The Chief Apostles


1. PETER. -- In the first stage of the apostolic history, Peter was unquestionably the leading spirit. Naturally his impulsiveness was in excess of his steadfastness; but this disproportion had largely been rectified by a stern discipline and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He stood before the multitude on the Day of Pentecost as a man pre-eminently fitted for command. His boldness and confidence, his enthusiasm and readiness of speech, gave him a special aptitude for leadership. He belonged to the men powerful in execution, rather than to those deep and comprehensive in thought; to the class of Ambrose, Gregory the Great, and Gregory VII., rather than to the class of Paul, Augustine, and Anselm. He had less of deep intuition or spiritual insight than John, but he had more of those qualities which stir men to heroic confidence and zeal. More than any other, he was qualified to animate the feeble band of the early disciples, and lead them on in the face of Jewish hatred, opposition, and violence.

It was with reference to these qualities, and the work that should result from them, that Christ addressed to His apostle the strong language which we find in Matt. xvi. 18: " I say unto thee that thou art Peter (or rock), and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." [The change from in the first clause to in the second cannot fairly be credited with the significance which has sometimes been attached to it in Protestant polemics. In the Aramaic, which Christ probably used, the word for the person is identical with the word for the material. The change in the Greek is accounted for by the fact, that, while was most suited to the idea which was to be expressed, alone was customarily used as a personal term. Hence the latter is employed in immediate conjunction with the address to the person; while in the following clanse the idea finds its proper expression in the impersonal term.] This was a prophecy of the undeniable fact, that, in the first stage of its history, and upon Jewish soil, the Church was built upon Peter as upon no other human agent. The first chapters of Acts are an adequate commentary on the passage, showing, as they do, the great apostle accomplishing a work of foundation against which the gates of hell evidently shall never prevail. But while a fair exegesis must attach this much of meaning to the words of Christ, it is in nowise authorized to attach to them any further meaning. They bespeak for Peter no other pre-eminence than that which is found in the degree and effectiveness of his labors in the first stage of apostolic history. They assign to him no solitary function, but one in which the other apostles shared, though for the most part in'less conspicuous degree. This is absolutely clear from the general course of New-Testament representation. We find here that, on the divine side, Christ is the foundation, and the sole foundation, of the Church. " Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. iii. 11). Viewed on the human side, all the apostles, and, indeed, all eminent confessors, enter into the foundation. "Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone" (Eph. ii. 20). That on a particular occasion Christ made special mention of Peter does not exclude the others from the foundation. He made special mention of Peter in order to fulfil the special occasion which his noble confession had given for rewarding him. Had there been a like occasion for prophesying over Paul, our Lord might have said to him with equal or even greater emphasis: Thou art a rock, and upon this rock will I build my Church. Indeed, Paul appears as the great founder upon Gentile soil; and so much more extensive was his work than that of Peter, that he might almost be regarded as the typical founder of the Christian Church, even as David overshadowed Saul, and came to be regarded as the great head of the Jewish monarchy. There is really no motive, on Protestant grounds, to deny that Christ spoke of Peter as a foundation, provided the proper considerations are added: namely (1), the tenor of the New Testament makes it perfectly plain that the words in Matthew were not applied to Peter in an exclusive sense, and denote only that he was a conspicuous stone in the foundation; (2) to be a foundation means, in connection with any human agent, only to do the work of a founder; (3) the office of a founder is not a thing of inheritance or transmission. One can build upon the foundation laid by Peter. One can even imitate in a measure Peter's work by planting; Christianity in new regions. But proper succession is out of question. As well think of a continuous succession of founders of the American Republic as of any one being heir to Peter's place in the foundation of the Church.

It is only by a species of exegetical magic that the Romish theory of the primacy can be gotten out of the passage in Matthew. Between assigning Peter a foremost part in founding the church at Jerusalem, and ordaining him to a perpetual incarnation in a succession of bishops at Rome, there is an immeasurable gulf. To bridge over this gulf, and to establish its theory of the papacy, Romanism is obliged to introduce a whole mass of assumptions. (1) It assumes that a constitutional primacy, or a primacy of governing authority over the whole Church, was vested in Peter from the outset. But where is the evidence for such a primacy? Not a trace of it can be found in the New Testament. The only primacy which is there ascribed to Peter is that of personal influence, "the primacy which is always claimed by superior abilities, just such as commanding talents might give to one member of a parliament or senate; this member, meanwhile, standing precisely on a per with his colleagues as respects constitutional authority. In point of constitutional prerogatives, Peter appears in no wise distinguished from the other apostles. All important matters are settled by the whole college of apostles, or, wider still, by the whole Christian assembly; as in the election of an apostle in the place of Judas, in the election of deacons, and in the decision upon the question of circumcision. Not a solitary instance is on record in which Peter is represented as acting as supreme governor of the Church. Paul in none of his Epistles betrays the slightest consciousness that he was amenable to the authority of Peter. On the contrary, he takes pains to convince the mischief-making faction among the Galatians that his commission from Jesus Christ was such as to put him on a full equality with the apostle of the circumcision. (2) Romanism assumes that this (imagined) constitutional authority of Peter was transmitted by him to a single successor. For this, too, there is no proper historical warrant: it is unproved assumption. (3) Romanism assumes that this successor to the constitutional primacy of Peter was the Bishop of Rome. But why the Bishop of Rome rather than the Bishop of Jerusalem or of Antioch? - It is not to be taken as a matter of course that Peter would transmit his authority to the Bishop of Rome. The New Testament does not so much as give us a single unmistakable intimation that Peter was ever in Rome; and, even if the reality of such a visit be allowed, his connection with the church at Rome remains before the eyes of history a dim and misty thing compared with his connection with the church at Jerusalem. There is nothing in the nature of the case to assure us that Peter would fix upon the Bishop of Rome. All that the nature of the case assures us is, that the Bishop of Rome, being favored by the associations of the imperial city, the mistress of the world, would be likely, ere long, to constitute himself a successor of Peter, and to assert his fictitious claims with a good degree of success. The Roman theory runs here into the region of pure assumption, and impinges, moreover, upon a very considerable incongruity. Supposing Peter to have been the first Bishop of Rome, hit, immediate successor was Linus, a man so obscure that only his name has been preserved to us; yet the papal theory requires us to picture the Apostle John, and all other living apostles, as subject to the authority of this person. (4) Romanism assumes that a constitutional primacy over the whole Church has been transmitted through a line of Roman bishops down to the present. Thus, no less than four unmitigated assumptions must be added to the facts of history to make out the Roman theory of the primacy. [The utter weakness of Romish apologetics on these fundamental points is apparent at a glance into any standard work which undertakes the defence of the papal theory. Sweeping assumption is the approved means with which to bridge over the great chasms in the evidence.

After the apostolic council at Jerusalem, history ceases almost entirely to give us any references to Peter. From the Epistle to the Galatians, we learn that he was in Antioch for a season. In his own Epistle, he sends to the churches of Asia Minor the greetings of the church at Babylon (1 Pet. v. 13). By Babylon, in this connection, some have understood a mystical name for Rome. This interpretation is supported by such considerations as the following: (1) Babylon appears to be used in this sense in Sibylline verses supposed to be of early date. [V. 143, 159.] (2) Some of the Fathers of the second century understood that Peter used the term in this sense. [Euseb., Hist. Eccl., ii. 15.] (3) No tradition has been handed down respecting the labors of Peter at Babylon. (4) The waste condition of Babylon at this time renders it improbable that it was a theatre either of apostolic residence or labor. (5) The Epistle of Peter indicates acquaintanceship with Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, which was written about A.D. 63; consequently, if Peter perished in the Neronian persecution, the distance between the Western capital and the far East must have been traversed and re-traversed within a very brief period. But, to each of these considerations, a reply is not wanting.

Thus, Archbishop Kenrick, in his work on the primacy of the Holy See, remarks, " From the fact that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome at the time of his martyrdom, it follows that his successors in this see are heirs of his apostolic authority." It follows, as will be shown presently; only in the view of those who are determined that it should follow. But it is said the testimony of the Fathers supports the heirship of the Roman bishop. Then do not state as a necessary inference what is dependent upon testimony. Row far the testimony of the Fathers is from making out the case for the primacy, will appear in the proper connection.

It remains to be proved that the association of the name Babylon with Rome did not take its rise from the figurative language of the Apocalypse, and therefore subsequent to the composition of Peter's epistle. That there should be no tradition about the sojourn of Peter at Babylon, finds a parallel in the absence of reference to the lives of the other apostles. Moreover, in any case, there is a long blank in Peter's history, and the more Eastern district might as well have failed to perpetuate the account of the apostle's doings as any other region. As to the waste condition of Babylon, it is not certain that the city was totally uninhabited at the precise time the epistle was written; and, besides, Peter may have used the name of the ancient metropolis, as did Philo, [F. W. Farrar, Early Days of Christianity, Excursus iii.] to designate, not merely the city, but the Babylonian district. The improbability that Peter should have become acquainted with a late writing of Paul, [It is not conceded by all critics that Peter's epistle gives certain evidence of acquaintance with that of Paul to the Ephesians. See Harman's Introduction.] and still have had time to journey from Babylon to Rome before the date of his martyrdom, ceases to be an improbability when one relinquishes the unproved assumption that the apostle was martyred at the crisis of the Neronian persecution in the year 64. His death may have fallen two or three years later. We are left, then, without decisive grounds for a verdict. There is a certain presumption against the supposition, that, in a plain prose composition, a figurative name for Rome should have been employed. Such a usage, however, was not impossible; and adequate evidence as to its currency at the time, if it were only forthcoming, might establish a measure of probability that it was adopted by Peter in his communication to the Asiatic churches. [Ewald says that to designate Rome as Babylon had long been common in Jewish-Christian circles; but, untortnnately, he does not add the proof. (Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. vi., 2d ed., p. 623.) ]

The reference to Babylon, then, is far from deciding whether Peter was in Rome, and we must look to other evidences. Here belong the following facts: (1) No other place claimed the glory of Peter's martyrdom. (2) A letter of Ignatius to the Romans, [Chap. iv.] in the early part of the second century, takes it for granted that Peter had been in communication with them. His words, however, "Not as Peter and Paul do I issue commandments to you," do not necessarily imply a personal visitation. (3) Dionysius, who was Bishop of Corinth about the year 170, speaks of both Peter and Paul as having preached and suffered martyrdom in Italy. [Euseb., ii. 25.] (4) Irenæus testifies that Peter and Paul preached in Rome, and were instrumental in founding and building up the Church there. [Cont. Hær.. iii. 3, 3.] (5) Several contemporaries of Irenzeus, such as the Roman presbyter Caius, [Euseb., ii. 25.] Clement of Alexandria, [Euseb., vi. 14.] and Tertullian, [De Præscrip. Hær., xxxvi] take it for granted that Peter had labored at Pome. The first of these points to a visible confirmation of the fact that Rome had been honored by the labors and the martyrdom of the great apostles. "I can show," he says, "the monuments of the apostles; for, if you will go to the Vatican or to the Ostian Road, you will find the monuments of those who have laid the foundation of this Church." A part of this testimony is weakened by uncritical or unhistorical adjuncts. Dionysius, for example, associates Peter with Paul in the founding of the Corinthian Church; and Tertullian adds to his account of the death of the two apostles at Rome the representation that John was plunged there into boiling oil before being sent into exile. Still the absence of any rival claim, and the voice of early tradition, while they do not suflice for certainty, establish a probability that Pome was the theatre of Peter's closing labors and martyrdom.

Although it may be granted that Peter was in Rome, it is not to be assumed that he was there any great length of time. The statement which Jerome reports on the authority of Eusebius, that Peter was in Rome twenty-five years (42-67), is mixed up with the fabulous stories of the apostle's contests with Simon Magus. [Euseb., ii. 13-15] In the light of New Testament data, such a statement is simply preposterous. The evidence, negative and positive, which may be urged against it is conclusive. (1) There are substantial indications that the martyrdom of James, the brother of John, occurred in the year 44. Peter, therefore, as being imprisoned by Herod Agrippa directly after the death of James, was not in Rome at that date. (2) Peter was in Jerusalem at the apostolic council, about the year 50. In the report of that council, not a word is said about his having been at Rome. Certainly he had not preached the gospel to the Gentile population of that city, else he would have had something more than the baptism of Cornelius to refer to as a justification of his position on the subject of circumcision. (3) At some time, probably not very long, after the council, Peter, as we learn from the Epistle to the Galatians, was at Antioch. (4) The Epistle of Paul to the Romans was written about the year 58. In this epistle Paul gives not the slightest hint that he was writing to a church in which Peter had labored. In a whole list of salutations he includes not a single reference to his co-apostle. (5) Paul arrived a prisoner at Rome about the year 61. Among the brethren who were there to greet him, no mention is made of Peter. (6) The chief of the Jews whom Paul called together at Rome spoke as though they had not had any ample opportunity to learn about the Christians. "We desire," they said to Paul, "to hear of thee what thou thinkest; for as concerning this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against" (Acts xxviii. 22). Now, it is not to be credited that they would have used such language if the great apostle of the circumcision had been preaching in Rome for nearly a score of years. Such facts as these must be allowed vastly more weight than the fables about Peter's conflicts with Simon Magus, which were concocted in the second century. In short, Peter's sojourn in Pome was probably for a limited period between the years 63 and 68. [It is to be noticed that Lactantius speaks as thongh Peter first came to Rome in the reign of Nero. (De Mort. Persecut., ii.)]

The stay of Peter in Rome, whether longer or shorter, has properly very little connection with the doctrine of the primacy. His being in the city is no guaranty that he served as bishop there. Indeed, the proof is quite ample, that the office of bishop, as distinct from that of presbyter, had no existence in Peter's day. And even if he did serve as bishop, this was only the exercise of a local office, in addition to the universal offfce which pertained to him as apostle; and it would not follow at all that the successors in the local office would inherit the functions of the universal office. As well might it be concluded, that, if a bishop should condescend temporarily to perform the duties of a pastor of a local church, the next and all subsequent pastors of that church would hold the rank of bishops.

Concerning the martyrdom of Peter, we have, aside from the prophecy of Christ (John xxi. 18-19), nothing but the reports of tradition. An early legend narrates that, on the eve of his sacrifice, his love of life gained the victory over the spirit of confession. He started to leave Rome, when lo! he was arrested by the appearance of his Master bearing the cross. "Lord, whither art thou going?" asked the astonished disciple. "I am going to Rome, to be crucified again," was the reply. Peter felt the reproof, went back to the city, and cheerfully accepted the martyr's portion. According to a tradition recorded by Origen, he was crucified with his head downwards. [Euseb., iii. 1.]

Of the two Epistles ascribed to Peter, the genuineness of the first is strongly approved by external evidence, and offers no real ground of attack as respects internal evidences [The claim of Schwegler and Hilgenfeld, that the time of Trajan alone suits the reference to persecution contained in the epistle, is perfectly gratuitous. Paul's catalogue of his painful experiences, as given in second Corinthians, is a sufficient indication that a Christian in that age did not need to wait for a formal edict of a Roman emperor, before finding occasion to endure hardship and violence.] The early Church received it without dispute. There are substantial indications that it was used by Polycarp and Papias. It is acknowledged as the composition of Peter by Irenæus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, and Eusebius. The Second Epistle can quote far less of external evidence in its favor. Only a few probable, and still fewer certain, references to it can be found in the writings of the first three centuries. Eusebius places it among the doubtful books. [Hist. Eccl., iii. 25.] Many critics hold that the internal evidence forbids its assignment to Peter. [A compromise theory is sketched as follows by F. W. Farrar: "I believe there is much to support the conclusion that we have not here the words and style of the great apostle, but that he lent to this epistle the sanction of his name and the assistance of his advice. If this be so, it is still in its main essence genuine as well as canonical, and there is reason both for its peculiarities and for its tardy reception." (Early Days of Christianity Book II., chap, ix.)]

2. PAUL. --As fitly as Peter represents the morn of the apostolic age, Paul represents its noon-day. The one reveals to us what the grace of Christ could make out of a fisherman, the other what that grace could fashion out of a cultured Pharisee.

In Paul we find a nature quite as ardent and intense as that of Peter. These qualities, however, were supplemented in Paul in such wise as to make him a very different character from the apostle of the circumcision. With the warm impulses of the heart, he joined great logical power and intellectual breadth. History presents but rare instances of men who have exhibited such a wide range of abilities as appeared in the apostle to the Gentiles. In point of metaphysical aptitude and subtle reasoning, he might be termed the true scholastic; at the same time, he had a sensibility and spiritual depth which made him scarcely less the true mystic. The finished scholar, at least as respects Jewish lore, he was also the man of extraordinary practical activity and administrative talent. While he was engaged in great enterprises, and was organizing churches over the breadth of an empire, he was still able to remember individuals of his various flocks, and appended to the grandest of his Epistles numerous expressions of special and affectionate regard. For work or for suffering, he was equally ready; and, almost beyond example, his life abounded in both.

One source of this breadth of character was doubtless a correspondingly wide experience. As the strict and conscientious Pharisee, he lived through the old dispensation of law and ceremony. As the apostle to the Gentiles, passing far beyond the bounds of Judaism, he lived through the new dispensation of life and freedom. As persecutor and then as persecuted, he was placed in the most diverse positions. In short, his experience fitted him in a peculiar degree to understand his age, and to address himself to its wants with wide-reaching versatility.

Paul was born in Tarsus, in Cilicia. [The use of "Paul" for the earlier appearing "Saul" is not explained. It may have belonged to him as a second name, or been chosen as a Hellenistic substitute for Saul.]
This was "no mean city" at that time. Both in material and literary respects, it was a flourishing emporium. Strabo makes it the rival of Athens and Alexandria in point of philosophy and general culture [Geography, xiv. 5. At the same time he adds, "The studious are all natives, and strangers are not inclined to resort thither." A less flattering reference to the people of Tarsus is given in the work of Philostratus, De Vita Apolloni Tyanensis, i. 7.] How much Paul imbibed from this culture, is a question which cannot be answered with entire definiteness. His own statement, as recorded in Acts xxii. 3, indicates that he was early inducted into the study of the law at Jerusalem. We know also that it became a maxim among the Jews, that the study of the law should be commenced at the age of thirteen. The probability is, therefore, that Paul became occupied with Hebrew learning before he had traversed, to any great extent, the field of classic literature. In after years, we may presume, that, for the sake of more complete adaptation to the field of his apostolic labors, he gave some attention to the Greek writers. We find him quoting from several of the poets; namely, Aratus or Cleanthes, [Acts xvii. 28.] Menander, [I Cor. xv. 33.] and Epimenidee. [Titus i 12.] But at this stage he came to such sources as one interested in subject-matter, rather than in form. He consulted them, not as literary models, but as supplying means for introducing and commending the gospel message. To the end, Paul was more a student of the Old Testament than of Greek poetry, more a disciple of Gamaliel than of Aristotle. While he transcended the traditional Judaism completely in the breadth of his spirit, he continued, so far as the drapery of thought and argument were concerned, to draw from the Jewish wardrobe.

Paul carried from Tarsus a title to Roman citizenship. This, however, was an inheritance from his family, rather than a dower from his city. While Tarsus was a free city, citzenship did not pertain to its inhabitants as a body.

At Jerusalem Paul received no ordinary tuition. His teacher, Gamaliel, was a celebrated master, the great oracle of the school of Hillel. As appears from the narrative in the Acts, Gamaliel was not under the sole influence of Pharisaic bigotry, and was capable of acting with exemplary moderation. But there is no reason to doubt that he cherished a deep enthusiasm for the law, and that his teaching was well suited to kindle in the intense soul of the young disciple from Tarsus a burning zeal,--a zeal which, unchastened by age and experience, would naturally be more intolerant than that by which it had been incited. So Paul became a zealot -- not a superficial enthusiast, but a genuine zealot --for the law. To the best of his ability he strove to keep its requirements. Though he found it a hard master, an instrument of rebuke rather than of healing, he still enthroned it in his reverence, and was ready to take vengeance upon the sacrilegious hand which should dare to assail its supremacy. As his ability was well-nigh as conspicuous as his zeal, he naturally advanced toward leadership in the ranks of the Pharisees. It appears probable that he became a member of the Sanhedrin. [If the statement in Acts xxvi. 10, which represents Paul as voting for the death of Christians, is taken in a judicial sense, the inference is tolerably clear that Paul belonged to the supreme tribunal. This is a conclusion, it may be added, which has an interest as bearing not only upon Paul's public station, but upon his domestic relations as well. If he was a member of the Sanhedrin, it is probable that he was a married man. In his apostolic labors Paul appears as unmarried. But there is nothing in the New Testament which forbids the supposition that he may have been a widower.] It is entirely certain that he was a trusted agent in the policy of repression to which the Sanhedrin was impelled as the powerful preaching of the Christian deacons began to produce a marked impression.

In the New-Testament history, Paul appears for the first time upon the stage as the witness and abetter of Stephen's martyrdom. That scene, we may presume, never left his mind, and served as one factor in bringing about his conversion (Acts xxii. 20). The memory of the martyr's looks and dying prayer could not be banished, even while he was breathing out threatenings and slaughter, and was pursuing the Christians to distant cities. Augustine had some ground for his saying, "If Stephen had not prayed, the Church had not had Paul." The beginning of positive conviction came, indeed, with the clear revelation of Jesus Christ, the light above the brightness of the sun which shone upon the plain of Damascus; but me may well imagine prior to that crisis a certain inward ferment, a secret, suppressed questioning, which prepared the persecutor rightly to receive the heavenly vision.

A more thorough conquest was never made by Christianity. Head and heart alike were transformed. The narrow view of the rigid Phrarisee expanded to the world-wide vision of the liberal apostle. Judaism appeared henceforth only as the forerunner and prophecy of Christianity. The form more luminous than the sun caused every rival form to disappear. The name which had been blasphemed was exalted above every name. All thought of personal gain now centred in Jesus of Nazareth. All estimate of human need and privilege, all motive to labor, took shape from the crucified and risen Christ. Missionary zeal was no common humanitarian impulse in the converted Paul. The thought that he was fulfilling the pleasure of Christ, even more than the obvious needs of men, urged him forward in the pathway of suffering and sacrifice. Love to Christ was the primary and fundamental incentive, an unselfish love for men being the outflow of a sympathetic union with Him who gave Himself for men. In a word, the life of Paul became, in the completest sense imaginable, a Christo-centric life. Marvellous change from intensest hatred to boundless, all-controlling love ! How frivolous appears every naturalistic explanation I Paul himself gives the explanation which makes the least demand upon a rational faith. The actual revelation of Jesus Christ was the only cause commensurate with the result. [It is noteworthy that Baur, in his latest references to the conversion of Paul, confesses, if not the objective miracle, a profound mystery in the inner experience of the apostle which he is not disinclined to call a miracle. (Kirchengeschichte, vol i., p. 45.)]

Paul's conversion may be placed about the year 37. [This conclusion presupposes, (1) that the council of Jerusalem was held in the year 50 or 51; (2) that the journey mentioned in Gal. ii. 1 was identical with that described in Acts as Paul's third visit to Jerusalem, the one in which he attended the council; (3) that the fourteen years mentioned in Gal. ii. 1 are to be reckoned from Paul's conversion. The first supposition is made probable by reckoning back from subsequent points in the apostle's history. The second is strongly commended as being most in accord with the sum total of New-Testament data. See Schaff, History of the Apostolic Church; Conybeare and Howson, Life of St. Paul, note at end of chap, vii., vol. i. The third supposition is not entirely certain; but it seems most natural to infer that Paul made the great crisis in his life, rather than his first visit to Jerusalem, the point of departure in his reckoning. If this be denied, the conversion or Paul must be located at least as early as A.D. 35.] Forthwith, conforming conduct to conviction, after receiving the friendly offices of Ananias, he confessed his new Master in the rite of baptism. It is possible also that he declared his Christian faith in the form of public testimony and argument. The fact of his withdrawal into Arabia may have been due to a fanatical opposition, on the part of the Jews, called forth by the effective teaching of the new convert. But it is more probable that Paul proceeded with a measure of reserve at first, and that he retired of his own choice, wishing to find a more quiet theatre for thought and labor than could be enjoyed where he had been known as a most zealous champion of Judaism, and was now denounced and hated as the worst of apostates. How little opportunity Damascus afforded for a peaceful ministry, was shown upon his return, after an absence of two or three years. [That Luke omits the comparatively uneventful sojourn in Arabia, and passes at once to Paul's preaching in Damascus, and his enforced departure from that city, is sufficiently explained by the brevity which characterizes his narrative in general, and especially that part of it belonging to the time before he became the travelling companion of the apostle.] Unable to withstand him in argument, the Jews resorted to schemes of violence. As they gained the ear of the Ethnarch, who commanded the city for the Arabian king Aretas, Paul was compelled to have recourse to flight (Acts ix. 22-25; 2 Cor. xi. 32, 33). He now made the first of his recorded visits to Jerusalem, where he was introduced to the older apostles through the good offices of Barnabas, and by a vision in the temple received a new affirmation of his mission to the Gentiles (Acts xxii. 21). Eluding the plots of the mortal enemies who were on the watch for him in the Jewish capital, he set out, after a stay of only fifteen days, for his native city in Cilicia. During the uncertain interval which he spent here, he was probably engaged in preaching. Next we find him laboring for a year in Antioch, [An indication that Christianity had become at this time a conspicuous fact in Antioch is given in the distinctive name of "Christians" which was now applied to its adherents. This name was probably first employed by Gentile outsiders, rather than by Christians themselves or by the Jews.] from which place he made his second visit to Jerusalem, bearing thither, in conjunction with Barnabas, a contribution for the poor and famine-stricken brethren.

Returning to Antioch, Paul and Barnabas began thence their first great missionary tour. They passed through the whole length of the Island of Cyprus, winning among other trophies the conversion of the pro-consul Sergius Paulus. From Cyprus the missionaries crossed over to Asia Minor. According to their fixed principle, in each city they visited, they entered the synagogue, and first made an offer of the gospel to the Jews before extending their preaching to the Gentiles. They visited Perga, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe; then turning upon their course, they revisited the congregations which they had established, embarked from Attaleia, and sailed back toward Antioch in Syria. To us this circuit appears as an illuminated pathway, a line of gospel light cast out into the Gentile world. To the apostle, like his course in general, it was a pathway along which the light of glorious victories was mixed with the shadows of great afflictions.

After spending a considerable interval in Antioch, Paul went for a third time to Jerusalem, having occasion, in the dissension which had arisen on the question of circumcision, to confer with the apostles. Provided with the decision of the apostolic council, which harmonized with the demands of his work among the Gentiles, Paul returned to Antioch. In consequence of a disagreement with Barnabas about the propriety of taking Mark with them, he left him to pursue his separate course, and in company with Silas began his second great missionary journey. The churches already established in Syria and Asia Minor were visited, and the foundations were laid for new ones in Phrygia and Galatia. At Lystra Paul met Timothy, destined to become distinguished as the companion of his labors, --"the Melanchthon of the apostolic Luther," as he is called by Pressensé From Troas, where it is presumed Luke was added to his company, Paul crossed over, as directed by a vision of the night, into Macedonia, and began the conquest of the European continent. Churches were planted in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. The headquarters of Greek learning and license were invaded, and foundation-stones of a new civilization were laid at Athens and Corinth. Paul remained in the latter city not less than a year and a half, during which time he wrote his two Epistles to the Thessalonians. At the expiration of his Corinthian sojourn, he made a fourth visit to Jerusalem, touching at Ephesus on his way.

Returning once more to his headquarters in Antioch, Paul started thence, about the year 54, upon his third great missionary tour. After passing through Galatia and Phrygia, he came to Ephesus, where his own passing visit and the recent labors of Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos had prepared a certain number of disciples. Here he abode, with perhaps some intermissions, for about three years. During this period he wrote what is commonly termed the First Epistle to the Corinthians, which, however, was preceded by an epistle that has not been preserved (1 Cor. v. 9). The Epistle to the Galatians may have been written during the same interval; still, it is not certain that it was written before the sojourn at Corinth, which Paul made soon after leaving Ephesus. On his way to Corinth, Paul visited Macedonia, and sent thence his Second Epistle to the Corinthians. During the three months which he spent at Corinth and its vicinity, he wrote the Epistle to the Romans.

Paul now set his face toward Jerusalem for the fifth time since his conversion. Having passed through Macedonia, and halted for a little time at Troas, he met the Ephesian elders at Miletus, from which point he sailed to Tyre, and, passing down the coast through Ptolemais and Cæsarea, came to Jerusalem. Here followed a speedy fulfilment of the prophecies which had met him on his way, assuring him that bonds and imprisonment awaited him. Beset by a bloodthirsty mob of Jews, he was saved only by the interference of the commander of the garrison in the tower of Antonia, who sent him to the procurator Felix at Cæsarea, in order to place him beyond the reach of Jewish conspiracy. The lax and unprincipled Felix kept Paul a prisoner for two years. Under his successor Festus, the apostle, in pursuance of his appeal to Cæsar, was sent to Rome, having first proclaimed the gospel to Herod Agrippa II. and his royal company. Here he remained in easy confinement, having, as Luke says, his own hired house for the space of two whole years (Acts xxviii, 30). During this time he wrote his Epistles to Philemon, the Ephesians, the Philippians, and the Colossians. [Some modern critics have assigned this list of Epistles to the Cæsarean captivity, instead of the Roman. This is counter, not only to tradition, but to the internal evidence of the writings. Rome is identified as the point of departure by the following facts : 1. The salutation of Cæsar's household (iv. 22) indicates that Phillipians was written in Rome. 2. Timothy is not known to have been with Paul in the Cæsarean captivity. He was with Paul at his writing of Phillipians (i. 1), and also at the writing of Colossians (i. 1). The inference is, therefore, that Colossians was written in Rome. 3. The hint respecting the apostle's opportunities, while a prisoner, for religious labor(Col. iv. 3, 4) corresponds to his position at Rome as given in Acts xxviii. 30, 31. 4. The parallel lists of names in Colossians (chap. iv) and Philemon show unmistakably that these two letters were written at the same time. In Philemon, Paul speaks of his expectation of soon visiting Asia Minor. But we know from other sources (Acts xix. 21, xx. 25, xxiii. 11; Rom. i. 13, xv. 28) that at the time of the Cæsarean captivity his face was set, not toward Asia Minor, but toward Rome. Hence an additional evidence is given that Colossians, as well as Philemon, was written from Rome. 5. Tychicus, who is designated as the bearer of the letter to the Colossians (iv. 7, 8), was also the bearer of the letter to the Ephesians (vi. 21). Moreover, it is not improbable that the so-called letter to the Ephesians was a circular letter, intended to be first delivered to the church of Laodicea, and so identical with that mentioned in Col. iv. 16. We have the very positive testimony of Basil that the earlier manuscripts did not contain the name of Ephesus or of any particular church. So Pome is also suffiofently indicated as the point of departure for the Epistle to the Ephesians.]

Was Paul released from this imprisonment at Rome, and enabled to make another missionary tour before he was finally brought to the block? While this question has been answered in the negative by some eminent critics, evangelical scholarship in recent times has turned with increasing conviction toward an affirmative conclusion. Among the grounds for such a conclusion are the following: (1) Paul himself cherished a strong confidence that he should be released from his imprisonment (Phil. i. 25-26, ii. 24; Philem. 22). Indeed, he felt so sure of this that he requested that a lodging should be provided for himself. Now, it is possible that Paul was mistaken: but his language indicates, that, if he judged after the manner of men, his relation with the government was such as to promise release; if he judged after the Spirit, he of course judged rightly. That a man whose life was so fully under the guidance of God should judge after the Spirit, is intrinsically probable. In any case, his strong confidence creates more or less of a probability on the side of his release. (2) Clement of Pome, a reputed disciple of Paul, and in any case an author of the first century, says of the apostle, that he instructed the whole world in righteousness and came to the extremity of the West. [Epist. ad. Corinth., v.] Such an expression would not naturally be used of Rome by one who was writing in that city. Even the stand-point of those addressed, if he wished to accommodate himself to that, would not authorize it, for Clement was writing to the Corinthians; and, to a party no farther east than Corinth, Rome would not appear as the extremity of the West. The expression applies most naturally to Spain, a visit to which entered into the plan of Paul (Rom. xv. 28). The accomplishment of such a visit implies, of course, release from the first imprisonment under Nero. (3) The so-called Canon of Muratori, written by a Christian about 170, assumes the visit to Spain. The same is taken for granted by Eusebius, Chrysostom, Jerome, and the early Church in general. The Spanish Christians, it is true, seem not to have preserved any tradition respecting the work of Paul in their country. But this is sufficiently explained by the total lack of record or reminiscence of early Christianity in Spain. &ldqo;The tradition of the Spanish Church,” says Döllinger, “reaches no farther back than the third century; no Spanish Christian wrote any thing before the end of the fourth.” [First Age of the Churoh, trans. by H. N. Oxenham, 2d ed., p 79.] That there should be a gap in the history of Paul's labors, cannot properly be a source of surprise, when no word is on record respecting the entire work of other apostles. (4) The Pastoral Epistles--namely, those to Timothy and Titus -- favor the supposition of a release from the first imprisonment. Their general subject-matter is on the side of this conclusion. As no other writings of Paul, they evince in him a painful consciousness of the presence of Gnostic notions, a fact eminently in accordance with the theory that they were the latest of his Epistles, and were based upon personal observation and renewed intercourse with the churches. Again, they contain specific statements which indicate that Paul must have been out of prison and in the East subsequent to the first Roman confinement. The apostle, in his Epistle to Titus, speaks of leaving the latter in Crete (i. 5). Now, we have no hint that Paul labored upon that island before he went to Rome. On his journey to Rome, the ship stopped in a Cretan harbor for a considerable time, but no mention is made of any brethren being there to send their greetings or to receive those of the apostle. The facts at least suggest, if they do not prove, a missionary tour to Crete subsequent to the Roman sojourn. In the Second Epistle to Timothy (iv. 13), Paul requests the bringing of a cloak, some Books, and parchments from Troas. Such a request is more natural on the supposition that he had recently been in Troas, than on the theory that he had not been near the place within six or seven years, as must have been the case if he had not been released from Rome. Finally, the statement, “Erastus abode at Corinth, but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick,” (2 Tim. iv. 20) is utterly strange and inexplicable on the opposing theory. Think of Paul bringing forward such an item of information a half dozen years after the events referred to! Against these arguments, there is little or nothing to be urged except the fact that the great Neronian persecution took place in the year 64, too soon, therefore, to admit of an extensive missionary tour between Paul's release and that fierce onslaught. But the assumption that Paul perished in the heat of that persecution is quite gratuitous. As Tacitus testifies, there was a wide-spread and intense hatred of the Christians. This could easily stimulate at any time to accusations against individual Christians; and, under the existing circumstances, accusations would naturally be followed by death.

In the Second Epistle to Timothy, Paul sent forth his last testament to the world. Before him lay the ordeal of martyrdom. [Located by tradition near the Ostian Way, and about three miles from Rome.] It was, however, a far different scene which rose upon his vision as he wrote to his beloved disciple. His mind was forecasting, not the exit from Rome and the journey to a bloody death, but a triumphal entrance into the heavenly city and a summons to a coronation. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of righteousness.”

The genuineness of the thirteen Epistles which bear the name of Paul is attested not only by their Pauline essence, but also by the concurrent testimony of the early Fathers. Not one of them is destitute of clear external evidences in its favor.

[Among the Epistles of Paul which have been assailed by modern hypercriticism, the Pastoral occupy the first place. Of these the First Epistle to Timothy has been regarded as most open to attack. Next to the Pastoral Epistles, Colossians and Ephesians have been placed under suspicion. The main ground of objection to Colossians is its supposed reference to Gnostic speculations. Ephesians is challenged, though less decidedly, on the same ground, and is furthermore objected to on the score of its relation to Colossians, -- a basis of attack which is by no means formidable, since there are good reasons for coinciding with the verdict of Neander, that the two Epistles must have had the same author. as for the Pastoral Epistles, excluding criticisms which appear frivolous on their face, there are three main objections; namely, peculiar words slid phrases, attempts to combat a Gnosticism which had not yet arisen in Paul's time, and an un-Pauiine stress upon ecclesiastical organization. The first is answered by a reference to other Epistles of Paul, which exhibit about an equal proportion of peculiar terms, by the extraordinary fertility of this apostolic writer, and by the special demand which was placed upon him. Says Farrar: “St. Paul, it must be remembered, was the main creator of theological language. In the Pastoral Epistles he is dealing with new circumstances, and new circumstanaes would inevitably necessitate new terms” (Life, Excursus ix.). In answer to the second objection, it is to be noticed that there is no reason to conclude that these Epistles refer to a fully developed Gnosticism. Baur was quite too headlong in discovering here a polemic against the system of Marcion. The context indicates a Judaic Gnosticism rather than Marcion's thoroughly anti-Judaic system. And why should it not be concluded that the former type of error was beginning to germinate in the closing years of the apostle? We know that the ingredients of Gnosticism were at hand very largely before Paul began his ministry. We know that his congregations were accessible to other forms of error, that the Galatian church was at one time invaded by a Pharisaic Judaism, and that in the Corinthian church the notion gained a foothold that the resurrection was already past. Why may not some congregations have been touched by a Philonic Judaism, or by the speculative and practical notions of the Essenes? Cerinthus, with his semi-Gnostic scheme, itis well-known, was upon the stage soon after the death of Paul; and it is only natural to suppose that he had forerunners. The third phase in the Pastoral Epistles which is made a, ground of objection is very easily explained. Paul was writing to those whose special vocation was administration, what more natural, then, what more nearly inevitable, than that he should touch at considerable length upon points df ecclesiastical organization and discipline. Moreover, a form of church government is disclosed which belonged to a primitive era in the history of the Church, there being an unmistakable identification of bishops and presbyters.

Many positive evidences of Pauline authorship might be cited. There are passages which breathe the spirit of a great personality like that of Paul. There are personal hems and minutiæ of circumstance that a forger would never have thought of inventing. In fine, there are good reasons for concluding that at least portions of these Epistles were from the hand of Paul.]

As respects the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews, there was a division of opinion in the early Church, some favoring and some denying its Pauline authorship. The most probable opinion seems to be, that it was written, not by Paul, but by one of his companions or disciples, Who that disciple was cannot be determined; though it is not strange that conjecture should lean to Apollos, since no one is brought to our attention who might be supposed to have been better qualified to write such a production than was this cultured Alexandrian.

3. JAMES THE JUST.-- The identity of this James, who was long at the head of the church in Jerusalem, is not easily determined, One thing is sufficiently estabiished: he stood on a parity with apostles, was a man of an essentially apostolic rank. To be sure, the statement of Paul in Gal. i, 19 cannot be regarded as certainly including James with the apostles. This is obvious when we compare the original with other instances of a like collocation of Greek words, such as we find in Luke iv. 26, 27; Gal. ii. 16; Rev. xxi. 27. On the other hand, parallel passages, such as 1 Cor. i. 14 and 2 Cor. xii. 5, show that the supposition that Paul meant to include James with the apostles is in no wise discordant with Greek usage. But whether Paul directly applies to James the name of apostle, or hot, he assigns him the corresponding rank, even associating him with Peter and John as one of the pillars of the Christian community (Gal. ii. 9). Also, in the account of the council at Jerusalem (Acts xv.), no one of the Christian leaders appears clothed with a greater authority and influence than James. That in his Epistle he styles himself a servant rather than an apostle of Jesus Christ finds a parallel in Paul's Epistle to the Philippians. Another established fact is, that he was a relative of Jesus. Paul calls him "the brother of the Lord" (Gal. ii. 9).

If, now, we turn back to the Gospel narratives and the beginning of Acts, we nowhere find a James who is at once called an apostle and a brother of the Lord. In every list of the apostles (Matt. x. 3; Mark iii. 18; Luke vi. 15; Acts i. 13), there are but two by the name of James; and one of these is distinguished as the son of Zebedee, and the other as the son of Alphæus. At the same time we find mention of brothers of Jesus, among whom is a James (Matt. xiii. 55; Mark vi. 3). These facts seem to imply that the James whom Paul calls the brother of the Lord was not one of the original twelve apostles. The son of Zebedee had already been slain at the time that Paul wrote. The son of Alphæus may still have been living; but what should justify the inference that he was called the brother of the Lord? Is it the high rank, the apostolic standing which seems to pertain to the James to whom Paul assigns that relationship? But James, the brother of the Lord, may have been, like Paul, an apostle by a later calling than that recorded in the Gospels. So it is not strictly necessary to identify him with one of the original Twelve, even when leaving his apostolic rank unquestioned. Moreover, there is a hint that he did not belong to the Twelve, in the statement, which we should not expect to be said of any apostle, namely, that the brothers of Jesus did not believe in him (John vii. 5), as also in representations which appear to draw a distinction between the apostolic group and the brothers of Jesus (John ii. 12; Acts i. 13, 14). Such a mode of expression, it is true, might be possible, if a part of Christ's brothers were outside of the apostolic group, and at one time did not believe in his Messiahship. It is nothing unparalleled in condensed narrative for a part to be put for the whole. But, allowing this, the fact still remains, that the second James in the apostolic list is always called, not the son of Joseph or Mary, not the brother of Jesus, but simply the son of Alphæus. In the absence of some counter-evidence, this fact certainly establishes the presumption that the sacred writers did not think of the son of Alphæus as being among the brothers of Jesus.

Is there any such counter-evidence? We have the fact that Luke in his Gospel mentions only two persons by the name of James, namely, the son of Zebedee and the son of Alphæus; that in the Acts he narrates the death of the former; that he then goes on to speak of a James who presided over the church at Jerusalem, without saying a word to forbid the natural inference that this was the other James whom he had mentioned. If a real significance be allowed to this fact, there are others which may go with it to help out a plausible theory in behalf of the identity of the son of Alphæus with "the brother of the Lord." By comparing Matt. xxvii. 56, Mark xv. 40, and John xix. 25, we find ground for the conclusion that the mother of our Lord had a sister (whether in the stricter sense of that term or not) called Mary, who was the wife of Clopas and the mother of James and Joses. [This conclusion is not beyond challenge. Some eminent critics are of opinion, that in John xix. 25, the sister of Mary and the wife of Clopas do not denote the same person, still, those who favor their identity will continue to find support for their view in the connection of the words in the sentence. The former class understand that the sister of Mary was Salome, the mother of John, who is known from the accounts of the other evangelists to have been present at the cruicifixion.] Now, Clopas may be regarded as representing but another way of rendering the Aramaic word which appears as Alphaeus. This would make the son of Alphæus a cousin of Jesus, who might be called a brother in a wide use of terms not entirely without parallel among the Jews; or in case that he was either the issue of a Levirate marriage of Joseph with the widow of Alphæus, or a son of the deceased Alphæus adopted by Joseph, it would make him, in a proper use of terms, a brother of Jesus. It is to be observed, however, that we are here in the region of hypothesis, and the claim of an hypothesis is to be measured by the cogency of the occasion which calls for it. Now, the occasion which has been mentioned (and we know of no other worth mentioning) is not of extraordinary cogency. Luke, at the time of writing, may very naturally have taken it for granted that the identity of the James who was so prominent in the church at Jerusalem was too well known to need any explanation, and hence omitted to characterize him as other than the second James in the list of apostles. His silence is to be interpreted from his stand-point, and not from ours. So interpreted, it has not great force. There seems, then, to be no adequate counter-evidence to the presumption that the son of Alphæeus was not one of the brothers of Jesus, and accordingly not identical with James the Just. On New-Testament data, the identity is at most a possibility, not a probability.

A further question remains. Supposing our James not to have been identical with the son of Alphæus, was he the son of Joseph and Mary? Those who have accepted the dogma of the perpetual virginity of Mary will of course answer with a decided negative. But this dogma has nothing in its support except its comparatively early appearance. We find it with Clement of Alexandria. It may be set aside as a baseless fiction, which had its origin in an extravagant estimate of virginity. [The apocryphal writings, such as the Protevangelium of James and the Gospel of the pseudo-Matthew, are very explicit and emphatic in their assertions of the continued virginity of Mary.] Still, after this is done, we are not at once authorized to draw the conclusion that James and the other brothers of Jesus were by birth the sons of Mary. The fact that Jesus is called the firstborn of Mary (Matt. i. 25, Luke ii. 7) is no proof that other children followed, as he might very naturally have been so called to denote that none had preceded Him, rather than to imply that others were born after Him. In fine, there is no decisive evidence that Mary gave birth to other children, nothing strictly forbidding the supposition that the brothers and of Jesus were children of Joseph by a previous (ordinary or Levirate) or by adoption. On the contrary, there is one recorded fact which gives color to the conjecture that Mary had no other sons. Jesus on the cross commended His mother to John, with whom she afterwards made her home (John xix. 26, 27). Why, it may be asked, if Mary had sons of her own, did she not live with them? This consideration has a certain force. However, it is not conclusive; since special reasons, such as the state of material resources among those related to her, may have made it wise that Mary should be intrusted to John.

It seems impossible, therefore, to determine, beyond all peradventure, the exact relation of James the Just within the holy family. The New Testament leaves room for speculation, and beyond the New Testament there is no authentic information. The Fathers who refer to the subject were too manifestly without the means of certain knowledge that we should depend upon them. It may be said, however, that the weight of early patristic opinion is rather on the side of the verdict that James was the son of Joseph by a marriage previous to that contracted with Mary. This has continued to be the current theory in the Greek Church.

It is clear from the New-Testament narratives that James was a man of legal bias. There was much of Judaic fibre in his make-up. His conservative bent toward Judaism, it is true, may be imputed in part to his position. Thrust out upon the open held of the Gentile world like Paul, he would no doubt have exhibited a somewhat different spirit. At Jerusalem a conservative attitude toward Judaism was the price of existence. No man showing a different front would have been tolerated during the long period covered by the ministry of James. But deference to the ancient ceremonial of his nation probably cost James no special crucifixion. According to the account of Hegesippus, which we may use with proper allowance for exaggeration, he practised voluntary austerities, living the life of a Nazarite, and giving himself to incessant prayer for the people. [Euseb., Hist. Eccl., ii. 23.] The same writer represents that he worthily met the fate of a martyr, and sent out his expiring breath in a petition for the forgiveness of his enemies. The death of James is also mentioned by Josephus, who indicates, moreover, that the stoning of the saint was regarded by not a few among the Jews as a piece of unjustifiable rigor. [Antiq., xx. 9. 1.] It may be judged from the statement of Josephus that James died about the year 63.

The external evidence for the genuineness of the Epistle which bears the name of James is but slight. While there are indications that it may have been consulted by several of the Fathers of the second century, it is not known to have been quoted as the Epistle of James by any earlier writer than Origen. [In the passage upon which most dependence can be placed, Origen gives a current opinion, rather than his own verdict as to its authorship.] Eusebius indicates that it was generally accepted in the churches of his day; but at the same time he plainly intimates his opinion that the paucity of reference to it in the preceding centuries must cause it to be regarded with doubt. [Hist. Eccl., ii. 23, iii. 25.] On the other hand, the internal evidence for its genuineness is very strong. It has every appearance of having been written by a resident of Jerusalem. It is peculiarly rich in reminiscences of the discourses of Christ, as if the author had often listened to those searching expositions of the moral law which fell from the lips of our Lord. Its teachings are in fullest harmony with all that is reported concerning the character of James and his relation to Judaism. We should expect a man who came to his Christian faith without violent transition, who ascended gradually by the stepping-stones of a spiritualized Judaism, to represent Christianity as it is here represented,--in a word, to portray it as the perfect law, a system of far-reaching duty, something to be realized preeminently in deed. In emphasizing this aspect, James, it must be allowed, incurs measurably the appearance of a polemic against Paul's doctrine of justification by faith. His words strictly construed can hardly be brought into harmony with those of Paul construed with like rigor. But the canons of a scientific theology are not to be applied to this simple and practical treatise. Technical divergence does not necessarily imply fundamental contradiction. Indeed, the object of the epistle appears not to have been to oppose a Pauline valuation of faith, but rather to emphasize a truth to which Paul fully subscribed, -- the truth that a faith is vain which does not manifest itself in good works. It is a needed protest against an abuse of the doctrine of justifying faith. The impatience of Luther with its teaching is explained by the all-absorbing zeal with which he asserted the Pauline shibboleth against Romish legalism. A more sober estimate affirms the high worth, as well as the genuineness, of the Epistle of James.

4. JOHN. -- The Apostle John represents the evening of the apostolic age. After all the others have disappeared, so far as historic memorials are concerned, his ministry still pours its radiance above the horizon. From the death of Paul, till near the close of the century, he was the chief, if not the only, representative of the apostolic dignity.

In John we meet a nature less versatile and many-sided than that of Paul. He had not the dialectic talent of the latter. It may be doubted, also, whether he possessed an equal capacity for practical activity and administration. He was more exclusively the true mystic. He may fitly be called the apostle of contemplation and intuition. His method of grasping truth bears more analogy to the gaze of the seer, than to logical procedure by induction and deduction. Christian symbolism was true to a cardinal feature of his inner life and thought, when it represented him as rising on eagle's wings towards the heights of heaven. His attention was turned toward the central and fundamental, toward that which lies deepest in the nature of God, or nearest to the core of human duty and human weal. It was not his ambition to cover as wide an extent of horizon as possible, or to elucidate the greatest number of aspects in sacred themes. His intense soul, enamored of the things of supreme moment, gave concentration to his discourse. We recognize in his writings one who wished to keep near to the heart of Christian truth.

Among the evangelists, John appears in particular as the expositor of the person of Christ. His contemplation did not stop with outward and official aspects. Looking beyond the earthly appearance, he saw in the Son of man the Son of God, who dwelt with the Father before the world was, in true identity of essence and of glory. “At the very beginning of his discourse,” says Augustine, “he soared not only above the earth, and above the whole compass of air and sky, but even above the whole army of angels and the whole order of invisible powers, and reached to Him by whom all things were made. He has spoken concerning the divinity of the Lord as none other has spoken. What he drank in he gave forth. For it is not without reason that it is recorded of him in this very Gospel, that at supper he reclined on the Lord's bosom.” [Tract. in Joan., xxxvi] But he did not neglect the human aspect of his Lord. On the contrary, he enunciated His humanity in vigorous, dogmatic affirmation. More than this, he richly illustrated the theme. In scenes drawn with inimitable delicacy and aptness of delineation, he pictures Christ in His human converse, sympathies, and friendships.

Among the apostles, John is distinguished by his conception of the Christian as a possessor of eternal life. While Peter inculcates the active faith which conquers difficulties and leads to a sanctified life, while Paul lays much stress upon the justifying faith which procures reconciliation with God, John proclaims faith in particular as the medium of eternal life. An eternal life begun in the present, and exemplfying itself in a fellowship of love, is the conception everywhere under-lying John's portrait of Christian privilege and duty. These different stand-points, the Petrine, the Pauline, and the Johannine, distinguished as respects relative emphasis upon different truths, give the appearance of successive doctrinal developments within the apostolic age. Some have imagined that these developments have been destined to a repetition upon a wider scale. The Petrine stand-point, it is claimed, affiliates with the Roman-Catholic theology, the Pauline with the Protestant, while the Johannine represents the reconciliation and higher union of the two. As the Church has passed through a Petrine and a Pauline stage, it has arrived now at the border of a Johannine era. This view, pushed to the extreme, is artificial and fanciful. There is no such broad contrast between Petrinism and Paulinism as exists between Romanism and Protestantism. No definite line of demarkation can be drawn between the teaching of Paul and of John. The two types are not exclusive of each other. They were not so in the mind of Paul himself. His thought often ran into the domain of John, as in that sublimest hymn to the praise of love in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and also in his many references to an interior life-union with Christ. The Church in its most advanced stage will not put aside Peter or Paul in favor of John, but acknowledge the truth taught by each. Nevertheless, a degree of truth pertains to the theory. We have actually entered upon an age which lays more stress upon the Johannine theology than any age which has preceded.

In the closing period of his life, John fixed his headquarters at Ephesus, and gave his special attention to the churches of Asia Minor. Great need existed for a careful administration in that field. The grievous wolves of which Paul had prophesied (Acts xx. 29) had already appeared. The growing tendencies to unbridled thought broke out into open, aggressive heresy. Cerinthus began to publish his compound of Ebionism and Gnosticism. Against these errors John set himself with the full strength of his ardent nature, which could hate the evil as deeply as it loved the good, and with his peculiar type of theology, which undoubtedly was a very suitable antidote to the Gnostic speculations. By his emphasis upon the reality of Christ's incarnation, and the importance of His earthly history, he raised a barrier against the docetism of the Gnostics; at the same time, by his broad and soaring conceptions, by his comprehensive view of mediation, according to which the whole universe finds in the Logos the perfect bond of connection with the Father, he gave valid satisfaction to an ambition which underlay Gnosticism; he answered legitimately the desire to interpret redemption as a factor in the great scheme of the universe.

The residence of the Apostle John at Ephesus, and his close connection with the churches of Asia Minor, are for the historian well-established facts. The motive for disputing these facts is any thing but historical. Lützelberger, in 1840, revealed the true animus of all denial of the Ephesian residence, when he declared that, if John lived to advanced age in Ephesus, it is inconceivable that a writing purporting to have come from his hand could have been palmed off upon the Church in that region within the first half of the second century. The presupposition that John did not write the Fourth Gospel was at the foundation of his attempt to close Ephesus against the apostle. The more recent attempt of Keim and others has been dictated by the same interest. Unanimity, however, has by no means been reached in the camp of the doubters. On the contrary, so far as the authority of names is concerned, the verdict of those just mentioned has been fully cancelled by the opposing verdict of critics equally hostile to the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel. But this point needs not to be specially emphasized. By abundant testimonies of the early Church, it is established that John spent his later years at Ephesus. (1) It is evident that the Apocalypse came from a resident of proconsular Asia. The Church, before the strong opposition to Chiliasm had become developed in the Alexandrian school, near the middle of the third century, was generally agreed in referring the Apocalypse to the Apostle John. Such was the verdict of Justin Martyr about the year 150. [Dial. cum Tryph., lxxxi.] Justin's statement is, therefore, evidence that in his time the residence of John in proconsular Asia, or the region of Ephesus, was an accepted fact. (2) Irenaeus, a native of Asia Minor, or at least a resident there from youth to manhood, and born about the year 130, a man who was acquainted with Polycarp, the disciple of John, gives this explicit testimony: “Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” [Cent. Hær., iii. 1. 1. Compare iii. 3. 4; v. 30. 1; also the Epistles to Florinus and Victor as reported by Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., v. 20, 24.] (3) Contemporaries of Irenæus, having the best opportunities for information, render their independent testimony to the same effect. Thus Polycrates, whose own statement shows that he was born about the year 125 or 130, and who was Bishop of Ephesus in the last part of the second century, numbers the Apostle John among the great lights which had gone out in (proconsular) Asia, and adds, “He is buried in Ephesus.” [Euseb., v. 24.] Apollonius, who was also a resident of Asia Minor about the same time, takes it for granted that the Apostle John lived at Ephesus. [Ibid., v. 18] Clement of Alexandria speaks of the return of John from Patmos to Ephesus. [Quis Dives Salvetur, xlii] (4) If it had not been a fact universally accepted, that John labored among the churches of Asia Minor, the Church at Rome probably would have denied that fact during the Easter controversy in the latter part of the second century. But we have no intimation of such a denial. [See Luthardt, Der Johanneische Ursprung des Vierten Evangeliums.] (5) An early version, the Peshito-Syriac, appends to John's Gospel this sentence: "The end of the holy Gospel, the preaching of John the Evangelist which he published in Greek at Ephesus." [Harman, Introduction.] Now, such a mass of historical evidence as this is not easily to be offset. Certainly, the mere silence of Ignatius in a brief epistle, or the silence of one or two other writers in such fragments of their works as have come down to us, is utterly powerless to overthrow the grounds of the verdict that the Apostle John spent his later years in Ephesus.

For hardly any book of the New Testament is the external evidence more ample than for the Gospel of John. A very large proportion of the Fathers of the second century, by quotation or by direct mention, have testified to its genuineness. Gnostic sects have left many indications that they acknowledged its apostolic origin. An obscure party, the Alogi, belonging to the latter part of the second century, and having probably neither the dimensions nor the consistency of a sect, were the only opponents of this Gospel which the ancient Church was able to specify. [Epiphanius, Hær., li., liv.] And their opposition, so far as known, was not based upon historical grounds, but upon dislike of the Logos teaching; accordingly, it amounts to nothing as a counter-evidence. Modern opponents of the Fourth Gospel have frequently proved themselves to be Alogi, if not in the sense which an uncharitable use might give to that term. A dogmatic presupposition has given shape to their conclusions. Strauss is a clear example of this. In the fourth edition of his Leben Jesu, he re-affirmed the doubts about the genuineness of John's Gospel, which he acknowledged in his third edition had been somewhat shaken by able criticisms upon his work, because without them one could not escape believing the miracles of Christ. Historically, the evidence for the Fourth Gospel is all that the known conditions would authorize one to expect. Adverse criticism itself has been compelled to pay tribute to the force of this evidence. Especially noteworthy is the retreat from the supposition of Baur, that this Gospel was not writen till A.D. 160 or 170, and the substitution, by more recent exponents of radical criticism, of dates as early as A.D. 140, 130, and in some cases even 115 or 110. [For a brief and excellent compendium of the external evidences, see Esra Abbot, Authorship of the Fourth Gospel.]

In the line of internal evidences, also, there are ample means for defending the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel. In whatever measure it transcends Judaism, it stillbears indelible traces of Jewish antecedents. Its author had evidently been in the inner courts of Judaism. Be was minutely conversant with its ideas and its ceremonial system. Not only was he a Jew, but he was a resident of Palestine, as is indicated by his thorough knowledge of the topography of the country. He was an eye-witness of the Gospel scenes; at least, many touches in his descriptions receive a satisfactory explanation only on this supposition. He was in confident possession of allthe needful data for his narrative, and wrote as one having the authority of distinct personal reminiscence, so that he did not think it necessary to maintain an appearance of strict accord with other records of the Gospel history. Thus, many considerations point to John as the author of this unique sketch of the life of Christ. There is, indeed, an unmistakable contrast between the Fourth Gospel and the other three; but the contrast argues for, rather than against, the Johannine authorship. The effect of an author's personality upon his presentation of a given subject-matter is apt to be in the ratio of the strength of his personality. Suppose a man of Paul's mental constitution, after years of intimate personal fellowship with Christ, and added years of labor in extending His kingdom, had undertaken to write the life of his Master: does any one imagine that a larger impress of the author's personality would not have been left upon his narrative than appears upon the synoptic Gospels? that a gospel according to Paul would not have had a distinctly Pauline tinge? Why, then, should it not be expected that John, the bosom friend of his Lord, would give to his Gospel the coloring of his own deep and strong personality? Tn truth, the theory of Johannine authorship demands a gospel clearly differenced from the others by a Johannine cast. This prominence of the personal element, it must be allowed, brings in the liability of a somewhat detrimental result. It is possible that the more commonplace talents of the synoptists were suited to give certain events in a purer objectivity than that which such a writer as John would be likely to maintain in presenting the same. But, on the other hand, the deeper personality of John qualified him for a better understanding of the person and speech of Him who was at once the Son of man and the Son of God. So we are impelled to the conclusion that the Fourth Gospel helps us to a far more adequate and truthful conception of Christ and His teaching, than could be obtained in its absence. Of all the books in the sacred canon, there is no one which the Christian heart would be more loath to relinquish than this book of the beloved disciple, this incomparable mirror of the incarnate Wisdom and Love.

The First Epistle of John was received by the early Church with the same unanimity as his Gospel. The two stand obviously in the relation of mutual confirmation. The Second and Third Epistles, owing to their brevity and the private nature of their contents, were not frequently cited; but there is little ground for questioning their Johannine authorship. Their style plainly suggests that they came from the same hand which wrote the First Epistle.

Up to the middle of the third century, the Church was well-nigh unanimous in referring the Apocalypse to the Apostle John. Only one catholic writer of an earlier date, Caius of Rome, used language which may be construed into an adverse reference to this book. [Euseb., Hist. Eccl., iii. 28.] After the middle of the third century, a portion of the Church was disposed, for a time, to doubt the apostolic authorship of the Apocalypse. The source of the doubt seems to have been a dogmatic bias. There was occasion to oppose an intemperate millenarianism. This found an ostensible ground in the symbolic language of the Apocalypse. So hostility to the dogma led to prejudice against the book. The first to begin a critical attack, of which we have any record, was Dionysius of Alexandria. He called attention to the difference between the style of the Apocalypse and that of the Fourth Gospel, and leaned to the conjecture that the former was written by an Ephesian presbyter by the name of John.[Euseb., vii. 24, 25.] This Ephesian presbyter has also figured not a little in the representations of later critics. But there is no real warrant for the existence of such a person, except an ambiguous passage from Papias. [The mere conjecture of Dionysius is, of course, no evidence as to fact. The reference to two tombs at Ephesus is of little more weight. They may denote that there were at one time rival claims as to the place of the apostle's sepulture; indeed, Jerome informs us (De Viris Illustr., ix.) that some in his day thought that both the tombs inscribed to John were memorials of the evangelist. We are thus left with next to nothing but the words of Papias. These are as follows: “If at any time any one came who had been acquainted with the elders, I used to inquire about the discourses of the elders,--what Andrew or what Peter said , or what Thomas or James, or what John or Matthew, or any one of the disoiptee of the Lord; and what Aristion and John the Elder, the disciples of the Lord, say . For I thought that the information derived from books would not be so profitable to me as that derived from a living and abiding utterance” (Euseb., Hist. Eccl., iii. 39). On the sense of these words, F. W. Farrar gives these apt comments: “Now, certainly, if Papias had been a careful modern writer, we should have inferred from this passage that the John mentioned in the first clause was a different person from the John mentioned in the second. In the first, he says that it had been his habit to inquire from any who had known 'the elders'--of whom he especially mentions seven apostles-- what these 'elders' said; and also what Aristion and John the Elder, the disciples of the Lord, say. But, although this would be the natural inference, it is by no means the certain, inference. The antithesis may be between the past and present tense ('said' and say'), and not between two sources of original information. There is nothing to forbid the explanation, that, when Papias met any one who had known the immediate apostles and disciples of the Lord, -- St. John among them, --he made notes of what (according to his informant) these elders said; but, in writing this clause, he remembers, that, at the time when he was making his notes, two of the immediate disciples of the Lord were not dead, but living; namely, Aristion, to whom, since he was not an apostle, he does not give the direct title of 'elder,' and John, whom he identifies with those whom he has mentioned in the first clause by calling him, os be called them, the 'elder.'” (Early Days of Christianity, Excursus xiv.)]

And, even if he did exist, the notion that he wrote the Apocalypse is a fancy as void almost of probability as of historic basis. Surely the tone of authority and admonition which pervades the messages to the Asiatic churches is not well suited to the supposition that the author was an otherwise unknown presbyter. We are directed, rather, to an eminent leader, -- a man of apostolic rank. There are, it is true, very noticeable differences between the Apocalypse and the Fourth Gospel. The former is more Hebraic in style and spirit, and less pure in its Greek. But these differences admit of a satisfactory explanation. An apocalyptic writing naturally rested, to a conspicuous degree, upon an Old-Testament basis. A mind educated in Jewish lore could hardly fail, when essaying this peculiar species of composition, to draw largely from the imagery and phraseology of an Ezekiel, a Daniel, and a Zechariah. It is probable, also, that the Apocalypse was written considerably earlier than the Gospel. The testimony of Trensus is, indeed, against this assumption, since he states that John received his revelation near the end of Domitian's reign. [Cont. Hær., v. 30. 3.] So far as external evidence is concerned, there is nothing which fully offsets the declaration of Irenæus. Yet the external evidence is not wholly on his side. To say nothing of Epiphanius, who carries back the island exile of John to the reign of Claudius, [Hær., li. 12.] a comparison of Tertullian and Jerome (the one of whom indicates that John was banished directly after being cast into boiling oil at Rome, [De Præscrip., xxxvi.] and the other, according to a not improbable reading, that the latter event took place in the time of Nero [Cont. Jovin., i. 26.] gives color to the supposition that the early tradition did not wholly coincide with the view of Irenæus. We have a suggestion that the emperor, whom Clement of Alexandria and Origen, in their reference to the subject, call simply the “tyrant,” was Nero rather than Domitian. If we turn to internal evidence, this suggestion becomes, according to the verdict of a large proportion of recent critics, well-nigh a certainty. Various items, such as the reference to the Jewish temple (xi. 1, 2), and the statements respecting the seven kings (xvii. 10), point to a time shortly prior to the year 70, when the Jewish capital was laid waste, and its sanctuary destroyed. It is concluded, therefore, that Irenæus, from some cause, misconceived the time of John's exile, and that the Apocalypse was written between the Neronian persecution and the fall of Jerusalem. Surely no era was more fitted to stir to an impassioned and prophetic outburst than this. Behind was the scene of Christian brethren cruelly tortured and slain, before was the gathering cloud which threatened destruction to the holy city. In the former, heathen might wore an aspect of unmixed horror; in the latter, though it appeared as an instrument of deserved vengeance, it was not without a shuddering that its direful work upon the cherished shrine of the favored nation could be witnessed. It is no marvel, then, that a peculiar fervor burns through the Apocalypse; it is no marvel, too, that it has somewhat more of a Jewish tinge than the Gospel. This feature is explained by the date and circumstances under which it was written, as well as by the models from which it took its coloring. If we suppose the Gospel to have been written near the close of John's life, after a long residence in a Greek city, in the calm spirit congenial to advanced years, we have at once an explanation of its purer Greek and its milder tone. Thus the main objections to a common authorship of the two works are cancelled, and we are justified in allowing full force to the real kinship between them. Both assign a superlative worth to the person of Christ, and make Him the Alpha and the Omega in the sphere of Christian thought; both render a profound tribute to the significance of His sacrifice, presenting Him as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Indeed, so marked is the relation between the two writings that sceptical criticism itself has been impelled to the concession that the Gospel, so to speak, renews the Apocalypse in a spiritualized and transfigured form. [Baur, Kirchengeschichte, vol. i., p. 147.]

The obscurity which rests upon the other apostles is not to be taken as a measure of their labors or usefulness. Though their deeds are without any certain memorial in the volume of human history, we may well believe that they make a luminous record in a larger and more impartial volume. They probably declared the gospel message in Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and the adjacent countries. Tradition has its account of the labors and the fate of each; but in some cases it lacks consistency, and in general affords but little ground of assurance. We only know that light arose upon broad regions;the illuminating orbs and their movements are hidden from our view.

No comments:

Post a Comment