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1

CHAPTER I.

THE TRAINING OF SAUL THE RABBI.

"A young man named Saul."—Acts vii. 58.

"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as ye all are this day."—Acts xxii. 3.

The appearance of St. Paul upon the stage of Christian history marks a period of new development and of more enlarged activity. The most casual reader of the Acts of the Apostles must see that a personality of vast power, force, individuality, has now entered the bounds of the Church, and that henceforth St. Paul, his teaching, methods, and actions, will throw all others into the shade. Modern German critics have seized upon this undoubted fact and made it the foundation on which they have built elaborate theories concerning St. Paul and the Acts of the Apostles. Some of them have made St. Paul the inventor of a new form of Christianity, more elaborate, artificial, and dogmatic than the simple religion of nature which, as they think, Jesus Christ taught. Others have seen in St. Paul the great rival and antagonist of St. Peter, and have seen in the Acts a deliberate attempt to reconcile the opposing factions of Peter and Paul by representing St. Paul's career as modelled upon that of Peter's.211   See this portion of Baur's theory refuted in Dr. Salmon's Introduction to the New Testament, ch. xviii., p. 335, 4th ed., where the writer admits a certain parallelism between the history of SS. Peter and Paul in the Acts, but denies that it was an invented parallelism. He remarks on the next page, "What I think proves decisively that the making a parallel between St. Peter and St. Paul was not an idea present to the author's mind is the absence of the natural climax of such a parallel—the story of the martyrdom of both the Apostles.... If the object of the author of the Acts had been what has been supposed, it is scarcely credible that he could have missed so obvious an opportunity of bringing his book to its most worthy conclusion, by telling how the two servants of Christ—all previous differences, if there had been any, reconciled and forgotten—joined in witnessing a good confession before the tyrant emperor, and encouraged each other in steadfastness in endurance to the end." These theories are, we believe, utterly groundless; but they show at the same time what an important event in early Church history St. Paul's conversion was, and how necessary a thorough comprehension of his life and training if we wish to understand the genesis of our holy religion.

Who and whence, then, was this enthusiastic man who is first introduced to our notice in connexion with St. Stephen's martyrdom? What can we glean from Scripture and from secular history concerning his earlier career? I am not going to attempt to do what Conybeare and Howson thirty years ago, or Archdeacon Farrar in later times, have executed with a wealth of learning and a profuseness of imagination which I could not pretend to possess. Even did I possess them it would be impossible, for want of space, to write such a biography of St. Paul as these authors have given to the public. Let us, however, strive to gather up such details of St. Paul's early life and training as the New Testament, illustrated by history, sets before us. Perhaps we shall find that more is told us than strikes the ordinary superficial reader. His parentage is known3 to us from St. Paul's own statement. His father and mother were Jews of the Dispersion, as the Jews scattered abroad amongst the Gentiles were usually called; they were residents at Tarsus in Cilicia, and by profession belonged to the Pharisees who then formed the more spiritual and earnest religious section of the Jewish people. We learn this from three passages. In his defence before the Council, recorded in Acts xxiii. 6, he tells us that he was "a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees." There was no division in religious feeling between the parents. His home life and his earliest years knew nothing of religious jars and strife. Husband and wife were joined not only in the external bonds of marriage, but in the profounder union still of spiritual sentiment and hope, a memory which may have inspired a deeper meaning begotten of personal experience in the warning delivered to the Corinthians, "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers." Of the history of his parents and ancestors we know practically nothing more for certain, but we can glean a little from other notices. St. Paul tells us that he belonged to a special division among the Jews, of which we have spoken a good deal in the former volume when dealing with St. Stephen. The Jews at this period were divided into Hebrews and Hellenists: that is, Hebrews who by preference and in their ordinary practice spoke the Hebrew tongue, and Hellenists who spoke Greek and adopted Greek civilisation and customs. St. Paul tells us in Philippians iii. 5 that he was "of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews," a statement which he substantially repeats in 2 Corinthians xi. 22. Now it was almost an impossibility for a Jew of the Dispersion to belong to the Hebrews. His lot was cast in a foreign land, his4 business mixed him up with the surrounding pagans, so that the use of the Greek language was an absolute necessity; while the universal practice of his fellow-countrymen in conforming themselves to Greek customs, Greek philosophy, and Greek civilisation rendered the position of one who would stand out for the old Jewish national ideas and habits a very trying and a very peculiar one. Here, however, comes in an ancient tradition, recorded by St. Jerome, which throws some light upon the difficulty. Scripture tells us that St. Paul was born at Tarsus. Our Lord, in His conversation with Ananias in Acts ix. 11, calls him "Saul of Tarsus," while again the Apostle himself in the twenty-second chapter describes himself as "a Jew born in Tarsus". But then the question arises, how came his parents to Tarsus, and how, being in Tarsus, could they be described as Hebrews while all around and about them their countrymen were universally Hellenists? St. Jerome here steps in to help us. He relates, in his Catalogue of Illustrious Writers, that "Paul the Apostle, previously called Saul, being outside the number of the Twelve, was of the tribe of Benjamin and of the city of the Jewish Gischala; on the capture of which by the Romans he migrated with them to Tarsus." Now this statement of Jerome, written four hundred years after the event, is clearly inaccurate in many respects, and plainly contradicts the Apostle's own words that he was born in Tarsus.

But yet the story probably embodies a tradition substantially true, that St. Paul's parents were originally from Galilee. Galilee was intensely Hebrew. It was provincial, and the provinces are always far less affected by advance in thought or in religion than the towns, which are the chosen homes of innovation and of5 progress. Hellenism might flourish in Jerusalem, but in Galilee it would not be tolerated; and the tough, sturdy Galileans alone would have moral and religious grit enough to maintain the old Hebrew customs and language, even amid the abounding inducements to an opposite course which a great commercial centre like Tarsus held out. Assuredly our own experience affords many parallels illustrating the religious history of St. Paul's family. The Evangelical revival, the development of Ritual in the Church of England, made their mark first of all in the towns, and did not affect the distant country districts till long after. The Presbyterianism of the Highlands is almost a different religion from the more enlightened and more cultured worship of Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Low Church and Orange developments of Ulster bring us back to the times of the last century, and seem passing strange to the citizens of London, Manchester, or Dublin, who first make their acquaintance in districts where obsolete ideas and cries still retain a power quite forgotten in the vast tide of life and thought which sways the great cities. And yet these rural backwaters, as we may call them, retain their influence, and show strong evidence of life even in the great cities; and so it is that even in London and Edinburgh and Glasgow and Dublin congregations continue to exist in their remoter districts and back streets where the prejudices and ideas of the country find full sway and exercise. The Presbyterianism of the Highlands and the Orangeism of Ulster will be sought in vain in fashionable churches, but in smaller assemblies they will be found exercising a sway and developing a life which will often astonish a superficial observer.

So it was doubtless in Tarsus. The Hebrews of6 Galilee would delight to separate themselves. They would look down upon the Hellenism of their fellow-countrymen as a sad falling away from ancient orthodoxy, but their declension would only add a keener zest to the zeal with which the descendants of the Hebrews of Gischala, even in the third and fourth generations, as it may have been, would retain the ancient customs and language of their Galilean forefathers.22   The tradition mentioned by St. Jerome is not the only one which deals with the early life of St. Paul. Another very learned writer of the same, or perhaps we should rather say of a still earlier, period was St. Epiphanius, the historian of Heresies and bishop of Constantia, or Salamis, in Cyprus. He wrote a great work describing the various heresies which had sprung up in the Church, containing much valuable information which his research and early date enabled him to incorporate in his pages. He describes, amongst others, the Ebionites, telling us of their hostility to St. Paul and of the charges they brought against him. The Ebionites denied that he was a Jew at all. The words of Epiphanius are "They say that he was a Greek, and sprung from the Gentiles, and then afterwards became a proselyte," in opposition to which he quotes the Apostle's own words in Phil. iii. 5 and in 2 Cor. xi. 22. Epiphanius then proceeds to explain how St. Paul might have been born in Tarsus and yet have been a Jew by nation, because that, under Antiochus Epiphanes and at other times, vast numbers of the Jews had been dispersed as captives among the Gentiles. See Epiphanius, in Corpus Hæreseologicum, Ed. Oehler, vol. ii., p. 283. Berlin, 1859. This is a good instance how the Jewish hostility, which pursued St. Paul through life, had not quite died out three centuries later. Epiphanius was born about A.D. 310. He wrote his work on Early Heresies about A.D. 375, calling it Panarion, or, as he himself explains in his introductory epistle, the Medicine Chest, full of remedies against the bite of the Old Serpent. Epiphanius must have had a great store of early literature at his command which has now completely perished. See a long and critical account of him and his writings, written by Dr. R. A. Lipsius, in the Dict. Christ. Biog., vol. ii.

St. Paul and his parents might seem to an outsider mere Hellenists, but their Galilean origin and training enabled them to retain the intenser Judaism which7 qualified the Apostle to describe himself as not only of the stock of Israel, but as a Hebrew of the Hebrews.

St. Paul's more immediate family connexions have also some light thrown upon them in the New Testament. We learn, for instance, from Acts xxiii. 16, that he had a married sister, who probably lived at Jerusalem, and may have been even a convert to Christianity; for we are told that her son, having heard of the Jewish plot to murder the Apostle, at once reported it to St. Paul himself, who thereupon put his nephew into communication with the chief captain in whose custody he lay. While again, in Romans xvi. 7, 11, he sends salutations to Andronicus, Junias, and Herodion, his kinsmen, who were residents in Rome; and in verse 21 of the same chapter joins Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, his kinsmen, with himself in the Christian wishes for the welfare of the Roman Church, with which he closes the Epistle. It is said, indeed, that this may mean simply that these men were Jews, and that St. Paul regarded all Jews as his kinsmen. But this notion is excluded by the form of the twenty-first verse, where he first sends greetings from Timothy, whom St. Paul dearly loved, and who was a circumcised Jew, not a proselyte merely, but a true Jew, on his mother's side, at least; and then the Apostle proceeds to name the persons whom he designates his kinsmen. St. Paul evidently belonged to a family of some position in the Jewish world, whose ramifications were dispersed into very distant quarters of the empire. Every scrap of information which we can gain concerning the early life and associations of such a man is very precious; we may therefore point out that we can even get a glimpse of the friends and acquaintances of his earliest days. Barnabas the Levite8 was of Cyprus, an island only seventy miles distant from Tarsus. In all probability Barnabas may have resorted to the Jewish schools of Tarsus, or may have had some other connexions with the Jewish colony of that city. Some such early friendship may have been the link which bound Paul to Barnabas and enabled the latter to stand sponsor for the newly converted Saul when the Jerusalem Church was yet naturally suspicious of him. "And when he was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles" (Acts ix. 26, 27). This ancient friendship enabled Barnabas to pursue the Apostle with those offices of consolation which his nascent faith demanded. He knew Saul's boyhood haunts, and therefore it is we read in Acts xi. 25 that "Barnabas went forth to Tarsus to seek for Saul" when a multitude of the Gentiles began to pour into the Church of Antioch. Barnabas knew his old friend's vigorous, enthusiastic character, his genius, his power of adaptation, and therefore he brought him back to Antioch, where for a whole year they were joined in one holy brotherhood of devout and successful labour for their Master. The friendships and love of boyhood and of youth received a new consecration and were impressed with a loftier ideal from the example of Saul and of Barnabas.

Then again there are other friends of his youth to whom he refers. Timothy's family lived at Lystra, and Lystra was directly connected with Tarsus by a great road which ran straight from Tarsus to Ephesus, offering means for that frequent communication in which the Jews ever delighted. St. Paul's earliest memories carried him back to the devout atmosphere9 of the pious Jewish family at Lystra, which he had long known, where Lois the grandmother and Eunice the mother had laid the foundations of that spiritual life which under St. Paul's own later teaching flourished so wondrously in the life of Timothy.33   See 2 Tim. i. 5, and iii. 14, 15. It is evident that St. Paul's language implies an acquaintance with Timothy's family of very long standing. Let us pass on, however, to a period of later development. St. Paul's earliest teaching at first was doubtless that of the home. As with Timothy so with the Apostle; his earliest religious teacher was doubtless his mother, who from his infancy imbued him with the great rudimentary truths which lie at the basis of both the Jewish and the Christian faith. His father too took his share. He was a Pharisee, and would be anxious to fulfil every jot and tittle of the law and every minute rule which the Jewish doctors had deduced by an attention and a subtlety concentrated for ages upon the text of the Old Testament. And one great doctor had laid down, "When a boy begins to speak, his father ought to talk with him in the sacred language, and to teach him the law"; a rule which would exactly fall in with his father's natural inclination.44   Schœttgen's Hor. Hebr., vol. i., p. 89; Lewin's St. Paul, vol. i., p. 7. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews, though dwelling among Hellenists. He prided himself on speaking the Hebrew language alone, and he therefore would take the greatest pains that the future Apostle's earliest teachings should be in that same sacred tongue, giving him from boyhood that command over Hebrew and its dialects which he afterwards turned to the best of uses.

At five years old Jewish children of parents like10 St. Paul's advanced to the direct study of the law under the guidance of some doctor, whose school they daily attended, as another rabbi had expressly enacted, "At five years old a boy should apply himself to the study of Holy Scripture." Between five and thirteen Saul was certainly educated at Tarsus, during which period his whole attention was concentrated upon sacred learning and upon mechanical or industrial training. It was at this period of his life that St. Paul must have learned the trade of tentmaking, which during the last thirty years of his life stood him in such good stead, rendering him independent of all external aid so far as his bodily wants were concerned. A question has often been raised as to the social position of St. Paul's family; and people, bringing their Western ideas with them, have thought that the manual trade which he was taught betokened their humble rank. But this is quite a mistake. St. Paul's family must have occupied at least a fairly comfortable position, when they were able to send a member of their house to Jerusalem to be taught in the most celebrated rabbinical school of the time. But it was the law of that school—and a very useful law it was too—that every Jew, and especially every teacher, should possess a trade by which he might be supported did necessity call for it. It was a common proverb among the Jews at that time that "He who taught not his son a trade taught him to be a thief." "It is incumbent on the father to circumcise his son, to redeem him, to teach him the law, and to teach him some occupation, for, as Rabbi Judah saith, whosoever teacheth not his son to do some work is as if he taught him robbery." "Rabbin Gamaliel saith, He that hath a trade in his hand, to what is he like? He is like to a vineyard that is11 fenced." Such was the authoritative teaching of the schools, and Jewish practice was in accordance therewith. Some of the most celebrated rabbis of that time were masters of a mechanical art or trade. The Vice-president of the Sanhedrin was a merchant for four years, and then devoted himself to the study of the law. One rabbi was a shoemaker; Rabbi Juda, the great Cabbalist, was a tailor; Rabbi Jose was brought up as a tanner; another rabbi as a baker, and yet another as a carpenter.55   Josephus, Antiqq., XVIII., ix., 1, says of certain Jews of Babylon, "Now there were two men, Asineus and Anileus, brethren to one another. They were destitute of a father, and their mother put them to learn the art of weaving curtains, it not being esteemed a disgrace among them for men to be weavers of cloth." Then we find in the New Testament Simon of Joppa was a tanner, Aquila a tentmaker, the apostles fishermen, and our Lord a carpenter. See a long note on this subject by Mr. Lewin in his Life of St. Paul, vol. i., p. 8. Massutius, a Jesuit commentator on St. Paul's life, lib. i., cap. iii., notices that Charlemagne, according to his biographer Eginhard, would have his sons and daughters taught some mechanical trade. And so as a preparation for the office and life work to which his father had destined him, St. Paul during his earlier years was taught one of the common trades of Tarsus, which consisted in making tents either out of the hair or the skin of the Angora goats which browsed over the hills of central Asia Minor. It was a trade that was common among Jews. Aquila and his wife Priscilla were tentmakers, and therefore St. Paul united himself to them and wrought at his trade in their company at Corinth (Acts xviii. 3). It has often been asserted that at this period of his life St. Paul must have studied Greek philosophy and literature, and men have pointed to his quotations from the Greek poets Aratus, Epimenides, and Menander to prove the attention12 which the Apostle must have bestowed upon them.66   See Acts xvii. 28; Titus i. 12; 1 Cor. xv. 33. Tarsus was certainly one of the great universities of that age, ranking in the first place along with Athens and Alexandria. So great was its fame that the Roman emperors even were wont to go to Tarsus to look for tutors to instruct their sons. But Tarsus was at the very same time one of the most morally degraded spots within the bounds of the Roman world, and it is not at all likely that a strict Hebrew, a stern Pharisee, would have allowed his son to encounter the moral taint involved in freely mixing with such a degraded people and in the free study of a literature permeated through and through with sensuality and idolatry. St. Paul doubtless at this early period of his life gained that colloquial knowledge of Greek which was every day becoming more and more necessary for the ordinary purposes of secular life all over the Roman Empire, even in the most backward parts of Palestine.77   See an article on "Greek the Language of Galilee in the time of Christ," by the Rev. Dr. Abbott, Professor of Hebrew in the University of Dublin, in his Essays chiefly on the Original Texts of the Old and New Testaments. London, 1891. But it is not likely that his parents would have sanctioned his attendance at the lectures on philosophy and poetry delivered at the University of Tarsus, where he would have been initiated into all the abominations of paganism in a style most attractive to human nature.

At thirteen years of age, or thereabouts, young Saul, having now learned all the sacred knowledge which the local rabbis could teach, went up to Jerusalem just as our Lord did, to assume the full obligations of a Jew and to pursue his higher studies at the13 great Rabbinical University of Jerusalem. To put it in modern language, Saul went up to Jerusalem to be confirmed and admitted to the full privileges and complete obligations of the Levitical Law, and he also went up to enter college. St. Paul himself describes the period of life on which he now entered as that in which he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. We have already touched in a prior volume upon the subject of Gamaliel's history and his relation to Christianity, but here it is necessary to say something of him as a teacher, in which capacity he laid the foundations of modes of thought and reasoning, the influence of which moulded St. Paul's whole soul and can be traced all through St. Paul's Epistles.

Gamaliel is an undoubtedly historical personage. The introduction of him in the Acts of the Apostles is simply another instance of that marvellous historical accuracy which every fresh investigation and discovery show to be a distinguishing feature of this book. The Jewish Talmud was not committed to writing for more than four centuries after Gamaliel's time,88   Basnage, in his History of the Jews, translated by Thomas Taylor, Book III., ch. vi., p. 168 (London, 1708), states, "It is agreed by the generality of Jewish and Christian doctors that the Talmud was completed in the 505th year of the Christian Æra." Cf. Serarius, De Rabbinis, Lib. I., c. ix., p. 251; Bartolocci, Bibl. Rabbin., t. i., p. 488, t. iii., p. 359; Morinus, Exerc. Bibl., Lib. II., ex. 6, c. ii. and iii., p. 294. Schaff's Encyclopædia of Historical Theology, vol. iii., pp. 2292-96, has a good article on the Talmud, giving a long list of authorities to which reference may be made by any one interested in this subject. and yet it presents Gamaliel to us in exactly the same light as the inspired record does, telling us that "with the death of Gamaliel I. the reverence for the Divine law ceased, and the observance of purity and abstinence departed." Gamaliel came of a family distinguished in Jewish14 history both before and after his own time. He was of the royal House of David, and possessed in this way great historical claims upon the respect of the nation. His grandfather Hillel and his father Simeon were celebrated teachers and expounders of the law. His grandfather had founded indeed one of the leading schools of interpretation then favoured by the rabbis. His father Simeon is said by some to have been the aged man who took up the infant Christ in his arms and blessed God for His revealed salvation in the words of the Nunc Dimittis; while, as for Gamaliel himself, his teaching was marked by wisdom, prudence, liberality, and spiritual depth so far as such qualities could exist in a professor of rabbinical learning. Gamaliel was a friend and contemporary of Philo, and this fact alone must have imported an element of liberality into his teaching. Philo was a widely read scholar who strove to unite the philosophy of Greece to the religion of Palestine, and Philo's ideas must have permeated more or less into some at least of the schools of Jerusalem, so that, though St. Paul may not have come in contact with Greek literature in Tarsus, he may very probably have learned much about it in a Judaised, purified, spiritualised shape in Jerusalem. But the influence exercised on St. Paul by Gamaliel and through him by Philo, or men of his school, can be traced in other respects.99   Philo is the subject of a very long and learned article by Dr. Edersheim in Smith's Dict. Christ. Biog., vol. iv., with which may be compared a shorter article in Schaff's Encyclopædia of Hist. Theol., vol. ii.

The teaching of Gamaliel was as spiritual, I have said, as rabbinical teaching could have been; but this is not saying very much from the Christian point of15 view. The schools at Jerusalem in the time of Gamaliel were wholly engaged in studies of the most wearisome, narrow, petty, technical kind. Dr. Farrar has illustrated this subject with a great wealth of learning and examples in the fourth chapter of his Life of St. Paul. The Talmud alone shows this, throwing a fearful light upon the denunciations of our Lord as regards the Pharisees, for it devotes a whole treatise to washings of the hands, and another to the proper method of killing fowls. The Pharisaic section of the Jews held, indeed, that there were two hundred and forty-eight commandments and three hundred and sixty-five prohibitions involved in the Jewish Law, all of them equally binding, and all of them so searching that if only one solitary Jew could be found who for one day kept them all and transgressed in no one direction, then the captivity of God's people would cease and the Messiah would appear.1010   These facts throw much light upon our Lord's words in Matt. xv. 1-9 and xxii. 34-40.

I am obliged to pass over this point somewhat rapidly, and yet it is a most important one if we desire to know what kind of training the Apostle received; for, no matter how God's grace may descend and the Divine Spirit may change the main directions of a man's life, he never quite recovers himself from the effects of his early teaching. Dr. Farrar has bestowed much time and labour on this point. The following brief extract from his eloquent words will give a vivid idea of the endless puerilities, the infinite questions of pettiest, most minute, and most subtle bearing with which the time of St. Paul and his fellow-students must have been taken up, and which must have made him bitterly feel16 in the depths of his inmost being that, though the law may have been originally intended as a source of life, it had been certainly changed as regards his own particular case, and had become unto him an occasion of death.

"Moreover, was there not mingled with all this nominal adoration of the Law a deeply seated hypocrisy, so deep that it was in a great measure unconscious? Even before the days of Christ the rabbis had learnt the art of straining out gnats and swallowing camels. They had long learnt to nullify what they professed to defend. The ingenuity of Hillel was quite capable of getting rid of any Mosaic regulation which had been found practically burdensome. Pharisees and Sadducees alike had managed to set aside in their own favour, by the devices of the mixtures, all that was disagreeable to themselves in the Sabbath scrupulosity.1111   The rabbinical device of mixtures is fully explained in Buxtorf's Lexicon, col. 1657, Ed. Basil (1639), or in Kitto's Biblical Encyclopædia, under the article "Sabbath." The Talmud had a special treatise called Tractatus Mixtorum, which taught how, for instance, dwellings might be mixed or mingled so as to avoid technical breaches of the Sabbatical law. Planks were laid across intervening residences, so that houses at a very great distance might be brought into touch and connexion, and thus regarded as one common dwelling for a number of people who wished for a common feast on the Sabbath. This was called Mixtio conclavium. It was simply one of those wretched devices to which casuistry always leads; something like the rules for banquets on fast days, which we find in Lacroix, Manners of the Middle Ages, p. 170, where a most sumptuous Episcopal banquet is described. It was given on a fast day, therefore no flesh is included; but its place was amply supplied by rare fish and other dainties: see G. T. Stokes, Ireland and Anglo-Norman Church, p. 143. The fundamental institution of the Sabbatic year had been stultified by the mere legal fiction of the Prosbol.1212   Prosbol is simply a transliteration into Hebrew of two Greek words, πρὸς βουλήν. The Jewish Law enacted a cancelling of all debts in the Sabbatic year on the part of Jews towards their brethren. This enactment was found to hinder commerce about the time of Hillel—i.e., 75 years B.C. The rich would not lend to the poor on account of the Sabbatical year. So the doctors devised the Prosbol, which was a declaration to the effect that the Sabbatical year was not to affect the debt. There was a legal fiction invented which made void the law. The creditor said to the debtor, "In accordance with the Sabbatical year I remit thee the debt," and then the debtor replied, "Nevertheless I wish to pay it," and then the creditor was free from the obligation of Deut. xv. Teachers who were on the high road to a casuistry which could construct17 rules out of every superfluous particle, had found it easy to win credit for ingenuity by elaborating prescriptions to which Moses would have listened in mute astonishment. If there be one thing more definitely laid down in the Law than another, it is the uncleanness of creeping things; yet the Talmud assures us that 'no one is appointed a member of the Sanhedrin who does not possess sufficient ingenuity to prove from the written Law that a creeping thing is ceremonially clean'; and that there was an unimpeachable disciple at Jabne who could adduce one hundred and fifty arguments in favour of the ceremonial cleanness of creeping things. Sophistry like this was at work even in the days when the young student of Tarsus sat at the feet of Gamaliel; and can we imagine any period of his life when he would not have been wearied by a system at once so meaningless, so stringent, and so insincere?"

These words are true, thoroughly true, in their extremest sense. Casuistry is at all times a dangerous weapon with which to play, a dangerous science upon which to concentrate one's attention. The mind is so pleased with the fascination of the precipice that one is perpetually tempted to see how near an approach18 can be made without a catastrophe, and then the catastrophe happens when it is least expected. But when the casuist's attention is concentrated upon one volume like the law of Moses, interpreted in the thousand methods and combinations open to the luxuriant imagination of the East, then indeed the danger is infinitely increased, and we cease to wonder at the vivid, burning, scorching denunciations of the Lord as He proclaimed the sin of those who enacted that "Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor." St. Paul's whole time must have been taken up in the school of Gamaliel with an endless study of such casuistical trifles; and yet that period of his life left marks which we can clearly trace throughout his writings. The method, for instance, in which St. Paul quotes the Old Testament is thoroughly rabbinical. It was derived from the rules prevalent in the Jewish schools, and therefore, though it may seem to us at times forced and unnatural, must have appeared to St. Paul and to the men of his time absolutely conclusive. When reading the Scriptures we Westerns forget the great difference between Orientals and the nations of Western Europe. Aristotle and his logic and his logical methods, with major and minor premises and conclusions following therefrom, absolutely dominate our thoughts. The Easterns knew nothing of Aristotle, and his methods availed nothing to their minds. They argued in quite a different style, and used a logic which he would have simply scorned. Analogy, allegory, illustration, form the staple elements of Eastern logic, and in their use St. Paul was elaborately trained in Gamaliel's classes, and of their use his writings furnish abundant examples; the most notable of which will be found in19 his allegorical interpretation of the events of the wilderness journey of Israel in 1 Corinthians x. 1-4, where the pillar of cloud, and the passage of the Red Sea, and the manna, and the smitten rock become the emblems and types of the Christian Sacraments; and again, in St. Paul's mystical explanation of Galatians iv. 21-31, where Hagar and Sarah are represented as typical of the two covenants, the old covenant leading to spiritual bondage and the new introducing to gospel freedom.1313   The parallel between Hagar and Sarah is drawn out at full length after the rabbinical method in Basnage's History of the Jews (Taylor's translation), book iii., ch. 22; in Lightfoot's Galatians, pp. 178, 179, 189-99, and Farrar's St. Paul, ch. iii. Philo in his writings uses the very same illustration. Perhaps it may be well to add the concluding words of Bishop Lightfoot when discussing on p. 197 of his Galatians, the similar use made by St. Paul and by Philo of this illustration of Hagar: "At the same time we need not fear to allow that St. Paul's method of teaching here is coloured by his early education in the rabbinical schools. It were as unreasonable to stake the Apostle's inspiration on the turn of a metaphor or the character of an illustration or the form of an argument, as on purity of diction. No one now thinks of maintaining that the language of the inspired writers reaches the classical standard of correctness and elegance, though at one time it was held almost a heresy to deny this. 'A treasure contained in earthen vessels,' 'strength made perfect in weakness,' 'rudeness in speech, yet not in knowledge,' such is the far nobler conception of inspired teaching, which we may gather from the Apostle's own language. And this language we should do well to bear in mind. But, on the other hand it were mere dogmatism to set up the intellectual standard of our own age or country as an infallible rule. The power of allegory has been differently felt in different ages, as it is differently felt at any one time by diverse nations. Analogy, allegory, metaphor—by what boundaries are these separated the one from the other? What is true or false, correct or incorrect, as an analogy or an allegory? What argumentative force must be assigned to either? We should at least be prepared with an answer to these questions before we venture to sit in judgment on any individual case."

These, indeed, are the most notable examples of St. Paul's method of exegesis derived from the school of20 Gamaliel, but there are numberless others scattered all through his writings. If we view them through Western spectacles, we shall be disappointed and miss their force; but if we view them sympathetically, if we remember that the Jews quoted and studied the Old Testament to find illustrations of their own ideas rather than proofs in our sense of the word, studied them as an enthusiastic Shakespeare or Tennyson or Wordsworth student pores over his favourite author to find parallels which others, who are less bewitched, find very slight and very dubious indeed,1414   The latest instance of this method which I have noticed is Illustrations of Tennyson, by J. C. Collins, reviewed by the Dean of Armagh in the January number of the Bookman, where a number of such parallelisms are quoted which seem to me rather dubious. then we shall come to see how it is that St. Paul quotes an illustration of his doctrine of justification by faith from Habakkuk ii. 4—"The soul of the proud man is not upright, but the just man shall live by his steadfastness"; a passage which originally applied to the Chaldeans and the Jews, predicting that the former should enjoy no stable prosperity, but that the Jews, ideally represented as the just or upright man, should live securely because of their fidelity;1515   Bishop Lightfoot, on Galatians iii. 11, says of this verse, "In its original context the passage has reference to the temporal calamities inflicted by the Chaldean invasion. Here a spiritual meaning and general application are given to words referring primarily to special external incidents." See also Farrar on St. Paul's method of scriptural quotation, in his Life of St. Paul, ch. iii. and can find an allusion to the resurrection of Christ in "the sure mercies of David," which God had promised to give His people in the third verse of the fifty-fifth of Isaiah.1616   See St. Paul's address to the Jews of the Pisidian Antioch in Acts xiii. 34. Other specimens of the same rabbinical method used by St. Paul will be found in Rom. iii., iv., and ix. 33; 1 Cor. ix. Eph. iv. 8.

21

Rabbinical learning, Hebrew discipline, Greek experience and life, these conspired together with natural impulse and character to frame and form and mould a man who must make his mark upon the world at large in whatever direction he chooses for his walk in life. It will now be our duty to show what were the earliest results of this very varied education.1717   The great leaders in the divine struggle for righteousness, in every great onward movement on behalf of truth have always been men of this varied training. Moses, David, Elijah, Ezra, Saul of Tarsus, were great leaders of thought and action and they were all men whose education had been developed in very various schools. They were not men of books merely, nor men of action alone. They gained the flexibility of mind, the genuine liberality of thought which led them out of the old rucks by experiences gained from very opposite directions. The mere man of books may be very narrow; the practical man, whose knowledge is limited to every day affairs and whose horizon is bounded by to-morrow, is often an unthinking bigot. A man trained like Moses, or David, or Saul is the true leader of men for his mind is trained to receive truths from every quarter.


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