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TITUS 234 


JAMES 246 

I PETER 248 

I JOHN . .256 


JUDE 264 

REVELATION . . 265, 




IN the poem of "Christmas Eve," Robert Browning 
presents three groups of people interested by the story 
of Christ. There is the full conventicle of Zion Chapel 
Meeting, engrossed in a sermon with ten heads ; the 
whole basilica of St. Peter's at Rome, alive with men 
all expectant for the supreme moment of the ritual at 
the high altar ; and students trying to slake their thirst 
by listening to the discourse of a Gottingen professor 
on the sources of the Christ myth. The lecturer he 
dismisses as not really Christian, only a literary critic 
lured away by some tricksy demon from Greek grammar 
and drama to practise on the New Testament. He 
recognizes two distinct types of Christian, adequately 
represented by Papist and Dissenter. The strong point 
of the one is the desire to consecrate literature, song, 
architecture, and all art to God, worshipping Him with 
beauty. The other worships rather in spirit and in 
truth, believing that when two or three meet together 
to pray in Christ's name, He is there. With the latter 
the poet casts in his lot. 

These two classes of Christians are at bottom one 
in their thoughts of God and man, their sense of sin, 
their relief from it through Jesus Christ, their enjoy- 
ment of fellowship with Him, their hope for a fuller 
union hereafter. Even their ideals of life for the 
individual now are not very inconsistent; but in. 



everything related to joint worship, to its leaders, to 
organization, both ideals and practices differ deeply. 
As these differences belong to the earthly and temporary, 
we may hope that when the mists of earth have melted 
away, the prayer of our Lord will be completely 
fulfilled, and all may be one even as He and the 
Father are one. 

Meantime, it is surely well to scan these differences 
closely, and seek to lessen them. Can it be that Christ 
has left to His followers no intelligible and adequate 
directions as to His Church, His Ministry, His Worship ? 
Doubtless there must be change and developement, as 
with all that is not independent of time. But while 
the Founder based His Church on a rock, each party 
accuses the other of marring the work by the style of 
its building. All depends on knowing the Founder's 
intentions. The Roman Catholic has steadily .tested 
his building by tradition and the Bible ; the Baptist 
most logical of dissenters has, since the Amsterdam 
Confession of 1611, taken as his test the New Testa- 
ment alone as giving the will of Christ. He is not 
only Lord of all, but Head of The Church; He died 
for it, He founded it, He claimed exclusive authority in 
it, and He charged it carry on His work in the world, 
inspired by His continual presence. On this subject of 
The Church, at least, every guiding principle is gathered 
in the New Testament. 

Evangelicals generally discard most tradition, but 
they have not always observed that Sacerdotalists have 
their only Biblical defence in the Old Testament. An 
idle or self-absorbed church, an intrusive priesthood, 
a magical worship, find no countenance in the New 
Testament. A congregation of Jehovah there certainly 
was, and its purpose and career may to some extent 


prefigure Christ's Church : but when we can study our 
Lord's directions, why recur to the earlier rough sketch, 
wherein we do not know which lines were essential 
and which ornamental, which were significant of 
Jehovah's will and which given for the hardness of 
men's hearts? Our Lord was born under The Law, 
but He redeemed those who were under The Law, that 
all men might receive the adoption of sons. The fore- 
going commandment was annulled because it was weak 
and unprofitable, and a better hope was introduced, 
whereby we draw near to God with Jesus as our only 
High Priest. When we seek information about The 
Church, what need of studying Law, Priesthood, 
Circumcision, and other obsolete arrangements of the 
Old Covenant ? He has mediated a New Covenant 
into which we may enter. The building is up and the 
scaffolding down, do not obscure the stately fane by 
re-erecting mere preparatory poles : the new seamless 
garment will be marred if torn and patched with a 
piece of the old. 

In the New Testament .we have what in the judgement 
of early Christians are the genuine relics of the apostolic 
age. Literary questions have been raised whether the 
pastoral epistles and the gospel according to Matthew 
have been interpolated with passages vital to the present 
theme, but these speculations are not supported by any 
external evidence. The verdict is to be given not by 
literary specialists, but by those who, like the writers 
and collectors, are taught by the Spirit ; and modern 
Christian opinion ratifies ancient in nearly every case. 
This commentary is intended for those who acquiesce 
in the verdict that the New Testament is the work of 
the apostles, prophets, and evangelists of the New 
Covenant. To them was committed the charge of 


laying the foundation of The Church, and from them we 
may gather all that we need to know as to its purpose 
and plan. It is well to connect their teaching with 
the actual growth of the building, and therefore, while 
for popular use the familiar order of the English Bible 
is followed, a note is given as to the order of the 
writings. In this way the labours of Gottingen pro- 
fessors may be utilized in God's service : and for the 
Old Testament we may accept their assurance that, 
whatever the relative dates of its parts, as a whole we 
have it in substantially the same form in which it was 
used by the apostles and by our Lord. His word 
may then help men to hold the scales, and see whether 
Zion Chapel or St. Peter's presents the better embodi- 
ment of Christ's will for His Church on earth. 

It would have been easy and useful to single out the 
subjects often grouped under the head of Doctrine of 
the Church, and to gather the Bible teaching under 
familiar logical headings ; yet in classifying and 
treating topically it is too easy to fill in the chinks 
between the rocks of scripture truth with untempered 
mortar. As the central thesis here is that on every 
essential point the Head of The Church has left adequate 
directions, it seems more appropriate to take every 
passage that is generally quoted on these subjects, 
rightly or wrongly, and to comment on each by itself. 
Thus we may aim at declaring the whole counsel of God 
on the matter. Cross references will lessen any incon- 
venience, and an index will enable a single point to be 
worked out thoroughly in the light of scripture teaching. 
It may then appear that on some of the points most 
fiercely debated, the one Lawgiver has laid down no 
law but that of mutual love. So we may learn not to 
go beyond what is written ; but having received the 


spirit which is of God, comparing the words taught by 
the Spirit, we may humbly hope to learn the mind of 

These pages were chiefly written in the summer of 
1902 by a broad Canadian river, with no other aids to 
the study of the Greek Testament than a concordance 
and a copy of the American Standard Edition of the 
Revised Version, from which all quotations are made. 
But as they are going to press, it is with great pleasure 
that the opportunity is taken of profiting by Canon 
Bruce's "Apostolic Order and Unity" and Mr. Lambert's 
Kerr Lectures on " The Sacraments in the New 
Testament." These books, by their emphatic teaching 
of the same general doctrine, justify the hope that all 
Evangelicals are drawing more closely together. They 
are, moreover, based, as their titles indicate, on the same 
principle that obtains here : " It is necessary for the 
earnest student first of all to lay the foundation of a 
thorough knowledge of all that is contained on the 
subject in the Scriptures of truth " : " It is to the New 
Testament, then, that we must primarily go in search 
of a Christian doctrine of the sacraments." The only 
important differences arise when they depart from the 
foundation and go secondarily to the developements of 
Church history. 

Even here, indeed, as the present writer tried to 
show in 1897, however imperfectly, the witness of 
history to Baptist principles is worth considering ; and 
Canon Winterbotham wrote in the Expositor, VI 5 3T8 , 
that on the points chiefly discussed at the Reformation, 
it may be " unhesitatingly claimed that the whole trend 
of modern religious opinion is towards the Anabaptist 
position." But the question is whether, when Mr. 


Lambert on page 6 objects to Bishop Gore reading the 
scripture "in the light of the Catholic Fathers and 
ancient bishops," he has not estopped himself from 
"reading the New Testament usages in the light of 
the following time " on page 227. 

And again, when after taking in evidence down to 
250 A.D., and even for another century, he honestly 
avows that a certain custom was " not the rule of the 
first age," why can he not be content with the solid 
foundation of the New Testament ? why must he erect 
for it a flying buttress from the Old ? His doctrine of 
" the organic continuity of the two dispensations " is 
evolved from six texts. Five assert our continuity 
with the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not 
with the Jews at all ; the contrast is expressly drawn 
in Gal 3 9 ~ 14 , to which he appeals : and the sixth has 
its true bearing indicated by his own remark that " the 
old dispensation -was for ever and utterly done away." 
But his adducing such an argument shows that the 
present writer has not been beating the air by the 
somewhat elaborate proof that the organic continuity 
of our age is with that of Abraham, that the whole 
Jewish dispensation was an interlude, that the Jewish 
Law is of no value to the Christian either as a means 
of grace or as a code of morals, only as a provisional 
and symbolic system foreshadowing Christ, at whose 
death it was superseded and abolished root and branch. 

Were not the principles at stake so important, it 
would have been ungracious thus to criticize two slight 
differences, when the general agreement is so extensive 
and so minute. Mr. Lambert has been so faithful an 
exegete that Principal Rainy in the Expository Times 
for August deplores his " needlessly bare conception of 
the sacraments," and looks in vain to " see how the 


New Testament teaching reaches out to the sacra- 
mental doctrine of the Shorter Catechism." It is, 
however, pleasant to find Principal Rainy discussing 
baptism and congratulating Mr. Lambert on having " a 
firm hold of the principle that sacraments presuppose 
faith " : for evidently he must be on the verge of 
abandoning infant baptism. And it is more pleasant 
to share with Mr. Lambert the "aspirations regarding 
the unity of Christ's Church on earth which are 
cherished more and more eagerly, and on very different 
quarters of the field, by multitudes of Christian men." 
It is equally pleasant, and would be more surprising, 
but that Canon Bruce has been a missionary, to 
coincide with him in the results of a careful and 
prayerful study, and to agree that it may teach every 
honest student " all that is knowable of what is truly 
apostolic in the ecclesiastical organization of the 
Church, and be a help towards casting down the walls 
of separation between various Christian Churches, or, 
at least, of discerning between the limits of the city 
of God defined by the Spirit of God and the walls of 
separation built by man." 

\* The whole body of Christians from the resurrection till the 
second advent is often referred to as The Church. 

A local company of believers is often referred to as a church. 

The commands laid on the children of Israel are often 
referred to as The Law. 

Quotations are in double inverted commas, paraphrases in 



A copy and shadow of the heavenly things. 

GENESIS 1 2 l ~ 3 , This is the great promise, made originally 
to Abram, confirmed and enlarged after his obedience 
on Moriah, 22, renewed to Isaac and his children, 
26 2 ~ 6 , then to Jacob and his children, 28 13 ~ 15 . Its 
lasting interest is that in Abraham's seed should all 
families of the earth be blessed. Paul expounds that 
the fulfilment in Jesus Christ was designed from the 
first, Gal 3 8 . The promise is of great interest to every 
Christian, but is not associated with the formation of 
a community, nor with the observance of any rite. 
Its bearing on the doctrine of The Church is of the 
slightest ; but to distinguish promise, covenant, and law 
is important from the outset. 

I7 l ~ 14 . At this time God offered to enter into 
special relations with Abraham and his posterity in 
a certain line : the condition was that every boy 
born in the line, and every man adopted into it, should 
be circumcised. The former offer of the land was 
renewed, made perpetual, and annexed to this, and the 
whole was thrown into the form of a Covenant. 

An ordinary covenant is a double agreement by which 
two parties take mutual pledges ; if either breaks his 

17 2 


pledge, the other is freed from his. Such a cove- 
nant is illustrated at 2I 22 ~ 32 , 26 26 ~ 31 ; we see Isaac and 
Abimelech swearing to each other and joining in a 
feast : Jacob and Laban swore, sacrificed, feasted, 
raised a memorial, 3I 44 ~ 51 . But God's covenants were 
proposed and dictated by Himself, and often took the 
form of a solemn promise on His side alone without 
any answering obligation being expressed. Thus with 
Noah, 9 8 - 17 , with Abram, 1 5 18 ; God gave promises and 
exacted none, but confirmed by a sign. The covenant 
promise to Noah is good for all men ; that with Abram 
was personal at the first, but on this occasion it was 
made perpetual, on conditions, but limited still to one 

This covenant, then, has nothing to do with those 
who are not circumcised. It has nothing to do with 
salvation : there is no word about blessing all nations 
through the Seed. It assures to Isaac's posterity the 
land of Palestine and a unique relation with God, and a 
modern Jew may claim it for himself and his children. 

There are other covenants made by God with 
individuals, for the benefit of themselves and their 
posterity. An everlasting covenant ordered in all things 
and sure was made with David, that his descendants 
should be kings, II Sam 23 5 ; and the covenant with 
the Levites, Deut 33 9>1 , that they should form an 
hereditary priesthood, resembles this and is coupled 
with it, Jer 33 21 . The descendants of Abraham, of Levi, 
of David thus are in special relations with God. The 
great covenant at Sinai was with the children of Israel 
unitedly and those who should join them by birth or 
adoption. With no one of these has the Christian 
of non-Jewish descent any direct relation ; the New 
Covenant ratified at Calvary is that which concerns him. 

Genesis] PROLOGUE 19 

As for the so-called covenants of works and of grace, 
such terms are not used in scripture, and the terms are 
badly chosen to describe God's dealings with the race. 

I7 22 ~ 2r . The rite of Circumcision was already known, 
and was here stamped with God's approval. If else- 
where it was a redemptive sacrifice that initiated a 
youth to the responsibilities of manhood in his tribe, its 
application received an important change. For Abraham 
here, as for the adult generation that entered Canaan, 
Josh 5 3 , it was a rite administered after a profession of 
their faith, a point on which Paul insisted, Rom 4 10 . 
And this would also be true of freemen who voluntarily 
joined the nation. But the usual case was that of 
infants a week old who were circumcised, and thus they 
were from this early age initiated into the nation and 
given a right to claim the fulfilment of the covenant 
namely, a residence in the land. The rite is still 
practised among all the descendants of Abraham, and is 
still connected by them with this covenant to inherit 
the land. More spiritual associations were gathered 
around it in time, and it became regarded as an emblem 
of purifying the heart, see Deut 30", Jer 9 25) 26 . 

It was not abolished on the introduction of Christi- 
anity. Although some renegade Jews attempted to be 
uncircumcised, Christians were expressly forbidden to 
imitate them, I Cor 7 18 . Timothy, because of a half- 
Jewish descent, was circumcised by Paul, Acts i6 3 . On 
the other hand, it was not carried over to Gentile 
Christians, and this was a deliberate decision of Jewish 
Christians, Acts 15. At no point in the discussion 
was it suggested that baptism replaced it. The only 
valid analogy seems to be that as a child was first 
actually born into the Jewish nation, and this fact 
was speedily recognized by the symbolic ceremony of 


circumcision, so, when by regeneration a person becomes 
a child of God, that fact should be speedily recognized 
by the symbol of baptism. 

Exodus 2 24 . Apparently no communication had been 
made by Jehovah since Israel was bidden go to Egypt, 
Gen 46 3 . The covenant made with Abraham had been 
renewed with Isaac to the exclusion of Ishmael, etc., 
with Israel to the exclusion of Esau, but the children of 
Jacob had not been spoken with; neither Judah nor 
Joseph could claim God's sanction on any choice of him 
Reuben and Simeon and Levi were not shut out as 
other elder sons had been. The time now arrived 
for the covenant to be acted upon. It was in abeyance 
for some generations, but not broken, much less ful- 
filled. To-day it is in abeyance, but not broken, and 
not quite fulfilled perhaps even yet in Jesus Christ. 
The children of Israel have returned twice to Palestine, 
and may return once again when it shall belong to 
the promised Seed. 

1 2 1 " 14 . Hitherto only one rite could claim institution 
by or sanction of Jehovah circumcision for all the 
descendants of Abraham. Now another was devised 
by Him and enjoined on the descendants of Israel. 
The one was the condition of possessing the land, a 
memorial of the faith of Abraham ; the other was on 
the first occasion the condition of deliverance from 
death and from bondage, but in after years a memorial 
of that deliverance, in itself a condition of no future 
benefit. In neither case was a material rite the con- 
dition of obtaining a spiritual blessing, or the means of 
conveying it. 

The details of observance on the first occasion were 
not reproduced in after years, nor is there any written 
command for varying them. But intelligent men saw 

Exodus] PROLOGUE 21 

it would be absurd, when settled in Canaan, to eat the 
passover ready for an instant journey ; they were in 
the land of promise and hoped to stay, so they ate the 
passover at their ease. Details of ceremony are not 
necessarily binding, but it is important that no signifi- 
cant detail be dropped, that no detail with a false 
significance be retained, and that no detail of un- 
importance be rendered obligatory by mere human 
agreement, For modern ceremonial, any rite ordered 
by our Lord must be observed ; its meaning is to be 
grasped, and the details of ritual, however adjusted to 
time, place, and circumstances, must still represent the 
truths associated with the ceremony by our Lord or 
His apostles. Nothing else can be compulsory. 

I2 21 ~ 28 . The passover feast was distinctly family in 
its nature, and herein resembles circumcision. Both 
were instituted before there was any priesthood, and 
were "valid" without the assistance of any special 

Both, again, were originally pledges of faith. Abraham 
received the sign as a visible, tangible seal of his faith 
already existing, Rom 4 11 ; the people here were still in 
bondage, Pharaoh had again refused to release them, yet 
they believed that they were about to be delivered, and 
ate the meal girt for the journey. But on every other 
occasion, except Josh 5 2 ~ 9 , these ceremonies were no 
expression of faith. This passover was commemorated, 
not exactly repeated ; it was to be annually kept as a 
memorial, Ex 1 2 14 , a memorial of a deliverance in the 
past. This passover was sacrificed, Ex 1 2 2r ; future ob- 
servances, except in Deut i6 2 ~, are said to be kept. A 
similar distinction is important between the real last 
supper of the Lord and the subsequent commemorations. 

I2 43 ~ 49 . In so far as circumcision corresponds to 


baptism, and the passover to the Lord's supper, this 
suggests that unbaptized persons may not commune at 
the Lord's table, But at most the presumption is 
raised ; the proof of any such proposition must be 
derived from the New Testament alone ; and there, 
too, must be examined in what sense circumcision 
corresponds to baptism, or the passover to the Lord's 

j^i-w jh e sanctification of the firstborn was with 
express reference to the national deliverance from 
Egypt. As the event did not occur to our ancestors, 
it does not need commemorating by us. The same re- 
mark applies to circumcision and passover and all the 
numerous rites soon imposed on the Israelites. 

1 6. Here we meet the sabbath for the first time in 
sacred history, as observed by men. In Babylonia, 
whence Abraham had come, certain days were called 
sabbaths the seventh, fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty- 
first, and twenty-eighth of each lunar month ; and on 
these many occupations were forbidden, including even 
worship, in order to secure rest. But there is no 
evidence yet that such customs obtained in Canaan or 
in Egypt ; and it would appear that the rest on every 
seventh day, irrespective of the lunar month, was novel 
to the Israelites, and it needed emphasizing by repeated 
word and miracle before its observance was adopted. 

1924. These chapters are of great importance, 
narrating the formation of the covenant from which the 
Jewish scriptures are called by us the Old Covenant, 
or Old Testament. The covenant in question was new 
to the Israelites, not propounded before, though its 
conditions included many that were old; it was ex- 
pressly offered to the children of Israel, and was their 
peculiar privilege, separating them from others. 

Exodus] . PROLOGUE 23 

First Jehovah offered that, on conditions not yet 
specified, He would select Israel as a nation to stand in 
a special relation to Him ; though in a sense all nations 
were His, Israel should be separated as a nation and 
made a kingdom of priests. The people agreed, and 
promised obedience to the commands that should be 
given. After ceremonial preparation, they drew near 
to hear them; but after ten were uttered, they were 
terrified, and begged that the rest might be given 
through a messenger, and not directly. God conceded 
the request, and continued announcing the conditions 
of the covenant to Moses ; they occupy chapters 21 23. 
When the people heard them in full, they accepted 
intelligently the obligation to obey them. Moses wrote 
out the whole, and the covenant was ratified by cere- 
monies, including sacrifices, reading the conditions, and 
partaking of a feast before God. Here we have the 
ordinary features of a mutual covenant on a magnifi- 
cent scale. 

The preface to the whole book of the covenant 
declares unmistakably with whom it was made : " I am 
Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land 
of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." The con- 
cluding paragraph contains a few temporary promises 
and directions for the next few years, but as a whole 
it was meant for the whole nation until authoritatively 
superseded. Like all covenants, it could be ended by 
both parties agreeing to rescind it, or by one party 
breaking his promise and so absolving the other from 
any further obligation, or by both parties fulfilling 
their agreements. Like most covenants, it stands or 
falls as a whole, and cannot be separated into two 
sections, one part indefeasible, but the other not of 
the essence of the contract. Like many covenants, it 


incorporates several provisions found elsewhere, dictated 
by common sense, which may well be embodied in a 
new covenant if the old comes to an end : for instance, 
for a judge to accept gifts from a suitor is esteemed 
wrong outside Judaism ; parricide is generally punished 
with death to-day in civilized communities. It also 
contains many provisions which imply a state of 
opinion now considered low ; slavery and polygamy 
were tolerated, though improved rules were laid down. 
It contains others which are morally indifferent, though 
advisable for reasons of health or sentiment or good 
farming, such as a prohibition to eat braxy mutton, to 
boil a kid in its mother's milk, to till ground seven 
years running.' 

But whatever we think of the wisdom of voluntarily 
adopting these rules, we must note that as they stand 
they form one inseparable whole, of which James wrote 
that if the whole Law be kept except one point, the 
failure vitiates the whole attempt. And we are further 
to remember that this covenant was offered to, and the 
conditions enjoined on, Israel only. The rules were 
not given by Jehovah to other people, were not known 
in this form by others, and were not meant for them ; 
although some of the rules simply clothe with fresh 
authority practices which were widely accepted, and 
may even have been prescribed in much older codes, 
such as that of Hammurabi. Thus the Egyptians had 
nothing to do with the command, "Thou shalt have 
no other gods before Me " : this is put in contrast 
with Egypt. Doubtless it would have been well if 
Egypt had been ready for such a lofty ideal, but God's 
way was to train one people at a time. Similarly the 
peoples of India were ignorant for ages that Israel was 
forbidden to make or use idols. On the other hand, 


the Amerinds have long known that it was wrong to 
steal ; some Australian blackfellows have tribal codes 
forbidding murder and adultery ; and this was quite 
independent of the Jewish Law. 

Whether any of these orders are obligatory on us 
to-day depends on what our Lord Jesus says on the 
point. He is the only Lawgiver ; He has legislated for 
the whole race, and not for Israel alone. Speaking to 
Israelites, He commented on some of these rules, asking 
a higher morality and raising a loftier standard. Most 
of these refer only to deeds, a few take words into 
account, one touches also the thought of the heart. 
He extended this last principle to every case, and, while 
neglecting these and hundreds of other precepts for 
Israel, selected two into which He read a deeper 
meaning, so summing up the whole duty of man in 
the two maxims, Love God heartily, Love men as your- 
self. These two principles forbid polytheism, idolatry, 
false swearing, murder, adultery, theft, covetousness ; 
these principles will lead us to welcome the Lord's 
Day as a day of rest and of Christian labour, and to 
honour our parents : thus they embody everything 
valuable in the ten commandments. These principles 
forbid us to enslave our fellows, to marry several wives 
at once, to exact eye for eye and tooth for tooth : thus 
they contradict several provisions of The Law. These 
principles help us to decide many points left undecided 
for the ancient Israelite, and allow us liberties with- 
held from him. We gain nothing to guide our conduct 
by referring to a code intended for Israel centuries ago, 
and we had better guide ourselves directly by the words 
of Him who fulfilled the Old Covenant and inaugurated 
a new one for all mankind. 

25 1 " 9 . The terms of the covenant had been announced 


and accepted ; the legal side had been completed. But 
between a loving God and His peculiar people there 
must be frequent intercourse, and means for this were 
now provided. 

Two points were laid down at the outset. God pre- 
scribed how He was to be approached, both generally 
and particularly, even laying down minute directions as 
to furniture and ritual. But He sought free-will 
offerings prompted by love rather than duty. These 
points commend themselves if we think of intercourse 
between any governor and his subjects, and are equally 
advisable to-day even between a Father and His 
children. Other means of access may be prescribed 
now, yet still it is for God to announce and for man 
to use. 

28 1 . The nation as a whole was to be a kingdom of 
priests. Already young men had acted as sacrificing 
priests when the covenant was ratified. But now five 
were singled out of one family for this purpose, repre- 
sentatives of the whole nation. 

Priests are taken from among men, appointed to 
represent them in matters relating to God, to offer gifts 
and sacrifices for sins. They cannot assume the 
honour, but have it conferred on them by God. 

Israel then ought to have represented the world 
towards God, and the sacrifices should have been for 
all men. That ideal was true, as the apostle John 
indicates, but was too lofty to be understood in the 
days of Moses. Education was needed, and it began 
by emphasizing that even priests, as a nation, are 
compassed with infirmity, and must offer on their own 
behalf; so they might learn to bear gently with the 
ignorant and erring Gentiles. This was taught by 
selecting out of the nation a family, to be to the nation 

Exodus] PROLOGUE 27 

as the nation was to the world ; and presently by 
selecting' one of the family to be to his relatives as 
they were to the nation. What they were shown 
in the person of Aaron and the others, they might 
presently learn to be true of themselves on a larger 

To-day all Christians are priests, and Christ the 
High Priest. There is no need for any intervening 
class. Christ has offered the one atoning sacrifice ; we 
offer praise and gifts, but no further sacrifice for sin. 
He acted for the whole world, we act for the whole 
world. So deeply is the sense of sin and of sacrifice 
for it implanted in the heart that where the true 
atoning priesthood of Christ is unknown or forgotten 
or not preached, and where Christians forget their 
priestly obligations to mankind, there will spring up 
pseudo-priests, aspiring to an exclusive position, though 
unable to show any call from God as evinced by soul- 
winning and soul-helping, and though relying chiefly 
on honour conferred by others as ignorant and erring 
as themselves. 

29 1 " 33 . The rites of installation to the priesthood 
included washing the priests, clothing them with an 
emblematic uniform, offering blood at the altar and 
burning fat upon it, sprinkling blood on the candidates, 
giving them some food of which the rest was burned 
on the altar. 

Those who assume an exclusive title to the priesthood 
to-day should either copy these ceremonies exactly or 
explain why some are discarded and others invented. 
The institution of Christian ministers is quite another 
thing, and any ceremonies appropriate may be based 
on New Testament precedents and principles. All the 
guidance these Old Covenant practices afford is in 


relation to the recognition of a Christian priest as 
such i.e. to the recognition of a new Christian. 

Even so, it would be an error to copy these cere- 
monies ; rather, we must ask what they represent, and 
ask whether there is any corresponding fact to be 
represented when a man becomes a Christian. For, 
as always, the Old Testament is not to mould our 
conceptions or practices ; it may at best illustrate and 
furnish material for understanding better the sufficient 
directions and teachings of the New. 

It is worth while, in passing, to note the distinction 
between washing with water, 29*, pouring oil on the 
head, 29 T , pouring blood at the base of the altar, 29 12 , 
sprinkling blood and oil upon Aaron, 29 21 , washing the 
hands and the feet, 3<D 18 ~ 21 . 

3 1 12 ~ 17 . The situation of this paragraph is singular, 
in association with rules that were purely temporary 
and national. It may have been a warning not to let 
the tasks of making the tabernacle encroach on the 
sabbath, contrast Matt 1 2 5 ; it may point still to the fact 
that all are symbolical, and that as priests foreshadowed 
Christ in one aspect of His activity, as sacrifices fore- 
shadowed the need and provision of atonement, as the 
tabernacle foreshadowed the means of fellowship be- 
tween God and man, so the sabbath foreshadowed the 
great time of rest when God shall have ended His work 
of redemption, and shall pronounce all very good. 

The actual weekly sabbath is here viewed as a dis- 
tinctly national institution declared to be a sign between 
God and Israel. It may therefore be based on one 
ancient fact, and may symbolize another ; but its ob- 
servance in the Israelitish fashion cannot be obligatory 
on those who are not of the children of Israel. The 
observance of one day in seven has Divine precedent ; 

Exodus] PROLOGUE 29 

which day shall be chosen depends on the associations 
of the days, and how it shall be observed is a matter 
of precedent and precept to be found in the New 

32. The breach by the people of the second com- 
mandment, by making an image for worship, cancelled 
the covenant so recently made. Jehovah was at once 
exonerated from keeping His side of it, as Moses 
promptly recognized, for he begged that it might be 

34. The persistency and self-devotion of Moses 
obtained his desire, and some of the previous orders 
were reiterated and written by him, while the initial 
ten words were written afresh by God, 34 1 , Deut I0 4 . 
When the news of pardon and restoration was brought, 
the subject of the sabbath again received a prominence 
which indicates its novelty, 35 1 " 3 , while what we con- 
sider the weightier matters of honesty, chastity, and 
truth were taken for granted as so well commended 
by conscience that they needed no special enforcement. 
To mention the sabbath as an exception proves that 
the custom was to keep no sabbaths previously. 

Leviticus 4 16 ~ 18 . In the account of the manipulations 
with the blood of the offerings, we have dipping, sprink- 
ling, and pouring clearly distinguished. So also at 
go, 11, 12^ wnen t ne priests were installed, the actions of 
washing them with water, sprinkling oil on the altar, 
pouring oil on their heads, are not confounded together. 
Compare also 9"' 12 . 

I0 1 shows how unacceptable it is when, even with 
the best intentions, plain directions for the worship 
of God are neglected, and mere human rites are 

14 affords further excellent illustrations of the 


differences between dipping in blood, sprinkling blood, 
washing clothes, bathing the body in water, dipping 
the ringer in oil, sprinkling oil, putting oil in the hand 
upon the head, etc. The next three chapters describe 
other series of cleansings. 'It will be found that water 
is never sprinkled, water is never poured, but men and 
clothes are sometimes dipped in water. 

21 lays certain restrictions on priests, and provides 
that those of the seed of Aaron cannot enter on active 
duty unless free from blemish. These correspond to 
restrictions on Christians who may not ally with non- 
Christians, and who are not fit to do Christian work, 
while morally blemished and unrepentant. The direc- 
tions as to Christians rest not on these passages here, 
but on explicit statements as in II Cor 6 U . 

There is no hint that a descendant of Aaron was ever 
forced into service unwillingly ; his consent and his 
application would be needed before his installation. 
So the sons and disciples of Christian parents consent 
or apply for recognition as Christians. 

22 25 raises the question whether the gift of a non- 
Christian can be regarded as an offering to God, and 
points to the solution that while it may be accepted 
as a gift, it has no sort of value as an instalment of, 
or a substitute for, repentance and obedience. Our 
Lord did not refuse the dinner offered Him by Simon 
the Pharisee, nor advise the rejection of the rich 
hypocrites' gold ; it was only scrupulous priests who 
cavilled at putting into the treasury of Jehovah the 
price of blood. It may be good taste not to ask 
non- Christians for gifts towards Christian work; it 
would be bad taste to refuse a freely offered gift, 
though it may be honest to explain that such a gift 
cannot win God's forgiveness. 

Leviticus] PROLOGUE 31 

26 ends a section of rules, and brings to a climax 
those about the sabbaths, which were again mentioned 
at I9 30 and expanded in 23. Neglect of the weekly 
sabbath is anticipated, and shall be punished by exile 
from the land for a time equal to the sabbaths not 
observed. The tone suggests that sabbaths were still 
a novelty, and that repeated and earnest legislation 
was needed to enforce them. 

Numbers 8 T mentions sprinkling the water of expia- 
tion on the Levites before they washed their clothes 
and cleansed themselves. This water is described in 
19, where it is shown to be a mixture of running 
water with ashes from a cow, wood, hyssop and 
scarlet. There is no such rite in the Old Testament 
as the sprinkling of pure water, but the bathing in 
water is a frequent ceremony of cleansing, and 
obviously suggests the thorough purifying of heart 
needed for God's service. 

II introduces a new order of men, chosen not for 
family ties, but for merit, and now endowed with 
spiritual gifts to aid in the conduct of the nation's 
affairs. The priests could do the mere routine work 
of the tabernacle, it needed Divine help to govern. 

1 6 records a tangle of rebellions against the new 
arrangements. Some Levites objected to be excluded 
from the highest functions of the priesthood : their 
error conveys no warning against unordained men 
acting as ministers of the gospel, but has a sharp 
rebuke for such Christians as try to encroach on the 
prerogative of Christ. He alone made the sacrifice for 
sin, and desires confession of sin to Himself. Others 
objected to the supremacy of Moses, despite the 
multiplied evidence of his commission from God. His 
vindication may assure men to-day who stand outside 


the official hierarchies and the aristocratic groups that, 
if conscious of an inward call of God to speak for Him, 
He will prove that call by visible signs, such as the 
converts to whom Paul pointed when similarly 

iS 1 " 7 draws the line sharply between priests, Levites, 
and others, and excludes the last from all representative 
functions. An ordinary Israelite might bring and slay 
his own sacrifice, but even then the more significant 
duties were reserved for Levites and priests ; the 
ordinary Israelite might not act for another. So still 
all that any sinner may do is to come and make the 
great confession for himself; atonement is made for 
him by Christ, Christians will help him in every other 
way j but the sinner has too much weighing him down 
to be able to render spiritual help to others, or even 
to render acceptable praise and prayer until his own 
deep need is first attended to. Christian service by 
priests i.e. all Christians but by them alone. 

19 describes the preparation and use of another 
symbolic purifier. The ashes of the whole heifer, with 
cedar, hyssop, and scarlet, seem important ; the running 
water was apparently just the medium for sprinkling 
them. The ceremony included washing the clothes, 
bathing, and being sprinkled with the ashes in water. 

Deuteronomy 5 2 ' 3 . Moses was addressing a genera- 
tion, some of whom had been children at Horeb, while 
others were then unborn. Yet he declared that the 
covenant was not only with the dead fathers, but with 
their sons and with the future generation too. It was 
essentially national, and each lad was brought into it 
by his father's deed in circumcising him, irrespective 
of the lad's will. Anybody could in after years break 
it, and deliberately or unwittingly be cut off from the 

Deuteronomy] PROLOGUE 33 

People, lapsing into the mass of heathendom. And 
any foreigner like Hobab, Caleb, or Ruth could 
deliberately enter it, and voluntarily take the pledge 
of service to Jehovah. Yet the rule was, that the 
covenant was for the nation, and not for the individual. 
It was ratified once for all, and no fresh ratification 
was required from, or on behalf of, after generations 
or separate persons, although after generations could 
make fresh covenants for themselves, Deut 29, Neh 9. 
The nation, in fact, was individual, regarded as a whole 
incapable of division. 

There is, then, nothing here for a Christian to get 
personal suggestions from ; any typical allusion is to 
The Church universal. Jesus Christ once for all 
ratified the New Covenant at Calvary, and thereby 
founded His Church, into which persons are brought 
one by one by their new birth at conversion ; but for 
them separately no sacrifice is needed at initiation. 
Each must look back to Calvary, where Jehovah made 
the covenant, not with the first disciples alone, but 
with us, even us, who are here alive to-day. 

5 6 ~ 21 . The marks of nationality are even stronger 
in this recapitulation of the ten commandments than in 
the original. The motive for keeping the first is that 
Jehovah freed them from bondage in Egypt ; for 
keeping the fourth, " Remember that thou wast a 
servant in the land of Egypt, and Jehovah thy God 
brought thee out thence by a mighty hand and by 
an outstretched arm : therefore Jehovah thy God 
commanded thee to keep the sabbath day " ; for keep- 
ing the fifth, that their days might be long and happy 
in Canaan. The orders then were given to Israel, and 
the only motives mentioned are such as appealed to 
Israel alone. The rules are good, but they are not 



binding on us because they were binding on Israel; 
unless adopted and re-enacted by our Lord, they have 
less to do with us than the customs of our forefathers 
and the laws of our country. 

I3 1 " 4 . Even miracles were not to authenticate a 
prophet who announced anything contrary to the 
fundamental truths already given. Any new doctrine 
or sect to-day may commend itself by marvellous 
growth, by wonderful cures or " spiritualist " mani- 
festations; but if its tendency is to give Christ anything 
but the central position, it is out of harmony with 
fundamental truth, and has certainly exaggerated its 
importance, even if it enshrine any truth at all. Not 
even a miracle-working Church has the right to 
abrogate any of Christ's commands. 

I4 Z1 . Restrictions were laid on Israelites that were 
not binding on others, and they might even approve 
others doing what they themselves might not. We 
have no right to try to impose Christian standards 
of living on those who make no pretence to be 
Christians ; they will only be disgusted, will feel con- 
straint, and learn to hate Christ, in whose name they 
find their liberty abridged. We may see no pleasure 
in races, or in excursions on Sunday; but unless we 
can find good warrant in the will of Christ, express 
or implied, it is not only an error of tactics, but an 
unjustifiable encroachment on our neighbours' liberty, 
or an unjustifiable lording over their conscience, to aim 
at legislation forbidding such recreations on the plea 
that they are unsuitable for Christians. The plea that 
every one needs one day in seven for rest is humani- 
tarian, and fit to be urged upon all men. 

Joshua 22. Considering that sacrifices might only 
be offered in one place, and that an altar was inevitably 

Joshua] PROLOGUE 35 

associated with sacrifice and nothing else, the Reuben- 
ites and Gadites were badly advised in making their 
monument in such a form. It inevitably excited sus- 
picion of their motives, and it remained as a lasting 
temptation to use it. 

A like blunder is made when people forget that the 
only Christian altar was the cross, and the only place 
of atoning sacrifice was Calvary. To make a piece of 
ecclesiastical furniture altar-form, and to call it an altar, 
to talk about repeating the sacrifice, is inevitably to 
raise suspicion as to motive or understanding, and 
to pave the way for neglect of the one effectual offering, 
and for introduction of irrelevant and distracting rites. 
Then to express a verbal wish for unity seems in 
flagrant contradiction with the actual conduct. 

Judges 8 2r . The very man who began by attacking 
idolatry soon heedlessly afforded it fresh encourage- 
ment. Luther threw off the yoke of Rome and laid 
another on German necks. Devising forms of worship 
that have no countenance in the New Testament may 
become a snare to all, and wean them from that worship 
which should be in spirit and in truth. 

II 39 . In primitive society a father was given great 
control over his family, and was allowed to vow or 
dedicate his children without consulting them ; Hannah 
and Samuel afford another illustration. It was not till 
the times of Jeremiah and Ezekiel that individuality 
was allowed much play, and it was reserved for our 
Lord to proclaim the full liberty and value of each 
separate person. However bound a man is to afford 
his child every advantage of home influence, school 
education, church surroundings, he has no right to 
forestall the child or to deprive him of the right to 
decide for himself as to his spiritual life ; nor does the 


New Testament afford any example of such parental 
interference. Things may be given or dedicated, men 
and women must give themselves. 

I7 5 ~ 12 . Micah appointed two men successively to be 
his priest, and neither appointment was a success : a 
true appointment could be made by God alone. Men 
to-day may declare another "Christian," but unless 
God has called him, the ceremonies are empty : this is 
true whether they be sprinkling, or confirmation, or 
first communion, or immersion. 

I7 13 . Micah rejoiced in having a Levite, and such a 
Levite as the grandson of Moses, to be his priest ; and 
the priest turned out weak-kneed and ungrateful. 
Apostolic succession is not much good unless there 
come first the change of heart. 

I Kings 6. The Tyrian artists decorated the temple 
with carvings of cherubs, oxen, and lions, not mentioned 
in I Ch 28 as Divinely appointed, but not intended 
as a breach of the second commandment; and they 
erected two pillars of bronze, glorified editions of the 
pillars which the people had covenanted to destroy, 
Ex 23 24 . It may well be that these adornments were 
at first regarded as innocently as they were intended. 
But within a generation Jeroboam set up a golden ox 
for worship, and throughout Rehoboam's realm there 
were pillars on every high hill. So dangerous is it to 
set aside an explicit order, however obsolete it may 
seem. It may seem a light thing to neglect the com- 
mand, " Drink ye all of it," and to confine the cup to 
ministers ; but it fosters an absurd idea of their special 
sanctity, and can only be justified by an appeal to 
irrelevant authority or a distortion of doctrine. It may 
seem a light thing to disuse immersion and substitute 
pouring or sprinkling, against which there is no explicit 

I Kings] PROLOGUE 37 

order ; but it cuts away a dramatic illustration of the 
truths of total depravity and thorough cleansing, and 
paves the way for disbelief in these doctrines. It may 
seem a light thing to fly in the face of the Lord and 
call certain men "Father," but the disobedience has 
brought about the very evils of pride and tyranny that 
He foretold. 

I2 31 . Jeroboam invented a novel ritual, or lent his 
patronage to the old heathen ritual expressly forbidden, 
and so paved the way to sheer apostasy. The adoption 
of the old pagan practices of Greece and Rome, altars, 
sprinkling, vestments, etc., confused the popular mind 
in the Dark Ages, and led downward, through saint- 
worship, which with many was merely disguised idolatry, 
to the polished atheism and dilettantism of the early 

Jeroboam neglected the directions as to priests being 
those born in a certain line, and instituted others. 
Christians, the priests of the New Covenant, are those 
who have experienced the new birth and are children 
not of Adam, but of God ; to call others Christians, 
whatever the qualifications of their parents, is without 
scriptural warrant, and leads to misunderstanding. 

II Chronicles 26 16 ~ 20 . Service in the sanctuary was 
the privilege of the priests alone. Uzziah had served 
God in his own sphere, as conqueror, fortifier, lover of 
husbandry, in everything seeking God and guided by 
a prophet. Yet all this gave him no title to the highest 
service of all, directly religious. 

Still, it is true : a man may be a great general, 
statesman, teacher, and may deserve honour for the 
benefits he confers on his country; but if he is no 
Christian, his joining in Christian worship is a hollow 
pretence, his consorting with Christians and behaving 


as one of them calls for faithful dealing and a reminder 
that God cares for no formal honour from those whose 
hearts are not yielded to Him. Any one may be called 
by God to the lofty privilege and duty of priesthood ; 
there is no limitation to one human family : any one 
born of the Spirit is thereby eligible, but must openly 
come and take up his new birthright. Until a man 
has felt this spiritual regeneration and has avowed it 
openly in the sight of men, it is cruel to allow him to 
assume fellowship with Christians, only to be in the 
last day expelled for ever by the great High Priest, 
who, with all His tenderness, will yet have to say, 
"Depart, I never knew you." 

Ezra 2 62 . Under the law of Num 3 10 the priesthood 
was confined to the sons of Aaron, and the mere 
failure to prove undoubted descent now excluded these 
men. Christian priests are those who are children of 
God through Christ Jesus. If that relationship cannot 
be proved, a man's standing as a Christian may well 
be doubted or denied ; the simple test is given by 
John, " Every one that loveth is begotten of God." 

If any rule like this held as to the Christian ministry, 
we might invite a pretender to apostolic succession to 
produce a list of his consecrators right up to the 
apostles ; and as no single man can do this, the doctrine 
becomes unpractical. But in reality there is no 
passage nor combination of passages in the New 
Testament that asserts the necessity for any continuity 
of officers. See comment on II Tim 2 2 . 

3 3 ~ 6 . First the sacrifice, then the raising of the 
temple. First the atonement on Calvary, then the 
foundation of The Church. 

4 T ~ 3 . These " adversaries " were a mixed race, partly 
Israelite, partly immigrant; their religion was mixed, 

Ezra] PROLOGUE 39 

partly Jehovistic, partly Babylonian. The Jews saw 
that if they would not reform before they were accepted 
as helpers, they themselves would be dragged down 
to the local level, and would repeat the gradual apostasy 
of the northern kingdom. 

Reunion may be dearly purchased if it involve 
sinking our convictions and tolerating practices which 
we regard as contrary to God's revealed will. It is 
quite possible to co-operate for many ends without 
discarding from our churches any ordinance of Divine 
institution, or admitting what experience shows to tend 
towards driving it out and supplanting by something 
else. If the desire for union will not produce reform, 
actual association after union is not likely to, either in 
marriage or in church relations. 

7 21 - 26 . Here is State endowment and State establish- 
ment of a church. The State, however, did not draw 
up the law of the church. The reforming Jews 
codified this themselves; the State simply. gave it an 
authority equal to the law of the king. We know from 
other sources that the Persian kings, while themselves 
Parsees, were tolerant of most religions, and allowed 
the practice of other rituals, often supporting them 
from the State treasury, and exempting the priests 
from taxes. In our phrase, they practised concurrent 
endowment, as in France to-day. It is perhaps pos- 
sible that such a scheme could be worked without 
hardship or injustice, allowing every religious body 
freedom of thought and worship, whether Hindu, 
Moslem, Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, or spiritualist. 
It is perhaps possible to distribute public money equit- 
ably between these different bodies. But it is clear 
that such a conception of the functions of the State is 
wide, and that much trouble would be saved by laying 


fewer taxes and stopping the State subscriptions. And 
as the tendency is strong to seek for control in return 
for help, churches which accept such help must always 
be in danger of encroachments on their self-govern- 
ment. Civilized countries like America and Australia 
have laid it down as fundamental in their politics that 
churches shall not be thus interwoven with the State, 
that church property ranks with business property 
unless used for purely religious purposes, that ministers 
of religion have no status higher than other citizens, 
indeed, may be subject to disabilities, and that churches 
are like other voluntary associations, subject to their 
own rules. However, the question of the relations of 
a Christian church is to be settled on principles laid 
down by Christ, and not merely by considerations of 

Nehemiah 8, 10, 13. Here is the beginning of the 
transition from the old congregation of Jehovah to the 
Synagogue. The change was due to a priest who, like 
Jeremiah and Ezekiel, was not content with his ritual 
duties. Having no direct inspiration to preach, Ezra 
was moved to publish the ancient history, customs, ' 
and preaching contained in "The Book of Moses," 
1 3 1 . He was a scribe, but not like Seraiah, the official 
secretary of David, nor like Baruch, the disciple and 
secretary of Jeremiah. He had returned from Babylon 
with The Law of his God in his hand, and was proud 
to style himself, The scribe of the words of the com- 
mandments of Jehovah. So he was the forerunner of 
Bible students and theologians. 

It was due to him that the Book of The Law was 
henceforth not the private property of the priests, but 
the common property of the laity. The reading of 
The Law for a. whole week on this occasion set a new 

Nehemiah] PROLOGUE 41 

fashion, and soon it was read regularly every week, 
and taught daily to every child. This popularizing the 
word of God was unpopular with the priests, who found 
their professional importance lessened. In all these 
transactions the name of the high priest never occurs ; 
the prominent men are Nehemiah, the lay governor of 
low extraction, and the Levites, who under the temple 
regulations had such menial tasks assigned to them, 
and would be glad of an opportunity for more spiritual 
service. Temple and synagogue were rivals from the 
first. Sacerdotalism and Bible study have little in 

The Law was in the ancient local language, which 
the people were already abandoning, I3 24 ; Greek and 
Aramaic were soon rivalling it, and by our Lord's day 
had quite displaced it from current use. Yet the local 
scribes never adjusted themselves to this fact further 
than that they allowed the schoolmaster to give a 
running oral translation as The Law was publicly read. 
A written vernacular translation they forbade. To put 
the Bible within the reach of the humblest is often the 
work of a priest or a scribe ; but always he earns the 
hatred of his own class, as Wyclif, Denk, Hetzer, 
Luther, and Tyndale found. And in the inertia of the 
later scribes we see the risk that every reform shall 
stereotype and impose a new tradition as bad as the 
old, deserving our Lord's denunciation, Luke 1 1 52 . 

The Prophets were the preachers of their day, which 
was nearly over by the time of Ezra. They were not 
necessarily drawn from the priesthood, nor from the 
educated classes, and they abhorred being confounded 
with mere professional teachers, Amos 7 l ~ 1T , Zech 
I3 X ~ 6 . They had no hereditary succession, nor did a 
disciple succeed his master j each was called directly 


and independently by God. They felt deeply the 
responsibility of their position, for which they needed 
constant Divine help, Jer I 4 ~ 10 ; and they were keenly 
alive to the dangers of sloth and routine, Isa 56 10 ~ 12 , 
Ezek 13, Micah 3. They could see the advantage in 
orderly worship, and borrow the vocabulary and 
imagery of their ancestral rites to depict the glory of 
the days when all nations should serve Jehovah, 
Isa IQ 19 , 66 19 ~ 21 . They did not object to true, heartfelt 
religious devotion expressing itself in fit ceremony, 
Joel I 13 - 14 , 2 16 - 17 ; but they all insisted on the empti- 
ness of ritual apart from genuine worship with the 
spirit and understanding ; and though some of them 
were priests, they often denounced the vain ceremonial- 
ism that replaced true religion, Isa I 10 - 17 , 58 1 " 7 , 66 1 " 4 ; 
Jer 7, 9 25 ' 26 ; Ezek 23 39 ; Hosea 8 U ~ 13 , I2 11 13 3 ; Amos 
4 4>5 , cj 21 - 25 Micah 6 6 ~ 8 . In Jonah and Isa 42 onwards, 
there are signs that the promise to Abraham was not 
forgotten, and that the mission of Israel to the world 
was not revoked. Thus there is much in the prophetic 
books that is typical of Christ's Church. A short 
selection from their writings was read in synagogue 
each Sabbath, and the Christian preachers found their 
best texts here, Luke 4"; Acts 2 1G , ? 42 - 52 , 8 30 , 13*, is 15 . 

Ezekiel 36 25 . This is the only passage in the Bible 
where we read of sprinkling clean water; the usual 
substances sprinkled were oil, blood, or the ashes of 
a heifer, etc., in water. 

The passage is figurative, not literal. Ezekiel often 
compared Israel to a woman faithless to her husband, 
Jehovah. Pie here varied the image, and likened her 
to a woman technically unclean, declaring that Jehovah 
for His own honour would pardon and cleanse her 
both technically and really. In working out the 

Ezekiel] PROLOGUE 43 

imagery, he referred to the ritual of cleansing a 
woman in her separation. Singularly enough, while 
Lev 15 describes many kindred rituals, this precise 
case is not dealt with. Though analogy would 
point to a bath and a washing of the clothes, this 
passage suggests a mere sprinkling. The literal 
meaning of the prediction follows at once. The nation 
was to be radically changed, imbued with love to God 
evinced by obedience, and restored from exile to 
prosperity in Palestine. 

If the prediction is to suggest anything further to us, 
the most obvious interpretation is that if The Church 
apostatize from Christ, yet as the gates of Hades 
cannot prevail against it, Christ will for His own 
honour rehabilitate and purify it. We may narrow the 
application from a body to an individual, and find the 
suggestion that if a Christian despise his privileges, 
sin, and be punished, yet Christ will not cast him off 
for ever, but for His own honour will raise him again. 
Such teaching has countenance in John 6 39 , I/ 11 ' 12 ; 
I Cor i 9 ; II Tim 2 13 . 

But this passage has no reference, direct or indirect, 
to the original call of Israel, of The Church, or of an 
individual. It deals with the recall of an apostate. 
To connect it with the first conversion of a sinner 
is to miss its meaning ; to connect it with the dedication 
of an infant is to neglect every suggestion in the 
passage ; and to infer that a particular rite under the 
Old Covenant, of which there is no other mention at all, 
is to be transferred bodily to modern times, applied 
to a baby instead of a woman, and altered in its 
meaning, is an amazing piece of interpretation. 

Malachi i 11 . The prophet was concerned with the 
neglect of worship, and was urging the people to 


support their national ritual. Priests and laymen alike 
went wearily through their duties, showing a meanness 
about their offerings that compared badly with the 
growing reverence for Jehovah among the nations of 
the world. That this was a fact may be recognized 
from Ezra 7 17 , and it is in accord with the hopes of 
other prophets, Isa 60, 66 20>21 . The language, however, 
is so strong that some treat it as a prediction, and 
Romanists claim that it is fulfilled in their offering the 
sacrifice of the mass in many lands. This, however, 
emasculates the passage and robs it of its force as 
spoken to the Jews. Moreover, the offerings here 
spoken of were at most gifts and tribute, as contrasted 
with atoning sacrifices. The sacrifice of Christ was 
pre-eminently atoning and incapable of repetition. The 
sacrifice of the mass is intended to recall and repeat 
this offering of the body and blood of the Lord, yet 
is called an unbloody sacrifice ! 




1 will build My Church 
All authority hath been given unto Me 

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love 
one another 

Ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know 
all things 

When He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, He sat down 
on the right hand of God 

Ye are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to oifer up 

spiritual sacrifices 



MATTHEW 3 1)T > 8 . John took up the message of the 
older prophets : Repent ye ; and like them he had to 
warn against the impossibility of combining a formal 
religiosity with an immoral life. He laid the stress, 
however, not on abandoning evil, but on doing good. 
Since the days of Malachi there had been a great 
change in the outward forms of religion. The local 
.sacrifices were abandoned, but the priestly aristocracy 
at Jerusalem had developed into Sadducees. A demo- 
cratic system of schooling made opportunity for scribes 
or teachers of The Law in every village. An exclusive 
order of brethren pledged to strict observance of The 
Law was known as the Pharisees, and had novices and 
sympathisers throughout the land : and thus there 
were as many vested interests opposed to reform as 
ever, with new substitutes for the one thing always 
sought, purity of life and obedience to God. 

3 5> 6 . In face of these organized parties with their 
ceremonies, John took the hint and began a loose sort 
of organization of those who were his most ardent 
followers ; and since all the customs of the nation and 
of existing parties included an initiation, he, too, initiated 
those who pledged themselves to repentance and good 
deeds. The form of the rite was already familiar, 
though with a slightly different meaning. A priest at 
consecration was bathed, Ex 40 12 , Lev 8 6 ; a man who 



was unclean in certain ways had to bathe himself, 
Lev I4 8 > 9 , IS 5 " 27 , i6 26 - 28 , I? 15 . A Gentile convert to 
Judaism was " immersed completely, so that every part 
of the body was touched by the water," Edersheim, "Life 
and Times of Jesus the Messiah," II 745 747. The 
custom of bathing was and is almost necessary in warm 
climates, and abundant provision was made for it in 
the towns of Palestine, as may be read in Josephus or 
seen in Jerusalem to-day. Washing was an obvious 
symbol of purifying the heart and conduct, Isa I 16 , 
and a total washing or immersion tallied well with the 
truth that " the whole head is sick and the whole heart 
faint, from the sole of the foot even unto the head there 
is no soundness in it," Isa I 5> 6 . So the act was familiar, 
and its meaning familiar. The innovations were slight, 
that John bathed them instead of their bathing them- 
selves, suggestive that it did not lie in their own power 
to reform, and that help from outside was needed ; and 
that he bathed them once for all to initiate them, and 
so read a deeper meaning into the cleansing, making 
them attach greater importance to their repentance, 
which was to be lasting. 

The act of baptism is here assumed to be immersion, 
for the following reasons : 

i. There was no Jewish religious rite that involved 
pouring water or sprinkling pure water on anybody. 
John may of course have invented a new rite, but there 
is no proof that he did; all the allusions make it 
improbable, and any alteration would have made it less 
suitable to his preaching. 

ii. The Greek word baptizo is derived from another, 
bapto, as to whose meaning, Dip, Immerse, there is no 
dispute ; and the alteration does not imply any weaken- 
ing of the act, 

3 5 ] MATTHEW 49 

iii. While many words which had a well-established 
meaning in the polished literary language of Athens 
acquired another in the spoken language of Alexandria 
and Syria, there is no evidence that any such change 
occurred in this case. 

iv. The word is employed in the Septuagint, the 
standard Greek translation of the Old Testament used 
in John's day by all Jews speaking Greek, of 
Naaman dipping himself in Jordan, II Kingr. 5 14 . 
Other translations use it in Ps 9 15 , the nations are 
sunk down ; in Ps 6g 2 ; and in Ecclesiasticus 34 23 , 
referring to the bathing after touching a dead body, 
ordered in Num IQ 19 . It is claimed indeed that 
Judith I2 r indicates a weakened meaning, for no woman 
would dare strip and bathe in a fountain within the 
camp. It might be replied that in real life a decent 
woman would hardly go out of a tent after nightfall to 
wash in any way at such a fountain ; that no woman 
would really meet the respectful treatment Judith is 
represented as receiving ; that as to this very incident 
it is expressly said that Holofernes commanded his 
guards not to stay her. But the way in which the 
author both despised probability and indicated the 
nature of her ablutions is shown in io 3 . Though in 
the city " the cisterns were emptied, and they had not 
water to drink their fill for one day," ^, she had no 
difficulty when she " washed her body all over with 
water." Need we suppose he meant less when he 
Pharisaically represented her as going out every night 
into the valley of Bethulia and immersing herself at the 
fountain of water in the camp ? Thus in every case 
when the word is used in. the Greek Bibles, its meaning 
seems unchanged. 

v. All the passages in secular Greek writers before 



and about the time of John, who use the word literally 
and not metaphorically, give excellent sense with the 
same meaning. 

vi. There is no single passage in the New Testament 
that proves any change to have occurred in the meaning 
of the word ; there are several that are weakened in 
force if any wider and shallower meaning is attached to 
it ; and there are some which are incapable of bearing 
any other meaning than the old one of Dip, Immerse. 
Each will be discussed in its place. 

vii, In early Christian literature, directions are given 
for baptism. The so-called " Teaching of the Twelve 
Apostles " directs to baptize in running water, or, if that 
is impossible, to baptize in standing water, or, if that is 
impossible, to pour water on the head. This shows 
plainly that pouring was not baptism, but only a 
substitute for it : the words Baptize, Pour, are 

viii. Early Christian custom shows no variation in 
the meaning. We are not aware of any customary 
deviation for two centuries. When this did arise, in 
a land where the word "baptize" was foreign, the 
Greek historian queries whether a man, around and 
over whom water had been poured, could be said to 
be "baptized." 

ix. The modern Greeks attach no other meaning to 
the word, though it is no longer in daily use for the 
ordinary act of dipping. It is now confined to the 
church ceremony, and all the churches in communion 
with the Greek church still attach to this Greek word 
the meaning of Dip or Immerse. Most of them not 
only order immersion, but practise it. 

x. In view of these facts, it is not to be wondered 
at that the Greek word is in every dictionary declared 

3 5 ] MATTHEW 51 

to have as its first and principal meaning, to Dip, 
Immerse, Submerge, Merge, Overwhelm ; and that no 
Greek dictionary attributes to it such meanings as 
Pour, Sprinkle. 

The above reasons cannot be counterbalanced by 
any evidence that the churches have not uniformly 
practised immersion. They are ample to prove that 
when John instituted baptism, when our Lord enjoined 
it, when the apostles practised it, when the New 
Testament evangelists and apostles wrote, Baptism 
meant Immersion and nothing else. Whether the 
churches did well in changing is another question, 
which is negatived by other considerations of obedience 
and symbolism, but is not discussed at this point. 

3 11 . John here contrasted his own water-baptism 
with the spirit baptism to be given by the Messiah. 
The same contrast was drawn by our Lord just before 
His ascension, Acts i 5 , and by Peter at Ceesarea, 
Acts II 16 , and less distinctly by Paul at Ephesus, 
Acts IQ 4 . It is clear that John's baptism was so far 
from being a means of regeneration that it is con- 
trasted with it. 

It is important to see that water-baptism, under the 
auspices of Christian teachers, even apostles, after the 
resurrection of our Lord, was viewed in much the same 
way. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit descended 
on the disciples irrespective of any baptism performed 
on them. There is no record as to the sequence of 
events in the case of the converts, and no conclusion 
can justly be drawn from the silence. But at Samaria 
we know that some long interval elapsed between the 
baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 8 16 ; and 
at Csesarea the Spirit came upon Cornelius and his 
friends before baptism, Acts io 4r . 


Further, whenever we do read of a ceremony pre- 
ceding the gift of the Spirit, it is not baptism, but the 
laying on of hands by a Christian. Peter and John 
at Samaria, Ananias at Damascus, Acts Q 17 , Paul at 
Ephesus, Acts 19, are good illustrations. If the 
doctrine were at all credible that a spiritual result 
could be achieved by material means, we might be 
tempted to frame a dogma not of baptismal regenera- 
tion, but of Regeneration by the Imposition of Hands. 
Fortunately we are guarded against this by the fact 
that our Lord never ordered any such ceremony. 

3 15 , The Pharisees aimed at fulfilling all righteous- 
ness, but unhappily centred their attention on trifles 
and externals, losing sight of the essentials of sincerity 
and honesty. Our Lord had the same aim, and was 
the only Jew who succeeded in keeping The Law. 

4 17 . The Kingdom of heaven, or of God, 6 33 , is an idea 
that became prominent first in Dan 2 44 , 7 18 ~ 2r , though 
hinted at in Obad 21 and celebrated by psalmists. 
The popular notion was that God would replace the 
Roman empire by a Jewish kingdom, with Jerusalem 
as its capital and Israel as its privileged citizens. 
Though John the Baptist may have had more 
spiritual ideas, the use of this phrase by him, or by 
Christ, or by apostles, often aroused misconception, 
not only among foes, Luke i; 20 , 23 2 ; John i8 37 , 19 12 ~ 15 ; 
Acts if, but also among friends, Luke IQ 11 , John 6 15 , 
I2 13 ; Acts I 6 . Yet in face of this obvious risk, our 
Lord adopted the phrase habitually, though decisively 
rejecting the political implications, Luke I/ 21 , John i8 36 . 
With Him it seems to denote a state of society in 
which God is supreme, a state about to be introduced, 
I2 28 , 2 1 43 ; Mark I 15 , 9 1 ; Luke 2i 31 ' 32 , but not yet made 
universal and complete, 25 3i , 26 29 . In the near future 

4 17 ] MATTHEW S3 

there should be new moral ties of men to God and 
among themselves ; in the remote future there should 
be a realization of the eternal plan that God alone 
should rule, and all obey Him. Thus all the saved, 
Jew or Gentile, before or after Christ, knowing Him 
on earth or not, infant or intelligent, may be regarded 
as citizens of the kingdom, Eph 2 13 ~ 19 , Ph 3 20 . 

5 17 - 20 . Our Lord paid the most scrupulous deference 
to that Law to which He had chosen to subject Himself 
in being born a Jew. He had not come to destroy it, 
or to detract from the reverence it received from all 
Jews, but, on the contrary, to fulfil it down to the least 
detail, and meantime to encourage in other Jews a like 

The Law was written in three or four portions, 
embedded in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuter- 
onomy ; its foundation is to be read in Ex 19 24. 
It was represented by God as the human conditions of 
a covenant, whose Divine side was that He would hold 
Israel as His own possession a kingdom of priests 
and a holy nation. This contract had indeed been 
broken on the human side in every generation, and 
the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel had seen that a 
better one was necessary ; yet it was allowed to stand 
as an offer, so that any generation might seek to fulfil 
it, and thus become entitled to the corresponding 
advantages. Our Lord set Himself deliberately to 
fulfil it, and not only for Himself personally, but for 
the whole nation representatively. He was the Seed 
long foretold, the King of the Jews able to act for 
all the people. Once fulfilled for all, the advantages 
would accrue to Him representatively, and He could 
admit to a share in them whomsoever He chose. 
Moreover, the way would be cleared for the offer of 


a new covenant based on better promises. But at this 
present stage in His ministry the great thing was to 
bring about a deeper respect for The Law, which by 
the common people was neglected, John 7 49 ; while 
some others evidently set aside some precepts, and 
by their example and teaching declared them trivial 
or abrogated or obsolete; and the Pharisees, while 
aiming at complete fulfilment, had yet a distorted and 
disproportionate view of it, which combined with in- 
evitable human fallibility to work out a very incomplete 
righteousness. He therefore announced that till He 
had accomplished all that was ordained in The Law, 
the whole was to be held as the rule of conduct for 
every Jew ; and He proceeded at once to use some 
of its precepts as the basis of even more stringent 

5 21 ~~ 39 . Here one of the very ten commandments 
was taken and declared to be inadequate as it stood. 
It only dealt with accomplished facts, not with ex- 
pressed intentions nor with harboured purpose. So 
working on the line suggested by the tenth command- 
ment, the new laws of the kingdom were evolved from 
the old law of the covenant. Similarly, another com- 
mandment was made only a particular case of a more 
general law, and two restrictions were made more 
stringent. A climax was put to this legislation by 
the utter abrogation of one precept; yet not in the 
Pharisaic fashion, but still by ending the license which 
the precept had only abridged. Similarly, another was 
declared not to go far enough, and a number of pre- 
cepts breathing a spirit of hatred to enemies were 
replaced by one in a loftier spirit of love. 

Yet with all this free and authoritative criticism of 
parts of The Law, even its centre and core, every 

5* 1 39 ] MATTHEW SS 

advance is on lines hinted at in that Law; and the 
new law of Jesus Christ, uttered to His disciples, was 
based upon or evolved from that older Law given to 
them, of old time. There was no clean sweep, no 
contemptuous disregard of it as antiquated and beneath 
notice, no ignoring of it as the Roman law was 
ignored ; but a careful utilization of it both in letter 
and in general trend, and a warning that it still held, 
while Jesus made the only successful attempt to keep 
it and fulfil it. 

When we note this, we need not fear to recognize 
the Divine skill wherewith The Law had been adapted 
to the immaturity of the people, while yet we no more 
adopt it as our rule of life than we lay aside 'manly 
things to busy ourselves with our childish occupations. 
The eternal essence of it is expressed by the Lawgiver 
here : Whatever we wish men to do to us, do to them. 
Such is the only law under which we live, though it 
may be expanded and applied to countless details. To 
blend with it extracts from the older Law of the -Jews 
is to take -on ourselves needless obligations which we 
are not asked to assume, and which may very likely 
distract us from those duties we are asked to discharge, 
even if they do not at times conflict with them. 

7 21 - 23 . Not deeds alone, nor success in the ministry, 
but motives, will be the test of ministers. 

8 1 " 4 . For comment see Luke 5 12 - 1 *. 

9 2 . For comment see Luke j 18 - 26 . 

9 1G ~ 17 . For comment see Luke 5 36 . 

9 18 ~ 25 . According to the rules of uncleanness, the 
woman touching the garment did not matter ; but our 
Lord's touching the dead girl made Him unclean for 
a week, Num 19", and so debarred him from certain 
religious worship. Doubtless He "fulfilled all right- 


eousness," in view of His declaration that He would 
not break one of the least commandments, and of His 
order to the cleansed leper to obey the law in his case. 

1 1 2 "" 5 . The reality of a man's call by God is some- 
times doubted by those who stand in a priestly 
succession, even if they also hold a direct Divine 
commission themselves. The test is not likeness of a 
man's work to the expectations formed of it, but the 
good accomplished to body and soul by his ministry. 

1 1 25 - 27 . In connection with His despatch of preachers, 
His own proclamation of a new era, and the general 
indifference, He asserted His authority on earth as 
supreme, and offered a yoke that is easy. 

I2 : ~ 8 . For comment see Mark 2 23 ~ 28 . 

I2 9 - 14 . For comment see Mark 3 1 - 6 . 

I2 30 . Compare Mark 9 38 - 40 . 

1 5 1 " 8 . Issue was taken on the binding force of 
tradition. Our Lord did not expressly say whether 
deductions and inferences from The Law were binding, 
but He did say that no inference could be valid which 
conflicted with a plain direction. To make a pretended 
vow of goods to God, retaining the use of them, but 
exempting them from liability for the support of parents, 
would be ingenious, but an evasion of a clear order. 

So is settling money on wife or children to evade the 
payment of debt ; so is giving property to a church 
and taking back a long lease of it to escape rating. 
Possibly such practices originated in praiseworthy 
motives, but they have long since degenerated, and 
they drug the conscience. 

We see other species of the same evil when traditions, 
even of centuries' standing, are allowed to override 
express orders as to spiritual worship, as to the 
brotherhood of all Christians and fatherhood of none, 


as to the complete sufficiency of the one atoning 

And however true it is that the children of "believers 
have, by virtue of their parentage and education, 
splendid opportunities of hearing and accepting the 
offer of salvation, it is only tradition that bestows on 
them some indefinite status by virtue of their christening 
when infants, and it makes of very little effect the word 
of God that righteousness comes by belief of the heart, 
and salvation by confession with the mouth, or that 
every one stands or falls to his own Lord. 

i6 18 . " Upon this rock I will build." The metaphor 
of building was often used in scripture to express 
God's forming a community : I Sam 2 35 for a priest- 
hood; II Sam f\ I Kings u 38 , Amos9 u for a dynasty; 
Jer 18, 3 1 4 , 42* for a nation. Our Lord expanded it 
in a new way harmonious with His own general 
allusion, 7 24 , emphasizing as fundamental that He re- 
quired Himself to be appreciated as the Jewish ideal, 
the Son of God. 

This variation of metaphor was not taken by the 
apostles as standard. While they always insisted on 
the need for such a faith, they did not express it in 
this language. Paul adopted the older thought of 
Isa 28 16 , that God laid in Zion for a foundation a 
stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone of sure 
foundation, and identified this foundation with Christ, 
I Cor 3 n . Once he varied it by mentioning God's 
agents, who proclaimed Jesus as the Christ, and so laid 
the foundation, Eph 2 20 . Peter himself, who had at 
first repeated our Lord's own use of Ps Il8 22 , combined 
the two images and represented Him as at once founda- 
tion, corner-stone, and coping-stone, i Pet 2 8>7 . John's 
vision was simpler and nearer to Paul's conception, 


emphasizing those who laid the foundation, Rev 2i 14 . 
The closest resemblance to our Lord's usage is in 
Heb 6 1 , where repentance and faith are spoken of as 
a foundation. 

The two figures are complementary. Old Testament 
prophet, psalmist, and apostles dwelt upon Christ 
Himself; Christ and New Testament prophet upon 
the attitude to be assumed towards Him. Either is 
valueless apart from the other. 

" My Church." This is the first place where the 
word Church, Ecclesia, occurs in the Bible. What 
did our Lord mean by it ? A Greek would understand 
that the Ecclesia of his city was a select body charged 
with the duties of protecting neighbours and de- 
pendents, of administering the affairs of the community 
both at home and abroad, of training younger members 
of the households to assume responsibilities at the 
proper time. To the purely political meaning a Jew 
would add a religious tinge, derived from the use of 
the word in the Greek scriptures, for Israel in assembly 
as God's people, Acts 7 38 ; and whereas Greeks knew 
many Ecclesias in different cities, the Jew knew only 
one people of God. The Greek Ecclesia was sharply 
distinguished from the general population of the city, 
Acts I9 39 ~ 41 ; the Jewish Ecclesia or congregation also 
was distinguished from the mixed multitude that hung 
on to its fringe, Ex I2 38 , from the strangers alongside 
it, Ex I2 4r>48 , and from its own dependents, Josh 9 2T . 
Those, then, who heard this word from Christ's lips 
would think of a select body, called out from the 
general mass for religious purposes, and distinguished 
by special duties. 

It was further defined as Christ's Church, and as 
a body based on a recognition that Jesus of Nazareth 

i6 18 ] MATTHEW 59 

was the longed-for Messiah and Son of God. These 
two marks both show that it was a body still in the 
future; and this is confirmed by the phrase, I will 
build, not, I am building. There might be persons 
already living who were destined to hold prominent 
place, but as yet they were not fitted, nor gathered, 
nor organized. The temple was built of stones shaped 
in the quarry, but the building did not begin till they 
were assembled and arranged. Though David bought 
the site, conceived the idea, accumulated materials, 
furnished designs, yet the temple was called after the 
man who laid the foundation and executed the purpose, 
Solomon. The Church of Christ may have been 
planned from all eternity, but its actual rearing could 
only begin when He purchased it with His blood. 

There was another reason why it could not begin 
sooner. Though Peter's faith leaped out to greet Jesus 
as Messiah and Son of God, he could only hope to 
convince others that He was Lord and Christ after 
the resurrection, Acts 2 22 ~ 36 . Jesus, whom they crucified, 
who in the noontide of His days went into the gates 
of Hades, was not left there, for God raised Him up. 
The gates of Hades did not prevail against Him, so 
the apostles testified ; and they at once proceeded to 
build on this foundation an equally imperishable Church. 
But until by the resurrection from the dead Jesus was 
declared to be the Son of God, Peter's faith must 
remain exceptional and beyond verification, John 2O 21 ~ 28 . 

Paul recognized this historic beginning. In I Cor I2 28 
he mentioned apostles, prophets, teachers, etc., in The 
Church, ignoring lawgivers and priests, who were very 
important before Christ. In Col I 18 he referred to 
Christ as head of the body, The Church, the beginning, 
the firstborn from the dead. In Eph 2 20 he spoke of 


the apostles and prophets as laying the foundation; 
and in Eph 3 10 , after marvelling at the eternity of God's 
intention to admit Gentiles as fellow-members, he 
added that the principalities and powers in the 
heavenly places might learn from The Church the 
manifold wisdom of God, now. 

In Heb. i2 22 ~ 24 separate groups are mentioned as 
objects of attraction, innumerable hosts of angels, the 
general assembly and Church of the firstborn who are 
enrolled in heaven, and also the spirits of just men 
made perfect. Thus to the apostles and prophets of 
the New Covenant, The Church was a new body, 
founded since the resurrection, begun by Christ and 
themselves. Nor is there any passage that conflicts 
with this conception. 

The Church, then, is the whole body of people who 
in this life have known of and accepted Jesus as 
Saviour, and have placed themselves at His disposal 
for pardon, improvement, employment. It began to 
be gathered from the Resurrection, it will apparently 
be completed at the Second Advent, i6 2r , I9 28 , 24 30 ' 31 ; 
Luke 1 2 3T ; I Th i 10 , 3", 4 15 ~ 1T ; I Cor i 7 , 1 1 26 , i s 23 ; Ph 3 20 ; 
Heb 9 28 ; I Pet I T , 5 4 . Meanwhile it cannot be assembled 
as a whole. The title should not be monopolized by 
a single living generation of Christians, still less by 
any section of it. Its use for a visible community is 
only warranted by Scripture in the case of a local 
assemblage, as at i8 ir . 

i6 19 . The kingdom of heaven will contain other 
groups : infants who have never committed actual sin ; 
heathen who have never heard on earth of the historic 
Jesus ; just men like Abel, Enoch, and Abraham, who 
lived in faith ; members of the chosen nation from 
Moses onward, besides those who have heard of and 

i6 19 ] MATTHEW 61 

accepted Jesus. The preparation of each group has 
been unique ; is it probable that all are to be merged 
indiscriminately into one, and that God, who has 
appointed to every member of the body its own duty, 
will not assign to each group its appropriate service ? 
Doubtless the saints before Christ had to await their 
forgiveness until the death of Christ, Rom 3 25 , and 
cannot be made perfect apart from us, Heb n 40 ; but 
we lack proof that all distinctions whatever are to be 
abolished. In Rom io 12 and Col 3" only believers 
since Christ are contemplated. But when the body 
is united to the Head, and Christ is complete in all 
His members, still there are others to be in subjection 
under His feet, Eph I 22 - 23 . When the Church is 
completely built for an habitation of God through the 
Spirit, Eph 2 22 , I Pet 2 5 , is this to be the only object 
in the universe ? When the holy priesthood assembles 
with its High Priest, are there no others who need 
their service, I Pet 2 5 > 9 , Rev 2i 2 * 22 4 ? When Christ 
takes His power and reigns over the Kingdom of God, 
is it not the glory of The Church as distinguished 
from mere subjects that we reign with Him, II Tim 2 12 , 
I Pet2 9 , Rev 5 10 ? 

Two great promises were given to Peter. The 
former was distinctly personal, a reward of his having 
been the first to discern and proclaim the great truth of 
the Godship of Jesus. He should open the kingdom of 
heaven to all believers. As a matter of fact, he did. 
On the day of Penteeost he was chief speaker, and so 
Jews passed in through the door he unlocked. At 
Samaria it was he who laid hands on the converts of 
Philip, so that the Holy Spirit came upon despised 
Samaritans. At Ceesarea it was he who, greatly to his 
own surprise, was called in to use his third key and 


admit Gentiles. And thus this promise and that of 
Acts i 8 were fulfilled. 

The second promise was originally equally personal. 
He should prohibit and he should permit, and his 
decision should be infallible in so far as he was true to 
Christ whom he had just confessed. This was not 
authority to legislate, but to judge ; not to teach or to 
organize, but to apply teaching to special cases : such 
is clear from the contemporary use of the phrase Bind 
and loose. One of its most important applications 
would be to explain to perplexed people that their sins 
lay on them as a dead weight while unrepented of, but 
would be swept away as a cloud on their repentance. 
This authority our Lord had already put in force for 
Himself, 9, and He now extended it to Peter. No 
reason was obvious why it should be limited to him, 
and it soon was conferred also upon others, i8 18 and 
John 20 23 . 

I7 1 "" 8 . For comment see Mark Q 2 " 7 . 

1 8 1 " 10 . For the origin of this incident, see Mark p 33 - 35 . 
The ambition of the disciples was contrasted with the 
trust and want of self-consciousness habitual with 
children. To regain this, not as a passing phase of 
character, but as a permanent stage, is to show readi- 
ness for the kingdom. If there were any likelihood 
that children could be preserved from doubt and selfish- 
ness, they might be welcomed into full Christian 
fellowship ; but experience bids us pause and see. As 
for baptism of children, that, of course, follows the 
decision as to permanent conversion, but is not alluded 
to here. 

1 8 17 . The word church here bears a slightly different 
meaning from that in i6 18 , signifying evidently the 
local congregation, the group of believers accustomed 

l8 17 ] MATTHEW 63 

to associate in work and worship. It has been claimed 
that not only the select character is alluded to, but the 
fact that it was actually assembled. Although in Greek 
secular usage this was important, and though even the 
Hebrew usage held to it generally, the Christian usage 
was not invariable on the point. If the sense of an 
assembly is possible at Acts 5 11 , it is impossible at 
Acts 8 1 " 3 , where we read of Saul laying waste the 
church, entering into every house ; clearly there were 
several houses for assembly, yet only one church. We 
can trace the word widening to include all believers in 
Judsea and Galilee and Samaria, Acts 9 31 , narrowing to 
mean the local congregation which acted as one body, 
whether at Jerusalem or Antioch, Acts 1 1 22>26 , while the 
brethren in Judaea ceased to be called one church, 
Acts II 29 . The thought of assembling together was by 
this time quite unimportant ; though the church of 
Jerusalem prayed for Peter, it was in different groups, 
Acts 1 2 5> 12) ir . Thenceforward the meaning settled down 
to the company qualified and accustomed to assemble, 
generally those of a town, occasionally those of a 
single household. Presently Paul widened it anew to 
embrace all believers in Christ, irrespective of space 
and time or assembling, and this meaning is most 
prominent in Ephesians. Most of the Christian usages 
are illustrated in a single chapter; a local body at 
Cenchreae, several local congregations, a group in a 
single household, the whole community everywhere, 
Rom i6 J ' 4 ' 5 ' 16 ' 23 . 

i8 18 . The promise recently made to Peter was now 
bestowed on the disciples generally, and by implication 
upon all disciples of every age. All Christians, separ- 
ately and together, are hereby charged with the duty of 
proclaiming the death of Christ, its value as the ground 


of forgiveness, and the means of obtaining this, trust in 
Him : this is reiterated in John 2o 22 ' 23 . 

It is a great gain that a representative conference of 
Anglican theologians at Fulham in December, 1901, 
unanimously agreed that these passages " are not to be 
regarded as addressed only to the Apostles or the 
Clergy, but as a commission to the whole Church, and 
as conveying a summary of the message with which it 
is charged." 

i8 15 ~ 20 . A plain direction to settle differences between 
Ghristians within the Christian circle, or to exclude 
him who travels outside it and brings the name of 
" brother " into ridicule. Such an assembly of brethren 
gathered in the spirit of Christ is assured of His 
presence and guidance, so that its decisions as to duty 
and liberty shall accord with God's. There is no hint 
that it should devolve its duties upon its officers. 

In coming to any such decision the qualification is 
all-important, "in My name." Clearly a meeting 
swayed by temper and partizanship is out of the 
question. But it is sometimes forgotten that the Spirit 
of Christ has now guided thousands of congregations 
for centuries, and that experience has attested the 
wisdom and Divine authority of many decisions, and 
exposed the false character of some assemblies pro- 
fessing to act in His name. Thus a knowledge of 
Church history is a valuable guide to all who wbuld 
counsel a congregation. And local errors may often 
be minimized by consulting the wisdom and experience 
of other congregations. The church at Corinth forgot 
this, and was sharply rebuked by Paul for its isolation, 
and bidden to remember that guidance was bestowed 
on other churches too, whose decisions and customs 
were entitled to respect, I Cor 7", n 16 , i4 33 - 36 . 


And it is certain that no assembly meeting in Christ's 
name can lay down anything conflicting with His own 
directions ; that were to again erect a tradition making 
God's word of no account. Moreover, His directions 
were given orally and directly by Himself, indirectly 
by the apostles both orally and in writing. So that 
the New Testament contains precepts and examples 
which are binding on every congregation at all times, 
and any local decisions must be on their general lines, 
applying their principles anew to fresh cases. 

Ip 17 ' 8 . Here our Lord condensed the principle on 
which the Jewish Law was declared inadequate to 
indicate the morality He required. It was adapted to 
the state of the people in the days of Moses, but was 
not a full indication of God's will. It may still be a 
useful step upwards for heathen if for local and tem- 
porary reasons the immediate introduction of Christian 
customs is inexpedient. But for one trained in Christian 
customs to revert to the Jewish Law in whole or in 
part is to take a step downward, and this whether he 
adopts its lower morality or its fulfilled ritual. 
I9 13 - 15 . See Luke i8 15 - 1T . 

I9 1G ~ 22 . The Law is an admirable help for self- 
examination, and if its precepts are expanded to cover 
words and thoughts, few will say, "All these things 
have I observed." 

2Q 25 - 27 . Evidently there is no room among Christ's 
followers for elaborate hierarchies and domineering 
officials, even if bearing the lowly title Servant of 
servants. The devil's darling vice is the pride that 
apes humility. This needs to be borne in mind by 
those who bear the titles Minister and Deacon, which 
may by derivation mean Servant, but often imply by 
usage Ruler, in forgetfulness of these words. 



2 1 23 " 27 . For comment see Mark n 2r - 33 . 

22 15 ~ 22 . The problem of the relation of Church and 
State was acute then. Few nations separated them. 
In early empires the customs varied. Babylon's kings 
carried off the idols of conquered peoples and sup- 
pressed their worship, as they did their self-government. 
Persia's kings permitted their subjects to worship as 
they pleased, and even subsidized some temples, though 
they themselves despised idolatry. Grecian kings 
wavered ; the Syrians tried to suppress all worship but 
their own ; the Egyptians allowed all local worship. 
The Romans had their own established religion, and 
exacted a yearly compliance with it from all their 
subjects, while tolerating their native customs and 
religion. The Jews, however, had learned rigid alle- 
giance to Jehovah, and resisted the kings at Antioch 
and the governors at Ceesarea till they obtained special 
exemptions and were privileged nonconformists to the 
State religion. The position was very precarious, and 
constant conflicts arose, until forty years later the 
temple worship was suppressed violently and finally. 

Our Lord was invited to pronounce on a trivial item, 
but He took a wide view, and implied that the functions 
of the State and the functions of the Church were quite 
separable and need not clash. Further than that He 
did not go in person, leaving it for His apostles to 
take another step. He declined to interfere with the 
functions of judges, Luke I2 W , and He submitted to 
the authority of the Sanhedrin, Matt 26' ; and while 
not admitting the unlimited authority of the Roman 
governor, Matt 27 14 , John IQ 8 " 11 , yet bowed to that 
power without whose exercise He could hardly accom- 
plish His main object of redeeming the world. 

Modern political economists say that the primary 

22> B a] MATTHEW 67 

function of government is to define and protect the 
rights of its subjects, and that the test of its secondary 
functions is expediency limited by morality. Thus 
they have been educated up to the point of allowing 
free play for the authority of Christ in His Church. 
Is it accidental that they agree almost exactly with 
Rom 1 3 1 - 7 and I Cor 6 12 ? 

If in any given case Caesar and God make conflicting 
claims, there is no room for hesitation ; Caesar's 
authority is delegated from God, he outstrips his 
rights, his claim is unconstitutional, and God's must 
be obeyed, at whatever cost. But the obligation is 
cast on each Christian to decide for himself what the 
will of Christ is, with all study of the New Testament 
illumined by its Author, with all counsel from brother 
Christians : no congregation, no Church court, no 
Parliament, no law court, no confessor, no minister, 
can exempt him from the duty of decision. Then, if 
the rules of his denomination or church bid a minister 
do something which his conception of Christ's will 
forbids, he must try to alter the rules or else obey 
Christ, even if he must therefore lay down his office. 
If the law of the land exacts a rate for purposes which 
the ratepayer believes contrary to Christ's will, let him 
take joyfully the spoiling of his goods for Christ's 

22 34 ~ 40 , Two maxims are here singled out as 
condensing the essence of the whole Law and the 
teaching of the prophets. Both are contained in and 
quoted literally from The Law, but not from any con- 
spicuous place therein. Indeed, the former is not 
exactly a law, but a sentence from a preface or an 
exhortation delivered when The Law was re-issued. 
And the latter originally referred to Jews only, and 


was only explicitly widened by our Lord on a similar 
occasion, Luke io 25 " 27 . So that John, while acknow- 
ledging that it was in a sense an old commandment 
which they had from the beginning, yet declared that 
as now expounded it was essentially a new command- 
ment. And the apostles, seizing it in this shape, 
declared it to be the distinctive law for the Christian, 
Jas 2 8 , Gal 5 14 , I Pet i 22 , Heb is 1 ' 2 , 1 John 3". It is 
the same that our Lord stated in His own words, 
Matt 7 12 , offering it as a -summary of our duty. 

23 8 ~ 12 . The tendency to lordship and tyranny is too 
strong not to show itself inside Christian circles, so 
it was rebuked beforehand. There is no infallible 
teacher nor any guaranteed channel of orthodox 
tradition; all Christians are brethren and equally 
obliged to learn direct of Christ. There is no supremacy 
due to age, nor services, nor even success in soul- 
winning; these things demand respect and attention 
paid to any opinion ; yet only such as may be paid 
to elder brothers, who are all equal as compared to 
the one heavenly Father. No one may lord it over 
the conscience of a brother, or the customs of a church, 
or the conduct of Christian work ; Christ is the only 
Lord. He vests His authority in His Church, through 
which any officer receives what authority he has, and 
through which any officer may be deprived of that 
authority. If any man claim direct and independent 
authority, it rests on him to prove it by some display 
of power, as did Christ and the apostles. 

23 13 ~ 30 . The scribes and Pharisees were admitted 
by our Lord to be the proper guides, but their besetting 
sins were then exposed. Modern ministers can find 
here excellent hints for self-examination. 

Ministers who are merely professional and are 

23 13 36 ] MATTHEW 69 

obviously not true and hearty Christians, excite disgust 
in others that repels them even from Christ. 

Ministers who are energetic evangelists, but do 
nothing much to train their converts, only fulfil half 
their duty, and will assuredly by example train their 
converts to be similarly one-sided. 

Ministers who devote themselves energetically to 
winning over adherents from other branches of the 
Christian Church, excite dislike between those branches, 
and violate the first law of love, while their new 
adherents are tempted to lay more stress on the petty 
differences than on the great agreement. 

Those who devote themselves to quibbling and 
hair-splitting come to lose the sense of the proportion 
of things. Those who are always playing with the 
question, How near can we go to a lie without lying? 
are sure to confuse the conscience of many and are 
likely to encourage lying. 

Ministers who are ever exploring the Bible for some 
novel text or some byway of doctrine are too prone 
to neglect the vital themes that are constantly needed 
by the vast majority of hearers. A wise minister will 
set these in the forefront, and use the others as needed 
in Biblical proportion. 

Ministers are often sorely tempted to deal lightly 
with some wrong in the church, and connive at its 
being hushed up, so that a fair front may be shown 
to outsiders. It is vain to cry Peace when there is 
no peace ; vain to deal only with outward deeds and 
not deal with the corrupt heart. 

Ministers whose own lives are open to such a charge, 
having the form of godliness without the power, are 
the worst hindrances to the gospel. 

Many suffer from long sight, can recognize and 


deplore the errors of the past, yet cannot learn from 
them to recognize and avoid kindred errors in the 

24 45 ~ 51 . Further warnings against clerical pride and 

26 20 - 28 . See comment on Mark I4 12 ~ 25 . 

27 50>51 . For comments see John ip 30 and Mark I5 38 . 

28 18 . It was not the first time our Lord had asserted 
at once His own authority, and that it was delegated. 
Soon after His first commission to the twelve, He said, 
" All things have been delivered unto Me by My 
Father." And in His great high-priestly prayer after 
taking leave of the twelve when the hour was come, 
He spoke of the Father having given Him authority 
over all flesh to bestow eternal life. At this juncture 
he reiterated this in ampler terms : having died and 
risen again, He now held all authority in heaven and 
on earth. It was this enlargement of dominion 
consequent on His atonement that enchained Peter, 
who declared that the crucified Jesus had been made 
Lord, and that through His resurrection angels and 
authorities and powers had been made subject to Him. 
When Paul applied to Jesus the words, " He put all 
things in subjection under His feet," it was of the dead 
and risen Jesus that he thought; and he expressly 
said that Christ died and lived again in order that He 
might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Paul 
coupled the resurrection again with the .putting all 
things in subjection under Christ's feet, when writing 
to the Ephesians, and expressly told the Philippians 
that because of Christ's humbling Himself from 
equality with God to the death of the cross, there- 
fore He was exalted that every tongue should call 
Him Lord, 

28 18 ] MATTHEW 71 

. It seems, then, that whatever His pristine power, 
He had voluntarily surrendered it, and now enjoyed it 
afresh as earned by tasting death for every man. And 
not only the old authority, but God "gave Him to be 
head over all things to The Church, which is His 
body." As His first act in this new capacity, after 
reciting afresh His authority, He constituted His fol- 
lowers a missionary society to win men to holiness, 
and to train recruits for this society, to which He gave 
perpetual succession. Any definition of The Church 
is utterly inadequate that does not put this purpose 
in the forefront, until more permanent purposes are 

2 gw,20 ( j^ curious ambiguity of grammar occurs here. 
The verbs are combined thus : Go and make disciples, 
baptizing them and teaching them. As a mere matter 
of grammar we can understand : Go and make dis- 
ciples by baptizing them first and teaching them after ; 
or, Go, Make disciples, then Baptize them, and Teach 
them afterwards. Many instances of both construc- 
tions may be cited even from the New Testament. 
But we need not debate the matter only as a question 
of grammar. John understood the order to be making 
and baptizing, John 4 1 . Disciples assuredly must be 
capable of learning, so much the very word implies : 
a disciple is not a person brought mechanically into 
the circle, but a person coming voluntarily. The direc- 
tion, then, is first to get a general adhesion to Jesus, 
next to signalize that by dramatic action, then to unfold 
all that is implied in that adhesion. First win your 
scholar, then admit him to school, then teach him. 
First gain your recruit, then swear him in, then drill 
him. First convince of sin and of the existence of a 
aviour, then obtain the public confession of sin an4 



the avowal of allegiance to the Saviour ; then show 
how the Saviour gives the victory over sin. 

The baptism now ordered differed in meaning from 
that of John. The Baptist had laid the stress on 
repentance and forgiveness as connected with his rite. 
He knew of a Messiah to come, sent by God, who 
should baptize in holy spirit ; but his baptism was not 
directly concerned with the Messiah nor His work. 
Jesus now ordered that Christian baptism should be 
with reference to the Father, who, loving the world, 
planned its redemption; to the Son, who accomplished 
it and claimed obedience from His redeemed; to the 
Holy Spirit, soon to come and minister the benefits of 
redemption to those who accepted it. This was fuller 
and richer than had been granted to John to teach. 
John was the greatest of the prophets : but before the 
atonement was wrought out in fact and not only in 
symbol, before the Holy Spirit was despatched into 
the world for His age-long mission, John could only 
stand without and point onward ; his preaching could 
only faintly suggest what now was unfolded ; his 
ritual could only emphasize two points instead of 
the many and glorious facts henceforth associated 
with baptism by the death and resurrection of Jesus 

The people who received this commission included 
the eleven disciples, but apparently numbered more 
than five hundred in all, as Paul tells ; for that some 
of the eleven doubted at this stage is incredible, when 
a week after the resurrection all the eleven believed. 
The order, then, was not given to officers alone, but to 
all the faithful. The duties of evangelizing, of bap- 
tizing, of teaching are not limited to a few, but devolve 
on every believer, and are not to be discharged by 

28'", 20 ] MATTHEW 73 

proxy; for of subsequent limitations scripture gives 
no trace. 

These disciples received our Lord's direct commands 
to baptize, etc. ; but it is more than doubtful if any 
one of them ever received Christian baptism. Those 
who are concerned about the fitness of the administrator 
find here a striking hiatus in their precedents. Yet 
for all subsequent cases it should be noted that the 
moment a disciple is made, baptism is enjoined before 
any further instruction is to be given, much more 
before any participation in Christian work or worship 
is to be offered. To this sequence all apostolic pre- 
cedents conformed. 

The commands of Jesus had been given orally to 
His disciples ; some of the first generation committed 
them to writing, and some others, guided by the Holy 
Spirit, as promised, gave further directions in His name. 
All these are to be found gathered by later generations 
into one volume, the New Testament. As the Jews 
were bred on The Law, so are Christians to be trained 
on the New Testament. 

Since the Jews had wandered far from their Law 
even while seeking to respect it, the promise to 
Jeremiah of a New Covenant with a law printed on 
the heart, with direct knowledge of God, was enlarged 
and beautified into a glorious promise of Christ's 
constant presence with His Church throughout the 
age. This is coupled with the orders, and its fulfil- 
ment may be felt in proportion as the orders are 
obeyed : it is the worker, the missionary, the teacher 
who has the most vivid realization of fellowship with 
his Saviour, 


MARK I 4 . The repentance was with a view to the 
remission of sins. This was the old prophetic cry. 
John did not so far innovate as to substitute baptism 
for repentance, which would have introduced a new 
and soul-deadening ceremonialism ; the baptism was 
only an act making it easier to believe that forgiveness 
did follow on the godly sorrow. The thought that 
baptism actually procured remission of sins is quite 
alien to all previous teaching, and is not involved in 
these words. 

I s . If any value were attached by the unthinking to 
the mere ceremonial, John did his best to indicate that 
the real efficient force was not outward, but inward, 
not imparted by himself, but by Jesus. 

I 5> 8 ~ 10 . The cases in verse 8 allow, the preposition 
in verse 5 suggests, and those in verses 9>1 make 
certain, that the word Baptize had not changed its 
meaning, but that John immersed into water, out of 
which the candidate afterwards emerged. See note on 
Matt 3 6 . 

i 40 - 46 . For comment see Luke 5 12 ~ K . 

2 5 . For comment see Luke 5 18 - 26 . 

3 10 . For comment see Matt 9. 

2 23-28_ j]-^ p n a r i sees (jy no t object to the disciples 

taking the grain, which was expressly allowed, but to 
their plucking and rubbing it on. the sabbath, for this. 


2 23 29 ] MARK 75 

had been ruled to be work, and so forbidden by the 
fourth commandment. Our Lord did not contest their 
ruling ; and indeed it seems plain that if picking and 
husking are not work, then a band of reapers and 
thrashers might be turned into the field on the sabbath. 
Our Lord tacitly admitted that the disciples were 
breaking the law, but He first quoted a precedent when 
hunger had set aside a mere ceremonial restriction, and 
then He expressly laid it down that necessity overrode 
this law too. The sabbath was meant as a gift and 
a blessing to man ; man was not created to set aside 
a seventh of his time under all circumstances^ If to do 
this meant to hunger, the sabbath was no blessing in 
that case, and the reason for its observance failed. 
Yet as it had been ordained by authority, therefore 
suspension, exposition, or annulling must be by 
authority too. He claimed that authority, even as He 
claimed authority to forgive sins. 

A similar argument cannot apply to all cases. If 
the command in question had been, Thou shalt not 
steal, we cannot think that our Lord would have 
justified theft by His disciples, or would have claimed 
authority to annul or suspend the command. On the 
contrary, when He spoke on the Mount, He endorsed 
permanently such commands as, Thou shalt not kill, 
Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not take 
the name of Jehovah thy God for falsehood, even 
adding to them yet more stringent requirements. 
When He tested the young ruler, He reminded him, 
Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do 
not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honour thy 
father and mother. These rest on solid foundations, 
and while this world endures can never be suspended 
or annulled ; they form part of that law which is written 


in the heart and endorsed by conscience; It is hard to 
conceive what would convince us that a message pur- 
porting to be from God, bidding us defile the temple of 
the Holy Spirit, were not a lying message from Satan. 
But conscience does not so revolt against doing unusual 
work to relieve urgent need, even on a day which 
under ordinary circumstances is a day of rest and 
worship ; rather, conscience would smite us if we 
allowed the sick to suffer for want of nursing, the poor 
to hunger for want of cooking, the prisoner to languish 
for want of comforts, the naked to shiver for want of 
clothing, and refrained from ministering to them in 
order that we might " keep the sabbath." Even an 
ancient prophet, who believed in strict sabbath ob- 
servance, asked in Jehovah's name whether what God 
chose was not to loose the bonds of wickedness, to 
undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go 
free, to give our bread to the hungry, to bring the 
homeless poor to our home, and to clothe the naked. 
These are permanent duties, and if they seem to conflict 
with the law of fasting, the latter must give way ; if 
they seem to conflict with the law of the sabbath, the 
Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath, and encourages 
us to use His gift as a blessing, and not as an excuse 
to withhold a blessing. 

So much He said while the fourth commandment 
still bound every Jew, and while He faithfully obeyed 
it, not using the liberty which He defended for His 
disciples. For He had come to fulfil the whole Law. 
But for ourselves to-day the fourth commandment has 
not been re-enacted, since it was ended even for the 
Jews at Calvary. It still stands as a glorious prophecy 
of the endless rest awaiting the people of God. 
Christian principles as to sabbath and Lord's day were 

2 M M ] MARK 77 

laid down by the apostle Paul, who spoke plainly, 
once the death of Christ had abolished The Law and 
the resurrection had made all things new. See Rom 14*, 
Gal4 9 > 10 , Col 2 1G . 

3 1 " . In this case our Lord Himself broke the rules 
laid down by the Pharisees, but was careful first to 
explain and justify His conduct. The commandment 
forbade work, but it was not work to do good and 
merely speak words of mercy. So scrupulous was He 
to give no just cause of offence to those who had a 
zeal for God, and who did at least coincide with Him 
in trying to keep The Law, though the object was to 
establish their own righteousness and not God's. 

3 14>15 . Here is the leading passage as to the 
functions of the apostles : to accompany Him, to be 
sent out as preachers, to receive authority for casting 
out demons. Probably the comment is due to Peter ; 
it agrees fairly with his speech before Pentecost. 
There is no word here of authority to co-opt members, 
to create a perpetual succession, to transmit powers. 
Christ chose direct, as He did in Paul's case. Modern 
bishops cannot be with Him in the same sense, nor 
east out demons; they only succeed the apostles in 
the one simple function of preaching, which is shared 
by many other believers. 

5 21 -* 3 . For comment see Matt 9 18 ~ 25 . 

7 3>4 . Mark gave here for his foreign readers a 
mention of three practices, originated by the Pharisees, 
and adopted increasingly by all the Jews who were 
not content to lie under the stigma of not knowing 
The Law and being accursed. First, they had a 
custom very sensible when, many hands met in one 
common dish, and carefully washed their hands before 
eating. Second, if they had been out in public so as 


to risk contamination by touching unclean people, they 
took the hint from the rules as to uncleanness in 
Lev 15, and made obligatory in all cases what The 
Law only insisted on in a few they took a bath before 
eating. Third, they took another hint from the same 
chapter, which ordered the rinsing of defiled wooden 
vessels in water, and, on the chance that the vessels 
had become defiled, ruled that all must always be 
rinsed. They carried this so far that even a bedstead 
or divan rested on by an unclean person was to be 

Now Mark mentioned all these things both as un- 
usual and yet as ordered by Pharisaic custom. The 
fact that some of them are unusual to us makes it 
easy to hesitate, and gives colour to the cry, " Surely 
they did not bathe after returning from the market 
and before eating; the word Baptize must have a 
weakened meaning here." Something of the same 
surprise evidently was felt by some Greek scribes, but 
evidently the word Baptize meant to them only Bathe, 
for they were not content with it, and actually sub- 
stituted the word Sprinkle themselves, and in so 
doing they ruined the sense of the passage. Mark's 
point was that the Pharisees ordered what was some- 
what unusual to Greeks and Romans. And fortunately 
we have other evidence than Mark's on this point, and 
it is marshalled by Wetstein, commenting on John is 10 , 
where he sums up, 'Those who were invited to a 
banquet used first to wash in the bath.' To say 
nothing of Juvenal and other foreign allusions, or 
Luke's comment at II 38 , we have quite a treatise in 
the Talmud on the various washings enjoined by the 
Pharisees, and every single statement of Mark is 
amply confirmed. Thus it is ruled that if a bedstead 

) s , *] MARK 79 

cannot be all covered with water at once, first one end 
must be dipped and then the other. 

Those who live in the East to-day, and are jostled 
in the crowded market-places by all sorts of people in 
all stages of dirt, and have to entrust their furniture 
and crockery to native care, see very great merit in 
all these customs. And even in cooler climates it is 
no longer a matter of wonder if a man washes his 
hands before meals and his dishes afterwards. But 
what we approve on hygienic grounds, the Pharisees 
wished to enforce on religious. This custom was 
innocent enough, but the claim made to equate all 
customs with God's Law was mischievous. For 
comment on the general case of tradition or God's 
will, see Matt ig 1 " 6 . 

7 19 . The historian, in the light of after events, such 
as Peter's vision at Joppa and the concessions of the 
conference at Jerusalem with the delegates from 
Antioch, saw that our Lord's discussion of eating 
amounted to declaring all meats clean, and the Levitical 
rules as having no permanent intrinsic force such as 
was inherent in the command, " Honour thy father 
and thy mother." But our Lord did not at this 
moment formally abolish these rules; He could not 
say of the old Law, "It is finished," till He had 
obeyed it and fulfilled it to the bitter end ; all that 
He did yet was to direct attention to points unknown 
or forgotten, and to lodge a thought that would in 
time render this old rule about ritually unclean things 
not only obsolete but groundless. 

9 4 ~ 7 . The Lord had come to fulfil The Law, and 
so render it of no further binding effect ; to fulfil the 
Prophecies that spoke of His life and death. It was 
natural that the Lawgiver and one of the great 


Prophets should be interested in the decease which 
He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem, and so set 
the crown on His lifelong fulfilment. It was equally 
natural that Peter should level them up to Him, and 
wish to retain all three. But the risk of equating them 
was serious; and since whatever was of permanent 
value in The Law and the Prophets had already been 
summed up by the Lord in the golden rule, it was 
well that an emphatic word should come from on high, 
and that to the recognition of the early disciple, " This 
is He of whom Moses in The Law, and the Prophets, 
did write," there should be added by Him who spoke 
to Moses and the Prophets, "This is My beloved 
Son, hear ye Him," and, that being said, the Law- 
giver and the Prophet were caught away. 

9 33 ~ 35 . Another instance that ambition is a besetting 
sin of ministers. A constitutional historian has re- 
marked that at the Reformation, whenever ministers 
had the guidance of any reconstructing measures, they 
always erected some kind of oligarchy with themselves 
in privileged posts ; thus Zwingli, Luther, and Calvin, 
while at first proclaiming the priesthood of all believers, 
yet secured themselves predominance in the new 
arrangements. In England, too, Milton complained 
that new Presbyter was but old Priest writ large. Pure 
democracy emerged here under Brown of Norwich, who 
found it in the Bible and applied it first in ecclesiastical 
matters, then in political. Our Lord guarded against 
clericalism as well as sacerdotalism by repeated teach- 
ing and by rebuke of any assumption. 
9 3G,37 t For comment see Matt 1 8 1 - 10 . 
9 38 - 40 . This incident should be contrasted with 
another recorded in Matt i2 22 ~ 30 , and specially with 
the saying, " He that is not with Me, is against 

9 38 40 ] MARK 8 1 

Me." Relation to Jesus Himself is vital 5 apparent 
neutrality here is real hostility. But Christians 
are always tempted to say that the same is true of 
fellowship with ourselves, and it needs some explicit 
saying like this to forbid. Apparent neutrality to the 
work of a church is real friendliness, and this may 
apply not only to the conduct of governors in such 
lands as India and China, where its truth is readily 
perceived, but to cases more parallel to the present, 
where good work is being done in the name of Christ. 
Our traditions may make us loth to hold fellowship 
with Romanists, Swedenborgians, and Unitarians, yet 
so long as they acknowledge Christ in some way, work 
in His name, and refrain from attacks on other Christian 
bodies, may they not claim that this is meant for them, 
and must we not remember that " he that is not against 
us, is for us " ? 

I0 3 ~ 5 . For comment see Matt ig 7 ' 8 . 

I0 13 ~ 16 . For comment see Luke i8 15 ~ ir . 

I0 3S ~ 10 . The questions put by our Lord to James 
and John seem rather obscure, and their rashness in 
answering was extreme. Yet the former question could 
be understood if they remembered such words as those 
in Hab 2 10 , or Jer 25 15 , or Isa 5i ir , the cup of the wine 
of Jehovah's wrath, or Ezek 23 31 ~ 31 , the cup of aston- 
ishment and desolation. And it is clear that the 
meaning of sorrow and anguish is here intended, when 
we read of the cry in Gethsemane, " If it be possible, 
let this cup pass from Me," and the later cry of faith 
and obedience, " The cup which the Father hath given 
Me, shall I not drink it ? " John's own use of this 
figure in the Revelation makes it plain that he thus 
understood it afterwards. 

What then did our Lord mean by His second figure ? 



It is not common in the Old Testament, so far as exact 
words go. The connection makes it highly probable 
that it means something like enduring pain, and some- 
what similar images abound in the Psalms, 32, 55 5 , 6i a , 
69 2 ' 15 , 1 24*, and the prophets, Isa 28 15 , so 28 , Nah I 8 . All 
thy waves and thy billows are gone over me, my spirit 
is overwhelmed within me, horror hath overwhelmed 
me : the Lord shall cast down to the earth as a tempest 
of mighty waters overflowing. Indeed, at Ps 6g z , one 
Greek translator used the very word Baptize in this 
figurative sense. So these passages allow us to think 
not only of pain, but of death ; so that if the cup refers 
to Gethsemane, the baptism refers to Calvary. And in 
Luke I2 50 we find our Lord using the same figure and 
almcst certainly referring to His death, until which He 
was narrowed in His work, and hedged up to this end. 
His reply to James and John therefore meant : You 
shall have fellowship with My suffering ; you shall be 
conformed unto My death, and shall attain unto the 
resurrection from the dead. Of course the experiences 
of Gethsemane and Calvary could not be fully repeated 
by any others. Yet James tasted of the cup when he 
was beaten by the Sanhedrin, and when all the church 
was scattered abroad from Jerusalem except the 
apostles, and they were left deserted as they had 
deserted their Master ; and he had his baptism when 
Herod killed him with the sword, first martyr of the 
apostolic band. John drank some of that cup when he 
partook of the tribulation of Jesus in the Isle of Patmos ; 
and if ancient story be true, he had his baptism when 
he gave his life for testimony to Jesus, last of that same 
band. They endured lonely sorrow and execution, and 
so drank the water of gall and were compassed about 
with the waves of death. 

lo 38 40 ] MARK 83 

Such an exposition gives full value to the fact that 
the word Baptize means literally to Dip, Immerse, 
Overwhelm, and attributes to it here a corresponding 
figurative meaning. It is, however, well to ask what is 
the allusion if any unexpected discovery should some 
day show that the word had an occasional meaning, 
Pour, and if that be the foundation of the figure here. 
We cannot refer to a cup into which is poured the wine 
of the wrath of God ; the figure would suggest some- 
thing poured forth on a person. And then we may 
refer to many passages, such as, Pour out Thine indig- 
nation on them ; Pour out Thy wrath on the heathen 
I will pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My 
fierce anger ; I will pour out My wrath like water. 
There arises, however, a difficulty : in what sense 
can we say that James and John experienced God's 
fury, His wrath, His indignation ? This consideration 
appears fatal to interpreting the figure thus. There 
are only two other passages that can be considered, 
Job I2 21 and Ps lO/ 40 , He poureth contempt upon 
princes. And we may hesitate to say that God poured 
contempt on Jesus on the cross, and quite refuse to say 
that He poured contempt on James and John. Rather 
did He pour on them the gift of the Holy Spirit in 
their life ; but this fact cannot be alluded to here. 

The meaning Pour is then unintelligible here. If 
we try the meaning, Sprinkle, the only figurative 
passages in the Old Testament are Isa 52 15 , Ezek 36 25 , 
and neither these nor any others afford any help to 
understanding this passage. 

Although, then, it would be absurd to argue from a 
figurative passage what the literal meaning of a word 
is, yet a close examination shows that the literal 
meaning, Submerge, yields a good figurative sense 


here, Overwhelm, which renders the whole passage 
intelligible and consonant with fact ; while the other 
meanings suggested are impossible. 

The general exposition may receive faint confirmation 
from the thought that the cup of suffering can be 
drained again and again, the baptism of death endured 
once only ; so, too, baptism into the Lord's death in 
the literal sense is once for all, the cup of communion 
with Him may often be shared. It is curious that only 
here and in another figurative passage, I Cor lo 1 " 4 , do 
we find any apparent coupling of the two ceremonies 
ordained by our Lord. 

1 1 27 - 33 . It was a perfectly fair demand of the priests 
and other officers that Jesus should show His authority 
for neglecting their authority, and taking . the law into 
His own hands by evicting the drovers and bankers 
from the temple court. Moreover, Jesus had lately 
bidden His disciples respect their authority since they 
sat in Moses 1 seat, and it was all the more necessary 
that He vindicate His action. If He had answered, 
He would apparently have said, You ought to have 
kept the temple clear, and have neglected your duty ; 
if you cannot tell the people whether John was a 
prophet, you are incompetent and have forfeited your 
authority; John was a prophet and declared that I 
am commissioned from heaven direct ; I, in My Father's 
name, clear His house. 

It is instructive to see the helplessness of mere 
officials with a legal succession, when confronted with 
a rare but real religious phenomenon. They could 
not agree whether John was called by God ; they could 
not recognize another, greater than John, exhibiting 
every ancient token of having been called by God, and 
matching many prophecies of the Messiah. 

H 2r 33 ] MARK 85 

Just so to-day, even true ministers of God who 
imagine they are in the apostolic succession are some- 
times dubious about recognizing others who show the 
true prophetic spirit, but do not affiliate to some ancient 
church; and mere ecclesiastics contemptuously deny 
the possibility of any true ministry outside their own 

12. For comment see Matt 22, 23. 
I4 12 " 25 . On to His last celebration of the passover 
our Lord grafted a new and significant custom, which 
within two months was adopted as a characteristic 
Christian rite, the breaking of bread, Acts 2 46 , generally 
known to us as the Lord's supper, I Cor 1 i 20 . 

The associations carried over from the Jewish feast 
would naturally be that it was a memorial of the 
death of the firstborn, of a sacrifice, of a redemption 
accomplished, Ex i2 14)27>29 . But even these were not 
emphasized; we simply recognize the correspondence 
afterwards. And certain features in the passover ritual 
were instinctively discarded or deliberately forbidden. 
Thus the general nature of the passover was a feast ; 
but our Lord negatived this view of the Lord's supper, 
I4 25 , and Paul forbade its celebration in this fashion, 
I Cor ii 34 . The central dish of the feast was a roast 
lamb ; our Lord ignored this, and, except for a tem- 
porary aberration at Rome, it was never introduced 
into Christian celebrations. The Jews at this time 
attached great importance to a dish of fruit and vinegar, 
replacing the bitter herbs of Ex 1 2 8 ; but our Lord did 
not recall either the bitterness of bondage in Egypt or 
the pleasure of living at ease in Canaan. The haste 
of the original departure from Egypt was represented 
in the bread being unleavened and in the meal being 
eaten standing, Ex I2 11 , 13 8 ; and the latter custom had, 


in Canaan, been expressly reversed, because they were 
now in comfort and security. All these points our 
Lord neglected. He took materials to which no mean- 
ing had attached before, performed new actions, and 
uttered new words. On these novelties our attention 
must concentrate. 

Bread and wine in themselves had no significance 
beyond the bare fact of their being gifts of God for the 
food of man, Ps I04 14 ' 15 . The fact of our Lord handing 
them to the disciples at a meal implies that He accepted 
this significance ; but to it He added fresh associations 
by His deeds and words accompanying. 

Emblematic actions were common with Jewish teachers. 
In connection with various passovers Moses had used 
his rod symbolically, and had sprinkled ashes toward 
heaven as a sign of plagues ; our Lord had cleansed 
the temple, John 2 13 ~ 22 , had fed, five thousand people, 
John 6 4 ~ 14 , and had a few minutes earlier washed the 
feet of these disciples, John I3 1 "" 11 ; in each case He 
had followed up the action with a commentary. His 
first action now was to take a loaf, bless it, as He had 
blessed the fishes when He fed the four thousand, 
Mark 8 r , break, and give to the disciples. 

One meaning of the breaking may perhaps be divined 
from His quoting Zech I3 r shortly afterwards, and 
with express reference to His death, and from a neigh- 
bouring passage which Matthew recognized as bearing 
on these events, Zech n 4 ~ 14 . The prophet had had 
two staves, Grace and Union. One he broke as a 
sign that the covenant between God and the people 
was broken ; grace was withdrawn. The other he 
broke as a sign that the brotherhood between Judah 
and Israel was broken ; union was ended. The death 
of our Lord certainly did break the special tie between 

I4 12 M ] MARK 87 

God and the Jews, and did render unimportant their 
intimate connection between themselves. But if He 
really intended to hint at these facts, His meaning has 
been generally overlooked. 

The disciples could hardly fail to recognize His mute 
prediction when in a few hours they saw His body 
broken by buffets in the face, scourge, nails, and lance, 
even if not a bone was broken. And as they were 
already taught of His violent death, and had just 
received warning of its imminence, I4 1S ~ 21 , they pro- 
bably recognized the meaning at once. 

When they were bidden eat, both by the bare fact of 
the loaf being handed and by the express order that 
Matthew records, they must have understood presently 
that the death of Christ availed to procure some gift 
from God which they might appropriate. 

They would never imagine that He meant the loaf 
was actually changed into His body, that they literally 
ate Him standing there before them. Such a mon- 
strous idea would not be intended by His habitual 
speech, which was very figurative ; nor were they 
likely to think of it after being rebuked for taking 
literally His words about leaven, 8 16 ~ 21 . 

And if He spoke Aramaic, as was natural at Jeru- 
salem, is 22 ; John 5 2 , I9 20 ; Acts I 19 , 2i 40 , 22 2 , He simply 
said, "This, My body." When Mark inserted the 
word, Is, he would understand and mean, Signifies, 
as when he explained, " Boanerges, which is, Sons of 
thunder," 3 ir ; " Corban, that is to say, Given," 7"; 
"The court, which is the Praetorium," I5 10 ; or with a 
fuller formula, " Talitha cumi, which is, being inter- 
preted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise," 5 41 ; " Eloi, 
Eloi, lama sabachthani ? which is, being interpreted, 
My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" I5 34 . 


Then taking a cup and giving thanks, as over the 
loaves when He fed the four thousand, 8 G , He gave to 
them and they all drank. At this point He departed 
altogether from passover symbolism, and referred to 
the great covenant service when Jehovah and His 
people pledged themselves to fellowship, Ex 19* 24 U . 
In idea, though not in time, this was the logical 
completion of the passover : when Josiah undertook 
to revive religion, he was led at once to renew the 
passover celebration as well as make a covenant on his 
own account, II Kings 23 2I ~ 23 . 

The prominent thoughts in a covenant were, Mutual 
pledges, ratified by a sacrifice and by a joint meal. 
The use of the very word, Covenant, would carry our 
Lord's endorsement of the thought of an agreement, 
such as was foreseen by Jeremiah, ^i 31 - 31 . But where- 
as the prophet saw only the house of Israel in his 
horizon, our Lord dropped the limitation and spoke of 
" many " as within His purpose. 

The sacrificial sense lies in the word, Is shed, which 
even when used of wine denotes not an ordinary 
pouring from a flagon to a cup, but a gush as from a 
destroyed vessel, Matt 9 ir . When used of blood, as 
here, it expresses martyrdom, Matt 23 35 , Acts 22 20 , 
Rom 3 15 , Rev 16. In connection with Ex 24 5 ~ 8 , it 
pointed at once to Christ's death as a sacrifice bringing 
God and men together. 

They all drank from the cup. This corresponded 
to the meal that concluded the covenant service, Ex 24", 
and would also repeat the suggestion that God offered 
them some gift through the sacrifice of Christ, which 
they might appropriate. 

They could not imagine they were drinking real 
blood, a proceeding repeatedly forbidden, Lev 3 1T , or 

that they were drinking the blood of Jesus standing 
before them unwounded. Indeed, if He too drank, the 
impossibility was even more apparent. And as if to 
anticipate and obviate the misunderstandings of a later 
date, He referred to the contents of the cup as " this 
fruit of the vine/' Matt 26 29 . 

In this closing allusion He announced that it was 
His last meal ; and, recurring to His frequent imagery 
of a marriage feast for the consummation of the age, 
Matt 25 1 - 13 , 22 1 " 14 , He hinted on the one hand that the 
Bridegroom was about to leave them, so that during 
His absence feasting was suspended, 2 20 , and on the 
other that He would return for a joyful reunion, 
Luke I2 35 - 37 . 

15 37 . For comment see John 1 9 30 . 

1 5 38 . The Old Covenant being now fulfilled by the 
perfect obedience to the Jewish Law, and the New 
Covenant being inaugurated by the death of the covenant 
Victim, the temple of the Old Covenant was no longer 
needed, and its holy place was exposed to view as now 
rendered a common thing. 

i6 15)1G . The paragraph in which this command 
occurs was apparently not penned by Mark. It may 
be either an anonymous abstract from the last chapters 
of Matthew and Luke, or an extract from the records 
of Papias as to "what Aristion and the Elder John, 
the disciples of the Lord, say." For an Armenian 
manuscript copied 986 A.D. heads it in the same 
fashion as it heads the main gospel, " According to 
the Elder Aristion." We have no reason to discredit 
the paragraph in either case. 

The command was given in the first instance to the 
eleven, but was accompanied with signs promised to 
them that believe. The good news was to be passed 


on, each believer becoming in turn a preacher, and in 
that sense maintaining an apostolic succession. 

It was contemplated that believers would be baptized, 
and that no others would be. All the stress was laid 
on belief, baptism being simply a corollary. Nothing 
direct was said on two cases of common occurrence 
to-day : those who believe but are not baptized, 
perhaps because of ignorance or inattention or faulty 
training ; those who are " baptized " according to the 
custom of their church, but do not believe. Yet surely 
the former lack what is technical rather than real ; and 
though their lack may raise difficulties in church 
relations, it cannot cause them to lack salvation. The 
latter lack what is real and vital. 


LUKE 3. For comments see Matt 3 and Mark i. 

5 12 ~ 14 . The man was full of leprosy ; therefore by a 
special provision in The Law, however ill he might be 
and feel, he was ceremonially clean, Lev I3 13 . Under 
these circumstances Jesus might touch him without 
becoming unclean. He was always scrupulous in 
obeying The Law and in teaching others to obey. 
So, having cured the leper, He bade him carry out 
strictly the Levitical prescriptions. Thus He gave 
testimony to the priests of His own loyalty to The 
Law. Thus far it stood valid as the expression of 
the Lawgiver, not yet replaced by anything better and 
wider. ' 

gig-2o_ j t nas k een pointed out that Jesus saw the 
faith of the four men who carried the paralytic, and 
forgave him for their sake. Similar cases are adduced : 
the centurion's servant healed at a distance with a 
comment on the centurion's faith, 7 2 ~ 10 ; a nobleman's 
son in Capernaum healed at a distance, John 4 40 - 53 ; a 
demoniac girl restored on the request of her mother, 
whose faith was commended, Matt 1 5 21 ~ 28 . These are 
claimed to show that vicarious faith sufficed to procure 
benefits for others, and it is inferred that the faith of 
parents may avail to secure for their infants forgiveness 
of sins, and so may warrant infant baptism. But the 
facts are incompletely apprehended, the point at issue 



is begged, the analogy is incomplete, and so the con- 
clusion is thoroughly unsound. 

Thus, in this case, undoubtedly the carriers showed 
their faith by the exertions they made and the in- 
genuity they displayed ; but the sick man also showed 
his, in that as soon as he heard the command to rise, 
he obeyed. The demoniac girl, in the nature of the 
case, could not believe or disbelieve ; her mother begged, 
Have mercy on me, and the reply was, woman, great 
is thy faith, be it done unto thee even as thou wilt. 
The cure was regarded on both sides as a kindness to 
her rather than to her daughter. 

In the other cases, nothing is said as to the presence 
or absence of faith in the sufferer. Moreover, neither 
in their cases nor in that of the demoniac girl is any- 
thing said about the forgiveness of sins. Thus both 
the condition and the conclusion of the argument are 

This case is, then, the least weak ; but there is still 
a grave discrepancy. The paralytic had committed 
actual sins : infants certainly inherit a tendency to 
commit sin Which will in time evince itself in actual 
misdeeds; but when brought for "baptism," they are 
usually far too young for conscious transgression. Is 
it appropriate to say to an infant who cannot under- 
stand and who has done no wrong, Thy sins are 
forgiven thee? 

A better analogy would be that those who are strong 
in faith should seek to arouse faith in others, and 
bring them face to face with the Saviour as the only 
One able to forgive, then stand aside to let His words 
of encouragement and pardon quicken faith into 
obedience. When His power to forgive sins was 
doubted, He proved it by an illustrative miracle : 

5 18 - 28 ] LUKE 93 

" priests " who assume a like power to-day ought to 
be ready to prove their claims. 

5 36 - 30 . A mixture of the old customs and the new 
was impossible. Our Lord was thinking mainly of 
excusing the new, for all the prejudices of his hearers 
were enlisted for the old, such as fasting. He had to 
justify introducing and countenancing fresh customs, 
even while He made gentle allowance for those who 
adhered to the older. But He certainly laid down the 
incompatibility of the two, and now that Christianity 
is well in the field, and Christian customs have the 
prestige of nineteen centuries, we often need to use the 
other edge of His saying. We cannot patch Christianity 
with Jewish rites without spoiling both. Still more 
absurd is it to make an essentially Jewish system 
hold out by adding to it a few Christian customs. 
Such attempts have often been made in Catholic 
circles, and often the question may fairly be asked 
whether the doctrines and rites and hierarchy are more 
Jewish or Christian. Altars, priests, sacrifices all 
these do not agree with the simple worship that the 
apostles practised. Tithes are no fit mould for Christian 
liberality; that will not be confined within arbitrary 
limits, but will burst them. Nor even will all the forms 
of the first century suffice for the needs of to-day : new 
wine demands fresh wineskins ; to seek in the New 
Testament for a precise pattern of doctrine of worship 
or of church government, for exact reproduction to-day, 
is to risk spilling the new life. Nothing of these 
to-day need be inharmonious; but nowhere are we 
bidden to stereotype in one mould, and here we are 
warned against it. 

6 1 - 11 . For comment see Mark 2 23 ~ 28 , 3 1 " 6 . 

8 40 - 56 , For comment see Matt 9 18 - 25 . 


9 28 - 30 . For comment see Mark 9 2 ~ r . 

9 50 . For comment see Mark 9 38 - 40 . 

I0 25 - 37 . Compare Matt 22 34 ~ 40 . 

II 23 . Compare Mark 9 38 - 40 . 

II 38 . The custom of the -Pharisees was to bathe 
before dinner if they had been within reach of possible 
pollution, Mark 7*. The accuracy of this statement is 
often questioned, but it is amply borne out by many 
Pharisaic statements in the Talmud, where twelve 
treatises discuss all the customary purifications. Dr. 
Gill has quoted many of them in his commentary on 
these passages. Schurer gives a few illustrations of 
the discussions as to whether plunge-baths might be 
taken in ponds, running water, 120 gallons of collected 
water, hot springs, ordinary spring water. But apart 
from archaeology, exactly the same custom obtains 
to-day among the upper classes of Hindus in India ; 
they would be scandalized at the thought of dining 
without bathing first, and before meals it is a regular 
thing for rivers and pools to be thronged with bathers. 

Our Lord had been teaching in public, and casting 
out a demon. The Pharisee asked Him to dinner, but 
apparently, like his co-religionist mentioned in 7 44 , 
offered Him no opportunity for bathing, and then 
affected surprise that Jesus sat down without. His 
conduct resembles that of many who first manufacture 
difficulties by their inattention, and then are astonished 
at them. 

I2 50 . Compare Mark io 38 . 

j^io-ir anc j j^i-e^ Compare Mark 2 23 3". 

i6 1G>17 . The sentence here is ambiguous, but both 
context and another utterance recorded in Matt 5 ir>ls , 
and His consistent obedience to The Law, suggest that 
the meaning is, The Law and the Prophets were the 

i6 Ifi , 17 ] LUKE 95 

only things preached until John ; from that time the 
good news of the kingdom of God is preached. 

i8 15 " 17 . The general purpose for which the touch of 
Jesus was sought was for healing, Matt 8 15 , 9 18 ' 29 ; 
Mark ; 33 , 8 22 ;' Luke 4*, ^, 22 51 . But in this case the 
purpose was spiritual rather than bodily, as is very 
evident by Matt ip 13 . Even as Joseph brought his 
children that Jacob might lay his hands on them and 
bless them, so these mothers brought their little 
children and babies. The disciples were apparently 
deeply interested in the words of Jesus, and they 
could not bear any interruption, but tried to keep away 
the mothers just as they tried to keep away Bartimaeus 
shortly afterwards. Jesus in turn rebuked their ex- 
clusive spirit, and referred them to these very babes 
so innocent, these very children so loving and unselfish, 
as pourtraying the temper needed for the kingdom. 

The incident has no direct bearing on the question 
of infant baptism, nor even on the standing of children 
within The Church. Those who believe that The 
Church was already founded must note that the 
children -were not brought for admission to it, and 
that they were not in the upshot baptized, only caressed 
and blessed, prayed over with loving hands laid on 
them. Those who observe that no Church is heard of 
till after the resurrection, and therefore only expect 
ceremonies of the Old Covenant, will find none such 
here. If they think that baptism was then represented 
by circumcision, they must observe that Jesus was not 
asked to circumcise them ; indeed, the babes were pro- 
bably already a week old and therefore circumcised. 

Nobody claims that these babies and children were 
"baptized.. The disciples of Jesus already practised 
baptism, John 4 1)2 , yet they did not offer to baptize 


these babies, nor did Jesus rebuke them for that 
neglect, nor did He baptize them, but He blessed them 

If any argument is to be built on the incident here, 
it may be suggested that to bring little children or 
babies and have them " baptized " to-day, does not help 
at all to fulfil the command, Let the little children come 
unto Me ; and unless the ceremony is followed up with 
careful teaching, it may absolutely hinder them from 
coming for themselves to Jesus Christ ; whereas the 
teaching itself, irrespective of any christening in infancy, 
may be rewarded by the children coming, even while 
little, to enrol themselves as disciples, asking for 
baptism, and remaining to learn all things that Jesus 

20 1 " 8 . For comment see Mark I i 2T - 33 . 

20 a -. For comment see Matt 22 15 ~ 22 . 

22 14 ~ 20 . To the account of the last supper given by 
Mark, Luke added two important details, the second 
of which was evidently derived from Paul, and the 
former was extremely interesting to a Gentile. Verses 
10,18 snow that our Lord viewed the passover not only 
as a memorial, but as a type, whose fulfilment would 
be the kingdom of God. In other words, it was part 
of a system of shadows ; it was being observed for the 
last time so far as it had any value, and was on the 
verge of abolition. This is the thought that gave rise 
to I Cor 5 T ; Heb p 8 " 10 , I0 1 ' 2 , 8 13 . But, on the other 
hand, from the passover our Lord was evolving a new 
rite, which He expressly enjoined as a new memorial 
of Himself, 22 19 . This aspect of it is commented on 
in connection with I Cor 10, II. 

24 41 - 49 . The Old Testament was shown to contain 
many things now first becoming important. Repentance 

2 4 **] LUKE $ 

and remission of sins had long been preached, but 
not in His name as yet. And it needed that Christ 
should open their mind before the Old Testament was 
recognized as teaching that He should suffer and rise 
from the dead, and that remission of sins was available 
for all nations, He did not apparently open their mind 
to see that baptism was taught there, from which we 
may infer either or both of these conclusions : That 
baptism is not in the Old Testament, but is distinctly 
a New Covenant ordinance; That baptism is of less 
importance than repentance, remission of sins, and 
power from on high. These conclusions may be inde- 
pendently established. 

The promise of the Father, the power from on high, 
was to be sent forth not only on the eleven, but 
on others who were with them, 24 33 ; there was no 
confining of favour or duty to any class. 


JOHN I 12>1 . Here, in a passage where the apostle gave 
his ripest wisdom, he declared carefully what entitles 
men to call God " Father." He put it in three ways, 
and exposed three probable mistakes. The family 
circle is entered by being begotten of God, entrusting 
one's self to Jesus, accepting Him as Lord. Natural 
descent, following the lead of natural affection, and 
even sheer force of decision, are not enough without 
the Divine touch. This truth is generally recognized 
in Christian circles ; yet since there are certain real 
advantages derived from birth of Christian parents 
and nurture in Christian homes, these advantages are 
sometimes over-valued to the detriment of the apostle's 
explicit teaching. It is in perfect accord with this 
doctrine that he records without comment the popular 
belief that Jesus was son of Joseph, 6 42 , 7 2r > 41 > 42 ; and 
the silence of Jesus as to the peculiarity of His birth. 
His claims and power rested not on earthly descent, 
but on Divine appointment. 

i 14 . If John believed that the Word became flesh, 
and tabernacled among us every time a priest duly 
consecrated the bread and wine on the altar, he could 
not have opposed similar carnal notions in verse 13 . 

I 1G>1T . In Jesus Christ, God on earth, were lodged 
all virtue and all knowledge, not by gift, but by original 
possession. From His abundance may every believer 

I 16 , 17 ] JOHN 99 

receive, and every trait in His character may be 
matched in the believer. Moses was but a channel, 
a bare trustee; Jesus was a benefactor, a fountain. 
Moses conveyed an external code, Jesus offered to 
influence the inner life. Moses did his work and 
died; Jesus still works continually, imparting help 
and wisdom. 

It is a strange interpretation when the "Church" is 
introduced here as another medium, with the plea that 
only through a ministry with apostolic succession can 
grace be secured, only through such a ministry can 
true doctrine be taught. The contrast drawn by the 
apostle is exactly between such human media as Moses 
or a series of ministers, and a Divine medium such as 
Christ; compare Heb io 11)12 . Or, while we indeed 
read "through" Jesus Christ, we may remember He 
is full of grace and truth, and think of Him not simply 
as mediating blessings, but as dispensing them direct 
from His own fulness. The thought of an intervening 
caste of priests is not only alien, but hostile to the 

I 23 ~ 3i . Compare Matt 3. 

2 13 ~ 22 . Compare Matt 2 1 12 - 13 . 

3 5 . " Born of water," a phrase possibly founded on a 
reminiscence of Gen I 2 , appears to be an allusion to 
baptism. Nicodemus was a Pharisee; the Pharisees 
rejected the baptism of John, Luke 7 30 , not only because 
it was without official approval, John I 19 " 24 , but because 
they rejected his demand on themselves which it 
symbolized, Matt 3 7 ~ 9 . They would not repent, but 
were satisfied with their conduct. The first thing 
needed of a Pharisee, as of anybody else, was repentance 
for sin. He, as much as any Gentile convert, needed 
to be "born anew." But John had said this was only 


the first or lesser thing, and that the second or greater 
was a new endowment with holy spirit, which Jesus 
could bestow. Jesus endorsed this, and, in figures 
modified from John's, demanded repentance and 
altered life, laying the stress on the latter, and 
declaring it to be impossible of developement from the 
former life, or of mere natural inheritance, but a gift 
to be received only from above. 

Sometimes the mistake is made of giving only a 
partial translation to this figurative language, first 
reading it, " be born of water and born of the Spirit," 
then interpreting it, " be baptized and be regenerated." 
This is to recognize a spiritual meaning in the second 
half of the phrase, but to adopt the crass literalism of 
Nicodemus in the former half, and not to recognize that 
the spiritual meaning there is Repent. It is to couple 
together a sign and a reality as two conditions. 

It is better when the phrase is not expanded, and 
when weight is given to the close fusion of words. 
Repentance and new life normally go together, and 
the kingdom of God is open to those who possess the 
double gift. If it is demanded in no practical spirit, 
surely 1 that we dissect and estimate the value of each 
apart from the other, we have the case of Judas, who 
repented and proved the genuineness of his repentance 
by surrendering the fruit of his sin ; yet because he 
did not turn to Jesus Christ, he missed the new life, 
and went to his own place. No case is given of new life 
apart from repentance, nor can we easily imagine one ; 
the blunder of the Pharisees lay exactly in supposing 
it was possible. The dying robber assuredly repented ; 
he had but little opportunity of exhibiting on earth by 
his actions any new life, but he certainly was never 
baptized yet he was told that he should be with 

3 5 ] JOHN 101 

Jesus in Paradise that day. His case confirms our 
conclusion that what is essential is not baptism, the 
sign, but repentance, the thing signified. If it be said 
that he died before the institution of Christian baptism, 
the same objection holds in this case also, and forbids 
the objector referring to this passage in any argument 
about Christian baptism. 

3 22 ~ 2G and 4 1 ' 2 . The baptism practised at this time by 
Jesus does not appear to differ in act or meaning from 
that of John, for the only contrast raised was purely 
personal. Repentance, the. condition of forgiveness 
such, then, was the truth enforced ; the death, burial, 
and resurrection of Christ, the reason of forgiveness, 
was a connection not yet revealed because the facts 
were not yet accomplished ; the death to sin, followed 
by resurrection to new life, was a truth enforced indeed, 
though not in these words, and not yet associated with 
baptism. Baptism into the name of ... the Holy 
Spirit would be premature, if not unintelligible, while as 
yet the Spirit was not given, John 7 39 , Acts IQ 2 " 4 : 
and this was true whether the baptism were by the 
disciples of John or of Jesus. 

It is remarkable that the act of baptism was left by 
Jesus to His disciples, and that Peter in like fashion 
handed it over to others, Acts io 48 , and that Paul 
generally did the same, I Cor i 14 ~ ir . Such devolution 
to inferiors might well have prevented the growth of a 
ritual spirit, as if the performance of manual routine 
could be compared with the delivery of a soul-com- 
pelling message! There may be a convenience and 
orderliness in having baptism and the Lord's supper 
administered as a rule by ministers to-day, but there 
is no reason or scriptural precedent for confining it 
to them, 


4 19 ~ 24 . Similarly the sanctity of special places was 
denied. Worship is acceptable not according to liturgy, 
celebrant, and hallowed walls, but according to the 
temper of the worshippers. 
5 8 - 16 . Compare Mark 2 2 ^- 28 . 

5 39 ~ w . They searched the scriptures, thinking that by 
obeying The Law given through Moses, on whom they 
set their hope, they would have eternal life. But 
Moses and all the prophets wrote of Jesus, and, unlike 
Nathanael, they would not come to Him who alone 
could give life. The promises, the types, the cere- 
monies, the sacrifices, all that Moses wrote, were to 
set their thoughts toward the Son of God ; but being 
used as ends in themselves, they hardened the hearts 
of the searchers. With all the Divine education meant 
to make them wise unto salvation, they failed to 
recognize the Saviour. Not believing Moses and the 
prophets, many could not believe when He came from 
the dead. 

The Bible is not intended as an object of study in 
itself. It may be studied as mere literature, and will 
then still divert attention from Christ. It is the 
appointed and only means of knowledge about Christ 
and God ; and not only of this gospel, but of all the 
New Testament, it may be said that it is written that 
men may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of 
God, and that, believing, they may have life in His 

6 48 ~ 58 . Our Lord here employed startling metaphors 
which were by no means hackneyed, and indeed were 
so obscure that the Jews justly called them hard sayings. 
His words about being born again, drinking His cup, 
and sharing His baptism could be appreciated by 
those who thought over their ancient scriptures, But 

6< 8 - S8 ] JOHN 103 

the figures here were not from familiar sources ; they 
would seem contrary not only to the ceremonial law, 
but also to natural instinct. A spiritual sense to the 
action of feeding was not indeed new, Hosea 4 16 , Jer 3 13 , 
Ezek 34, and was afterwards adopted by Christ and 
His apostles, John 2i 15 ~ ir , Acts 2O 28 , I Pet 5 2 , Rev f. 
He had spoken of allaying spiritual hunger and thirst, 
and used the metaphor again, John 4 13 - 15 - 32 ~ 34 , 6 35 , 7 37 . 
But to drink blood was strictly forbidden to every Jew ; 
to eat the flesh and drink the blood of a man was 
horrible to all. No wonder that many of His disciples 
fell off and others murmured. 

Yet the scriptures which they searched could give a 
hint or two as to the meaning. Ezekiel was bidden 
eat a roll and assimilate its message : was it hard to 
divine that Jesus was bidding His followers appropriate 
His own nature, and grow by the strength He would 
supply ? " The blood is the life," and it was generally 
the chief feature in a sacrifice. Three mighty men 
hazarded their lives to get David a draught of water ; 
he would not drink " the blood of the men," but poured 
it out to God. Was it hard to see that Jesus was 
hinting He would offer His life a sacrifice to God, and 
that by virtue of this sacrifice men might live if they 
appropriated it for themselves? It was the time of 
Passover, 6 4 , when they should remember the blood 
that secured salvation and the flesh that supplied 

It would seem that some guessed His meaning too 
well, and left Him, not because they were puzzled, but 
because they were scandalized. He claimed to be the 
Son of Godj become flesh, offering Himself a sacrifice 
for the life of the world to be redeemed, a means for 
the life of the world to be sustained. This was not 


too hard to understand, but was too hard for many 
to accept. 

It is customary in many quarters to use these verses 
in close connection with the Lord's supper, although 
this had not yet been observed, although our Lord 
gave an express warning not to take His words 
literally, 6 63 , and although the apostle never connected 
the two. Undoubtedly our Lord was now alluding to 
the mystery of His death and the life He would 
impart after resurrection ; and later on, at the last 
supper, He referred to His pierced body and His 
shed blood. But the speech now and the action then 
only partially overlapped, and did not coincide, nor 
did they refer to one another. Each illustrates the 
death, but neither illustrates the other at all well. 
Mozart composed several masses, and used the same 
words again and again. What gain is there in using 
the Gloria of the twelfth mass to interpret the Gloria 
of the eleventh ? Dean Stanley wrote a book on 
Sinai and Palestine, George Adam Smith wrote another 
on the Historical Geography of the Holy Land; either 
may be a capital companion on a tour in Southern 
Syria, but there is not much profit in taking one as a 
guide to the other. An architect may describe a 
building he means to erect, and may presently publish 
a sketch of its elevation ; but when the building stands 
in its solid beauty, that is what needs attention, and 
not the anticipations of it. 

Further, there is a discrepancy in the terms that may 
warn us from coupling this passage with our celebration 
of the Lord's supper. He spoke here of giving His 
flesh for the life of the world, and of our eating His 
flesh and drinking His blood. At His last supper 
there was probably flesh provided a roast lamb ; bu,t 

6 4S 58 ] JOHN 105 

He passed that by and took bread instead, with wine. 
Here He spoke of flesh and blood, there He gave a 
loaf and (wine in) a cup. 

And experience shows that an unnecessary coupling 
together of this passage with that about the Lord's 
supper has led to grave errors. It is only too easy 
to say that as then we eat the bread and drink the 
wine, and as our Lord spoke of eating His flesh 
and drinking His blood, therefore the bread is His 
flesh, and the wine is His blood. The evidence 
of the senses seems of little avail against this 
conclusion, so long as it claims even this superficial 
support from scripture. Yet the conclusion is part 
and parcel of that sacramental system which has over- 
laid the gospel, and teaches reliance on ceremony 
rather than on Christ. Meat and drink were always 
only a shadow of the things to come : now that the 
substance is come in Christ, why draw our strength 
from things that can be seen, and not hold fast Him 
who is within the veil, the Head Himself? 

7 30 . This is quite explicit that the Spirit was not 
yet given. Compare also I4 26 , I5 26 , i6 r . The Church 
to-day is the Body of Christ on earth, indwelt and 
energized by the Spirit ; then it existed only in embryo 
and was not yet born. 

TO 1 " 18 . In this allegory three relations of the flock 
deserve attention, to the door, to the shepherd, and to 
the fold. 

Jesus is the only door for the sheep not of the fold. 
Only through Him are found safety, freedom, and 
guidance. Scribes and Pharisees then, ritualistic priests 
now, claim that these things are theirs to bestow; 
Christ claims them as His alone. 

The sheep are saved only by the death of the 


Shepherd. If Confucius, Noah, Numa, Socrates, and the 
Buddha are saved, it is not for their piety alone, nor 
their unavoidable ignorance of a Saviour yet unborn, 
but because that Saviour loved them and freely laid 
down His life for them, promising that He would 
let them hear His voice and bring them into the one 
flock. For there is no other name under heaven . 
wherein there is salvation. 

No one fold is large enough for this flock. No 
Jewish nation then, no earthly organization now, 
however large and venerable, however new and select, 
can embrace all true believers, any more than it 
can exclude all pretenders. Not the most imposing 
Catholic Church, not the most self-satisfied Particular 
Baptist church, contains all the saved; others there 
are, not of those folds, whom Christ will bring into 
the one flock. 

I3 12 ~ 17 . By assuming that this command in u is 
both literal and universal, popes, emperors, lord high 
almoners, and Baptists have been led to more or less 
regular feet-washing as a religious rite. The only 
other ground for such an interpretation is at 1 Tim 5 10 , 
where the context shows it is simply an instance of 
and metaphor for hospitality; compare Gen i8 4 , IQ 2 , 
24 33 , 43 24 , and contrast Luke 7 44 . The true lesson is 
to beware of pride and arrogance, and to cultivate 
mutual service; compare Matt 23 8 ~ n . 

A variety of this error is to suppose that this was 
really the institution of Christian baptism. This is 
refuted by the discord with Matt 28 19 , as to time, 
circumstance, condition, and subjects, and by the 
express contrast here between washing the feet and 
bathing, I3 10 . 

Those who note that these actions are discriminated, 

13 12 "] JOHN 107 

as well as pouring and dipping, I3 5 ' 26 , sometimes 
suggest that just as baptism cleansed initially, so the 
Lord's supper repeats the partial cleansing afterwards 
needed, and that I3 10 exactly refers to this. But in 
a few minutes our Lord declared they were clean 
through His word, 15 s . John understood that we 
are bathed once for all by the propitiation, and 
repeatedly cleansed by the same means, I John 2\ i r . 
Baptism and the Lord's supper only depict these facts, 
not effect them ; it is doubtful if any allusion was 
meant here or seen subsequently. 

1 3 34 , 1 5 12 ' 1T - In this farewell discourse, the direction 
already given several times to the multitude and to 
enquirers was repeated thrice. The command laid 
on the disciples old indeed in words, but new in 
breadth, in eminence, in motive is, Love one another. 
A Christian needs no other law. 

I4 2G , i6 13 , warrant our accepting the New Testament 
as the only written standard for our creed and our 
conduct. It is the work of these disciples and their 
friends, who were thus promised Divine prompting, 
to recollect everything essential, and to explore all 
further truth needed for this age. Although no special 
promise is annexed to their written words, although 
any other words of theirs handed down orally for some' 
time before being committed to writing would deserve 
equal attention, first to verify, then to heed, yet all 
tradition yields only a few other sentences of theirs, 
barely as long as our shortest epistle, and the genuine- 
ness of the tradition is hardly beyond question. 

It may well be that other directions of theirs were 
not in words mainly, but as to certain customs ; there 
were some things that Paul ordained in all the churches. 
And therefore any doctrine or custom adopted every- 


where in the earliest times by all Christians may 
claim apostolic sanction, which is in the last resort the 
sanction of our Lord through the Spirit and this 
whether or not any express words of institution remain 
on record. On this ground we can recognize as 
Divinely approved, not only the baptism of believers 
and the frequent partaking of the Lord's supper by 
all believers, women as well as men, but also the 
weekly observance of the Lord's day. 

1 5 25 . While Jesus scrupulously observed the Jewish 
Law, it was often clear that He viewed it not as an 
end in itself, but as a means. And while Pharisees 
tried to keep it as a means of earning salvation for 
themselves, He kept it as a means of averting from them 
the curse pronounced by Moses on all who broke it 
after covenanting to keep it ; and also as a necessary 
preliminary to His work of atonement for Pharisees 
and Jews and Gentiles. Their idea of duty was 
bounded by the Law. At 5 39 -' 1T and 8 5 ~ n we see His 
consciousness of a wider outlook than was given from 
the standpoint of the Old Covenant ; and He often 
selected His pronouns so as to suggest that it was 
their Law and not in every sense binding on Him; 
compare 8 ir and io 34 . If He chose to lay aside His 
freedom and put Himself under the yoke of The Law, 
it was that He might lift it for ever off their necks; 
compare Acts I5 10 , Matt n 28 - 30 . 

i/ 16 - 20 . This chapter is often called the High-priestly 
prayer : the language here justifies and illustrates the 
title. The Lord's work hitherto had been mainly 
prophetic, initiated by the descent of the Spirit, who 
had spoken occasionally through the prophets, but 
came at His baptism to abide with Him. The words 
Which the Father gave Him ; He had by this time given 

I7 lfi 20 ] JOHN lo$ 

unto the disciples, who received them and believed 
in His mission. The time was ripe for the next step. 
He now consecrated Himself. The word refers 
specially to the temple ritual, as in Matt 23" ; Heb 9 13 , 
io 10 ' 14 , I3 12 , and suggests that our Lord at this moment 
dedicated Himself as High Priest, and proceeded forth- 
with to offer the sacrifice for Himself before offering 
the atoning sacrifice for the world, Heb 5 3 ~ r . But the 
important thought here is that while the Lord thus 
responds to His appointment, He requests that His 
disciples be associated with Him : like Him in being 
not of the world morally and spiritually, in being 
commissioned by Him prophetically to proclaim God's 
will, may they also be consecrated from on high as 
priests, to follow on His atoning sacrifice with all other 
service. Indeed, His object in this new departure was 
to raise His disciples to this plane, not in empty ritual 
formality, but in deed and truth. This privilege was 
not simply for the eleven who heard Him pray, but 
for all that believe through their word. Thus all 
believers share in this priesthood, for which the High 
Priest here made request, and are joined thereby into 
one body, whose vital energy is derived from Father 
and Son. Beyond this priestly body of believers lies 
the world, to which they do not belong, but which 
is to be attracted by the spectacle of Christian fellow- 
ship and by the testimony rendered to Christ. 

I9 28 ~ 30 . Our Lord was always mindful of the pre- 
dictions concerning the Messiah, I3 18 , i^ 12 ; at times 
He deliberately set Himself to fulfil some, and so put 
out striking claims to be Messiah, Matt 2i 1 ~ 5 . Thus 
He took care to fulfil all that was written about Him 
in the prophets. 

But He had come to do more to fulfil The Law, 


Matt 5". This phrase means no longer to accomplish 
predictions, but to accomplish orders, i.e. to yield 
perfect obedience. This is the meaning of His words 
at His baptism : Thus it becometh us to fulfil all 
righteousness. So Luke wrote of Barnabas and Saul 
fulfilling the commissions of the church at Antioch, in 
Jerusalem, Acts I2 25 , and in Asia Minor, Acts I4 2C . So 
Paul spoke of John obeying his call, Acts I3 25 . So 
he wrote of obeying The Law, Rom 13 s , of Archippus 
discharging his duties as minister, Col 4 1T . Now Jesus 
had consistently and thoroughly fulfilled The Law from 
the moment that we hear of Him going away from the 
Father's house to Nazareth and obeying Joseph and 
Mary as The Law enjoined. He had challenged His 
accusers to point to any sin, 8 46 , and the only thing 
they alleged was a breach of the sabbath law : on this 
they were often harping, 9 1C . But He explicitly de- 
fended Himself on this point, and declared that their 
interpretation of that law was often wrong, and that 
when any direction as to showing kindness and 
humanity conflicted with the sabbath law, the latter 
must give way to the more lasting obligation ; compare 
Mark 2 23 ~ 28 . His conscience was void of offence, and 
to His Father He declared He had accomplished the 
work given Him to do. 

He had told the disciples that not one atom could 
pass away from The Law till all its precepts had been 
accomplished. That was now the case. He had 
obeyed it faithfully in the judgement of even His 
enemies, in that they dared not charge Him face to 
face with disobedience ; in His own judgement ; and 
in the judgement of the Father as testified by the 
resurrection shortly afterwards. 

The Law was thus fully obeyed by one person. If 

i^ 28 - 30 ] JOHN in 

it had been Paul who had kept it, then Paul for himself 
would have honestly earned all the privileges offered 
in the covenant as a matter of right, not of favour ; 
but no one else would profit directly. The case of 
Jesus was different. He was not merely a Jew, but 
the King of the Jews, and His acts were representative, 
available for the whole nation if they did not explicitly 
disown Him as such. He was the Seed foretold, 
summing up the whole seed of Abraham. He could 
act for the nation, being born under The Law, that He 
might redeem them that were under The Law; and 
that is the point here. 

He had then obeyed The Law for the whole Jewish 
nation. The covenant was fulfilled, and therefore 
became of no further binding effect on any one. A 
tribute once paid cannot be exacted again, whether it 
was paid in person or by representative and head. A 
contract once executed cannot be imposed afresh on 
either contractor without his consent. From the 
moment of Christ's death, ending a life of perfect 
obedience, no single Jew trusting in Him need have 
paid any further attention to The Law. Its benefits 
were purchased for him and offered him on simpler 

This did not mean that all directions for conduct were 
abolished. Whoever would share in the benefits 
offered by Christ must agree to His conditions. These 
might be summed up in one word, Surrender, and that 
word embraced everything. Christ sought implicit 
obedience in every single detail of life, and so delved 
where the old Law left the soil hard. He demanded 
such allegiance as was not due even to parents. He 
extended His dominion beyond acts to speech, and even 
to desire, in a way that The Law had only exacted in 


one instance. And before He had yet carried His 
fulfilment far, He gave the one precept that is a suffi- 
cient guide for conduct to every Jew or, for that 
matter, to every man. It was a gain for the Jew to 
have his 613 precepts replaced by a single one : Behave 
to others as you wish them to behave to you. Truly 
Christ's yoke was easy ; but it was a yoke, and, freeing 
from The Law, did not leave a Jew without obligation 
and counsel. 

For the Gentile this obedience of our Lord to the 
Jewish Law is of trifling concern ; we have an example 
of a life spent in unmurmuring and voluntary subjec- 
tion, which may encourage us to bear our light burden 
with patience. But the keeping of that Jewish Law, 
which was a sign distinguishing Jews from all others, 
chiefly availed to place Jew and Gentile on one plane 
before God, as those who for themselves had sinned 
and fallen short of the glory of God, Rom 3 23 . 

Something more, then, was needed than a life of 
perfect obedience, else Gethsemane rather than Olivet 
might have closed His earthly career. The sins of the 
world had to be dealt with, and here there was no 
distinction. The Law had reminded the Jews by its 
endless round of bleeding sacrifices that covering must 
be made, but it only suggested without providing a 
covering. John the Baptist recognized in Jesus the 
Lamb of God, who should take away the sin of the 
world. And this He accomplished in His death. 

He had reached another stage in His career. Long 
ago had He declared by His entering the world with 
the body prepared for Him, Lo, I am come to do Thy 
will, O God. Beginning His proclamation of God as 
Righteous Father, He had notified that He was ready 
to fulfil all righteousness. He had lately rejoiced 

19 28 30 ] JOHN 113 

that His glorifying God in speech and action was 
accomplished, 17*. Now the Servant of Jehovah 
was doing what lay beyond the power of Moses or 
Paul, Ex 32 32 , Rom 9 s , bearing the iniquity of all His 
fellow Jews. Dying to redeem the transgressions that 
were under the first covenant, He declared with His 
latest breath, It is finished. 

And therein He did a mightier work than was 
bounded by national lines. Seed of Abraham, He 
stood for Abraham's race not only before God, but 
before mankind, for in Him were all nations to be 
blessed. Seed of the woman, He acted for the race, 
enduring the bruise on His heel, but crushing the 
serpent's head. His soul being made an offering for 
sin, His days were prolonged and He saw the travail 
of His soul, justifying many. Priest not after the 
order of Aaron, but of Melchizedek, He became author 
of eternal salvation to all who would obey Him. 
Annulling the foregoing commandment, He was bring- 
ing in a better hope through which we may all draw 
near to God. Abolishing in His flesh the enmity, The 
Law of commandments contained in ordinances, He 
slew the enmity between Jew and Gentile, and provided 
access in one spirit unto the Father. Fulfilling that 
first covenant with Jews only, He became surety of a 
better one for all mankind. In this New Covenant 
mediated by His death, all who were called might 
receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. When 
He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, He was 
ready to sit down on the right hand of God, and 
exercise His heavenly priesthood for all mankind. By 
His death, Jewish Law and Sinaitic Covenant were 
fulfilled, and the Christian has naught to do with 



2O 10 ~ 23 . On this evening there were gathered in the 
upper room several disciples ; not only ten of the 
twelve, but others with them, Luke 24 33 . What our 
Lord said here, He said to all who were there, and 
not simply to the apostles. 

After greeting, He at once stated the great purpose 
of The Church about to be constituted. He sent them, 
as the Father had sent Him, to redeem the world. 
He had done alone the first and greater part of the 
work, making atonement for sin ; but He had done 
more. He had also avoided all sin, and had given new 
hope to sinners ; He had lived a life of purity and 
helpfulness; He had won many people to love the 
Father and Himself, and had trained many followers to 
continue His work. These parts of His own com- 
mission He now passed on to His disciples, who had 
already been promised that they should do greater 
works than He. 

Next He breathed on them and said, Receive ye the 
Holy Spirit. Ezekiel had seen in vision the breath 
entering into the bodies, so that they lived; God had 
breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life ; now the 
same symbolic action was employed again with deeper 
meaning. The Body of Christ now formed was 
quickened into life, even if as yet it was helpless and 
infantile, not yet endowed with power from on high, 
only able to be cherished and to be fed with milk, 
learning something of its high calling, not able to do 
anything apart from Christ. 

Then came a great endowment with authority. Peter 
had been told on a kindred occasion, Matt l6 19 , that 
whatever he ordered and forbade should be ordered 
and forbidden by Divine authority. Shortly after- 
wards the same promise was extended to the local 

20 1!) 23 ] JOHN 115 

congregation ; now substantially the same promise was 
extended to those who represented The Church Uni- 
versal. It was not meant for Peter personally ; but 
as the earliest to base himself on the one foundation, 
he was taken as representative. It was not meant for 
those disciples in the upper room personally, to the 
exclusion of others in the same attitude of faith and 
obedience. It was not meant for any officers, to the 
exclusion of their fellow members. It was not meant 
for that generation alone. The Church, in so far as 
it was on earth, was a corporation with succession 
until Christ should come and take it complete to 
Himself. It was not meant for the members upon 
earth, irrespective of Divine guidance. In every case 
there is the condition expressed, and here it runs that 
when in possession of the gift of the Holy Spirit, their 
actions below should coincide with the Divine purpose. 
This authority has nothing to do with defining 
doctrine. On each occasion it is concerned with 
discipline. All essential doctrine was given germinally, 
at least within a few years, and is enshrined in the 
New Testament; see comments on John I4 26 , i6 13 . 
But men burdened with sin need guidance and relief 
or warning. When Christ was upon earth, they could 
come to Him, and He could assure the penitent of 
forgiveness, the impenitent of judgement. He spoke 
with authority, and eased many aching hearts, or smote 
many that were hardened. Now that He was soon to 
go, He transferred this authority to His Church, com- 
missioning it, when guided by the Holy Spirit, who 
can convince the world of sin and righteousness and 
judgement, to announce in His name remission of sins 
on repentance, but retention of sins to those who 
rejected Him. 


20 30)31 . The incidents narrated were chosen and 
grouped by John so as to produce faith and obtain life. 
He never mentioned that after the last supper our 
Lord instituted a new rite, and that after the resurrection 
He commanded baptism. Evidently these ceremonies 
were not in his eyes very important for the spiritual 
life; and his consistent silence about them in his 
other writings confirms the inference. 

2 1 1 " 17 . While the verbal commission had been 
emphatic, it was supplemented by a gift which to 
thoughtful disciples symbolized the success of Christians 
in fishing for men under their Lord's guidance, and 
His provident care for their needs. Then to one who 
above all others might seem to have forfeited his place 
by a threefold denial, came a threefold testing and 
renewed charge to guard and strengthen all those won 
by the Good Shepherd. 


ACTS i 5 . The former contrast between John's water 
baptism and the new Spirit baptism was reiterated. 
We have no evidence in 2 41 or elsewhere that these 
first one hundred and twenty disciples were baptized in 
water, whether by John or by the earliest disciples of 
Jesus, John 4 2 , or by one another. They were 
undoubtedly baptized in the Spirit, and their case, 
coupled with that of Cornelius, is awkward for a theory 
of baptismal regeneration. 

i 8 . The Church was constituted as a society of 
brethren, knit by allegiance to Jesus as their Lord; 
pledged to continue His work of spreading good news 
of salvation by His death, to aim at gathering those 
who accepted the news as learners, at enlisting them 
formally by baptism, at training them to a knowledge 
and performance of His will; commissioned to announce 
the terms of salvation with all authority, as the repre- 
sentative of Christ on earth. Formed with care during 
His ministry, it was born of the travail of His soul on 
Calvary, drew its first breath from the Holy Spirit on 
the day of resurrection, and was fed with pure milk 
during forty days as He spoke the things concerning 
the kingdom of God. A few days more, and energy 
should actuate every limb, as the Holy Spirit should 
come not with authority alone, but with power, and the 

work of salvation should begin on a new scale. 



I- 1 " 20 . Peter's view of the qualifications of an apostle 
was, association with Jesus from the first, personal 
intercourse with Him since the resurrection, choice by 
Jesus ; and the one duty he put in the forefront was 
to testify from his own knowledge as to the fact of the 
resurrection. On these terms the apostles must needs 
die out in a few score of years. 

2 l ~ i . " They were all together " : not only the apostles 
Who are specified separately, I 20 and 2 14 , but all, to the 
number of some one hundred and twenty, including the 
women, Mary, and the Lord's brethren. All were filled 
with the Holy Spirit, not simply the apostles. 

It is a curious fact, that although the promise was 
made that the disciples should be baptized in. the Holy 
Spirit within a few days, and although this was 
assuredly the fulfilment, the metaphor is not retained 
by the historian, who spoke of their being "filled with 
the Spirit." The one implies their being surrounded 
with the Spirit as by an all-encompassing atmosphere 
in which they lived and moved ; the other, their being 
taken full possession of and thoroughly imbued by Him. 
Both agree in the conception of the completeness of 
the influence exercised on them by the Spirit. There 
is, however, a slight difference that deserves notice. 
Literal baptism can only be experienced once, and 
this Pentecostal experience was unique for each partici- 
pant ; only twice again do we hear of such an occur- 
rence, and then not for these same people once for 
Philip's converts, once at Csesarea, on each occasion 
when Peter was present. It would seem as though 
these cases met the promise to Peter, and that he 
then used the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, in Judeea, 
and Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth as 
represented by a Gentile city. He initiated the work, 

2 1 4 ] ACTS 119 

he was the human agent in liberating the power from 
on high to these successive classes. The same people 
could afterwards have a revival, and be filled with the 
Spirit again, 4 8<sl , but not be baptized again. The 
power of God is now abroad in the world for those 
who will to receive. So it is unscriptural to speak of 
a man or a church being baptized afresh in the Spirit : 
one baptism, many infillings ; or, better still, one 
baptism, ever full, 6 3 , f A . 

2 ir>18 . It is rather painful to turn to an argument 
of another kind that the Spirit is said to be poured 
forth ; and therefore the word Baptize means here, at 
least, Pour. It is a poor case that r.elies on figures of 
speech ; but even this falls into line with the others. 
If all the house in which they were sitting was filled 
by the Spirit poured forth upon them, they were 
assuredly immersed in the Spirit. It is more profitable 
to observe that they were thoroughly, not partially, 
under the influence of the Spirit, 2*. Further, that 
all those baptized in the Spirit were of an age to 
prophesy or do something for the Lord. 

2 38 . Repent for the remission of sins such was the 
older message of all the prophets : Be baptized, this 
was the addition of John : In the name of Jesus as 
Messiah, here was the new note : Then you shall 
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ; and so the promise 
of the old prophet rounded off the whole. The speech 
had aimed at proving that God had made the crucified 
Jesus not only Lord and Master, but also Messiah ; the 
acknowledgement of this fact was required by a rite 
symbolizing the burial and resurrection of that crucified 
Jesus, with words recognizing Him as Messiah, Son of 
God. Such was at least one addition to the meaning 
attached by John to his baptism. 


To suppose that Peter meant baptism was now an 
extra condition before sins were remitted, is to repre- 
sent him as making salvation harder than the prophets 
had done, or than John had done, or than Christ had 
done. The words do not require such a meaning, and 
all the analogy of other offers of salvation forbids it. 
His own explanation in I Pet 3 21 carefully excludes it. 

2 39 . The promise by Joel was now and henceforth 
to be fulfilled, that the Spirit should be poured forth 
on all, who should prophesy or dream or see visions, 
and that whoever called on the Lord should be saved. 
For centuries it had lain dormant ; now it was to take 
effect, for the hearers, for all future generations, and 
for all distant peoples. 

To your children. This evidently referred to the 
sons and daughters mentioned by Joel, of an age to 
prophesy. The reference was not limited to the literal 
children of the hearers, but was to widen the promise 
from those who heard to all their successors ; compare 
Deut 29 29 , Isa ^ 3 , 54 13 . When, a few days later, Peter 
called the people Sons of the prophets, or wrote in his 
epistles of Obedient children, Cursed children, he was 
not thinking of literal parentage, but of ethical likeness. 
Paul at Antioch in Pisidia called all his generation 
Children of the fathers. The word very rarely is to 
be taken literally, and there is a separate word for 
little children. The occasion forbids such a sense being 
given here, and the fact that they who received his 
word were baptized shows how it was understood. 

From the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel the truth 
had been proclaimed that each man stood or fell 
irrespective of his ancestry. The Lord had insisted 
greatly on the value of the individual. To read into 
Peter's words an invitation for a father to believe, and 

2' 8 ] ACTS ill 

obtain the promise for himself and his infants, was to 
forget all recent teaching and to pass over such obvious 
facts as that the advice was given, Be baptized, every 
one of you, Save yourselves. Intelligent hearers were 
addressed, and were not exhorted to bring unintelligent 
infants for some ceremony. 

2 41 . Jerusalem had much water stored within and with- 
out the walls. The pools of Gihon, Joab's Well, Siloam, 
En-rogel lay in the southern valleys ; the pools of 
Hezekiah and Bethesda were in the city. John tells us 
how one of these was available for any one to wash in, 
9 7 , and how another was used habitually for bathing, 
5 1-r . Modern excavators have described other large 
public reservoirs and numberless domestic cisterns. 

The actual performance of the act of baptism was as 
a rule left to inferiors ; Jesus Himself did not baptize, 
but His disciples. Peter at Caesarea ordered that 
Cornelius and his friends should be baptized ; Paul 
only baptized a very few at Corinth. The great work 
was preaching, and once that was done by the apostles, 
sent for the purpose, the mere baptizing might be 
handed over to others. There were about one hun- 
dred and twenty disciples, and with all deductions for 
apostles, women, and young people, we may surely 
reckon that thirty were available. The strength of 
these would not be heavily taxed to baptize a hundred 
each, especially according to the mode still employed 
in the East, where the candidate stands in water chest 
high, and bends beneath the water, the administrator 
doing little more than place a hand on the head. 
There was ample time for the ceremony, as was shown 
by a similar scene on July 3, 1878, in India, when 
2,222 Telugus were immersed in eight hours by six 
administrators, working two at a time. 


2' 12 . Here were illustrated the four elements of early 
Church life. First, teaching by the apostles, who thus 
carried out another part of the commission from the 
Lord, and unfolded the scriptures as they themselves 
had been taught. 

Second, a habit of association together as having 
common benefits, aims, and hopes. This chiefly ex- 
pressed itself in contribution for the poor, even as the 
Lord in His poverty had instituted a poor-bag. The 
English word Fellowship here is too vague, and does 
not express the practical nature of the daily minis- 
tration that obtained at once, 4 33 , 6 1 . This duty of 
contribution was greatly insisted on in each congre- 
gation, Heb 1 3 1G , I Tim 6 18 ; was urged as a mark of 
fraternal fellowship, Gal 2 10 ; and Paul wrote about it 
repeatedly, Rom I2 13 , I5 26 ; II Cor 8 4 , 9 13 ; Gal 6 e , 
taking great pains to promote brotherly feeling between 
different congregations. Another form of this con- 
tribution was in line with our Lord's habit of accepting 
hospitality for all His disciples and with His directions 
for showing it, Luke I4 12 ~ 14 ; and so there arose daily 
social meals. These were a common device to express 
and develope corporate feeling. Jews were accustomed 
to join in a feast of thanksgiving and peace after an 
atoning sacrifice, Lev 3. 

Third, the Lord's supper. To the meal proper 
they would readily add the new rites of breaking bread 
and drinking wine together in memory of the great 
sacrifice on Calvary ; and they settled down to a daily 
observance after the preaching in the temple, 2 46 . 
Apparently they took most literally our Lord's words, 
I Cor ii 25 , Do this as often as you drink, in remem- 
brance of Me. 

Fourth, Public worship by the brotherhood. They 

2] ACTS 123 

did not abandon the temple, where pilgrims wefe con- 
stantly to be found, and where the broad colonnades 
provided space for many to hear the good news ; there 
they did their evangelistic work. But it was obvious 
that the new wine needed new skins, the old forms 
could no longer express their joy and their needs. 
Even the synagogues, with all their reading of those 
scriptures which testified of Jesus, afforded no sufficient 
outlet for their devotion ; so regular prayers arose, and 
gave their distinctive name to the new worship. 

Formal definitions are seldom given in scripture, 
which teaches rather by example. But seeing what 
were the peculiarities of these brethren, acting under 
apostolic guidance, we may surely say that any body 
is a church of the Lord Jesus Christ which is composed 
of baptized believers, who take as their standard of life 
the New Testament, who devote themselves to caring 
for the bodies and souls of others, and whose worship 
includes the Lord's supper and prayer. And we may 
at least say that any body which fails to follow apostolic 
precedent, in any of these matters, falls short of realiz- 
ing apostolic ideals. 

4.18-20 Here is a good precedent to help understand 
where obedience is due. Our Lord had bidden defer- 
ence be paid to those who sat in Moses' seat, and He 
had paid it when accused; but He. had warned that, 
while some things are due to Caesar, others are due to 
God. This was a crucial case. He had since claimed 
all authority, and had in the same breath ordered Peter 
and John to make disciples. Nothing whatever could 
override such a direct command. The Sanhedrin did 
not simply say that the temple was reserved for the 
established religion, and bid them seek other places for 
their dissenting preaching; nor on the plea of public 


order forbid street preaching in business hours; but 
flatly forbade the new developement, whether evan- 
gelizing or teaching. So there was nothing to do but 
say respectfully the command was invalid, and would 
be disregarded. Compare 5 20> 29 , 

5 11 . Here, for the first time in history, as distinct 
from our Lord's words, we come upon the word church ; 
for it was a mistake to insert it at 2 4T . Even here, 
however, it is used by Luke, writing years after, and 
not by any one speaking at the time. The early 
phrases were vague : Their own company, Thy bond- 
servants, The multitude of them that believed, The 
disciples, The multitude of the disciples. Presently 
they showed a preference for The Way, 9 2 , I9 9>23 , 
24 14>22 , though their enemies called them a sect, 24". 
Then in Jewish circles James spoke of a Synagogue ; 
but the general title used was that which Luke naturally 
employed here, Church, or, in Greek, Ecclesia. 

The church at Jerusalem, even when it numbered five 
thousand, still met as a whole on occasion, and acted as 
a whole, 4 23 - 35 , 6 1 - 6 , 15 4>22 ; but for the daily worship the 
brethren assembled in different private houses, 2 46 , 8 3 , 
I2 12 , and the little band habitually meeting in a home 
does not seem at Jerusalem to have taken the title of 
church. On the contrary, the name was for a time 
stretched to cover all the believers throughout Judsea 
and Galilee and Samaria, 9 31 . Not until a distinctly 
Gentile community was formed at Antioch do we hear 
of a second church, ii 20 , I3 1 . But its daughter com- 
munities soon took the title, I4 23 - 27 , i Th I 1 , and the 
local usage was thus established in accordance with 
the Greek conception of one Ecclesia to each city. 
Paul then spoke of the churches of God which are in 
Judaea, I Th 2 14 . 

5 n ] ACTS 125 

As the churches increased, it seems to have been 
Paul's custom to group them according to the existing 
civil divisions, so that we hear of the churches of 
Syria and Cilicia, of Macedonia, of Achaia, of Asia, 
of Galatia. The only known exception to this custom 
was at Rome before he visited it ; there we read not 
of the church at Rome, but of the church in the house 
of Prisca and Aquila, and of other little groups, whose 
mention is followed by a warning against divisions, 
Rom i6 3 ~ 17 . Facts like these deserve more attention 
than they generally receive from Independents and 
Baptists. Paul would understand County Associations 
or a Union or Convention of all the churches in a civil 
area ; but for him to find six or eight churches in a 
town of the size of Boston or Richmond would be 
something novel. Convenience of worship might dic- 
tate several meeting-houses; but he apparently knew 
only one managing committee for all the Christians in 
one city, and gave the term church to the whole body. 

On the other hand, while he encouraged alliances of 
churches, he did not regard any alliance as a church ; 
still Jess did he write so loftily as to the Ephesians 
about any alliance. Such groups are desirable; but 
though they attract even a third of all living Christians, 
nay, if they could gather into one all living Christians, 
the term The Church is too large for anything but the 
whole body of believers everywhere and of all times. 
When what is said of this glorious Body is transferred 
without question to the Anglican federation, or the 
older Roman, or the oldest Greek, grave mistakes are 
sure to be made. 

6 l ~ 6 . With the growth of the church, organization 
became necessary. In the East local affairs are 
managed by a committee of the seniors. From the 


earliest times we read of natural leaders as Elders, 
Ex 3 1G ; they represented the people in confessing 
sin, Lev 4 15 , received the Spirit to prophesy, Num 1 1 25 . 
But chiefly they were a business committee, Deut 25*, 
Jud 8 14 , I Kings 2I 11 , II Kings I0 1 , specially con- 
cerned with judging and administering in each city, 
Deut I9 12 , 25 s ; Ruth 4*. 

In apostolic times every Jewish city had its elders, 
acting as a modern town council, superintending baths, 
roads, lighting, markets, public buildings, education, 
worship, charity, and all other public purposes. Those 
at Jerusalem, in conjunction with the chief priests, 
managed all national affairs within limits prescribed 
by Rome, Matt i6 21 , 2t 23 , 26-28; Acts 4 5 ' 8 > 23 , 6 12 , 22 5 , 
23", 24*, 25 15 . But every city had its local council of 
elders, Matt I0 ir , Luke f. They numbered seven in 
the smallest community, according to the Mishna and 
to Josephus, who even imagined this had been the 
case from the time of Moses, Wars II 20 5 , Ant IV 
8 14 ' 38 . All officials were apparently appointed by them, 
such as alms collectors (who, according to the Mishna, 
numbered two or three), schoolmasters, beadle, -con- 
ductors of public worship. At some place in Palestine 
and at Corinth there was only one of these last, 
technically called Rulers of the Synagogue, Luke 13", 
Acts 1 8 8> ir . At Capernaum and at Antioch there were 
several, Mark 5 22 , Acts I3 15 . Except at public worship, 
they had no superiority over the elders, and need not 
even be elders. 

Now the followers of Jesus were being shut out 
from the mass of the Jews, John g 22 , Acts 5 13 ; so they 
were compelled to organize separately. They would 
naturally adopt familiar methods, and so the apostles 
advised the choice of seven reputable pious and wise 

6 1 6 ] ACTS 127 

men to conduct their business. No title is mentioned 
here, but at n 30 and 2i 18 we hear thrice of the elders 
receiving money from Paul for the poor of Jerusalem, 
and the elders are mentioned thrice in chap.ter 15; so 
that the old name was soon given to them. 

There is no evidence that at Jerusalem they were 
ever called Deacons a name hardly appropriated by 
Jews to officers, but given to menial servants, Mark 9 33 , 
John 2 9 . And when Canon Bruce, in his generally 
admirable sketch of Apostolic Order and Unity, argues 
that the organization of the synagogue was closely 
reproduced in the Christian Ecclesia, he slightly 
misapprehends its nature and so overstates a good case : 
for he supposes only one president ; transfers to him 
the title Sheliach, which rather refers to the beadle, 
Neander, Planting 34, or even to any man called up 
to pray, Schurer II 2 or ; confounds the men of leisure 
with the alms collectors, and identifies these with the 
officers now under discussion. 

6 6 . The method of appointment was simple; the 
whole multitude chose, and the apostles installed by 
prayer and laying on of hands. This last action was as 
ancient as when the Israelites appointed the Levites 
to the service of Jehovah, Num S 9 ~ 12 , or when Moses 
appointed Joshua to be general, Num 27 t3 ~ 23 . Con- 
fusion has arisen as to its meaning, since hands could 
be laid on a man for other purposes, in enmity, 5 18 , 
for healing, 28, to invoke the gift of the Holy Spirit, 
8 17 . But all these purposes are out of the question 
here ; the seven were friends, not ill, and already full 
of the Spirit. The act was the ordinary method for 
admitting new members to the Sanhedrin, or council 
of elders, Schurer II i 177 , and was naturally adopted 
to instal the first Nazarene elders. It soon passed 


into ordinary use even in Gentile Christian churches, 
Acts I3 3 ; I Tim 4 14 , 5 22 ; II Tim I 6 . In the case of 
Timothy a spiritual gift was simultaneously conferred ; 
but these gifts have long died out, I Cor 1 3 8 . Those 
who imagine that they can now confer spiritual grace 
by this act had better try first if they can confer in 
the same way bodily grace, i:e. healing, Mark 2 9 . 

In this election we see a joint action of the local 
church, and of the apostles representing the whole 
body of believers. In the selection of Matthias there 
was apparently the same co-operation, though with 
further ceremony. On all similar occasions there was 
at the outset some such concurrence, Acts S 14 , n 1 - 12 - 2 ^ 
I4 23 ; Rom I 11 ; I Tim 3 ^ 5 W ~ 21 ; Titus I 5 . On New 
Testament principles and precedents no church is 
entitled to act alone, even in ordaining to the local 

6 s . There was no thought of limiting the conduct 
of worship to any one ; business might be entrusted 
to the seven, while the apostles confined themselves 
to prayer and preaching ; but Stephen did not suppose 
himself excluded from preaching, too, and Philip shortly 
followed his example. It was doubtless not at Corinth 
only that in meeting every one might contribute 
something to the worship, and in public every one 
might speak for his Master, 8 4 . 

6 13>14 . Stephen seems to have been the first who 
discerned the radical character of the work of Christ ; 
he announced that the temple was now superfluous and 
might be destroyed, since the one perfect sacrifice 
had been offered on the altar of the cross, and that 
the Jewish peculiarities or traditional customs need no 
longer be observed. Whether he himself drew the 
full conclusion that the whole Law was superseded 

6' 3 , H ] ACTS 129 

is not clear : his two references to it'point rather the 
other way. Perhaps only his logical opponents saw 
that such was the inevitable implication in his arguments. 
One man in the synagogue of the Cilicians, Saul of 
Tarsus, grasped the conclusion, and though now he 
recoiled from it horror-stricken, he repeated it at 
Antioch in Pisidia, and developed it most powerfully 
in a circular letter to the Galatians. 

gi2, is_ Hfj-jg Samaritans believed Philip about Jesus ; 
it is not said that they believed in Jesus. From the 
sequel it is clear that there was something defective 
in the experience of some, especially of Simon. In- 
tellectual assent may be given to a series of propositions 
without any appropriate action following. Even demons 
believe, but do not repent ; they only tremble. 

8 14 ~ w . What was lacking was soon made evident ; 
even if some of them were far enough advanced to. 
have entrusted themselves to Jesus as their Lord, 
they had not yet any power from on high, They were 
passive, not yet active. A similar fault is often to 
be seen still devotion unaccompanied by service, or 
perhaps even activity devoid of manifest blessing. 
These are not the only types of imperfect Christians, 
but they are serious. Three things only were done 
to round them off towards perfection ; they were taught 
better, they were prayed for, they had' the apostle's 
hands laid on them. With thorough teaching from 
the outset, with believing prayer and with that symbolic 
assurance of new life that baptism gives, there is no 
reason to-day why any should hang ambiguously short 
of the full blessing meant for all. The case of the 
Samaritans was perhaps permitted to occur, not that 
Philip was incompetent, but that Peter might have 
the promise fulfilled, and use the keys of the kingdom 



for the Samaritans who had heard of that kingdom 
and Messiah from another. 

gis-24 Simon saw wonderful effects following this 
laying on of the apostles' hands. That differed in 
purpose from their induction of Philip, and certainly 
no such effect and no such purpose can be achieved 
to-day in the material sphere, and apparently none 
such in the spiritual. It was not, however, impossible 
that Simon might have had imparted to him the power 
to produce like effects ; but he evidently sought it for 
his own glory, not the glory of God or the good of 
others. Here, then, is a sad case, showing that even 
belief and baptism and possibly even the prayers and 
laying on of hands of good men are quite compatible 
with continuance in or relapse into bondage to iniquity. 
The case of Judas shows the inadequacy of repentance 
apart from trust in Christ ; the case of Simon shows 
the inadequacy of a species of belief and baptism apart 
from repentance. 

gss, sB j Philip's preaching Jesus evidently included 
a statement of the order of Jesus that those who 
believed in Him should profess that belief in "baptism. 

It has been pointed out that the way from Jerusalem 
to Gaza is expressly said to be desert, and argued that 
any water in a desert would be scanty and sufficient 
only for sprinkling. This overlooks that in Matt 14" 
we find Jesus went by boat to a desert. One road 
from Jerusalem to Gaza crosses several brooks and 
skirts the Mediterranean. But modem travellers say 
that even under the present misrule, neither road can 
be regarded as desert, and the adjective is more likely 
to refer to the town. Gaza had been destroyed and 
was deserted ; a New Gaza sprang up on the coast, 
and when after awhile the old site was reoccupied, 

8 35 , 3|S ] ACTS 131 

it was called Desert Gaza. Compare Fen Ditton and 
Wood Ditton, Hartford and New Hartford. If this 
be the meaning of the phrase, that they were on the 
road to Desert Gaza, there is no room to raise any 

8 3T . This verse was not penned by Luke, but was 
interpolated long afterwards. It may be good evidence 
what was the custom in the churches when it was 
inserted, but is no evidence as to what Philip required 
or the eunuch did. The true narrative implies that 
a request for baptism raises a strong presumption of 
faith ; and if Philip had perhaps been mistaken lately 
on this point, he was now safeguarded by the direction 
of the Holy Spirit. 

g38,39_ There can be no doubt what Philip did to 
the eunuch. If we did not know independently that 
Baptize meant Immerse, that would be suggested by 
the remarks that both went down into the water and 
that they came up out of the water. To attach rare 
meanings to all these words is quite possible ; but by 
a similar needless process the meaning of any passage 
in literature can be ruined. 

9 10 . Ananias was only " a certain disciple," no word 
of any office or of any special endowment; yet for 
the most important convert to be admitted, the agent 
chosen was just one of the many who. flit across the 
scene once only. 

9 31 . This is the only passage where there is any 
ambiguity as to the meaning of the word church. It 
is apparently to be taken in its larger sense : The 
Church Universal had peace in the whole of Judsea 
and Galilee and Samaria. The construction, however, 
is unparalleled in the New Testament, and it is not 
surprising that a scribe altered it to read, The churches. 


It is, however, noteworthy that there is no sign yet 
of any other Body of elders than that already elected, 
and it is possible that in all the country towns 
accustomed to look up to Jerusalem, the local disciples 
attempted no separate organization, but regarded them- 
selves as members of the one and only new Congre- 
gation of Jehovah, which had headquarters at the 
religious capital. At Damascus the disciples were 
apparently still members of the old " orthodox " syna- 
gogues, 9 2> 20 ; at Lydda and Joppa we read of saints and 
disciples, but not of a church. Even many years later 
we only read of disciples at Tyre, brethren at Ptolemais, 
not of a church or elders there or at Caesarea. In 
favour of this supposition it may be noted that 
Jerusalem was in civil matters supreme over the 
eleven divisions of Judeea, and was responsible for the 
tribute from the whole province, Josephus, Wars II 
I7 1 , III 3 5 . Similarly we learn from the Talmud that 
the elders of Jerusalem used to visit the towns of 
Judsea for civil and religious jurisdiction. It would be 
very natural, then, that the Nazarene Jews should' 
retain this custom and regard all in the province of 
Judaea, if not also those in Samaria and Galilee, as 
belonging to the church at Jerusalem. Thus we can 
understand readily how Philip, an elder of Jerusalem, 
presently went to live at Csesarea, 2i 8 . See note 
on 5 11 . 

io 9 ~ 1G>28 . Evidently until this time Peter had re- 
garded The Law as still binding on him, and was now 
reluctant to break it, even at the direct bidding of his 
Lord. He was referred to the old declaration that 
there was no real defilement in anything edible, Mark 
7 15 ~ 19 , and two days later he drew the corollary that 
the same principle held as to the abolition of distinctions 

io 9 16 , 28 ] ACTS 133 

between men. That The Law as a whole was obsolete 
had not yet come home to him, nor was he even certain 
of his ground on this one point ; compare Gal 2 12 . 

lO 44 " 48 . This is the only case recorded when the 
Holy Spirit descended on men before verbal profession 
and baptism. But it is quite clear and definite; and 
when neither the six brethren from Joppa nor the 
whole church at Jerusalem could object, we must 
recognize that the Holy Spirit is not limited by out- 
ward acts. Regeneration is not the consequence nor 
the accompaniment of baptism ; here it precedes it. 

It is equally clear that baptism is incumbent on the 
believer ; Peter did not wait to preach it at length, nor 
for a request from Cornelius and his friends, but he 
ordered that they should be baptized. 

The phrase might possibly mean, He commanded 
them to be baptized ; but in 8 38 the corresponding 
translation, He commanded the chariot to stand still, 
is evidently a mistake or a clumsy way of saying, He 
commanded that the chariot should stand still. It is 
possible here that Peter spoke directly to Cornelius, 
and ordered him to be baptized ; it is more probable 
that he spoke again to the six men from Joppa whom 
he had just addressed, and ordered them to baptize the 
first Gentile converts. 

He opened the door by preaching ; the mere act of 
baptism was for others. Moreover, while at verse 45 we 
read of Jews as " they of the circumcision," a phrase 
found also at n 2 ; Rom 3 30 , 4 9 - 12 ; Gal 2 7 ~ 12 ; Col 4"; 
Titus I 10 , yet so little was baptism regarded as vital, 
and so little was it opposed to circumcision, that the 
phrase " they of the baptism " is quite unknown. At 
most Paul said, " We are the (true) circumcision," Ph 3 3 . 

Ij 3 , Compare Gal 2 12 , 


II 4 " 18 . Peter did not try to overbear them by 
authority, but explained the circumstances fully to his 
brother apostles and the brethren generally, and was 
careful to bring witnesses to his story. Here is no 
autocratic ruling, but a spirit of reasonableness and 
brotherly submission. 

II 3>22 ' 2T . The church in Jerusalem evidently felt a 
sort of responsibility and headship, to oversee every 
extension, guard it from error and guide it aright. 
This is more strongly marked in the events at Antioch. 
If Jerusalem had remained, or the church at Jerusalem 
had maintained a continuity, it is evident from certain 
early romances what a terrible Papacy would have 
developed there, with most specious claims to reverence 
from all other churches. 

1 1 26 . Here is the first mention of any other company 
than that at Jerusalem, taking the title of church. 

Here, too, is the first mention of that title for the 
followers of Jesus, which has become the best known. 
Not chosen by the disciples, but a nickname coined by 
the wits of Antioch, it has yet been accepted as truly 
expressive. It is curious to find one modern species 
of Christians disusing all modern titles to put forth a 
semi-exclusive claim to this, as Biblical ! 
II 30 . Compare 2 42 and 6 1 - . 

I2 ir . James, the brother of Jesus, was already 
acquiring that eminent position that soon made him 
the natural chairman of a meeting in which there were 
apostles present, and that, in legend, was exaggerated 
into a rule over the apostles. 

I3 1 . There is no mention of any officers in the 
church at Antioch, but there were gifted men serving 
it for spiritual ends. A prophet was apparently, as in 
Old Covenant times, a man directly empowered to 

13'] ACTS 135 

speak for God, or inspired; his message might be of 
present duty or of future events. These prophets, like 
the apostles, were very influential in the early age of 
the churches, but gradually the gift of revelation was 
withdrawn, and prophets died out. 

1 3 2 . Saul had long ago received a direct commission 
from the Lord, first outside Damascus, to be a witness 
of the resurrection, 26 1G , and again in the temple, to go 
to the Gentiles, 22 21 . Hitherto he had exercised this 
ministry chiefly in Tarsus and Antioch. Barnabas is 
not said to have received any such direct commission, 
but had been sent by the mother church to see to the 
work at Antioch. The two men were therefore on 
different levels : to Saul this was only a public recogni- 
tion by a church of his call to the itinerant ministry, 
and a direction to exercise it elsewhere ; to Barnabas 
it was probably the first call from the Spirit, essentially 
direct, even if coupled with a message to the church, 
and it may have been the first intimation that he, too, 
was to be a travelling evangelist. 

The direct call from God was supplemented by. a 
recognition from the church. Comparatively few 
churches act on this precedent when a man to-day 
feels called to be a foreign missionary, though it is 
often applied to the remoter case of a call to the 
home ministry. 

13 3 . Prayer and laying on of hands were usual at 
investing a man with solemn duties, and they are 
common to-day. Fasting- here accompanied. It is 
nowhere ordered for permanent observance, but may 
find support from our Lord's words, Mark 2 20 , and 
from Apostolic precedent. So long as it is not under- 
taken in the spirit of mere ceremonialism, condemned 
repeatedly by the prophets, it can do no harm. There 


are many who may find help in the spiritual life by 
foregoing temptations to indulge lusts of the flesh. 
I3 i4,i6,4z-H Not on i y at j erusa i em) 6 8 " 10 , but 

generally we see that Christian preachers habitually 
used the opportunities offered by the synagogue worship, 
following the example and anticipations of their Master, 
Mark I 21 , 13. 

This worship was customary, not statutory. There 
is nothing in The Law that enjoined it. But after the 
return from captivity in Babylon, when the local high 
places were not revived, and sacrificial worship was 
strictly confined to Jerusalem, some provision was 
advisable for local needs. Gradually the custom be- 
came universal that the elders of every town built a 
school and provided a schoolmaster ; that they trans- 
acted public business in this school ; that public worship 
was held in the school every Monday, Thursday, and 
Saturday, the service on the sabbath being the chief; 
that they appointed one or more rulers of this synagogue 
who should preside at worship. The temple worship 
was unique, official, conducted by paid hereditary 
officers ; the synagogue worship was wherever ten 
Jews could bring their families together, voluntary, 
democratic in management and execution. 

The worship was carefully distinguished from that of 
the temple. There the congregation stood in the open 
air ; here sat within doors. There the authorized visible 
furniture included a bath and an altar of masonry, 
though the priests also saw a table for provisions, a 
lamp-stand, and a gilded altar; here the customary 
furniture was on a platform, where the chairman pre- 
sided, and there were prominent seats for the chief 
men, with a reading-desk, an alms-box, some trumpets 
and lamps, and, above all ? a bookcase for the rolls of 

i 3 > s , *_] ACTS 137 

scripture. There the priests offered sacrifices and the 
Levites chanted psalms with the help of a grand 
orchestra, while the worshippers looked on ; here the 
priests had only the slight privileges of priority in 
reading and of pronouncing the blessing, while the 
ruler invited men to read a long lesson from The Law 
and a short one from the Prophets, or to lead in the 
customary prayers, or to speak on any religious topic 
they chose. Evidently the, early Christian worship 
developed from the voluntary democratic Biblical 
worship of the synagogue ; the temple worship was a 
series of shadowy ceremonies pointing to the pro- 
pitiatory work of Christ, and unworthy of perpetuation 
after He had actually made atonement. 

The status of Jewish-Christian missionaries in a 
synagogue is noteworthy. As Jews they would be 
welcomed at once into the congregation ; if apparently 
educated, they might often be invited, as in the case of 
Jesus at Nazareth, or Paul and Barnabas here, to take 
part in the service and give an address. In accepting 
the invitation they acknowledged the authority of the 
Jewish colony, exercised through the local elders ; and 
therefore, if they failed to convince the majority, they 
were liable to be tried as heretics, and condemned 
either to be beaten, to be excommunicated, or even to 
be stoned as blasphemers. The Romans allowed any 
sentence short of death to be inflicted by the elders on 
a Jew who admitted their jurisdiction, and so it came 
to pass that Paul could soon say he had been scourged 
five times, II Cor II 24 . The central Sanhedrin at 
Jerusalem could pass resolutions binding on the local 
elders everywhere, John 9 22 ; had once commissioned 
Paul to root out heresy at Damascus, and was accus- 
tomed to dispatch circular letters or special agents on 


grave questions, so that Jewish-Christian missionaries 
might find whole colonies forewarned against them, 
Acts 28 21 . But generally they could try to leaven and 
win the community, and, if failing in that, could 
organize their adherents, when excommunicated, into 
a new synagogue or church, i8 7 , 19. Of course, from 
the standpoint of the old "orthodox" Jews, they were 
at first heretics, dissenting from the doctrines evolved 
from The Law and enshrined in the traditions, and 
blossomed forth into schismatic separatists, openly 
blaspheming God. Jesus knew the difficulties felt by 
men trained on the old lines, and long bore gently with 
their hard words, Luke 5 39 . 

1 3 1C> 43> 48 . The synagogues were open to the 
Gentiles, and many were so far convinced of the 
superiority of the Jewish system to their own paganism 
that they voluntarily followed many Jewish customs 
and adopted many Jewish beliefs. They have their 
modern representatives in men of India, unable to 
believe their Hindu mythology, attracted by Christ, 
yet unwilling to break utterly with their caste by 

I3 39 . This was the first announcement by Paul of 
his radical attitude towards the Jewish Law ; his atten- 
tion having been turned to the matter by Stephen, the 
three years' retreat gave him opportunity to think out 
the revelation he received direct from on high and 
pursue it to all its consequences. A full exposition 
was afterwards made of this theme to these and other 
readers in the epistle to the Galatians. 

I4 23 . The true translation here would seem to be : 
" And when we had in each church appointed for our- 
selves elders by show of hands, having prayed with 
fasting, they commended them to the Lord on whom 

I4 M ] ACTS 139 

they had believed." It is often overlooked that in 
I4 22 Luke quietly indicated his presence by the first 
of the " We" passages which elsewhere are recognized 
as betokening his personal intervention. The sermon 
at Pisidian Antioch was fully reported, 1 3 10 " 41 , though 
there was nothing special in the occasion or in it ; the 
interest was apparently for Luke, who then heard it. 
The next of the "We" passages is at i6 10 , just after 
Paul had passed through Galatia. 

This verse may, however, be translated : " And 
when they had in each church appointed for themselves 
elders by show of hands, etc." In either case we need 
to recognize two things : the popular election, as in 
II Cor 8 19 ; and the installing by the missionaries. 
Each church was organized as a democracy, but no 
church was purely independent even on such a local 
matter. It was not long before Paul sent a letter 
jointly to all these Galatians, so rapidly did he develope 
first disciples, then four churches, then a sort of 
Galatian association. 

15 1 . If it had occurred to anybody that Christian 
baptism replaced circumcision, all this trouble could 
never have arisen. As the matter ran the gauntlet 
of two large churches, with men of the calibre of Paul, 
Barnabas, Peter, and James, and this supposed sub- 
stitution or equivalence was not hinted at, though it 
was exactly in the line of Peter's argument, I5 r ~ u , we 
may reckon that it is a mistake. As it was, the doctrine 
propounded was the crassest form of sacramentalism, 
that salvation hinged on a ceremony. 

15 2 . This conference is of great interest. But 
from the account given by Luke it appears that many 
views could be taken of it. It might be a brotherly- 
talk between representatives of two churches, or a 


request to a sister church to disown certain doctrines 
put forth by its members, or an appeal from an inferior 
church to a court of plenary authority. From the tone 
of the letter, " the apostles and the elders, brethren," 
evidently thought they were Divinely empowered to lay 
a burden on the others ; probably they had in mind 
the gift to The Church at large of authority to bind 
and loose, and did not consider it necessary to call into 
council any others than the officers at Jerusalem. 
Paul's view of the matter was probably given in Gal 2, 
and proved to be very different. 

The order of events appears to be this : Peter was 
visiting Antioch, and at first fell in with local customs 
and repeated his conduct in the case of Cornelius, 
eating with the Gentile Christians. Other Jewish 
Christians from Jerusalem, perhaps with letters of 
commendation from James, refused to eat with those 
who were uncircumcised, declaring that circumcision 
was necessary to salvation. They succeeded in splitting 
the church, drawing off into their clique Peter and even 
one of its teachers, Barnabas. Paul thereupon openly 
put it to Peter that for all his compliance with The 
Law in this one particular, yet in a hundred others he 
tacitly neglected The Law, and, judged from the strict 
Pharisaic standpoint, was a man not knowing The 
Law, accursed, living as the Gentiles did ; it was there- 
fore absurd to try to persuade the Gentile-Christians 
to a similar observance of a few precepts of The Law, 
which could only be partial at best. Paul may have 
quoted the recent letter of James, that whoever keeps 
the whole Law and yet offends in one point is guilty 
of all. But as the question was not personal nor 
local, it was desirable to obtain general agreement, and 
the argument was pursued at Jerusalem. A private 

15*3 ACTS 141 

conference of Paul and Barnabas with James, Peter, 
and John brought about unanimity, and a public 
meeting was held of the apostles and elders of Jeru- 
salem in the presence of the whole local church, when 
the question was debated, Peter re-stating Paul's 
argument to him even more emphatically, and appealing 
to one unmistakable precedent ; Barnabas and Paul 
giving new and relevant facts ; James adducing an 
argument from prophecy, and proposing a compromise, 
which was adopted and ratified by the whole church ; 
then a circular letter was forwarded throughout the 
districts where the dispute had arisen. 

ji-2,4,6,12,22,23^ j^gj-g was evidently a tendency to a 

ruling eldership at Jerusalem, for the multitude chiefly 
kept silence, were just mentioned once as being pleased 
with the compromise, and were not mentioned in the 
letter, which was headed with greetings from " The 
apostles and elders, brethren," though a later scribe 
with Greek democratic usage softened it by inserting 
"and"; compare, however, i6 4 . 

If the apostles and elders overshadowed the church 
generally, James towered out above all. The mal- 
contents at Antioch appealed to his name ; he had 
lately acted as a patriarch or head of a Nazarene 
Sanhedrin, and sent out a general epistle to the twelve 
tribes scattered abroad. If such were the reverence he 
excited at a distance, it was not less at Jerusalem. He 
was named by Paul before Peter and John ; he waited 
to sum up the debate, and announced his "judgement," 
not his " opinion." The word implies a final sentence 
and decision, and differs from that in I Cor 7 6> 25 . And 
it was accepted as final; the authoritative letter simply 
re-states his verdict. 

The tone of authority in this letter was recognized 

t42 CHURCH, MINISTRY, AND SACRAMENTS [is 2 , \ e , 12 , 22 , a 

at once, i6 4 ; the apostles and elders had ordained 
decrees as binding as those of Caesar, I f. So when 
we remember the subsequent troubles raised at Corinth 
by people apparently claiming some countenance from 
James, and the fact that Paul introduced the treasurers 
from his city churches to James, in the presence of the 
elders, 2i 18 ; if we read what Josephus wrote of his 
life and death, remember that his relative, Symeon, 
stepped into a similar situation of influence after his 
death, and that a century later a Jewish-Christian of 
the Jerusalem church went round inspecting the 
churches and being satisfied with their orthodoxy 
then it is clear that the tendency to lordship is very 
deeply rooted, and needed all the emphatic warnings of 
our Lord and of Peter. 

1 5 5> 10> 24> 20 . The issue was plainly raised whether 
keeping The Law in general or being circumcised in 
particular was incumbent on Gentile Christians. The 
duty of Jewish Christians was not -decided. But Peter 
was very plain-spoken, and stigmatized The Law as an 
unbearable yoke. James avoided giving any opinion 
on the point; but recognizing the fulfilment of the 
promise that out of the Gentiles, as Gentiles, not trans- 
formed into Jews, God would choose a people, he 
pronounced for exacting only a few points of special 
interest as terms of communion. The people who had 
misused his name were disavowed, and it was placed 
on record that by Divine and human authority The 
Law was not obligatory on Gentile Christians. Even 
James admitted that it would have been a troublesome 
burden to them. 

i^8,29_ What, then, were the concessions exacted? 
Not to eat food offered in sacrifice to idols, nor blood, 
nor things strangled, and not to commit fornication. 

I5 2a , 2ii i ACTS 143 

These things were all forbidden in The Law, but they 
would not have struck most men as the most important 
items in it. Noah was representative of all men, 
Gentile as well as Jew, and the commands given to 
him forbade eating blood, but otherwise do not touch 
this, according to Gen 9, apart from tradition. 

The discussion had arisen out of joint meals, and so 
the decision referred largely to diet. A gentleman 
to-day who was entertaining a Hindu would not place 
beef on his table, even for his own use, nor pork, if a 
Muhammadan were his guest. A similar feeling seems 
to account for three stipulations here ; such cases are 
dealt with carefully in I Cor 10 and Rom 14: 'Avoid 
paining us Jews by a bill of fare including dishes that 
revolt us, and we can sit down to eat with you.' The 
other point refers to a matter on which Gentile public 
opinion was just about dead ; Romans objected to 
murder, Greeks to theft, Persians to lying, but few 
objected to male unchastity. 

It is noteworthy that no one seems to have suggested : 
' Take the Ten Commandments ; they are of permanent 
value.' It cannot be that in this Jewish assembly 
they were ignored and flouted ; they cannot have been 
regarded by Peter and James as 'a yoke that no Jew ever 
could bear, a burden with which Gentiles need not be 
troubled.' But James had already seen the true relation 
of these to Christ's word, and had accepted His verdict 
that all needful direction on moral points was summed 
up in " the royal law, according to the scripture, 
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," Jas 2 8 ~ 12 . 
What he did here was to draw out from that law of 
liberty four corollaries important under the existing 

Modern public opinion sets aside two of these 


directions as obsolete ; within a few years Paul gave the 
reason for them, and when the reason ceases to exist, 
the prohibition may be neglected. When the reason 
revives, the prohibition revives, too. This is a good 
instance of the difficulty inherent in detailed legislation ; 
circumstances alter cases so often that a rule which is 
minute and unmistakable is very apt to grow inapplic- 
able, and therefore a burden to the memory or the 
conscience. The one binding law for all time is 
general, Do to others as you wish them to do to you: 
that is given by Christ Himself, and the guidance of 
the Holy Spirit may always be invoked to apply it 
to any particular case. These decisions were soon 
regarded as out of date; the letter was faithfully 
delivered to the Gentile churches in Syria and Cilicia, 
and also to those in Galatia ; but when similar questions 
arose in Galatia and Achaia, neither side appealed to it, 
while Paul argued out the matter from first principles, 
for which we may rejoice. 

i6 3>4>13 . Paul showed his good faith by obeying 
The Law for himself and a young semi-Jew, and by 
circulating the recent concordat. 

i6 13>14>15 ' 40 . Synagogues or Places of prayer the 
names were interchangeable, Schurer II 2 68 ~ 73 were 
often built by the river side for convenience in the 
ceremonial ablutions. In this case the convenience 
was great for baptism. 

This incident has no bearing on the question of 
admitting infants to baptism until it is shown that 
Lydia was married, that she had children, that some of 
them were infants, that these infants were with her. 
No information is given on any one of these points. 
The probabilities are that as she is mentioned far from 
home she was unmarried or a widow; her household 

i6 14 , 15 , 40 ] ACTS 145 

would at least include, if it did not consist of, servants 
helping in her business the brethren whom Paul and 
Silas comforted before departure. The word " house- 
hold " is rarely restricted to children and grandchildren ; 
it may mean all descendants to remote generations, as 
in Luke i 2r>G9 an impossible meaning here, but more 
generally covers all residents in the literal house, 
Luke io 5 , or all dependents on the householder, such 
as the three hundred and eighteen men able to fight, 
born in the house of Abram, compare I Tim 3 12 . But 
it is impossible to prove that there were or were not 
infants in Lydia's household. 

i6 m ~ 34 . The jailor showed his repentance by his 
taking Paul and Silas out of prison; the next thing 
was to excite faith. Preaching to him and all in his 
house made them all believe, so all were baptized. 

There is no reason to doubt that in a public building 
like a jail, or in his private house, there would be 
facilities for bathing. 

i8 12 ~ ir . Gallio had a very just idea of the duty of 
the State to protect every man in the free exercise 
of his religion. So long as Paul reasoned in the 
synagogue every sabbath, he was within Jewish juris- 
diction, and might be censured or scourged. When he 
set up a separate meeting next door, he was outside 
their reach ; and though in his company he numbered 
an ex-ruler of the synagogue who with all his house 
had believed, yet most of his adherents were Gentiles, 
who had believed and were baptized. The only re- 
course the Jews could have was to violence or the 
Roman law, and the proconsul now declared that the 
Roman law took no cognizance of such cases. This 
was a decision of great importance, and in the few 
years that elapsed before it was reversed in the highest . 



court, it stood as a charter of freedom ; and Paul took 
full advantage of it at once. 

i8 24 I9 r . Here are two cases contrasting John's 
baptism with Christian baptism. Apollos was eloquent, 
knew his Bible, had been catechized in the teaching 
of Jesus, and was earnest and spiritual in teaching. 
But when he spoke in the synagogue, however boldly, 
Priscilla and Aquila recognized a defect, and expounded 
to him the Way more carefully. After that we hear of 
his taking a more advanced position, no longer speaking 
in the synagogue as an "orthodox" yet open-minded 
teacher, but publicly confuting the Jews. Nor was this 
due simply to the more advanced knowledge in Corinth ; 
something must be due to his proclamation, of Jesus as 
the Messiah. That Luke does not mention whether or 
no he was re-baptized shows how little importance he 
attached to the matter. 

The other case has one ambiguous passage, It is 
just possible that verse 5 is part of Paul's speech, and 
that he reminded these twelve men of their baptism, 
which had been prospectively into the name of Jesus 
as their Lord. Against this, which is not the more 
probable view of the passage, is to be set the fact that 
we never hear of any one else being baptized into the 
name of Jesus till after the resurrection. The apparent 
contrast is between a baptism that signified only re- 
pentance and a baptism that signified also allegiance 
to Jesus. Apart from that, these men certainly were 
sadly deficient. They may have known something of 
the appearance of that person whom John foretold, of 
Jesus of Nazareth, His life and His death ; they may 
have known though Apollos apparently did not that 
Jesus was the Messiah; they may even have known 
the promises uttered to the apostles, of the Holy Spirit 

i8 I9l ACTS 147 

who should be sent, though perhaps they deny this; 
but they certainly declared they did not know the 
Holy Spirit had been sent, and that they did not receive 
the gift. The absence of this had evidently attracted 
the attention of the apostle. And the natural interpre- 
tation of Luke's words is that Paul first explained the 
difference, then administered Christian baptism, then 
invoked for them those gifts of the Spirit which baptism 
did not confer upon them. 

19. Here is another separated church. It is 
interesting to see that while the Jews were content 
with three services a week, Paul held seven at least. 
Compare 2 46 . 

19 39 ~ 41 . The Ecclesia here is the regular assembly 
of Ephesian freemen, entitled to certain rights of self- 
government, and distinct from other residents there 
or casual visitors. See note on 5 11 . 

20 6>r>11 . Apparently Paul was for himself observing 
the Jewish feast of unleavened bread, while the disciples 
at Troas took no notice of the Jewish sabbath, but met 
to break bread on the first day of the week. They 
seem to have observed a meal in common as well, but 
to have abandoned the daily observance customary at 

2o ir, 28_ The church at Ephesus had evidently been 
organized on the familiar Jewish pattern, with a com- 
mittee of elders. But Paul gave them a new name, 
Episcopoi, Bishops, Overseers. The word was in use 
among the Greeks for Inspectors, especially travelling 
inspectors sent out to report on the accounts and 
military condition of minor allies. It was used in the 
Greek Bibles for subordinate officers of all kinds, in- 
cluding Pharaoh's tax-collectors and Josiah's paymasters 
at the temple building; but, while usually relating to 



money matters, it had not apparently lost a general 
sense, though it never expressed an officer with re- 
ligious duties. In Paul's lips it does not yet seem an 
official title; and though he did touch on their duty 
of working with their own hands, giving to the poor, 
and being on guard against covetousness, yet he did 
not imply that their duties were limited to finance ; 
rather, he counselled them here to warn their brethren 
against divisions and errors, and to attend to pastoral 

It is clear that there was not one bishop standing 
out at Ephesus above the elders at large. 

2 1 8 " 10 . Philip, formerly, and perhaps still one of the 
seven elders at Jerusalem, was now settled at Csesarea, 
and had devoted himself to preaching so as to be 
known as the Evangelist. It is doubtful whether this 
word yet implied a regular office any more than the 
word Baptist had done when applied to John. There 
is no reason to think that an evangelist was an officer 
likely to be met in every well-organized church ; and 
the case of prophets is nearly alike in this respect. 

2I 1T)18 . Again, we find that, at Jerusalem, while the 
brethren at large might perhaps be present on a public 
occasion, the business was left to James and the elders, 
in regular Jewish fashion. 

2 1 20 ~ 26 . The elders discriminated excellently. between 
those, on the one hand, who, being Jews by birth, did 
not abandon keeping The Law because they had found 
Him of whom Moses wrote in The Law, and those, 
on the other hand, who, never having been Jews, had 
found the desire of all nations, and had been declared 
exempt from The Law. They had made concessions 
to keep both parties in harmony, and now invited Paul 
to testify that whatever he felt and had written about 

2i 20 .*] ACTS 149 

The Law being abrogated, he was personally willing 
to observe it. He agreed ; but when presently he got 
into trouble thereby, he was not energetically sup- 
ported by them. Yet by his concession he simply 
acted in the spirit of his Master's gentle transition 
from the old to the new. Similarly, his speech on the 
castle steps set forth his story so as to retain Jewish 
sympathy as long as possible. 

22 W . Ananias as a devout man according to The 
Law, when he wished to encourage Saul to arise and 
be baptized, could quote phrases familiar to every one 
versed in the scriptures : Wash away thy sins, a re- 
miniscence of Ps 5 1 2 , Isa i 16 , Jer 4 14 ; Call upon His 
name, Gen 4 26 , Ps 50 15 , Isa 12*, Jer 2g 12 . Even Saul 
the persecutor, crimsoned with the blood of the 
martyrs, was not too stained but that he might arise 
and be baptized ; though his sins were as scarlet, they 
should be as white as snow; he might wash and be 
clean, ceasing to do evil and learning to do well. Not 
for him the easy conscience of the eunuch who could 
ask, What doth hinder me to be baptized ? Peter had 
needed to encourage the men of Jerusalem and say 
that their murder of Jesus did not debar them from 
having their sins blotted out, Acts 3 14 ~ 19 ; and if this 
supreme sin had not come in Saul's way, yet the 
thought that he had been a blasphemer and a persecutor 
and injurious made him own, long afterwards, that he 
was chief of sinners, and magnify the long-suffering of 
Christ in showing him mercy, I Tim i 12 - 10 . So it was 
little wonder he needed some special assurance before 
he dare obey the command to be baptized. 

There is a strange misunderstanding of Ananias as 
if he meant, Wash away thy sins by being baptized. 
Such an idea could not be present to a man who knew 


from these psalmists and prophets that God declined 
material gifts and preferred obedience, Ps 5o r ~ 15 ; that 
God delighted not in sacrifice and burnt-offering, but 
desired a broken spirit and a contrite heart, Ps Ji 1 17 ; 
that Isaiah was repudiating sacrifice, burnt-offering, 
oblations, incense, and all the paraphernalia of new 
moon and sabbath ; that Jeremiah was contrasting 
physical circumcision with the renewal of the heart. 
If Paul had thus understood him, he would have 
referred to his baptism more often, especially at 26 18 ; 
and he might have clinched his argument at Gal I 17 by 
adding, " Neither did any apostle wash away my sin, 
only Ananias of Damascus, at the Lord's bidding." 
Ananias said exactly, " Arising, get thyself baptized ; 
and get thy sins washed away, calling on His name." 
The most natural understanding is a double command 
relating to outward acts and a double command re- 
lating to inward dispositions. The former referred 
to the new rite enjoined by Christ, the latter to the 
unchanging conditions on which man obtains access 
to God. If baptism were a condition of washing away 
sins, salvation were harder than before Christ ; rather, 
repentance for the remission of sins and invocation of 
God are the conditions on which alone baptism may 
be given. 

22 25 . Though Paul objected to taking quarrels 
between Christians before heathen judges, he never 
hesitated to claim his full legal rights when he was 

2^27-35 Lysias, like Gallio, recognized the innocence 
of Paul under purely Roman law, but, like Pilate in 
similar circumstances, was not sure whether Jewish 
law should not be administered in a case between Jews 
at Jerusalem. A Roman citizen, however, deserved a 

23 2 ' s5 ] ACTS i$i 

trial at the Roman capital by a Roman judge, when 
the questions of jurisdiction and personal law could be 
ascertained. As it was, he had put himself in such a 
position that he was amenable at once, in the civil 
aspect, to The Law of the Jews, of the temple, and 
of Caesar, 25. 


FOR systematic study it is wise to read the Epistles 
in the order wherein they were written. Hints are 
annexed as to the chief points that successively be- 
came prominent in the apostolic teaching about The 


Acts 19 


Acts 1018" 

I and II Thessalonians 

Acts i8 12 19 9 


I Corinthians Christian liberty and worship 
Acts 19' 20 1 

II Corinthians Christians independent of Jerusalem 
Galatians The Law obsolete as a rule of life 
Romans The Law and the Jews preparatory for the 

Gospel and The Church 
Acts 20 3 28 



Colossians Christ the Head of The Church 

Ephesians The Church Christ's Body working in the 


Philippians Christ supreme ; Jews enemies of The Church 



Titus, I Timothy, II Timothy 


Hebrews The Ceremonial Law symbolic of Christ, 

and obsolete since His death 

I Peter The State imagining Christianity means 

lawlessness ; The Church urged to loyalty 


Jude, II Peter Teachers imagining that Christianity means 

Revelation Persecution by Jews and the State 


I, II, III John Mutual love the Christian rule of life 


THE epistle to the Romans was written from Corinth 
after the stormy events that led to the writing of the 
epistles to the Corinthians and Galatians. The Gospel 
had spread from Jerusalem to Ceesarea, chief town of 
the province, and Antioch, capital of the proconsulate. 
Paul had founded churches at Tarsus, capital of Cilicia ; 
Salamis, capital of Cyprus ; Antioch in Pisidia, capital 
of Galatia ; Ephesus, capital of Asia ; Thessalonica, 
capital of Macedonia ; Corinth, capital of Achaia. The 
next stage in this direction was Illyricum, whose 
boundaries he had already reached; then lay Italy, 
with the capital of the empire, Rome. 

There were many people occupied in spreading the 
gospel, even if they did not devote their whole lives 
to it. There was no deliberate effort made to plant 
churches in Lydda and Joppa, Phoenicia and Cyprus, 
Cyrene or Antioch ; but every persecution would scatter 
the seed more widely. And every feast at Jerusalem 
brought pilgrims, not only from within the empire, 
Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, 
Libya, and Crete, but from Arabia to the south, or 
the great rival kingdom of Parthia, with its territories 
of Media, Elam, and Mesopotamia. In this way a 
few sojourners from Rome had had the earliest oppor- 
tunity of hearing the gospel, and among the settlers 
constantly going up to the capital from the provinces, 



little groups of Christians must have arrived at intervals. 
From i6 3 ~ n we get the impression of an early stage 
such as this ; little bands dotted about the city, with 
enough cohesion to make it possible to send one letter 
for all, but not with enough cohesion to be organized 
formally and take the title of a church, rather needing 
to be warned against divisions. Their existence was 
well known elsewhere, their fidelity famous, I 8 , and 
their conduct admirable, l6 19 , while their hospitality 
might be counted upon, i6 1>2 . But they were not 
active in spreading the gospel, of which they seemed 
rather ashamed, I 15>1G , so that years later the Jews in 
Rome could profess to know very little about it except 
that everywhere it was in bad odour, Acts 28 22 . Many 
of them doubtless were as backward as the casual 
groups at Ephesus before Paul knitted them together. 
Therefore it was desirable they should be organized, 
better instructed as to the Christian ideal, and inflamed 
with zeal, I 11 , I5 29 ; and as hitherto no leading men 
had visited them, I5 20 , Paul determined that his next 
visit should be paid there. This letter was to pave 
the way. 

As the little groups had drifted into Rome they 
would not readily draw into one. One nucleus would 
be the converted Jews long resident there, with the 
proselytes who adopted the new teaching : Prisca and 
Aquila are specimens of such, a Roman lady and a 
Jew. These, if in a minority, had the instinct of 
close fellowship, which probably made them the most 
influential company. At any moment the irritant 
visitors from Jerusalem, who had wrought such trouble 
in Antioch and Galatia and Corinth, might visit Rome 
and try deliberately to keep the Nazarene Jews apart 
from the Gentile Christians; indeed, some trouble of 


the sort seemed already stirring, i6 1T . Therefore, 
without the violent polemic that was needed to win 
back wavering churches, it was advisable to state 
plainly what the gospel was, to show its exact relation 
to The Law, and to indicate the exact position of Jews 
in the new arrangements. The doctrinal part of this 
epistle accomplishes these three things, and may be 
thus paraphrased : 

' Righteousness is the free gift of the righteous God 
to all who believe on Jesus Christ; all need it, the 
Gentile condemned by his conscience, the Jew by his 
Law. The custody of The Law was an honour, but 
an awful responsibility, too ; it revealed a standard that 
no one ever attained. Faith was ever the means of 
salvation. Before a meritorious life, or knowledge of 
The Law or even circumcision, Abraham was saved by 
faith. David never appealed to The Law to vindicate 
him, but when he had broken it, rejoiced in obtaining 
God's forgiveness. Faith not only obtains forgiveness, 
but also the actual transformation of character, one 
by the virtue of Christ's death, the other by His new 
life. This is not incredible when we reflect on the 
double damage done by the sin of Adam ; and it is 
indeed imaged in our baptism, pledging us to be dead 
to sin and alive to righteousness. 

'The chief good of The Law was to reveal more 
effectually the sinful character and the need of forgive- 
ness, but it was only an interlude. Not that the 
abolition of The Law removes the only safeguard 
against sin ; sin is logically incompatible with death 
to sin. When wedded to The Law, we must obey 
it ; when The Law is dead, we need mind it no more 
and may obey Christ. Indeed, The Law was never 
any safeguard against sin ; it only revealed more plainly 


our sinful desires without giving any help against them. 
To give this is the sole glory of Christ, who imparts life 
by the Spirit. Now we feel the pangs as sin dies and 
the new life comes to birth; but they may be borne 
with the help of the Spirit and the unfailing love of God. 
'Those who treasured The Law are indeed in evil 
case while they cling to it. Yet all scripture warned 
them that Jews had no claim on God ; again and again 
the impenitent were punished and only a few were 
spared and blessed, while the calling of the Gentiles 
was distinctly foretold. Even the aim at righteousness 
is not enough if the route is wrong ; and most seek 
it by keeping The Law in their own strength, not 
obeying Christ in His. The Law was meant to 
convince of the need of a Saviour and Helper. To 
recognize his arrival in Jesus, to accept Him as Lord, 
and to proclaim Him on every side, are the new duties 
which, unhappily, most of the Jews neglect, as was 
foreseen. Remember, too, God's foresight, and credit 
it in this case. The ingathering of the Gentiles may 
rouse their emulation and hasten the climax of God's 
purpose of redemption.' 

2 13 - 29 . Before Paul could erect his new scheme of 
doctrine, he had to clear the ground. In the minds 
of Jews and of all who had been under the influence 
of the Synagogue, he had to encounter two objections : 
Salvation is by keeping The Law ; the saved are banded 
into a community marked by circumcision. Against 
these he reproduced the arguments recently urged on 
the Galatians, leading off with a quotation from James, 
and closing this section with one from The Law itself, 
Jas I 22 , Deut 30. 

3 19 . This is a mere repetition of what God said from 

3 19 ] ROMANS 159 

the first, that The Law was the peculiar privilege of the 
one nation ; and in the conference at Jerusalem it had 
been agreed that The Law was not binding on Gentiles. 
3 31 . Jews would of course recognize that the logical 
outcome of this argument would be their own abandon- 
ment of The Law, once it had led them to Jesus. Paul, 
however, was conciliatory, and did not insist on this 
corollary. He did rather encounter the question : If 
you lay all the stress on faith, and none at all on 
The Law, do you not cast discredit on The Law, 
and imply that those things which it forbids may now 
be done, that those things which it enjoins may now be 
neglected ? His reply was : No, whatever was of 
value in The Law is still found in force. Faith in Jesus 
means obedience to Him ; and though His commands 
be not couched in the phrases of The Law, they set up 
an even higher standard. Moreover, faith in Jesus not 
only implies our adhesion to this loftier ideal, but it 
obtains power to fulfil it, and herein The Law has 
no point of comparison. 

4 9 ~ 12 . There are many who declare that baptism 
now replaces circumcision, though scripture is silent 
on this point, and the apostles allowed a long debate 
to proceed as to the binding force of circumcision, 
which was absurd if circumcision was already replaced 
by baptism. Such people may, however, ponder the 
effect of Paul's argument here, coupled with their own 
substitution : ' How is faith reckoned for righteousness "? 
When a man is baptized, or not baptized ? Not when 
baptized, but before : he receives the sign of baptism, 
a seal of the righteousness of that faith which he had 
before he was baptized.' That is not what Paul says 
here, or what he means, or what he is thinking about ; 
but it is undoubtedly Pauline and true. 


Returning to the actual statement, that circumcision 
followed the faith of Abraham, we see Paul was not 
dealing here with the case of Isaac, circumcised at 
the age of a week, nor will his remarks apply to that 
case. It was never said of Isaac that Isaac's faith was 
reckoned for righteousness. Even those who hold 
to the view that infant baptism is justified by infant 
circumcision can find nothing here about infant cir- 
cumcision, but only about circumcision on a profession 
of faith. 

It is to be regretted that this cardinal blunder has 
produced an unthinking transference of terms that 
mean something here, but become meaningless in the 
new connection. Circumcision was a seal, for it 
produced a permanent physical mark ; it was a seal 
of the righteousness of that faith which Abraham 
already had evinced repeatedly. Baptism is not a seal, 
it leaves no token visible a day afterwards; infant 
baptism is given before the infant has an opportunity 
of evincing any faith. 

As to the real analogue of circumcision, Paul was 
not in the least hazy or reticent. He repeated again a 
truth as old as Moses and Jeremiah, that it referred to 
a spiritual purification of the heart and soul, of which 
it was a rough physical representation. The outward 
sign apart from the inward reality was valueless, and 
he plainly added that the inward reality apart from 
that outward sign was invaluable, 2 28> 29 . 

The points of likeness between baptism and the cir- 
cumcision of Abraham are, that each was given as a sign 
of faith, prescribed by God and obeyed by the faithful ; 
further, that each symbolizes purity. But to say that 
the one replaces the other is unwarrantably to stretch 
the limited likeness. Jesus was circumcised, yet He 

4 6 - 12 ] ROMANS 161 

was baptized. Paul was circumcised, yet he was 
ordered to accept Christian baptism. Timothy was a 
disciple, and presumably baptized, yet Paul circumcised 

Some kind of continuity there is of Christianity 
and Judaism the continuity of a coming event with 
the shadow it casts before. But not every detail is to 
be continued. Paul was busy explaining why much 
has been discontinued. He explained circumcision 
in these passages without a mention of baptism ; 
he explained baptism presently without a mention of 
circumcision ; when he did mention the two in a breath, 
it was to allude to the one point they have in common, 
that they represent regeneration, Col 2 11- 

5 13> 20 . The Jewish Law is not the only law given by 
Grod, though it was the only one clothed with His direct 
authority. There was law of some sort known between 
Adam and Moses, for death proves sin or the violation 
of some law even if only written in the conscience. 
Some of that may have found its way into the codes of 
Hammurabi, Confucius, Solon, and Numa, though min- 
gled with much of human authority only. But God's 
will does not depend for its force on being committed to 
writing or codified. It was known once, only in a few 
precepts directly given, and in many customs approved 
by the common conscience of men ; it was known far 
more minutely by the Jews when their Law was 
imposed on them ; it is known best now that Jesus has 
announced it as Love, which all are desired to show 
towards God and man. 

6 1 " 11 . Hitherto only the negative side of salvation 
had been dealt with, the freeing from the burden of 
past sin ; the positive now was viewed. It was intro- 
duced by refuting a plausible corollary of Paul's great 



doctrine of free grace, that constant sinning will elicit 
constant pardon. He opened out now the reasons why 
a Christian may not sin, and his first point was that 
the believer is not only acquitted by Christ, but united 
with Christ. United with Him, we die to sin ; united 
with Him, we rise to a new life of holiness ; and these 
experiences are inseparable. 

The apostle now illustrated this cardinal doctrine by 
a reference to the dramatic rite of baptism. There are 
in reality a pair of facts in Christ's history, a pair of 
experiences in the convert's life, a pair of states of mind 
whereby these experiences are realized ; and these 
pairs are depicted by a pair of symbolic acts in baptism 
submersion and emersion. No pair can be sundered 
in fact ; only in thought, as negative and positive. 
Turning away in horror from sin, we turn in love to 
Jesus. He was put to death in the flesh, but became 
a life-giving Spirit. If Christ is in us, we die to sin, 
but also arise to righteousness. These three sets of 
twin facts are commemorated by the twin acts of disap- 
pearance below the surface of water and reappearance 
from beneath. It is possible to think of pardon for the 
past without thinking of help for the future ; but is 
it possible to receive one in practice while habitually 
spurning the other? To repent of sin without 
positively turning to Christ is only to torture one's 
self by straining at an unbroken chain ; to trust in a 
Christ who died and was not known to have risen 
again would be basing one's hopes on a foundation 
whose strength was unknown and whose weakness 
was apparently proved by universal experience ; to 
die to sin without simultaneously arising to righteous- 
ness would be fitly depicted by plunging below the water 
to stay there permanently without emerging again. 

6 1 "] ROMANS 163 

Adding the further thought in 8 11 , the doctrines may 
be thus tabulated : 

Ground of our redemption 

Death of Christ Resurrection of Christ 

Means of appropriation 

Repentance Faith 

Present spiritual experience 

Death to sin Life to righteousness 

Dramatic illustration in baptism 

Submersion Emersion 

Form of Divine grace 

Pardon for past sin Help in future temptation 
Future bodily experience 

Death Resurrection 

"Paul never elaborated a doctrine of baptism ; he 
preferred to preach the gospel by word of mouth, and 
not emphasize an act that he usually delegated to 
others. But at least he gave materials for recognizing 
its symbolism. 

Mr. Lambert agrees in his Kerr Lectures, page 
173 : " It is practically certain that in the apostolic age 
immersion was the ordinary form of baptism. And 
in the disappearance of the convert beneath the water 
and his emergence again to the light of day, Paul saw 
a striking symbol of the union with Christ in death 
and in life which faith accomplishes." 

The symbolism of baptism, being thus expressive, is 
not lightly to be abandoned. No pouring or sprinkling 
offers any analogy to the death of our Lord, to His 
resurrection, to our death to sin, our new life to 
righteousness. A rite not only enjoined by our Lord, 
but twice compared by Him with His own death, 
Mark lo 38 , Luke I2 50 , and here compared again to that 
and His resurrection, is not to be replaced by another, 
even although the name is retained. It is a pity to 


follow Pilate rather than our Lord in appreciating the 
adequacy of symbols, Matt 27 24 , but it is natural for 
those who do not come into court with clean hands. 

When, further, this new rite is performed on un- 
conscious babes, who have no sins to repent of, no 
choice of a new life to make, then little remains of 
the original. How can Mr. Lambert say on page 220 : 
" We are not justified in saying that faith is of the very 
essence of the ordinance itself," in view of the above 
quotation, which continues : "And yet the very use 
[Paul] makes of the symbolism of the rite indicates his 
sense of the real relation between baptism and faith ; 
for the point on which most stress is laid, as it is the 
point most naturally suggested by the act of immersion, 
is that baptism is a being buried with Christ. But a 
burial is not a death ; it is only a public certification 
and sealing of death. And, in like manner, baptism is 
not a dying with Christ, but rather a sealing of that 
death in Him and with Him which is immediately 
brought about by faith " ? The fact is, as the Rev. 
J. E. Roberts, of Manchester, has well shown, that the 
arguments against sacramentarianism. undermine infant 
baptism, and that when Protestant Psedo-Baptists think 
of the real meaning of the rite without being concerned 
to defend their own practice, they inevitably take the 
Baptist position. As it is, they can trace no resemblance 
between this situation and infant <( baptism," and dare 
not prescribe this passage as a fit lesson at their 

7 1 " . The figure of marriage supplied two illustrations 
here, with The Law as husband, the Jew as wife. The 
Law was first regarded as the stern Roman paterfamilias 
with absolute dominion over his wife : so long as the 
Jew lives, he is in the power of The Law. But if he 

7 1 6 j ROMANS 165 

choose to abandon his privileged status, to reverse the 
proselyte conversion and die as a Jew, then being dis- 
charged from The Law, that very death to the old life 
is a rising to a new life wherein he is united to Jesus. 
Such is the main argument, re-stating 6 1 " 11 with special 
reference to The Law. But the relations may be 
viewed more naturally thus : the dominion of husband 
over wife is destroyed by his death as much as by hers, 
and she is then free to wed again. A Jew is under 
The Law as long as that has any vitality ; but as a 
matter of fact the Law itself is dead, Jesus nailed it 
to the cross and triumphed, and the Jew is therefore 
free to unite himself to Jesus. Such is the passing 
illustration in verses 2> 3 , like to the thought in Col 2 14 . 
Either way, whether the men that knew The Law died 
to it, or it is dead, the union is annulled, and the 
Christian has no further concern with The Jewish 

7 r ~ 25 . The true merit of The Law was that it set up 
a lofty standard, and so helped men to find out sooner 
the innate revulsion of the heart from any obedience at 
all. Paul's training among the Pharisees had led him 
to complete obedience in deed and word ; but the tenth 
commandment, which deals with thoughts, pierced the 
armour of his complacency, and revealed him to himself 
as hostile at heart towards God. Such an experience 
convinced him of the value of the weapon that could do 
this, and he extolled it as a probe to reveal the disease ; 
but it was not a Good Samaritan to tend and heal the 
broken-down sinner. It made known to him his need 
of a Saviour, and so prepared him for Christ. 

8 1 " 4 . However holy and righteous and good it was, 
it was limited in its scope ; he could delight in it after 
the inward man, and serve it with the mind, for it 


certainly made known a lofty ideal. But since in 
practice he did what The Law had taught him to hate, 
it was a Law revealing and not defeating sin, a Law 
entailing and not averting death. Though it was per- 
fect to its end, that end was not far enough. There- 
fore The Law must be pronounced, in a sense, weak. 
The infusion of the Holy Spirit, however, supplied 
what was lacking, and enabled in an to please God, 
and, in obeying Him fully, to more than fulfil the re- 
quirement of The Law. 

9 4 - 8 , lo 3 " 10 . ' It was indeed great glory to have been 
singled out to be God's special people; to have had 
special relations with God in covenant ; to have had the 
only revelation of God's will direct to the senses ; to 
have enjoyed a S3rmbolical service, foreshadowing not 
only the need, but the means of forgiveness ; to have 
had many promises of a Deliverer and Saviour, who 
has actually sprung from their race. But, mere racial 
descent being unimportant, it was a vast mistake to 
rest in these privileges, and not go on to fulfil the 
duties of God's own people ; to accept the New Covenant 
which superseded the old, to listen to the new law of 
love that transcended the old ; to trust in the atonement 
made now in reality ; to yield to Jesus, who was in 
every sense the end of The Law ; to trust Him as 
Saviour with all the heart, and publicly to vow 
allegiance to Him as Lord.' 

io n ~ 15 . In the new body of subjects all previous 
distinctions of race and creed were unimportant ; 
allegiance to Jesus was the one bond, and a primary 
duty to the outer world was to announce the freedom 
and universality of the salvation offered. 

n la-is, is, J esus Christ is the Firstfruits, I Cor 
1 5 20> 23 , and so in Him the whole race is representatively 


offered to God, Ex I3 2 . If all the dough and all the 
olive-crop are dedicated to God by actually presenting 
Him with a part, Neh io 35 ~ 37 , so is the mass of man- 
kind consecrated to God in Jesus. Indeed, He is more 
than Firstfruit, He is the original Root ; in His image 
man was made and blessed, and He affects the whole 
of His descendants, so that they can still be pronounced 
"very good," Gen I 27 ~ 31 . 

' The thought was familiar with the prophets. 
Jeremiah declared that the kingdom of God was like 
" a green olive-tree, fair with goodly fruit," 1 I 16 . Its 
roots are out of sight, below the level of earthly time, 
Eph i 4 . Jesus is the eternal Root, Isa n 10 , Rev 5^ 
planted by the great Husbandman, God, John 15*. 
From Him has sprung a tree of believers, in whose 
trunk are such as Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, and Noah. 
The Husbandman began a special culture of one stem 
with Abraham and the fathers, 9 5 , n 28 . Remember, 
on the one hand, that not all Abraham's offspring 
were truly of this tree ; it was always being pruned, 
Isa io 33 , Rom 9 27 . Remember, on the other hand, 
that the promise was sure not only to those on the 
stem of The Law, but to those on any branch from 
the trunk of the faith of Abraham, Gen I2 3 , Rom 4 16 . 
Outside Judaism there always were true believers, 
such as Naaman and Job, not even like Caleb, Rahab, 
and Ruth, grafted into the Jewish stem. Yet, un- 
doubtedly, Jews, by their numbers and culture, thus 
became the nucleus of the kingdom, and grew to be 
the principal stem. Unhappily it proved fruitless, as 
our Lord feared, Luke 1 3, 2O 9 ~ 16 ; so " the branches of 
it are broken " off, Jer I I 1G . They did not abide in 
Christ, so were cast forth as branches, and withered, 
John 15. But though some prophets knew the stem 


deserved only to be destroyed root and branch, Mai 4 1 , 
Matt 3 10 ; though the great Husbandman certainly 
"lopped the boughs with terror," yet a few branches 
survive, even out of the stock of Jesse, to bear fruit, 
Isa n 1 , Rom n 1 " 5 . The branches lopped off were only 
fit for burning ; they could not be grafted on to you 
wild olives of Gentiles, Ezek if' 22>23 , as would have 
been natural, so as to make you fruitful also, Isa 42, 
49, 6o 1-3 ; Acts I3 47 ; Rom 2 10 . So He reversed the 
process, and grafted you on to the trunk. Now you 
Gentiles, equally with the remnant of Jews, are rooted 
in Christ, Col 2 7 . 

' But do not be over proud ; you did not bear the 
Christ according to the flesh, and the Jews did, 
Rom 9 5 . He is not only the Root, but also the Offspring 
of David, Rev 22 16 . The Jews are the old lump, out 
of which He is taken as Firstfruits the little leaven 
to leaven the new lump of you Gentiles, Gal 5, till all 
the Kingdom is leavened, Matt 1 3 33 . They are doubly 
related to Christ ; you singly. Your salvation comes by 
a Jewish Saviour through Jewish missionaries. Faith 
is certainly the supreme thing, whether in Jew or 
Gentile ; but even ties of race are not to be quite 
neglected. As soon as the Jews evince faith, it will 
be easier to bring them into the Kingdom than to 
bring you, and they will be far more fruitful.' 

In a general way Paul aligns himself with the old 
prophets; with John the Baptist, Matt 3 9 ' 10 ; with his 
Lord, Matt 7 19 ~ 21 ; with Peter, Acts 3 23 ; insisting on the 
uselessness of mere natural descent from Abraham 
and the importance of faith a position assumed also by 
John, I 11 " 13 . But while still laying the main stress on 
the life-giving power of faith, he at last explained what 
advantage the Jew hath more than in being entrusted 

ii 16 18 , 23 , 24 ] ROMANS 169 

with the oracles of God, 3 1 " 3 . When the Jew believes, 
he is likely to be the finest agent for Christ, as he is 
the most natural one, Acts 3 25 2G , i3 46 . Such men as 
Neander and Edersheim illustrate his doctrine. 

Like other great principles, this may be applied in 
directions that Paul was not contemplating at the time. 
If we consider Christian parents as the main stem, and 
their children as the ' branches, his argument will run : 
' Faith is all-important ; without that, even children of 
godly parents cannot remain in external communion 
with the people of God, but 'must be cut off, however 
hard it seem ; while even the children of heathen must 
be welcomed in when they believe, however unnatural 
it seem. But when the unbelieving child of believing 
parents turns and believes for himself, how natural to 
welcome him in ! what great results may we not expect 
from his service ! ' 

Meanwhile, we may not take what is secondary, and 
use it to override what is primary. Christian parentage 
alone, without personal Christian faith, is of no more 
value than Jewish parentage alone without personal 
faith ; and even Ezekiel knew that was worthless, 
i8 4 ' 10 - 13 > 20 . It may justify hopes that faith will appear 
sooner, but it first becomes of actual value when that 
faith appears ; then the working by love is more 
energetic. Even then it is accessory ; faith is the 
principal thing. And baptism follows faith. 

1 2 1 . The new body was a priesthood : its ritual was 
not material, but spiritual; its sacrifices not of dead 
victims, but of living persons, to be dedicated once for 
all to God's service. In such a priesthood Paul shared, 
offering service at his prayers, I 9 ; compare I5 1C . 

I2 3 ~ 13 . These suggestions of the mutual duties of 
Christians arose naturally out of the state of things 


at Corinth, whence Paul wrote. For comments see 
I Cor 12. 

I3 1 " 7 . This does not discuss directly the relation of 
an organized church with an organized State; but the 
teaching sheds some light on it. Paul fully endorsed 
his Lord's words to Pilate ; the authority of rulers is 
real, for they are God's representatives on earth. Our 
practical difficulties usually arise from conflicting claims 
made in the name of church, of State, of family. Yet 
in political life we often meet similar conflicts when a 
mayor and a governor and a president or governor- 
general are charged with administering different laws 
all binding on the citizen. The State provides a 
Supreme Court that will lay down a final decision as 
to where obedience is due. The Christian can humbly 
ask Divine guidance in studying his Bible and counsel- 
ling with his fellow-Christians, but his own conscience 
must be his Supreme Court. The help given here is 
that the civil authority is supreme within its con- 
stitutional limits, namely, punishing evil and reward- 
ing good ; the citizen must pay due deference to the 
officers, and support them by taxes, so long as they 
are ministers of God's service. 

I3 8-1 . Here is another careful statement that in 
disregarding the old Law with its ten commandments 
Paul did not sanction lawlessness. It is the charge ever 
being levelled against Paul at the time, and against 
those who reproduce his teaching still. All that was 
of permanent value in that Law is comprised in one 
sentence of it, repeated with richer meaning by the 
one Lawgiver : Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 

I4 1 " 12 . The discussions in this chapter probably 
reflect some difficulties at Corinth which at an earlier 

I4 1 -"] ROMANS 171 

stage were dealt with in I Cor io 23 ~ 31 . At a much 
earlier stage the conference at Jerusalem had laid down 
a compromise on matters of diet, but without explaining 
the principles underlying. Paul was not content to 
dwell upon precedent, but preferred to state a reason. 
He is here precise in stating, first, that all duty is 
ultimately to God ; that every man is accountable direct 
to Him. If God has delegated authority in any depart- 
ment to a magistrate, that must be respected ; if to a 
church, that must be respected. If a magistrate over- 
steps his authority and contradicts God, the answer is 
to be given, "We must obey God rather than man." 
Even a church has no right to usurp authority not 
committed to it, and to forge a new yoke to lay on the 
necks of the disciples. The terms of communion are 
explicit Repentance and Faith. To add to these is 
certain to exclude some from human fellowship whom 
the Lord includes in His own fellowship. To take up 
time discussing personal details such as food is to 
distract from Christian activity and to endanger 
Christian love. 

As for the two parties, he has advice for each : 
' Why dost thou set at nought thy brother ? To use 
God's gifts for sustaining God's creature is good in 
itself, if done with gratitude ; but if thy use of a par- 
ticular gift pains thy brother, why despise his trouble ? ' 
And for the censorious one he puts the equally forcible 
question : ' Why dost thou judge thy brother ? If a 
scruple of thine debars a Christian brother from what 
pleases him, love to him compels thee to examine 
whether thy objection is warranted by Christ or needs 
to be surrendered.' So Christ's law of love can solve 
awkward questions of conduct. 

I4 5)G . One other application of this principle was 

5 6 


made. Either at Corinth or at Rome the question had 
arisen as to any distinction between days. Jews were 
accustomed to observe one day each week as a day of 
special rest and worship, with several fasts and feasts, 
some ordained in The Law, some as national anniver- 
saries. Gentiles ; of course, had no interest in these, 
and possibly had their own civic anniversaries. 
Christians of all shades might think of a new series of 
days, either personal or local or universal, such as the 
first day of the week as that on which the Lord arose, 
the fourth that on which He was betrayed, the sixth 
that on which He was crucified, the anniversaries of 
His baptism and death and ascension, of the coming 
of the Holy Spirit. Others might prefer to live at 
such high pressure that there was no room for any 
distinction, because every day was crowded with 
Christian work. 

Paul saw no need for uniformity, provided only that 
each man adopted his course in honour to God. If, 
however, any man justified himself on other grounds, 
such as obedience to the Jewish Law, that was another 
variety of the error he fought so vigorously, and such 
a case he condemned in Gal 4 10 and Col 2 16 . And, of 
course, if a man esteems every day alike, not as a gift 
from God to be used to His glory, but as time to kill in 
pleasure, he may not wrest Paul's words to excuse his 
ingratitude and idleness ; whether or not he scandalize 
a church, he will have to give account of himself to God. 

I4 13 - 23 . In giving account, three tests can be ap- 
plied. Is any command of God disobeyed ? On the food 
question Paul went behind the concordat of Jerusalem, 
and applied his basic principle that the Jewish Law was 
obsolete ; distinctions of clean and unclean were out of 
da.te. One command of God is paramount, Love thy 

I4 13 "] ROMANS 173 

neighbour as thyself: to annoy him by flouting his 
scruples, however absurd, was to break this command. 
If conscience could not approve fully, the light that was 
given even to ancient Gentiles was disregarded, and 
no account that would pass muster could be given 
to God. 

Thus The Law was tacitly but effectually set aside 
as irrelevant, and the permanent touchstones of conduct 
were given, Love and Conscience. 

I5 10 . Another metaphor taken from the priestly 
ritual of the temple. The Gentiles are to be brought 
as an offering to God (compare Isa 66 20 ), and when 
sanctified by the Spirit will form a sacrifice fit to be 
offered by their missionary as priest. 

IS 26 . Compare I Cor I6 1 ' 19 . 


THE epistles of Paul to the Corinthians are only part 
of a long correspondence, of which their letters have 
perished except for several quotations by him, and of 
which at least his first letter has perished also. Their 
reply included several petty questions on sexual matters, 
on the extent of Christian liberty, on the relative im- 
portance of miraculous gifts. The tone of the letter 
betrayed a disposition to doubt his authority, so that 
he prefaced his reply with an explanation of the duties 
of the Christian ministry generally and the apostolate 
in particular. He also discussed and condemned their 
general restiveness and independency, dwelling on the 
value of tradition and the mutual obligations of churches. 
He blamed them for their factious spirit among them- 
selves, regulated their mode of worship, and corrected 
them on an important doctrine. 

But men from Jerusalem, like those who had caused 
trouble at Antioch' and in Galatia, were already in 
Corinth, and one of their leaders scoffed at Paul and 
his authority, claiming that he himself was direct from 
the mother-church, with credentials from the original 
Twelve, and depreciating by attack and insinuation 
the mere evangelist from Antioch. This seems to 
have called forth a severe letter referred to later in 
II Cor 2*, f' 12 . The visit from Timothy accomplished 
little ; one from Paul led only to insult and defiance, 

and he went to Macedonia, despatching Titus to report 



to him at Troas. On receiving news of a better spirit 
in the church, he sent an appeal for peace and love, 
embodying a credential to Titus and others to complete 
the collection for the poor at Jerusalem as a token of 
the unity of all parties in all the churches. 

These letters, then, have no systematic exposition of 
doctrines such as he wrote to the Romans ; but they 
show the actual working of a church, its internal life, 
its relations to visiting teachers, and the solution of 
many trivial questions by referring them to some great 
principles of permanent value. 

I Corinthians I 10 ~ 12 . The church at Corinth had not 
absolutely split into two or three separate groups, 
meeting, worshipping, and working independently, but 
was seamed by one set of lines based on attachment 
to different teachers, and another based on social 
strata, 1 1 18 " 21 . Even these Paul objected to, for outward 
unity is imperilled, and its advantage is doubtful if there 
is real disunion. 

We must remember that such names as Lutheran, 
Calvinist, Brownist, Muggletonian, Wesleyan, Sweden- 
borgian, Campbellite are nicknames given by outsiders 
often in contempt ; it is hard to label men so, and then 
blame them if to some extent they acquiesce. Such cases 
present only an apparent disregard of Paul's counsel 
not to call one's self after a man ; the real disregard is 
when a party exists refusing to hold fellowship with 
others, and claiming as its peculiar title such universal 
titles as The Church, Brethren, Christians, Disciples, 
Catholics. And a community is doubly at fault when, 
despite its assumption of unity, it is really a congeries 
of parties with widely different principles and revering 
different teachers. 


I 14 ~ ir . If baptism were comparable in importance to 
preaching, Paul could not have written thus. The 
common sense of men agrees that to persuade and gain 
the adhesion of a man is more difficult and more 
important than formally to admit him ; a traveller 
soliciting orders receives a higher salary than the clerk 
who takes the money. If baptism actually effected any 
spiritual change, Paul could not have written thus. It 
is full of symbolism, is a valuable clinch of a man's 
decision, and may even impress the spectators as a 
dramatic preaching, yet is so deficient in this respect as 
compared with the spoken word, which may vary to 
suit different moods, that Paul rejoiced his commission 
was to preach, not to baptize. It needed a Jesus to 
expound Isaiah, but only a sexton to put the roll away. 

To ordain ministers with a special mention of their 
authority to baptize and to administer the Lord's supper 
is natural for a community that in defining a church 
specifies that the sacraments are duly administered, 
but has no word to say about its duty to the outside 
world. Such a community has lost Paul's sense of 

2. The secular ideal of education is one thing, the 
Christian another. Athenian philosophers could not 
listen without laughter to a story of a man raised from 
the dead, nor could it be taken seriously by Festus, 
the intelligent Roman ; but Timothy, nurtured on the 
Bible, or even Agrippa, who knew the prophets, might 
be won to accept Christ. The aim of all education 
should be to reveal the glory of God and fit the learners 
to reveal it further. 

A man with a splendid literary and scientific educa- 
tion is not thereby competent to appreciate spiritual 
facts. If he studies the Bible with that equipment alone, 


he may do great service in elucidating some obscure 
points, appreciating its literary excellence, showing the 
order of its books in time, the circumstances under 
which they were written, the possible authors of the 
anonymous books. It is quite likely that very much 
debate will be needed before agreement is reached on 
these points, and that many wrong opinions will be 
ventilated, though in the end such study will be helpful 
to the Christian. But such study is beside the real 
mark, unless pursued only as a means to higher ends. 
If pursued for its own sake, it is like the conduct of the 
Australian blackfellow, who sees in the telegraph wire 
only good raw material for his weapons. 

The Bible can only be fully appreciated when studied 
with the help of that Spirit who comes from God for 
spiritual ends. And he who has gleaned a few spiritual 
facts from it, and applied them to his conduct, has 
a better education for that life which is life indeed 
than he who has graduated highest at the finest of 
secular universities, but has only the wisdom of men. 
There need be no sundering. A man who was born in 
the university town of Tarsus, had taken his theological 
course at the feet of Gamaliel, had been face to face 
with Jesus, and had spent three quiet years thinking 
out what it all meant, was not the man to decry 
education, provided it be under God and devoted to 
His service, 

3, 4. These chapters throw some light on the 
mutual relations of Christian ministers. Paul claimed 
such honour as was due to the founder of a church, 
but otherwise ranked himself with Apollos and Peter, 
whose gifts might differ, but who are not declared to be 
inferior in standing. Although he did use authority 
over Timothy, and afterwards over Titus and others, 



yet the principle laid down that all were God's fellow- 
workers suggests that they were as yet apprentices 
learning under wise masters, but not of a permanently 
inferior grade. Indeed, there is no thought here of 
official rank, except in the case of apostles who could 
not survive in future times. Their case apart, all 
ministers are alike entrusted with God's counsels, to 
proclaim, to organize, to tend, to prune, and to be 
tested at last by permanence of results. One is not 
to be pitted against another because his gifts make him 
excel in one direction ; the only valid criticism is not 
by the church nor by the man himself, but by God. 

3 9 ~ ir . This comparison of a church to a building was 
obvious after our Lord's own words, but Paul gave 
it a different turn. Christ was the foundation ready 
laid ; he, the master builder, had laid bare that founda- 
tion in Corinth by proclaiming Jesus as the Saviour, 
and he had laid the foundation course in the persons of 
Stephanas and his household, the firstfruits of Achaia, 
with Titus, Justus, and Crispus and Gaius. 'Other 
preachers were adding more living stones to the 
structure rising into a little temple wherein the Spirit 
might dwell. But unhappily some were also adding 
wood, hay, and stubble, and in the day of testing 
these worthless members of the Corinthian church 
would perish. 

Such was Paul's expansion and modification of our 
Lord's figure : ' We ministers are God's fellow-workers ; 
you Corinthians are God's building, a temple of God.' 
It was afterwards repeated on a universal scale instead 
of a local, Eph 2 20 ~ 22 ; and it was adopted in I Pet 2 5 . 
It is very usual to make two further applications, one 
based on our Lord's own phrase, the other narrowed from 
it. If Jesus builds His Church on an acknowledgement 

3" "] / CORINTHIANS 179 

of Himself as Son of God, then the material for 
building must be of the same kind doctrines, not men ; 
the edifice will be a body of doctrine ; and the day of 
testing will destroy false doctrine. If a man bases 
himself on this fundamental truth, he can erect on that 
a superstructure of thought and inference, of work and 
service, all to be valued in the time of judgement. 
These interpretations are not self-consistent, and are 
plainly different from Paul's meaning as stated in 9> 12> 1T . 
4 ir . Corinth shared the Athenian habit of wanting 
to hear and practise some new thing. Paul, when 
staying there, had written to praise another church 
for its respect of the traditions he had delivered, 
II Th 2 15 , 3. The apostles generally were em- 
powered to develope the teaching of Jesus and to 
organize the churches. Under this authority he had 
delivered certain directions as to customary- usage, 
doctrines, matters of fact. Of these the Corinthians 
were somewhat heedless, though they had apparently 
boasted that they were attentive to them a statement 
that Paul could by no means endorse, 1 i 2 " 16 . He was 
sending Timothy to recall them to his instructions, 
reminding them of the general practice in other 
churches, 7 ir , i6 x , and bidding them respect the 
customs of other churches, io 32 , ii 16 ' 22 , I4 33 - 36 , and 
intending to introduce greater uniformity when he 
arrived, n 34 . 

This language is superficially inconsistent with our 
Lord's rebuke of the scribes and Pharisees for hiding 
The Law under their traditions. But the cases are 
radically different. The Law purported to be a 
complete whole, and adding to it was expressly for- 
bidden, Deut 4 2 , I2 32 . Jesus, on the other hand, did 
not give any detailed body of doctrine or any expanded 


code of law, and He expressly authorized the apostles 
to announce the facts relevant to salvation, to teach 
with authority what He had taught them and what the 
Spirit should teach them, and to guide the infant church 
generally. Paul had compared his teaching with that 
of the earlier apostles, and they were agreed. His 
"traditions" were then such facts as were presently 
recorded by the evangelists, or as were recapitulated, 
jcjs-s . guch doctrines as were taken down from his lips, 
and are read by us in his epistles ; such customs as he 
mentioned, 1 1 23 - 28 . The traditions of the apostles were 
mostly committed to writing in their lifetime, and are 
now printed in the New Testament. A few other 
customs of the churches can be traced so early and 
so universally that we may be morally sure they were 
countenanced or instituted by the apostles, though they 
are not expressly ordered in words recorded in the 
New Testament : for instance, the participation of 
women in the Lord's supper, the leadership of each 
church by a committee with one president, a special 
meeting for worship on the first day of the week. But 
traditions which are not soon written, or not vouched 
for by observance in widely different quarters, have no 
guarantee of genuineness, and experience shows they 
are sure to become altered. Many traditions are 
current which are demonstrably false ; and of some of 
these, such as infant baptism, it is sadly true that they 
make the word of God of none effect. 

The Corinthians, however, were in practice indepen- 
dent of tradition, of the apostle's orders, of the customs 
at other places. Inasmuch as Paul smartly and 
repeatedly rebuked them for striking out novel paths 
even in such slight matters as the attire of women 
at worship, we may with reason object to the vast 

4 1 '] / CORINTHIANS 181 

transformation of worship in " Catholic " circles ; then 
humbly ask whether an " Independent " system of 
church life would meet with his approval to-day. 

5. An apostle was empowered to pronounce and 
execute sentence on an offender, as in the cases of 
Sapphira, Simon, and Elymas. But it was important 
to accustom the churches to exercise discipline and keep 
themselves pure, for the apostles must soon pass away, 
while the churches might abide for centuries. The 
good effects of this mutual care are alluded to in 
II 7 U . 

5~ 8 . This exhibition of spiritual analogies to the 
literal customs ordained in The Law pointed to its 
permanent value even when no longer useful as a 
guide of life. 

5 12 . When it is fully grasped that a church is a 
select body, and cannot till some final triumph include 
all in a neighbourhood ; that a church has to regulate 
internal matters, and is so far from being called upon 
to regulate external that secular business may be 
transacted between Christians and flagrant sinners 
then we may have fewer attempts to impose on a 
town or a country Christian customs by State legislation 
but for Christian reasons. It is doubtless desirable to 
discourage fornication, and many States do so by 
declaring it illegal if pursued publicly or for gain. 
It is desirable to discourage extortion, but modern 
States will seldom break a bargain, however extortionate, 
if the debtor knew what he promised. It is desirable 
to discourage covetousness, but scarcely any State has 
legislated against it. It is desirable to discourage 
idolatry, but the State protects it in India. The 
function of the State is to prevent evil and praise 
good by outward compulsion ; one function of the 


churches is to do the same by moral education in the 
mind of Christ. The one deals only with acts and 
words, the other seeks to influence these by bringing 
the heart into willing obedience to Christ. Churches 
should rather educate the public conscience than seek 
to declare things crimes which, though they are sins 
before God and vicious in themselves, are not recog- 
nized generally as harmful to the community ; for men 
compelled against their will are of the same opinion 
still, and will hate the churches that seem tyrannical, 

6 l ~\ Paul did but repeat and expand what his 
Lord had said. The local church might have to settle 
between two brethren which of them had sinned ; but 
if the verdict was not accepted, the sinner was to be 
expelled the church. To submit to an outsider a 
difference between two brethren was to belie the title 
of brother. 

6 n . ' You asked for baptism as a pledge that your 
heart was changed ; you were in public formally con- 
secrated to God's service ; in the name of Christ it was 
authoritatively announced that your sins were forgiven 
and that you were taken possession of by God's Spirit. 
Will you belie yourselves, stultify the church, and 
grieve the Spirit by relapsing into sin ? ' This is the 
germ of the argument in Rom 6 1 ~ w . 

" Ye were sanctified," rather, consecrated. The word 
bears here no ethical meaning, but is used in the familiar 
Old Testament sense of Separated to God's service, 
see Deut I5 19 , Jer I 5 , Ecclus 45*, 49*. This sense is 
retained in the New Testament by every writer except 
Paul, who sometimes enriched it with a deep moral 
sense. Thus gold and gifts are said to be consecrated, 
Matt 23 1T >'- 19 ; food, I Tim 4 6 ; utensils generally, II Tim 
2 21 ; also living men, such as Christ, John lo 36 , I Pet 

6] . / CORINTHIANS 183 

3 15 ; the apostles, John jy 17 - 19 ; and Christians generally, 
as often in Hebrews. 

It is not said that baptism was the formal means of 
consecration and of the declaration of forgiveness, but 
doubtless this is true. What is not said and cannot 
be true is that baptism produces a moral change, 
" sanctification," and is the condition of forgiveness, 

6 12 . Comparing 8, io 23 ~ 33 , it would appear that some 
unruly Corinthian had declared, All things are lawful 
for me. Paul limited this : All things may perhaps 
be lawful, but not all things are wise, nor will I enslave 
myself to any, nor do all things help the spiritual 
life. He refrained from a direct denial, possibly 
because the words were a direct quotation from himself 
in another connection. He may have said, as he 
afterwards wrote, You are not under Law, but under 
grace ; and this incident may have led to the careful 
guarding of his language in 9 20>21 . In a sense he 
agreed with the Corinthian : the Jewish Law never 
bound a Gentile ; so far as it was concerned, all things 
were lawful for him. But the Corinthian forgot con- 
science, love to God, love to man, expediency, utility. 

7 14 . The unbelieving husband has "been consecrated 
in the wife ; see note on 6 U . If an inanimate altar 
can by mere contact consecrate the gold laid on it, 
does not a pious wife bring her husband into special 
relation with God ? Marriage was not a mere arrange- 
ment for fleshly ends : in itself it bound together the 
spouses not by mere carnal ties, but by spiritual, just 
as on the other hand fornication that hideous parody 
of marriage could degrade the fornicator. It was not, 
as the rabbis said, dissolved by the conversion of one 
partner. To remain wedded to a heathen was not, as 


the Corinthians feared, a defiling of the temple of the 
Holy Spirit; rather, the spiritual life of the new 
Christian would react on husband and children. The 
society of a Christian is a means of grace : a husband 
may be won by the behaviour of his wife, or a wife 
by her husband, or a child by a parent. Indeed, said 
Malachi, ' For this end was marriage instituted. 
Saints in heaven, and angels, are not married ; it was 
open to God to arrange similarly on earth. - He was 
not straitened by lack of the Spirit of life, yet He 
fashioned woman and gave her to man that they might 
beget children and train them in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord.' If qualities are transmitted 
from generation to generation, if a little leaven leavens 
the whole mass, shall heredity and environment tell for 
nothing when godly parents found a Christian home ? 
Was it only of old that when God loved the fathers, 
He chose their children after them ? Does not experi- 
ence attest that the children of Christians yield them- 
selves to Christ sooner and oftener than others ? It 
may be that they experience no thrill of conversion such 
as prostrated Paul, that some day they awake with 
surprise to see that all men are not as they have been 
ever since they remember lovers of God ; but how and 
when the breath of the Spirit came is of less importance 
than that He has come to them, finding the way 
prepared by the sweet home influences. 

How may this doctrine be suitably recognized ? 
Christian parents may .be reminded of their privilege 
in being entrusted with the care of children to lead 
to Christ ; at marriage and at thanksgiving for child- 
birth special attention may be drawn to the matter. 
But these are domestic, not church, matters. An 
American who marries an English bride alters her 

nationality at once ; she is set apart from her kindred 
in him. Presently the parents may be congratulated 
on the birth of a son who may become President ; 
but to inaugurate the baby as President is premature 
it is enough to adjure them to give the best of training 
and fit him to be President. His birth into that 
household has given him an advantage above others ; 
let them improve that, but not anticipate a call to be 
given by others and accepted by himself. When the 
child of Christian parents is conscious that the prayers 
of father and mother have been heard and that the 
Spirit of life has taken possession of him, then is the 
time to acknowledge that a probability has been 
realized, and both family and church may rejoice as 
the young disciple seeks baptism. 

That Paul would have opposed infant baptism is clear 
by the other two cases mentioned. An unbelieving 
husband is consecrated in the wife, but is not baptized 
on the strength of her belief ; an unbelieving wife is 
consecrated in her husband, but is not baptized on the 
strength of his belief; an infant who cannot yet 
believe is consecrated in her believing parents, but 
why should she be baptized on the strength of her 
parents' belief? 

7 18>19 . If Paul had believed that circumcision was 
replaced by baptism, his words here would have-been 
different. The only bearing his words here have on 
the subject may be exhibited thus : ' No ceremony 
is important in itself, only as a means to an end. 
Baptism in itself is nothing, lack of baptism in itself is 
nothing, but neglect of the command of God that 
believers should be baptized is a great deal.' To him 
who knows what is bidden and does it not, to him it is 
sin. Neglect may take the form of wilful defiance, or 


wilful inattention to the subject, or careless procrastina^ 
tion in studying it to find out what is bidden. To call 
ignorance or non-compliance because of illness or other 
physical hindrance, " neglect/' is harsh ; baptism in 
itself is nothing. When any commandment of God for 
the baptism of infants is produced, it will be time 
to consider how blameworthy are parents who do not 
bring their infants for baptism. 

8. Compare 6 12 , io 23 ~ 33 , and Rom 14. 

9 1>2 . The call of a minister is evidenced by his 

9 20)21 . Two asides here exhibit how ingrained and 
fundamental was Paul's doctrine of obedience. He 
was not under The Law, though he might voluntarily 
observe it in order to win Jews ; he was not therefore 
without any law, for Christ's will was law to him. 

I0 1 " 5 . 'All began well, all had tokens of God's care, 
most lapsed ; all had their sacraments, most proved 
rebellious.' A warning against indolence, a warning 
against sacramentarianism. 

The crossing of the Red Sea was like baptism, in 
that it was a voluntary proof given by the people of 
their trust in a new leader, a turning the back on an 
old life of bondage and entering on a new life of 
freedom. These points of resemblance go to the root 
of the matter. There was indeed no repentance, no 
death of Moses that obtained their freedom ; but no 
illustration can be expected to correspond at every 
point. In the form of the act there is little, if any, 
resemblance ; there was no doubt a cloud overhead and 
a wall of water on either side, and it was God who cleft 
the sea and brought the cloud over them and bade them 
pass through. But it is not certain that Paul saw any 
resemblance there to the water beneath which the 

10' 5 ] I CORINTHIANS 187 

candidate plunges and from which he emerges, and to 
the administrator who superintends. 

It is, however, a baseless assumption to say that rain 
was poured on them from the cloud, or that spray was 
sprinkled on them from the sea ; and therefore no 
deduction from such imaginary facts need be refuted. 
It is forgetful to say that the only people immersed 
then were the Egyptians. When did they emerge 
alive ? Baptism implied submersion and emersion, too. 

The safe points of comparison, which alone illustrate 
Paul's teaching here, are that the people broke with 
the life of Egypt, trusted Moses, and went on to a life 
of liberty ; yet, he goes on to say, they soon hankered 
after Egypt, murmured at Moses, and grew tired of the 
new life. So the vows taken at baptism are not self- 
executing ; there must be constancy and perseverance. 

The second illustration is from the manna and the 
cliff- water. Not even the constant care of God checked 
their grumbling. His very gifts were taken as a due 
or as paltry and unworthy ; so far from being means of 
grace, they were perverted into cause of oifence. And 
so at Corinth the very communion service was not 
treated as a helpful reminder of the source of all 
spiritual life, but became the occasion of great scandals. 

Observe again that the resemblance is in meaning, 
not in form. Manna is not exactly bread, and water 
is decidedly not wine. This may confirm us in for- 
bearing to insist on any correspondence in form in 
the previous allusion. 

It should be observed that this is the only passage 
that connects baptism and the Lord's supper. Even 
if we add Mark io 38 , they are associated simply as 
illustrations. When Paul discussed the origin and 
support of life, justification and sanctification, he was 


silent about ceremonies, except that he once drew an 
illustration from baptism. The command to baptize is 
not recorded by two evangelists : except in this and 
the next chapter, no apostle ever mentioned or 
glanced at the Lord's supper. The inference is easy, 
that they are not vital to the Christian life ; any system 
which places them in the forefront has neglected the 
proportions of the apostolic teaching. 

I0 10>ir . There has long been a dispute as to the 
sense of the word Is at 1 1 24 - ^ and the general Protes- 
tant opinion is that it is used for Signifies, Represents. 
Compare 3", [The foundation] is Jesus^Christ ; io 4 , The 
rock was Christ ; io 19 , An idol is anything ; Gal 3 16 , 
Thy seed, which is Christ. A good example is II Th 
2 4 , where the literal A.V., Shewing himself that he 
is God, has been revised into, Setting himself forth 
as God. Taking the same sense here, we see that 
Paul meant : ' The cup of blessing which we bless, 
represents a sharing in the life of Christ. The 
loaf which we break represents a sharing in the Body 
of Christ, The Church. Seeing that there is one loaf, 
we, who are many, are one Body, for we all partake 
of the one loaf.' 

The blood is the life ; to drink the wine depicts our 
being nourished by the life of Christ. The loaf stands 
for the Body not here the organism of flesh and 
bones that hung on the cross. Another thought is 
kept before us in verses 1T> 32 , and indeed is in view 
as far as I2 12 ~ 27 , where the identification is explicitly 
made, as The Church, the Body of Christ, which all 
Christians together form, and of which each is a 
member. Breaking and eating the one loaf depicts 
our fellowship together in the one Church which is 
Christ's Body on earth. 

10", "] / CORINTHIANS 189 

The Lord's supper, then, is, amongst other things, 
a representation of the communion of Christians both 
with the risen Lord and with one another. It is on 
this understanding that Paul proceeded to show how 
incompatible was attendance at idolatrous banquets, 
which represented communion with demons. 

It is impossible that Paul in a figurative chapter like 
the present meant: The cup literally is communion; 
the loaf literally is communion. Such statements are 
absolutely unintelligible, and even those who lean to 
a literal interpretation vary them to be : Our drinking 
from the cup is communion; our eating the loaf is 
communion. It is better to take the familiar ground 
that Is means Represents. Then we note that jthe 
rite does not effect communion ; it only depicts what 
was previously and habitually existing. 

The avoidance of the term Altar at io 21 as compared 
with 9 13 , io 18 , implies that Paul held no sacrificial view 
of the Lord's supper. The word We further implies 
that no exclusive right was reserved to an apostle or 
any officer of blessing and breaking. The varied order 
of these acts found here and in n 23 - 25 shows that he 
was not particular about points of ritual so long as 
decency was maintained and intentional symbolism was 
not obscured. 

I0 24 ~ 31 . See comment on Rom 14. 

ii ir ~ 22 . The Lord's supper was poorly under- 
stood by them. Not only did they forget that it 
pledged them afresh to fellowship with God, so 
that they tolerated idol worship alongside it ; not only 
did they despise the customs of the other churches, 
enjoined by the apostles, but at the very service 
that ought to exhibit fellowship with Christ and His 
redeemed, they neglected His commands, and they 


wounded their brethren by forming social cliques at 
His table. 

Condemning their local practice, Paul reminded them 
afresh of the character and meaning of the original 
supper on the eve of the crucifixion, and of the Lord's 
intention that certain features of it should be repeated. 
The leading thought given by the Lord was, His death. 
Two subsidiary thoughts were that He encountered 
it freely for them, that it ratified a New Covenant 
between God and man. To these Paul now subjoined 
another, drawn also from our Lord's words then, that 
the supper was only to be observed during His real 
absence, and was a pledge that His presence should 
be restored to His disciples. 

If then the Corinthians fastened on the social side 
of the meal, they not only destroyed that by their 
habit of making little groups of friends, each with a 
separate supply of food, but they ignored what was 
deeper and what alone gave promise of fellowship with 
God and man the reminder of the sacrificial death 
which assured God's forgiveness and help. 

Observe Paul's conception of schism, n 18 . It was 
not a breaking up into utterly disconnected congrega- 
gations or bands of congregations. He was not con- 
fronted with the spectacle of three Anglican churches, 
four Baptist, two Congregational, one Disciple, etc., all 
in one town, each group placidly unconcerned with the 
doings of the others, or jealously watching them as if 
they were so many rival insurance companies, with 
perhaps one or two groups declining to admit the 
" legitimacy " of the others. He would have been 
horrified at such a state of things, but Schism was not 
his word for it. He saw one church, one so far as 
outward organization went, one in meeting, one in 

ii 17 22 ] I CORINTHIANS 191 

worship ; but with a horizontal severance into class 
strata of wealth, and a vertical severance into groups 
with personal attachments to leaders, on the verge of 
developing into doctrinal differences. Ashamed as 
he would be at the state of things in England and 
America and Australia, he would label as schismatic 
any congregation or federation of congregations where 
the accidents of caste and perspective of doctrine or 
anything else destroyed the desired brotherly feeling 
that ought to permeate the whole, and bind it into one 
family. To restore this real vital unity is his object 
for many pages of this epistle. 

11 23 . Here is a tradition with only a single link. 
Paul received and handed on to the Corinthians. As 
we have this tradition put in writing by him within at 
most twenty-five years of his receiving it, there is no 
reason for doubting it, even if we had no promise that 
the Spirit should bring to remembrance whatever Jesus 
told His disciples. It is when traditions pass on orally 
for a century and more that we begin to hesitate, and 
reject when we find assertions that some things are 
handed down from the apostles which we can actually 
trace arising at a later period. 

11 24 . We have lately been urged by sacerdotalists 
to translate here, This is My body, sacrifice this, etc. 
In favour of this rendering we are reminded that the 
Hebrew and Greek words for Do had an occasional 
meaning, Sacrifice, Ex io 25 , II Kings I7 32 , Ps 66 15 . 
But Paul does not seem to understand our Lord in 
this sense; he could have objected forcibly to the 
Corinthians profaning a sacrifice, but he only blames 
their unworthy eating. Nor is there any other allusion 
to the Lord's Supper as a sacrifice, nor any suggestion 
of a sacrifice in the contexts. And although in a few 


centuries the Greek church held sacrificial theories, 
the Greek preachers did not understand this passage 
as supporting them. Moreover, the translation cannot 
be carried through here : " This [loaf] is My body, 
sacrifice this ; this cup is the New Covenant, sacrifice 
this." How can a cup or a covenant be sacrificed ? 

11 25 . "As often as ye drink." The brethren at first 
made every meal a memorial, Acts 2 46 , 6 1>2 ; but the 
perturbing influence of the Greek club-dinners was 
too serious, as these chapters show, and the Corinthian 
scandals seem to have led Paul to change the custom 
to a weekly communion, Acts 20 6 - 7 ; I Cor II 34 . The 
custom of grace before meat is perhaps a relic of the 
earliest usage. 

11 26 . The two aspects of the ceremony prominent 
here are, Commemoration of the death of Christ, 
Anticipation of His return. 

1 1 27 - 29 . Ignoring these associations of the ceremony, 
and treating it merely as a joint meal, a sort of club- 
dinner, was an insult not only to the poorer brethren, 
who were excluded from a share in the food of their 
richer associates, but also in their persons to the whole 
Church or Body of Christ, whose customs they wantonly 
departed from at the very moment when the loaf was 
reminding them of the unity of The Body ; and also 
to Christ the Head of The Church, whose constant 
presence was forgotten, although it was promised at 
all times to two or three gathered in His name, and 
was brought vividly under their notice in the cup. 
So then, as this was an act of worship and fellowship, 
every man must remember the Lord's rule and post- 
pone his worship till he had become reconciled to his 
brother, else he incurred further condemnation for 
hypocrisy as well as unkindness. 

1214] / CORINTHIANS 193 

12 14. Being invited to decide which "gift of 
the Spirit " was most desirable, he pronounced for 
prophecy, because that can be used to build up and 
strengthen others. But he warned them that these 
gifts were evanescent, whereas the grace of Love was 
imperishable. As the miraculous gifts have been long 
extinct, we can modernize the argument, contrasting 
talents and grace. 

The Spirit still betters the peculiar aptitudes of every 
man. Under His influence one may excel as a doctor, 
one as a scientist, one as a scholar, one as a translator, 
one as a preacher. Each may use his talent for the 
good of men and the glory of God, and the preacher 
has that talent which will be most useful. But if a 
man have all these talents at once, and yet his heart 
be cold, he is little benefited ; while he who has 
learned the temper of Christ and follows His command- 
ment, Love one another, goes in the most excellent 
way. Gifts are conferred on a few ; but not only the 
talented and the officers can serve God and help their 
fellows, all who love may do this. 

1 2 13 . ' When you and I were baptized, we acknow- 
ledged the power of the one Spirit of God, not the 
separate decisions of our wills; we joined the one 
Church that our Lord said He would build, not merely 
the local congregations of Damascus or Corinth ; we 
drank of the one living fountain of the Spirit promised 
by the Lord, who is not one at Samaria and another 
at Jerusalem and another at Corinth, John 4 14 , j- 39 - f 
I Cor 3 6 . There is one Spirit, one baptism, one Body.' 
Compare Eph 4 4 ~ 6 . 

I2 2r - 30 . The mutual obligation of members was 
emphasized without any special mention of officers. 
Every member useful to the whole in some way ; helps 



and governments not necessarily prominent. Apostles 
and prophets have since died out, teachers have taken 
over their preaching duties ; but at best officers exist 
only to serve the churches, and all members alike are 
to do Christ's will on earth. Even in worship, all may 
take their turn in edifying the church and winning 
others to it, I4 23 ~ 33 . 

I4 37 . Full apostolic authority was here claimed by 
Paul for himself as much as for the original Twelve, 
and was regarded as being that of the Lord. Paul 
forbade even directly inspired prophets to contravene 
his authority, and implied that a good test of inspiration 
is recognition of his right to command. The result 
to-day is that when by honest historical criticism we 
are assured we have apostolic writings in our hands, 
we must on any point of Christian doctrine or practice 
simply ascertain with the help of the Spirit what their 
teaching is, and accept it as regulative. Any further 
developements may be wrong, and, if right, cannot be 

1 5 29 - 32 . ' Else what will they gain who ask for 
baptism, impelled by love to their dead Christian friends ? 
If the dead are not raised at all, and there is no future 
life in which all believers will be happy together, why 
then do men get themselves baptized at the request 
of their dying friends ? They risk ostracism by the 
living, in hope of meeting again those whom they have 
loved and lost, just as we apostles risk even our lives 
daily in the same hope. What do I gain if the dead 
are not raised ? In that case let us indeed " eat and 
drink, for to-morrow we die," as unbelievers have said 
and are saying!' 

The language is extremely terse, and was so easily 
misunderstood that out of it arose a custom of being 


baptized as proxies, instead of friends who had died 
unconverted. Such a superstitious ceremony, implying 
some gain to the dead by its bare performance, could 
never have been alluded to by Paul in mere neutral terms. 

Two points in the paraphrase deserve attention. 
The sense of .Gain for the vague verb Do in verse 29 is 
justified by Luke 19", and by the absolutely parallel 
thought in verse 32 here, What doth it profit me if the 
dead are not raised ? It is extremely strange that this 
meaning has been generally, if not universally, over- 
looked. Then the preposition For is also very varied 
in its meaning. It very seldom means Instead of, yet 
the favourite interpretation here assumes this ; whereas 
only of late has the more familiar sense been adopted, 
For the sake of, Impelled by. We read of men suffer- 
ing, urged on by the love of Christ, Acts 5 41 , 9 1G , i5 20 , 
2 1 13 ; labouring for the same motive, III John 7 ; suffer- 
ing out of love to man, Eph 3 1>13 , Col I 2i ; of Christ 
dying, moved by our sins, I Cor I5 3 ; Heb 7 2r , 9 r , io 12 . 

The apostle knew well how family affection can lead 
one after another into the flock of Christ, I Cor 7 14 . 
Peter's wife had come with her husband, John Mark 
had followed his relatives, Timothy was the son of a 
Jewess who believed, Onesiphorus and others brought 
in their households. James had held out against Jesus 
during His life ; but after Jesus had died and had risen 
and appeared to him, he got himself baptized out of 
love to his dead and risen Brother. So great was the 
power of the resurrection, so constraining was love of 
the family, living or dead. When these motives com- 
bined, and people believed in a great cloud of friends 
witnessing their earthly career, whom they might 
rejoin if themselves Christian, then they might take 
up the cross of baptism, despising the shame, and run 


the Christian race, looking unto Jesus risen and at the 
right hand of God. But if dead people were not raised, 
why forego immediate pleasures for no future gain ? 

i6 1>2 . Among the customs Paul approved for all 
churches were : Asking directly for money to support 
the Lord's work ; Systematic collections rather than 
spasmodic, voluntary rather than assessed; Special 
observance of the first day of the week. 

i6 1>J9 . Here are two early tokens that Paul accus- 
tomed the churches to associate, and to associate on 
the lines of existing civil divisions. To maintain 
fraternal feeling between Jews and Gentiles, he was 
organizing a general collection for the poor at Jeru- 
salem. The basis of organization was the Roman 
province ; and so he always spoke of Galatia, Asia, 
Macedonia, Achaia, as befitted a Roman citizen. 
Compare Rom IS 18 " 29 . 

i6 2>lc . Apparently the Corinthians had no treasurer, 
and were loth to respect even early and diligent con- 
verts. Their democracy was on the verge of anarchy. 
In after years they made the first known attempt to 
depose their officers, and received a horrified expostu- 
lation from the sister church at Rome. No wonder 
that Paul urged them repeatedly to do everything in 
love, and saw that much would need setting in order. 


II CORINTHIANS i l . The brethren in Achaia were 
evidently in touch with the church at Corinth, just 
as the brethren in Judaea, Samaria, and Galilee were 
linked with Jerusalem, and somewhat as the churches 
of Galatia and the churches of Asia formed two groups, 
I I6 1 ' 19 . 

I 22 . God also sealed us for Himself with the Spirit ; 
the visible outward manifestation of His approval is in 
the multifarious gifts you enjoy, tokens to all beholders 
of His claim on you,' I I4 22 ; compare Acts 19". 

A seal was something tangible, imprinted on an 
object to close it or to claim it or to acknowledge it ; 
thus it was applied to a roll, Rev ID 4 , 22 10 ; to a tomb, 
Matt 27 66 ; to a prison, Rev 2o 3 ; to men, Rom 4", 
Rev 7. The metaphor of sealing is used in the New 
Testament for an external sign given by some one, to 
prove the existence of some quality in another, by 
evidence visible to all beholders. Thus Paul proved to 
the Hebrews the success of his gospel and the real 
conversion of the Gentiles by bringing up a collection 
they had made, Rom I5 28 . The Corinthian converts 
were a visible proof given by God that he was an 
apostle, I Cor 9 2 . The changed life in a man who 
accepted Christ's message was his endorsement that 
God is true, John 3 33 . The power bestowed on Christ 
to work miracles was a token from God that Christ was 

commissioned from above, John 6 2T , The miraculous 



gifts of the Spirit stamped with His testimony the 
reality of conversion, Eph I 13 , 4 30 . The inward peace 
and outward purity of believers were God's vouchers 
that He owned them, II Tim 2 19 . 

It is not wise to extend the metaphor beyond this 
scriptural usage, as, for instance, to say that in the 
sacraments, " Christ and the benefits of the New 
Covenant are sealed to believers." It is legitimate only 
to this extent, that the church and its officers, who 
administer these ordinances to a candidate, thereby 
express their approval of his claim to be Christ's. In 
every other respect the analogy fails. The attestation 
is only by fallible men ; God does not directly admit or 
debar a candidate. There is no direct pledge from God 
that He will fulfil His promises ; His only visible 
representative is the local church ; and if the presiding 
minister or the " priest " be of dubious character, what 
comfort can come to a participant ? And most palpably 
the sacraments leave no visible or tangible token 
behind : an hour after administration the candidate is 
no more clean and no less hungry, and no one could 
tell through what ceremony he had passed. To out- 
siders they are no evidence at all, whether by physical 
sign or by moral proof. 

2 1 " 11 . An offender had been disciplined by a majority 
vote on the advice of Paul, who now advised restoration 
as penitence was shown. Neither here nor anywhere 
else do we hear of their officers taking the lead. The 
church at Corinth seems to have been amorphous, 
with chance leaders, as often occurred in the political 
assemblies of Greek cities until reaction installed an 
irresponsible tyrant. 

3 1 . A Christian changing his abode carried com- 
mendatory letters from Jerusalem signed by James; 

3 1 ] // CORINTHIANS 199 

from Ephesus on behalf of the church, Acts i8 2r ; from 
Cenchreae a line by Paul in a long letter sufficed, 
Rom i6\ Paul went where no churches yet existed; 
and though he had been commissioned from Antioch, 
he felt on a par with the Twelve, and disdained to rely 
on these credentials of inferiors ; his case, of course, 
was an exception that could not persist long. The 
usual custom tended to link together the churches an 
object peculiarly necessary with Greeks. 

3 2 ~ 18 . The Corinthians were so disorganized that 
they were sure to succumb to some despotic leader, 
unless a vigorous life could be aroused in them as in 
other churches. Their danger was not from sacra- 
mentalism, to which Greeks were not prone, but from 
a party extolling learned teaching, of which they were 
very fond. Perhaps they had been exhorted to follow 
the advice of James, and not be many teachers, but 
to rally round the chair of an authorized teacher trained 
in the orthodox schools of Jerusalem. Paul met the 
danger by a truly rabbinic exposition : ' Moses himself 
found the glory fade from his face shortly after he 
parted from Jehovah; Christian ministers are always 
facing the Lord, and beholding His glory, which con- 
stantly changes them into His likeness, and fits them 
for their ministry. The Law engraven on stones con- 
cealed Christ from those who studied it, John 5 39 - 40 ; the 
message of salvation given frankly and hopefully wins 
converts by the power of the Holy Spirit.' Rabbi as 
Paul had been, learned as he was, confronted with an 
unruly and talkative church as he found himself, yet 
he valued most that gift of prophecy that came direct 
from on high. A Christian minister can perhaps dis- 
pense with university and college training, but never 
with the influence of the Holy Spirit. 


5 20 6 10 . The nature of the Christian ministry is here 
set forth. A minister is God's ambassador and fellow- 
worker, yet His servant. He brings to men the 
message of peace, and entreats that it be accepted, 
commending the entreaty by his own endurance of 
wrong and slander, and by his positive helpfulness, all 
due to the Holy Spirit. 

6" 7 1 . Purity of fellowship is here enjoined ; the 
fellowship contemplated is chiefly that of the church, 
I 5 9 ~ u , though the arguments apply equally to 
domestic life, I 7 39 . If a church exists primarily as an 
embassy from Christ exhorting to purity, 6 6 ,. then by 
the inclusion of an unbeliever the force of the message 
is broken, and the desire to deliver it is weakened. 
And this is true not only of open sceptics, but of 
such colourless uninterested people as are swept 
into a church by the dragnet of infant baptism. 

8, 9. A fraternal feeling would be produced by the 
great collection for the poor in the church at Jerusalem ; 
the example of Galatia was used to stir up Achaia, the 
readiness of Achaia to arouse Macedonia, the liberality 
of Macedonia to encourage Achaia again, and the co- 
operation of all to hint that Rome needed less isola- 
tion. For this purpose special letters were given by 
various churches to travelling treasurers, I Cor i6 3 , II 8 19 ; 
Acts 20 4 . 

10 13. The authority of Paul was challenged by 
some teacher with letters of commendation. He de- 
clined to consider the possibility of comparison with 
such a man ; his traducer might have borne a com- 
mission even from the apostles, but he was an apostle 
himself. His traducer harped upon signs and visions ; 
he had mercifully forborne as yet to give such a sign 
as befel Elymas, but if they wanted such a sign they 

1013] // CORINTHIANS 201 

might have it. He preferred to point to themselves, 
his converts, as proofs of his Divine commission. 

This is all that is available to-day, as the age of 
apostles and miracles has passed. No amount of 
credentials can be as good as the visible proof of a 
gathered church, the best sign of a minister's call. 

In these epistles to the Corinthians and Galatians, the 
subject of the validity of Paul's ministry was discussed 
from many sides, and he set forth in many ways his 
conception of a minister's duties. He never asserted 
that it was part of his duty to administer sacraments ; 
nor did he ever associate them with the ministry. His 
opponents do not seem to have suggested that on the 
legitimacy of his call depended the " validity " of his 
converts' sacraments. Modern sacramentarians out- 
Judaize the Judaizers ! 


THE epistle to the Galatian churches of Antioch in 
Pisidia, Iconium, Derbe, and Lystra was written after 
the conference at Jerusalem, which had settled that 
the Jewish Law was not binding on Gentile Christians. 
Paul had distributed the circular letter not only where 
directed, in Syria and Cilicia, but in Galatia too, Acts 
id 4 " . Some of the narrow party, however, made a 
fresh attempt to commend The Law, suggesting that 
though not necessary to salvation, yet it was necessary 
to perfection, 3 3 . This time the question of food was 
secondary, and the question of circumcision, initiating 
into Judaism, was in the forefront. The sudden de- 
fection of these churches called out this most vehement 
of all Paul's letters. 

He narrated his call direct from Jesus, the way 
in which he had had little intercourse with the 
other apostles, and was recognized by them as an 
equal, with the field of the Gentiles as his own. 
He illustrated how faith was always the condition 
of God's favour, whereas The Law brought a 
curse ; how Abraham enjoyed a covenant that was 
available for all like him in faith, and was incapable 
of modification by a subsequent law. Once The 
Law had convinced of the need of a Saviour, and 
faith was exercised, The Law could disappear as 


In the general situation we see the same circum- 
stances whose disturbance reached Corinth and Rome, 
and the doctrinal teaching in the greatest epistle seems 
a careful elaboration and arrangement of the radical 
thoughts here. Here are some of Paul's strongest 
expressions as to the utter abrogation of The Law, and 
the folly of turning back to such an elementary device. 

Galatians i 1 ' 11 - 12 , 2 6 ~ 11 . Paul vehemently insisted 
on his own direct call from Jesus and his utter inde- 
pendence of the apostles. The ordination at Antioch 
was not in question, for his opponents were asseVting 
his inferiority to the Twelve. He utterly disclaimed 
all Apostolic Succession, whether of doctrine or appoint- 
ment ; recalled how, on the evidence of God's grace 
working through them, he and Barnabas had been 
recognized as colleagues by the Twelve, and how it 
had become his duty to rebuke one of those Twelve 
publicly. If Apostolic Succession was thus not im- 
portant for an apostle, how much less is it now for 
a preacher? The one thing essential is a call from 
God direct, and the best proof of that to others is 
success in ministry. 

i c ~ 9 . The precise point at issue now was whether 
The Law, which admittedly could not obtain salvation 
or pardon from sin, was yet a means of growth in the 
spiritual life. The letter of the apostles and elders 
at Jerusalem had been explicit that it was not obli- 
gatory, but now the suggestion was that it might be 
a valuable means of discipline and grace. And of this 
doctrine Paul declared it was novel, a perversion of the 
gospel, and made its preachers worthy of a curse. 
The point was no longer that a man might be justified 
or forgiven by virtue of his keeping The Law; that 


was given up here, though Paul carefully disproved it 
when writing to the Romans. 

The exact reproduction of this error to-day is rare. 
Perhaps there is a tendency occasionally to test con- 
duct by parts of The Law, instead of testing it by 
Christ's law of love ; but that is a survival of a seven- 
teenth century mode of thinking, rarely leading to evil 
results. What is a pressing danger is the developement 
of a new code of laws, church traditions, embalmed in 
creeds, catechisms, manuals of ritual, and conduct, etc. 
In " Catholic " circles it is granted that bare salvation 
may be had by repentance and faith, but that the 
spiritual life can only be adequately nurtured by a 
compliance with " Catholic " customs, including espe- 
cially the sacraments. Against this Paul's arguments 
are of full force, and were applied with great vigour 
by Luther. 

i 11 " 14 . The Jews' religion and the traditions of the 
fathers were sharply contrasted with the gospel which 
helped to form The Church of God. 

i ir 2. This is an explicit repudiation of the need 
for Apostolic Succession. 

2 13 . This is, apparently, not a quotation of the 
speech to Peter, but a fresh address to the Galatians 
based on the speech. The Galatian churches had a 
strong Jewish and proselyte element, Acts I3 43 , 14*; 
and Paul generally used in this letter the Jewish name 
Kephas rather than Peter ; and in 3 13 spoke of Christ 
redeeming "us" from the curse of The Law, which 
never had anything to do with "sinners of the 

2 18 ~ 21 . All sorts of metaphors were employed to 
express how out of date is The Law. He who shared 
Christ's experiences lived henceforth by faith : faith 


obtained pardon, faith obtained daily grace ; The Law 
did neither. 

3 13; H . Here is the germ of the argument in Rom 1 1 : 
' Christ accepted on behalf of us Jews the obligation 
of The Law, and endured its curse ; thus He ended 
the interval, and allowed the long-delayed blessing of 
Abraham to come on the Gentiles. By the wonders 
thus wrought, we Jews in turn will be stirred to 
believe and receive the Spirit.' 

3 1T 4 11 . This passage, that was the germ of another 
passage in Romans, maybe thus paraphrased: 'Ever 
since Abraham, the promise has stood that, through one 
of his descendants, all the world should be blessed. 
Such is the basal covenant in which all the world is 
interested, which cannot be annulled or superseded; 
it must be fulfilled. Certainly there was subsequently 
a Law given to a fraction of mankind ; but its purpose 
was to develope a sense of sin and ripen the desire for 
the Saviour. It was only temporary, till the Saviour 
came ; it was given indirectly, not as the promise to 
Abraham ; it concerned Jews alone, not Jews and 
Gentiles, who are all under one God. It was then 
additional, but not in the least conflicting. 

'For the Jews, however, whom alone it ever con- 
cerned, it was a hard jailer, by its very hardness 
preparing a welcome for the Deliverer from jail. It 
was a slave leading home a schoolboy, to be neglected 
once he has brought the lad to the Father. It was a 
trustee and guardian during minority, to be thanked 
and honoured perhaps for faithful care, but to be 
discharged of the trust at majority. Christ opened the 
jail, introduced to the Father, declared that the set 
time had arrived; The Law henceforth was of no 
further service. 


' Granted that some Galatian Christians are Gentiles, 
and never were under The Law, they have reached God 
by another way. Why should they wish to go and 
explore the way whereby the Jews came ? They them- 
selves have reached God, and that is the main point. 
Jews learned to read by painful drill in the ABC for 
years; Gentiles, beginning late, learned whole words 
at once. Both now can read ; why should Gentiles 
fumble with the Jewish primers and spelling-books ? 
Rather let both use the treasures of learning and go 

3 27 . ' Those who pledged themselves in baptism unto 
Christ, thereby publicly declared themselves in touch 
with Him who should envelope them with protecting 
and enlivening power. Justification and sanctification 
are closely connected, spring alike from faith in Christ, 
and are both pictured in baptism.' The germ of 
another argument in Romans. 

The phrase "into Christ" may be compared with 
"unto Moses" in I Cor io 2 . It may, or may not, bear 
a deep mystic meaning, that he who accepts baptism 
in true earnest is really incorporate with Christ and 
testifies it in this way. It certainly does bear the 
meaning that the baptism tells not only of bare 
repentance, but also of faith directed unto Christ and 
of obedience promised unto Christ. 

"Put on Christ" is a metaphor applied again to 
the Romans, who were addressed as baptized already. 
Therefore it cannot imply that the act of baptism itself 
unites a believer to Christ. Paul spoke of "putting 
on " the armour of light, tender mercies, love, the new 
man, incorruption, immortality. In every case he implied 
it was to be an act that was critical, not habitual; in 
no case but this is it mentioned in the same breath 

3 27 ] GALATIANS 207 

with a ceremony. Evidently the change itself was vital, 
and the outward act only signified it. 

That Paul referred to baptism at all was due to its 
being a definite act, once for all, that announced to all 
beholders the change of life determined on. Ceremonies 
in themselves effect nothing; but for a Gentile in 
Galatia to accept circumcision would show that he was 
bewitched, for a Hindu to drink from a Christian's cup 
would avow that he disregarded caste, for any man to 
ask for baptism would indicate his deliberate breach 
with the past. And so this outward and visible sign 
of the greatest event in a man's inner life was worth 
appealing to ; like a marriage ceremony crowning the 
gradual developement of mutual love, it might be 
adduced as gathering and expressing all that had 
preceded it. 

4 10 . These are, of course, the Jewish festivals. Paul 
kept some of them himself, I Cor i6 8 ; Acts 20 1C , 2i 26 ; 
but no longer because he was obliged to simply to fall 
in with local customs and ingratiate himself with Jews, 
I Cor 9 20 . For Gentiles voluntarily to do so seemed 
ominous, as if white men coming into contact wi f h the 
antique and antiquated civilization of China should adopt 
all its peculiarities, not for the sake of conciliating the 
Chinese and winning them, but, out of mere imitative- 
ness, subjecting the men to the fashion of the queue 
and the women to the bondage of cramped feet. 

That Christians as Christians should invent a new 
series of days with burdensome restrictions on liberty, 
of months for fasting, of seasons, whether for praise or 
penitence, of years of jubilee, was not in Paul's imagin- 
ation. But his arguments, no less than his exact 
words, condemn such entanglement in a yoke of 


5"~ (i . Circumcision in itself is as innocent as tattoo- 
ing or shaving ; but circumcision declared necessary to 
perfection must be sedulously refused. Quickly it 
would be edged in that it was necessary not only to 
perfection, but as the initial step towards salvation; 
then the whole wedge of The Law would be driven 
home, and Christ would be neglected. But to those 
who are in fellowship with Christ Jesus, circumcision 
and uncircumcision are as unimportant as the loss or 
presence of a front tooth. The one thing to be sure 
of i s _ n ot baptism, equally unimportant in itself, but 
an active affectionate adhesion to Him. 

5 13>14 . Absolute freedom from The Law with all its 
restraints is not to be interpreted as freedom from all 
restraint. The one command given by Jesus Christ is 
not to be ignored because it is only one ; it will be 
found to ramify endlessly, and apply to every case of 
conduct ; it will effectually cut off occasion for yielding 
to the lower nature, for it will continually urge the 
developement of the higher, and the welding together 
of all who feel and exemplify love, 6 2 . 

6. There were apparently regular teachers in these 
churches, for whom Paul required a salary. They may 
have been the elders of Acts I4 23 ; compare I Tim 5 17 . 

6 U ~ 1G . In this autograph summary the argument 
against ritualism is re-stated. It will bear applying to 
any new system of ritualism put forward as a means 
of grace, or to any single rite. It will cut the ground 
from under the man who urges confession to a priest, 
or frequent communion as an indispensable help, or 
baptism as the condition for forgiveness of sins. What 
is vital a rite, or a refusal to adopt it ? Neither ; the 
new life from above. 


PAUL wrote to the Romans after a period of conflict for 
the rights of the Gentiles and their apostle, setting 
forth systematically that a great interlude of vast 
importance was over, that The Law was effete, and the 
Jews had no longer the exclusive importance they 
had held for fifteen hundred years ; dwelling on the 
permanent value of faith, and the means whereby, 
when fixed on Jesus Christ dead and risen, it could 
obtain first pardon and then a bettered life. 

In the few years since then, he had lived a life of 
comparative quiet and meditation in the seclusion of 
prison at Caesarea and Rome, and had witnessed the 
rise of new dangers from a pretentious scheme of 
philosophy that combined elements from Eastern 
thought with some from Jewish, and was ready to 
absorb a little Christianity. But as it assigned to 
Jesus only a minor place in the scheme of salvation, 
he warned the Colossians that Jesus was head over all 
things, and especially of The Church. In the epistle 
to the Ephesians he took the complementary thought 
and elaborated the doctrine of The Church as the Body 
of Christ. His lofty and mystical teaching warns not 
only against the errors of his day as reproduced in 
theosophy, but against the claims of a hierarchy of 
officers usurping the name Church, and against the 

209 14 


petty thoughts that confine the title absolutely to one 
and another of little companies labouring in semi- 
isolation. The Church, eternally designed as the 
means of glorifying Christ on earth and in heaven, 
is now actually growing by the mutual help of all its 
members gathered from all sources and quickened 
by the indwelling of the Spirit. 

The epistle to the Philippians is mainly of thanks 
for their considerate gifts to him. He glanced, however, 
at the risk of rivalry and self-assertion among them- 
selves, and repudiated the rival Jewish mission in 
Rome, warning them against a low standard of life. 

These letters were sent from Rome, the seat of 
empire. They show a larger view of church affairs, 
befitting a statesman who contemplates the elaborate 
preparation before Christ, and realizes the magnificent 
destiny of Christ and His Church. 


EPHESIANS I 3 ~ u . The work of God for and on the 
individual was recognized, but only to lead up to the 
summation of all individuals in Christ, along with all 
other beings, earthly and heavenly. 

I 13 . See II Cor I 22 . 

I 22 - 23 . But while this loftiest theme was glanced at, 
attention was drawn to Christ's headship over The 
Church, and its correlative truth, the Church being the 
Body of Christ. If Christ fills all things, inspiring 
every thing that has existence, upholding all things by 
His indwelling presence, yet it is also true that the 
Christ who does this is not the human Jesus, nor that 
Jesus exalted on high, but that Jesus together with the 
multitude whom He has redeemed, incorporated with 
Him, who without them is incomplete. 

" The fulness of Him." The English word is rather 
ambiguous, and even the word that Paul dictated was 
slightly ambiguous at the time, and soon became a 
highly technical term in an eclectic philosophy. The 
verb means literally to Fill full, and is used of a net, 
Matt I3 48 , or a valley, Luke 3 5 , or a house, John I2 3 , 
Acts 2 2 . The noun means That which fills full, and is 
used of the broken bread and fish put into baskets, 
Mark 8 20 , of the contents or inhabitants of the earth, 
I Cor io 26 , of a piece of cloth patching a hole in a 
garment, Matt 9 16 . It stands for anything that supplies 



a lack or completes to perfection. Here the implication 
is that Christ, however great and glorious in Himself, 
yet gains in greatness and glory by the union of The 
Church with Him. If without Him the disciple can do 
nothing, Paul is bold enough to teach that without 
The Church, the Christ cannot do something. That 
something seems to be, taking His power and reigning, 
II Tim 2 12 , Heb io 13 , Rev I I 15 - 1T , 20 4 . Compare Col i 19 - 21 . 

2 11)12 . Literal bodily circumcision was here remanded 
to a very inferior place, the spiritual significance being 
the important thing. 

Israel and the covenants had been all-important; 
ignorance of them or holding aloof from them once 
deprived of all true knowledge of God and all ground 
of hope. 

2 K ~ 16 . But Christ broke down the barrier between 
Jew and Gentile, The Law. This had been a cause of 
enmity between them. The Jew tended to look down 
on the Gentile as not blessed with such a Divine code ; 
the Gentile laughed at the Jew for his restricted liberty 
and his scrupulous ceremonialism. When Christ died 
on the cross, He thereby killed their mutual enmity 
by abolishing The Law of commandments contained in 
ordinances. And Jew and Gentile being thus on a 
level, and made one by this peace, the same death also 
made peace with God, and prepared the way for the 
creation from Jews and Gentiles of one new Body 
The Church. 

2 20 ~ 22 . The Church was like a building in process 
of erection. The apostles and prophets laid the 
foundation ; Jesus Christ was the great corner-stone 
bonding together the walls. At many points appar- 
ently disconnected buildings were rising, presently to 
be joined by lintels and arches until all united into 

2 M ] EPHESIANS 213 

one lofty temple, wherein God would then dwell in the 
person of His Spirit. 

It is during the building that shallow thinkers are 
puzzled ; they have not seen the plans, and see only 
confusion. One group of builders is far advanced and 
has arched. in an alcove ; another is busy with temporary 
scaffolding ; another is pulling down scaffolding ; others 
are at work separately and on parts of the building that 
do not match ; others are away at the quarries ; others 
are wondering how to comply with the plan in some 
detail ; others are laying more foundation, others 
blasting away to clear more ground. The diversity 
seems disorder to onlookers, and even the workmen 
often get in one another's way. If too few go to the 
quarries and the supply of stone runs short, they are 
tempted to quarrel for the supply available and even to 
unbuild from one part to build up another ; if too little 
ground is cleared and the supply of stone is abundant, 
they are tempted to build too high, so that a storrn may 
send down a spire too lofty without lateral support. 
But builders who constantly refer to the plans and keep 
the purpose of the whole in mind, and put themselves 
under wise foremen, who best understand by patient 
study the Architect's design, may hasten the completion 
of the temple. 

3 2 ~ 12 . This glorious conception of The Church was 
staggering Paul with its grandeur; especially the 
antiquity of the design and the vast preparations made 
before Christ came and the foundation could be laid, 
the laying the whole world under contribution for the 
upbuilding, and the revelation through The Church to 
the universe at large of the depth of God's wisdom 
and love. 

4 1 -* 7 . Such a conception should expel all petty 


feelings as the magnificent scale of God's purposes was 
appreciated. What were the differences in comparison 
with the unity ? The great temple of Diana at Ephesus 
was one structure, not a huddle of huts at all angles, 
with rival owners ; it housed one image supposed 
to be fallen from heaven, not as the Pantheon with 
dozens of rival idols. Just so there might indeed be 
" several buildings " as yet, perhaps seven churches 
in Asia alone, but all should rise and be framed into 
one holy Church, the Body of Christ, indwelt by one 

' Provinces of the empire there might be with their 
pro-consuls, but there was the one King and Lord at 
Rome ; distinct groups of churches there were with their 
different ministers, but there was the one King and Lord, 
Jesus Christ. Some Gentiles believed in Diana, some 
in Jupiter, some in Mercury, some in Pallas Athene, 
some in Mars, and others worshipped an unknown god, 
while the priests too often had no faith at all, and could 
hardly help laughing as they caught one another's eye ; 
all Christians had one faith in Jesus as the Son of God. 
Gentiles had their lustrations with water or blood or 
filthier fluids still, Jews daily washed because daily 
unclean ; Christians had the one baptism in water once 
for all and common to all, with its rich meaning in- 
cluding the thought of that one real infilling with the 
Spirit that gave new life to all alike. There was not 
a god for each town, men were not descended from 
many different and hostile stocks, Christ had revealed 
one God and Father of all, guessed at by some, but now 
known by His endless care and boundless love.' 

If all Christians had these bonds of union, how 
absurd to dwell on the trivial variations between one 
and another! Each had some appropriate gift from 

4 1 7 ] EPHESIANS 215 

above suited to his nature ; the source of the gift and 
the use to be made of it should attract attention, not 
the fact of variety in the gifts. 

To-day it is painful to observe how inapplicable one 
phrase here has become. The word Baptism has been 
largely diverted to a new ceremony, performed on 
infants instead of disciples, and often interpreted in 
ways most diverse from apostolic teaching. Differing 
in form, in the subjects, in meaning, who can say 
this is one with New Testament baptism ? We have 
a mournful instance of how thought is deadened by 
familiarity with words, in that Psedo-Baptists can quote 
this text without feeling condemned. They practise a 
different "baptism," which is no baptism, and sacra- 
mentarians hereby pervert the gospel of Christ. In 
contrast to Paul's ideal, the existence of the two rites, 
immersion of believers and sprinkling of infants, 
illustrates the lost unity of the Spirit and the ruptured 
bond of peace. How long will Evangelicals retain this 
remnant of Sacerdotalism, so inconsistent with their 
own principles? 

4 n . Early in the seventeenth century, the Puritans 
evolved from this and other passages, like I Cor I2 28 , a 
scheme of church government which they claimed to be 
of Divine appointment for all time. Against them 
Hooker proved that there was no uniform pattern in 
practice during apostolic days, that there was no order 
for a uniform pattern, that there was no order for 
evolving any such pattern. To-day the Presbyterians 
hardly repeat the Puritan claim ; Anglicans are inclined 
to make it for their own pattern, as are also the 
" Disciples of Christ," while Romanists and Methodists 
content themselves with saying that their schemes have 
evolved from the original pattern. The matter may 


be excellently discussed in connection with the churches 
near Ephesus in the latest stage shown in Scripture : 
see note on III John. 

4 U ~ 16 . For a building, the workmen must be 
organized and taught their duties ; clerks of the works 
and foremen are necessary, and at the outset of the 
work perhaps in greater number and with more 
initiative than when it is fairly going and the workmen 
have grasped the idea, 

Christ gave Apostles and Prophets to lay the foun- 
dation ; that laid, others could raise the superstructure, 
and the gift need not be renewed. But at the start 
there was need of special guidance by those directly 
and constantly in touch with the Architect : some trained 
under His eye for years, and with instructions to 
elaborate details ; all still receiving special messages at 
critical times. He gave some with peculiar aptitude for 
arresting attention and proclaiming the good news, to 
pioneer in heathen lands, to traverse the country off 
the main lines of travel and thought, to arouse in cities 
a real vital religion instead of a careless verbal 
acquiescence. He gave others to watch over the con- 
verts thus gathered, and teach them what was implied 
in their pledge to serve Him. These evangelists and 
teaching pastors could organize the saints for work, 
articulate them together, assign to them their share 
in the two-fold work of helping the world at large and 
developing The Church, the transforming agent. So 
vast was the work that none should idle or remain 
almost parasitic, needing constant care, like babies ; all 
were to aim at growth into perfect unity. The body 
has no superfluous parts, each contributes something 
to the well-being of the whole. The Body of Christ 
is to gather in and assimilate that which is without, 

4 1 ' 18 i EPHESlANS 21 7 

growing into closer union with its Head, ready for any 
service needed on the world or in the universe 

4 30 . See II Cor I 22 . 

5 22 - 33 . So dominant was the thought of The Church 
as the Body of Christ that it caused constant digres- 
sions and illustrative comments in this exposition of 
the mutual duties of spouses. At one point the 
redemptive work of Christ was viewed as having a 
special relation to The Church, not in its active capacity, 
but passive, as cleansed by Him and consecrated for 

The language here was highly figurative ; but even 
in such a rhetorical passage Paul guarded against attri- 
buting any virtue to a washing with water, or a laver, 
apart from the word which reaches the heart. Compare 
John 1 5 3 and see note on Tit 3 5 . 

6 2 . This is the only recognition in the epistle that 
The Law, which as a whole caused enmity between Jew 
and Gentile, and was abolished, ever had contained 
anything of permanent value. But it is sufficient and 
explicit on the point. 

6 23>24 . The absence of personal greetings, which 
would have been numerous to Ephesus, and the absence 
of the address in I 1 from the oldest copies of the letter, 
and the reference in Col 4 16 to a letter they were to get 
from Laodicea and read, have combined to produce the 
impression that this letter was not meant for the 
Ephesians only, but for the brethren at Colosse, 
Hierapolis, Laodicea, and other places near. Just as 
Paul wrote a circular letter to the churches in Galatia, 
he may have sent this to the churches in Asia, and so 
have set the example followed by John, Rev I 4 . No 
church was encouraged to live in isolation. 


PHILIPPIANS I 1 . The letter is for the saints generally ; 
officers are mentioned after the general body. The 
community at this town was perhaps more fully 
organized' than others at this time : we not only hear 
of bishops such as existed at Ephesus, but the word 
Deacon is used so as to show it was gradually 
being confined to recognized workers instead of being 
merely an epithet for any worker. The title Elder 
is not used. As the object of the letter was to thank 
for their gifts, 4 10 ~ 20 , it is probable that the bishops 
and deacons had some special duties relating to 
business or finance. 

I 14 . Paul's hope that his presence in Rome would 
embolden the brethren to speak out was now justified ; 
most of them were stirred, not officers alone. 

I 2T . ' Behave as citizens worthily.' The Christian's 
citizenship is in heaven, 3 20 : Christ's kingdom is not of 
this world. His Church may be working and growing 
here, but essentially it belongs to the heavenly places 
in Him. 

2 ir . ' I am poured out as a drink-offering upon the 
sacrifice and service of your faith.' The sacrificial 
imagery of Rom i2 l and i5 16 was retained, but with a 
careful avoidance of the thought that any sacrifice 
except Christ's can atone. He anticipated his possible 

death, as in II Tim 4; but it is only a thankful 


2 17 ] PHILIPPIANS 219 

rendering back to God of His own, rendered accept- 
able through Christ. 

3 2) 3 . Comparing with I 17 and 2 s , we see that the 
Jewish-Christian faction at Rome had become decidedly 
hostile to Paul, and had the same old slogan : We of 
the circumcision ! To this Paul now rejoined that he 
too had been circumcised ; but to trust in circumcision 
as such was carnal, not spiritual. The old literal cir- 
cumcision had at best prefigured a change of heart ; 
those anciently circumcised on profession of their faith, 
like Abraham or the generation that conquered Canaan, 
had their modern representatives in Christians, whose 
worship was spiritual not ritual, who gloried in a cruci- 
fied and risen Redeemer, and distrusted mere natural 
advantages. Let them beware of teachers who, like 
unclean dogs, fed not on Christ, but on the refuse from 
His table, Matt 1 5 26 ; who worked hard to win proselytes, 
but whose ends were evil, Matt 23 15 ; who insisted on 
mere bodily mutilation such as in itself God abhorred, 
Lev 2i 5 ; whose end was perdition as Christ foretold, 
Matt 23 33 , for they were really enemies of the cross of 
Christ. Such was his terrible indictment of mere 
ritualists. He would not play into their hands by 
retorting, "Ay, but we are the baptism " ; perhaps he 
saw no particular connection : he went to realities, not 

4 3 . Apparently amid the saints generally, amid the 
bishops and deacons, there was one man. or woman with 
some specialized duty : perhaps permanent secretary ; 
perhaps travelling evangelist halting there awhile ; 
perhaps their early guide, Luke, on another visit to 
them ; perhaps Lydia, the first convert. 


COLOSSIANS i 7 ' 23 ' 25 . These uses of the term Minister, 
or, as it was translated in Ph I 1 , Deacon, show that it 
was not yet thoroughly established as a technical title 
of office to the disuse of the general meaning, Helper. 
Compare also 4 7 . 

I 18 . Headship of The Church depended on being 
first born from the dead, just as that also proved Him 
to be Son of God in power, Rom I 4 . The thought here 
introduced was expanded when writing to the Ephesians. 

2 8-23_ j^ philosophy that menaced true Christianity 
was apparently an eclectic system with fragments of 
Parsee, Jewish, and Christian thinking all fused into 
one. Paul blamed it for its want of authority, it was 
a tradition of men, and its ordinances were precepts and 
doctrines of men ; for its needless asceticism, "Handle 
not, nor taste, nor touch"; for its reversion to ele- 
mentary observances. Those borrowed from Judaism 
were stigmatized afresh, and deserve notice separately. 

2 U > 12 . ' In Christ you received regeneration, that to 
which the circumcision made with hands looked forward. 
When Christ after dying rose again, having put off His 
fleshly body and assumed His heavenly body, He was 
in a sense spiritually circumcised. His experiences 
were virtually yours, anticipating them but implying 
them. In baptism you took the first step in His track, 
picturing your burial to the world and your regeneration 

2 11 ,' 2 ] COLOSSIANS 221 

or rising again by faith in God. . . . Why, then, trouble 
any more about mere worldly observances ? ' 

Figurative and allusive as is this sentence, at least 
Paul guarded himself from misconception by specifying 
a "circumcision not made with hands," something not 
literal nor material, as distinguished from the circum- 
cision of the flesh next mentioned. It was not the 
old mutilation that he referred to, not the pictorial 
baptism which certainly was performed by hands, 
but the spiritual regeneration effected by the power 
of God. 

2 14>15 . The Law was compared to a bond cancelled; 
to a trophy captured from a foe and displayed openly 
as harmless, like the rams of hostile ships nailed up on 
a pillar in the forum. 

2 16>ir . 'Since then all the ordinances of The Law 
were blotted out by the death of Christ on the cross ; 
there is no need to rescue any and re-enact them. 
Once they were useful, as shadows hint at coming 
events ; but now that Christ has come in person, the 
shadows are inadequate caricatures.' 

Even the Jewish sabbath falls under this sentence as 
much as any other Jewish institution. It was a sign 
between Jehovah and the children of Israel for ever, 
Ex 3 1 12 " 17 . They were to remember ithat they had 
been slaves in Egypt and had. been freed, therefore 
they were to keep the sabbath, Deut 5 15 . The command 
was to Jews, the reason was for Jews : both were 
beside the mark for Gentiles. Yet the sabbath had 
another value ; it had been designed to remind of the 
rest of God. If The Church is now repeating the work 
of God in some fashion working at the creation of 
the new man in Christ Jesus that work shall end, and 
there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God, 


This is the substance of which the weekly rest-day was 
a shadow, Heb 4 4 - 10 . 

It is questionable if Paul himself valued the sabbath 
otherwise, or took any hint from it. for a Christian 
weekly festival. He certainly never guarded this 
outspoken language, and explained that he was not 
referring to the Lord's day. " One man esteems one 
day above another ; another esteems every day alike : 
let each man be fully assured in his own mind." If 
any man finds himself helped by a Christian day, let 
him observe it, but not impose it on his neighbours : 
such seems his drift. 

Evidently from the earliest times the majority of 
Christians did find such help. If Jews had been kept 
mindful of their bondage and deliverance by a weekly 
festival, Christians might remind themselves of a 
bondage to sin and deliverance from it, which was the 
personal experience of each one and not of a remote 
ancestry alone. The first day of the week was that 
on which the Lord had risen and signified to all that 
deliverance was accomplished; on that day had He 
appeared to His disciples, and again a week later ; and 
again seven weeks later had bestowed the Holy Spirit 
on His waiting Church. What more natural than that 
the daily worship should be prolonged on that day 
with deeper fervour? So we hear of Paul advising 
Christian saving on that day, and stopping a week to 
preach at Troas on that day. The Jewish sabbath he 
disregarded on principle: a Christian Lord's day he 
would observe, if it helped others. 

But he never would have borne the mere -transfer of 
observances from one day to the next; that would 
have been the old intolerable Jewish yoke over again. 
What actually happened was that the new festival 

2'V 7 ] COLOSSIANS ' 223 

struck root alongside the other, and the Jewish sabbath 
withered away in Christian circles till in a few centuries 
it was extinct. Nowadays, to try to observe the 
Lord's day according to the pattern of the Jewish 
sabbath is to painfully revive a few words in the 
blotted bond, to take down part of the trophy from 
the cross and use it for our own annoyance. 

If the law of our land secures us a weekly holiday 
on Sunday, let us rejoice in the good gift that really 
comes from the Father. It affords opportunity for our 
mutual edification in worship, for our ministrations to 
the poor and sick, our training of the young, our 
evangelizing the heathen in the streets and parks and 
country. Such is the best way in which we can glorify 
the Lord. 

But the Jewish sabbath ordinance was against us, 
contrary to us, and has been taken out of our way. 
The Puritan sabbath ordinances are only precepts and 
doctrines of men. Let those who esteem the Lord's 
day above others commend their doctrine by their 
greater devotion and energy then; those who .esteem 
all days alike must esteem them all as the Lord's days, 
and use every particle of time and energy in His service. 

4 15 ~ ir . Comparing with Philemon 1] 2 , we find a little 
group of two city churches at Colosse and Laodicea, 
with two estate churches, the households of Nymphas 
and Philemon. Archippus, while connected with this 
last, received a warning through a sister church. 


THE epistles to the Thessalonians are the earliest 
surviving of all Paul's letters, being sent back from 
Corinth a few weeks after his leaving the town. 
Although most of the converts had been Jews or 
devout Greeks, the wave of trouble about Judaism had 
not yet reached the town. In the short time of Paul's 
stay he had organized a church, I i 1 , on the same 
general lines as the churches in Judaea, I 2 14 , with a few 
men who were presiding over them, I 5 12 . He had 
given a few charges, I 4 2 , and taught a few traditions, 
II 2 15 , 3, as he was preparing to do at Corinth. 

In these letters friendly intercourse with other 
churches is encouraged, I I T>8 , 4 10 , II i 4 . Mutual 
discipline, I 5 14 , II S 6 " 15 , a combination of work with 
worship, and purity, are the chief things urged. There 
are obscure allusions to Judaism and its temple as 
destined to be the enemy of Christianity, only restrained 
by the power of the State, II 2 4 ~ 7 . The means of grace 
mentioned are at first the word, the gospel, I I 6 , 2 8)13 ; 
II 2 14 : and subsequently exhortation, whether oral or 
written, I 2 11 , f, 5 U> 2r ; then steady, everyday diligence, 
4 9 ~ 1:2 ; prayer and prophecy, 5 17 ~ 20 . There is not the 
faintest allusion either to The Law on the one hand, 
or to baptism and the Lord's supper on the other. 



AFTER Paul's imprisonment at Rome he seems to have 
been released, as he anticipated. The Romans of the 
next generation believed that he went on to Spain as 
he had intended, but no further allusions to that tour 
remain. From the three letters that remain it seems 
that he visited Corinth, where he left Erastus, and went 
on through Crete, where he won converts, and left Titus 
to organize churches ; past Ephesus, where he left 
Timothy to organize the churches in Asia; by Troas, 
where he stayed with Carpus'; to Nicopolis in Macedonia. 
The first epistle to Timothy and that to Titus were 
semi-official credentials and instructions howto organize. 
When he was arrested and sent to Rome, Titus and 
other coadjutors rejoined him and were soon des- 
patched again, Tychicus to Asia, Crescens to Galatia, 
Titus to Dalmatia, Timothy to some unknown province 
near Troas, perhaps Macedonia. He and Mark, last 
heard of near Colosse, were presently summoned to help 
Luke in ministering to Paul, who felt deserted not only 
by many of his churches, II I 15 , but by the brethren in 
Rome, II 4 16 , and even by one trusted helper, II 4 10 , his 
remaining friends being all of the Gentile wing, II 4 21 . 

One great interest in these letters is the way in which 
the apostle, feeling the time approach when his guid- 
ance must be withdrawn, made arrangements for the 
churches to work, both in separate affairs and together. 

225 15 


I TIMOTHY I 3 ~ n . The false philosophy that had in- 
vaded Colosse had now obtained many followers at 
Ephesus, and indeed in a few months more turned away 
nearly all Asia from Paul. A great feature in the 
doctrine was an elaborate spiritualizing of The Law, 
whereby it was made to shadow not Christ, but all sorts 
of things. In view of this, Paul went back to the plain 
literal meaning of The Law, and instead of trying to 
use it still for the Christian by the spiritualizing process 
which was now so grossly abused, he gave the simple 
alternative : The Law is not made for a Christian, but for 
bad men. Therewith he dismissed it and never touched 
the subject again. For other Jewish teaching he had 
two divisions fables that led to wordy strife, and 
sacred writings able to lead to Jesus Christ the Saviour. 
2 r . This appointment was by God, not man, 
Acts 26 15 - 18 . 

3 1 - 13 . TWO classes of officers were mentioned, the 
qualifications being practically the same. The name 
Bishop was familiar in this district before ; but this 
time it is used in the singular, as if it were being 
gradually restricted to the chief of those who once 
shared the title ; while the title Deacon, first met at 
Philippi as the name of an officer, now makes its 
appearance in Asia, with the suggestion that it was. 

given to several similar officers, 


3 15 ] / TIMOTHY 227 

3 15 . 'How [a man] ought to behave in God's house, 
which is the Church of the living God, [in which he 
is] a pillar and stay of the truth.' The ellipses in 
Paul's words are here rilled in according to his use 
of the word Pillar for a man in Gal 2, a usage repeated 
in Rev 3 12 . The other term, too, is connected with the 
adjective Stedfast applied to men in I Cor 7 3r , I5 58 , 
Col i 23 . Neither term is ever applied to a church or 
a community of any kind. In the same breath to 
call a church a house and a pillar, as in the English 
versions, is rather incongruous; but in The Church 
as a house every man may be a pillar and support. 

To the old conception of The Church as God's house 
for the Spirit to inhabit, Paul now added another element 
derived from the work of the Spirit as guiding into all 
truth. False teaching was so rife that true teaching was 
assuming great importance. The emphasis laid on 
soundness of doctrine may be seen in nearly every 
chapter of these epistles ; the function of ministers 
in guarding and spreading it is referred to often, 
I Tim I 3 ' 4 , 4 6 , 6 20 ; II Tim 2 15 ; Tit 2 1 . Here he thought 
not of ministers alone, but of all guided by them. 
Therefore, fusing another of Christ's images, he com- 
pared The Church to a lighthouse, on whose summit 
blazed forth Christ, the beacon of Truth ; in this edifice 
every Christian was a column supporting the truth. 
To hold aloft Christ for the gaze of the world, to up- 
hold God's truth, this is the duty of The Church in 
general; and a man's right in The Church is tested 
by his fulfilling his share in this service. 

The metaphor of the Church as a building is used 
once again at II 2 19> 20 , worked out in yet another way. 
There, Christians are likened, not to the walls and pillars, 
but to the vessels in it, These are of all qualities and 


for all purposes, but all alike are for the Master's use. 
To be fit for this, men must be cleansed from the 
profane babblings of erring teachers. Thus if the 
illustration varies slightly, the application is the same. 

The language will apply either to The Church as a 
whole or to each of the several local buildings which 
were growing together into a holy temple. Any organ- 
ization, local, national, world-wide, which claims to be 
part of The Church, must answer to these tests, that 
its members are upholding Christ as the Truth, and 
are departing from unrighteousness. Every church is 
to be pure and missionary. 

4 1 " 5 . The practical side of the Colossian theosophy 
comes out at this point. It is marvellous that a still 
existing organization professing to be Christian can 
forbid all its upper officers to marry, and command all 
its members at regular intervals to abstain from meats. 

4 U ~ 16 . Timothy had three claims to obedience : he 
had been ordained by the elders of Lystra in obedience 
to prophetic indications, I 18 , his duties being apparently 
to help Paul in any way. At that time he had been 
specially endowed with some gift of the Spirit ; he had 
recently been commissioned by Paul to exercise over- 
sight round about Ephesus. But these qualifications, 
of which two were technical rather than vital, needed 
to be sustained by diligent study and practice, and by 
the example of a consistent life. As modern ministers 
rarely can claim to have been designated by prophecy 
or to enjoy special endowments of the Spirit, this advice 
as to the means of deserving respect and influence is 
even more noteworthy. 

5 1>2 . The word Elder here is so contrasted that 
it bears no official significance, simply meaning older 
men. Compare also Tit 2 2 . 

5 3 - 1{i ] / TIMOTHY 229 

5 3 ~" 1G . The example set by the church at Jerusalem 
of caring for the widows seems to have been copied and 
developed, till there is a hint of a pledge being taken 
from them 12 on enrolment, 9 and a custom of daily 
prayers. It was apparently on this stock that a bad 
scion was afterwards grafted; and girls \yho were 
" forbidden to marry " were enrolled and pledged to 
a round of prayers, so that there arose an order of 
nuns, whose conduct soon verified Paul's words, 11 " 15 , 
and caused great scandal. 

tjw-22. 'pkg worc i Elder here is evidently official. 
It bears primarily its old Jewish sense, denoting one of 
the rulers; but whereas Jewish elders were only 
connected with the synagogue by virtue of their 
appointing the Ruler of the synagogue who conducted 
the worship, Christian elders from the time of Stephen 
and Philip had taken leading parts in personal teaching. 
Paul therefore directed that in paying the elders, 
salaries should be adjusted to their ability in manage- 
ment and in instruction. 

The appointment of elders was to be undertaken 
with caution ; but, once installed, they were to be 
guarded from frivolous slander. Proved sin was to be 
openly reproved, as at Antioch. Ther2 was no word 
as to tenure of office or possible deposition. 

For the relation of elders to bishop and deacons, 
see comment on III John. 

6 12 . Either at baptism or at ordination a public 
confession of faith was made. 


II TIMOTHY 2 2 . Comparing II Cor 5 19 , where Paul said 
that Christ committed to him and others the word 
of reconciliation, and I Tim I 12 " 18 , where he referred to 
his own appointment for service along with his com- 
mitting the same charge to Timothy, with this passage 
where he bade Timothy in turn commit his preaching 
to other faithful men, that they may carry on the work 
of preaching, we see the importance of a line of 
teachers to transmit apostolic teaching. This device 
was familiar to Paul, since it was customary in the 
schools at Jerusalem where he had sat at the feet 
of Gamaliel, and inherited the traditions from earlier 
teachers. It is, however, always possible that mere oral 
tradition, despite the many witnesses to it, shall become 
distorted in course of time : even the Jews found it 
necessary at last to commit theirs to writing. James 
and Paul had led the way in Christian circles, and 
within a few years of this letter many traditions about 
the ministry and death of Jesus were committed to 
writing, while several pastoral letters to churches and 
groups of churches had passed into general circulation. 
After that, the oral teaching of the succession here 
contemplated would become far less important than the 
writings of the original teachers. It is noteworthy 
that he never connected these teachers with the 

performance of ritual. 


// TIMOTHY 231 

A comparison of these passages with I Tim 4 14 , which 
referred to the original ordination of Timothy by 
presbyters or elders of Galatia, has suggested to 
Catholics a scripture basis for their doctrine of 
Apostolical Succession. But it should be observed that 
Paul and Timothy were travelling evangelists, who 
never spent more than three years at any one place. The 
case of stationed ministers is not touched here, unless 
we infer that evangelists should be ordained by elders, 
which is quite another matter. Further, it is not implied 
that the succession is of value except as transmitting 
accurate teaching. Now that the Testament is in print, 
any one can learn the teaching of Paul and others 
from early documents, and not need fifty subsequent 
generations of ministers. Again, it is not implied that 
accurate and useful teachers cannot arise outside the 
succession ; and the scanty records in the Acts and 
elsewhere as to early churches show no importance 
laid on succession, and render it improbable in many 
cases. Moreover, whereas Catholics lay stress on the 
imposition of a bishop's hands, we read of the elders 
acting here ; and they do not answer to the modern 
bishop, who has no counterpart in the New Testament : 
presbyterial succession is more plausible than episcopal. 
And, finally, that a mere rite, such as laying on of hands, 
should be vital is contrary to all New Testament 

2*. The legions of Paul's day were largely in 
garrison, where they remained for perhaps a century, 
recruited locally, marrying and having homes. But 
soldiers were even at the moment of writing being 
summoned from garrison, homes, and families, to go on 
service and crush the rebels of Palestine. Modern 
ministers fall into two great classes, those on garrison 


duty in lands long Christianized, and those on active 
service in heathen lands with unhappily too few in 
the latter class. Paul's experience and advice point 
to the advisability of foreign missionaries, questioning 
seriously whether they have the gift of celibacy, 
I Cor f. Livingstone's work in his widowhood would 
have been impossible while he had family ties. How 
many foreign missionaries have to abandon their work 
for the sake of wife and children ? 

2 19 ' 20 . See I 3 15 and II Cor I 22 . 

3 U ~ 1T . The theosophy of the day on its practical 
side was repressive and self-centred, having as its 
watchword, Abstinence ; on its theoretical side it was 
expansive, with the watchword, Knowledge. To this 
Paul opposed a Christian philosophy, with the impor- 
tant safeguard of a definite body of writings and a 
tolerably well-defined body of oral teaching. The 
Jewish scriptures breathed the Divine ; they were first 
useful to lead men to Christ Jesus for salvation, but also 
they were mines of wealth for the Christian afterwards. 
Add to these the facts about Jesus Christ's life and death, 
constantly taught by word of mouth, and there was 
knowledge sufficient. The fault of the other insatiable 
learners was that they wanted knowledge for its own 
sake, without considering its bearing on conduct ; and 
as truth is unlimited, but our opportunities here are 
limited, they could undoubtedly learn and learn for a 
lifetime, without ever arriving at perfect knowledge of 
the truth ; while failing to apply their knowledge, and 
only hedging their path by arbitrary restrictions, they 
stumbled grievously in many matters of morality. The 
apostles were guided by the Spirit into all needful 
truth, and their words supply all we yet need to know 
of God and His demands from us. Add to the Jewish 

3 H 17 ] // TIMOTHY 233 

scriptures what has been subsequently committed to 
writing of apostolic teachings ; interpret the Bible thus 
collected for us with ordinary common sense and seek- 
ing the guidance of the Holy Spirit, avoiding foolish and 
ignorant questionings, fables, and endless genealogies, 
and we may be completely equipped for every good 
work, adding to the form of godliness the power 


TITUS i 5 - 9 . Compare I Tim 3 1 " 3 , 5 lr ~ 33 , III John. 

3 5 . This is the latest passage of its kind, and pre- 
sumably represents the most developed doctrine of 
Paul as to baptism and regeneration. He had told the 
Romans that confession is made with the mouth unto 
salvation, and the Ephesians that Christ cleansed The 
Church by the washing of water with the word. This 
passage combines the personal element in the one 
message with the ritual in the second. It may be 
compared with the ritual language in Heb io 22 , where 
a literal sense is repeatedly and explicitly disowned in 
such phrases as " heavenly things themselves with 
better sacrifices than these " ; " blood of bulls and 
goats cannot take away sins." 

Baptism is an institution to which in its early stage 
of developement our Lord yielded obedience ; into it 
He breathed fuller meaning. He enjoined His disciples 
to administer it to converts, and they apparently as a 
matter of course suggested it in the course of preach- 
ing, and ordered their converts to be baptized. It was 
the outward acknowledgement of the inward change of 
heart, the token of a breach with the past, and an enrol- 
ment into a new community, a symbol of regeneration 
by the Holy Spirit from the death-in-life of former 
existence. The language here is easily understood 
with these recollections. 


3 5 3 TITUS 235 

But literalism of the kind that fashioned the doctrine 
of transubstantiation has fashioned also the twin doc- 
trine of regeneration in and by baptism. There is a 
germ of truth in this monstrous error : for a man who 
shrinks from testifying by the pictorial act commanded 
by his Lord, his regeneration already accomplished, 
raises grave doubts as to his intelligence or his alle- 
giance. A bride who refuses to go through any 
marriage service except one of her own devising, which 
does not meet her bridegroom's wishes, flouts society 
at large, and may well be suspected of not really loving 
her chosen companion. A soldier who refuses to wear 
uniform and take the oath of allegiance, risks a great 
deal at the hands of his foes, shuts himself out from 
comradeship, and tries the patience of his commander. 
And so it is hard to repel the charge that he who studies 
the Bible on this point, and yet refuses baptism, cannot 
be regenerate, even while we add that many err here 
by inattention and by a false tradition of their sect. 

Yet it is quite another thing to. say that while de- 
liberate refusal of baptism suggests unregeneracy, the 
conferring of it regenerates. Two errors are often 
made here. Baptism is properly a profession that the 
candidate is already regenerated ; but false professions 
can be made in deed as well as in word, of which 
Simon Magus is a warning. For baptism to be ad- 
ministered to infants who can make no profession at 
all, is absurd on the face of it ; therefore the habit of 
infant baptism can only be defended by reasons which 
lean to the conclusion that it confers benefits rather 
than registers them : and against this all scripture 


IN the earliest days of The Church, the Hebrews or 
Aramaic-speaking Jews were the most important, 
Acts 6 1 . Gradually the leaven spread, the Hellenists 
or Greek-speaking Jews soon became more important 
outside Judaea, and then Gentiles flocked in and won 
a footing on equal terms. The Hebrews looked askance 
at this change, and were to the last suspicious of Paul 
and his Gentile churches. Whether he won the vote 
in the conference at Jerusalem that The Law was not 
binding on Gentiles, whether he spiritualized The Law 
to the Galatians, whether he explained The Law to the 
Romans as a bye-gone interlude, whether he at last 
dismissed it as useful only to bad men, always he failed 
to win their assent. When they lost the guidance of 
James, murdered in the temple by the old "orthodox" 
Jews for his " heresy," they saw that soon they would 
have to choose between Judaism and Christianity. As 
Christians, if they clung to observance of The Law for 
themselves, without urging it on others, they would 
indeed be tolerated, but were in a small minority. As 
Jews they might be welcomed back if they would waive 
the exclusive claims of Jesus, and look on Him as a 
great prophet, or perhaps even an angel such as came 
to earth from time to time. The temple was in danger, 
its ritual was maintained with difficulty ; did it not 

become every loyal Jew to sink sectarian differences 



and rally, as in the days of Judah the Maccabee, to 
defend the holy place and its priests from the sacri- 
legious Gentiles ? 

The time was ripe for some one to expand the hints 
dropped by Paul that The Law was a shadow of good 
tilings to come, to show the correspondence of the 
reality to that dim forecast, to unveil Jesus in the rites 
and ceremonies of The Law, and show again in what 
sense Moses wrote of Him. There were many prophets 
like Barnabas, the Levite, the great exhorter ; or like 
Apollos, who could argue powerfully with Jews from 
the scriptures ; or, like his teachers, Prisca and Aquila, 
knowing not the temple itself, only the tabernacle as 
described in The Law ; or like Silas, a friend of Timothy 
and a prominent member of the church at Jerusalem ; 
not themselves claiming firsthand knowledge of Jesus, 
yet able to build up churches, maintain harmony, and 
steady the wavering with a word of exhortation. 

For the last time, then, before God interposed and, 
by destroying the temple, rendered it impossible for 
any one to keep The Law, the matter was argued 
sympathetically. Paul had dealt mainly with those 
precepts that touch conduct ; here those that prescribe 
worship are mainly considered. The verdict is the same, 
41 Abolished as inefficient, look to Christ alone." 

The epistle is peculiarly valuable to-day, as setting 
forth the true doctrine of Priesthood. In Luther's day 
the great question was how a man could obtain salva- 
tion, whether by a meritorious life according to the 
precepts of his religious teachers, or by trust in Jesus 
Christ. The Saxon friar fought out the battle with the 
help of Paul's writings to the Galatians and Romans, 
showing that The Law had been discarded as soon as 
Christ died, and that to revive it or anything akin to it 


as a means of grace was an anachronism. To-day the 
question is slightly altered : salvation admittedly is 
from Jesus Christ and is free ; but emphasis is laid by 
the Romanists on the necessity for human mediators or 
priests. They and they alone can accept the vows 
whereby a youth confirms the pledge given in his name 
when an infant, and they alone can steady him by 
imparting grace ; they must hear his confession of sin, 
and they alone can bestow on him absolution ; they and 
they alone can offer the sacrifice of the mass, pro- 
ducing anew the body and blood of our Lord, and 
repeating the sacrifice offered on Calvary. Doctrines 
like these, taught under the auspices of Rome for 
centuries, have during the last seventy years leavened 
the Church of England, so that they are now proclaimed 
from half the pulpits in the land. The danger was not 
unforeseen by God, and from His treasury may be 
drawn forth this epistle, which proclaims that one only 
act of atonement was needed, and that this was rendered 
by Jesus Christ once for all ; that a High Priest was 
indeed needed, and that Calvary was His altar ; that 
He is now within the veil carrying on the work of 
intercession ; that no other mediator is needed ; that 
material ceremonies are vain for spiritual benefits ; that 
every one who unites himself to Jesus shares in His 
priesthood, has access to God, and is bound to use it 
in praise, beneficence, and intercession for the world. 

A paraphrase of the argument from chapter 4 14 
onwards may be presented, omitting two interludes, on 
backwardness and on faith, and the particular applica- 
tions to the circumstances of the time. Notes on special 
passages follow. 

4 W 5 10 . ' Do not relapse into ritualism ; we have a 
High Priest in Jesus, who is now in the Holy of Holies 

4 1( 5 10 ] PIEBREWS 239 

pleading sympathetically, and who offers both mercy 
and help. He was chosen by God from among us, 
was qualified by His suffering and obedience, was 
called to offer both gifts and the sacrifice for sin, which 
obtains eternal salvation for all that obey Him. 

7 1 - 25 . ' There was an ancient priesthood before that 
of Levi, and greater, for Levi's sire acknowledged it by 
accepting its blessing and rendering it tithe. Even 
when under The Law the Aaronic priesthood was in- 
stituted, a revival of the old was expected ; for while 
Aaronic priests were working, an utterance sounded 
out as to a priest like Melchizedek. (Granted that this 
was contrary to The Law, the oracle then condemns The 
Law as a whole.) Aaronic priests held office by an 
arbitrary appointment of a family. Jesus had shown 
Himself fit by His character, tested and permanent. 
Therefore the arbitrary appointment, under which 
nothing profitable had been effected, was revoked ; 
and, indeed, with this one detail fell all The Law, con- 
demned for the same reason. The object of all religious 
institutions being to bring men into contact with God, 
and this institution having resulted rather in keeping 
them aloof, it was abolished, and a new means of access 
to God was provided, on the older lines, that had been 
not for Jews alone, but for all. This was solemnly 
declared permanent, and so was obviously better ; and 
instead of a mere mechanical succession, there is now 
one standing Intercessor, really able to save. 

7 26 9 28 . ' He is Man, and able to act for men as 
priest. But He is separated from us sinners by His 
holiness. Not needing personal forgiveness, He can 
act as High Priest, making one only sacrifice, of Him- 
self. Crown, then, these thoughts about priests [which 
indeed are true of all united to Him, and allowed 


to offer gifts, and think of the sacrifice for sin]. The 
real original sanctuary is in heaven ; the tabernacle of 
Moses was but a shadowy copy. Jesus is now High 
Priest on high. True that under the covenant at 
Sinai He could not be Priest on earth ; but He is 
Mediator of a better covenant. Even Jeremiah felt the 
old one to be faulty and decrepit, and foretold a new 
one. Under the old there were elaborate arrange- 
ments, not for access to, but for exclusion from God : 
only one man once a year could draw near, and then 
only after artificial observances that might remind of 
sin, but could not satisfy the conscience. But Jesus 
has gone into heaven, the original and real holy place, 
having made not pictorial but real atonement for sin, 
and thereby having relieved burdened consciences. 
Moreover, this .same sacrifice of an eternally obedient 
sinless man also ratified the new covenant foretold, and 
availed to blot out previous sins under the old covenant. 
Nothing could be done by mere ritual, however often 
repeated ; His death once for all was effective to break 
the power of sin. When He reappears from heaven 
it will be to lead back those who are saved from 
its rule. 

I0 1 " 25 . 'The tabernacle ritual reeked with blood a 
mere symbol for life. Real atonement demanded more 
than an involuntary death of animals. Torrents of 
material blood could at best keep sin in mind, but 
could not appease the conscience. A life of willing 
obedience, a death of willing submission, these can both 
blot out sin and stamp deep on the heart the require- 
ments of God. These Jesus has given once for all, 
and as High Priest has entered heaven. Though our 
mortal bodies yet veil from us the inmost glories, we, 
too, are priests, and may draw near. We are qualified, 

io> 2 ] HEBREWS 241 

technically by our priestly consecration in baptism, 
really by a cleared conscience. Let us then hold fast 
our priesthood granted through Him, and realize our 
solidarit}' and our joint service. 

io 26 13 16 . ' Even as nothing else is needed but the 
one sacrifice, so nothing else is available ; its virtue 
avails for ever. On our side nothing is needed but 
constancy in cleaving to Him while we await Him. 
This is no new thing ; even the saints of yore had to 
await their redemption, not receiving the fulfilment of 
their promises, but patiently expecting the consumma- 
tion of this sacrifice. Endure, then, with all patience. 
The old covenant was inaugurated with fear, and the 
covenanters were warned off from God ; the new with 
love, and the covenanters are invited near. Our 
ancestors refused to listen to God, and begged for 
some human mediator. Do not refuse to listen to 
Jesus, do not beg for mere human priests instead. 
You are yourselves priests; offer your sacrifices for 
yourselves, like Him, 5 r . Amid all change, cleave to 
that which abides to Jesus ever the same. Be not 
seduced into reliance on ritual. The old is effete, 
though once divinely given ; do not adopt novel 
devices of men and trust in sacramental meals. Grow 
by grace ; ritual was always unprofitable, and is now 
fulfilled. The cross was our altar ; there the only 
atoning sacrifice has been offered. We priests may 
now offer the incense of praise or bring the peace- 
offerings gifts to be shared with God's poor.' 

I 1 . The letter was a series of contrasts between 
old Judaism and new Christianity. The keynote was 
struck at the outset. Former revelations from God 
came piecemeal and in varied form, as Law, prophecy, 



history, vision, sign, type ; the revelation through 
Christ is complete in itself and final. 

I 5 3. The next contrast was between the mediators 
of the two covenants. If many believed with Stephen, 
Acts 7 53 , and Paul, Gal 3 19 , compare Deut 33 2 , that The 
Law was announced through angels, the superiority of 
Jesus to them was proved. And the next link being 
Moses, he was ranked only as a trusty servant in 
comparison with the Son. The conclusion is easy to 
draw, that the New Covenant has greater glory than, 
the old. 

4 4 " 11 . The deepest meaning of the Sabbath was 
taught here. The Law was annulled in all its 
branches, as was presently proven, so no reference 
was made to the Jewish sabbath; but ages before 
Jews were separated out there were facts that suggested 
a promise of a season of rest after holy toil. This still 
holds ; but to enjoy it there must first be the toil, in 
Christ's service, to win the world. 

5 1 . The necessity of some priesthood was taken for 
granted. Deep in the heart is the instinct that some 
one is needed to represent men before God, expressing 
both gratitude and repentance. Heathen in all ages 
had such men ; Jews had such appointed and taught 
by God. Christians equally feel the need, and unless 
we fully grasp that Jesus is our High Priest, who has 
made the only adequate sacrifice for sin, and who exalts 
every single believer to be a priest for offering gifts, 
praise, and intercession, we are ready to fall victims 
to any usurpers who claim priesthood over us with 
exclusive rights. 

5 4 . Here is at once the death-blow to any such 
assumption. Aaron was called, and his call included all 
descended physically from him, 7 10 . Jesus was called, 


and His call included all descended spiritually from 
Him, Eph I*. He who is born again into the Divine 
family inherits the priesthood, Rom 8 ir . No other title 
to it exists, nor has any third order of priesthood been 
recognized or instituted by God, Compare John I 13 . 

6 1 ' 2 . A very suggestive list of first principles, to which 
many still confine themselves. Some Christians revolve 
around doctrines, such as repentance and faith, and 
never go beyond the beginning of the Christian life in 
an individual, thinking little of a pilgrim's progress or 
of joint church life. Others are attracted by ritual, 
and if the distinction between ordinary Jewish immer- 
sions and John's baptism and Christian baptism has 
long been unimportant, and laying on of hands is once 
again a mere symbol conveying neither healing nor 
grace, then they devote themselves to other petty 
questions : May we not substitute some other ceremony 
with water for baptism? Must we not lay on a 
bishop's hands in confirmation after baptism ? Or they 
raise similar questions about mere human inventions, 
and discuss days and seasons, architecture and millinery. 
Others cannot get away from the future, and, steeping 
themselves in the apocalyptic parts of the Bible, 
calculate how many resurrections there will be, when 
each is due, and what is the characteristic of each 
judgement. All such err by exaggerated attention to 
one portion of elementary truth instead of pressing on 
to all-round perfection of Bible knowledge and of 
Christian character, which can only be attained by 
appreciating the missionary purpose of The Church and 
of each believer, and fulfilling this priesthood. 

6 19> 20 . The doctrine of the priesthood of all Christians 
is not in the forefront of this epistle, which is occupied 
by the priesthood of Christ. Yet again and again it 


peers out. Jesus has entered within the veil as our 
forerunner. Aaron did not enter within the veil as 
a forerunner, but as a representative. The difference 
implies our priesthood and our fellowship with Jesus, 
already existing, but not yet perfected. 

7 1G . The contrast with the Aaronic priesthood is 
vivid. Aaron's choice was quite arbitrary ; Moses 
was more than once offered the post, Aaron was only 
a second choice, and he never displayed any special 
fitness. The choice of Jesus was due to His power, 
the spiritual energy inherent in Him. Aaron's line 
was continued by mere physical descent, and inevitably 
included many worthless people. Jesus was endowed 
with life that could not be dissolved, and also that 
could be imparted and would assimilate others to 

8 3 . Priest and sacrifice are correlative terms ; each 
involves the other. So sacerdotalism and sacramen- 
tarianism are twin errors : believe one, and the other 
must follow ; destroy either, and the other must die. 
Once let the term Priest be applied to a minister 
specially, or Sacrifice to the bread and wine, or Altar 
to the communion-table, and history has shown often 
the widening of the breach in true evangelicalism. 
Once admit that in baptism and the Lord's supper 
such grace is bestowed as can , come in no other way, 
and soon a special minister for these will be sought, 
and their observance will be exalted above preaching ; 
whereas such mere manual acts were often remitted to 
inferiors, while our Lord and the apostles would not 
baptize or serve tables, but proclaimed salvation. 

9 9 ' 10 . All the Jewish rites were at best burdensome 
ordinances affecting only the body and unable to ease 
the conscience. If this was true of them, appointed by 

9, !0 ] HEBREWS 245 

God for awhile, how utterly foolish to invent others of 
the same physical type ! How contrary to the spirit 
of this utterance as to meats and drinks and divers 
baptizings is any reliance on the efficacy of bread and 
wine and sprinkling, or even immersion. 

IO 1>3 . The Law was not a living Christ, not a statue 
of Him, not even a good picture, only a shadow. The 
best it did was to keep the fact of sin vivid, to make the 
consciousness of accumulating sins burdensome. 

I0 0>1 . The exact analogue of sacrifices was here 
pointed out, Christ's doing God's will, not only in life, 
but in offering His body on the Cross. The priest was 
Jesus ; the altar was the cross; the sacrifice was the body 
which had been bestowed on the Eternal Son and used 
by Him solely for God's glory ; the blood was the life 
pure and holy presented in heaven. God's acceptance 
of this betokened His cancelling the unfitness of men 
and recognizing them as entitled to come to Him. A 
man's acceptance of this as offered on his behalf removes 
his sense of guilt and emboldens him to approach God, 
io 22 . According to Lev 8 30> 6 , a priest must have his 
body sprinkled with blood and washed with pure water 
before entering on his duties. Baptism continues after 
a fashion this formal initiation to a real priesthood, 
but the qualification is adhesion to Christ whereby the 
conscience is cleansed. It is impossible to take the 
second clause literally and not the first; so it is im- 
possible to argue hence that baptism, even of a believer, 
in itself affects anything. 

io 26 . There is no other sacrifice for sins ; one only 
was made, and its efficacy is enduring. It cannot be 
repeated ; it can be called to mind, it can be com- 
memorated as He enjoined, but it can in no sense be 
offered afresh, 


JAMES had the honour of being the first Christian to 
recognize the importance of literature and to pen an 
epistle to the brethren. It is curious that in our Bibles 
his letter to Jews follows that other which was sent 
also to Jews some twenty years later. 

He wrote in a very early stage of organization, when 
Nazarenes still met in synagogue, 2 3 , possibly with 
" orthodox " Jews, yet had an inner ring called a 
" church " with elders of their own, 5 14 . Of outward 
worship he had next to nothing to say. His idea of 
ritual was intensely ethical and practical, I 3r ; and when 
he did advise a rite, he expressly attributed all efficacy 
to the prayer of faith, 5 H . Even while insisting on 
outward acts, he spoke of regeneration without a 
glance at baptism, only at preaching, repentance, and 
faith, i 18 - 255 . 

Writing before the great controversy as to the 
standing of the Gentiles, he yet showed plainly his 
firm grasp of one fundamental fact, that Jesus is the 
.only Lawgiver, 4? 2 , and .that with royal authority He 
singled out from scripture one precept, ."Thou shaft 
love thy neighbour as thyself." Nor was James Jess 
clear that an undertaking to keep The Law of old is 
an undertaking to keep it in every respect, so that in 
practice every one transgresses it and had better hold 

simply to the new law of liberty, 2 8 " 12 , The genera). 


JAMES 247 

purpose of the letter was to give ethical counsel, not to 
develope doctrine. One of the leading thoughts was 
reproduced from the teaching of Jesus, that profession 
without performance was worthless. For a man to be 
slothful and selfish, a church to be engrossed with its 
own concerns and not active in working for the winning 
of the world, was to belie the name of Brother or the 
profession of faith in Christ, i 25 - 27 , 3 13 , 5 19 - 20 . 


PETER showed in this epistle the essential unity of all 
the apostles, and the falsity of the teachers who set 
him in opposition to Paul. Paul was now in prison or 
dead his churches in Galatia and Asia could not profit 
by his presence ; so Peter took up the oversight and 
sent his circular letter to them with others. Of inner 
church life he insisted on the priesthood of all believers 
and the need of humility in officers. Of outer church 
life the great problem was relation to a State that was 
showing itself hostile and persecuting. 

I Peter 2 1 " 10 . Whatever was written of the children 
of Israel in olden time has its meaning for The Church 
also. The house of Israel over which Moses ruled as 
a trusty servant prefigured this spiritual house; the 
nation chosen at Sinai to be a holy priesthood was 
but a sketch of the Christian priesthood ; the material 
offerings of bulls and goats and corn and wine and oil 
and incense were but suggestions of spiritual sacrifices. 
What psalmists sang and prophets saw is now plain in 
Christ and His Church. 

To add to the spiritual the material, is childish. If 
we have never seen Niagara, we thank the photographer 
who brings us a picture ; but if we go and dwell by the 
gorge, the pictures are inadequate and even offensive. 
Temples and priests and sacrifices were well for those 
who could not borrow Moses' eyes to gaze on the reality 

2 1 10 ] / PETER 249 

in the holy mount, but when Christ has .offered the 
atoning sacrifice and entered into heaven as our fore- 
runner, lifting us to be His helpers in the service of 
praise and kindness, what need we with revivals and 
adaptations of Judaism? 

Nor did the apostle depreciate these because he valued 
some corresponding Christian rites and sacrifices. He 
spoke of regeneration, I 3> 23 , and of baptism, 3 20 , but they 
were not connected ; he spoke of the body of Christ and 
His blood, 2 2t , i 19 , but did not associate them with the 
Lord's supper, nor with the means of sustaining the 
spiritual life, 2 2 . 

2 n ~ 1T , 3 13 ~ 17 , 4 12 ~ 19 . Peter was confronted with the 
new and terrible situation that to be a Christian was 
to be a bad citizen in the judgement of the State. 
Christianity was a crime, as much as burglary. The 
Roman power had for a generation protected Christians 
against their Jewish foes ; but Paul's had been a leading 
case, and the accusation that moved Pilate, " If thou 
let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend," and drove 
Paul out of Thessalonica, " He says there is another 
King, one Jesus," was sure to be laid before Nero. 
Paul was condemned, and his case established a new 

Peter urged that they prove their loyalty by willing 
submission and obedience, that they prove the folly of 
the new practice by conspicuous good behaviour, and 
that they thus gradually show good Christians to be 
necessarily the best citizens. 

Yet in a sense Nero was right. So long as he 
claimed to be supreme, and fashioned the State on his 
own whims, so long was conflict inevitable. A Christian 
owed and paid allegiance above all to Christ, and if Nero 
gave contrary orders, they would certainly be disobeyed. 


On Nero's theory of his own irresponsibility every 
Christian was a rebel at heart. It took two hundred and 
fifty years to convince his successors that the king was 
only supreme in a sense, and that all existing authorities 
were responsible to God. To Him there are common 
duties, between subject and ruler there are mutual 
duties. ' Citizens, obey them that on earth are your 
governors, as servants of Christ ; and, ye governors, 
remember that He who is both their Governor and 
yours is in heaven, and there is no respect of persons 
with Him.' 

2 25 . Since everything Christ did and suffered, except 
His atoning work, is a pattern for a Christian, it 
was natural to transfer these titles Pastor and Bishop 
from earthly officers back to the heavenly Head of the 

3 20 , 21 . The leading thought of this sentence is 
at 3 n , that suffering is the common fate of the 
righteous. Illustrating by the case of Christ, the 
apostle introduced several bold figures, digressing 
further and further until he abruptly resumed the 
original thought at 4 1 . As the construction is involved 
and several words are ambiguous, a new literal trans- 
lation is offered and justified, then a paraphrase in 
shorter clauses is given, and one or two comments are 

"... while an ark was being prepared, [going] into 
which few (that is, eight souls) were saved through 
water. This, its counterpart, now saves you, too, 
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; [namely,] 
baptism not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, 
but the request to God for a good conscience." 

That the word [going] is implied is evident from the 
fact. They did not wade through water into the ark, 

3 M , 2i ] / PETER 251 

but they went in before the rain began, Gen.? 4 " 10 . The 
word is often omitted before the preposition Into, as in 
Acts 8 40 , Philip went to Azotus and was found there ; 
in Acts 2 1 13 , Paul was ready to go to Jerusalem and die 
there ; Heb 1 1 9 , Abraham went into the land and stayed 

" Were saved " is really a rather strong word, used 
in Acts 23 24 of the soldiers bringing Paul through the 
forty assassins safe to Felix ; in Acts 27 43 , of the centurion 
saving him from the murderous soldiers ; in Acts 27 44 , 
28 1 ' 4 , of the refugees escaping through the sea. 

<( Were saved through." The doubling of the pre- 
position in the Greek compels us to abide by the literal 
sense, and not to understand " by means of." Indeed, 
the word often implies " through the danger of/' as in 
Luke 4 30 , through the hostile Nazarenes; in Luke 5 19 , 
through the multitude and through the tiles that blocked 
the way ; in II Cor 1 1 33 , through the confining wall ; in 
Heb 1 1 29 , through the Red Sea hemming them in ; 
in 1 Cor 3 15 and I Pet i r , through fire. In these and 
other cases the preposition cannot indicate the means 
of escape, but the obstacle or danger from which escape 
was sought. And in this case the water was no means 
of escape; it was actually drowning multitudes, and 
Noah was only saved from it by being in the ark. 

" Which " can hardly refer to the single word Water, 
unless we make the sentence even more involved than 
need be, It may refer to the whole fact last mentioned, 
as in Acts 1 I 29 > 3Q , Gal 2 10 . Two other words are added 
to explain, Antitype, Baptism. Our word Antitype, 
however, has a m.ore definite meaning than is intended 
here, and the R.V. gives a paraphrase. 

" The request to God for a good conscience." The 
noun as. which the R.V. is so uncertain is very rare. 


and only occurs in the Greek Bibles once, at Dan 4 ir , 
Demand. The corresponding verb means either to Ask 
or to Ask for, which latter sense will be found at 
Ps I37 3 , Isa 7 11 , Matt I6 1 . The simple verb from which 
it is derived is found in the New Testament more than 
fifty times, with such meanings as Desire, Beseech, 
Entreat, Pray. Adopting for this noun the sense of 
Appeal, Request, Prayer, Petition, Entreaty, we obtain 
an intelligible clause as above. That this is Peter's 
meaning will appear if we remember that a good con- 
science is exactly what a sinner lacks, Heb 9, io 2 ; that . 
he obtains it through Christ, Heb 9 14 .; and that he 
may retain it afterwards, Heb io 22 , I3 18 ; I Pet 2 19 , 3 1G . 
Baptism is the occasion when he acknowledges that 
it can be obtained in Christ alone. 

"Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." This 
clause may be connected with the noun Request, for it 
is the resurrection that emboldens a penitent to plead 
for salvation, I Pet I 3 ; and indeed it is the only 
guarantee that the Saviour can fulfil His promise to 
give rest to the heavy laden. But it is equally allow- 
able to connect the clause with the verb Saves, as dis- 
tinctly in A.V., for the power that saves is in the risen 
Christ, Acts 4 10 , 5 30 - 31 . Both statements are true, both 
are made by Peter ; the latter was perhaps in his mind 

The sentence may then be thus paraphrased: 
' Going into the ark, they were saved from the flood. 
This act of theirs resembles baptism, which now saves 
you, too, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Baptism, 
of course, not as a mere outward ceremony, but as a 
prayer to God for a clear conscience.' 

Peter did not trace out the resemblance between 
their going into the ark and being saved and baptism. 

3-, 21 ] / PETER 253 

Some have attended chiefly to the form, and have often 
been misled by the mention of water : they have won- 
dered how he could say that Noah was immersed into 
water, or was rained upon, when really he was dry in 
the ark, and the only people immersed never emerged 
alive. Their wonder ought to have put them on a 
better track. So far as form is concerned, Noah went 
into the ark and came out of it again after being totally 
enclosed in it ; a Christian goes into the water and 
comes out of it again after being totally enclosed 
in it. But it was not the form that attracted Peter's 
attention, as he expressly said ; it was the meaning. 
Noah, being warned by God concerning things not 
seen as yet, was moved with godly fear, and testified 
his faith by preparing an ark. At God's bidding he 
entered in, sundering himself from a sinful world ; at 
God's bidding he came out into a new world. So on 
repentance and profession of faith he was baptized into 
the ark, pledging himself to God for a better life. 

Apart from this figurative illustration, we have two 
unmistakable utterances : Baptism is not the mere 
putting away of the filth of the flesh ; Baptism saves 
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ 

The caution is in line with the spiritual nature of 
Christ's religion, but was necessary in dealing with 
Jews accustomed to ceremonial ablutions freeing from 
technical defilement, and with Gentiles prone to super- 
stitious ritualism. Once stated plainly, it was self- 
evident. Entering an ark could save Ham from a 
deluge, but did not change his evil nature ; immersion 
in water might wash the body, but could not cleanse 
the soul. Not baptism itself saved, but what it signified. 
On the Divine side it pictured the resurrection, Rom 6 4 ; 
on the human side it attested that the candidate desired 


from God that peace which the world could not give, 
but which the risen Christ bade His apostles announce, 
John 20 21 , and which Peter had faithfully proclaimed, 
Acts lo 36 . Following that proclamation, he had urged 
on Cornelius the duty of baptism, and he evidently 
assumed here that, as in the case of the Ethiopian 
eunuch, a' convert could hardly have a good conscience 
until he was baptized. If he shrank from what he was 
told to be his duty, the quality of his faith was at once 
revealed to be poor ; if he fulfilled it, there was some 
evidence that he might be obedient in all things. And 
so in that sense baptism saved, evidencing that he was 
by faith united to the Saviour, whose resurrection was 
the real efficient cause. 

To-day, although preachers aim at conversion, un- 
fortunately they often fail to follow on with this practical 
test of its reality. Little blame attaches to men who 
are thus misled into neglecting baptism. But the case 
is different with Bible students who make part of the 
word of God of no effect by their tradition ; with preachers 
who neglect the command of their risen Lord, and these 
inspired precedents; with those who reverse Peter's 
caution and attend to the immersion and the utterance 
of a formula rather than to exciting a desire for a good 
conscience; and with those who utterly ignore conscience 
in the recipient, and " baptize " mere infants. 

4 8 - 11 . "The elect" in these districts were urged 
to personal service, each contributing to the welfare 
of all, and seeking to influence the outer world, 
3 1 ' 15 . The note of officialism is very absent from the 
letter, even the very name " church " never occurs in 
it, unless at 5 13 . 

5 1 - 4 . Jesus was The Bishop in Peter's mind ; for 
himself he would take only the title Elder. He and 

S 1 - 4 ] / PETER 

others might tend the flock, Jesus was the Chief Pastor. 
The dangers of officialism that beset every organization 
were sure to emerge here professionalism, mercenary 
motives, pride of office ; they could be met by dwelling 
on the motives of Christ, and seeking to copy them. 

5 13 . Very ancient authorities read here, "The 
church in Babylon salutes you." Whether or not the 
word was written, the meaning is nearly certain, though 
it is just possible Peter referred to his wife, I Cor p 5 . 

Babylon is probably a metaphor for Rome. Jeremiah 
had concealed the Chaldean capital under a crypto- 
grammatic name, 25 26 , 5I* 1 . Paul had boldly taken the 
real name Sinai and applied it to Jerusalem, Gal 4 25 . 
Rome was now playing the persecuting part once taken 
by Babylon, as this whole letter testifies, and the transfer 
of the name would convey a hint that as Babylon 
had fallen for her sins, so Rome, too, would fall. 
Similar transfers of name were common in Apocalyptic 
literature : Jerusalem called Sodom or Egypt, Rev ii 8 ; 
Rome called Babylon, Rev I/ 5 - 6 . The old literal 
Babylon was at this time much less important than 
Seleucia and Ctesiphon, Jos. Ant. XVIII 9 8> 9 , and Thomas 
was the apostle chiefly concerned in evangelizing that 
district. Mark was last heard of as about to visit 
Rome, II Tim 4 U . 

Peter probably visited Rome. It was late in his 
career, after Prisca, Aquila, and others had gathered the 
brethren, after Paul had written to them on the under- 
standing that he would not build on another's foundation, 
Rom 1 5 29 , after Paul had spent some years there. But 
it is quite another thing to say in face of these facts 
that Peter had any special tie to Rome, or that Rome 
derives any special privileges from Peter. 


THE first epistle of John rose out of a few great 
thoughts. One was that the test whether we have life 
is, keeping God's commandments, 2 3 . The chief of 
these is in a sense as old as Moses, 2 r , yet new by 
the enlarged meaning Jesus gave it on the night 
before His death, 2 s : Love one another, 3 U> 14> 23 , 4 7> ll> 20 - 21 . 
Every action may be tested by this or by the other 
command implied, Love God, 5 2 . His commandments 
are not grievous ; all that He bids is Love, and that 
He first exemplified, 4 r ~ u . 

Another leading thought was of the indwelling of the 
Spirit in each believer, or in the community, 3 24 , 4 13 . 
This suffices for all needful guidance, 2 20>2T , and by His 
aid it is possible to detect false teaching, comparing 
with that of the apostles, 4 1 " 6 . So for us to-day to 
recognize and avoid modern errors, we have the New 
Testament as the only standard of faith as well as of 

The means of obtaining this indwelling is the accept- 
ance of the word of life, i 1 " 3 , 2 24 ; of maintaining it, 
believing on Christ's name and loving one another, 
3 23>24 . The use of material or ceremonial means is not 
even hinted at. What is the true value of rites, bearing 
witness, is suggested in one passage that may be thus 
paraphrased, with illustrative references to the gospel: 

I John 5 G ~ 10 . ' You heard that some one was to come 


5"' 10 ] / PETER 257 

into the world ; a prophet, John 6 14 ; the King of Israel, 
I2 13 ; the Christ, the Son of God, II 27 . Heralded by 
John, He came, i 15 - 27 ; it was Jesus. He fulfilled 
these anticipations by dedicating Himself to a life of 
righteousness at His baptism in water; and again 
at His bloody sweat in Gethsemane, dedicating Him- 
self to a bloody death of atonement on the cross. Not 
only in His baptism, when the Spirit descended on 
Him, do we behold Him as Christ, but also in His 
death fulfilling the scriptures, 19* ... And God 
set His seal to the claims of Jesus, for the Spirit whom 
He promised to His disciples, I4 lfi>2c , to bear witness of 
Him, I5 26 , the Father has actually sent. Thus we have 
now three constant witnesses to the truth that Jesus is 
the Messiah : the Spirit, whose living energy in The 
Church and in each believer testifies that Jesus is 
exalted on high, I4 1G ~ 20 , compare Acts 2 33 ; baptism, 
which refers not only to His death, but to His 
resurrection, the proof of His Divine mission, 20 29 ; 
the Lord's supper, which reminds us that salvation is 
by the blood of Jesus the Son, I i 7 , 2 1>2 . These three 
present facts converge to prove the same truth that 
Jesus was the Christ, come in the flesh. But baptism 
and the Lord's supper are only testimonies borne by 
men ; the greatest proof lies in God's Spirit energizing 
His Church, I4 12 , I5 8 , i^ 21 - 23 . This new power can be 
seen by all at work in the world, can be felt by the 
believer at work in Himself.' 

As some Unitarians continue to observe these two 
ceremonies, purely as memorials of a good man, we see 
that much the finest evidence of Christ's Divinity is a 
missionary church, I 4 13 ' 14 . 


THIS note gives a glimpse of travelling missionaries 
refusing support from heathen and accepting it from 
Christians ; it has also a dark background of a haughty 
member despising apostolic authority and expelling 
those who accepted it. The vices of officialism that 
Peter foresaw had soon developed. 

John, Gaius, Diotrephes, and Demetrius were appa- 
rently living in the province of Asia, some two hundred 
miles square, containing several Christian churches. 
The materials for studying church organization are 
peculiarly abundant in this district, and may be 
collected at this latest apostolic stage. 

Christian work began at Ephesus with Priscilla, 
Aquila, and Apollos working in the Jewish synagogue. 
It is somewhat significant that not a single first-class 
church was founded by any apostle. Three months 
after Paul joined them, the disciples were led out, and 
a building was engaged for the daily use of the new 
community. Before two years had passed, elders were 
appointed, doubtless on the plan that had obtained at 
Jerusalem and in Galatia, the brethren choosing and 
Paul installing. 

While Paul thus made his headquarters at Ephesus, 
he had a staff whom he despatched right and left to 
evangelize or to help at existing churches Timothy 

and Erastus to Macedonia, Timothy and Titus to 


/// JOHN 259 

Achaia, Epaphras in Asia. Thus there grew up neigh- 
bouring churches at Colosse, Laodicea, and Hierapolis, 
as also on the estates of Nymphas and Philemon, 
though apparently Paul did not himself visit these 
places. How far these places were organized we do 
not know, except that Archippus was in close touch 
with the Colossians, among whom perhaps he ministered, 
yet lived with Philemon. 

When a few months later Paul was coasting along 
Asia with eight companions, he summoned the Ephesian 
elders to Miletus; there was apparently no time to 
summon those farther away. There was no sign yet 
of any one standing out above or with different duties 
from the rest ; but it is singular that while the Gentile 
historian uses of them the Jewish title Elders, the 
Jewish apostle used to them the Gentile title Bishops. 
The two words were evidently interchangeable at that 
time and place. 

Some three years later, Paul was at Rome, sur- 
rounded still with a staff including Tychicus, John 
Mark, Jesus Justus, Luke, and Demas, all available to 
carry out his orders or convey letters, besides others 
coming from the churches on special errands, such as 
Epaphras of Colosse and Epaphroditus of Philippi. 
Tychicus was despatched with Onesimus to Asia, 
bearing three letters which show that the churches 
were in constant and intimate relations. Indeed, the 
epistle to the Ephesians was probably not for them 
alone, but also for those at Laodicea and Colosse, and 
therefore presumably for all the churches in Asia. 
Paul had already sent two circular letters,- one to the 
churches of Galatia, and the other to those in Achaia, 
though it was addressed primarily to the largest church 
there, .Corinth. 


In this Ephesian letter the titles Elder, Bishop, 
Deacon do not appear in the technical sense ; but 
Apostles, Prophets, and Teaching Pastors are men- 
tioned as appointed to organize the churches for active 
service. Another letter about the same time to an 
older church shows that Philippi had officers named 
Bishops and Deacons, with one man rather prominent 
among them. It is quite possible that this " true yoke- 
fellow " was not a local officer, but Luke, who had been 
left there on the first visit, and had rejoined Paul at the 
same point on the third. The constant intercommunica- 
tion is evidenced by Epaphroditus bearing this letter, 
and advising them that Timothy would probably come 
soon to bring the news of Paul's acquittal and journey 
past them to Asia. 

A year or two later we find Paul had journeyed 
by way of Achaia and Crete to Asia, and thence to 
Macedonia, with a staff including Artemas, Tychicus, 
Titus, and Timothy. Titus was detached in Crete to 
organize a church in each city, appointing officers to 
be known indifferently as Elders or Bishops. Timothy 
was similarly left in Asia, which was more advanced. 
The qualifications of Bishop and Deacons were described, 
and he was instructed as to the appointment, pay, 
and discipline of Elders. It almost appears as if the 
council once known as the Presbytery, composed of 
presbyters or Elders, were tending to be differentiated 
into one Bishop and several Deacons, all still bearing 
at times the older name Elders. 

A few months later, Timothy's work had failed ; all in 
Asia had turned away from Paul, and he was recalled 
to Paul's side, being replaced at Ephesus by Tychicus, 
who had Prisca, Aquila, and Trophimus near at hand. 
Timothy is not heard of again in connection with 

/// JOHN 261 

Ephesus but as released from prison and about to 
come and see the Hebrews. 

After Paul's second imprisonment at Rome, a circular 
letter to several provinces, including Asia, was written 
by Peter, who had attracted to his side some of Paul's 
staff, such as Silas and John Mark. His language 
about officers, if brief, is varied, exhorting Elders to 
be good Pastors and Bishops, not for gain nor for 

During the next generation we have only faint hints 
from II Peter and Jude that Apostles and Prophets 
were passing away. The Revelation, however, sheds 
a curious light on the situation. We gather certainly 
that the place once filled by Paul and then by Peter 
was next occupied by John; that the churches in 
Asia had increased to seven at least perhaps 
that Colosse and Hierapolis had succumbed to the 
heresy infecting them; that the churches of Asia 
formed such a closely knit group that a book con- 
taining notes for each of them could be published as 
one document. It would appear also that in each 
church there was one officer who was at once corre- 
sponding secretary and of sufficient importance to be 
addressed as representative of the church and perhaps 
held personally responsible for its condition. 

Finally, we find in this brief epistle travelling 
evangelists still circulating among the churches and 
the heathen, II Cor 8 23 , but confronted by a local 
member with influence enough to keep them out of 
his church, expel their sympathisers, and flout an 
apostle's authority. 

It would be possible from early Christian literature 
outside the Bible to continue the story of the develope- 
ment of organization, but we should not know how far 


that developement met with apostolic approval. We 
can say with reasonable certainty that the apostles did 
approve of these points : 

All the Christians of a city knit into one church : 

All the churches of a province knit together : 

All the churches whatever in fraternal intercourse : 

Officers in each church chosen by the local members, 
recognized and installed by some one representing a 
wider circle : 

Local officers preferably married, and certainly not 
divorced : 

Their duties including finance, general business 
management, teaching, and pastoral oversight : 

Local officers to be paid : 

One local officer at least to be ready to entertain 
travelling Christians : 

All officers to be on their guard against mercenary 
motives and ambition : 

All members ready to support the authority of the 
officers : 

All churches and officers ready to support the 
authority of the apostles, whether expressed orally 
or in writing or by messenger with credentials : 

No church wantonly to depart from customs intro- 
duced by the apostles : 

Travelling evangelists to be helped with hospitality 
and money : 

. State authority to be invoked for protection against 
outsiders, not for settling disputes among members : 

State authority to be generally obeyed as of Divine 
institution, except when it clashed with obvious Divine 

On the other hand, we have no adequate light on 
these points ; 

/// JOHN 263 

Tenure of office, for a term of years, during good 
behaviour, or for life : 

The standing of an officer of one church when 
removing to another town and joining the church 
there : 

Necessary uniformity of organization towards which 
all were being guided : 

Necessary uniformity of titles for officers : 

Intended method of maintaining fellowship of churches 
when the apostles had passed away. 

We are not quite in the dark on these subjects- 
Thus we see a decided tendency for the committee of 
Elders to give to one of their number a chairmanship 
with long tenure of office, and in the Gentile churches 
for the titles Bishop and Deacons to gain ground on 
the former title, Elders. But it is not clear how duties 
were allotted between these officers, and to what extent 
they monopolized the conduct of worship. Nor is it at 
all clear what relations subsisted between these local 
officers of business and the travelling ministers with 
special Divine gifts. And if this be unimportant as the 
latter were gradually disappearing, we have scarcely 
any light on what Paul expected when he could no 
longer send Tychicus, Timothy, Luke, or Titus with 
his authority to visit and superintend a group of 
churches ; or how John would recommend dealing with 
an unbrotherly Diotrephes when no apostle should 
survive. There is not, however, any trace of a per- 
manent superintendent for each province, or with 
jurisdiction over any group of churches. 

Students of church history know what did happen 
as a matter of fact ; a summary is given in the Epilogue. 


JUDE wrote this short letter in a sudden emergency 
due to the presence of false teachers, against whom his 
mildest charge was that they were pastors who without 
fear fed themselves, even at the love-feasts connected 
with the Lord's supper. He urged his readers to 
beware of them, to oppose them, and to discipline them. 
Under ordinary conditions any church is guided by 
the officers which it appoints, to whom it entrusts a 
general initiative. But the apostles did not contemplate 
a sort of lex regia or plebiscite whereby a church vests 
practically all powers in its officers beyond power of 
reclaim. Even while Paul adjured the Thessalonians 
to respect their officers, he also bade them as a whole to 
admonish the disorderly. While he warned them not 
to despise prophesyings, he also laid it on them to 
prove all things. And though at Corinth prophets 
might speak, the others were to criticise. The church at 
Colosse was bidden exhort a minister to better service. 
Peter also, under similar circumstances to these, warned 
against false teachers. John bade his readers not 
believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they 
were from God, as many false prophets were to be 
found. In the Revelation special commendation is 
given to the angel of the church at Ephesus for trying 
men styling themselves apostles, and rejecting them. 
So there is abundant evidence from every quarter that 
the words of the Son of Man were yet borne in mind, 
and that His followers recollected officers were to 

serve and not be served. 



THE Revelation to John was made chiefly in symbols. 
The imagery was drawn from the synagogue, the 
temple, the palace, as is traced in detail below. But 
no imagery was drawn from Christian customs. Of a 
church or of a minister there is no trace, once we end 
the letters to the seven churches and deal with the 
revelation proper, until once again the writer descended 
to earth, 22 10 ~ 20 . Of the Christian ritual, baptism and 
the Lord's supper, there is no trace at all. This is the 
more remarkable as such symbolism would often have 
been natural. The facts they commemorate were 
always in view, the death and resurrection of Jesus. 
He was repeatedly mentioned as the Lamb, and His 
blood was also mentioned, We might well have ex- 
pected in 5 6 ^ 13 , 7~ 17 , I4 1 , IQ 9 , 22 U , some reference to 
the ceremonies He ordained. Nor can we explain the 
prophet's silence in that he never saw or had occasion 
to mention the material emblems ; again and again he 
spoke of bathing and of drinking, of a cup of wine and 
of the water of life. Yet in no one of these many 
passages can we discover any allusion to the well- 
known Christian rituaL Even in such a passage as 
I4 12 , where he seems to set down his calm reflection as 
to the meaning of his vision, he laid stress not on any 
virtue in outward form, but on keeping the command- 
ments of God and the faith of Jesus, This almost 


ostentatious ignoring of Christian ritual is incompatible 
with attributing sacramental virtue to it. Churches, 
ministry, and sacraments belong to time, and are 
accidental ; they are not even permanent enough to 
furnish any imagery here. 

Revelation I 3 . Public worship among the Jews in 
the synagogue included the reading aloud of a lesson 
from The Law and another from the Prophets of the 
Old Covenant. In Christian circles the custom was 
retained, but the books read were not so limited. 
Paul's epistles were thus read, I Th 5 2T , Col 4 16 , and 
were soon ranked with the other scriptures, II Pet 3 16 . 
Here we find a prophecy not simply uttered orally for 
one church, I Cor I4 29 - 33 , but written out and circulated 
among several, with a warning against alteration, 
22 6 - 19 , and with a blessing on the public reader and the 
hearers. A prophet in the Spirit had a vision of Jesus 
as Lord, I 10 . As he was exiled from any church 
assembled together, and could only be with it in spirit, 
I Cor I4 23 , 5 4 , he was bidden write what he heard and 
saw, and send to the seven churches to edify and 
exhort and console; compare I Cor I2 3 , I4 3>4 . 

The public worship to which the prophet was accus- 
tomed was of course that of the synagogue. Other 
allusions to its customs occur in the book. Thus 
rival congregations are branded as synagogues of 
Satan, 2 9 , 3 9 ; the elders on the chief seats are 
mentioned, 4*, I4 3 , 19*; the lamps, the book, the 
trumpets, that were the usual furnishings of a synagogue, 
supplied imagery for his visions, 4 5 , 5 2 , 8 2 . 

I 5> 6 . Other sources of imagery appear here a royal 
court and a temple for ritual worship ; and the leading 
thoughts come thus early : Jesus is Ruler of kings, His 


Church is itself kingly; Jesus is High Priest, His 
Church is itself priestly. These sources deserve separate 
grouping and study further on. 

i jo . The Lord's day is not mentioned by this title 
elsewhere in the New Testament. But the first day of 
the week, on which the Lord rose from the dead and 
appeared to the disciples, on which a week later He 
appeared again, on which seven weeks later He sent 
the Spirit from heaven, was early singled out for more 
elaborate worship. Paul advised the Corinthians to 
utilize it as the day for regular contribution, and he 
waited at Troas in order to conduct worship then. 
This is another case in which we see special attention 
paid to it, by man in private worship, by Jesus in 
revealing Himself anew. 

I 20 . The word Angel here and in the next two 
chapters hardly seems to bear the same meaning as in 
I 1 , 5 2 , and ever afterwards. The usual meaning there, 
as in all scripture, is of a messenger from God, of 
a different order of creation from man. But such a 
meaning here is most difficult. Why should Jesus, 
instead of speaking direct to such superhuman beings, 
employ John to write to them ? How would the letters 
be delivered ? How could the seven churches of Asia 
profit ? John himself needed explanations and rebukes 
from such an angel, and it would be very strange if he 
were commissioned to convey counter rebukes ; such a 
thing has no parallel in scripture. 

If instead of the word Angel some unknown word 
stood here, whose meaning we had to gather solely 
from the context, we could easily interpret it. It would 
be easily seen to signify the secretary of the church a 
man who not only received correspondence from the 
outside, but who was of sufficient importance to be 


held personally liable for anything wrong in the church ; 
a man with authority to test pretenders to apostleship 
and to discipline evil livers ; a man who could in person 
suffer, witness a good confession, be a living lie, or be 
rich ; a man perhaps who had not courage to restrain 
his wife from debauching his church ; a man who could 
be distinguished from those in his church who were 
standing fast, or those in his church who were lapsing. 
Since this is the apparent meaning, the question 
arises why the term Angel should be applied to such 
a prominent church officer. The explanation may 
possibly be along the lines of synagogue imagery. 
The prominent people in a synagogue were Ruler, 
Elders, Attendant. This last officer, whose duties 
were the least important, and included taking care of 
the building and its property, was called by various 
titles, Chazzan, Sheliach. There seems some faint 
ground for supposing that this latter title was occa- 
sionally rendered into Greek, as Angelos, Ezek 23 40 . 
Consider now the whole Christian Church as one 
Synagogue, even as the Hebrews were accustomed 
to speak of one Congregation of the Lord, and were 
bidden to think of it as a General Assembly. Its 
Ruler would be Jesus, the chief Pastor and Bishop; 
its Elders would be the apostles, two of whom were 
content to assume that title, I Pet 5 1 , II John 1 , 
III John 1 ; its Angel or Messenger would then on 
such a scale be the local minister. James might be a 
great man at Jerusalem, and the "true yoke-fellow" 
at Philippi, and Diotrephes at his church in Asia; 
but the separate congregations were only part of one 
great body. The seven ministers of the seven churches 
of Asia were now receiving warning or encouragement 
from their Ruler, sent through one of the Elders of the 


great Christian Synagogue, and in such relations they 
were mere subordinates and could receive only the 
lowly title of Caretaker or Angel. Figurative and 
fanciful this explanation certainly is, and therein it is 
in keeping with the whole character of this book. 

3 21 . The kingly imagery in the book emerges again 
here, and it may well be grouped for study. Repeated 
mention is made of a throne, occupied primarily by 
God the Father, 4 2 , 5 13 , 6 16 , 7 n > 16 > ir , H 3 , i6 ir , ip 4 - 5 , 2i 5 ; 
it is at length shared by the Lamb, 22 3 ; on either side 
are thrones for elders, 4*, n 16 , I4 3 ; and to this range 
of thrones are to be admitted all triumphant martyrs, 
20*. The Lamb is to reign for ever and ever, II 15 , 
King of kings and Lord of lords, IQ 10 ; to share His 
rule He admits His followers, i c , 20 6 , 22 s . 

Under fresh imagery we have the familiar doctrines 

of the unity of Christ and His disciples, the identity of 

destiny, and the glories thus reserved for The Church. 

5. Interwoven with this is the priestly imagery, 

which is far the most prominent. There is the temple 

court open to all comers, II 2 ; the inner court thronged 

with Christian priests, J7 9) 15 ; the great altar for sacrifice, 

6 9 , n 1 , I4 18 , i6 r ; the Lamb once offered in sacrifice, 

5 C>9>12 ; the temple building beyond the altar, n 2 , 

I4 15>17 , IS 6 " 8 , i6 1>ir ; the golden altar of incense in its 

outer chamber, 8 3 , 9 13 ; the ark of the covenant in its 

inner chamber, n 19 ; the winged seraphs and cherubs 

around the Lord on His throne, glorifying Him 

unceasingly, 4 7 , 5 >14 , 7 11 , I4 3 , 19*. None of this refers 

to the temple in Jerusalem ; that city is stigmatized as 

a Sodom and Egypt, n 8 ; this is the heavenly temple 

which Moses beheld, of which the tabernacle built by 

Bezalel and Oholiab was but a shadowy copy, and of 

which Isaiah once caught a glimpse. 


Two sacrifices only are spoken of that of the Lamb 
once slain, but now living, and that of incense within 
the veil. The latter is rendered by the followers of 
the Lamb, the royal priesthood, I 6 , 5 10 , 20, offering 
prayer, 5 8 , 8 3 , and praise, 7 9 ~ 15 . Thus the same old 
truths are depicted again in fresh colours: Christ 
offered the one atoning sacrifice, whose merit remains 
eternally available, I3 8 , and constituted all His 
followers priests, to offer the minor sacrifices. Of an 
inner official priesthood there is no trace. Such is 
The Church of the present. 

2 1 1 22 5 . There is, however, an anti-climax, sketch- 
ing faintly the future. In the new Jerusalem there 
shall be no temple, 2i 22 . But while God will have 
direct and permanent intercourse with all men, there 
are still traces of a special duty and privilege for The 
Church. It is a holy city, built on the foundations laid 
by the twelve apostles, and distinct from the nations 
and the kings of the earth, who approach God by its 
means. It is the bride of the Lamb, distinct from those 
who are only bidden to the marriage supper. It is 
the household which serves the Lamb on the one "hand, 
and on the other reigns for ever over the nations, to 
whom it ever brings healing. 


Every word of God is tried: Add tliou not ^lnto His words. 

THE New Testament sets before us every necessary 
principle relating to The Church and its embodiments 
on earth in churches. So agree all Evangelicals, and 
in these pages it has been sought to recognize and 
expound everything on the subject. Sacerdotalists, 
however, prefer appending the Bible to tradition, 
claiming that "The Church" must teach, the Bible 
only prove. Although a common ground for argument 
is limited, it can at least be shown that the Bible 
disproves three characteristic doctrines which they 
urgently teach: 


Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there 
am I in the midst of them. 

This theory is thus stated by Haddan : 

" Without bishops, no presbyters." Here the terms 
are not used as in the New Testament, for we read of 
presbyters without reading of bishops, as in Galatia, 
and in circumstances that exclude all thought of bishops, 
as at Jerusalem. Haddan, however, means that without 
some district officer there can be no local officers, even 

as presbyters in Crete were to be appointed by Titus. 



Now it is certainly true that local officers were always 
installed with the help and recognition of others, 
representing a district or the whole body of Christians, 
and it is also true that no local body was allowed to 
break away from general usage. But this proposition 
rather outsteps these facts, and can hardly be proved 
from scripture. And it is shown below that for 
centuries after the apostolic age there was no custom 
of a district officer ruling over several local officers. 
Thus, on Anglican traditional principles, this proposition 
is false. 

"Without bishops and presbyters, no legitimate 
certainty of sacraments." This has no support from 
Scripture. In the discussion with the Corinthians as 
to the Lord's supper, officers are quite ignored. There 
is indeed no passage that connects the officers and the 
rites; and certain indications absolutely disconnect 
them, for our Lord, Peter, and Paul did not habitually 

"Without sacraments no certain union with the 
mystical body of Christ namely, His Church." Another 
unscriptural assumption, attaching to sacraments a value 
far in advance of that assigned to them by the apostles. 
Were it not that the Corinthians were disorderly, we 
should have heard nothing from any apostle except 
Matthew about the Lord's supper. Moreover, there is 
a strong suggestion that sacraments assure such a 
union, while daily experience proves that these are 
valueless apart from a right attitude of heart. 

"Without this [union with the Church] no certain 
union with Christ." Another assumption and suggestion 
of a falsehood. See Mark 9 38 - 40 . 

" Without that union, no salvation." This confounds 
The Church and the Kingdom. It ignores the cases 


of heathen, of infants, and of those who died before 

Accepting such a limitation, a truer series of 
propositions for the present day would be : 

Without repentance and faith, no union with Christ : 

Without union with Christ, no salvation : 

Without salvation, no Church : 

Without a church, no preaching, no baptisms, no 
fellowship, no officers. 

The authorities of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
in America made overtures at Chicago for a merger of 
churches, and referred to the Historic Episcopacy as a 
necessity. The phrase was adopted and popularized 
by a Pan-Anglican Synod at Lambeth. But the title 
Bishop was given by Paul to each of several elders in 
one city, by Ignatius to a single ruler over a single 
congregation, by Cyprian to a single ruler over several 
congregations in one city, by the council of Chalcedon 
to a ruler over several congregations in one province. 
The Society of Friends, Independents, Methodists, 
Lutherans have these four types of Historic Episcopacy. 
If Anglicans do not mean to recognize these, the 
ambiguous phrase had better be disused. 


One is your Teacher, and all ye are brethren. And call no man 
your father on the earth. 

For perhaps a century and a half after the apostolic 
age there continued much freedom and variety both 
in organization and in nomenclature, though the germs 
of the system that ultimately prevailed can be traced 
back very early, and the changes of type were very 
gradual. The system of one man presiding over each 



church spread rapidly through Syria and Asia Minor. 
Loyalty to him, as the only means of maintaining unity 
in the congregation, was urged by Ignatius, presiding 
over the Christians of Antioch, Eph 4 6. His ideal 
was, one bishop, a council of elders, and several 
deacons, wherein we find a new combination of titles. 
He compared them respectively to God the Father, the 
college of apostles, and Jesus Christ, Trail 2, 3. 
Polycarp at Smyrna, however, did not mention his 
deacons when writing to Philippi ; and, while naming 
deacons there besides elders, said nothing about a 
bishop, I, 5, 6. Justin mentioned only president and 
deacons in his popular account of Christian worship, 
Apol i cr . The Jewish-Christian churches had local 
bishops and deacons, with prophets and teachers 
tending to settle rather than travel, Did 1315. The 
terms Elder and Bishop were still interchangeable 
at Corinth in the days of Clement, 44, and at 
Alexandria in the days of Hadrian. The evidence cited 
by Lightfoot, Phil, pp. 225, 226, is not to be dismissed 
as a " rhetorical flourish," for Jerome wrote in his 
1 46th letter that at Alexandria the elders retained the 
custom of choosing their own president till 233 A.D., 
and their right was only extinguished at the establish- 
ment under Constantine, according to a subsequent 
patriarch. At Rome the titles Bishops and Deacons 
were favoured by misquoting the Greek version of 
Isa 6o ir . Among the Roman officers was one employed 
to draft a letter to Corinth for the church, and he 
distinctly asserted that " our apostles knew through 
our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife 
over the name of the bishops' office," and that there- 
fore they ordered a life tenure, 44. Hermas of Rome 
spoke of leaders or elders presiding over the church, 


with Clement writing to other churches, and Grapte 
instructing the widows and orphans, Visions 2 2>4 . He 
also recognized apostles, bishops, teachers, and deacons 
as known in the churches, 3 5 : apostles and teachers, 
deacons for the poor, bishops for hospitality, Parables 
9 25 ~ 2T . Irenaeus and Papias often referred to the elders, 
including and succeeding the apostles. Herein they 
not only agreed with Ignatius, but were following the 
directions of Paul, II Tim 2 2 . The monarchical system, 
however, prevailed. 

The stages of growth within the Roman Empire are 
well marked. Four were generally accepted without 
serious dissent; the others provoked protest, non- 
conformity, and division : 

About A.D. 100 Clement insisted on officers con- 
tinuing for life or during good behaviour. Shortly 
afterwards Ignatius urged one president in each city 
as a focus of unity. Irenseus about 180 claimed that 
orthodoxy was guaranteed only by a succession of 
presidents transmitting apostolic doctrine. Cyprian 
by 250 established the supremacy of the president in 
his own city, irrespective of his own council of elders 
or of other presidents. He also claimed that Divine 
grace was only guaranteed by adhering to the president, 
the chief priest, the vicegerent of Christ ; that in one 
city there could be only one church; that the presidents 
everywhere constituted a moral unity. For two genera- 
tions longer each city church retained a certain local 
self-government ; but when secular statesmen failed to 
break the Christian spirit, and decided to adopt this 
oligarchic system into the State hierarchy, three further 
stages were soon reached, representing fairly well 
Presbyterianism, Diocesan episcopacy, Papacy. Hosius 
and Constantine in 314 and 325 made the councils of 


presidents legal and authoritative instead of consulta- 
tive. Theodosius and the council of Constantinople 
in 381 confirmed to the presidents in the capitals a 
jurisdiction over all others in their provinces. Damasus 
and Leo claimed, and Valentinian in 445 legalized the 
claim, that the president at Rome was head of all the 
Western churches. 

On this very topic of " The Church " every Anglican 
clergyman is supposed to acknowledge that the churches 
of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome have 
all erred, both in living and manner of ceremonies, 
and in matters of faith. To the Evangelical it is 
axiomatic that every stage in this developement is open 
to criticism and abandonment. Apostolic commands 
and customs alone can be binding and necessary to 
the existence of a church, and an attempt has been 
made to sum these in the note on III John. Perhaps 
even these may be condensed ; and extravagances not 
only of individual conduct but also of church govern- 
ment may be avoided by following the Master's rule, 
Love one another. 


How turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly nidiments? 

The doctrine of Apostolic Succession arose from a 
distortion of an apostolic saying; Clericalism sprang 
from the ambition so common among men, fostered 
by reasons of State policy; Ritualism infected the 
churches from the heathen world, but was defended 
by a misuse of the Old Testament. Against it we 
need only study closely the epistle to the Hebrews. 
It would have been easy to take another line of 


argument with those who were clinging to the old 
Jewish system, and to pander to their immature 
conceptions. 'Change your Jewish ritual for our 
Christian, circumcision for baptism, passover for Lord's 
supper, sabbath for Lord's day, Aaronic priesthoods 
for Christian ministry. We will meet you half-way, 
will call our elders Priests, and their chairman High 
Priest, and will introduce some deacons to match the 
Levites. We will build our houses of worship like 
the temple, with an outer court for non-Christian 
outsiders, an inner division for Christians, another 
for the priests, and a Holy of holies. We will call 
the Lord's table an altar, and speak about offering a 
sacrifice on it. We will match every Jewish rite with 
some Christian rite, if only we may win over and hold 
fast all Jews.' 

This was exactly what the next generation began 
to do. In a manual for the Jewish-Christian 
churches, we find analogies traced thus : " Let 
not your fastings stand with those of the hypo- 
crites, for they fast on the second day of the 
week and the fifth ; but do you fast on the fourth and 
on Friday. Nor pray like the hypocrites, but as the 
Lord ordered in His gospel. . . . Let not your sacrifice 
[of the Eucharist] be profaned, for this is what was 
said by the Lord, In every place and time bring Me a 
pure sacrifice, for I am a great King, saith the Lord, 
and My name is marvellous among the nations," 
Didache, 8, 14. And the Jewish-Christian churches 

The Gentile churches resisted the temptation longer. 
The " Epistle of Barnabas " emphatically opposed this 
transfer, and traced scores of spiritual truths prefigured 
in Jewish rites and facts. Even at the outset it was 


said, 2, 3, " Sacrifices and whole burnt offerings and 
oblations ... He annulled, that the new law of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, being pure from the yoke of restraint, 
might have its oblation not made by human hands. . . . 
Let us not as novices shipwreck ourselves upon their 
Law." Ignatius warned the churches in Asia, " If 
even unto this day we live after the manner of Judaism, 
we avow that we have not received grace. ... It is 
monstrous to talk of Jesus Christ and to practise 
Judaism (Magn 8, 10). Take only Christian food and 
abstain' from strange herbage, which is heresy, for these 
men even mingle Jesus Christ with poison (Trail 6). 
If any one propound Judaism unto you, hear him not 
(Ph 6)." Yet his language about the Altar at the 
Eucharist shows he himself was slightly infected 
Clement of Rome repeated, 36, 40, that Jesus Christ is 
the High Priest of our offerings, yet presently in the 
interests of orderly worship at Corinth spoke of offerings 
and ministrations, high priest, priests, Levites, and 
laymen as if these were institutions of the Master. 
Diognetus, however, was chiefly anxious to hear about 
Christians not practising their religion in the same way 
as the Jews, and was assured that "their scruples 
about meats and their superstition relating to the 
sabbath and the vanity of their circumcision " were 
ridiculous, 3, 4. Aristides objected to the methods of 
Jewish service, in observing sabbaths and new moons 
and passover and fasts and circumcision and cleanness 
of meats ; but he did not hint that these had Christian 
physical counterparts, 14. Justin had a long debate 
with a Jew, and told him that prayers and thanksgiving 
offered by the worthy were the only perfect and accept- 
able sacrifices, and that Christians were the true 
sacerdotal race, Trypho, 116. Yet in some ambiguous 


sentences he connected the bread and wine specially 
with sacrifice, 41, 70, 117, and attached some import- 
ance to the prayer of the president over it, Apol I 07 . 
Tertullian also wavered : in his treatise On Prayer he 
opposed the Jewish habit of washing before prayer, 
declaring it superstitious ; but in discussing whether the 
Eucharist might be received fasting, spoke of standing 
at the altar of God. This was perhaps only an un- 
fortunate illustration, for he said explicitly, "We are 
the true worshippers and the true priests, who, praying 
in the spirit, sacrifice in the spirit the prayer peculiar 
and acceptable to God." But presently he and his 
Montanist friends fell into the error of reproducing 
days and hours and weeks for fasts, and were rebuked 
by appeals to Matt 15", I Cor 8 8 , Galatians, Rom I4 1T - 20 . 
With Cyprian we get a fairly consistent reproduction 
of Jewish terminology and thought : " That priest acts 
well in Christ's stead who imitates what Christ did, and 
he then offers a true and full sacrifice in the Church to 
God the Father. . . . For the sacrifice which we offer 
is the suffering of the Lord," 63 li<ir . And although 
Origen opposed both the clerical ambition and the 
sacerdotal doctrine, his enemies at Alexandria banished 
him, Cyprian's views prevailed and were elaborated into 
the great Catholic system of ritual and doctrine. 

In view of this fatal declension, it is instructive that 
the epistle to the Hebrews gives no starting-point for 
such a process. The argument is not, ' Replace Jewish 
rites by Christian, 1 but, ' Abandon symbols for reality. 
Discussion about baptisms is regarded as elementary, 
6 l ; the blood of the covenant never elicited a remark 
about the Lord's supper, 9 16 ~ 20 , io 29 , I2 2t ; the Lord's 
day is not mentioned ; the Christian ministry is barely 
alluded to, 13"' 2l . 


Three ceremonies only are approved by the apostles. 
The Lord's day reminds us of the triumphant rise from 
the dead that assures us the atonement was complete and 
all believers are pardoned. Baptism gives us a double 
look at the burial after the atoning death with the 
resurrection ' that followed it, and at the death of the 
penitent to sin with the rise of the believer to new life. 
The Lord's supper recalls to us the true passover when 
the Lamb of God was slain, and the new covenant 
ratified in His blood. The only authoritative ritual 
thus refers directly and emphatically to the great 
sacrifice in which He was at once Priest and Victim. 
Its connection with Jewish ritual is of the slightest. It 
is never said that any one rite replaces any Jewish 
rite. If any new rites are introduced, they must , 
inevitably shift the emphasis from, the one all-important 
point, that Jesus has made full atonement, that sins 
are forgiven as soon as there is repentance and trust 
in Him. 

And if from worship we turn to worshippers, we find 
in the New Testament frequent mention of priests, but 
no such title for Christian ministers, despite the great 
variety of names given to them. A literal body of 
priests on the Jewish lines is excluded by Heb 7 13 , the 
spiritual priesthood of Christ is asserted instead, and 
that of all believers in I Pet 2. The same result comes 
from considering functions : the sacrifices mentioned 
are of praise, prayer, and gifts to relieve the needy, all 
of which are to be offered by all believers. For an 
interior official priesthood there is no warrant, and all 
the spirit of the New Testament is against it. The 
only other priests and sacrifices known here are men- 
tioned in Eph 5 2 , Rom i2\ IS 10 : Christ gave Himself up 
for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God : Present your 


bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your 
spiritual service : I should be a minister of Christ Jesus 
unto the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that 
the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable. 
Foreign missionaries are the most honoured priests, a 
convert from heathendom is the grandest sacrifice, for 
The Church is Christ's agent on earth to win all men 
to Himself. 


Apostolic Succession: Jud 17, 

Ez 2, Mark 3, n, 16, John I, 

Acts I, Gal I, II Tim 2, 

Apostolic : John 14-16, Acts 

II, 15, I Cor II, 14, I Tim 4, 

III John, Jude. 
Christ's : I Kings 6, Matt 11,22, 

28, Mark 2, 1 1, Acts 4, 1 John. 
Church: Matt 16, 18, 23, 28, 

John 20, I Cor 5, 6. 
Civil : Dent 14, Matt 22, Acts 4, 

1 8, 22, 23, Rom 13, 14, I Cor 

5, 1 Pet 2-4. 
Clerical : Matt 20, 23, Mark 9, 

Acts 15. 


Act : Matt 3, Mark I, 10, Acts 8. 
Administrator : Matt 28, John 

3-4, Acts 2, 9, 10, I Cor I. 
Candidates : Matt 28, Mark 16, 

Luke 5. 
Effect: John 3, Matt 3, Mark 16, 

Acts 8, 22, Tit 3, Heb 8-10, 

I Pet 3. 
Infant: Luke 5, 18, Jud II, 

Matt 18, John i, Acts 2, 16, 

Rom 4, 6, I Cor 7. 
John's : Matt 3, Mark i, Acts 

i, 18. 


Baptism (continued) 
Meaning : Matt 28, Rom 6, 
Matt 3, John 3-4, Acts 2, 

18-19, ! Cor I0 i I2 > Gal 3i 

Col 2, I Pet 3, I John. 
Obligation : Mark 16, Acts 2, 

10, 19, 22, I Pet 3. 
Origin : Matt 3. 
Pledge to Christ: I Cor 10, 

Gal 3, I Tim 6, Tit 3, 

I Pet 3. 
Relative importance : I Cor i, 

10, Gal 5, Heb 6. 
Symbolism : Mark 10, Rom 6, 

I Cor 6, Eph 4. 
Baptism of the Spirit : Matt 3, 

Acts i, 2, 8, 10, 18. 
Bishops : Acts 20, Ph I, I Tim 3, 

III John, Epilogue. 

Celibacy : I Tim 5, II Tim 2. 

Children: Jud II, Matt 15, 18, 
Luke 5, 1 8, John i, Acts 2, 
Rom II, I Cor 7, 15. 

Christian Duty : Matt 5, 22, John 
r 3i 15. 19; Ac's 4, 15, 21, 
Rom 3, 5, 13, 14, I Cor 6, 9, 
12, Gal 5, I Tim 3, James, 
I Pet 4, I John. 

Establishment : Ez 7, Epilogue. 

28 4 


Church (continued) 

Fellowship : Mark 9, Acts 2, 

I Cor I. 
Foundation : Matt 16, John 20, 

I Cor 3. 
Grouping : III John, Acts 5, 9, 

I Cor 1 1. 16, II Cor i, 3, 8-9, 

Eph 6, Col 4. 
Incomplete without Christ : 

Matt 18, 28, Eph i, 2. 
Nature: Matt 16; John 10, 

Acts i, 2, 5, Eph 2, 4, Rev. 
Officers : III John, Acts 20, 21, 

Eph 4, Ph i, 4, Col i, 4, 

I Tim 3, 5, II Tim 2, Rev i. 
Purity: Ez 4, Matt 18, John 

20, I Cor 5, II Cor 2. 
Purpose : Matt 18, 28, Mark 

1 6, John 17, 20, Acts I, Rom 

10, I Cor 12, Eph, I Tim 3, 
Heb 6, James, Epilogue. 

Uniformity : Rom 14, I Cor 4, 

11, Eph 4, III John. 
Unity: I Cor II, 12, Eph 2, 4, 

I Pet 2. 
Worship : Acts 2, 6, 13, I Cor 

12-14, Heb, Rev i. 
Circumcision : Gen 17, Acts 15, 
Rom 2, 4, I Cor 7, Gal 5, 
Ph 3, Col 2. 

Clericalism : Matt 20, 23, Mark 9, 
Acts 15, I Pet 5, III John, 

Abraham : Gen 17, Ex 2, Gal 3. 
New : Mark 14, John 19, I Cor 

II, Heb 8-10, 12. 
Old: Ex 19-24, 32, Deut 5, 
Matt 5, Mark 15, John 19. 

Deacons: Ph I, I Tim 3, III 

Dipping, Pouring, and Sprink- 
ling : Matt 3, Mark 7, Ex 29, 
Lev 4, 8, 14, Num 8, 19, Ezek 
36, Matt 3, Mark I, 10, Luke 
n, John 13, Acts 2, 8, I Cor 

Dispensations : Mark 14, Acts 10, 
1 5i Rom 4, I Cor 7> Intro- 

Education : I Cor 2, II Cor 3. 
Elders : Acts 6, Num 1 1, Acts 14, 
15, 20, 21, I Tim 5, III John. 

Faith before rites : Gen i7Ex 12, 

Rom 4. 

Family ties : Rom II, I Cor 7, 15. 

Covenant: Mark 15, John 19, 

Heb 7-9. 
Law : Matt 9, Mark 9, John 15, 

19, Acts 15, Rom 7. 
Prophecy : Mark 9, 14, John 19. 
Type : Luke 22, 24, John I, 5, 
Acts 6. 

Gifts : Lev 22, Acts 2, I Cor 16, 
II Cor 8, 9. 

Holy Spirit inspiring 
Apostles : John 14-16. 
Believers : Acts 8, 19, Rom 8, 

I Cor 6, 12-14, I Tim 4, I 

John, Rev I. 
Bible students : Introduction, 

I Cor 2, II Tim 3. 
Churches : Acts 15, I Cor 3, 

I John. 



Holy Spirit inspiring (COM) 
Ministers : II Cor 3. 
The Church : John 20, Acts I, 
2, Eph.i,4. 

Induction to office : Ex 29, Acts 

6, 13, 14.. 
Interdependence of churches : 

Acts 6, 14, I Cor 4, n, Col 4. 

Jewish Law 
Appointed : Ex 19-24. 
Apt for the time : Eph 6, 

Rom 7, I Tim I. 
Authorized by the State : Ez 7. 
Becoming popular textbook : 

Binding on Christ: Matt 5, 

Luke 5, John 15, 19, Gal 3. 
Binding on Jews alone : Deut 

5, Acts 15, 21, Gal 3. 
Binding in every detail : James. 
Burdensome : Acts 15, Gal 3. 
Criticised and condensed: Matt 

5, 22, Rom 13. 
Fulfilled and abrogated : Mark 

7, John 19, Acts 10, Rom 7, 

Gal, Col 2, I Tim I, Heb 7. 
Guide to Christ : Rom 3, Gal 3, 

Impotent to save : Acts 13, 

Rom 2, Gal i. 
Inadequate as giving Christ's 

will : Matt 5, 19. 
Incompatible with Christianity, 

Luke 5, Gal. 
Provisional : Matt 19, Gal 3, 

Heb 10. 
Sign of enmity : Rom 7, Eph 2, 

Col 2. 

Jewish Law (continued] 

Subject to Christ: Matt 5, 

Mark 2. 

Typical : John 5, Col 2,' Heb, 
I Pet 2. 

Kingdom : Matt 4, 16, Rom 11, 
Ph I, Rev 3, 21 

Laying on hands : Matt 3, Luke 

1 8, Acts 6, 8, Heb 6. 
Learned teaching : II Cor 3, 

Liberty of conscience : Deut 14, 

Rom 14, 1 Cor 5 
Lord's day : Acts 20, Rom 14, 

I Cor 1 6, Col 2, Heb 9, 

Rev I. 
Lord's supper: Mark 14, I Cor 

10, II, Luke 22, John 6, 

Acts 2, Heb 9, 10-13, 

Memorial rites: Ex 12, I Cor II, 

Col 2, Heb 10, I John 5. 

Call : Num 16, Matt 1 1, Acts 13, 

II Cor 10, Gal. 

Dangers and Duties : Jude, 

Matt 23, Mark 9, I Cor 3, 4, 

I Pet 5, Epilogue. 
Relation to Church : Ph i, 

Col 4, I Tim 4, Jude. 
Missionaries: Acts 13, 21, Eph 4, 

Pastoral Epistles. II Tim 2, 

III John. 

Missions : See Church, Purpose. 

New Testament authoritative : 
Matt 18, 28, John 14, 1 Cor 4, 
II Tim 2. 



Old Testament : Luke 24, John 

5, II Tim 3. 
One-man ministry: Acts 15, Ph 4, 

III John. 

Papacy : Introduction, Matt 16, 

Acts 1 1, 15, 1 Pet 5, Epilogue. 

Passover: Ex 12, Mark 14, Luke 


Pouring : See Dipping. 

Christ's: John 17, Heb, Rev 5. 
Christian: John 17, Rom 12, 
15, Heb 6, 7, 10, 13, I Pet 2, 
Rev 5. 

Jewish : Ex 28, 29, Num 16, 18, 
Jud 17, I Kings 12, II Chron 
26, Ez 2, Heb 7. 
Sacerdotal : Num 16, Luke 5, 

Heb 8, 10-13, Epilogue. 
Promise to Abraham : Gen 12, 
Rom n, Gal 3. 

Regeneration : John I, 3, Acts 
10, Rom 4, Col 2, Tit 3, 
Heb 5, James. 

Reversion to Judaism: Rom 6, 
Heb, Epilogue. 

Ritualism : Josh 22, Jud 8, 17, 
I Kings 12, Mai I, Mark I, 2, 
Luke $, John 13, I Cor 10, 
Gal 4, 6, Ph 3, Heb, James, 
I Pet 2, I John 5, Epilogu\ 

Sabbath: Ex 16, 31,34, Lev 26, 
Mark 2, Rom i4,Col 2, Heb 4. 

Sacramentarianism : John 3, 6, 
20, Acts i, 15, 22, Rom 6, 
I Cor 10, 12, Gal 5, Tit 3, 
Heb 8, I Pet 3, I John, Rev, 

Sealing : Rom 4, II Cor i. 

Sectarianism : I Cor I, n. 

Sprinkling : See Dipping. 

Synagogue: Neh 8, Acts 6, 13, 
16, Rev i. 

False: Matt 

15, Mark 3, 7, 

Gal I, Col 2, Introduction. 
True: John 14-16, 1'Cor4, n, 

16, II Tim 2, 3. 

Types : Prologue, Mark 14, Luke 
22, 24, John 3, 5, 21, I Cor 
10, II Cor 3, Ph 2, Col 2, 
Heb, I Pet 2, 3, Rev. 

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