The Historical Christ of St. Paul

Part 3

By G. Matheson.


2 Corinthians i. 5,:—"For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us." We have here a distinct recognition of the Christian Founder as a Man of Sorrows, and as a Man of Sorrows aftex the Pauline type. It will not be denied that, in speaking of a. suffering Christ,, St. Paul can only be speaking of a historical Christ; he would not apply such an expression to the exalted or risen Messiah. But what he here says is that the sufferings, which admittedly belonged to the personal Christ, had, so to speak, burst their personal embankment and run over into his own life. If we wish to know' therefore, what was the nature of those sorrows which distinguished the life of the Son of Man, we shall find a miniature portrait. of them in the experience of the Gentile Apostle. We see that one great feature of St. Paul's suffering was the absence of a bond of sympathy between himself and those for whose salvation he laboured. Witness that remarkable passage, Galatians iv. 19, where he strikes the very key-note of his spiritual sufferings: "My little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." He desires us to· believe that, in the experience of this suffering, he has received, as it were, a mantle of apostolic succession from the Founder of Christianity Himself, and invites us to read in his experience the illustration and the narrative of that special phase of sorrow which distinguished the historical life of the Son of Man.

2 Corinthians i. 19, 20:"For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, . . . . was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea; for all the promises of God in Him are yea and in Him verily." The reiterated affirmation is strongly suggestive of that formula which our Gospels have so constantly put into the mouth of the Christian Founder as a prelude to his utterances, "Verily, verily, I say unto you"; and. it is hardly possible to doubt that in the ears of the Gentile Apostle the refrain of that formula was ringing. As we have elsewhere said, however, we care little for verbal parallels. Here, as ever, our object is to find, not so much a congruity of expression, as a congruity of thought. Is the portrait here given of the Christian Founder analogous to the portrait which we know? Perhaps we shall best arrive at an answer by considering the feature which St. Paul here presents to us. The impression created by his words is a strong sense of contrast. There rises before us the picture of a great Teacher whose manner of tuition is distinguished from that of all other Jewish masters. We see the masters of the Jewish schools pronouncing wavering and qualified decisions, oscillating between the yea and the nay. Here is a Teacher who speaks with authority, and not as the scribes. His sentences are marked by no wavering, his decisions are burdened by no qualifying clauses; He goes right to the mark and takes definite aim. The negative element of the Jewish law is, with Him, exchanged for a positive element; his teaching is not "Thou shalt not," but "Thou shalt." The old form of prophecy which qualified its predictions according to the character of the times, is replaced, in Him, by a promise which speaks in the categorical imperative, which pronounces without reservation the divine blessedness of the poor in spirit, the divine vision of the pure in heart, and the divine rest of the consciously labouring and heavy-laden. We must remember that St. Paul is here professedly speaking, not of the risen Messiah, but of the Christ of history; the proof lies in the fact that he does not speak of Christ, but of Jesus Christ. Wherever the earthly name of the Messiah is used, it is used in order to indicate that the thing which is being recorded is not an abstract statement but a historical occurrence. When St. Paul says that in Jesus Christ the promises of God were distinguished from other promises by their positive and unqualified character, he is speaking of promises which were not simply made in the heart, but which had been uttered by the mouth of history. He means to record an actual reminiscence of the personal life of the Christian Founder, to reproduce a characteristic note of that teaching which had made so many and such zealous disciples. The impression, therefore, which his words convey is the impression which they are intended to convey the reproduction of a living portrait, the memory of an actual life. It will be for the modern Christian consciousness to say whether the Pauline memorial of the Christian Founder's manner of tuition is identical or harmonious with that which our Gospels have made the possession of Christendom.

2 Corinthians v. 17; iii. 18.Here is one of those "promises of God in Him " alluded to in the previous Section: "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The privilege of union with Christ is here said to consist in a new birth, in the conviction that the moral past has been rolled away, and that the soul can begin its life again with the freshness of a little child. In Galatians vi. 15 the same idea is presented from another point of view: " Neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumci sion, but a new creature." In the Epistle to the Corinthians the re-creation of the soul is contemplated as a privilege involved in the acceptance of Christianity; in the Epistle to the Galatians it is contemplated rather as a necessary condition to the acceptance of Christianity, a state of spiritual consciousness without which no man can enter into the Messiah's kingdom. We are undoubtedly here on the lines both of the fourth Evangelist and o! the Synoptists. We have all the substance of that message which the Christian Founder is said to have proclaimed to Nicodemus: " Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God"; we have all the elements of that Synoptic teaching which insists on the acquisition of the child-life as the condition of entering into the kingdom of heaven. If we pursue the subject still further, we shall find ourselves more and more on the lines of this, Christian tradition. St. Paul says that, to become a Christian, a man must be born again; if a second birth is the condition to the acceptance of Christianity, what is the condition requisite to obtaining the second birth? We have already seen that baptism was with Paul a sign of admission into the Messianic kingdom. Are we then to understand that, in order to be born again, a man had simply to be baptized with water? Let us turn back for an answer to 2. Corinthians iii. 18, where we read these words: "We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are transfigured into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Lord, the Spirit." Here we have a description of the same process of recreation recorded in the passage before us; the old man is transfigured into a new man. But in this latter passage we have an additional item of information; we are told that the agency which produces the process is the divine Spirit. St. Paul, then, like the fourth Evangelist, associates the second birth with water and the Spirit. It will be remembered that, in our fourth Gospel, the Christian Founder is made to say that his converts shall receive more power when his historical presence has passed from the midst of them. If St. Paul were acquainted with such a fact, it would explain his emphatic reference to "the Lord, the Spirit," evidently used in contradistinction to the Christ of history. Let us just remark in passing, though it is somewhat irrelevant to the present topic, that the use of the word "transfigured" is suggestive. It is the same word which is employed in Romans xii. 2: " Be ye transfigured in the renewal of your minds ''; and it is the same word which is used by our Evangelists to describe the transformation of Christ's person on the holy mount. If we believe. 2 Peter i. 17, we shall have no difficulty in accepting, as we shall have no object in avoiding, the conclusion that St. Paul's words imply a knowledge of the narrative of Christ's transfiguration. If we do not believe 2 Peter i. 17, we shall still probably conclude that the reference to such a fact in that Epistle proves the existence of a long and widely prevalent Christian tradition, which may well have found its way to the ears of the Apostle of the Gentiles. If the narrative of the Transfiguration were in the mind of St. Paul, we must understand his meaning to be, that, just as the human personality of the Christian Founder was transfigured and glorified in his hour of prayer, so shall the human personality of his followers in every age be transmuted into his Divine likeness by that renewal of their minds which is the result of their second birth. Perhaps, too, there is in the mind of St. Paul the slightest touch of a polemical tendency when he contrasts the transfiguration of the Christ in the flesh with the transfigurating power of the Lord, the Spirit. Would it not seem as if he meant to imply that in the vision of the transfiguration glory, as in the vision of the resurrection miracle, though born in each case out of due time, he was not behind the very. chiefest Apostle.

But let us resume. We have connected 2 Corinthians v. 17 with 2 Corinthians iii. 18. We have found the latter to be the sequel to the former, inasmuch as it reveals the agency by which the new birth is effected. But the sequence will appear also in another respect. In 2 Corinthians v. 17, we have the description of the new birth as an instantaneous act; in Chapter iii. 18, we have a description of the life which follows the new birth as a gradual and progressive process. The latter verse reveals the development of that creation which the former verse regards as the immediate result of a Divine fiat. The gradual development is indicated in the expression, "from glory to glory"; which means that, just as light helps us to see light, so the acquisition of one glory makes the mind more able to attain another (Compare John i. 16, " Of his fulness have we all received, and grace on grace"). Where does the writer of the fourth Gospel get his conception of a grace which multiplies itself by the very fact of possessing it? Where does St. Paul get his conception of the bestowal of those divine gifts which are given to men in different proportions, but which, in all proportions, are capable of expanding " from glory to glory "? There is one passage in our Gospels which, if accepted as an authentic utterance of the Christian Founder, would at once reveal the germ of these later charisms; we mean Christ's parable of the talents. If the passage be genuine, He has Himself given us the moral of that parable and the design with which He spoke it. It was intended specially to reveal the fact that "to every one that bath shall be given" (St. Matt. xxv. 29). The talents are represented as divine endowments bestowed upon the servants of the Lord; and they are represented as bestowed when the Lord of the servants had become invisible; they are to be the product of an age when men shall no longer enjoy the outward presence of the Master, but shall require to be satisfied with the gifts which the Master will send. These gifts, or talents, are described as existing not purely for their own sake, but for the sake of what they will bring. The gifted man is required to trade upon his gift and to make something by it; the value of having is the fact that possession means increase, and that unto him that hath shall be given. In the presence of this tradition we stand on the direct lines of the subsequent Pauline doctrine, that the process of assimilation between the new creature and the transfiguration vision it beholds is a development of the divine life "from glory to glory."

2 Corinthians v. 21." Him that knew no sin hath He made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." The point which first arrests us here is the categorical declaration of Christ's sinlessness: "Him that knew no sin." The allusion is made as one refers to a fact which is already recognized by those to whom he speaks. We have seen, in a previous Section, that, in the view of St. Paul, the Founder of Christianity was a sinless being; we need not therefore reiterate the point. We simply desire here to direct attention to two facts lying on the surface of this passage. The first is, that St. Paul is manifestly speaking of a historical Christ, as is proved by the past tense " knew no sin" (Compare St. John viii. 46 and xiv. 30). If the front clause of the verse is historical, we shall not be justified in giving to the remaining part of it a purely theological meaning. The second point to be noticed is, what we think we have pointed out before-that the historical fact alluded to is a miracle. Sinlessness, to St. Paul and to any Jew, would be a greater miracle than walking on the sea. It is true a sinless life was prophesied (Isaiah liii. 9); but, if a prodigy should occur, it will not be deemed less miraculous because it has been predicted. If, then, the words of St. Paul clearly imply the belief in a miracle, what is the apologetic inference? It is simply this, that the mythical theory of Strauss breaks down on the very threshold of Christianity. We have been told that the miracles of the Gospels are the gradual accumulation of legends around the name of Jesus of Nazareth after his visible presence had been withdrawn, and when the idea of his personality had been sublimated by the halo of death. Here is incontestible evidence, not only that the first Christian age believed in the miraculous power of Christianity, but that the first Christian age believed Christianity itself to be a miracle. The moral life of the Christian Founder is recognized as one continuous violation of the experience of all human history; as a life without blemish and without spot. It is open to the mythical theory to reject the historical truth of this, as of every other, belief; but that it was the first belief of Christendom it is impossible for that theory to deny. The admission is itself a refutation of the mythical growth of the supernatural in Christianity.

We pass now to the next clause of the verse; and we are introduced to a paradox: this sinless being is made sin. Theologians have greatly weakened the force of the passage by translating the word "a sin-offering," in other words, a death-sacrifice. Of course we admit that St. Paul holds the death of Christ to be a sacrifice for sin; but that is not the prominent idea of the passage before us. It will, we think, be found throughout the New Testament, that even where the death of Christ is especially regarded as sacrificial, it is looked upon not as an isolated act, but as the culmination of a life-sacrifice, an obedience unto death. Hence in 1 Peter ii. 24 we read: " Who Himself bore our sins in his own body to the tree " (not on the tl"ee as our version has it); the idea rather is that He has carried the sins of humanity on to the bitter end, until the sacrifice has been consummated by death. We must therefore seek 'for an explanation of St. Paul's words, not in a theological doctrine, but in the same historical sphere which is opened to us by the revelation of Christ's sinlessness in the first clause. Nor do we need to go out of the passage to find the key to St. Paul's meaning. When he says, " He hath made Him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him," he clearly means to state that Christ was made sin in the same way that we are made righteousness. How, then, are we made righteousness? By the contact with us of a force which originally was foreign to us. If we pursue this track we shall reach, not indeed the explanation of the mystery, but an indication of the spot where the mystery lies. Christ is made sin by coming into contact with a force of evil which is foreign to his nature-in other words, in being tempted. The Temptation, and not the Crucifixion, is the true key to the explanation of this Pauline mystery. For it must be remembered that the temptation of Christ, as it is recorded in our Gospels, is not so much the statement of a historical fact which once happened, as the declaration of a mental experience which was habitually present to his mind. We shall altogether misread our narratives if we suppose they mean to imply that the Christian Founder received only three temptations. They are themselves careful to guard against such an impression. They tell us, though it appears more in the Greek than in the English, that these three were but the typical forms of the temptations which the Son of Man had repeatedly to endure. Our English version itself suggests the same thought when it says that, after the temptations of the wilderness, "the devil left him for a season." The temptation of Christ is his sin-bearing, the beginning of that sacrifice which culminates in Calvary. The fact of being tempted is the proof of his generic union with humanity, and the evidence that through this union He is in contact with a force of evil which is foreign to his own pure soul.

Perhaps it may be thought that we have been reading into this Pauline passage the narrative of St. Matthew iv.; or, at all events, that we have been aided in arriving at its interpretation by our previous knowledge of that Evangelist's history. In reality it is not so. Although the narratives of St. Matthew and St. Luke had never existed, we should have been able to put this interpretation on St. Paul's language; for we can prove to a demonstration that, long before the close of the Apostolic age, the idea of a tempted Christ was in the air. We have a document which, by the large majority even of negative critics, is assigned to a date earlier than the destruction of Jerusalem, and which even the most radical amongst them have not placed later than 81 A.D.; a document which is anterior to any of those writings ascribed to the apostolic Fathers, and which is distinctly quoted by the earliest of those Fathers in a letter to this very Church of Corinth. In this MS., which we do not here quote as authoritative but simply as illustrative of the early belief of Christendom, the fact of Christ's temptation is twice stated as something well known to the Christian Church (Heb. ii. 18; iv. 15). It will not be pretended that the writer to the Hebrews had any mythical motive in associating with the idea of temptation the name of the sinless Christ, The fact that he has so associated that name is the proof of a wide-spread Christian tradition. The Christ of the Epistle to the Hebrews is tempted in all things like as we are, yet without sin; the Christ of the Epistle to the Corinthians, is made sin for us though He knew no sin. Are not these conceptions one and the same?

2 Corinthians viii. 9:" For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." The first point which strikes us here is the complete departure of St. Paul from the Messianic ideal of his countrymen. That Messianic ideal passed through several stages of development; but amidst these stages there are two phases· which stand out prominently. The earlier conception of the Messiah is that of the conquering king, of one who restores the Jewish nation by subduing its outward enemies. ·with the prophetic age of the later Isaiah there emerges a second Messianic conception; the Messiah is still contemplated as the king, but his kingdom is to be won, not by physical conquest, but by a life of service. He is first of all the holy servant of God, who keeps perfectly the commandments of the law; and then, as a reward for that service, he is exalted to a height of -dazzling eminence and receives a kingdom which cannot be moved. It is in this latter phase that the Messianic idea approaches most nearly to the Pauline conception. The ideal of the Jewish nation is one who becomes Messiah by reason of a life of obedient service; he is enriched as the reward of his poverty. Yet it will at once be evident that, 'even in this stage, the Messianic idea is radically different from the Pauline conception. In the former case the greatness is given to him as a recompense for having observed the law through a life of privation; in the latter case the greatness lies in the voluntary assumption of the life of privation itself. In the former, the Divine grace is shewn in the exaltation of the servant into the Messiah; in the latter, the Divine grace is manifested in the stooping of the Messiah into the servant. The servant of God of Jewish prophecy is not the Messiah, but simply on the road to become the Messiah; the servant of God of St. Paul's Epistle is the Messiah in that very life of service for whose sake he has surrendered his pre-existent glory.

We need not say that such a conception as St. Paul here gives us is not one which could have been suggested to him by any mythical imagination derived from the traditions of his fathers. Judaism never reached higher than the idea that a sacrificial life might be rewarded by the exaltation into glory; it was unable to grasp the idea that the sacrificial life itself might be the emanation of an exalted glory stooping down to the wants of men. We cannot quote Philo-Judreus as an exception to this statement; for he lived in the very blaze of that very atmosphere which St. Paul and the Apostles breathed. We must say in general terms that, with the dawn of Christianity, there is imported into the Messianic conception an element which not only is hitherto unseen there, but which is found to be the opposite of all the elements which that idea has as yet exhibited-we mean, the essential divinity of suffering.

If St. Paul is not drawing his conception of the Christ from any national imagination, as little does he derive it from any subjective fancy of his own mind. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ "; he appeals to a common Christian consciousness upon a subject which he holds to be historical. He speaks of the Christian Founder by his human name, and thereby clearly suggests that he is recalling an experience of history. ·what, then, is this poverty which the Apostle beholds in the Master? It is clear that to one who entertained so exalted a view of Christ's pre-existent glory as St. Paul did, any earthly condition, even the most sumptuous and regal, would have been deemed an experience of poverty to the Christian Founder. The mere fact, therefore, of saying that Christ became poor would not in itself imply more than the declaration that He became incarnate. When we take into account, however,. that the Apostle's mind is dwelling on the historical Jesus,_ and when we remember that this Epistle to the Corinthians deals specially with such practical matters as the supply of human necessities, we shall be warranted in concluding that the poverty which St. Paul attributes to Christ was intended to mark the lowliness of his human circumstances. The word here translated "poor," is in St. Luke xvi. 22 rendered "beggar." If we adopt this rendering here, it would indicate that the Christian Founder threw Himself upon the kindly sympathies of others, and was supported throughout his earthly ministry by the sustenance which He chose to accept from the love and the devotion of his followers-a picture which would in every respect correspond with the Christ portrayed in our Gospels. Though descended from the lineage of David, the Founder of Christianity is represented as one of those who was not clothed in the world's purple and fine raiment. In St. Luke ii. 24, we gather inferentially that his parents were poor, for they present that offering which the poor among the children of Israel were allowed to substitute for the common and costlier gift. In St. Matthew xvii. 27, we learn that He Himself was poor, for He there adopts a method of discharging a small debt, or tax, which would not probably have been adopted by one in easy circumstances. If it be thought, however, that the direction to seek the stater in the fish's mouth had its ground in a moral purpose rather than a physical necessity, we have still the remarkable utterance put into his lips by two Evangelists: " The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head " (St. Matthew viii. 20; St. Luke ix. 58)—an utterance all the. more remarkable because it expresses the true spirit of the Pauline contrast between the native riches and the unnatural poverty. The inevitable effect of such a portraiture is to suggest to the mind how overwhelming must have been the impression produced by the personal life of Jesus of Nazareth.

2 Corinthians x. 1." Now I, Paul, myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." These words give us a glimpse into the character of the Christian Founder as it was understood by St. Paul. The attributes of meekness and gentleness may be taken as marking respectively the passive and the active side of that character. The meekness implies a power to bear without murmuring; the gentleness implies a power to act without violence. In, each of these aspects the lineaments of the Pauline portraiture are reflected by our Gospels. The Christian Founder is there represented as declaring Himself to be meek and lowly in heart, and as declaring himself to be so on the ground that He is able, unmurmuringly, to sustain that yoke which He asks his followers to share. The gentleness is the prominent characteristic of all the deeds of his active ministry; it runs through every act, it permeates every tone. Indeed, the two elements of meekness and gentleness are capable of being expressed in one thought self-restraint; and that is the thought which, from the human side, forms the most distinguishing feature of the Christ whom our Gospels portray. The author of Ecce Homo, who professedly approaches the subject from this point of view, has recorded his impression that the Christ delineated in our Gospels is distinguished by his restraint of power. We feel, instinctively, that the impression is true. Throughout the Evangelical narratives we are perpetually confronted by the spectacle of One who restrains the might of the forces that lie within Him. We find an habitual reserve alike of word and deed. The miraculous gift which is imputed to Him is not flaunted in the eyes of his followers; it is held in check, to await the natural manifestations of the human consciousness. The sign is not given to an evil and adulterous generation; the miracle is not wrought for those who have not faith to receive it. The Son of Man seems to prefer those methods of working which are familiar· to the sons of men. The result upon the mind of the reader is that impression of meekness, and gentleness that sense of the power to restrain power, which the life of the Christian Founder made upon the mind of St. Paul Whether St. Paul derived it from the same historical facts we are not yet called upon to say; but we are at all events. entitled to say that he must have derived it from historical facts analogous in character and identical in import. That history, which produced in St. Paul the impression of the meek and gentle Jesus, cannot in its essential features be dissimilar to the history which has imprinted on our hearts the portrait of Him who meekly bore the yoke of humanity.

2 Corinthians xii. 8." For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." It has been pointed out by an eminent writer that these words powerfully suggest the scene in the garden of Gethsemane, and seem, on the part of St. Paul, to indicate a knowledge of that scene. In both cases we see a soul burdened by the pressure of a great calamity. In both, the remedy is prayer. In both, the prayer is thrice repeated. In both, the answer received is of the same description. The prayer is not answered by the removal of the calamity; but, in each case, it is answered by the impartation of a fresh power to bear the calamity. The Master receives the ministry of strengthening angels; the Disciple receives the promise, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." It seems to us that it is possible to find here something more than a suggestion. The words " My strength is made perfect in weakness " are put into the mouth of the Christian Founder. Are they not intended to describe a life experience of the Son of Man? Do they not really mean this? "In order to answer your prayer, I do not need to remove your calamity; I have only to give you strength to bear it. My reason for knowing this is my personal experience of your human nature; my own strength has been perfected, not by the act of transcending human weakness, but in the very act of experiencing that weakness: I can judge the law of your humanity by my knowledge of the law of that spirit of life which regulated my own."

If this view be adopted, it will give us not simply an analogy, but a highly probable reference to the garden of Gethsemane. Be this as it may, the revelation which St. Paul here professes to have received from Christ is in strict consistency and harmony with that revelation of Christ which our Gospels profess to yield. He is emphatically brought before us as one who calls to Himself the labouring and heavy-laden, and offers them the rest of his own soul; yet who, at the same time, is careful to tell them that He will confer that rest, not by removing the yoke of their calamity, but by giving them a power of love which will make the yoke easy and render the burden light. His own rest has been reached by that meekness and lowliness of heart which stoops to a Father's will; and He holds out to his disciples the promise of a strength which shall be perfected in the same weakness: " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me."

2 Corinthians xiii. 14." The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." In these words St. Paul has completely transcended the fundamental conception of his nation. He has given utterance to a thought which he never could have derived from any mythical imagination suggested by his Jewish nationality. The fundamental idea of Judaism, while it remained untouched by Gentile influences, was the unity of God; He was the self-existent, self-sufficing, incommunicable Jehovah. It is true that, as Judaism came into contact with the Hellenic spirit, there began to appear a break in its rigid conception of the Divine unity; and the ideas of the "Word" and "Wisdom" of God came to stand for separate manifestations of the life of God. Men began to see distinctions in that essence which they had hitherto believed to be an inseparable unity. But, even in its later stages, Judaism was true to itself. It never would have occurred to the Jewish mind that an individual man, who had lived an actual life in history, could be made partaker of the essential nature of the Deity. We may admit, though it is very questionable, that the Logos of Philo was a personal being, dwelling in the heart of the Divine Life; but, however personal He may have been, He was not a man who had ever lived in history. Philo himself did not offer him to the world as an actual historical personage, but, at best, only as an ideal personality who had dwelt for ever behind the veil of history. Here, however, is a conception of St. Paul, and which St. Paul evidently shares with the Christian community, in which we see an essential revolt from Judaism in all its forms. It is not simply that the itnity has become a trinity; that, as we have said, might be accounted for on principles of historical development. But the new point in relation to Judaism consists in this: that one of the persons of the Trinity is a man who had actually lived on earth, a son of Adam, a member of that Jewish race which had always emphasized the immeasurable nature of the distance which separates the creature from the Creator.. Beside the great Jehovah whom Judaism had feared to name, and beside that divine Spirit whose workings had been mysterious even to the prophets whom it inspired, St. Paul is not afraid to place the name of the historical Jesus; nay, is not afraid to mention his name first of the three. vve have grown so familiar with the rhythm of the formula that we are apt to forget the paradox it must have involved to every Jewish mind. Before the burning blaze of the Divine purity even the Lawgiver had been commanded to put the shoes from off his feet, and remember his unworthiness to stand on holy ground. Here is a man who five and twenty years before had been seen going in and out amongst his fellow-beings, sharing in their common toil, wearing their human frailty, walking their daily course of suffering and of duty; yet this man, at the close of these five and twenty years, is spoken of by one of the leading Apostles of the primitive Church in the same breath with the eternal Jehovah and the life of the Divine Spirit; and so spoken of in a way which shews the belief of that Apostle to have been an article of faith in the community amongst whom he laboured. The paradox is only another proof how boundless must have been the impression produced by the life of the Christian Founder, and how impossible it is to account for the construction of that Life on any mythical principle of New Testament interpretation.

G. Matheson.