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made its most heroic efforts to eviscerate these twin events of their supernatural elements. The utmost ingenuity of some of the strongest brains of England and Germany has wrought time and again to devise some new way to explain the faith of the disciples and of the early Church in the literal and absolute truthfulness of the history which tells of the appearances of the risen Lord on the third day and afterward to his apostles, and which records the account of the change wrought in an hour upon the persecuting Saul of Damascus—to explain that faith without allowing the truth of the story. It is a fact undeniable that all these attempts have proved ludicrous—we might, perhaps, better say tragic—failures. Each naturalistic theory has had its day and then has "ceased to be,” while the world has come more and more unquestionably to accept the clear, significant fact that Saul, when“ breathing out threatenings and slaughter" against the Church, and engaged in a murderous course of persecution, was transformed almost instantly into a lover of Christ, a preacher of the “ faith which he once destroyed,” and then into the greatest missionary, theologian, and saint the world ever saw-all by a sight of the risen Christ! This fact continues to pivot the whole New Testament record. It is no wonder that it has been the chief object of attack by those who would overthrow the Gospel; and it is no wonder that these assailants, in view of the straits to which they have been driven to account for the history upon a naturalistic basis, have been made the laughingstock even of one another.
The evidential value of St. Paul's life, in relation to the Gospel records, however, is not confined to his conversion. After giving to the records the most patient examination and extraordinary scrutiny, such as no other historic documents ever underwent, the whole scholarly world, skeptical, rationalistic, conservative, has determined that the chief epistles which bear the name of Paul-First and Second Thessalonians, Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Philippians—were without any doubt written by him, at or about the time generally assigned to them. The work of the higher criticism in this respect has been constructive, and has finally placed these letters of Paul beyond the reach of doubt or question. All possible direct, indirect, and subsidiary scrutiny has been brought to bear upon them; secular history has been ransacked; the topography of Asia Minor has been explored; the ruins of ancient cities have been exhumed ; old manuscripts have been discovered and studied; the text of the letters themselves has been revised ; objections, ancient, mediæval, and modern, have been weighed—and at last the scholars of the world, with the exception of a few critics, insignificant in number and influence, have rendered their deliberate and final verdict: “ These epistles were written by Paul, and we have them to-day substantially as they left his hand inside of twenty or thirty years after the crucifixion of Jesus.” The significance of this verdict ought to be apparent to every student of the word. These epistles confirm and supplement the Gospel history, and were in the possession of the churches before the earliest of the four evangels was written, thus demonstrating that throughout the whole Christian world, from Jerusalem to Rome, in city and hamlet, the chief facts concerning the life, the miracles, the teachings, the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lordfacts which are rehearsed, commented upon, and interpreted by Paul in his epistles—were the staple of apostolic preaching, were believed without any question by the Church, and were not apparently denied by any human being. When we go back one step further to the earlier years of Paul's preaching, which began with his conversion and which preceded his epistles, we come to a time only ten or a dozen years from the death of our Lord, when these facts are seen to be the universally accepted and unquestionably believed data on which the faith, the experience, and the very lives of the early Christians were built. There is no space left for myths, for legendary accretions, for visionary hypotheses, for credulous superstitions ; these require long years in which to grow. Paul's conversion and testimony take us back almost to the point where we can touch hands with Thomas and cry out in the presence of our risen Redeemer, “My Lord and my God!”
(3) Finally, it is worth while to bear in mind the work of St. Paul as the founder of the whole missionary movement. He was the only one of the early Church, except the martyr Stephen, who seems to have fully apprehended the truth that the Gospel was intended for and adapted to the needs of the world. He alone, in his age, had a brain and soul large enough to take in the sins and sorrows of the human race. He announced himself " a debtor to all men;" he took as his mission field the Gentile world. His example and influence in this regard are more thoroughly alive to-day than they ever were before. He is now, as he has ever been, the exemplar of missionary heroism, enterprise, and faith. To him and to his example all missionaries have turned, in order to inflame their ardor, kindle their passion for soul-saving, quicken their faith, and make effective their methods. He has been the pattern and guide of every forlorn-hope standard-bearer who has lighted the beacon fires of the Gospel upon heathen shores. Early explorers of our own continental wilderness and prairie; heroic messengers
who in other days carried the Gospel to our pagan ancestors; and the courageous souls who from time to time have made the nineteenth century the matchless missionary era of the ages—Carey, and Livingstone, and Butler, and their coworkers-have all caught their inspiration from the life, the character, and the labors of this apostolic leader. And, in due time, when the far-away tribes who are yet in savagery, and the great pagan nations that are still unchristianized, and the waste places of the earth that yet lie in darkness and the shadow of death, shall be renewed and evangelized, and when the glad cry shall go forth through interstellar spaces to the farthest recesses of the universe, “ The kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ”-then it will be seen, as we cannot now fully discern it, that one supreme man, the greatest of his kind, was the hero-pioneer, who, at the bidding of the King, first laid the plans and organized the forces, and exemplified the triumphs of the finally victorious campaign-St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles !
Jesse Rowman Young
ART. V.-ABERRANT MORALIZERS.
It is a frequent experience to find good men on opposite sides of what are called moral questions. And it is an experience scarcely less frequent to find these men impugning each other's motives and regarding each other as morally all astray. It is a great and rarely vouchsafed mercy in such cases if the vials of wrath are not opened and floods of denunciation and recrimination poured forth. Such exbibitions are not edi. fying. Both parties take a high moral stand, and commonly succeed in bringing morality itself into reproach. For the sake both of mental clearness and of moral progress it seems well to point out the root of the difficulty in an ignorance of moral science and in certain easy oversights thence arising.
Any concrete science involves both facts and principles. We must study facts in the light of principles, and we must also study principles in the light of facts. Without the former we are lost in a rabble of details; without the latter we make no connection with reality and simply hang in the air. Oversight of this fact is one root of the evil in question. Pure ethics is a formal and abstract science. It deals with the essential principles of the moral nature and the fundamental ideas and implications of a moral system. The ideas of duty, obligation, responsibility, merit, and demerit are analyzed, and their conditions and implications are pointed out. This work is useful, for only thus do we get an outline of essential moral relations and principles. Without it we remain in the amorphous morality of instinct and convention. But this is only half of the work. We abstract from the concrete to get these general points of view; but we must forthwith return to the concrete again to discover the form which our abstractions take on in actuality. Abstract moral ideas may be used in formulating life, but life cannot be deduced from the ideas. The order of human life cannot be deduced from abstract benevolence or justice. The relations of the family, of citizenship, of friendship admit of no deduction, and indeed they can hardly be classified in any scheme of abstract morality without losing some of their warmth and lifelikeness. The modification of the abstract and the concrete is mutual. If we need the abstract for the formulation and criticism of the concrete, we equally need the concrete to give life and substance to the abstract.
But the professional moralizer is often ignorant of this, and confines himself to moral abstractions without duly considering the concrete conditions of existence. He is devoted to altruism, benevolence, justice, equality, in complete forgetfulness of the general forms of human life which condition all principles and the general facts of life of which all theory must take account. It is well-known that these abstractions can be handled in a way that is destructive of the human order. It is easy to find in the family or the nation an immoral limitation of the pare altruism demanded by universal love. Plato is an excellent illustration. He was so devoted to the true, the beautiful, and the good that he proposed as an ideal for 80ciety the abolition of the family and the organization of sexual promiscuity and systematic infanticide. It is also easy to conclude that the world-order as a whole is unjust; for what could be more unjust than the ineradicable inequalities of men and a world of heredity and social solidarity? The worshiper of abstractions is rarely full of practical wisdom. The profes sional philanthropist is almost a byword; for, though a lover of man, he is seldom a lover of men. A distinguished lover of mankind of the generation just past is said to have replied to an application for help for a needy person, “I have no interest in individuals, I am concerned solely for the race.” Utopian dreams and practical inhumanity are a frequent result of an exclusive devotion to moral abstractions, and we can escape them only as we require the theorist to consider the concrete condition as well as the abstract theory.
Again, this abstract procedure often leads to an illusive simplicity and finality which cover up the complexity of the real facts. Many things are clear and simple in the abstract which are complex and difficult in the concrete. Thus, the “moral agent” of pure ethics is easily constructed and construed. But the moral agent of real life-in whom power, faculty, and insight have to be slowly developed and in whom