of catholicity_]

St. Paul has unfolded the dimensions of the revelation of God given in
the catholic church.  The interests of the whole of mankind and of the
whole universe which it is to subserve--that is its breadth: the
eternal and slowly realized intention of God of which it is the
expression--that is its length: the spiritual elevation up to which it
takes men--that is its height: the gulf of sin and misery from which it
rescues them--that is its depth.  And now he is about to press upon the
Asiatic Christians the moral obligations which this great catholic
brotherhood involves.  He begins his exhortation and enforces it by
reminding them of what he was enduring as a prisoner for Christ's
sake--'For this cause (i.e. seeing that all this is true), I, Paul, the
prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you, the Gentiles.'  But when he
has thus made a beginning, he pauses to add weight {122} to his appeal
by emphasizing a personal but very important consideration.  The
particular truth of the catholicity of the Church had been in quite a
special sense entrusted to him, Paul, personally, as apostle of the
Gentiles.  He assumes that they have heard of this, his special
commission, and that it was the subject of a special revelation to
himself[1].  Indeed the fact must have formed part of his teaching at
Ephesus and throughout Asia, for his mind was full of it; he had
contended for it against strong opposition in his epistle to the
Galatians[2]; he had asserted it in his speech on the occasion of his
being made a prisoner at Jerusalem: and he had quite recently explained
it 'in brief compass' in the letter to the Colossians which was
intended to have, in part at least, the same readers as his present
epistle[3].  This special revelation then and accompanying commission
justifies him in particular, and more than any of {123} the other
apostles, in pressing upon his converts the doctrine which forms the
special topic of this epistle.

But to think of his special office as apostle of a catholic society, is
to think also of its extraordinary difficulty.

[Sidenote: _The difficulty of catholicity_]

When we set ourselves in our own later age to rehabilitate the sense of
church membership, we feel at once the strength of the forces against
us; we realize how much the feeling of blood-kinship in the family
counts for, or the wider kinship of national life, or the common
interests of our professions or our classes, compared to the feeble
sense of fellowship which comes from a church membership which is so
largely conventional.  Most assuredly we feel the difficulty of what we
have in hand.  But we cannot feel it more intensely than St. Paul felt
the difficulty involved in the very idea of a human brotherhood in
which national distinctions were obliterated.  After all, the degree of
unity impressed by the Roman Empire upon the different nations it
embraced was superficial.  On the whole it left men to walk in their
own ways.  In particular it did not succeed in breaking down the
barriers of Jewish isolation.  A society in which men should be neither
Jews nor {124} Gentiles, Greeks nor barbarians, bond nor free, but all
should be welded into one manhood by the pressure of a common and
constraining bond of brotherhood--a society in which even the savage
and brutal Scythian should have equal fellowship with Greeks and
Jews[4]--represented what had never yet been accomplished, and what the
most sanguine might reasonably have thought impossible.  The history of
the Church, though not yet much more than thirty years old, had served
already to emphasize the difficulty of the undertaking.  We read the
record of the first Jerusalem Church with its communism of love and
sympathy, and it seems the perfect realization of the Christian spirit
of brotherhood.  So it was, but under comparatively easy conditions.
For all that community were Jews with common traditions, sympathies,
habits, ways of looking at things.  They could behave as brethren, in
the glow of their fresh enthusiasm at finding that the long-expected
kingdom of Christ was now an actual fact, and its triumph to be
immediately expected, without any real bridging of the gulfs which yawn
between different sorts of men.  That these gulfs still remained to be
bridged soon appeared.  It became manifest that {125} Gentiles,
'sinners of the Gentiles,' had to be received into Christian
brotherhood upon equal terms, and without their accepting the Jewish
law and customs.  The Council at Jerusalem attempted a compromise by
requiring of the Gentile converts certain accommodations to Jewish
manners.  But the compromise did not avail to overcome the difficulty.
St. Paul found the centre of opposition to the equal admission of the
Gentiles in that very Church of Jerusalem which had been previously
foremost in the race of love.  In fact, the true difficulty of the law
of brotherhood only then appeared when the obligation to fuse
inveterate national distinctions began to be enforced.  Then indeed
flesh and blood rebelled.  Without going any further than this single
piece of Christian experience, there is every reason why St. John
should warn Christians that the old commandment, 'ye shall love one
another,' is constantly, with every change of circumstance, becoming 'a
new commandment,' involving new difficulties, and challenging afresh
the efforts of the human will[5].  The same difficulty, only in a less
acute form, is in St. Paul's mind, and makes him measure and weigh his
words, when he writes to Philemon {126} to beg him to receive his
former runaway slave, 'no longer as a slave, but as a brother

And we cannot but pause and ask, in view of all the moral discipline
for men of various kinds which St. Paul sees to be involved in the
simple obligation to belong to one Christian body[7],--what would have
been his feelings if he had heard of the doctrine which cuts at the
root of all this discipline by declaring that religion is only
concerned with the relation of the soul to God, and that Christians may
combine as they please in as many religious bodies as suits their
varying tastes?

This difficulty in the very idea of a catholic brotherhood of men
explains the extraordinary earnestness with which St. Paul proceeds to
emphasize that indeed this, and nothing less than this, is the divine
mystery (or 'secret'), which, held back from all eternity in the mind
of God, was only now being disclosed through Christ's consecrated
messengers, and specially through St. Paul himself, the apostle of the
Gentiles.  The incredible nature of the idea clogs St. Paul's language,
and almost makes shipwreck of his grammar.  All the depth of Christian
doctrine is necessary as background {127} to recommend and justify this
otherwise entirely 'supernatural' ideal--this marvellous climax of the
workings and revelations of God.  The spectacle of a catholic
brotherhood, with all that it promises of universal unity beyond
itself, is a lesson even to the angels of what the manifold wisdom of
God can conceive and accomplish.

We have got into a habit of talking about the 'brotherhood of man' as
if it was an easy and obvious truth.  All our experience of our English
relations with races of a different colour to our own, nay, all our
experience of class divisions at home, might have served to check this
easy-going sort of language.  If we will consent to pause and reflect
on the actual difficulty of behaving or feeling as brethren should
behave and feel towards men of other races and of other educations and
habits than our own, we may be more inclined to believe that it is only
through some fundamental eradication of selfishness and inherent
narrowness that it can be made possible; only when we begin to live
from some centre greater than ourselves.  And that is the moral meaning
of the constant doctrine of the New Testament, that only through being
reconciled to God can we be reconciled to one {128} another--only in
Christ that men can permanently and satisfactorily learn to love one
another, when racial and educational and personal antipathies make for
separation and not for unity.

Now perhaps we are in a position to read with greater intelligence what
St. Paul wrote about 'the dispensation of the divine mystery,' i.e.
'the stewardship of the divine secret,' of the brotherhood of all men
in Christ or the catholicity of the Church, which had been committed to
him by the 'revelation' which followed his conversion to Christ[8].

The doctrine of the brotherhood of men is in fact as much a peculiarly
Christian doctrine as that of divine sonship, and both alike are, in
the New Testament language, represented as realized only within the
community of the baptized.  The facts of New Testament language compel
us to say and to recognize this[9].  But {129} we are bound to
recognize also that they are truths which, when they are heard, are
welcomed by the natural conscience everywhere.  For as all men are
'God's offspring[10],' by the very fact of their creation as men, so
they are fitted to receive the privilege of sonship: and as they are
'made of one[11],' so they are fitted to realize the privilege of
brotherhood.  It is but to say the same thing in other words, if we
insist that Christians are the elect body, to realize and express among
men an idea of human nature which is the only true idea, and which,
overlaid and forgotten as it may have been, has never ceased to stir in
man's heart and conscience everywhere.  The elect are elected for no
other purpose than to make manifest what all men are capable of
becoming, and, if they will obey God, are destined to become.

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you
Gentiles,--if so be that ye have heard of the dispensation of that
grace of God which was given me to you-ward; how that by revelation was
made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words, whereby,
when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of
Christ; which in other {130} generations was not made known unto the
sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and
prophets in the Spirit; _to wit_, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs,
and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in
Christ Jesus through the gospel, whereof I was made a minister,
according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according
to the working of his power.  Unto me, who am less than the least of
all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the Gentiles the
unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the
dispensation of the mystery which from all ages hath been hid in God
who created all things; to the intent that now unto the principalities
and the powers in the heavenly _places_ might be made known through the
church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose
which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness
and access in confidence through our faith in him.  Wherefore I ask
that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which are your glory.

There are a few points in this passage which still require explanation.

[Sidenote: _Paul the apostle of catholicity_]

1.  What is St. Paul referring to when he says 'As I wrote afore in few
words whereby, when ye read[12], ye can perceive my understanding in
the mystery of Christ' or (if I may venture to retranslate it) 'as I
wrote before in brief, by {131} comparison with which, as ye read, ye
can perceive my understanding in the secret of the Christ'?  It is
generally supposed that he is referring to the verses in the first
chapter of this epistle (i. 9, 10, &c.), in which he speaks of the
'mystery' or 'secret' of the divine will now disclosed.  But his point
appears to be rather that he had elsewhere written in brief about his
own special commission to preach the Gentile gospel; and the more
probable reference seems to be to the Epistle to the Colossians which
was written almost simultaneously with this epistle, probably just
previously, and was intended to be read at some at least, if not all,
of the same churches as this circular epistle, that is to say at
Laodicea and Colossae at least, and probabfxly more widely.  In that
epistle (i. 25 ff.) he had really dwelt on his special commission in
almost the same terms as here, and comparison with what he said there
would indeed assist those he was now addressing to understand his
knowledge in the 'revealed secret of the Christ.'

2.  How can St. Paul, who insists continually that he is one of the
apostles, call them, without self-complacency, God's holy apostles?
The answer to this is that 'holiness' means 'consecration.'  Any one is
'holy' or a 'saint' (the {132} same word) who is consecrated to God in
any special way.  Such consecration lays upon him an obligation to
moral goodness, which is what we mean by holiness, but it precedes the
fulfilment of the obligation.  All Christians are holy (or 'saints')
because they are Christians, all apostles because they are apostles.
As for St. Paul's personal estimate of himself as an individual, we
have it just below.  In view of his past sins, when he was 'kicking
against the pricks,' and, albeit in ignorance, persecuting the Church,
he calls himself 'less than the least of all the holy.'

3.  St. Paul conceives his function to be to 'make men see,' or 'bring
into the light' a long hidden secret of God now in part disclosed to
the apostles, and to be by them disclosed to the world--in part, for
its contents are still 'unsearchable' in their depth and in the
'manifoldness' of divine wisdom which they imply.  But what is
disclosed is no afterthought of God.  It is an eternal purpose; and it
is all of a piece with the original idea of creation: it is a 'secret
... hidden in God who created all things.'  Redemption in fact
interprets to angels and men what God's purpose in creation originally
was.  To minister to this disclosure is enough for any {133} man.  It
makes all St. Paul's tribulations only such as it is worth while to
bear; and the Gentiles, in their turn, should find their glory in his
tribulations as an evidence of how much he thought it worth while to
suffer in what is their cause no less truly than his.

[Sidenote: St. Paul's second prayer]

Here, as in the first chapter, the consideration of the glory, and
consequently the difficulty, of the gospel which St. Paul has to
deliver leads him off--just at the point where he seems to be resuming
the uncompleted sentence with which he began--into a prayer that the
Asiatic Christians may have strength given them to apprehend the wealth
of their spiritual position and opportunity.  He invokes God as the
universal 'father (_pater_) from whom every family (_patria_)--every
company of men knit together by common relation to one father--is
named,' because this has direct reference to his purpose.  All men
recognize family, or blood relations and obligations.  St. Paul reminds
them that every conceivable society on earth or in heaven which is
bound by the ties of a common fatherhood, derives its 'name' and
therefore its significance from a larger relationship, an all-embracing
relationship of which these lower ones are but shadows--the
relationship to the one Father: {134} and he calls upon the one Father
to strengthen men to transcend all narrownesses of family or blood, and
rise to realize their position in the great family, the great
brotherhood under the one Father.  To do this a strengthening of the
inner man, or inner life, by the divine Spirit is indeed needed.
Christ must be not only possessed by Christians, but realized.  He must
dwell in their hearts by the realizing power of an active personal
faith.  Where this is so--where faith is vigorous--there life must be
rooted and founded on love.  Christian faith involves love.  For it is
faith in a Father and His Son and His Spirit; and love, and nothing but
love, is the gift of the Father in the Son by the Spirit.  This love
then will strengthen them, in the fellowship of the saints or
consecrated ones altogether, to apprehend God's work and purpose in all
its dimensions--breadth and length and depth and height--and to know
Christ's love (which yet passes knowledge and remains unknowable), and
to find their whole being, not as separate individuals, but as one body
praying and working and thinking together, expanded to take in the
fulness of what God is, the full complement of the divine life.  To be
thus enlightened and enlarged is what St. Paul {135} understands by
being a 'good catholic': that is what he prays all these Asiatic
Christians may become.

And his prayer passes into a doxology--an ascription of glory to God
because He is able to realize even what passes our power to conceive or
to ask for; and that without doing more for us than He has already
pledged Himself to do and actually begun to accomplish in us.  And this
glory he would have eternally ascribed to God in the Church which lives
by His life; and also (where alone God can never fail of His full
rights) in Him in whom alone God's life is perfectly realized, and
worship perfectly rendered Him under conditions of manhood, in Jesus
the Christ.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father, from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named, that he would grant you, according to
the riches of his glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through
his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and
length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which
passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we
ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him _be_
the glory in the {136} church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations
for ever and ever.  Amen.

St. Augustine, with his eye on the imperfections of the Church,
speaks[13] of 'the glory of love ... alive but yet frost-bound.  The
root is alive, but the branches are almost dry.  There is a heart alive
within, and within are leaves and fruits; but they are waiting for a
summer.'  That is surely what we feel.  The world cries out for
brotherhood.  We are perpetually explaining that brotherhood can only
become actual, in the long run, where men know themselves to be, and in
fact are, sons of God.  We are continually pointing out that external
legislative social reforms can only effect good where there exists, to
respond to them and to use them, some strength and purity of inward
character: that outward reforms without moral redemption would effect
evil rather than good.  All this is true and it is necessary to explain
it.  But the convincing demonstration begins at that point where
Christianity makes man feel, and see in fact, that it contains in
itself the remedy for social evils, because it has the spirit of love:
where the Church is so actually presented as that men should feel and
know that this is a true human {137} brotherhood.  It is the social,
human, brotherly power of the Church which is what is at the present
moment best calculated to win the consciences and convince the
intellects of men.  But this actual living spirit of self-sacrificing
love--this spirit of real brotherhood--how 'frost-bound' it is!  How
large the area of the Church, how many its institutions, where it is
not (to say the least) the most obvious thing represented!  In fact,
social reform, and that the most thorough and the most permanent,
requires nothing more than that professing Christians should be better
Christians, Christians who really believe what St. Paul and St. John
say about the love of the brethren.  Come then, O breath of the divine
Spirit, and breathe upon these bones of the Christian Church, that they
may live!

And outside the area of nominal Christianity how 'frost-bound' our
evangelizing love.  Surely the Church of England, as part of the
expansive British nation, has an apostleship to the nations comparable
to St. Paul's.  Yet missionary zeal, as directed towards the natives of
India, or Japan, or Africa, is a very restricted thing; noticeably
restricted it must be confessed among those who most love the name of
Catholic: and almost non-existent in the great majority of those who
are {138} yet members of the national Church.  But it cannot be too
deeply felt that to St. Paul the reconciliation of men with God is
inseparable from the reconciliation of man with man.  The atonement
with God that is not an atonement among men he would not own.  A peace
with God that leaves us content that Hindoos and Japanese and Africans
should not be of our religion is a false peace.  A Christian who is not
really in heart and will a missionary is not a Christian at all.
Missionary effort is not a speciality of a few Christians, though, like
every other part of Christian life, it has its special organs.  It is
an essential, never to be forgotten, part of all true Christian living,
and thinking, and praying.

The missionary obligation of the Church depends, no doubt, chiefly on
the command of Christ, 'Go ye and make disciples of all the nations.'
But it is made intelligible when we realize that Christianity is really
a catholic religion, and that only in proportion as its catholicity
becomes a reality is its true power and richness exhibited.  Each new
race which is introduced into the Church not only itself receives the
blessings of our religion, but reacts upon it to bring out new and
unsuspected aspects and {139} beauties of its truth and influence.  It
has been so when Greeks, and Latins, and Teutons, and Kelts, and Slavs
have each in turn been brought into the growing circle of believers.
How impoverished was the exhibition of Christianity which the Jewish
Christians were capable of giving by themselves!  How much of the
treasures of wisdom and power which lie hid in Christ awaited the Greek
intellect, and the Roman spirit of government, and the Teutonic
individuality, and the temper and character of the Kelt and the Slav,
before they could leap into light!  And can we doubt that now again not
only would Indians, and Japanese, and Africans, and Chinamen be the
better for Christianity, but that Christianity would be unspeakably
also the richer for their adhesion--for the gifts which the subtlety of
India, and the grace of Japan, and the silent patience of China are
capable of bringing into the city of God.

Come, then, O breath of the divine Spirit, and breathe upon the dead
bones of the Christian churches that forget that they are evangelists
of the nations, that they may live and stand upon their feet, an
exceeding great army, an army with banners.

[1] Acts xxii. 17-21.  'While I prayed in the temple, I fell into a
trance, and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly
out of Jerusalem....  Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto
the Gentiles.'

[2] Gal. i. 15.  'It was the good pleasure of God, who separated me,
_even_ from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, to
reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles.'

[3] Col. i. 24-29; iv. 3, 4.

[4] Col. iii. 11.

[5] 1 John ii. 7, 8.

[6] Phil. 16.

[7] Eph. iv. 1-3.

[8] Acts xxii. 21; xxvi. 17, 18.

[9] Thus the limitation of the term 'brotherhood' to Christians is
implied in 1 Pet. ii. 17, 'Honour all men.  Love the brotherhood;' and
in 2 Pet. i. 7, 'In your love of the brethren supply love' (i.e. in the
narrower and closer circle of believers, learn the wider and all
embracing attitude towards men as men); and in 1 Cor. v. 11, 'Any man
that is named a brother.'  The word brother is throughout the New
Testament used of _Christians_ only, except where, in the Acts, it is
used by Jews of Jews.  Our Lord's language about brotherhood applies to
the circle of the disciples, except Matt. xxv. 40, 'One of these my
brethren,' i.e. the wretched.

[10] Acts xvii. 28.

[11] Acts xvii. 26.

[12] Dr. Hort thinks 'read' is a technical word for reading the
Scriptures, and that this reading of the Old Testament Scriptures is to
enable them to appreciate St. Paul's 'understanding in the secret of
the Christ.'  But I doubt if so technical a use of 'read' can be made

[13] _In Epist. Joan, ad Parth._ v. 10.


DIVISION I.  § 6.  CHAPTER IV. 1-16.

_The unity of the church._

[Sidenote: _Connexion of thought_]

This Epistle to the Ephesians, viewed as a whole and from the point of
view of a sympathetic intelligence, has a remarkable unity, and a unity
progressively developed.  Thus, first of all, the apostle opened the
imagination of his hearers or readers to consider the place which the
catholic church holds in the divine counsels for the universe, in the
realization of the human ideal, and in the work of redemption from sin
(chap. i and ii).  Then he proceeded to justify and explain his own
activity in the cause of catholicity, and made them feel at once the
glory and the profound difficulty of the ideal of unity in diversity
which it involves (chap. iii).  It follows naturally and logically that
he should set the Church before them as an actually existing
organization, and bid them study it exactly and note the grounds of its
unity and the common end to which its different elements or members
{141} are meant to minister; and this is what he actually does in the
fourth chapter (1-16).  Viewed, however, as a matter of grammatical
structure, it is probable that this passage forms another
digression--the real necessity of the argument acting as an
overmastering motive which pulls contrary to the immediate grammatical
purpose of the writer.  Thus he had begun, at the beginning of chapter
iii, to pass from the doctrinal exposition which is involved in his
opening chapters to practical exhortation.  The Asiatic members of the
catholic church are to be exhorted to live up to their calling: to turn
their backs deliberately on their old heathen habits, and to conform
themselves entirely to the principles of their new state.  To this
exhortation he actually and finally attains at chapter iv. 17.  The
intervening passage (a chapter and a half) is occupied, first, with the
digression which we have just considered at length, about St. Paul's
mission to the Gentiles and the difficulty of its realization, and with
the great prayer which that topic suggests (chap. iii); secondly, with
another digression on the character of the unity of the Church.  This
is, I say, probably the case grammatically.  For 'I, Paul, the prisoner
of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles' (iii. 1) is almost {142} unmistakably
intended to introduce a moral appeal to which his imprisonment for the
sake of those to whom he writes adds weight and force[1].  It is taken
up, after a digression, in iv. i, 'I, therefore, the prisoner of the
Lord, beseech you to walk worthily'; but the appeal there begun yields
anew to the necessity of further exposition, and only reaches its free
expression in iv. 17, 'This therefore I say and testify in the Lord';
after which point we have moral exhortation and little else.

Now, therefore, we are to occupy ourselves with what is grammatically a
second digression, but logically and really a most necessary step in
the exposition of St. Paul's thoughts--the subject of the unity of the
church catholic, its nature and obligations.  Conscious of the profound
difficulty of welding naturally antagonistic elements, such as Jews and
Gentiles, slaves and free men, into one catholic fellowship, St. Paul
appeals to the Asiatic churches with all the force which he can command
as a prisoner on their account, to 'walk' as their catholic calling
{143} involves; that is, to exhibit all those moral qualities which are
necessary to maintain peace under difficult circumstance--a modest
estimate of oneself (humility or 'lowliness'), a mildness in mutual
relations ('meekness'), an habitual refusal to pass quick judgements on
what one cannot but condemn or dislike ('longsuffering'), a deliberate
forbearance one of another based on love.  They are to accept one
another as brethren, with the rights of brethren.  And the reason why
they should exhibit these qualities is not far to seek: they actually
share one common supernatural life--the imparted life of the
Spirit--and they are, therefore, to make it their deliberate object to
preserve this actual spiritual unity in its appropriate outward
expression, that is in harmonious fellowship,--'giving diligence to
keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'

[Sidenote: _The unity of the church_]

But at this point the idea of the unity of the Church is felt to need
fuller exposition.  In what sense are Christians one?  They are one as
_one body_ or organization, made up no doubt of a multitude of
differing individual members, but all bound into one, under Christ for
their head, by the fact that the _one Spirit_, which is Christ's
supreme gift, is imparted to the whole {144} organization and every
member of it: and this common corporate life, where the elements are so
different, is made possible by the _one hope_ reaching forward into an
eternal world, which was set before them all when they received their
call into the body of Christ.  This should be enough to annihilate
lower and shorter-lived differences.  'There is one body[2] and one
spirit even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.'  It follows
from this that there is another threefold unity.  For the existence of
the common head involves a common _allegiance to Him as Lord_, an
allegiance which is justified by what He is _believed to be_ by all
Christians; an allegiance, further, which is more than an outward
fealty, being cemented by an actual incorporation into His life which
takes place through the speaking symbol of the _laver of
regeneration_[3].  'One Lord, one faith, one baptism.'  But once more.
This common union with and under Christ in the Spirit, is not anything
less than union with _the one and only God and Father_, who is _over
all_ as the one head (even 'the head of Christ is God'), _through all_
as the pervading presence, _in all_ as the active {145} life, 'one God
and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all things.'
Thus their unity is the deepest and most ultimate conceivable: it has a
width and range from which no one can be excluded: while it has a
closeness and cogency like the unity of blood.

To realize what this unity is and may be, involves on our part a
continual looking out of ourselves, out of all individual, social and
national differences, up to the common source of all the gifts of all
Christians.  Whatever each one possesses is simply the gift of the
divine bounty or grace, given to him by a definite act of bestowal,
varying merely in kind and degree according to the sovereign will of
Christ the Lord, the only giver; and it is therefore to be used in His
service and for His ends.  The Psalmist had sung of the divine king of
Israel mounting as an earthly conqueror unto his sanctuary throne in
Zion after making captives and receiving gifts from among his enemies
without exception.

  'Thou hast gone up into the heights,
  Thou hast led captives captive;
  Thou hast received gifts among men, yea from the rebellious also[4].'

It stands to reason that to St. Paul's mind this {146} conception is
realized nowhere but in Christ.  Its application to Christ is in fact
assumed--'therefore,' i.e. with a view to Christ, 'he' or rather 'it,'
the Scripture 'saith'--and the passage is given free interpretation,
and, more than this, free modification, on the basis of this
assumption.  For (1) the ascension of the conquering king is spoken of
as the result of a previous descent to the 'lower regions of this earth
of ours[5].'  No man, as St. John says, hath ascended up to heaven but
He that came down from heaven.  The person who 'beggared himself' to
come down to our earth and who subsequently mounted into the divine
glory is one and the same person, Christ the incarnate Son; and He thus
descended and re-ascended in order that He might, through the atonement
wrought by Him in the flesh and through the exaltation which rewarded
it, restore to the universe that unity of which sin and rebellion had
robbed it, and 'fill all things' once again with the divine bounty and


(2) The sense of the psalm is--possibly not without Jewish
precedent[7]--altered in expression so that, instead of the conqueror
receiving gifts from men, his conquered enemies, we have him
represented as 'giving gifts to men.'  This modification, whether
original in St. Paul or accepted by him, is no doubt due to the fact
that his mind is full of the idea of Christ as conquering only to
bless, receiving homage only to be enabled to bestow on them who offer
it the fulness of the divine bounty.  And the 'captives' of Christ, to
St. Paul's mind, are no doubt not men, but the hosts of Satan reduced
to impotence.  The exalted Christ, then, is the source of all gifts in
His Church, and He bestows on men various endowments in such a way as
to maintain among them a necessary relation.  'No member of the body of
Christ is endued with such perfection as to be able, without the
assistance of others, to supply his own necessities.  A certain
proportion is allotted to each, and it is only by communicating with
others that all enjoy what is sufficient for maintaining their
respective places in the body[8].'  This is the principle of mutual
dependence, the fundamental principle of corporate life.  Thus 'He gave
{148} some as apostles, some prophets,' others in other varying
capacities to fulfil varying functions; the principle of the bestowal
being the same throughout.  Each 'gifted' individual becomes himself a
gift to the Church.  He is 'gifted' not for his own sake but for the
Church's sake--'with a view to the perfecting of the saints,' or 'the
complete equipment of the consecrated body,' for the manifold 'work of
ministry' entrusted to it; or to look at the matter from a rather
different point of view, 'for the purpose of completing the structure
of the body of Christ'--that living company of men in whom Christ
expresses Himself and through whom He acts upon the world.  And that
structure is not complete till all together attain what is impossible
to any isolated Christian individual, the unity not only of a common
faith, but also of a common knowledge of what is revealed in the Son of
God; or, in other words, to the full-grown manhood; which, once again,
means that complete developement in which the fulness of the
Christ--all the complete array of His attributes and qualities--finds
harmonious exhibition over again in His people, His body.

But the possibility of this completeness on the part of the Church as a
whole, depends on the {149} stability of the individual members in the
common faith.  Thus it is Christ's purpose that His members should
cease to be as children, stirred up like the waves of the sea, or
carried about like feathers, by every wind of false teaching.  There
is, it must be remembered, a kingdom of deception, an organized attempt
to seduce souls, of which wicked men make themselves the instruments.
In view of this hostile kingdom of error, the Christians must abide in
the truth revealed to them in love, and so grow up into the completed
life of Christ.  For He is the head, and in Him they are the body.  And
the body is a unit of many parts fitted and held together in one life
by a supply from the head, which circulates through every joint, and
for the full and unimpeded communication of which each several limb
must do its proper work, so that the whole body may grow into completed
life in that mutual coherence which is Christian love.

This prolonged paraphrase may serve to bring out the innumerable points
of interest in that rich passage in which St. Paul as it were gives the
reins to his imagination and his feelings in order to describe the
glory of the unity of the Church.

{150} I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk
worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness
and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
_There_ is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one
hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and
Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.  But unto
each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the gift
of Christ.  Wherefore he saith,

  When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive,
  And gave gifts unto men.

(Now this, He ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the
lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that
ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
And he gave some _to be_ apostles; and some, prophets; and some
evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the
saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body
of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of
the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we may be no longer
children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of
doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of
error; but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him,
which is the head, _even_ Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed
and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according
to the working in _due_ measure of each several part, maketh the
increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.


In this great conception of church unity there are several points to
which special attention must be given.


The Church is one, first of all, because a common inward life, the
Spirit, from a common source, Christ, flows in her veins and makes her
to be one body.  What is this 'unity of Spirit?' says Chrysostom.  'As
in a body it is spirit which holds all together, and makes that to be a
unity which consists of different limbs, so it is in the Church.  For
the Spirit was given for this purpose that He might unify those who
differ in race and variety of habits.'  This inward life is no doubt,
as we shall see, imparted, maintained and perfected through outward
means or institutions--baptism, the eucharist, human offices and
ministries; but none the less it is the inward life which makes the
Church one.  So that her unity is like the unity of a family or a race,
a unity of blood and life which exists in spite of all outward
differences: and not like such a unity as is produced by outward
government, as, for example, Armenians, Syrians, Kurds, and Turks make
up the unity of the Turkish empire, or Englishmen and Frenchmen the
Dominion of {152} Canada.  The unity of the Christian Church is thus a
unity which ought to express itself in 'the bond of peace,' but which
does not consist in that, any more than the unity of a family consists
in the affection and sympathy which yet brothers ought to have one to
another.  This Pauline idea of church unity--which is the idea also of
the New Testament as a whole--constantly finds expression in early
Christian writings, but one particular expression of it may be cited.
Hilary of Poitiers, in argument with the Arians, is confronted with the
position that the phrase 'I and my Father are one' means only one in
will, not one in nature, like the phrase used of the Church, 'one heart
and soul.'  He refutes the argument by urging that, in the latter case
also, what is referred to is not a unity of wills but of nature:
believers are 'one thing through a new birth into the same (new)
nature.'  'Ye are all one,' says St. Paul, 'in Christ Jesus.'  'The
apostle teaches that this unity of the faithful comes from the nature
of the sacraments....  What then can concord of minds have to do with a
case where men are already made one by being clothed with one Christ
through the nature of one baptism?[9]'  This passage gives {153} a
striking view of what ultimately constitutes church unity.

It is necessary to call attention to this position because the great
Roman church, which occupies so large a space in the whole area of the
church, and impresses its ideas so powerfully upon men's imagination,
has perverted this idea of church unity by a one-sided emphasis on
unity of government.  I find a typical modern Roman statement in Dr.
Hunter's _Outlines of Dogmatic Theology_[10]: 'The Church has a
principle of oneness which joins the members together, and
distinguishes the society from a mere aggregate of unconnected units.
The members are associated in order that, believing the revelation that
God has given, and using the means of grace which He has provided,
under the direction of the governors who have their authority from Him,
they may attain the end of their being, the salvation of their souls.
In other words, the unity which the Church must have includes the unity
of faith, unity of worship, and unity of government.'  Here we have
church unity described as an outward association of individuals to
attain a certain end by submitting to a common authority in matters of
belief and worship.  The {154} unity of spiritual life which St. Paul
and St. Hilary put distinctly first, becomes secondary or subordinate.
It is not even specified among the three chief elements of unity.  But
it makes the greatest possible difference whether you say 'the Church
is one because all baptized persons share a common life in Christ, and
ought therefore to behave as "one body,"' or 'the Church is one by
submitting to a common authority in belief, worship, and government.'
The second is the Roman, the first is the apostolic statement.


Once more, St. Paul's idea of the unity of the Church forbids us to
conceive of it as complete in this world.  Each particular church with
its own organization has a certain relative completeness, but it gains
all its meaning and life through fellowship in the body of Christ--the
whole society of men who, having Christ for their head, live in the
unity of a life derived from Him.  The head of the body is out of
sight.  So also are the members of the body who 'are fallen asleep' but
are still 'in Jesus[11].'  It is, so to speak--and increasingly as
history goes {155} on--only the lower limbs of the body who are on the
earth at any particular moment.  And they find their centre of unity at
no lower point than Christ, the unseen head.  This idea is vigorously
expressed by St. Augustine[12]: 'Since the whole Church is made up of
the head and the body, the head is our Saviour Himself, who suffered
under Pontius Pilate, who now, after He has risen from the dead, sits
at the right hand of God; but the body is the Church--not this church
or that, but the Church scattered over all the world; nor is it that
only which exists among men now living; but they also belong to it who
were before us and are to be after us to the end of the world.  For the
whole Church, made up of all the faithful, because all the faithful are
members of Christ, has its head situate in the heavens which governs
this body: though it is separated from their sight, yet it is bound to
them by love."

Now it is obvious that this Pauline and Augustinian idea of church
unity excludes, instead of suggesting, the Roman method of arguing for
the papacy from the necessity that a body must have a head.  An
association of men in this world, such as the Church on earth {156}
is--a 'body of men' in this sense--may be governed in any of the
various ways in which human societies are governed, not by any means
necessarily by a monarch[13].  In this sense a body need not have a
single head; or it can be ruled by a president in a council of equals.
But in St. Paul's sense, the Church as a body must have a head, and
that head can be none other than Christ, because, according to his
spiritual physiology, from its head the Church receives its continually
inflowing life; and because the body is not completely, but only
partially, in this world, and the head must be over all the members,
and not only over some.


But if the unity of the Church, as St. Paul expounds it, is before all
else a unity of life, it is as well a unity in the truth.  It is a
unity based on belief in a divine revelation, given in the person of
Christ--based on the common confession that Jesus crucified and risen
is Christ and Lord[14].  To say that 'Jesus is the Lord' {157} involves
further--what is implied in this passage of the Epistle to the
Ephesians--the confession of the threefold name--the 'one God and
Father,' the 'one Lord' Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the 'one Spirit'
which is His gift; and there can be no real question that St. Paul's
language constantly involves that the Son and Spirit are with the
Father really personal, and really divine, included, so to speak, in
the one only eternal Godhead.  A creed then is at the basis of the
Christian life--a creed which finds its best expression and safeguard
in the formulated doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation.  There
is no reason to think that St. Paul, if the situation of the later
Church could have been made plain to him, would have shrunk from these
dogmatic safeguards of the Church's central faith.

But if we grant--what cannot really with any show of reason be
denied--that the Church is a visible organization based on a certain
revealed truth, which must be accepted by its members, and which admits
of being formulated in order to be preserved; still this truth may be
advanced and defended mainly by one of two methods--that of external
regulative authority, or that of appeal to principles, discussion,
controversy, {158} exhortation.  And it can hardly be denied that St.
Paul prefers the latter.  Sharp appeals to authority are indeed to be
found in St. Paul[15], but they are very rare.  For example, in none of
his epistles against the Judaizers is the authority of the apostolic
decision, as to what might and what might not be required of the
Gentile Christians 'in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia[16],' brought into
requisition; though that decision 'settled the question.'  He prefers
to prove that 'circumcision is nothing.'  This may be in part accounted
for by St. Paul's refusal to admit that his own apostolic authority
needed the support of the twelve, and by the limited area to which the
decision was addressed; but there is another reason as well.  For he
plainly, as all his epistles show, prefers to appeal not to authority
at all but to the spiritual reason; to expound principles, to argue, to
awaken the heart, conscience, and mind of Christians.  It must be
admitted that there is very little in St. Paul's epistles about
differences of doctrinal views among Christians as distinct from
differences in practices.  Yet there is enough--as in the vigorous
passage about the 'regarding of one {159} day above another[17]'--to
justify the belief that he would not have viewed with any disapproval
the existence in the Church of tolerated differences of opinion where
they did not touch the basis of the Church's life.  Such differences of
view are hardly separable from what St. Paul glories in--a unity which
is consistent with great variety of gifts and character, and great
freedom.  It is unity in variety which he has as his ideal, such a
unity as is always characteristic of a unity of life, like that of
nature or of a free people; or a unity, again, like that of a great
Gothic Church, or of the Bible.

It is quite certain that St. Paul would have deprecated that 'short and
easy' method of promoting unity which has constant recourse to the
external pressure of dogma and authority.


It follows naturally from what has been just said, that St. Paul should
look not so much to ecclesiastical enactments as to a right Christian
temper for preserving outward unity.  'Making it your moral effort,' so
we may paraphrase his exhortation to the Asiatic Christians, 'by means
{160} of the virtues which I have just specified of humility, meekness,
long-suffering, and forbearance, to maintain the unity of the Spirit in
the bond of Christian peace.'  The New Testament view of heresy (a
self-willed separatism), or schism, is that it is a violation of
charity and peace in the interests of pride and impatience and
self-will.  It is men like 'Diotrephes who loveth to have the
pre-eminence,' who violate it.  In fact it is written in history that
the ecclesiastical schisms of the past have been due mainly either to
the impatience and wilfulness of would-be reformers, from Tertullian
downwards, or to the arrogance and love of domination in rival
individuals or rival sees.

'Nothing,' says Chrysostom on this passage, 'will have power to divide
the Church so much as the love of authority, and nothing provokes God
so much as that the Church should be divided.  We may have done ten
thousand good actions, but if we rend the fulness of the Church, we
shall suffer punishment with those who rent His body.'

From this point of view we may find an interesting parallel to this
exhortation of St. Paul in a passage of Plato's _Laws_, which is, I
believe, one of the few passages in pre-Christian writings where the
virtue of humility is recognized.  {161} 'God, as the old tradition
declares, holding in His hand the beginning, middle, and end of all
that is, moves according to His nature in a straight line towards the
accomplishment of His end.  Justice always follows Him, and is the
punisher of those who fall short of the divine law.  To that law he who
would be happy holds fast, and follows it in all humility and order;
but he who is lifted up with pride, or money, or honour, or beauty, who
has a soul hot with folly and guilt and insolence, and thinks that he
has no need of a guide and ruler, but is able himself to be the guide
of others, he, I say, is left deserted of God; and being thus deserted,
he takes to him others who are like himself, and dances about in wild
confusion; and many think that he is a great man, but in a short time
he pays a penalty which justice cannot but approve, and is utterly
destroyed, and his family and city with him.'

From the point of view of the moral duty of preserving ecclesiastical
unity, it is quite clear that the guilt of Christians has been
exceedingly great, and also that it has been very widely diffused.  The
amount of ambition, insolence, and impatience in the Church has, in
fact, been so vast that it remains no longer a matter {162} for
astonishment that it should have made the havoc that it has made in the
divine household, and should have thwarted, as it has thwarted, the
divine intention.  But the recognition of this fact lays on us the duty
of meditating continually on the divine intention, and by all that lies
in our power, by prayer and by every other means, to restore the
recognition of the divine principle of unity whether in the narrower or
the wider circle of church life.

It is not too much to say that the now popular principle of the free
voluntary association of Christians in societies organized to suit
varying phases of taste, is destructive of the moral discipline
intended for us.  It was the obligation to belong to one body which was
intended as the restraint on the prejudices and eccentricities of race,
classes and individuals.  If Greeks, Italians, and Englishmen are to be
content to belong to different churches; if among ourselves we are to
have one church for the well-to-do, and another for 'labour'; if any
individual who is offended in one church is to be free to go off to
another where he or she likes the minister better--where does the need
come in for the forbearance and long-suffering and humility on which
St. Paul {163} insists as the necessary virtues of the one body?  We,
Christians but not in one brotherhood, may not be able to agree at
present among ourselves as to the proper basis of ecclesiastical unity,
but we ought to be able to agree that, somehow or other, Christians are
intended by Christ and by the apostle to be one body, and that the
wilful violation of outward unity is truly a refusal of the yoke of

And a great step would have been taken towards rendering the recovery
of ecclesiastical unity more easy if those who recognize the obligation
of the principle could be brought to perceive that true Catholicism
really requires a large measure of toleration and a deliberate
reasonableness.  At present it is not too much to say that the idea of
the obligation of ecclesiastical unity is widely associated with an
emphasis on ecclesiastical and dogmatic authority such as is utterly
alien to the mind of the apostle of Catholicism.


In what has been said above we have been attending chiefly to the
restraints which St. Paul's idea of church unity appears to set upon
what are commonly known as 'ecclesiastical tendencies.' {164} Now it is
time to emphasize the other side of the representation.  For without a
strongly engrained prejudice, there is not, it seems to the present
writer, any possibility of doubting that St. Paul meant by 'the Church'
in general, a society visible and organized, represented by a number of
visible and organized local societies or churches[18].  The Church is
in fact ideal in its spiritual character, but not one bit the less an
association of human beings, a society with quite definite limits,
ties, and obligations.  For, to begin with, the 'one baptism' which
conveyed the spiritual gift of incorporation into Christ was also the
initiation into an actual brotherhood, with its rules of conduct,
worship, and belief: 'we were all baptized into one body[19].'  The
'one Spirit' was normally bestowed by the 'laying on of' apostolic
'hands'--that is, the hands of the chief governors of the Christian
corporation.  This rite followed upon and completed baptism, and its
administration had {165} been one of St. Paul's first ministerial acts
after he began his preaching at Ephesus[20].  Again, 'the breaking of
the bread' or eucharist, according to St. Paul's teaching, both
nourished the life of Christ in the Church, as being the communion of
His body and blood, and also, in the 'one loaf,' symbolized its outward
corporate unity[21].

Thus the bestowal of gifts of grace through outward rites, which
belonged to the corporate life of a society, insured that a Christian
should be no isolated and independent individual.  More than this, the
necessary dependence of each individual Christian upon the one
organized society is made further evident by the existence of
spiritually endowed officers of the society who were as 'the more
honourable limbs of the body'--'some apostles, some prophets, some
evangelists, some pastors and teachers'--without whom the body would
have lacked its divinely-given equipment for ministry and edification.
These were not merely more or less gifted or (as we say) talented
individuals who undertook particular sorts of work on their own
initiative, or by the invitation of any group of Christian individuals.
We find that the apostles at least were a definite {166} body of men
who had received special commission from Christ Himself to govern His
Church[22].  The Christian 'prophets' were men of special supernatural
endowment, to know and declare God's will, and foretell His purposes.
They ranked after the apostles in virtue of their prophetic gift[23].
But even they were to be restrained by the exigencies of church order.
'The spirits of the prophets are subject unto the prophets; for God is
not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the
saints.'  Next to the prophets, St. Paul specifies the 'evangelists.'
They were no doubt, as their name implies, officers engaged with the
apostles in the general work of spreading the gospel, that is of
founding and organizing churches.  Timothy, who is exhorted to 'do the
work of an evangelist[24],' would probably have ranked amongst them;
and if so, Titus and other similar companions and delegates of
apostles.  At any rate, by whatever name they were called, such men
belonged to {167} the specially 'gifted' class, if we may judge by the
case of Timothy.  But he, though marked out by prophecy, received his
'gift,' as a church officer, with the laying on of the hands of a whole
presbytery, while the hands of the apostle himself were the divine
instruments for imparting the gift to him[25].  The 'pastors and
teachers'--one class of men and not two--are, we may say certainly,
identical with the presbyters or 'bishops' as they were called by St.
Paul at Ephesus; and these again were men of spiritual endowment, but
also local church officers who had received a definite apostolic
appointment[26], and there is no reason to doubt by laying on of hands.
Thus the Church, as St. Paul conceives it, is a body differentiated by
varieties of spiritual endowments imparted to definite officers, for
the fulfilment of functions necessary to the life and development of
the whole body.  Thus the outward unity of the {168} society at any
particular moment, and the necessary connexion of each individual
Christian with it, is secured both by the existence of social
sacraments or means of grace, and by the existence of a ministry
spiritually endowed and commissioned, to whom individual Christians
owed allegiance, and who ranked as the more honourable limbs of that
body to which they must belong if they would belong to Christ.


St. Paul is not here thinking of the unity of the Church otherwise than
at a particular moment.  But if one turns one's attention to its
continuous unity down the ages, again it must be recognized that one
main link of unity has been in fact the apostolic succession of the
ministry; that is the permanence in the Church of a spiritually-endowed
'stewardship of divine mysteries' received continually by the original
method of the laying on of hands in succession from apostolic men.  The
necessity for each individual Christian to remain in relation to these
commissioned stewards if he wishes to continue to be of the divine
household, has kept men together in one body.  And any one who looks at
St. Paul's method of imparting spiritual authority {169} and office to
Timothy and Titus, and directing them in their turn to hand it on by
ordaining others, can scarcely doubt that he contemplated the
institution in the Church of a permanent ministry deriving its
authority from above.

How, in fact, did the later church ministry connect itself with that
which we find existing in the apostolic age?  The apostolic ministry
divides itself broadly into the general and the local.  There are
'ministers' or 'stewards' who are officers of the church catholic and
have a general commission.  Such general commission belonged, of
course, to the apostles, though mutual delimitations were arranged
among themselves and though St. James, who ranked with the apostles,
was settled at Jerusalem.  It belonged also, more or less, to
'evangelists' and other 'apostolic men,' who, however, might be
temporarily located in particular churches and districts, like Timothy
in Ephesus, and Titus in Crete.  It belonged also to the prophets, who
would have been recognized as men inspired of God in all the churches,
and who in the subapostolic age are found in some districts exercising
functions like those of the apostles in the first age.  The local
officers, on the other hand, were the presbyters, who are called also
bishops, and the {170} deacons.  With this earliest state of things in
our mind, we shall perceive that where an apostle or apostolic man was
permanently resident in one particular church, a threefold ministry,
like that of later church history already existed.  So it was at
Jerusalem where the presbyters and deacons were presided over by St.
James.  So it was in Crete under Titus, and in Ephesus under Timothy.
So it was a few decades later in all the churches of Asia as organized
by St. John.  In other parts of the world the exact method by which the
ministry developed is a matter of much dispute.  But it seems to the
present writer most probable that everywhere the threefold ministry
came into existence by (1) a change of arrangement, and (2) a change of
name.  (1) The change of arrangement was the establishment in each
local church of a prophet, or one, like Timothy or Titus, who had been
ordained to quasi-apostolic office by an apostle or man of apostolic
rank; such a change taking place first at the greatest centres, and
then in lesser cities.  (2) The change of name was the appropriation to
this now localized ruler of the title of bishop or 'overseer' which had
hitherto appertained more or less to the presbyters generally.


But in any case it is certain that the developement of the ministry
occurred on the principle of the apostolic succession.  Those who were
to be ministers were the elect of the church in which they were to
minister: but they were authoritatively ordained to their office from
above, and by succession from the apostolic men.  And such a principle
of ministerial authority appears to be not only historical, but also
most rational.  For a continuous corporate unity was to be maintained
in a society which, as being catholic, must lack all such natural links
of connexion as are afforded by a common language or common race.  And
how could such continuous corporate unity have been so well secured as
by a succession of persons whose function should be to maintain a
tradition, and whose ministerial authority should make them necessary
centres of the unity?

[1] And not as Dr. Robertson (Smith's _Dict. of Bible_, ed. ii. vol. i.
pt. ii. p. 951) suggests, to introduce a prayer to God, which is
resumed in iii. 14.  The 'For this cause' which is repeated in iii. 14
is not nearly so significant as 'the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you
Gentiles,' which is taken up again in iv. 1.

[2] I have interpreted this word in the light of what is said in verse

[3] Tit. iii. 5.

[4] Ps. lxviii. 18 (Delitzsch).

[5] I do not think St. Paul need refer to the descent into Hades.  'The
lower parts of the earth,' Is. xliv. 23, may also refer not to Hades
(see Delitzsch _in loco_) but to 'the earth beneath.'

[6] The 'filling all things' is, in the epistles to the Ephesians and
Colossians, the characteristic action of the exalted Christ and the
result of the reconciliation and atonement won.  Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 24-28,
'That God may be all in all.'

[7] See Delitzsch's and Perowne's notes.

[8] Calvin, _in loc._

[9] Hil. _de Trin._ viii. 7-9.  The last sentence is condensed.

[10] Vol. i. p. 317 (Longmans, 1895).

[11] 1 Thess. iv. 14.

[12] _In Ps._ lvi. i.

[13] It is one very noticeable feature of the recent Encyclical of Leo
XIII on the Unity of the Church ('satis cognitum') that it assumes that
'only a despotic monarch can secure to any society unity and strength.'

[14] Romans x. 9.

[15] For example, see Gal. i. 6-9.

[16] Acts xv. 23-29.

[17] Romans xiv. 56; cf. Phil. iii. 15-16.

[18] Cf. Hort, _Ecclesia_, p. 169, who brings out that _all_ members of
the local churches, better and worse, are regarded as members of the
universal Church.  'There is no evidence that St. Paul regarded
membership of the universal Church as invisible and exclusively
spiritual, and shared by only a limited number of the members of the
external Ecclesiae.'  See also app. note E, p. 267.

[19] 1 Cor. xii. 13.

[20] Acts xix. 1-7.

[21] 1 Cor. x. 16, 17.

[22] See app. note E, p. 269.

[23] In ii. 20 and iii. 5, 'Apostles and prophets' are spoken of
together almost as one class included under one definite article.  And
of course the apostle Paul remained also, what he is first called, a
prophet (Acts xiii. i).  Apostles were also prophets; but not all
prophets were apostles.  They can be, therefore, grouped apart as they
are here (iv. 11).

[24] 2 Tim. iv. 5.

[25] 1 Tim. iv. 14; 2 Tim. i. 6.

[26] Acts xiv. 23.  This is interpreted by the phrase (Acts xx. 28)
'The Holy Ghost made you bishops.'  Cf. Titus i. 5, 'I left thee ... to
appoint elders in every city....  For the bishop must be blameless.'  I
assume here the _practical_ identity of bishops and presbyters, as Acts
xx. 28, Tit. i. 5-7, Acts xiv. 23 (with Phil. i. 1) seem to require.
But 'the presbyters' or the 'presbyterate' was the more general name
for the governing body of a church, and an apostle can therefore call
himself a presbyter or include himself in the presbyterate (1 Peter v.
1; 1 Tim. iv. 14), whereas he would hardly call himself a 'bishop.'



_Doctrine and conduct._

[Sidenote: _Doctrine and conduct_]

Here the apostle, with a final 'therefore,' resuming the 'therefore' of
IV. i, passes without further delay to the entirely practical portion
of the epistle.

These 'therefores' are characteristic of St. Paul.  They indicate his
deep sense of the vital and necessary connexion between the Christian
mode of living and the doctrines of Christian belief.  Christian belief
is a mould fashioning human conduct by a constant and uniform pressure
into a characteristic type, or a set of forces urging it along certain
lines of movement.  Thus when some point of Christian belief has been
expounded there follows a 'therefore' indicating the inevitable moral
consequence of such belief where it is intelligently and voluntarily
held.  Of course the consequence does not follow of mechanical
necessity.  The doctrine acts by an appeal to the will.  'I beseech you
{173} therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God'--so St. Paul makes
his appeal to the Romans, when he had given them his great exposition
of the doctrines of grace and justification[1].  When he has expounded
the doctrine of the resurrection to the Corinthians[2], he
concludes--'_Therefore_, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,' &c.  The
doctrine of the Epistle to the Colossians leads to two conclusions:
'mortify _therefore_' and 'put on _therefore_, as God's elect, holy and
beloved, a heart of compassion[3].'  The Epistle to the Hebrews
contains similar moral appeals based on dogmatic statements.
'_Therefore_ let us give the more earnest heed.'  'Having _therefore_,
brethren, boldness by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true
heart.'  '_Therefore_ let us lay aside every weight[4].'  These
'therefores,' I say, indicate a fundamental characteristic of
Christianity: it is a manner of living based upon a disclosure of
divine truth about God and His will, about man's nature and his sin,
about God's redemptive action and its methods and intentions.

Among ourselves to-day we hear frequently enough disparaging reference
to theological {174} doctrine whether as a subject for study or for
definite instruction.  Theological dogmas are alluded to as things
remote from the ordinary concerns of men and associated with the
jarring interests of different religious bodies or of their clergy,
with 'denominationalism' or 'sacerdotalism[5].'  This idea has been due
in great measure no doubt to faults in theologians and priests.  But it
is none the less absurd, when it is seriously considered.  If those
whose lives have given the most shining examples of practical
Christianity in all ages were cross-questioned, it would be found that
the overwhelming majority would, in all simplicity, attribute what was
good in their life to their definite beliefs.  Indeed, it is self
evident that it must have a practically vast effect on a man's conduct
whether, for instance, he really believes that his own and other men's
lives, after some seventy years of probation in this world, pass under
divine judgement, only to enter into new and eternal conditions where
they will inevitably reap the fruits of their previous careers.  {175}
It must make a vital difference whether he believes that the world is
the expression of blind force or of the will of a living, loving, God;
whether or no he believes that God personally cares for each
individual: whether or no he believes that God's interest in the world
was such as to move Him to redeem it, by the sacrifice of Himself, from
the tyranny of sin: whether he believes in divine forgiveness and God's
indwelling by His Spirit: whether he believes in a divine brotherhood
and divine means of grace in a household of God in the world.  In fact,
if the practical ethics of India and China, or the Turkish Empire and
Morocco, are considered side by side with those of Christian Europe, it
is impossible to resist the conviction that men's behaviour depends in
the long run on what they believe about God.

This obvious conclusion is, in part, veiled from our eyes by two facts.
One is that logic works slowly in human life.  Take a transverse
section of humanity at any particular moment, and it appears a mass of
inconsistencies.  It might almost suggest that there is no connexion at
all between belief and practice.  But the same appearance is not
presented by human life in its long reaches.  There you see how, in the
{176} slow result, an alteration of belief involves an alteration of
practice.  Thus to take an example: at present our social conscience
about the obligations of marriage, or about personal purity, or about
suicide, unsatisfactory as it may appear to be to an earnest Christian,
is still saturated with Christian sentiment which is the result of a
prolonged impression left by Christian doctrine.  If the doctrine were
to pass out of the minds of Englishmen in general, after a generation
or two there would be a weakening or destruction of the corresponding
sentiment, and an abolition of what is at present an obstacle to the
reign of sensual or selfish desires.  But it takes some generations for
the effect of any weakening of belief to make itself felt.

There is another fact which veils from the eyes of people in general
the real connexion between morals and doctrine.  It is that it is
largely mediate or indirect.  The moral standard of the 'average man'
is, unconsciously, kept up by the morals of the best men and women.
For social opinion is with the majority the force which mainly
influences their practice, and social opinion depends largely on
leaders.  'It is when the best men cease trying that the world sinks
back like lead.'  Let anything {177} happen which should silence the
moral effort of the best individuals, and disaster would be imminent.
But this is exactly what would be the result if the best men and women
were to cease to be Christian believers.  It is the highest level of
our common life that would be depressed.  The result all round would be
indirect, but it would be widespread and disastrous.

I do not mean, or think, that this weakening of religious belief in the
best men and women is occurring.  I only instance its morally certain
results to make apparent how the general bearing of religious beliefs
on social practice is, in one way, veiled by its indirectness.

But to St. Paul all this is self-evident.  He sees quite clearly that
Christianity is to be a new life, a new social and ethical
manifestation in the world, because Christians believe that God has
made plain to them in Jesus Christ His character, nature, and
redemptive purposes, and has given, by His Spirit, a practical power to
their wills to correspond with the truth revealed to their
intelligences and hearts.

So he proceeds from his exposition of the great doctrines of the Church
of the Redemption to its practical moral consequences.

[1] Rom. xii. 1.

[2] 1 Cor. xv. 58.

[3] Col. iii. 5, 12.

[4] Heb. ii. 1; x. 19; xii. 1.

[5] An interesting expression of this sort of feeling is to be found in
George Crabbe's poem, _The Library_.  On the whole we must have
improved since his day in our perception of the connexion of Christian
doctrine with Christian practice.


DIVISION II.  § 1.  CHAPTER IV. 17-24.

_Christianity a new life._

[Sidenote: _New life in Christ_]

The characteristic words of St. Paul's gospel--grace, forgiveness,
mercy, liberty, justification by faith not by works--may naturally,
when taken by themselves and isolated from their context, lead to a
false thought of God as morally 'easy going,' and to a corrupt laxity
of conduct.  Such a result has shown itself within the area of modern
history in the antinomianism of some Protestant bodies.  But long
before the Reformation St. Paul's words were 'wrested by the ignorant
and unstedfast to their own destruction[1].'  It was probably a
misunderstanding of St. Paul's doctrine of justification by faith which
called forth the protest of St. James' epistle.  And indeed the traces
of this tendency to pervert the gospel are apparent enough in {179} St.
Paul's own epistles.  Divine grace, it was even argued, can better show
its largeness if we afford it an opportunity by the abundance of our
sin.  'Let us continue in sin that grace may abound.'  To this
monstrous suggestion St. Paul replies, in his epistle to the Romans[2],
that it rests on a complete misconception.  Christian faith is an
introduction into Christ.  Believing we are baptized into Him.  This
means that we are to live as He lived towards the world of sin and
towards God.  It means that we surrender ourselves in a spirit of glad
obedience to be moulded after His pattern.  If our believing does not
lead to this new living, beyond all question it is a spurious thing,
and none of the Christian privileges attach to it.  With a similar
purpose St. Paul writes here to the Asiatics--newly-made Christians,
who lived in the midst of an appallingly corrupt society, and whose
inherited traditions of conduct were altogether lacking in
self-restraint--to warn them against possible abuses of their Christian
privileges and Christian liberty.

To be a Christian is to be committed to a new life different utterly
from the old life.

What was the old life?  In writing to the {180} Romans St. Paul
describes the life of the contemporary heathen world as having its
origin in a refusal of the will to acknowledge God.  'They glorified
Him not as God.'  'They refused to have God in their knowledge.'  Hence
a darkening of the understanding.  'They became vain in their
reasonings; their senseless hearts were darkened; professing themselves
to be wise they became fools.'  This explains the origin and
possibility of so foolish a worship as that of men and beasts.
Further, with the obscuring of the intelligence there was a perversion
and emancipation of the passions, resulting in all forms of lawlessness
and unnatural vice.  A similar description of the 'old life' St. Paul
gives here.  The root of evil here also appears to be in the 'heart'
(or will)--'the hardening of the heart'; hence arises 'vanity of the
mind,' an aimlessness or loss of all true and fixed point of view, a
'darkening of the understanding,' an inherent 'ignorance'; and
accompanying this loss of real intelligence has been a loss of what is
the true goal of human life, fellowship in 'the life of God.'  Instead
of that a life of uncleanness has prevailed, made into a regular
business[3], and pursued with 'greediness,' i.e. an entire disregard
{181} for others' rights--such a life as is only possible where all
true human feeling and good taste has been quenched.  Men have become
'past feeling.'

As regards the relation of this black picture to the actual facts,
enough has perhaps been said above.  At least St. Paul's picture is
given as a direct challenge to the experience of those to whom he
writes; and it is not blacker, at any rate, than the picture given by a
philosophic contemporary at Ephesus, who calls himself Heracleitus.
And on the black background of this 'former manner of life,' this 'old
man' or old manhood--a life ruled by lusts which are not only morally
evil but deceive and mock those who yield to them, leading, in fact, to
nothing but corruption and death, a 'waxing corrupt after the lusts of
deceit'--St. Paul sketches in the new life in Christ.  To become a
believer is to submit one's intelligence to learn a new lesson, to
study Christ; it is to yield one's self to a 'form of teaching[4]' in
order to have one's life refashioned in marked contrast to old and
abandoned ways of life; it is to imbibe a new principle in the heart of
one's rational being, 'to be renewed in the spirit of one's mind'; it
is to put on deliberately, as a man puts on clothing, {182} a new
manhood, Christ's manhood, which is 'according to God[5],' that is, is
based on His own life, and is His 'new creation' in righteousness and
holiness.  And this righteousness and holiness can never deceive us by
false promises, because they are rooted in 'truth' or reality.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk
as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened
in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the
ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who
being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all
uncleanness with greediness.  But ye did not so learn Christ; if so be
that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus:
that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old
man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be
renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, which after
God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

There is one phrase in this passage which may need some further
comment--'The life of God.'  Into God's own eternal life, as He lives
it in Himself, we are given but glimpses.  But God is also living in
the world as its inherent life, and each form of creation participates
in its measure, even if unconsciously, in the life {183} of God.
Consciously and intelligently man was intended to participate in it,
but he 'alienated' himself from it by sin; and, while he was physically
sustained in life by God, morally and mentally he was an exile.  But
Christ embodies the divine life anew in human form, and by His Spirit
imparts it as a new life to men.  Once more in Christ men live both 'in
God' and 'according to God.'

This thought of our relation to the life of God is, in part, expressed
in the Latin original of the Collect for the ninth Sunday after
Trinity, in which we pray 'that we who cannot exist without Thee, may
be enabled to live according to Thee.'

[1] 2 Pet. iii. 16.

[2] Rom. vi. 1 ff.

[3] 'To work all uncleanness.'  Marg. 'to make a trade of.'

[4] Rom. vi. 17.

[5] Eph. iv. 24, R. V. Marg. 'the new man which is after God, created,'


DIVISION II.  § 2.  CHAPTER IV. 25-32.

_The new life a corporate life._

[Sidenote: _Corporate duties_]

The first characteristic of the new life dwelt upon is its corporate
character, as a life lived by those who are 'members one of another,'
and have therefore a common aim.  In a body of people working with a
common aim there may be a healthy rivalry and competition in doing good
work, a manifold spirit of initiation and inventiveness, and there may
be rewards of labour, proportioned not merely to needs but to these
personal excellences.  But what there cannot be is a competition which
runs to the point of mutual destructiveness, or such accumulation of
the fruits of skill and labour in a few hands as maims or starves the
life of the majority.  The common interest prevents this.  'The members
must have the same care one of another,' so that 'when one member
suffers all the members suffer with it[1].'  The life is the life {185}
of a body, and the general well-being is therefore the common interest
of all the members, for the weakening or decay of one is the weakening
and decay of a more or less valuable part of a connected life.  This is
the general principle on which the Church is based.  This is the moral
meaning of churchmanship.  'Ye are members one of another.'

Various specific obligations follow from this general principle.

(a) _Truthfulness and openness_; for falsehood and concealment belong
to a life of separated and conflicting interests.  The prophetic ideal
for the restored Israel is to be realized among Christians.  'Speak ye
every man truth with his neighbour: execute the judgement of truth and
peace in your gates: and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts
against his neighbour: and love no false oath[2].'

(b) _Self-restraint in temper_.  We must not injure one another in life
and limb, or wound one another in feelings.  Therefore we must watch
the first beginnings of anger, as the Psalmist[3] warns us, lest they
lead to sin and give {186} the devil, i.e. the slanderer of his
brethren, the inspirer of all mutual recriminations, room and scope to
work in.

(c) _Labour for the purpose of mutual beneficence_.  Under the old
covenant God had contented Himself with forbidding stealing.  Under the
new covenant the prohibition of what is wrong passes into the
injunction of what is right.  Labour of whatever kind, labour directed
to produce something good, is required of all.  'If any man will not
work, neither let him eat[4].'  The idle man in fact violates the
fundamental conditions of the Christian covenant as truly as if he were
denying the rudiments of the Christian faith.  Now the object of
labouring is to acquire 'property,' which is in one sense 'private,'
and in another sense is not.  The labourer may have, under his own free
administration, the fruits of his labour, but he is to administer his
property with the motive, not only of supporting himself, but of
helping his weaker and more needy brethren.

(d) _Profitable speech_.  Here again the Christian is not to be content
with avoiding noxious conversation.  His talk is to be, not indeed
'edifying' in the narrowest sense, but such as {187} 'builds up what is
lacking' in life, or supplies a need, whether by counselling, or
informing, or refreshing, or cheering; so that it may 'give grace[5],'
that is, afford pleasure and, in the widest sense, bring a blessing to
the hearers.

In all their conduct Christians are to have two masterful thoughts.
(1) They are to think of the divine purpose of the Holy Ghost who has
entered into the Church to 'seal' or mark it as an elect body destined
for full redemption from all evil, in body and soul, at the climax of
God's dealings, the last day.  The Holy Ghost, with all His personal
love, will be grieved if we thwart His rich purpose for the whole body
by anything which is contrary to brotherhood in the thoughts of our
hearts, or the words of our lips, or our outward conduct.

(2) They are to remember the divine pattern of life.  God has shown His
own heart to us in the free forgiveness which He has given us in
Christ.  Being in constant receipt of that forgiveness, we must not
prove ourselves hard and unforgiving towards one another.


Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his
neighbour: for we are members one of another.  Be ye angry, and sin
not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the
devil.  Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour,
working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof
to give to him that hath need.  Let no corrupt speech proceed out of
your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that
it may give grace to them that hear.  And grieve not the Holy Spirit of
God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption.  Let all
bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and railing, be put away
from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave

Here, then, St. Paul sketches catholicity in practice.  The very idea
of the Church is that of a fellowship of naturally unlike individuals,
harmonized into unity by the new 'truth and grace' of God, which has
been made theirs in their regenerate life.  It is this endowment of the
regenerate life that is to enable them to transcend, and overstep, and
defeat natural incompatibilities of temper, and to be one body in
Christ.  The practical meaning of catholicity is brotherhood.  It is
love, as St. Augustine says, grown as wide as the world[6].

Why has the world lost this sense of the {189} moral meaning of
catholic churchmanship?  Why has 'ecclesiastical' come to mean
something quite different to 'brotherly'?  Or it is a more profitable
question to ask, How shall we make it mean the same thing again?  There
are many who would give up the very effort after recovering the church
principle, the obligation of the 'one body.'  But this, as has been
said, is to abandon the ultimate catholic principle of Christianity.
For the very purpose of the one church for all the men of faith in
Jesus, is that the necessity for belonging to one body--a necessity
grounded on divine appointment--shall force together into a unity men
of all sorts and different kinds; and the forces of the new life which
they share in common are to overcome their natural repugnance and
antipathies, and to make the forbearance and love and mutual
helpfulness which corporate life requires, if not easy, at least
possible for them.

This is the principle which must not be abandoned.  We must assert the
theological principle of the Church because it is that and that alone
which can impress on men practically the obligation and possibility of
a catholic brotherhood.

But it is folly to assert the theological truth of {190} churchmanship,
and neglect its moral meaning.  Quite recently the bishops of the
Lambeth Conference have striven to impress anew the ethics of
churchmanship upon the conscience of the faithful[7].  The principle of
brotherhood must act as a constant counterpoise to the instinct of
competition.  The principle of labour shows that the idle and selfish
are 'out of place' in a Christian community.  The principle of justice
forces us to recognize that the true interest of each member of the
body politic must be consulted.  The principle of public responsibility
reminds us that each one is his brother's keeper.  Once more the Church
has been aroused to its prophetic task of 'binding' and 'loosing' the
consciences of men in regard specially to those matters which concern
the corporate life and the relations of classes to one another.  And we
pray God that the work of our bishops may not be in vain.  What we want
is not more Christians, but, much rather, better Christians--that is to
say, Christians who have more perception of what the moral effort
required for membership in the catholic brotherhood really is.


No doubt the needed social reformation is of vast difficulty.  For
instance, one who contemplates our commercial relations in the world
may indeed be tempted to despair of the possibility of recovering the
practical application to 'business' of the law of truthfulness; and
many a one who is practically engaged in commerce, in higher or lower
station, finds that to act upon the law may involve something like
martyrdom.  But the very meaning of divine faith is that we do, in
spite of all discouragements, hold that to be practicable which is the
will of God; and it is nothing new in the history of Christianity if at
a crisis we need 'the blood of martyrs'--or something morally
equivalent to their blood--for 'a seed,' the seed of a fresh growth of
Christian corporate life.  No fresh start worth making is possible
without personal sacrifices; and to recover anything resembling St.
Paul's ethical standard for Christian society we need indeed a fresh
start.  But the few Tractarians of sixty years ago by industry,
patience and prayer effected a kind of revolution in the Church as a
whole; and reformers of Christian social relations may with the same
weapons--and with no other--do the like.

[1] 1 Cor. xii. 25, 26.

[2] Zech. viii. 16, 17.

[3] Ps. iv. 4, according to the LXX.  But the English version 'Stand in
awe and sin not' is probably correct.

[4] 2 Thess. iii. 10.

[5] Cf. Col. iv. 6: 'Let your speech be always with grace' or
'graciousness'; Luke iv. 22: 'gracious words'; Ps. xlv. 2: 'Grace is
poured into thy lips'; Eccles. x. 12: 'The words of a wise man's mouth
are gracious'; Ecclus. xxi. 16: 'Grace shall be found in the lips of
the wise.'

[6] See app. note F, p. 271, _The Ethics of Catholicism_.

[7] See _Report of Lambeth Conference_, 1897.  S.P.C.K., pp. 136 ff.;
and app. note G, p. 274.


DIVISION II.  § 3.  CHAPTER V. 1-14.

_The Christian life an imitation of God and a life in the light._

[Sidenote: _The imitation of God_]

St. Paul has just suggested the thought of imitating God by ready
forgiveness.  And in fact here--in the imitation of God--is one of the
greatest of the new ideas and motives which Christianity supplies.  God
has manifested Himself in Christ under human conditions.  He has
translated the unimaginable Godhead into terms of our own well-known
human nature.  For Christ is very man, yet He is the Son of God, truly
God, and His character is God's character.  For the Christian
henceforth in a quite new sense God is imitable: He can become a
pattern for actual human life.  As children partly consciously and
partly unconsciously imitate their parents, so we Christians as
'beloved children' are to 'become imitators of God.'

And it is quite plain what the character of {193} God as manifested in
Christ is.  It is love; and to imitate God is therefore to 'walk in
love,' that is, to conduct one's life with love as its conscious motive
and atmosphere.  Moreover, the love of Christ is a love which shows
itself in self-sacrifice.  'He offered himself as an offering and
sacrifice to God on our behalf; and God, who had of old made it plain
by His prophets that He could find no satisfaction in animal victims,
accepted 'as a sweet savour' this free-will offering of
self-sacrificing love.  In the self-sacrifice of Christ, therefore, we
have the clear disclosure both of what God is and of what God will
accept from man.

But this ideal of life as lying in love and in the deliberate
self-sacrifice of one for another is the plain negation of some maxims
for life generally accepted in heathen society.  It is the plain
negation of sensual self-indulgence at the expense of others, or at the
expense of our spiritual nature, of 'fornication and uncleanness of all
kinds,' of filthy conduct, of the sort of jesting or wit which ignores
all moral restraints.  It is the plain negation again of selfish greed
or the unlimited desire to get--'covetousness.'  These things are out
of the question for a body of saints, that is, men dedicated to a holy


[Sidenote: _Life in the light_]

The tone and language which befits such a dedicated life is the tone
and language of thanksgiving.  But clearly Asiatic Christians were only
too ready to forget the essential incompatibility of their new
profession with the old sinful habits around them.  So St. Paul
emphasizes 'This ye know for certain that fornication or unclean living
on the one hand, or the turning of gain into a god on the other, surely
excludes a man from the kingdom of Christ and God[1].'  And he
reiterates 'let no man deceive you with empty words.'  Such vices,
being in plain contradiction to the divine will, make men subjects of
the divine wrath, and for you this should be startlingly plain.  You
have been brought out of the realm of darkness of which once you formed
a part, into the realm of light, of which you now form a part, the
realm whose light is Christ.  There is no fellowship between the light
and the darkness[2].  To live in the light means to bring forth fruit
of goodness and righteousness and truth, the fruit of a character like
Christ's.  For you have in Christ a definite standard by which you can
test what is well pleasing to the {195} Lord.  It is your business,
therefore, to keep yourselves altogether separate from the works of
darkness which bear no fruit.  Not only so, but it is your business to
'reprove' or convict the dark world of sin; not, of course, by making
the works of darkness the subjects of your curiosity and
conversation--that indeed must not be--but simply by the contrast which
your own lives present.  In the light of your lives the secret shame of
the heathen life will be unmasked.  And in being unmasked even the
works of darkness will themselves become part of the light.  To make
such ways of living attractive they must be cloaked up in a deceitful
glamour.  Once stripped bare and shown in their true character they
teach their true lesson.  Thus, the one duty of a man is to awake from
the old sleep of death; to separate himself from the morally dead world
and stand clear in the light of Christ.  And that is what the early
Christian hymn, which St. Paul cites, was continually impressing upon
the Christian conscience.  We may attempt to reproduce it in something
like its original rhythm thus:--

  'Be awakened, thou that sleepest;
  Rise alive from out the dead world;
  Christ, the Light, shall shine upon thee.'


Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in
love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an
offering and a sacrifice to God for an odour of a sweet smell.  But
fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be
named among you, as becometh saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish
talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of
thanks.  For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean
person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in
the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no man deceive you with empty
words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the
sons of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them; for ye
were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of
light (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness
and truth), proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord; and have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather even
reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is a
shame even to speak of.  But all things when they are reproved are made
manifest by the light: for everything that is made manifest is light.
Wherefore _he_ saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the
dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee.

Three points may be noticed in this characteristic exhortation:--

1.  The strife of light and darkness.  The victory of the rising sun
and its surrender at evening to the darkness; the obscuring of the
light through eclipse or mist and its recovery--these {197} universal
appearances present themselves naturally to human consciences
everywhere as being experiences analogous to the moral strife within
between good and evil.  Light is thus the universal symbol of good, and
darkness of evil.  The symbolism passes out of early native myths into
the spiritual phraseology of many religions; but especially into those
of the Persians and the Jews.  'In thy light shall we see light' is the
cry of the devout heart towards God.  And the whole of Christian
language is possessed by the symbolism.  Christ is 'the light of the
world': His disciples are 'the children of light,' they are to be
clothed in 'the armour of light,' bathed in 'the light of the glorious
Gospel': they are the children of the God who 'dwelleth in the light
which no man can approach unto': who 'is light and in whom is no
darkness at all.'

St. Paul, like St. John, specially loves the metaphor of light.  And it
is somewhat startling to notice how different is his conception of
enlightenment from that common in modern times, or indeed, from that
held in the schools of philosophy of his own day or by the Gnostics
just after him.  This latter class of men, who can be taken as typical
of many others at very {198} different epochs, meant by 'the
enlightened' a select few who had a special capacity for intellectual
abstraction and contemplation, and who by such qualities of the
intellect were believed to attain to a knowledge of God which was
beyond the reach of the ordinary men of faith.  But St. Paul, following
his Master, is quite certain that the root of true enlightenment lies
in the will and heart.  The love of the light is first of all simply
the pure desire for goodness; and anything that is not this first of
all is a counterfeit and a sham.  And the true enlightenment is thus
not the privilege of a few, but is open to all who will come to Christ.
'Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this
world?  Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For seeing
that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it
was God's good pleasure, through the foolishness of the preaching, to
save them that believe.'  'If any man thinketh that he is wise among
you in this world, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  For
the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God[3].'  This language
sounds violent; but I doubt if many thinking men could now be found
{199} to doubt that the way opened by the 'foolishness of the gospel
preaching' was a way of light for the world compared to which the way
of the contemporary philosophers was darkness and delusion.  The
arrogant wisdom of the contemporary 'Heracleitus' would have provided
no real light at all for the Ephesians whom he denounced.  A fresh
start was wanted for man, and the fresh start was primarily in the life
of the conscience and heart.  On the other hand neither St. Paul, nor
any of the New Testament writers, can be accused of the sort of
obscurantism to which the later Church has often fallen a victim.  One
cannot even conceive St. Paul denouncing free inquiry, or cloaking up
from free investigation the title-deeds of Christianity.  His love of
the light--even with all the dangers that the light has--like his love
of freedom, is frank and real.

If we come down to our own time, there is no doubt a great deal of
contemporary 'enlightenment' that St. Paul would have pronounced
spurious.  He would never surely have disparaged intellectual inquiry
or free scientific research: but he would have continually emphasized
that no one was really enlightened whose will and heart was not right
with God.  {200} To have a scientific knowledge of facts is by
comparison superficial; and worse than superficial is the sharpness and
worldly cleverness which continually boasts of being 'wide awake' and
'up to date.'  It is possible to be awake and enlightened in the
speculative and practical intelligence: to be awake and enlightened in
the region of the senses: and yet to be asleep and in the dark in the
region of the will and conscience towards God.  And there lies the true
heart of manhood.  It is possible even to be enlightened about evil and
in the dark as regards goodness.  But St. Paul hates curiosity about
the ways and methods of sin.  'I would,' he says, 'have you wise unto
that which is good, and simple unto that which is evil[4].'  Take heed
that the light that is in thee be not darkness.  This curiosity about
sin is a delusion which has sometimes a strange hold on some who would
serve God.  But they must recognize that the only Christian method of
'convicting the world of sin' is by 'convicting it of righteousness.'
Innocence has a power which sometimes is strangely underrated.

We may pause for a moment longer to dwell on the beauty of St. Paul's
ideal of Christianity {201} as a life in the light.  It has everything
to gain and nothing to lose by disclosure.  It has no need to cloak
itself.  It can be frank with itself and the world.  And, on the other
hand, sin is a great fraud and delusion as well as a great
disobedience.  It dwells in a region of lies and excuses and
concealments; it hides from itself and from the world its true
character and true issues.  For, in fact, it is not only in itself foul
and rebellious, but it is in its issues fruitless.  It leads to
nothing: it produces nothing: it tends only to decay or corruption of
mind and body, while goodness is only another term for life and
fruitfulness.  Life, and the production of life, is the good, and it
belongs to the light; on the contrary, what hinders or destroys life
goes against God and belongs to the darkness.  This is a judgement
which mis-called disciples of Malthus in our day would do well to
remember.  It is not from too much life that the world is suffering,
but from corrupt and perverted life.  What we want to secure is not a
limit to the population, but the bringing up of children in health and
simple living, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

2.  St. Paul, in some passages of his epistles, uses very strongly
'universalist' phrases.  He {202} has spoken to the Ephesians of
bringing all things in heaven and earth again into a divine unity in
Christ.  And to the Corinthians he spoke of a time when God should be
'all things in all.'  It is, therefore, all the more noticeable that
when he comes to speak of the destiny of evil men he does not offer
them any hope if they persist in their evil, but warns them that moral
evil utterly and wholly excludes from the kingdom of God: and he
appears to be not at all anxious to reconcile this warning as to the
eternal consequences of wilful evil with what he has said in other
connexions as to the final inclusion of all things in a great unity.
His example would teach us to aim at being true to the whole truth
rather than at attaining a premature completeness or consistency of
knowledge about a world in regard to which we only 'know in part.'
'Yea, the more part of God's works are hid[5].'

3.  We cannot fail to notice how constantly St. Paul associates lawless
lust with lawless grasping at money or the goods of other
men--greediness or avarice.  This has led some to suppose that the
Greek word for greediness is really intended to mean lust in its
grasping {203} character.  But this is a mistake.  The words are
associated partly, no doubt, because lust so often involves an
'overreaching and wronging our brothers[6]' of their just rights; but
much more because the lawless grasping after gain and the lawless
grasping after pleasure are the two great perversions of the human
soul.  Pleasure and mammon are the two typical idols.

[1] Possibly this expression means 'the kingdom of Him who is at once
Christ and God.'

[2] 2 Cor. vi. 14.

[3] 1 Cor. i. 20, 21; iii. 18.

[4] Rom. xvi. 19.

[5] Ecclus. xvi. 21.

[6] 1 Thess. iv. 6.


DIVISION II.  § 4.  CHAPTER V. 15-21.

_The Christian life a zealous and deliberate seizing of the opportunity
afforded by surrounding moral evils._

[Sidenote: _Buying up the opportunity_]

The Christian stands awake and in the light.  He has a vantage-ground
of spiritual knowledge, and the opportunity afforded by this
vantage-ground he is to use.  He is not to live at random but is to
fashion his life with deliberate circumspection and prudence in order
to make the best of the spiritual opportunity, just as the merchant
cleverly seizes and uses to his own advantage a particular commercial
situation.  What gives the Christian his spiritual opportunity is the
corruption which surrounds him.  Of that corruption St. Paul has
already said enough.  The result of it was to leave whatever was good
in man disconsolate and ill at ease.  The exhibition of the Christian
light amidst such surroundings could not but arrest men's attention and
attract {205} their hearts.  And if we want to be informed, in greater
detail, how to buy up the opportunity, St. Paul's answer is threefold.

First, there must be a positive apprehension of the divine will in
particular cases such as qualifies for decisive action.  'Be not
foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.'  This is the
sort of wisdom which enables a man to do what our Lord expects of
spiritual leaders, to 'discern the time.'  It is a rare quality but,
according to the measure of the gift of Christ to each, it is attained
by spiritual thoughtfulness, singlemindedness, and prayer.

Secondly, there is to be a strong and sociable enthusiasm, expressing
itself in uninterrupted joy, and based upon deep draughts of the divine
Spirit.  In St. Paul's day, as in our own, men would seek escape from
the dullness of life and its sense of isolation in the excitement and
fellowship which comes of intoxicating drink.  Other forms of mental
intoxication were provided at Ephesus by a sensual religious
enthusiasm.  St. Paul would have the Christians confront such lawless
excitement not merely with the spectacle of discipline and
self-restraint, but also with a counter-enthusiasm, purer but not less
strong.  Christians are to find an {206} excitement as strong as
drunkenness, and a fellowship as warm as is to be found in any band of
revellers, in deep draughts of the wine of the Holy Ghost.  'Be not
drunken with wine wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit,
speaking one to another in psalms[1] and hymns and spiritual songs
(such as the one he has just quoted), singing and making melody with
your hearts to the Lord.'

Lastly, there is to be a spirit of submission, mutual accommodation and
order.  The disciples are to 'subject themselves one to another in the
fear of Christ.'  They are, as St. Peter says[2], to be girt each one
with the apron of service to minister to one another's needs, knowing
their responsibility to Christ, and how He looks for obedience and
service in all men.  Enthusiasm is apt to be lawless, but the
enthusiasm of the Christians is to be the enthusiasm of an organized
body.  It was said of old of the men of Issachar, who gathered round
the standard of David[3], that they had 'understanding of the times to
know what Israel ought {207} to do; the heads of them were two hundred,
and all their brethren were at their commandment.'  A similar spirit of
practical religious understanding, with a similar readiness to obey
their leaders, is what St. Paul desires in the new Israel to do the
work of the true Son of David.

A temper then of clear positive understanding as to what God wills to
be done in the immediate future, fired by an ardent and sociable
enthusiasm, and associated with a disinterested readiness to obey one
another in practical affairs--this is what St. Paul means by 'looking
carefully how we walk'; and it is worth while noticing that St. Paul's
conception of carefulness leads in a direction quite opposed to mere
timorous and negative prudence.  Exhortations not to be rash, but to
'look before you leap,' are very commonly given by the wise.  But it
does not seem to be generally remembered that, at least in the service
of God, most men err by excess not of rashness but of caution, and
'look' so long that they never 'leap.'  Truly if rashness has slain its
thousands, irresolution has slain its ten thousands.  The spirit St.
Paul would have us cultivate is not this cowardly mis-called wisdom,
but rather the spirit of the ideal soldier, of the 'happy warrior.'
Nothing, {208} in fact, could be more fascinating than the picture St.
Paul here draws of the Christian community.  He has a vision of a pure
brotherly enthusiastic society, fulfilled with a divine life, and
attracting into its warm and comfortable fellowship the isolated,
weary, hopeless, and sin-stained from the cold dark world outside.

Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise;
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not
foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And be not
drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit;
speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks
always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even
the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

St. Paul's exhortation to 'buy up the opportunity because the days are
evil' finds fresh application in every generation.  For each generation
the 'days are evil,' and good men always feel them to be so.  Not
necessarily that they are evil by comparison with other days, for the
'good old times' certainly never existed, and it is not often possible
to balance the evils of one age against those of another.  It is enough
{209} for us to understand 'the ills we have.'  What they are in our
own generation is conspicuous enough.  In part they are the normal
evils of selfishness, and sensuality, and pride, and weakness; of
divisions of races and classes, and personal uncharity.  In part they
are special: I will not make any general attempt to characterize them
here.  But it is probably true to say that, among other characteristics
which our generation exhibits, is a lack of great enthusiasms and
strong convictions and inspiring leaders.  Literature, philosophy, and
politics are alike lacking in a clear moral impulse.  'Causes' are at a
discount.  Men are disillusionized.  It is a 'fin de siècle' by some
better title than a chronological mistake.  It is this characteristic
of the moment that ought to give the Church its opportunity.  At
present she largely fails to take it because she lacks concentration
within her own body.  The true disciples, the faithful remnant, exist
in every place, but they are lost in the crowd.  They need to be drawn
together if they are to make an impression.  A vigorous faith, and the
confident hope for humanity which a vigorous faith begets, were never
better calculated than they are to-day to produce a right moral
impression on the world, owing to the {210} mere absence of rival
enthusiasms.  We can supply what is wanted if only everywhere we will
cultivate sincerity and enthusiasm rather than numbers, and aim at
forming strong centres of spiritual life, rather than a weak uniform
diffusion of it.

[1] St. Paul is in part referring to the habit of responsive or
antiphonal chanting, which Pliny, the governor of Bithynia, reports as
characteristic of the Christians half a century later--'to sing
responsively (secum invicem) a hymn to Christ as a God.'

[2] 1 Pet. v. 5.

[3] 1 Chron. xii. 32.



_The relation of husbands and wives: parents and children: masters and

[Sidenote: _The law of subordination_]

St. Paul mentions submission as required, in a sense, from all
Christians towards all others--'submitting yourselves one to another.'
But it is plain that in any community, and most of all in a Christian
community where order is a divine principle, some will be specially
'under authority': and accordingly St. Paul applies his general maxim
to three classes in particular--wives towards their husbands, children
towards their parents, slaves towards their masters.  But in making
these applications of the law of obedience, he enlarges his subject by
including the counter-balancing principle of the duty of
self-sacrificing love on the part of those in authority; so that he
treats not one side of the relation only but both.


A.  HUSBANDS AND WIVES.  (V. 22-33.)

[Sidenote: _Husbands and wives_]

Wives are to be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.  Just as
the divine fatherhood is the ground of all lower fatherhood, so the
authority of the one great Head is the ground in all lower headships,
and each in its place is to be accepted as the shadow of His.  Thus the
husband's headship over his wife is the shadow of Christ's headship
over the church, and that explains of what sort the husband's authority
should be.  For Christ's rule is a rule for the advantage of the ruled.
He rules the church as Himself its saviour or deliverer from bondage,
and the word 'saviour' is full of associations of self-sacrificing
love.  So must it be with a Christian husband.  But Christ is not
merely a head to the church.  He too is a husband.  This idea of God as
the husband of His people--an idea which expressed both His choice of
them, His love for them, and His jealous claim upon them--is familiar
in the Old Testament.  'Thy Maker is thy husband.'  'I am a husband
unto you, saith the Lord[1].'  And it is probable, as Dr. Cheyne
suggests, 'that the so-called Song of Solomon was admitted into the
canon {213} on the ground that the bride of the poem symbolized the
chosen people[2].'  But in a Christian sense the idea gains a fresh
meaning.  'We that are joined unto the Lord are of one spirit' with
Him[3].  We are the 'members of his body'; and, as drawing our life
from His manhood, we may be even said to be, like Eve from Adam, 'of
his flesh and of his bones[4].'  Christ then is, in this richness of
meaning, the husband of the church.

St. Paul seems further to describe this relation of Christ to the
church under the figure of three marriage customs.  The husband first
acquires the object of his affection as his bride by a dowry: then by a
bath of purification the bride is prepared for the husband: finally she
is presented to him in bridal beauty.  Accordingly Christ, because He
loved the church, first 'gave himself for her'; and we may interpret
this phrase in the light of another used by St. Paul in his speech to
the Ephesian elders, where the church is spoken of as 'purchased' or
{214} 'acquired[5]' by Christ's blood.  Having thus acquired the Church
for His bride, He secondly 'cleansed her in the laver[6] of water with
the word': and that, in order that He might 'sanctify her' and so
finally 'present the church to himself a glorious church, not having
spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and
without blemish.'

This threefold statement has great theological interest which we will
consider shortly.  Here we will simply let it stand, as St. Paul uses
it, to exhibit Christ as the ideal husband, the pattern for every
husband.  Love for his bride; self-sacrifice in order to win her; and
the deliberate aiming at moral perfection for her through the bridal
union--that is the law for him.  The wife, according to the original
divine principle, is to be part of the man's self--one flesh with him.
He must love her truly and care for her as his own flesh.  This
'mystery,' or divine secret revealed, is great, St. Paul says; 'but in
saying this I am thinking of Christ and his church.'  This seems to be
the exact force of verse 32.  In other words--this divine disclosure of
the relation of God to man, as realized in the marriage of Christ and
His church, is indeed great and lofty.  {215} But, St. Paul continues
in effect, great and lofty as it is, it is a practical pattern for us.
Do ye also, as Christ the church, severally love each one his own wife
even as himself, and let the wife see that she fear (i.e. reverence and
fear to displease) her husband, even as the church stands in holy awe
of Christ.

Wives, _be in subjection_ unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of
the church, _being_ himself the saviour of the body.  But as the church
is subject to Christ, so _let_ the wives also _be_ to their husbands in
everything.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the
church, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having
cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might
present the church to himself a glorious _church_, not having spot or
wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without
blemish.  Even so ought husbands also to love their own wives as their
own bodies.  He that loveth his own wife loveth himself: for no man
ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as
Christ also the church; because we are members of his body.  For this
cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his
wife; and the twain shall become one flesh.  This mystery is great: but
I speak in regard of Christ and of the church.  Nevertheless do ye also
severally love each one his own wife even as himself; and _let_ the
wife _see_ that she fear her husband.

There are several points here which need consideration.


1.  There is a rich theology in St. Paul's brief description of the
relation of Christ to the church.  First, there is Christ's love for
the church which involves a purpose of entire sanctification for her;
then there is sacrifice, the sacrifice of Himself, for her; then there
is the baptismal purification of the church to fit her for Christ,
which is in fact nothing else than the baptismal purification of all
the individual members of the Christian body; and this is also, as St.
Paul elsewhere teaches, the means to them of new life by union with
Himself.  It is their cleansing bath because therein they are 'baptized
into Christ.'  (Here, we notice, the analogy of the marriage custom
breaks down: what is in the marriage ceremonies only a washing
preparatory to union, is in the spiritual counterpart also the act of
union.  Baptism is both the abandonment of the old and union with the
new.)  Lastly, there is the final presentation by Christ of the church
to Himself in sinless, stainless perfection.

We observe that Christ's sacrifice is regarded by St. Paul as
preparatory and relative.  He bought the church by the sacrifice of
Himself to obtain unimpeded rights over her, because He loved her and
in order to make her morally {217} perfect.  The atonement has its
value because it is the removal of the obstacles to Christ working His
positive moral work in her.

We observe again that the sacrifice of Christ is spoken of as offered
for the church, not for the world.  Christ does indeed 'will that all
men shall be saved': He did indeed 'take away,' or take up and expiate,
'the sin of the world' in its totality[7].  But the divine method is
that men shall attain their salvation as 'members of Christ's body.'
Thus, if Christ's ultimate object in the divine sacrifice is the world:
His immediate object is the church through which He acts upon the world
and into which He calls every man.  'I pray,' He said, 'not for the
world, but for them whom thou hast given me.'  'He gave himself for us
that he might redeem us ... and purify unto himself a people for his
own possession[8].'

Once more we notice in this passage a significant hint as to St. Paul's
conception of baptism.  There is no doubt of the spiritual efficacy
which he assigns to it.  And we observe in germ a doctrine of 'matter'
and 'form' in connexion with the sacraments.  Baptism is a 'washing of
water' accompanied by a 'word.'  The word {218} or utterance which St.
Paul refers to may be the formula of baptism 'into the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,' or the 'word of faith' of
which confession is made by the person to be baptized--the confession
that 'Jesus is the Lord[9]'; but in either case the word gives the
rational interpretation to the act.  It sets apart what would be
otherwise like any other act of washing, and stamps it for a spiritual
and holy purpose.  'Take away the word, and what is the water but mere
water?  The word is superadded to the natural element and it becomes a
sacrament.'  So says St. Augustine[10], in the spirit of St. Paul.
This is what is meant by the later theological term 'form[11],' the
'form' being that which differentiates or determines shapeless 'matter'
and makes it have a certain significance or gives it a certain
character.  Thus the form of a sacrament is the word of divine
appointment which gives it spiritual significance; and the form and
matter together are essential to its validity.  The matter of baptism
is the washing by water: the form is the defining phrase 'I {219}
baptize (or wash) thee into the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Ghost.'

Lastly, we notice that the spiritual union of Christ and His church,
though it is perfect in the divine intention from the first, is in fact
only consummated at the point where the church is freed from the
imperfection of sin and has become the stainless counterpart of Christ
Himself.  The love of Christ--the removal of obstacles to His love by
atoning sacrifice--the act of spiritual purification--the gradual
sanctification--the consummated union in glory: these are the moments
of the divine process of redemption, viewed from the side of Christ,
which St. Paul specifies.

2.  We come back to St. Paul's conception of marriage to dissipate
misconceptions.  It is indeed absurd to speak as if St. Paul were, in
this passage, mainly emphasizing the subjection of the woman, whether
this be done from the conservative side 'to keep women in their place':
or from the point of view of those who desire her emancipation, in
order to represent St. Paul, and so Christianity as a whole, as giving
to women a servile position.  Over against the subjection of women, he
sets, and indeed gives more space to emphasize, the self-sacrifice
{220} and service which is due to her from the man.  You cannot tear
the one from the other.  Like St. Peter so St. Paul would have the
husband 'give honour to the wife--as to the weaker vessel' indeed, but
also as 'joint heir of the grace of life[12].'  In essential spiritual
value men and women are equal.  'In Christ is neither male nor female.'
St. Chrysostom rightly bases on this passage a powerful appeal to
husbands to overcome their selfishness in their relation to their
wives.  There is nothing servile in the subordination required of the
woman[13].  If 'the husband is the head of the wife, the head of the
husband is Christ, and the head of Christ is God.'  Christ even is
subordinate.  And the character of the headship of the husband {221}
altogether excludes the idea that women are to be married in order to
serve men's selfish interests or gratify their passions.

Then we must notice that St. Paul is impressing upon us a moral ideal
of which the two parts are inseparable.  St. Paul says nothing to
indicate that where the relations are not ideal--where the husband is
selfish or brutal--law should not step in to protect the interests of
the wife and secure her against the insults or cruelties or frauds of
the husband.  He is expressing a moral ideal[14]; while law must be
largely content with preventing outrage and securing a background on
which ideals can become possible.  And just as St. Paul tells
Christians that they are to obey magistrates as God's
ministers--leaving it to be understood that when they command what is
contrary to God's will, 'we ought to obey God rather than men'; so in
the same way he speaks of the wife's (or child's or slave's) duty of
subjection, leaving a similar reservation likewise to be tacitly
understood.  Obedience is to be 'in the Lord.'

3.  But no doubt St. Paul does emphasize the subordination of women to
men.  He will {222} not ordinarily[15] permit the woman 'to teach (in
the public assembly) nor to have dominion over a man[16].'  He clearly
does not think the difference of male and female is merely physical,
but perceives that the characteristic moral perils of the sexes[17] are
different: he assigns to man the governing and authoritative position,
and to woman the more retired and 'quieter[18]' functions.  It may
indeed be argued that in certain details St. Paul's injunctions are for
his time only, and no more of perpetual obligation than his prohibition
of second marriages to the clergy is assumed to be, or his
quasi-recognition of slavery.  But this argument carries us but a
little way.  The most of what St. Paul says of men and women is based
on a principle which he conceives to be divine, and which all history
and experience confirms.  The position of women in Christendom has
often fallen far short of what is truly Christian: but no attempted
rectification will be found otherwise than disastrous which ignores the
fundamental principle.  All through the animal kingdom mental
differences accompany the physiological difference between the sexes.
Experience teaches {223} that women, as a whole, are superior to men in
certain moral qualities--in self-sacrifice, sympathy, purity, and
compassion, and in religious feeling, reverence and devotion: but
inferior to them in the moral qualities which are concerned with
government--in justice, love of truth and judgement, in stability and
reasonableness.  Intellectually women have very often greater quickness
of apprehension and memory, greater power in learning languages,
greater artistic sensibility.  But they are conspicuously inferior in
the constructive imagination, in creative genius, in philosophy and
science.  It is sometimes said that if women had been as well educated
as men--and assuredly on Christian principles they ought to be, if
differently, yet equally well educated--they would have created as
much.  Why, then, have almost no women been poets of the first order,
or musical composers, or painters?  For in these artistic walks of life
their education has been in many countries better and more continuous.
To maintain that men and women are only physiologically different is to
run one's head against the brick wall of fact and science, no less than
against St. Paul's and St. Peter's principles[19].


It remains true that

      'women is not undevelopt man
  But diverse ... seeing either sex alone
  Is half itself, and in true marriage lies
  Nor equal, nor unequal[20].'

4.  It is necessary to add something about the position assigned by St.
Paul, in other epistles, to unmarried women; and to notice the relation
of his 'theory of women' to earlier Jewish ideas and those current in
general society.

Nothing could well exceed the influence or nobility of the position of
the Jewish wife and mistress of the household, as it is given, for
example, in the Book of Proverbs[21].  That position St. Paul can
perpetuate and deepen, but hardly augment.  And the Old Testament
recognized an altogether exceptional position in certain women endowed
with the gift of prophecy, like Miriam and Deborah and Huldah, who in
virtue of their gift exercised a public and {225} quasi-political
ministry.  Thus in the Christian community also there were
prophetesses, and St. Paul, in the same epistle in which he forbids
women in general to teach in public, seems to leave room for such
exceptional women to 'pray or prophecy' in the Christian congregation
with their heads covered[22].  Thus in fact all down Christian history
there have been at intervals exceptional women with unmistakable gifts
for guiding souls in private and directing public policy, like St.
Catherine of Siena, or with gifts of government like St. Hilda, whom
the Church has rightly accepted as divinely endowed.  Where
Christianity appears to have made a fresh departure in regard to women
was in the organized consecration of the gift of female ministry.  The
deaconesses like Phoebe, and women like Lydia and Priscilla, are most
characteristic Christian figures; and they have a long line of
successors in later deaconesses and 'widows,' and sisters of mercy, and
nurses and teachers.  It was the ignominy of the Church of England that
for so long she narrowed down the functions of women to those which
belong to wives and daughters at home.  Multitudes of {226} women need
other than domestic spheres and are happier away from home; and we may
thank God that--apart from the specially political and judicial
functions which are proper to men--the widest sphere of influence and
service is now again being thrown open to women.

How pitiable it was that, in face of all Christian experience and of
the authoritative language of the New Testament, unmarried women should
have no prospect opened to them but such as was drearily summed up in
the phrase 'old maids.'  St. Paul, if in this epistle he is glorifying
the married state, certainly also glorifies both for men and women the
freedom of the celibate life consecrated to the service of God--the
consecration of those who in a special sense are the virgin-brides of
Christ.  We may be thankful indeed that now, if somewhat tardily, it
has received from the largest assembly of Anglican bishops ever
gathered together an altogether ungrudging recognition[23].

It has been very frequently observed that, especially in Asia Minor,
women in St. Paul's day were attaining in non-Christian society
positions of great influence and dignity.  We find them {227} very
commonly holding priesthoods and public offices and magistracies.  It
would appear, however, that too much may be made of this.  The
populations of the Asiatic towns loved to be entertained with expensive
games and largesses of money and grain, and to have temples built and
endowed for them.  Wealthy women of noble families were elected to
priesthoods and offices where they could exercise their acceptable
liberality in these ways.  But the offices were rather of dignity than
of practical government, and were closely associated with priesthoods.
There is no evidence that women in Asiatic cities could assist at
assemblies, or give votes, or speak in public, or serve on legations,
or enter into political relations with the Roman authorities.  There
were women among the Asiarchs, but probably only when they were
associated in an honorary manner with their husbands.  In the early
Christian church the influence of women was put to far nobler uses than
in Asiatic cities; but their position relatively to men was not far
different from what would have been recognized in the general society
of that region[24].  In other parts of the empire the {228} women of
the Christian church were conspicuously in advance of those outside.

In somewhat later days of the Church there was some resentment at the
high and free position assigned to women in the New Testament
documents.  Thus one celebrated MS. of the New Testament[25]--the Codex
Bezae--changes 'not a few of the honourable Greek women and of men'
(Acts xvii. 12) into 'of the Greeks and the honourable, many men and
women.'  In xvii. 34 it cuts out Damaris.  And in xvii. 4 it changes
the 'leading women' into 'wives of the leading men.'  The spirit which
prompted these changes in an early Christian scribe and reviser, has
not been wanting in much later ages, though it had not a chance of
tampering with our sacred texts.


[Sidenote: _Parents and children_]

After laying down the principles which determined the relation of wives
to their husbands, St. Paul turns to the relation of children to their
parents.  The wives are to be _subordinate_ to their husbands.
Children are to be _obedient_ to their parents as part of their duty
'in the {229} Lord,' as members of His body.  They are to show honour
to their parents as directed by the commandment which we call the
fifth, but which St. Paul here probably calls 'a commandment standing
first accompanied with promise.'  It stands first among those which
refer to our neighbour grouped apart--as our Lord also says 'Thou
knowest the commandments,' and then specifies those six alone[26].  And
it is accompanied with a promise implied in the words 'that it may be
well with thee and that thou mayest live long in the land[27]'--a
promise that the prosperity and permanence of the nation shall be bound
up with the observance of the natural law of obedience to those from
whom we derive our life.  I say the prosperity of the nation, and so no
doubt secondly of the individual; but all through the Ten Commandments
the individual is regarded only as part of the nation.

The other translation of these words--'which is the first commandment
with promise'--is one to which the original Greek does not seem to give
any preference, and which does not give a good sense, for the fifth
commandment has neither {230} more nor less of promise than the second,
and in what we now call 'the second table' it stands alone as having a
promise implied.

Here again in dealing with children St. Paul passes from the duty of
the subject to that of the authority.  Fathers are exhorted not to
irritate their children, as in the Epistle to the Colossians they are
not to provoke them, or, as the word may perhaps mean, overstimulate
them so as to lead to their losing heart[28].  A broken spirit and a
sullen spirit are alike bad signs in youth.  But this does not mean
that they are not to be disciplined; discipline is God's purpose for us
all through life, and in childhood and youth parents are the ministers
of God to discipline their children and put them in mind to obey God.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy
father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that
it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  And,
ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the
chastening and admonition of the Lord.

We may notice in this passage the implication of infant baptism.  The
children are addressed 'in the Lord,' that is as already members of the
{231} body of Christ.  The children of any one Christian parent are, in
1 Cor. vii. 14, described as 'holy'--that is consecrated or dedicated
by the circumstances of their birth and the opportunity which it
supplies for Christian education--and thus fit subjects for baptism.
In fact it is probable that Christianity took from the Jews the
practice of infant baptism.  Within their own race indeed there was no
need of a ceremony of incorporation.  For the son of Jewish parents was
_born_ a member of the chosen people.  But a proselyte was--certainly
before our Lord's time--made a Jew with a _baptism_[29] which was
regarded as his new birth, his naturalization into a new and higher
race.  And if the proselyte had children they were baptized with him as
'little proselytes[30].'  With a new depth of meaning this practice of
infant baptism was taken over by the Christian church in the case of
those already dedicated to God by the spiritual opportunities of their
birth and education, so that the beginnings of growth might be
sanctified, like our Lord's childhood, in the Spirit.


We must also take to heart in our day the lesson of the fifth
commandment, as re-enforced by St. Paul, with its converse in the duty
of parents.  Domestic obedience is somewhat at a discount, it is to be
feared, in this generation in most classes of society; and this is a
very grave peril.  Parents, wealthy as well as poor, are very commonly
disposed to make schoolmasters and schoolmistresses do the work of
discipline for them, while they retain for themselves the privilege of
spoiling their children.  There are, however, of course, very many
exceptions.  There are multitudes of homes where discipline is
exercised wisely and lovingly, and children find obedience always a
duty and mostly a joy.  This is certainly the only divinely appointed
method by which we are to be prepared for the obedience and
self-discipline required of us when we grow to be what is falsely
described as 'our own masters.'  And St. Paul's twofold admonition to
parents is full of wisdom: they are not to provoke their children so
that they become bad-tempered, and they are not to over-stimulate them,
by competition or otherwise, so that they become disheartened.  But to
nourish them by appropriate food, mental and spiritual as well as
physical, so that they may grow to the full {233} stature and strength
which God intends for them.


[Sidenote: _Masters and slaves_]

St. Paul's method in dealing with slavery is well known.  The slave is
in a position really, at bottom, inconsistent with human individuality
and liberty, as Christianity insists upon it.  Thus, to go no further,
the male slave and his wife are liable (in all systems of slavery) to
be sold apart from one another.  This puts in its plainest form the
inconsistency of slavery with Christianity.  The slave is a living
rational tool of another man, and not his brother with fundamentally
the same spiritual right to 'save his life' or make the best of his
faculties.  Thus where a slave _can_ obtain liberty St. Paul exhorts
him to prefer it[31].  And when he is dealing with the Christian master
Philemon, whose runaway slave, Onesimus, has become Christian under St.
Paul's influence, he exhorts him to receive him back, no longer as a
slave, but as a brother beloved[32].  But Christianity enlisted in no
premature crusade against slavery as an institution--premature, because
Christianity was not yet in the position to fashion a civilization of
{234} her own.  It left it to be undermined by the Christian spirit.

Thus St. Paul exhorts slaves to obey, and that in more forcible
language than he has applied even to children, 'with fear and
trembling'; that is with an intense anxiety to do their duty.  They are
to perform their work as in God's sight, thoroughly--He being the
inspector of it who can infallibly tell good work from bad--and 'from
the heart,' that is, putting their will and mind into it.  They are to
do it as to the Lord, knowing that no good work, however menial or
uninteresting, is wasted, but shall be received back, in its product or
legitimate fruit, as 'its own reward' from Christ's hand.  In the
Epistle to Timothy, this additional reason for diligent service is
given, that if Christian slaves get a reputation for slackness they
will bring discredit upon the Christian name[33].  And in the same
passage a touch is added which shows what, even in its possible
perversions, the spirit of brotherhood really meant, 'They that have
believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren;
but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the
benefit are believers and beloved.'


And the masters are exhorted to remember that true principle of human
equality--that 'with God is no respect of persons,' that in God's sight
each man counts for one, and no one counts for more than one; each
having an equal claim and duty in the sight of the one Master under
whom all are servants.  Thus they are to deal with their slaves in the
same spirit of duty as their slaves should have toward them, and they
are to treat them with the respect due to brother men 'forbearing

Servants, be obedient unto them that according to the flesh are your
masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto
Christ; not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as servants
of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing
service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that whatsoever
good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the
Lord, whether _he be_ bond or free.  And, ye masters, do the same
things unto them, and forbear threatening: knowing that both their
Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no respect of persons with

Christianity has long abolished slavery so far as the legal status of
the slave is concerned.  But the principles of mastership and service
are still to be learned in this brief section of St Paul's writing; and
if we really believed that 'with {236} God is no respect of persons'
there would be neither scamping of work and defrauding of employers,
nor on the other hand the 'sweating' of the employed and treating of
men and women as if they were tools for the profit of others, instead
of spiritual beings, with each his own divine end to realize.

[1] Is. liv. 5; Jer. iii. 14.

[2] _Prophecies of Isaiah_, vol. ii, p. 188.

[3] 1 Cor. vi. 17.

[4] This, it is well known, was read in the Old Version.  It has
vanished (in submission to the verdict of the best MSS.) from the R. V.
But there seems to me to be some force in Alford's plea for the
originality of the words, as they stand in 'Western' and later texts.

[5] Acts xx. 28.

[6] 'Washing.'  Marg. 'laver.'

[7] John i. 29.

[8] John xvii. 9; Tit. ii. 14.

[9] Rom. x. 9; cp. Acts xxii. 16.

[10] _In Joan, tract._ 80.  Cf. Irenaeus _c. haer._ v. 2, 3.

[11] See St. Thom. Aq., _Summa_, Pars iii. Qu. lxx. art. 6 _ad_ 3.

[12] 1 Pet. iii. 7.

[13] It is noticeable that St. Paul does not (according to the Revised
Version which represents the original) exactly enjoin _obedience_ upon
wives (as upon children and slaves) but _subjection_: cf. Col. iii. 18;
1 Cor. xiv. 34; 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12; 1 Pet. iii. 1.  If however in the
use of the 'obey' in the vow of the wife our marriage service goes an
almost imperceptible stage beyond St. Paul, its general tone preserves
St. Paul's balance admirably.  The husband 'worships' the wife and
endows her with all his worldly goods.  The only other ecclesiastical
formula of ours in which the word worship is used of a purely human
relation, is the peer's oath of allegiance to the sovereign at the
coronation, 'I do become your liegeman of life and limb and of earthly
worship: and faith and troth I will bear unto you to live and to die
against all manner of folks.'

[14] How many husbands are capable of 'teaching their wives at home'
about religion? see 1 Cor. xiv. 35.

[15] See however below, p. 225.

[16] 1 Tim. ii. 12; 1 Cor. xiv. 34, 35.

[17] 1 Tim. ii. 8, 9.

[18] 1 Tim. ii. 11, 12; cf. 1 Pet. iii. 4.

[19] All this has been admirably stated by George Romanes, whom no one
could accuse of misogyny, in his essay on 'the mental differences
between men and women.'  See Essays (Longmans, 1897), pp. 113 ff.  And
the statements of the text are supported by Mr. Havelock Ellis' _Man
and Woman_ (Contemp. Science Series).  Mr. Ellis is sometimes less
decisive than Mr. Romanes.  But see capp. xiii, xiv.

[20] Tennyson's _Princess_; cp. his _Memoir_ by Hallam Tennyson,
(Macmillan, 1897), i. 249.

[21] Prov. xxxi. 10 ff.

[22] 1 Cor. xi. 5.

[23] _Lambeth Conference_, 1897.  Report on Religious Communities, pp.
57 ff.

[24] See Paris, _Quatenus foeminae res publicas in Asia Minore Romanis
inperantibus attigerint_ (Paris, 1891).

[25] Ramsay, _Paul the Traveller_, p. 268.

[26] Mark x. 19; cf. Matt xix. 18, 19; Luke xviii. 20.

[27] Cited from Exod. xx. 12 according to the LXX, which assimilates
the passage to Deut. v. 16.

[28] Col. iii. 21.  In 2 Cor. ix. 2, the only other place where the
word is used by St. Paul or in the New Testament, it means to
_stimulate by emulation_.

[29] Accompanied with circumcision and sacrifice.

[30] See Dr. Taylor, _The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles_, pp. 55-58,
and Sabatier, La _Didachè_, pp. 84-88, both very suggestive passages.
Cf. Edersheim, _Life and Times of Jesus_, App. xii, and Schürer,
_Jewish People_, Div. ii. vol. ii. pp. 319 ff.

[31] 1 Cor. vii. 21, 23.

[32] Philem. 16.

[33] 1 Tim. vi. 1.


DIVISION II.  § 6.  CHAPTER VI. 10-20.

_The personal spiritual struggle._

[Sidenote: _The spiritual struggle_]

The ethics of Christianity are, as has appeared, social ethics, the
ethics of a society organized in mutual relationships: and Christianity
is concerned with the whole life of man, body as well as soul, his
commerce and his politics as well as his religion.  But because this
requires to be made emphatic, does it follow that we are to neglect or
depreciate the inward, personal, spiritual struggle?  Are we to give a
reduced, because we give a better balanced, importance to 'saving one's
own soul,' that is preserving or recovering into its full power and
supremacy one's own spiritual personality?  Of course not: because
social health depends on personal character.  The more a good man
throws himself into social, including ecclesiastical, duties the more
he feels the need of character in himself and others.  And the more
serious a man is {238} about his character, the more deeply he feels
the attention and self-discipline that character needs.  Certainly the
most ascetic words of our Lord--those in which He speaks of the
necessity for cutting off or plucking out hand or eye if hand or eye
cause us to stumble, and warns us that we must be strong at the
spiritual centre of our being, before we can be free in exterior
action--are likely to come home to no one with more force than to one
who would do his duty in Church or state.  Christ cannot redeem the
world without Himself passing through the temptation and the agony in
the garden.  And thus St. Paul, after he has been dwelling on the
fraternal and corporate character of the Christian life, comes back at
the last to emphasize the personal spiritual struggle.  To be a good
member of the body, he says in effect, you must be in personal
character a strong man, strong enough in Christ's might to win the
victory in a fearful struggle.

Against what is our spiritual struggle?  It is against the weakness and
lawlessness of our own flesh.  'The spirit is willing, but the flesh is
weak.'  'Our eye and hand and foot cause us to stumble.'  Or again it
is the world which is too much for us.  'We seek honour one of another
{239} and not the glory that cometh from the only God.'  Quite true.
But behind the manifest disorder of our nature and the insistence of
worldly motives there are other less apparent forces; and these, in St.
Paul's mind, so overshadow the more visible and tangible ones that, in
the Biblical manner of speech, he denies for the moment the reality of
the latter.  'We wrestle not against flesh and blood,' not against our
own flesh or a visibly corrupt public, but against an unseen spiritual
host organized for evil.

It was noticed above that St. Paul has no doubt at all that moral evil
has its origin and spring in the dark background behind human
nature--in the rebel wills of devils.  It has become customary to
regard belief in devils or angels as fanciful and perhaps
superstitious.  Now no doubt theological and popular fancy has intruded
itself into the things it has not seen, and, instead of the studiously
vague[1] language of St. Paul, has developed a sort of geography and
ethnology for spirits good and bad which is mythological and allied to
superstition.  But it has acted in the same way, and shown the same
resentment of the discipline of ignorance, in the case of even more
central spiritual realities.  No {240} doubt again the belief in the
devil has sometimes become, in practical force, belief in a rival God.
But this sort of Manichaeism or dualism represents a very permanent
tendency in the untrained religious instincts of men, which the Bible
is occupied in restraining.  In the Bible certainly Satan and his hosts
are rebel angels and not rival Gods.  Once more undoubtedly demonology
has been a source of much misery and many degrading practices.  But
demonology represents a natural religious instinct.  It is older than
the Bible.  And what our religion has done, where it has been true to
itself, is to purge away the noxious and non-moral superstitions.  St.
Paul is representative of true Christianity in his stern refusal to use
the services of contemporary soothsaying and magic and sorcery[2].  One
has only to compare the exorcisms of our Lord with contemporary Jewish
exorcism to note the moral difference.  And every truth has its
exaggeration and its abuse.  The question still remains; are there no
spiritual beings but men?  Is there no moral evil, but in the human
heart?  Our Lord gives the most emphatic negative answer.  His teaching
about evil (and good) spirits is unmistakable and {241} constant.  If
He is an absolutely trustworthy teacher in the spiritual concerns of
life, then temptation from evil spirits is a reality, and a reality to
be held constantly in view.  And our Lord's authority is confirmed by
our own experiences.  Sometimes experience irresistibly suggests to us
the presence of unseen bad companions who can make vivid suggestions to
our minds.  Or we are impressed like St. Paul with the delusive, lying
character of evil, which makes the belief in a malevolent will almost
inevitable.  Or the continuity in evil influences, social or personal,
seems to disclose to us an organized plan or 'method[3]' a kingdom of

It is then in view of unseen but personal spiritual adversaries
organized against us as armies, under leaders who have at their control
wide-reaching social forces of evil, and who intrude themselves into
the highest spiritual regions 'the heavenly places' to which in their
own nature they belong, that St. Paul would have us equip ourselves for
fighting in 'the armour of light[4].'

If there is a spiritual battle, armour defensive and offensive becomes
a natural metaphor which {242} St. Paul frequently uses[5].  But in his
imprisonment he must have become specially habituated to the armour of
Roman soldiers, and here, as it were, he makes a spiritual meditation
on the pieces of the 'panoply' which were continually under his

We are, then, to 'take up' or 'put on' the panoply or whole armour of
God.  This means more than the armour which God supplies.  It is
probably like 'the righteousness of God,' something which is not only a
gift of God, but a gift of His own self.  Our righteousness is Christ,
and He is our armour.  Christ, the 'stronger man,' who overthrew 'the
strong man armed' in His own person[6], and 'took away from him his
panoply in which he trusted,' is to be our defence.  And by no external
protection; we are to clothe ourselves in His nature, to put Him on as
our armour.  His is the strength in which we are, like Him, to come
triumphant through the hour of darkness.

Now the parts of the armour, the elements of Christ's unconquerable
moral strength, what are they?


The belt which keeps all else in its place is for the Christian,
truth--that is, singleness of eye or perfect sincerity--the pure and
simple desire of the light.  'Unless the vessel be clean (or sincere)'
said the old Roman proverb, 'whatever you put into it turns sour.'  A
lack of sincerity at the heart of the spiritual life will destroy it
all.  Then the breastplate which covers vital organs is, for the
Christian, righteousness--the specific righteousness of Christ, St.
Paul seems to imply[7], in which in its indivisible unity he is to
enwrap himself.  And, as the feet of the soldier must be well shod not
only for protection but also to facilitate free movement on all sorts
of ground, the Christian too is to be so possessed with the good
tidings of peace that he is 'prepared' to move and act under all
circumstances--all hesitations, and delays, and uncertainties which
hinder movement gone--his feet shod with the preparedness which belongs
to those who have peace at the heart.  ('How beautiful upon the
mountains are the feet of him that bringeth glad tidings, that
publisheth peace.')  In these three fundamental
dispositions--single-mindedness, whole-hearted {244} following of
Christ, readiness such as belongs to a believer in the good
tidings--lies the Christian's strength.  But the armour is not yet
complete.  The attacks of the enemy upon the thoughts will be frequent
and fiery.  A constant and rapid action of the will will be necessary
to protect ourselves from evil suggestions lest they obtain a
lodgement.  And the method of self-protection is to look continually
and deliberately out of ourselves up to Christ--to appeal to Him, to
invoke His name, to draw upon His strength by acts of our will.  Thus
faith, continually at every fresh assault looking instinctively to
Christ and drawing upon His help, is to be our shield, off which the
enemy's darts will glance harmless, their hurtful fire quenched.  And
in thus defending ourselves we must have continually in mind that God
has delivered man by a great redemption[8].  It is the sense of this
great salvation, the conviction of each Christian that he is among
those who have been saved and are tasting this salvation, which is to
cover his head from attack like a helmet[9].  And God's {245}
word--God's specific and particular utterances, through inspired
prophets and psalmists--is to equip his mouth with a sword of power; as
in His temptation and on the cross, Christ 'put off from Himself the
principalities and powers, and made a show of them, triumphing over
them openly' by the words of Holy Scripture; as Bunyan's Christian,
when 'Apollyon was fetching him his last blow, nimbly stretched out his
hand and caught' for his 'sword' the word of Micah, 'when I fall I
shall arise.'  This is one fruit of constant meditation on the words of
Holy Scripture, that they recur to our minds when we most need them.
And then St. Paul passes from metaphor to simple speech, and for the
last weapon bids the Christians use 'always' that most powerful of all
spiritual weapons for themselves and others, 'prayer and supplication'
of all kinds and 'in all seasons.'  But it is not to be ignorant and
blind prayer; it is to be prayer 'in the spirit,' 'who helpeth our
infirmities, for we know not of ourselves how to pray as we ought.'
'The things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God'[10]; and it is
to be the sort of prayer about which trouble is taken, and which is
persevering; and it is to be {246} prayer for others as well as for
themselves, 'for all the saints.'  And St. Paul uses the pastor's
privilege, and asks for himself the support of his converts' prayers,
that he may have both power of speech and courage to proclaim the good
tidings of the divine secret disclosed, for which he is already
suffering as a prisoner.

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.  Put
on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the
wiles of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood,
but against the principalities, against the powers, against the
world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual _hosts_ of
wickedness in the heavenly _places_.  Wherefore take up the whole
armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and,
having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your loins
with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and
having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to
quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.  And take the helmet of
salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: with
all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and
watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the
saints, and on my behalf, that utterance may be given unto me in
opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the
gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak
boldly, as I ought to speak.


St. Paul does not only exhort Christians to pray, but he gives them
abundant examples.  In this epistle there are two specimens[11] of
prayer for the spiritual progress of his converts, mingled with
thanksgivings and praise.  We habitually pray for others that they may
be delivered from temporal evils, or that they may be converted from
flagrant sin or unbelief.  But surely we very seldom pray rich prayers,
like those of St. Paul's, for others' progress in spiritual

[1] Col. i. 16.

[2] Acts xiii. 6-12; xvi. 16-18; xix. 13-20.

[3] This is akin to St. Paul's word in the Greek, iv. 14; vi. 11.

[4] Rom. xiii. 12.

[5] Rom. vi. 13; xiii. 12; 2 Cor. vi. 7; x. 4; 1 Thess. v. 8.  Cf. Isa.
xi. 4, 5, and Wisd. v. 19.

[6] Luke xi. 21, 22.

[7] By the use of the articles.  Contrast Is. lix. 17 which he is

[8] Isa. lix. 17.

[9] 'Salvation' is sometimes viewed as already accomplished, i.e. in
the victory of Christ: sometimes as still to be realized at 'the
redemption of our bodies': so in 1 Thess. v. 8 the helmet is 'the hope
of salvation' yet to be attained.

[10] Rom. viii. 26; 1 Cor. ii. 11.

[11] Eph. i. 15 ff.; iii. 14 ff.



[Sidenote: _Conclusion_]

But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved
brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all
things: whom I have sent unto you for this very purpose, that ye may
know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts.  Peace be to the
brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ.  Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in

Tychicus was a native of Asia Minor[1], a companion and delegate of St.
Paul, like Timothy and others[2].  He was entrusted with the task
presumably of conveying this letter to the churches of Asia Minor, and
certainly of informing them as to the apostle's state in his Roman
imprisonment--information which could not fail to comfort and encourage

St. Paul brings this wonderful letter to a conclusion with a brief
benediction to the brethren--an invocation upon them of divine peace,
and love with faith--an invocation of divine favour upon all that 'love
our Lord Jesus Christ in {249} uncorruptness.'  Corruption is the fruit
of sin, the condition of the 'old man[3].'  Incorruption is the state
of the risen Christ, and in Him the members of His body are to be
preserved, and at last raised 'incorruptible[4]' in body.  But there is
a prior 'incorruptibleness' of spirit in which all Christians are to
live from the first[5], a freedom from all such doublemindedness or
uncleanness as can corrupt the central life of the man.  And to love
Christ with this incorruptibility is the condition of the permanent
enjoyment of all that His good favour would bestow upon us.

[1] Acts xx. 4.

[2] 2 Tim. iv. 12.

[3] Eph. iv. 22

[4] Cor. xv. 52.

[5] 1 Pet. iii. 4.



NOTE A.  See p. 26.


(1) The Spanish poet Prudentius (_c._ A.D. 400) fully appreciates the
influence of the Roman Empire in welding together the world into a
unity of government, laws, language, customs, and religious rites, to
prepare the way for the universal Church.  The stanzas are remarkable
and worth quoting.  They are put as a prayer into the mouth of the
Roman deacon Laurence during his martyrdom.  He recognizes what the
Roman Empire has done, and prays that Rome may follow the example of
the rest of the world in becoming Christian.

  O Christe, numen unicum          ut discrepantum gentium
  O splendor, O virtus Patris,     mores et observantiam,
  O factor orbis et poli,          linguas et ingenia et sacra,
  atque auctor horum moenium!      unis domares legibus.

  Qui sceptra Romae in vertice     En omne sub regnum Remi
  rerum locasti, sanciens          mortale concessit genus:
  mundum quirinali togae           idem loquuntur dissoni
  servire et armis cedere:         ritus, id ipsum sentiunt.


  Hoc destinatum, quo magis        Confoederantur omnia
  ius Christiani nominis           hinc inde membra in symbolum:
  quodcunque terrarum iacet        mansuescit orbis subditus:
  uno illigaret vinculo.           mansuescat et summum caput.

  Da, Christe, Romanis tuis            _Peristephanon_, ii. 413 ff.
  sit Christiana ut civitas:
  per quam dedisti ut caeteris
  mens una sacrorum foret.

(2) The Pope, Leo the Great (_c._ A.D. 450), speaks thus (_Serm._
lxxxii. 2): 'That the result of this unspeakable grace (the
Incarnation) might be spread abroad throughout the world, God's
providence made ready the Roman Empire, whose growth has reached so far
that the whole multitude of nations have been brought into
neighbourhood and connexion.  For it particularly suited the divinely
planned work that many kingdoms should be leagued together in one
empire, so that the universal preaching might make its way quickly
through nations already united under the government of one state.  And
yet that state, in ignorance of the author of its aggrandisement,
though it ruled almost all races, was enthralled by the errors of them
all; and seemed to itself to have received a great religion, because it
had rejected no falsehood.  And for this very reason its emancipation
through Christ was the more wondrous that it had been so fast bound by
Satan.'  Leo further recognizes that the Popes are entering into the
position of the Caesars (c. 1), that Rome, 'made the head of the world
by being the holy see of blessed Peter, should rule more widely by
means of the divine religion than of earthly sovereignty.'  But his
statement of the relation of Peter to Paul in the evangelization of the
world (c. 5) is remarkably unhistorical.


NOTE B.  See p. 29.


Nine letters under the name of the great philosopher of Ephesus remain
to us.  In one of them (iv) Heracleitus is represented as saying to
some Ephesian adversaries, 'If you had been able to live again by a new
birth 500 years hence, you would have discovered Heracleitus yet alive
[i.e. in the memory of men] but not so much as a trace of your name.'
This probably indicates that the author is writing 500 years after
Heracleitus' supposed age.  His age was differently estimated.  But
'500 years after Heracleitus' would mean, according to all reckonings,
about the first half of the first century A.D.  All the other
indications of age in the letters agree with this.  (See Jacob Bernays'
_Heraclitischen Briefe_, Berlin, 1869, p. 112.)  They were written
presumably at Ephesus, and all or most of them by a Stoic philosopher.
I do not think that it is necessary to assume traces of Jewish
influence in these letters, any more than in the writings of Seneca.
And the bulk of the letters is so thoroughly Stoic and contrary to
Jewish feeling, that a Jew is hardly likely to have interpolated them.
They illustrate therefore the current philosophic ideas which were at
work in the world in which St. Paul lived and taught, when he was
outside Judaea.  That St. Paul was familiar with these ideas, however
his familiarity may have been gained, is shown beyond possibility of
mistake by his speeches--supposing them substantially genuine--at
Lystra and Athens.

The following passages in these letters are interesting:

(1) (From Heracleitus' defence of himself against {254} a charge of
impiety in letter iv) 'Where is God?  Is he shut up in the temples?
You forsooth are pious who set up the God in a dark place.  A man takes
it for an insult if he is said to be "made of stone": and is God truly
described as "born of the rocks"?  Ignorant men, do ye not know that
God is not fashioned with hands, nor can you make him a sufficient
pedestal, nor shut him into one enclosure, but the whole world is his
temple, decorated with animals and planets and stars?  I inscribed my
altar "to Heracles the Ephesian" [Greek: ERAKLEI TOI EPHESIOI] making
the God your citizen, not--he continues--to myself "Heracleitus an
Ephesian" [the same letters differently divided], as I am accused of
doing by you in your ignorance.  Yet Heracles was a man deified by his
goodness and noble deeds; and were his virtues and labours greater than
mine?  I have conquered money and ambition: I have mastered fear and
flattery,' &c.  Then after a passage about the certainty of his own
immortal renown, he returns to ridicule idolatry.  'If an altar of a
god be not set up, is there no god? or if an altar be set up to what is
not a god, is it a god--so that stones become the evidences (witnesses)
of Gods?  Nay it is his works which shall bear witness to God, as the
sun, the day and night, the seasons, the whole fruitful earth, and the
circle of the moon, his work and witness in the heavens.'  The whole of
this letter (iv), which can be paralleled in all its ideas from Stoic
and Platonic sources, may compare and contrast with Acts xiv. 15-18;
xvii. 22-29.

(2) Letter v is written by Heracleitus in sickness.  He gives a theory
of disease as an excess of some element in the body; and describes his
soul as a divine thing reproducing in his body the healing activity of
God in the world as a whole,--'imitating God' by knowledge of the
method of nature.  Even if his body prove unmanageable and succumb to
fate, yet his soul will rise {255} to heaven and 'I shall have my
citizenship (Greek: politeúsouai) not among men but among Gods.'
'Perhaps my soul is giving prophetic intimation of its release even now
from its prison house' so short lived and worthless.  Letter vi is a
continuation of v, containing a denunciation of contemporary medicine
on the ground of its lack of science, and a further explanation of the
Stoic doctrine of the immanence of God in all nature--forming,
ordering, dissolving, transforming, healing everywhere.  'Him will I
imitate in myself and dismiss all others.'  We should compare and (even
more) contrast St. Paul's assertions of independence of bodily
circumstances; his belief in the higher sense of 'nature' (Rom. ii.
14), and such phrases as Phil. ii. 20, 'our citizenship is in heaven,'
Eph. v. 1, 'Be ye imitators of God.'

(3) Letter vii is addressed to Hermodorus in exile.  Heracleitus is to
be exiled also 'for misanthropy and refusal to smile' by a law directed
against him alone.  After an interesting condemnation of _privilegia_,
the letter explains his misanthropy.  He does not hate men, but their
vices.  The law should run 'If any man hates vice let him leave the
city.'  Then he will go willingly.  In fact he is already an exile
while in the city, for he cannot share its vices.  Then he describes
Ephesian life in terms of fierce contempt, their lusts natural and
unnatural, their frauds, their wars of words, their legal
contentiousness, their faithlessness and perjuries, their robberies of
temples.  He denounces their vices in connexion with the worship of
Cybele (beating the kettle-drum) and Dionysus (the eating of live
flesh), and with religious vigils and banquets, and alludes to details
of sensuality associated with these meetings.  He condemns the
submission of great principles to the verdicts of the crowd at their
theatres, and passes to a further vivid onslaught on their quarrels and
murders (they are no longer men {256} but beasts), on their use of
music to excite their bloodthirsty passions, and on war altogether as
contrary to 'the law of nature,' and involving the pursuit of all sorts
of vice.  All this impeachment may be compared with St. Paul, who
speaks however by comparison with marked reserve, in Rom. i. 24-31,
Eph. iv. 17-19, and elsewhere.

(4) The eighth letter is again written to Hermodorus now on his way to
Italy to assist the Decemvirs with the Ten Tables.  It contains a
somewhat remarkable 'judgement on wealthy Ephesus' and statement of the
judicial function of wealth.  'God does not punish by taking wealth
away, but rather gives it to the wicked, that through having
opportunity to sin they may be convicted, and by the very abundance of
their resources may exhibit their corruption on a wider stage.'  Cf. 1
Tim. vi. 9.

(5) The banishment of Hermodorus had been on account of a proposed law
to grant equal citizenship to freed men, and the right of public office
to their children.  This instance of Ephesian intolerance gives
occasion for an enunciation of the Stoic doctrine that the only real
freedom is moral freedom, and moral freedom constitutes a man a citizen
of the world.  'The good Ephesian is a citizen of the world.  For this
is the common home of all, and its law is no written document but God
(Greek: ou grámma alla theós), and he who transgresses his duty shall
be impious; or rather he will not dare to transgress, for he will not
escape justice.'  'Let the Ephesians cease to be the sort of men they
are, and they will love all men in an equality of virtue.'  'Virtue,
not the chance of birth, makes men equal.'  'Only vice enslaves, only
virtue liberates.'  For men to enslave their fellow men is to fall
below the beasts; so also to mutilate them as the Ephesians do their
Megabyzi--the eunuch-priests of the wooden image of Artemis.  There
must be inequality of function in the world, but not refusal of
fellowship, as the {257} higher parts of nature do not despise the
lower, or the soul think scorn to dwell with the body, or the head
despise the entrails, or God refuse to give the gifts of nature, such
as the light of the sun, to all equally.  Here again we have what is
both like and unlike St. Paul's doctrine of true human liberty and
'fellowship in the body.'

On the whole I think these letters are worth more notice than they have
received, both in themselves and as a good example of the sort of
religious and moral doctrine current in the better heathen circles of
the Asiatic cities, while St. Paul was teaching.  It presents many
points of connexion with St. Paul's teaching, and co-operated with the
influence of the Jewish synagogue to prepare men's minds for it.  But
perhaps what chiefly strikes us is the contrast which the fierce and
arrogant contempt of the Stoic presents to the loving hopefulness of
the Christian messenger of the gospel.

NOTE C.  See p. 74.


Mr. R. H. Charles gives us the following statement[1]:--

'The Talmudic doctrine of works may be shortly summarized as follows:
Every good work--whether the fulfilment of a command or an act of
mercy--established a certain degree of merit with God, while every evil
work entailed a corresponding demerit.  A man's position with God
depended on the relation existing between his merits and demerits, and
his salvation on the preponderance of the former over the latter.  The
relation between his {258} merits and demerits was determined daily by
the weighing of his deeds.  But as the results of such judgements were
necessarily unknown, there could not fail to be much uneasiness; and,
to allay this, the doctrine of the vicarious righteousness of the
patriarchs and saints of Israel was developed not later than the
beginning of the Christian era (cf. Matt. iii. 9).  A man could thereby
summon to his aid the merits of the fathers, and so counterbalance his

'It is obvious that such a system does not admit of forgiveness in any
spiritual sense of the term.  It can only mean in such a connexion a
remission of penalty to the offender, on the ground that compensation
is furnished, either through his own merit or through that of the
righteous fathers.  Thus, as Weber vigorously puts it: "Vergebung ohne
Bezahlung gibt es nicht."  Thus, according to popular Pharisaism, _God
never remitted a debt until He was paid in full, and so long as it was
paid it mattered not by whom_.

'It will be observed that with the Pharisees forgiveness was _an
external thing_; it was concerned not with the man himself but with his
works--with these indeed as affecting him, but yet as existing
independently without him.  This was not the view taken by the best
thought in the Old Testament.  There forgiveness dealt first and
chiefly with the direct relation between man's spirit and God; it was
essentially a restoration of man to communion with God.  When,
therefore, Christianity had to deal with these problems, it could not
accept the Pharisaic solutions, but had in some measure to return to
the Old Testament to authenticate and develope the highest therein
taught, and in the person and life of Christ to give it a world-wide
power and comprehensiveness.'

The doctrine called Talmudic in the above extract receives remarkable
illustration in a Jewish work, _The {259} Apocalypse of Baruch_, which
dates from the same period as the writings of the New Testament (A.D.
50-100; or if the work be regarded as composite, we should say that its
component elements are of that date), and represents to us in a very
vivid and touching form the hopes and beliefs of a pious orthodox Jew.

1.  _The doctrine of the merit of good works_, ii. 2 [words spoken to
Jeremiah by God], 'Your works are to this city as a firm pillar.'  xiv.
5: 'What have they profited who confessed before Thee, and have not
walked in vanity as the rest of the nations ... but always feared Thee,
and have not left Thy ways?  And, lo, they have been carried off, nor
on their account hast Thou had mercy on Zion.  And if others did evil,
it was due to Zion that on account of the works of those who wrought
good works she should be forgiven, and should not be overwhelmed on
account of the works of those who wrought unrighteousness.'  lxiii. 3:
'Hezekiah trusted in his works, and had hope in his righteousness, and
spake with the Mighty One ... and the Mighty One heard him.'  lxxxv. 1:
'In the generations of old those our fathers had helpers, righteous men
and holy prophets ... and they helped us when we sinned, and they
prayed for us to Him who made us, because they trusted in their works,
and the Mighty One heard their prayer and was gracious unto us.'  li.
7: 'But those who have been saved by their works, and to whom the law
has been now a hope, and understanding an expectation, and wisdom a
confidence, to them wonders will appear in their time.'

It is very noticeable in the above quotations that it is the works of
the righteous rather than their persons (as in Genesis xviii. 23-33)
that are put forward as the grounds of confidence with God.  The claim
of righteousness in the second quotation (xiv. 5) may be paralleled in
the somewhat earlier work called _The Assumption {260} of Moses_[2]:
'Observe and know that neither did our fathers nor their forefathers
tempt God so as to transgress His commandments.'

2.  _The doctrine of the treasury of merits_.  The good works of the
righteous are laid up as in a treasury to avail for themselves and for
others.  Thus (xiv. 12): 'The righteous justly hope for the end, and
without fear depart from this habitation, because they have with Thee a
store of works preserved in treasuries.'  xxiv. 1: 'Behold the days
come when the books will be opened in which are written the sins of all
those that have sinned, and again also the treasuries in which the
righteousness of all those who have been righteous in creation is

The connexion of the mediaeval doctrine of the treasury of merits with
the similar Jewish doctrine needs to be traced out.

3.  _Righteousness identified with the keeping of the law_.  For the
Pharisaic Jew righteousness meant simply the keeping of the law.  Thus
xv. 5: 'Man would not have rightly understood My judgement if he had
not accepted the law.'  Again, lxvii. 6: 'So far as Zion is delivered
up and Jerusalem laid waste ... the vapour of the smoke of the incense
of righteousness which is by the law is extinguished in Zion.'  Thus
the merits of Abraham are attributed to his having kept the law before
it was written.  lvii. 2: 'At that time the unwritten law was named
among them, and the works of the commandments were then fulfilled.'

Of course it must be said that 'the Law' may mean the ceremonial law,
as in the lower form of Jewish thought, or special stress may be laid
on its moral precepts, as is the case in Baruch, and in the higher
Jewish teaching generally.


4.  _The Gentiles are therefore incapable of righteousness_.  lxii. 7:
'But regarding the Gentiles it were tedious to tell how they always
wrought impiety and wickedness, and never wrought righteousness.'  Thus
the best hope of the Gentiles is that in the Messianic kingdom they
should become servants to Israel.  This will be their lot if they have
never vexed the holy people; see lxxii. 2-6.

5.  _The world created on account of Israel_, xiv. 18: 'Thou didst say
that Thou wouldst make for Thy world man as the administrator of Thy
works, that it might be known that he was by no means made on account
of the world but the world on account of him.  [But "man" is at once
interpreted as the Jewish race.]  And now I see that as for the world
which was made on account of us, lo! it abides, but we on account of
whom it was made depart' [i.e. into captivity], xv. 7: 'As regards what
thou didst say touching the righteous, that on account of them has this
world come into being, nay more, even that world which is to come is on
their account.'  xxi. 23: 'Reprove therefore the angel of death ... and
let the treasuries of souls restore them that are enclosed in them, for
there have been many years like those that are desolate, from the days
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of all those who are like them, who
sleep in the earth, on whose account Thou didst say that Thou hadst
created the world.'  (This idea of the treasury of the souls of the
righteous recurs in xxx. 2.)  In _The Assumption of Moses_ (i. 12) it
is said, 'God hath created the world on behalf of His people.  But He
was not pleased to manifest this purpose of creation from the
foundation of the world, in order that the Gentiles might thereby be
convicted [i.e. of ignorance], yea to their own humiliation might by
their arguments convict one another.'

The above teaching shows us exactly what it was to which St. Paul
opposed his doctrine of Justification by {262} Faith.  We see it here
on its own ground.  Its close association with 'boasting' is apparent
even in its better form; and its view of election contrasts, by its
selfish narrowness, with the view of election put forward by St. Paul,
viz. that God's election of a chosen people or society, together with
His apparent reprobation of others left outside, both alike subserve a
purpose of infinite width, the ultimate divine purpose to 'have mercy
upon all.'  See Romans ix-xi, especially xi. 32, and cf. Eph. i. 9-10:
'the secret of His will with a view to the dispensation of the fulness
of the times, to bring together all things in the Christ, things in
heaven and things in earth.'

The marked contrast between the doctrine of Baruch and the doctrine of
St. Paul must of course be admitted in general; but it has been asked
whether the doctrine of the Atonement is not a fragment of the
abandoned Jewish doctrine of merit, borrowed inconsistently by St.
Paul, or inconsistently tolerated by him.  To this the reply is surely
in the negative.  The Jews undoubtedly held that Enoch, Moses,
Jeremiah, and others were, on account of their righteousness, the
accepted mediators with God on behalf of the chosen people, and
propitiators of His wrath (see especially _Assumption of Moses_, xi,
and passages from _Baruch_ cited above).  But the doctrine of the
Atonement, when it is examined, proves to have one feature which puts
it into marked opposition with the Judaic doctrine of human merit.

According to the Christian doctrine of the Atonement, Christ is purely
and simply God's gift to man.  He is the Son of God, given to man by
the Father, in order that, taking our nature upon Him, living the
perfect human life, and dying the death of perfect obedience, He might
satisfy the divine requirement, which we could not satisfy, and procure
for us what we could not procure for ourselves, no, not the best of us.
Therefore this doctrine {263} puts all men, the best and worst alike,
in the common attitude of simply receiving from God, as an unmerited
boon, the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation in Christ.  It is in
fact the strongest possible negation of the Jewish idea of human merit,
personal or vicarious.

In other respects the doctrine of _The Apocalypse of Baruch_ affords at
once interesting contrasts and parallels to St. Paul's doctrine.  Thus--

(_a_) In Baruch as in St. Paul, we have a combination of the doctrine
of divine predestination with the insistence on human free will and
responsibility.  lxix. 4: 'Of the good works of the righteous which
should be accomplished before Him, He foresaw six kinds' should be
compared with Eph. ii. 10: 'Good works which God prepared beforehand
that we should walk in them.'

(_b_) The eschatology of the New Testament, including St. Paul's, is of
course especially Jewish.  It does not however concern us much in the
Epistle to the Ephesians; but we notice that in _The Apocalypse of
Baruch_ the idea of 'the consummation of the times' (cf. Eph. i. 10,
'the fulness of the times') appears and reappears constantly.  See
xiii. 3; xxi. 8, 17; xxx. 3; xlii. 6; liv. 21; lvi. 2; lix. 4; lxix. 4,
5; cf. _The Assumption of Moses_, i. 18: 'The consummation of the end
of the days.'

(_c_) The connexion of St. Paul's doctrine with the Jewish doctrine is
also illustrated in _The Apocalypse of Baruch_ on the following points.
_That the Gentiles had the opportunity of the knowledge of God through
His works in nature, but refused it_.  See _Baruch_, liv. 18, and cf.
Romans, i. 20: _The pre-existence of the Messiah_.  This is suggested
but not very clearly stated in xxx. 1, cf. Charles's note and _The
Assumption of Moses_, i. 14, where the pre-existence of Moses seems to
be asserted.  Again, _the Fall of Adam and its effect in introducing
death_ (_or premature death_) _into the world_.  See xxiii. 4; xlviii.
42; liv. 15; lvi. 6, and {264} Charles's notes.  Once more The
Resurrection of the Body.  See _Baruch_, l; li.  On all these points we
see what was the material in existing Jewish thought or, in other
words, what were the existing developements of Old Testament belief,
which the Christian inspiration had to work upon.  The effect of the
specifically Christian inspiration is chiefly seen (1) in selection
among existing beliefs--taking some and utterly rejecting others; (2)
in giving a definite and fixed form to current Messianic and other
ideas which were continually shifting and incoherent; and (3) in
spiritualizing and moralizing what it appropriated.  Of course it is in
the Revelation or Apocalypse of St. John that we have the most signal
instance of the New Testament use of contemporary Jewish material.  But
such material holds a very large place in the whole of the New
Testament, and there is no more important assistance to the study of
the New Testament than is afforded by contemporary Jewish literature,
especially that of an Apocalyptic character.

[1] _The Apoc. of Baruch_ (A. and C. Black, 1896), p. lxxxii.  The
statement is compiled from Weber, _Lehre des Talmuds_.

[2] Edited also by R. H. Charles (A. and C. Black, 1897), p. 37.

NOTE D.  See p. 120.


After the above passage was written, as to the need amongst us of a
deeper idea of the obligations of church membership, it fell to my lot
to go to the United States, to make acquaintance with the work of the
Brotherhood of St. Andrew in that country, and to assist at its general
convention in Buffalo.  It seemed to me that nothing could be better
calculated to revive the true spirit of laymanship than that society,
'formed in recognition of {265} the fact that every Christian man is
pledged to devote his life to the spread of the kingdom of Christ on

It was started among a small band of young men, of the number of the
apostles, nearly fifteen years ago, in St. James's parish, Chicago, and
has spread till to-day it numbers more than 1,200 parochial chapters in
the United States alone, and has taken firm root in Canada and other
parts of the world.  It has a double rule of Prayer and of Service.
The point of the service required is that it should have the character
especially of witness among a man's equals.  So much 'church work' is
directed towards raising those who are in some ways our inferiors, that
we forget that the real test of a man is the witness he bears for
Christ among his equals.  There is many a man who, especially in his
youth, fails to confess Christ in his own society, and then, if I may
so express it, sneaks round the corner to do something to raise the
degraded or takes orders and preaches the gospel.  Nobody can possibly
disparage these efforts of love, but a certain character of cowardice
continues to attach to them, if they are not based on a frank witness
for Christ in a man's own walk of life, where it is hardest.  It is
this witness which the Brotherhood requires.

The particular rule is 'to make an earnest effort each week to bring
some one young man within hearing of the Gospel of Christ as set forth
in the services of the Church and in men's Bible classes.'  This rule
is no doubt open to criticism.  But it is interpreted in the spirit
rather than in the letter, and for its definite requirement it is
successfully pleaded that it keeps the members from vagueness and

Certainly the result appears to be excellent.  The brethren are
pervaded by a spirit of frank religious profession and devotion.  There
appears to be a general {266} tone among them of reality and good
sense.  Their missionary zeal does not degenerate into an intrusive
prying into other men's souls.

The Brotherhood was developed in the atmosphere of the United States,
and it remains a question whether it will flourish in England.  The
more sharply defined distinctions of classes among us; our exaggerated
parochialism; the shyness and reserve in religious matters which
characterizes many really religious Englishmen and degenerates into a
sort of 'hypocrisy reversed,' or pretence of being less religious than
one is--these things will constitute grave obstacles.  But the need is
at least as crying among us, as on the other side of the Atlantic, to
emphasize among professing Christians and churchmen the duty of
witness.  At least we may trust the Brotherhood will be given a good
trial.  But if it is to have a fair chance among us, the greatest care
must be taken that it should develope as a properly lay movement; and
while it receives all encouragement from the clergy, should not be
taken up by them to be turned into a guild of 'church workers,' useful
for purposes of parochial organization.

One of the most striking facts about the Brotherhood in the States is
that, while the church spirit is unmistakable--as no one who was
present at the corporate Communion of 1,300 delegates in October of
this year at half-past six in the morning in a great church at Buffalo
could possibly doubt--it has successfully avoided becoming either a
party society or a society rent by factions.

It is because I believe the witness of this Brotherhood to the true
church spirit has already proved invaluable that I venture to dedicate
this little exposition of the great book of brotherhood--though without
leave granted or asked--to its founder and president.


NOTE E.  See pp.  164, 166.


By far the most frequent use of the word 'church' or 'churches' in the
New Testament is to designate a local society of Christians or a number
of such societies taken together, 'the church at Jerusalem,' 'the
church at Antioch,' 'the churches of Galatia,' 'the seven churches
which are in Asia,' 'all the churches.'  But it is used also for the
church as a whole.  In fact, before Christ's coming the word in the
Greek of the Old Testament had passed from meaning an assembly of the
people, as in classical Greek, to meaning the sacred people as a
whole[1], as St. Stephen uses it in his speech 'The church in the
wilderness' (Acts vii. 38).  And it is exactly in this sense that it is
used by our Lord in St. Matthew, xvi. 18.  'The church' which our Lord
there promises to 'build' is the Church of the New Covenant as a whole.
We might paraphrase His words (as Dr. Hort suggests[2]) 'on this rock I
will build my Israel.'  Thus there is throughout the Acts and St.
Paul's earlier epistles, a tendency to pass from the use of 'church' as
a local society to its use as designating the whole body of the
faithful.  This was but natural seeing that each local society did but
represent the one divine society, the church of the Old Covenant,
refounded by Christ.  See Acts ix. 31: 'The church throughout all
Judaea and Galilee and Samaria.' {268} xii. 1: 'Herod the king put
forth his hands to afflict certain of the church.'  xx. 28: 'The church
of God which he purchased with his own blood.'  Gal. i. 13: 'I
persecuted the church of God.'  1 Cor. xii. 28: 'God hath set some in
the church, first apostles,' &c.  In this last passage and in St.
Paul's speech to the Ephesian elders this general use of the term is

In the Epistle to the Ephesians, in which alone among his epistles St.
Paul is writing not about the difficulties or needs of a particular
congregation, but about the church in its general conception, this
larger use of the term becomes dominant.  And the point to be noticed
is that the church in general, or catholic church, is conceived of, not
as made up of local churches, but as made up of individual members.
The local church would be regarded by St. Paul not as one element of a
catholic confederacy[3], but as the local representative of the one
divine and catholic society[4].  But the local church is not, according
to St. Paul, a completely independent representative of the church as a
whole.  The apostles, as commissioned witnesses and representatives of
Christ, are over all the churches.  They, or their recognized
associates and delegates, like Barnabas, Timothy and Titus, represent
the general church which every local church must, so to speak,
reproduce.  The apostles therefore, or their representatives, give to
each church when it is first founded 'the tradition' of truth and
morals which is permanently to mould it; and they maintain the
tradition by a more or less constant supervision.  Thus they are {269}
the force which holds all 'the churches' together on a common basis.
'So ordain I,' says St. Paul, 'in all the churches[5].'  'Hold fast the
traditions even as I delivered them to you[6].'  The apostle has, he
teaches, an 'authority' commensurate with his 'stewardship[7],' an
authority 'which the Lord gave for the edification and not the
destruction[8]' of the Christians, but which at times must take the
form of a 'rod' of chastisement[9].  The complete doctrinal and moral
independence of particular Churches is strongly denied by St. Paul in
such phrases as 'Came the word of God unto you alone?' or, 'If any man
preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let
him be anathema[10].'

Dr. Hort's work on _The Christian Ecclesia_, in many respects, as would
be expected, most admirable, seems to me to minimize quite
extraordinarily the apostolic authority.  The apostles, he says, were
only witnesses of Christ.  'There is no trace in Scripture of a formal
commission of authority for government from Christ Himself.'  This
surprising conclusion is reached by omitting many considerations.  Thus
in St. Matthew xvi. 19 a definite grant of official authority--as
appears in the passage, Is. xxii. 22, on which it is based--is promised
to St. Peter, and he is on this occasion, as Dr. Hort himself
maintains, the representative of the apostles generally.  This
stewardship granted to the apostles, to shepherd the flock and feed the
household of God, is implied again in St. Luke xii. 42, St. John xxi.
15-17; and it seems to be quite unreasonable to dissociate the
authoritative commission to 'absolve and retain,' St. John xx. 20-23,
from the apostolic office.  Dr. Hort would apparently {270} dissociate
such passages as those last referred to from the apostolic office, and
assign them to the church as a whole.  But how then does he account for
the authority inherent in the apostolic office, as it is represented by
St. Paul, and in the Acts?  St. Paul's conception of the authority of
the apostles is barely considered by him; and the authority of the
apostolate in the Acts is strangely minimized.  Nothing is said of
Simon's impression--surely a true one--that the apostles had the
'authority' to convey the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of
hands (viii. 19).  Certainly the phrases used toward the churches of
Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, 'to whom we gave no commandment,' 'it
seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater
burden than these necessary things,' imply a governmental authority,
which, if it is shared by the presbyters, is substantially that of the
apostles (Acts xv. 24-28).

Dr. Hort also minimizes greatly the element of official authority which
appears almost at once in the church by apostolic appointment and
delegation.  No doubt there was at first an authority allowed--as must
always be allowed--to the acknowledged possessors of extraordinary
divine gifts, especially to the 'prophets.'  But in the period of St.
Paul's later activity, when he is facing the future of the church and
has apparently ceased to expect an immediate return of Christ, these
special gifts retire into the background, while the ordinary functions
of government, and administration of the word and sacraments, remain in
the position which they are permanently to occupy in the hands of
regularly ordained officers.

Dr. Hort deals, as it seems to me, most unreasonably with the pastoral
epistles.  It is surely arbitrary to dissociate 'the gift which was in
Timothy by the laying on of St. Paul's hands,' the gift of power, and
love, and discipline; which Timothy is to 'stir up' (2 Tim. i. 6), from
{271} that mentioned in the first epistle (iv. 14), 'the gift that is
in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the
hands of the presbyters'; and to make the former a 'gift' of merely
personal piety.  And (even if the 'lay hands suddenly on no man' be
interpreted, as Ellicott and Hort would interpret it, of the reception
of a penitent) it seems absurd to doubt, in view of what is said about
the laying on of hands in ordination of 'the seven' and of the
'evangelist' Timothy, and in view of the place it held generally for
conveying spiritual gifts in the Christian Church, that this was the
accepted method of ordination in all cases; there being in fact no
evidence to the contrary.

Once more, Dr. Hort is surely maintaining an impossible position when,
even in face of the salutation to the Philippians, he denies that the
term 'episcopus' is used in the New Testament as a regular title of an
ecclesiastical office.

Not even Dr. Hort's reputation for soundness of judgement could stand
against many posthumous publications such as _The Christian Ecclesia_.

[1] _Not_, as Dr. Hort points out (_Christian Ecclesia_, p. 5), 'the
elect (called-out) people.'  The word has in fact no such association
attached to it.

[2] pp. 10, 11.

[3] Unless indeed, in Eph. iii. 21, we should understand 'every
building' as meaning every local church which, fitted together with
every other, grows into a holy temple, i.e. into that which only a
really catholic church can be.

[4] The same statement would be true of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

[5] 1 Cor. vii. 17.

[6] 1 Cor. xi. 2, xv. 2.

[7] 1 Cor. ix. 17.

[8] 2 Cor. x. 8.

[9] 1 Cor. iv, 21.

[10] 1 Cor. xiv. 36; Gal. i. 8.

NOTE F.  See p. 188.


The world at large is fully aware of the claim of 'Catholicism,' i.e.
the claim of the one visible church for all sorts of men.  But the
ethical meaning of the claim has been strangely subordinated to its
theological and sacerdotal aspects.  Its ethical meaning seems to me to
require developing under heads such as these:--

1.  The requirement of mutual forbearance if men of all races and
classes and idiosyncrasies are to be bound {272} to belong to one
organization and to worship in common, 'breaking the one bread.'
Herein lies the moral discipline of Catholicism: see above, pp. 123

2.  The consequent obligation of toleration in theology, ritual, &c.,
on all matters which do not touch the actual basis of the Christian
faith.  St. Cyprian, though he believed that those baptized outside the
church were not baptized at all, yet deliberately remained in communion
with those bishops who thought differently, trusting to the mercy of
God to supply the supposed deficiency in those who, outside his
jurisdiction, were admitted into the church, as he believed, without
baptism.  And St. Augustine, who, most of ancient writers, understands
the moral meaning of Catholicism, repeatedly holds up this toleration
of Cyprian as an example to the Donatist separatists of his own day:
'If you seek advice from the blessed Cyprian, hear how much he
anticipates from the mere advantage of unity: so much so that he did
not separate himself from those who held different opinions: and,
though he thought that those who are baptized outside the communion of
the church do not receive baptism at all, yet he believed that those
who had thus been simply _admitted_ into the church could on no other
ground than the bond of unity come under the divine pardon.'  Then he
quotes Cyprian's words: 'But some one will say: what will happen to
those who in the past, when coming from heresy to the church, have been
admitted without baptism?  (I reply): God is powerful to grant them
forgiveness by His mercy, and not to separate from the gifts of His
church those who, after being thus simply admitted into her, have
fallen asleep.'  And again: 'judging no man and separating no man from
the rights of communion because he thinks differently.'  And St.
Augustine continues: 'All these catholic {273} unity embraces in her
motherly bosom, bearing one another's burdens in turn and endeavouring
to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, until, in
whatever respect they disagreed, the Lord should reveal (the truth) to
one or the other of them[1].'  Not to St. Paul then, only, but to St.
Cyprian and St. Augustine, doctrinal toleration is an essential of
Catholicism.  Would to God the claim of the one church had not come to
be associated so generally with the opposite tendency!  See above, pp.
158 f.

3.  Catholicism, as meaning a church of all races and sorts of people,
postulates a constant missionary enthusiasm in all the members of the
church till this ideal be realized.  'To do the work of an evangelist,'
to have the 'feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,' to
be content to leave nothing but evil outside the church--that is to be
a real catholic.

4.  To St. Paul's mind the Catholicism of the church is to lead the way
to an even wider 'reconciliation.'  Through the catholic union of men
in the church the whole universe is to come back into unity.  The
kingdom of God is to be something wider than the church which exists to
prepare for it.  This principle once recognized secures that the church
shall feel and exhibit a constant interest in all departments of
knowledge and progress.  The universe is one, and redemption is for the

5.  Catholicism is the antithesis of esotericism.  All--men and women,
slave or free, Greek or Scythian--are capable of full initiation into
Christianity.  All--not apostles and presbyter-bishops and deacons
only--but all Christians make up the high priestly body and have on
their foreheads the anointing oil: see above, pp. 111 ff.

Forbearance between divergent classes and races and
individuals--doctrinal toleration--missionary {274}
enthusiasm--universal sympathy--recognition of a universal priesthood
of Christianity--these constitute the moral content of Pauline

[1] S. Aug. _de Baptismo_, ii. [xiii.] 18, [xiv.] 20.

NOTE G.  See p. 190.


The 'Report of the Committee of the Lambeth Conference appointed to
consider and report upon the office of the Church with respect to
industrial problems--(_a_) the unemployed; (_b_) industrial
co-operation,' is so much to the point as a statement of Christian
social duty that I venture to reproduce the _first part of it_ here.

'The Committee desire to begin their Report with words of thankful
recognition that throughout the Church of Christ, and not least in the
Churches of our own Communion, there has been a marked increase of
solicitude about the problems of industrial and social life, and of
sympathy with the struggles, sufferings, responsibilities, and
anxieties, which those problems involve.

'They hope that they rightly discern in this some increasing reflection
in modern shape of the likeness of the Lord, in whose blessed life zeal
for the souls, and sympathy for the bodily needs of men were undivided
fruits of a single love.

'The Committee, before proceeding to touch upon two specific parts of
the subject, desire to record briefly what they deem to be certain
principles of Christian duty in such matters.

'The primary duty of the Church, as such, and, within her, of the
Clergy, is that of ministry to men in the things of character,
conscience, and faith.  In doing this, she also does her greatest
social duty.  Character in the {275} citizen is the first social need;
character, with its securities in a candid, enlightened, and vigorous
conscience, and a strong faith in goodness and in God.  The Church owes
this duty to all classes alike.  Nothing must be allowed to distract
her from it, or needlessly to impede or prejudice her in its discharge;
and this requires of the Clergy, as spiritual officers, the exercise of
great discretion in any attempt to bring within their sphere work of a
more distinctively social kind.

'But while this cannot be too strongly said, it is not the whole truth.
Character is influenced at every point by social conditions; and active
conscience, in an industrial society, will look for moral guidance on
industrial matters.

'Economic science does not claim to give this, its task being to inform
but not to determine the conscience and judgement.  But we believe that
Christ our Master does give such guidance by His example and teachings,
and by the present workings of His Spirit; and therefore under Him
Christian authority must in a measure do the same, the authority, that
is, of the whole Christian body, and of an enlightened Christian
opinion.  This is part of the duty of the Christian Society, as
witnessing for Christ and representing Him in this present world,
occupied with His work of setting up the Kingdom of God, under and
amidst the natural conditions of human life.  In this work the clergy,
whose special duty it is to ponder the bearings of Christian
principles, have their part; but the Christian laity, who deal directly
with the social and economic facts, can do even more.

'The Committee believe that it would be wholly wrong for Christian
authority to attempt to interfere with the legitimate evolution of
economic and social thought and life by taking a side corporately in
the debates between rival social theories or systems.  It will not (for
example), {276} at the present day, attempt to identify Christian duty
with the acceptance of systems based respectively on collective or
individual ownership of the means of production.

'But they submit that Christian social duty will operate in two

'1.  The recognition, inculcation, and application of certain Christian
principles.  They offer the following as examples:--

(_a_) The principle of Brotherhood.  This principle of Brotherhood, or
Fellowship in Christ, proclaiming, as it does, that men are members one
of another, should act in all the relations of life as a constant
counterpoise to the instinct of competition.

(_b_) The principle of Labour.  That every man is bound to service--the
service of God and man.  Labour and service are to be here understood
in their widest and most inclusive sense; but in some sense they are
obligatory on all.  The wilfully idle man, and the man who lives only
for himself, are out of place in a Christian community.  Work,
accordingly, is not to be looked upon as an irksome necessity for some,
but as the honourable task and privilege of all.

(_c_) The principle of Justice.  God is no respecter of persons.
Inequalities, indeed, of every kind are inwoven with the whole
providential order of human life, and are recognized emphatically in
our Lord's words.  But the social order cannot ignore the interests of
any of its parts, and must, moreover, be tested by the degree in which
it secures for each freedom for happy, useful, and untrammelled life,
and distributes, as widely and equitably as may be, social advantages
and opportunities.

(_d_) The principle of Public Responsibility.  A Christian community,
as a whole, is morally responsible for {277} the character of its own
economic and social order, and for deciding to what extent matters
affecting that order are to be left to individual initiative, and to
the unregulated play of economic forces.  Factory and sanitary
legislation, the institution of Government labour departments and the
influence of Government, or of public opinion and the press, or of
eminent citizens, in helping to avoid or reconcile industrial
conflicts, are instances in point.

'2.  Christian opinion should be awake to repudiate and condemn either
open breaches of social justice and duty, or maxims and principles of
an un-Christian character.  It ought to condemn the belief that
economic conditions are to be left to the action of material causes and
mechanical laws, uncontrolled by any moral responsibility.  It can
pronounce certain conditions of labour to be intolerable.  It can
insist that the employer's personal responsibility, as such, is not
lost by his membership in a commercial or industrial Company.  It can
press upon retail purchasers the obligation to consider not only the
cheapness of the goods supplied to them, but also the probable
conditions of their production.  It can speak plainly of evils which
attach to the economic system under which we live, such as certain
forms of luxurious extravagance, the widespread pursuit of money by
financial gambling, the dishonesties of trade into which men are driven
by feverish competition, and the violences and reprisals of industrial

'It is plain that in these matters disapproval must take every
different shade, from plain condemnation of undoubted wrong to
tentative opinions about better and worse.  Accordingly any organic
action of the Church, or any action of the Church's officers, as such,
should be very carefully restricted to cases where the rule of right is
practically clear, and much the larger part of the matter {278} should
be left to the free and flexible agency of the awakened Christian
conscience of the community at large, and of its individual members.

'If the Christian conscience be thus awakened and active, it will
secure the best administration of particular systems, while they exist,
and the modification or change of them, when this is required by the
progress of knowledge, thought, and life.

'It appears to follow from what precedes that the great need of the
Church, in this connexion, is the growth and extension of a serious,
intelligent, and sympathetic opinion on these subjects, to which
numberless Christians have as yet never thought of applying Christian
principles.  There has been of late no little improvement in this
respect, but much remains to be done, and with this view the Committee
desire to make the following definite recommendation.

'They suggest that, wherever possible, there should be formed, as a
part of local Church organization, Committees consisting chiefly of
laymen, whose work should be to study social and industrial problems
from the Christian point of view, and to assist in creating and
strengthening an enlightened public opinion in regard to such problems,
and promoting a more active spirit of social service, as a part of
Christian duty.

'Such Committees, or bodies of Church workers in the way of social
service, while representing no one class of society, and abstaining
from taking sides in any disputes between classes, should fearlessly
draw attention to the various causes in our economic, industrial, and
social system, which call for remedial measures on Christian

Abundant illustration of the kind of matters with which such Committees
might deal will be found in the report.



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