St Paul and the Three

II.

ST PAUL AND THE THREE.

Three f I ^HREE and three only of the personal disciples and imme

alone *8 diate followers of our Lord hold any prominent place in

bes^es fae Apostolic records—James, Peter, and John; the first the

promi- Lord's brother, the two latter the foremost members of the

Twelve. Apart from an incidental reference to the death of

James the son of Zebedee, which is dismissed in a single

sentence, the rest of the Twelve are mentioned by name for the

last time on the day of the Lord's Ascension. Thenceforward

they disappear wholly from the canonical writings.

And this silence also extends to the traditions of succeeding

ages. We read indeed of St Thomas in India, of St Andrew in

Scythia; but such scanty notices, even if we accept them as

trustworthy, show only the more plainly how little the Church

could tell of her earliest teachers. Doubtless they laboured

zealously and effectively in the spread of the Gospel; but, so

far as we know, they have left no impress of their individual

mind and character on the Church at large. Occupying the

foreground, and indeed covering the whole canvas of early

ecclesiastical history, appear four figure's alone, St Paul and the

three Apostles of the Circumcision.

The four Once and, it would appear, not more than once, these four

getLr at great teachers met together face to face. It was the one great

a P*** crisis in the history of the Church, on the issue of which was crisis. »'

staked her future progress and triumph. Was she to open her

doors wide and receive all comers, to declare her legitimate

boundaries coextensive with the limits of the human race? Or

was she to remain for ever narrow and sectarian, a national

institution at best, but most probably a suspected minority even

in her own nation?

Not less important, so far as we can see, was the question at

issue, when Paul and Barnabas arrived at Jerusalem to confer

with the Apostles of the Circumcision on the subject of the

Mosaic ritual which then distracted the youthful Church. It

must therefore be an intensely interesting study to watch the

attitude of the four great leaders of the Church at this crisis,

merely as a historical lesson. But the importance of the subject

does not rest here. Questions of much wider interest are Questions

suggested suggested by the accounts of this conference: What degree of by this

coincidence or antagonism between Jewish and Gentile converts m
may be discerned in the Church? What were the relations
existing between St Paul and the Apostles of the Circumcision?
How far do the later sects of Ebionites on the one hand and
Marcionites on the other, as they appear in direct antagonism
in the second century, represent opposing principles cherished
side by side within the bosom of the Church and sheltering
themselves under the names, or (as some have ventured to say)
sanctioned by the authority, of the leading Apostles? What in
fact is the secret history—if there be any secret history—of the
origin of Catholic Christianity?

On this battle-field the most important of recent theological Importcontroversies has been waged: and it is felt by both sides that the the Epistle to the Galatians is the true key to the position. In Ep^e" the first place, it is one of the very few documents of the Apostolic ages, whose genuineness has not been seriously challenged by the opponents of revelation. Moreover, as the immediate utterance of one who himself took the chief part in the incidents recorded, it cannot be discredited as having passed through a coloured medium or gathered accretions by lapse of time. And lastly, the very form in which the informa

tion is conveyed—by partial and broken allusions rather than

by direct and continuous statement—raises it beyond the reach

of suspicion, even where suspicion is most active. Here at

least both combatants can take their stand on common ground.

Nor need the defenders of the Christian faith hesitate to

accept the challenge of their opponents and try the question on

this issue. If it be only interpreted aright, the Epistle to the

Galatians ought to present us with a true, if only a partial,

solution of the problem.

Apology Thus the attempt to decipher the relations between Jewish

essay. aQd Gentile Christianity in the first ages of the Church is

directly suggested by this epistle; and indeed any commentary

would be incomplete which refused to entertain the problem.

This must be my excuse for entering upon a subject, about

which so much has been written and which involves so many

subsidiary questions. It will be impossible within my limits to

discuss all these questions in detail. The objections, for instance,

which have been urged against the genuineness of a large

number of the canonical and other early Christian writings, can

only be met indirectly. Reasonable men will hardly be attracted

towards a theory which can only be built on an area prepared

by this wide clearance of received documents. At all events

there is, I think, no unfairness in stating the case thus; that,

though they are supported by arguments drawn from other

sources, the general starting-point of such objections is the

theory itself. If then a fair and reasonable account can be

given both of the origin and progress of the Church generally,

and of the mutual relations of its more prominent teachers,

based on these documents assumed as authentic, a general

answer will be supplied to all objections of this class.

Proposed I purpose therefore to sketch in outline the progressive

the reia°- history of the relations between the Jewish and Gentile

tionsof converts in the early ages of the Church, as gathered from

and the Apostolic writings, aided by such scanty information as can

Christ- be got together from other sources. This will be a fit and

wn8' indeed a necessary introduction to the subject with which the Epistle to the Galatians is more directly concerned, the positions occupied by St Paul and the three Apostles of the Circumcision respectively.

This history falls into three periods which mark three Three distinct stages in its progress: (1) The Extension of the Church <iivisiong to the Gentiles; (2) The Recognition of Gentile Liberty; (3) £'|j» The Emancipation of the Jewish Churches1.

1. The Extension of the Church to the Gentiles.

It appears from the Apostolic history that the believers in The early the earliest days conformed strictly to Jewish customs in their jerusareligious life, retaining the fixed hours of prayer, attending the" temple worship and sacrifices, observing the sacred festivals. The Church was still confined to one nation and had not yet broken loose from the national rites and usages. But these swathing bands, which were perhaps needed to support its infancy, would only cripple its later growth, and must be thrown off, if it was ever to attain to a healthy maturity. This emancipation then was the great problem which the Apostles had to work out. The Master Himself had left no express instructions. Our Lord's He had charged them, it is true, to preach the Gospel to all g'

nations, but how this injunction was to be carried out, by what changes a national Church must expand into an universal Church, they had not been told. He had indeed asserted the sovereignty of the spirit over the letter; He had enunciated the great principle—as wide in its application as the law itself

1 Important works treating of the re- truth he has abandoned many of his

lr.tion between the Jewish and Gentile former positions, and placed himself in

Christians are Lechler's Apostolisches more direct antagonism to the Tiibin

und Nachapastolisches Zeitalter (2te gen sohool in which he was educated.

anfl. 1857), andRitschl's-Enistefcurcg der The historical speculations of that

Altkatholischen Kirche (2te aufl. 1857). school are developed in Baur's Paulus

I am indebted to both these works, but and Christenthum und die Christliche

to the latter especially, which is very Kirche der drei ersten Jahrhunderte,

able and suggestive. Ritschl should be and in Schwegler's Nachapostoluches

read in his second edition, in which Zeitalter. with a noble sacrifice of consistency to

Jews of the Dispersion.

—that'Man was not made for the sabbath, but the sabbath for man'; He had pointed to the fulfilment of the law in the Gospel. So far He had discredited the law, but He had not deposed or abolished it. It was left to the Apostles themselves under the guidance of the Spirit, moulded by circumstances and moulding them in turn, to work out this great change.

And soon enough the pressure of events began to be felt. The dispersion was the link which connected the Hebrews of Palestine with the outer world. Led captive by the power of Greek philosophy at Athens and Tarsus and Alexandria, attracted by the fascinations of Oriental mysticism in Asia, swept along with the busy whirl of social life in the city and court of the Caesars, these outlying members of the chosen race had inhaled a freer spirit and contracted wider interests than their fellow-countrymen at home. By a series of insensible gradations—proselytes of the covenant—proselytes of the gate1 —superstitious devotees who observed the rites without accepting the faith of the Mosaic dispensation—curious lookers-on who interested themselves in the Jewish ritual as they would in the worship of Isis or of Astarte—the most stubborn zealot of the law was linked to the idolatrous heathen whom he abhorred and who despised him in turn. Thus the train was unconsciously laid, when the spark fell from heaven and fired it.

The very baptism of the Christian Church opened the path for its extension to the Gentile world. On the first day of Pentecost were gathered together Hellenist Jews from all the principal centres of the dispersion. With them were assembled also numbers of incorporated Israelites, proselytes of the covenant. The former of these by contact with Gentile thought and life, the latter by the force of early habits and associations1, would accept and interpret the new revelation in a less rigorous spirit than the Hebrew zealot of Jerusalem. Each successive festival must have been followed by similar though less striking results. The stream of Hellenists and proselytes, constantly ebbing and flowing, must have swept away fragments at least of the new truth, purging it of some local encumbrances which would gather about it in the mother country, and carrying it thus purged to far distant shores.

First day of Pentecost.

1 The distinction between proselytes of the covenant or of righteousness and proselytes of the gate is found in the Gemara: the former were circumcised, and observed the whole law; the latter acknowledged the God of Israel and conformed to Jewish worship in some respects, but stood without the covenant, not having been incorporated by

the initiatory rite. The former alone, it would appear, are called itpwij\vnH in the New Testament; the latter, who hardly form a distinct class, are oi aef3i/ievoi Tbv Otiv, oi eiVe/3eis etc. Ill speaking therefore of 'proselytes of the gate' I am using a convenient anachronism.

Meanwhile at Jerusalem some years passed away before the barrier of Judaism was assailed. The Apostles still observed the Mosaic ritual; they still confined their preaching to Jews by birth, or Jews by adoption, the proselytes of the covenant. At length a breach was made, and the assailants as might be expected were Hellenists. The first step towards the creation Appointof an organised ministry was also the first step towards the Hellenist emancipation of the Church. The Jews of Judaea,'Hebrews of offioersthe Hebrews,' had ever regarded their Hellenist brethren with suspicion and distrust; and this estrangement reproduced itself in the Christian Church. The interests of the Hellenist widows had been neglected in the daily distribution of alms. Hence 'arose a murmuring of the Hellenists against the Hebrews' (Acts vi. 1), which was met by the appointment of seven persons specially charged with providing for the wants of these neglected poor. If the selection was made, as St Luke's language seems to imply, not by the Hellenists themselves but by the Church at large (vi. 2), the concession when granted was carried out in a Liberal spirit. All the names of the seven are Greek, pointing to a Hellenist rather than a Hebrew extraction, and one is especially described as a proselyte, being doubtless chosen to represent a hitherto small but growing section of the community.

By this appointment the Hellenist members obtained a Effects

of this measure. 1 'Trust not a proselyte,' said one (Shimoni) on Ruth i. 11,12, § 601. See

of the rabbis,'till twenty-four genera- also the passages given by Danz in tions; for he holds his leaven.' Yalkut Menschen Test. Illustr. p. 651.

status in the Church; and the effects of this measure soon became visible. Two out of the seven stand prominently forward as the champions of emancipation, Stephen the preacher and martyr of liberty, and Philip the practical worker1.

Stephen is the acknowledged forerunner of the Apostle of the Gentiles. He was the first to 'look steadfastly to the end of that which is abolished,' to sound the death-knell of the Mosaic ordinances and the temple worship, and to claim for the Gospel unfettered liberty and universal rights. 'This man,' said his accusers,' ceaseth not to speak words against the holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us' (vi. 13, 14). The charge was only false as misrepresenting the spirit which animated his teaching. The accused attempts no denial, but pleads justification. To seal this testimony the first blood of the noble army of martyrs is shed.

Stephen's testimony.

1 In Nicolas, the only one of the remaining five whose name reappears in history, liberty is degraded into licence. I see no valid reason for doubting the very early tradition that the Nicolaitans (Apoc. ii. 6,15) derived their name from him. If there was a traitor among the Twelve, there might well be a heresiaroh among the Seven. Nor is it likely that an account so discreditable to one who in the New Testament is named only in connexion with his appointment to an honourable office would have been circulated unless there were some foundation in fact. At the same time the Nicolaitans may have exaggerated and perverted the teaching of Nicolas. Irenicus (i. 26, 3) and Hippolytus (Haer. vii. 36) believe him to have been the founder of the sect; while Clement of Alexandria (Strom, ii. p. 411, iii. p. 522, Potter) attributes to him an ambiguous saying that 'the flesh must be abused (Seiv rapaxpyjai)ai Tj aapKt),' of which these Nicolaitans perverted the mean

ing; and in attempting to clear his reputation relates a highly improbable story, which, if true, would be far from creditable. In another passage of Hippolytus, a fragment preserved in Syriac (Lagarde's Anec. Syr. p. 87, Cowper's Syr. MticeU. p. 55) and taken from the 'Discourse on the Resurrection' addressed to Mammifa, this writer again represents Nicolas as the founder of the sect, speaking of him as 'stirred by a strange spirit' and teaching that the resurrection is past (2 Tim. ii. 18), but not attributing to him any directly immoral doctrines. A common interpretation, which makes Nicolaua a Greek rendering of Balaam, is not very happy; for N«6Xoos does not altogether correspond with any possible derivation of Balaam, least of all with DJJ y?2 'the destroyer of the people.' generally adopted by those who so explain NiK6Xoos. See below, p. 64, with the notes.

The indirect consequences of his martyrdom extend far Indirect beyond the immediate effect of his dying words. A persecution quences. • arose about Stephen.' The disciples of the mother Church 'were scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria' (viii. 1). Some of the refugees even 'travelled as far as Phenice and Cyprus and Antioch' (xi. 19). This dispersion was, as we shall see, the parent of the first Gentile congregation. The Church of the Gentiles, it may be truly said, was baptized in the blood of Stephen.

The doctrine, which Stephen preached and for which he Philip died, was carried into practice by Philip. The sacred narrative mentions two incidents in his career, each marking an onward stride in the free development of the Church. It is therefore not without significance that years afterwards we find him styled 'the Evangelist' (xxi. 8), as if he had earned this honourable title by some signal service rendered to the Gospel.

1. The Samaritan occupied the border land between the (l) The Jew and the Gentile. Theologically, as geographically, he was the tans^" connecting link between the one and the other. Half Hebrew by race, half Israelite in his acceptance of a portion of the sacred canon, he held an anomalous position, shunning and shunned by the Jew, yet clinging to the same promises and looking forward to the same hopes. With a bold venture of faith Philip offers the Gospel to this mongrel people. His overtures are welcomed with joy, and 'Samaria receives the word of God.' The sacred historian relates moreover, that his labours were sanctioned by the presence of the chief Apostles Peter and John, and confirmed by an outpouring of the Holy Spirit (viii. 14—17). 'He who eats the bread of a Samaritan,' said the Jewish doctor, 'is as one who eats swine's flesh1.' 'No Samaritan shall ever be made a proselyte. They have no share in the resurrection of the dead2.' In opening her treasures to

1 Mi-shnah Shebiith viii. 10. EzraandZerubbabelthesonof Shealtiel

3 Pirke Rabbi Elieser 38. The pas- and Jehoshua the son of Jehozadak?

sage so well illustrates the statement in (They went) and they gathered together

the text, that I give it in full: 'What did all the congregation into the temple of this hated race, the Church had surmounted the first barrier of

prejudice behind which the exclusiveness of the nation had

entrenched itself. To be a Samaritan was to have a devil, in

the eyes of a rigid Jew (John viii. 48, comp. iv. 9).

(2) The 2. Nor was it long before Philip broke through a second

Ethiopian era

eunuch, and more formidable line of defence. The blood of the

patriarchs, though diluted, still flowed in the veins of the

Samaritans. His next convert had no such claim to respect.

A descendant of the accursed race of Ham1, shut out from

the congregation by his physical defect (Deut. xxiii. 1), the

Ethiopian chamberlain laboured under a twofold disability.

This double line is assailed by the Hellenist preacher and taken

by storm. The desire of the Ethiopian to know and to do God's

will is held by Philip to be a sufficient claim. He acts boldly

and without hesitation. He accosts him, instructs him, baptizes

him then and there.

Conver- The venture of the subordinate minister however still

Cornelius, wanted the sanction of the leaders of the Church. At length

this sanction was given in a signal way. The Apostles of the

Circumcision, even St Peter himself, had failed hitherto to

comprehend the wide purpose of God. With their fellowcountrymen they still 'held it unlawful for a Jew to keep company with or to come near an alien' (Acts x. 28). The time when the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles seemed not yet to have arrived: the manner in which it should be preached was still hidden from them. At length a divine vision scatters the dark scruples of Peter, teaching him to call no man 'common or unclean.' He goes himself and seeks out the devout Roman centurion Cornelius, whose household he instructs in the faith. The Gentile Church, thus founded on the same 'rock' with the Jewish, receives also the same divine confirmation. As Peter began to speak, 'the Holy Ghost fell on them, as it did' on the Jewish disciples on the first day of Pentecost (xi. 15). As if the approval of God could not be too prompt or too manifest, the usual sequence is reversed and the outpouring of the Spirit precedes the rite of baptism (x. 44—48).

the Lord, and they brought 300 priests our Ood, (that is) neither in this world

and 300 children and 300 trumpets and nor in the future. And that they

300 scrolls of the law in their hands, should have neither portion nor inhe

and they blew, and the Levites sang ritance in Jerusalem, as it is said (Neh.

and played, and they banned the Cuth- ii. 20), But ye had no portion nor right

amns (Samaritans) by the mystery of nor memorial in Jerusalem. And they

the ineffable name and by the writing communicated the anathema to Israel

which is written on the tables and by which is in Babylon. And they put

the anathema of the upper (heavenly) upon them anathema upon anathema,

court of justice and by the anathema of And king Cyrus also decreed upon them

the nether (earthly) court of justice, an everlasting anathema, as it is said

that no one of Israel should eat the (Ezra vi. 12), And the Ood that has

bread of a Cuthsan for ever. Hence caused His name to dwell there etc.'

they (the elders) said: Whosoever eats Several passages bearing on this subject

the bread of a Cuthiean is as if he ate are collected in the article 'Samaritan

swine's flesh; andnoCuthaeanshallever Pentateuoh,' by Mr E. Deutsch, in

be made a proselyte: and they have no Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. share in the resurrection of the dead; 1 Amos ix. 7, 'Are ye not as the

for it is said (Ezra iv. 3), Ye have nothing children of the Ethiopians unto me,

to do with us to build an house unto O children of Israel?'

The case of Cornelius does not, I think, differ essentially Signifi

C&I1C6 of

from the case of the Ethiopian eunuch. There is no ground this event. for assuming that the latter was a proselyte of the covenant. His mutilation excluded him from the congregation by a Mosaic ordinance, and it is an arbitrary conjecture that the definite enactment of the law was overruled by the spiritual promise of the prophet (Is. lvi. 3—5). This liberal interpretation at all events accords little with the narrow and formal spirit of the age. Both converts alike had the inward qualification of 'fearing God and working righteousness' (x. 35); both alike were disabled by external circumstances, and the disabilities of the Ethiopian eunuch were even greater than those of the Roman centurion. If so, the significance of the conversion of the latter consists in this, that now in the case of the Gentile, as before in the case of the Samaritan, the principle asserted by the Hellenist Philip is confirmed by the Apostles of the Circumcision in the person of their chief and sealed by the outpouring of the Spirit.

Meanwhile others were asserting the universality of the Preaching Church elsewhere, if not with the same sanction of authority, at tUesTt all events with a larger measure of success. With the dying Antioch.

words of Stephen, the martyr of Christian liberty, still ringing

in their ears, the persecuted brethren had fled from Jerusalem

and carried the tidings of the Gospel to distant lands. At first

they 'preached the word to none but to the Jews only' (xi. 19).

At length others bolder than the rest,'when they were come to

Antioch, spake unto the Gentiles1, preaching the Lord Jesus.'

Probably this was an advance even on the conversion of the

Ethiopian eunuch and of Cornelius. These two converts at all

events recognised the God of the old covenant. Now for the

first time, it would seem, the Gospel was offered to heathen

idolaters. Here, as before, the innovators were not Hebrews

but Hellenists, 'men of Cyprus and Cyrene' (xi. 20). Their

success was signal: crowds flocked to hear them; and at

The name Antioch first the brethren were called by a new name—a term

Christ- . .

ians. of ridicule and contempt then, now the pride and glory of the

civilized world. Hitherto the believers had been known as 'Galileans' or 'Nazarenes'; now they were called 'Christians.' The transition from a Jewish to a heathen term marks the point of time when the Church of the Gentiles first threatens to supersede the Church of the Circumcision. The first Thus the first stage in the emancipation of the Church was

gamed. gained. The principle was broadly asserted that the Gospel received all comers, asking no questions, allowing no impediments, insisting on no preliminary conditions, if only it were found that the petitioner 'feared God and worked righteousness.'

2. The Recognition of Gentile Liberty.

It is plain that the principle, which had thus been asserted, involved consequences very much wider than were hitherto clearly foreseen and acknowledged. But between asserting a principle and carrying it out to its legitimate results a long interval must necessarily elapse, for many misgivings have to be dissipated and many impediments to be overcome.

1 xi. 20. I cannot doubt thaf'EWi^as requires it; but external authority preis correct, as the preceding 'lovSalovs ponderates in favour of 'EXjrurras.

So it was with the growth of Gentile Christendom. The Questions

Gentiles were no longer refused admission into the Church tied.

unless first incorporated with Israel by the initiatory rite. But

many questions remained still unsettled. What was their

exact position, when thus received? What submission, if any,

must they yield to the Mosaic law? Should they be treated as

in all respects on an equality with the true Israelite? Was it

right for the Jewish Christian so far to lay aside the traditions

of his race, as to associate freely with his Gentile brother?

These must necessarily in time become practical questions, and

press for a solution.

At this point in the history of the Church a new character Saul of

Tarsus appears on the scene. The mantle of Stephen has fallen on

the persecutor of Stephen. Saul has been called to bear the name of Christ to the Gentiles. Descended of pure Hebrew ancestry and schooled in the law by the most famous of living teachers, born and residing in a great university town second to none in its reputation for Greek wisdom and learning, inheriting the privileges and the bearing of a Roman citizen, he seemed to combine in himself all those varied qualifications which would best fit him for this work. These wide experiences, which had lain dormant before, were quickened into thought and life by the lightning flash on the way to Damascus; and stubborn zeal was melted and fused into large-hearted and comprehensive charity. From his conversion to the present time we read only of his preaching in the synagogues at Damascus (ix. 20, 22) and to the Hellenists at Jerusalem (ix. 29). But now the moment was ripe, when he must enter upon that wider sphere of action for which he had been specially designed. The Gentile Church, founded on the 'rock,' must be handed over to the 'wise master-builder' to enlarge and complete. So at the bidding of the Apostles, Barnabas seeks out Saul in his retirement at Tarsus and brings him to Antioch. Doubtless he seemed to all to be the fittest goes to instrument for carrying out the work so auspiciously begun.

Meanwhile events at Jerusalem were clearing the way for Circum

stances his great work. The star of Jewish Christendom was already the on the wane, while the independence of the Gentiles was

mother gradually asserting itself. Two circumstances especially were

instrumental in reversing the positions hitherto held by these

two branches of the Church.

(1) With- i, it has been seen that the martyrdom of Stephen theApo- marked an epoch in the emancipation of the Church. The

martyrdom of James the son of Zebedee is scarcely less important in its influence on her progressive career. The former persecution had sown the disciples broad-cast over heathen lands; the latter seems to have been the signal for the withdrawal of the Apostles themselves from Jerusalem. The twelve years, which according to an old tradition our Lord had assigned as the limit of their fixed residence there, had drawn to a close1. So, consigning the direction of the mother Church to James the Lord's brother and the presbytery, they depart thence to enter upon a wider field of action. Their withdrawal must have deprived the Church of Jerusalem of half her prestige and more than half her influence. Henceforth she remained indeed the mother Church of the nation, but she was no longer the mother Church of the world.

(2) Famine 2. About the same time another incident also contributed Gentile y to lessen ^er influence. A severe famine devastated Palestine alms. and reduced the Christian population to extreme want. Collections were made at Antioch, and relief was sent to the brethren in Judaea. By this exercise of liberality the Gentile Churches were made to feel their own importance: while the recipients, thus practically confessing their dependence, were deposed from the level of proud isolation which many of them would gladly have maintained. This famine seems to have ranged over many years, or at all events its attacks were several times repeated. Again and again the alms of the Gentile Christians were conveyed by the hands of the Gentile Apostles, and the Churches of Judaea laid themselves under fresh obligations to the heathen converts.

1 See Qalatians, p. 127, n. 1.

Events being thus ripe, Saul still residing at Antioch is set New stage apart by the Spirit for the Apostleship of the Gentiles to which Gogpei. he had been called years before.

The Gospel thus enters upon a new career of triumph. The primacy of the Church passes from Peter to Paul—from the Apostle of the Circumcision to the Apostle of the Gentiles. The centre of evangelical work is transferred from Jerusalem to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas set forth on their first missionary tour.

Though they give precedence everywhere to the Jews, their St Paul's mission is emphatically to the Gentiles. In Cyprus, the first sionary country visited, its character is signally manifested in the Journey, conversion of the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus. And soon it becomes evident that the younger Church must supplant the elder. At Antioch in Pisidia matters are brought to a crisis: the Jews reject the offer of the Gospel: the Gentiles entreat to hear the message. Thereupon the doom is pronounced: 'It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo we turn to the Gentiles' (xiii. 46). The incidents at Pisidian Antioch foreshadow the destiny which awaits the Gospel throughout the world. Everywhere the Apostles deliver their message to the Jews first, and everywhere the offer rejected by them is welcomed by the heathen. The mission of Paul and Barnabas is successful, but its success is confined almost wholly to the Gentiles. They return to Antioch.

Hitherto no attempt had been made to define the mutual The quesrelations of Jewish and Gentile converts. All such questions, it oumcision would seem, had been tacitly passed over, neither side perhaps raisedbeing desirous of provoking discussion. But the inevitable crisis at length arrives. Certain converts, who had imported into the Church of Christ the rigid and exclusive spirit of Pharisaism, stir up the slumbering feud at Antioch, starting the question in its most trenchant form. They desire to impose circumcision on the Gentiles, not only as a condition

of equality, but as necessary to salvation (xv. 1). The imposition of this burden is resisted by Paul and Barnabas, who go on a mission to Jerusalem to confer with the Apostles and elders. Acunt8 I have given elsewhere what seems to me the probable ference. account of the part taken by the leading Apostles in these controversies1, and shall have to return to the subject later. Our difficulty in reading this page of history arises not so much from the absence of light as from the perplexity of cross lights. The narratives of St Luke and St Paul only then cease to conflict, when we take into account the different positions of the writers and the different objects they had in view.

Twofold At present we are concerned only with the results of this

results. r'

conference. These are twofold: First, the settlement of the

points of dispute between the Jewish and Gentile converts: Secondly, the recognition of the authority and commission of Paul and Barnabas by the Apostles of the Circumcision. It will be necessary, as briefly as possible, to point out the significance of these two conclusions and to examine how far they were recognised and acted upon subsequently. The decree i. The arrangement of the disputed points was effected

acompro- . .

mise. by a mutual compromise. On the one hand it was decided

once and for ever that the rite of circumcision should not be

imposed on the Gentiles. On the other, concessions were

demanded of them in turn; they were asked to 'abstain from

meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled,

and from fornication.'

Emanci- The first of these decisions was a question of principle. If

clause. the initiatory rite of the old dispensation were imposed on all

members of the Christian Church, this would be in effect to

deny that the Gospel was a new covenant; in other words to

deny its essential character*. It was thus the vital point on

which the whole controversy turned. And the liberal decision

1 See Oalatians, p. 126 sq, and the notes on Gal. ii. 1—10.
3 See Ritsohl, p. 127.

of the council was not only the charter of Gentile freedom but the assertion of the supremacy of the Gospel.

On the other hand it is not so easy to understand the Restrictbearing of the restrictions imposed on the Gentile converts. ciauses. Their significance in fact seems to be relative rather than absolute. There were certain practices into which, though most abhorrent to the feelings of their Jewish brethren, the Gentile Christians from early habit and constant association would easily be betrayed. These were of different kinds: some were grave moral offences, others only violations of timehonoured observances, inwrought in the conscience of the Israelite. After the large concession of principle made to the Gentiles in the matter of circumcision, it was not unreasonable that they should be required in turn to abstain from practices which gave so much offence to the Jews. Hence the prohibitions in question. It is strange indeed that offences so heterogeneous should be thrown together and brought under one prohibition; but this is perhaps sufficiently explained by supposing the decree framed to meet some definite complaint of the Jewish brethren. If, in the course of the hot dispute which preceded the speeches of the leading Apostles, attention had been specially called by the Pharisaic party to these detested practices, St James would not unnaturally take up the subject and propose to satisfy them by a direct condemnation of the offences in question1.

It would betray great ignorance of human nature to suppose The decree that a decision thus authoritatively pronounced must have eaity"' silenced all opposition. If therefore we should find its pro-80mevisions constantly disregarded hereafter, it is no argument against the genuineness of the decree itself. The bigoted

1 This seems to me much simpler kindred (Levit. xviii. 18), as it is inter

than explaining the clauses as enforc- preted by Ritschl p. 129 sq, who ably

ing the conditions under which prose- maintains this view. These difficulties

lytes of the gate were received by the of interpretation are to my mind a

Jews. In this latter case ropvela will very strong evidence of the genuine

perhaps refer to unlawful marriage, ness of the decree, e.g. within the prohibited degrees of

Circumcision still insisted

The restrictive clauses not uniformly enforced.

St James.

Antioch and the neighbouring churches.

minority was little likely to make an absolute surrender of its most stubborn prejudices to any external influence. Many even of those, who at the time were persuaded by the leading Apostles into acquiescence, would find their misgivings return, when they saw that the effect of the decree was to wrest the sceptre from their grasp and place it in the hands of the Gentile Church.

Even the question of circumcision, on which an absolute decision had been pronounced, was revived again and again. Long after, the Judaizing antagonists of St Paul in Galatia attempted to force this rite on his Gentile converts. Perhaps however they rather evaded than defied the decree. They may for instance have no longer insisted upon it as a condition of salvation, but urged it as a title to preference. But however this may be, there is nothing startling in the fact itself.

But while the emancipating clause of the decree, though express and definite, was thus parried or resisted, the restrictive clauses were with much greater reason interpreted with latitude. The miscellaneous character of these prohibitions showed that, taken as a whole, they had no binding force independently of the circumstances which dictated them. They were a temporary expedient framed to meet a temporary emergency. Their object was the avoidance of offence in mixed communities of Jew and Gentile converts. Beyond this recognised aim and the general understanding implied therein the limits of their application were not defined. Hence there was room for much latitude in individual cases. St James, as the head of the mother Church where the difficulties which it was framed to meet were most felt, naturally refers to the decree seven years after as still regulating the intercourse between Jewish and Gentile converts (xxi. 25). At Antioch too and in the neighbouring Churches of Syria and Cilicia, to which alone the Apostolic letter was addressed and on which alone therefore the enactments were directly binding (xv. 23), it was doubtless long observed. The close communication between these churches and Jerusalem would at once justify and secure its strict observance. We read also of its being delivered to the brotherhoods of Lycaonia and Pisidia, already founded when the council was held, and near enough to Palestine to feel the pressure of Jewish feelings (xvi. 4). But as the circle widens, its influence becomes feebler. In strictly Gentile churches it seems never to have been enforced. St Paul, writing to the Corin- St Paul thians, discusses two of the four practices which it prohibits rinthians. without any reference to its enactments. Fornication he condemns absolutely as defiling the body which is the temple of God (1 Cor. v. 1—13, vi. 18—20). Of eating meats sacrificed to idols he speaks as a thing indifferent in itself, only to be avoided in so far as it implies participation in idol worship or is offensive to the consciences of others. His rule therefore is this: 'Do not sit down to a banquet celebrated in an idol's temple. You may say that in itself an idol is nothing, that neither the abstaining from meat nor the partaking of meat commends us to God. All this I grant is true: but such knowledge is dangerous. You are running the risk of falling into idolatry yourself, you are certainly by your example leading others astray; you are in fact committing an overt act of treason to God, you are a partaker of the tables of devils. On the other hand do not officiously inquire when you make a purchase at the shambles or when you dine in a private house: but if in such cases you are plainly told that the meat has been offered in sacrifice, then abstain at all hazards. Lay down this rule, to give no offence either to Jews or Gentiles or to the churches of God' (1 Cor. viii. 1—13, x. 14—22). This wise counsel, if it disregards the letter, preserves the spirit of the decree, which was framed for the avoidance of offence. But St Paul's language shows that the decree itself was not held binding, perhaps was unknown at Corinth: otherwise the discussion would have been foreclosed. Once again we come st John across the same topics in the apocalyptic message to the Asiatic Churches of Pergamos and Thyatira. The same irregularities churches. prevailed here as at Corinth: there was the temptation on the one hand to impure living, on the other to acts of conformity

with heathen worship which compromised their allegiance to the one true God. Our Lord in St John's vision denounces them through the symbolism of the Old Testament history. In the Church of Pergamos were certain Nicolaitans 'holding the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication' (ii. 14). At Thyatira the evil had struck its roots deeper. The angel of that Church is rebuked because he 'suffers his wife Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess, and she teacheth and seduceth God's servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols.' I see no reason for assuming a reference here to the Apostolic decree. The two offences singled out are those to which Gentile churches would be most liable, and which at the same time are illustrated by the Old Testament parallels. If St Paul denounces them independently of the decree, St John may have done so likewise1. In the matter of sacrificial meats indeed the condemnation of the latter is more absolute and uncompromising. But this is owing partly to the epigrammatic terseness and symbolic reference of the passage, partly, also, we may suppose, to the more definite form which the evil itself had assumed*. In both cases the practice was justified by a vaunted knowledge which held itself superior to any such restrictions*. But at Corinth this temper was still immature and under restraint: while in

1 Yet the expression oi /SdXXu t<p (ffKirSa\ov) before the children of Is

inai dXXo /Sripos (ii. 24) looks like a rael,' the whole purport of St Paul's

reference to the decree. warning is 'to give no offence' (ixii

* The coincidence of the two Apostles aKaySa\lftiv, viii 13, ds-p&nioroi ytyea

extends also to their language. (1) If 0ai, x. 32). With all these ooinci

St John denounces the offence as a fol- deuces of matter and language, it is

lowing of Balaam, St Paul uses the a strange phenomenon that any critic

same Old Testament illustration, 1 Cor. should maintain, asBaur, Zeller, and

x. 7,8,'Neither be ye idolaters, as were Sohwegler have done, that the denun

some of them; as it is written, The ciations in the Apocalypse are directed

people sat down to eat and drink, and against St Paul himself,

rose up to play: neither let us commit * Comp. Apoc. ii. 24 fooi oi'« (xovair

fornication, as some of them com- rijv Sibaxriv rainjv, oirivis oiV tyvia

mitted, and fell in one day three and aav ra (iatUa Tov Zarava, $>i V

twenty thousand.' (2) If St John yovfir. The false teachers boasted a

speaks of 'casting a stumblingblock knowledge of the deep things of God; they possessed only a knowledge of the 'I would not that ye should have fel

the Asiatic churches it had outgrown shame and broken out

into the wildest excesses1.

Thus then the decree was neither permanently nor uni- Object of ...... -r, , . , . , the enact

versally binding. But there was also another point which ments not

admitted much latitude of interpretation. What was under- e ne' stood to be the design of these enactments? They were articles of peace indeed, but of what nature was this peace to be? Was it to effect an entire union between the Jewish and Gentile churches, a complete identity of interest; or only to secure a strict neutrality, a condition of mutual toleration? Were the Gentiles to be welcomed as brothers and admitted at once to all the privileges of sons of Israel: or was the Church hereafter to be composed of two separate nationalities, as it were, equal and independent; or lastly, were the heathen converts to be recognised indeed, but only as holding a subordinate position like proselytes under the old covenant? The first interpretation is alone consistent with the spirit of the Gospel: but either of the others might honestly be maintained without any direct violation of the letter of the decree. The Church of Antioch, influenced doubtless by St Paul, took the

deep things of Satan. St John's mean- lowship with devils.'

ing is illustrated by a passage in Hip- > The subject of elSa\i8vra does not

polytus (Haer. v. 6, p. 94) relating to disappear with the Apostolic age: it

the Ophites, who offer other striking turns up again for instance in the

resemblances to the heretics of the middle of the second century, in Agrip

Apostolic age; ireK&\arav iavrobs yvio- pa Castor (Euseb. ff. E. iv. 7) writing

<rrnroi5s, ^kio-kovttj /xawm TaP&bti yiyii- against Basilides, and in Justin (Dial.

oKiiv. see also Iren. ii. 28. 9. St 35, p. 253 D) who mentions the Basili

Paul's rebuke is very different in form, deans among other Gnostic sects as

but the same in effect. He begins 'participating in lawless and godless

each time in a strain of noble irony. rites': coinp. Orac. Sib. ii. 96. Both

'We all have knowledge'; 'I speak as these writers condemn the practice, the

to wise men': he appears to concede, latter with great severity. When the

to defer, to svmpathize, even to en- persecution began, and the Christians

courage: and then he turns round up- were required to deny their faith by

on the laxity of this vaunted wisdom participating in the sacrifices, it be

and condemns and crushes it: 'I will came a matter of extreme importance

eat no flesh while the world standeth, to avoid any act of conformity, how

lest I make my brother to offend'; ever slight.

larger and truer view; Jewish and Gentile converts lived freely together as members of one brotherhood. A portion at least of the Church of Jerusalem, 'certain who came from James,1 adopted a narrower interpretation and still clung to the old distinctions, regarding their Gentile brethren as unclean and refusing to eat with them. This was not the Truth of the Gospel, it was not the Spirit of Christ; but neither was it a direct breach of compact. St Paul's 2. Scarcely less important than the settlement of the

recog- disputed points was the other result of these conferences, the nised" recognition of St Paul's office and mission by the Apostles of the Circumcision. This recognition is recorded in similar language in the narrative of the Acts and in the Epistle to the Galatians. In the Apostolic circular inserted in the former Paul and Barnabas are commended as ' men who have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ' (xv. 26). In the conferences, as related in the latter, the three Apostles, James, Peter, and John, seeing that 'the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto him,' and 'perceiving the grace that was given unto him, gave to him and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that they should go unto the heathen' (ii. 7—10). Continued This ample recognition would doubtless carry weight with a to St Paul, large number of Jewish converts: but no sanction of authority could overcome in others the deep repugnance felt to one who, himself a ' Hebrew of the Hebrews,' had systematically opposed the law of Moses and triumphed in his opposition. Henceforth St Paul's career was one life-long conflict with Judaizing antagonists. Setting aside the Epistles to the Thessalonians, which were written too early to be affected by this struggle, all his letters addressed to churches, with but one exception1, refer more or less directly to such opposition. It assumed different forms in different places: in Galatia it was purely

1 This exception, the Epistle to the Asiatic churches, in which special reEphesians, may be explained by its ferences would be out of plaoe. character as a circular letter to the

Pharisaic; in Phrygia and Asia it was strongly tinged with speculative mysticism; but everywhere and under all circumstances zeal for the law was its ruling passion. The systematic hatred of St Paul is an important fact, which we are too apt to overlook, but without which the whole history of the Apostolic ages will be misread and misunderstood.

3. The Emancipation of the Jewish Churches.

We have seen hitherto no signs of waning affection for the Zeal for

the law. law in the Jewish converts to Christianity as a body. On the

contrary the danger which threatened it from a quarter so unexpected seems to have fanned their zeal to a red heat. Even in the churches of St Paul's own founding his name and authority were not powerful enough to check the encroachments of the Judaizing party. Only here and there, in mixed communities, the softening influences of daily intercourse must have been felt, and the true spirit of the Gospel insensibly diffused, inculcating the truth that' in Christ was neither Jew nor Greek.'

But the mother Church of Jerusalem, being composed Seasons entirely of Jewish converts, lacked these valuable lessons ofservance daily experience. Moreover the law had claims on a Hebrew J^otngr of Palestine wholly independent of his religious obligations. Church. To him it was a national institution, as well as a divine covenant. Under the Gospel he might consider his relations to it in this latter character altered, but as embodying the decrees and usages of his country it still demanded his allegiance. To be a good Christian he was not required to be a bad citizen. On these grounds the more enlightened members of the mother church would justify their continued adhesion to the law. Nor is there any reason to suppose that St Paul himself took a different view of their obligations. The Apostles of the Circumcision meanwhile, if conscious themselves that the law was fulfilled in the Gospel they strove nevertheless by strict conformity to conciliate the zealots both within and without the

Church, were only acting upon St Paul's own maxim, who 'became to the Jews a Jew that he might gain the Jews.' Meanwhile they felt that a catastrophe was impending, that a deliverance was at hand. Though they were left in uncertainty as to the time and manner of this divine event, the mysterious warnings of the Lord had placed the fact itself beyond a doubt. They might well therefore leave all perplexing questions to the solution of time, devoting themselves meanwhile to the practical work which lay at their doors. Fall o! Je- And soon the catastrophe came which solved the difficult

vn.cn.1prn

problem. The storm which had long been gathering burst over A.d. 70. the devoted city. Jerusalem was razed to the ground, and the Temple-worship ceased, never again to be revived. The Christians foreseeing the calamity had fled before the tempest; and at Pella, a city of the Decapolis, in the midst of a population chiefly Gentile the Church of the Circumcision was reconstituted. They were warned to flee, said the story, by an oracle1: but no special message from heaven was needed at this juncture; the signs of the times, in themselves full of warning, interpreted by the light of the Master's prophecies plainly foretold the approaching doom. Before the crisis came, they had been deprived of the counsel and guidance of the leading Apostles. Peter had fallen a martyr at Rome; John had retired to Asia Minor; James the Lord's brother was slain not long before the great catastrophe; and some thought that the horrors of the Flavian war were the just vengeance of an offended God for the murder of so holy a man8. He was succeeded by his cousin Symeon, the son of Clopas and nephew of Joseph.

The Under these circumstances the Church was reformed at

Church .

at Pella. Pella. Its history in the ages following is a hopeless blank *; and it would be vain to attempt to fill in the picture from conjecture. We cannot doubt however that the consequences of the fall of Jerusalem, direct or indirect, were very great. In two points especially its effects would be powerfully felt, in the Effects change of opinion produced within the Church itself and in the change. altered relations between the converted and unconverted Jews.

1 Euseb. H. E. iii. 5 Kot4 riva Xpv- there, ravra Si evufliflriKer 'IovSoUoic

alibv Tois airiBi SoKl/ma Si dro*aXi)- *ot tKOi/CTjo-iv 'Ia*ii/jov Tov SiKaioi/ K.t.\.

^euj iKSoBivra K.tx * The Church of Pella however oon

3 Hegeaippus in Euseb. 11. E. ii. 23 tributed one author at least to the

ml eiiBin Oiearaoiavbs ro\iopKd airoii, ranks of early Christian literature in

and the pseudo-Josephus also quoted Ariston, the writer of an apologv in the form of a dialogue between Jason Westeott's Canon, p. 93, Donaldson's a Hebrew Christian and Papiscns an Christian Literature etc. n. p. 58. If Alexandrian Jew: see Routh I. p. 93. I am right in conjecturing that the One of his works however was written reference to the banishment of the after the Bar-cochba rebellion, to which Jews was taken from this dialogue, it alludes (Euseb. H. E. iv. 6); and Eusebius himself directly attributes it from the purport of the allusion we to Ariston. The name of the author may infer that it was this very dia- however is of little consequence, for the lojue. The expulsion of the Jews by work was clearly written by a Hebrew Hadrian was a powerful common-place Christian not later than the middle of in the treatises of the Apologists; see the second century. Whoever he may e.g. Justin Martyr Apol. i. 47. On have been, the writer was no Ebionite, the other hand it cannot have been for he explained Gen. i. 1, 'In.lilio fecit written long after, for it was quoted Deus caelum et terrain' (Hieron. Quaest. by Celsus (Orig. e. Celi. iv. 52, p. 544, Hebr. in Gen., in. p. 305, ed. Vail.); Delarue). The shade of doubt which and the fact is important, as this is the rests on the authorship of this dia- earliest known expression of Hebrew logue is very slight. Undue weight Christian doctrine after the canonical seems to be attributed to the fact of writings, except perhaps the Testaits being quoted anonymously; e.g. in meats of the Twelve Patriarchs.

(1) The loss of their great leader at this critical moment (i) The was compensated to the Church of the Circumcision by the jj^power. stern teaching of facts. In the obliteration of the Temple services they were brought at length to see that all other sacrifices were transitory shadows, faint emblems of the one Paschal Lamb, slain once and for ever for the sins of the world.

In the impossibility of observing the Mosaic ordinances except in part, they must have been led to question the efficacy of the whole. And besides all this, those who had hitherto maintained their allegiance to the law purely as a national institution were by the overthrow of the nation set free henceforth from any such obligation. We need not suppose that these inferences were drawn at once or drawn by all alike; but slowly and surely the fall of the city must have produced this effect.

(2) At the same time it wholly changed their relations (2) Jews

and

Christiana with their unconverted countrymen. Hitherto they had main

in until gonism

tained such close intercourse that in the eyes of the Roman

the Christians were as one of the many Jewish sects. Henceforth they stood in a position of direct antagonism. The sayings ascribed to the Jewish rabbis of this period are charged with the bitterest reproaches of the Christians, who are denounced as more dangerous than the heathen, and anathemas -against the hated sect were introduced into their daily prayers1. The probable cause of this change is not far to seek. While the catastrophe was still impending, the Christians seem to have stood forward and denounced the national sins which had brought down the chastisement of God on their country. In the traditional notices at least this feature may be discerned. Nor could they fail to connect together as cause and effect the stubborn rejection of Messiah and the coming doom which He Himself had foretold. And when at length the blow fell, by withdrawing from the city and refusing to share the fate of their countrymen they declared by an overt act that henceforth they were strangers, that now at length their hopes and interests were separate. Difficulties These altered relations both to the Mosaic law and to the sensions. Jewish people must have worked as leaven in the minds of the Christians of the Circumcision. Questions were asked now, which from their nature could not have been asked before. Difficulties hitherto unfelt seemed to start up on all sides. The relations of the Church to the synagogue, of the Gospel to the law, must now be settled in some way or other. Thus diversities of opinion, which had hitherto been lulled in a broken and fitful slumber, suddenly woke up into dangerous activity. The Apostles, who at an earlier date had moderated extreme tendencies and to whom all would have looked instinctively for counsel and instruction, had passed away from the scene. One personal follower of the Lord however still remained, Symeon Symeon the aged bishop, who had succeeded James1. At ciopas. length he too was removed. After a long tenure of office he A.d. 106. was martyred at a very advanced age in the ninth year of Trajan. His death, according to Hegesippus, was the signal for a shameless outbreak of multitudinous heresies which had hitherto worked underground, the Church having as yet preserved her virgin purity undefiled2. Though this early historian has interwoven many fabulous details in his account, there seems no reason to doubt the truth of the broad statement, confirmed as it is from another source3, that this epoch was the birth-time of many forms of dissent in the Church of the Circumcision.

1 See especially Graetz GeschiclUe by this writer, whose account is the

der Jiulin Iv. p. 112 sq. The antago- more striking as given from a Jewish

nism between the Jews and Christians point of view, at this period is strongly insisted upon

How far these dissensions and diversities of opinion had ripened meanwhile into open schism, to what extent the majority still conformed to the Mosaic ordinances (as for instance in the practice of circumcision and the observance of the sabbath), we have no data to determine. But the work begun by the fall of Jerusalem was only at length completed by the advent of another crisis. By this second catastrophe the Church and the law were finally divorced; and the malcontents who had hitherto remained within the pale of the Church became declared separatists.

A revolution of the Jews broke out in all the principal Rebellion centres of the dispersion. The flame thus kindled in the 000hba. dependencies spread later to the mother country. In Palestine TM 132~ a leader started up, professing himself to be the long promised Messiah, and in reference to the prophecy of Balaam styling himself 'Bar-cochba,' 'the son of the Star.' We have the testimony of one who wrote while these scenes of bloodshed were still fresh in men's memories, that the Christians were the

1 Hegesippus in Euseb. R. E. iv. 22. ipa ittxp1 t&v rbre xp^""av rapBivm Ka

This writer also mentions grandsons Bapb. *ai &Si&<pBopos (neivev Tj «KXija{a,

of Jude the Lord's brother as ruling iv iS-f/\ip Rtv iniirei </>u\evivtiav tlatri

over the Churches and surviving till rire Tuv, el Kai rives irijpxov, rapa<pBei

the time of Trajan; H. E. iii. 32. pti v irixeipoivruv K.t.\.: comp. iv. 22.

* Euseb. H. E. iii. 32 in\iyei us 3 See below, p. 82, note 3.

vElia Capitolina.

chief sufferers from this rebel chieftain1. Even without such testimony this might have been safely inferred. Their very existence was a protest against his claims: they must be denounced and extirpated, if his pretensions were to be made good. The cause of Bar-cochba was taken up as the cause of the whole Jewish nation, and thus the antagonism between Judaism and Christianity was brought to a head. After a desperate struggle the rebellion was trampled out and the severest vengeance taken on the insurgents. The practice of circumcision and the observance of the sabbath—indeed all the distinguishing marks of Judaism—were visited with the severest penaltiea On the other hand the Christians, as the avowed enemies of the rebel chief, seem to have been favourably received. On the ruins of Jerusalem Hadrian had built his new city jElia Capitolina. Though no Jew was admitted within sight of its walls, the Christians were allowed to settle there freely*. Now for the first time a Gentile bishop was appointed, and the Church of Jerusalem ceased to be the Church of the Circumcision8.

The account of Eusebius seems to imply that long before this disastrous outbreak of the Jews the main part of the Christians had left their retirement in Pella and returned to their original home. At all events he traces the succession of bishops of Jerusalem in an unbroken line from James the Lord's brother until the foundation of the new city*. If so, we must imagine the Church once more scattered by this second catastrophe, and once more reformed when the terror was passed. But the Church of Mlia, Capitolina was very differently constituted from the Church of Pella or the Church of Jerusalem; a large proportion of its members at least were Gentiles1. Of the Christians of the Circumcision not a few doubtless accepted the conqueror's terms, content to live henceforth as Gentiles, and settled down in the new city of Hadrian. But Judaizing there were others who clung to the law of their forefathers with a stubborn grasp which no force of circumstances could loosen: and henceforward we read of two distinct sects of Judaizing Christians, observing the law with equal rigour but observing it on different grounds*.

The church reconstituted.

1 Justin Apol. i. 31, p. 72 B, iy rif

viv yeyerrmivip' \ovoai'K<fi ro\i/Up Sapxu-
X^/S« b tris 'lovtSaluv aroardo-eus &p-
XTW"p XpurnwoAi nivom ris ri/uapiai
5iicds, el /iri dpvoivro 'lrfffovy rbv X/Harbv
Kal ^\aa<priuocty) int\evev arayea6ai.

2 Justin Apol. i. 47, p. 84 n, Dial.
110, p. 337 i>; Ariston of Pella in
Euseb. H. E. iv. 6; Celsus in Orig. c.
Celi. viii. 69.

3 Sulpicius Severus (H. S. ii. 31) speaking of Hadrian's decree says,

'Quod quidem Christianae fidei proficiebat, quia tum pene omnes Christum Dcum sub legis observatione credebant; nimirum id Domino ordinante dispositum, ut legis servitUs a libertate fidei atque ecclesiae tolleretur.'

4 H. E. iii. 32, 35, iv. 5. Eusebius seems to narrate all the incidents affecting the Church of the Circumcision during this period, as taking place not at Fella but at Jerusalem.

1 Euseb. H. E. iv. 6 rrji ainbBi Ik*Xijffias i% IBrur airiKparnfielayp.

9 As early as the middle of the second century Justin Martyr distinguishes two classes of Judaizers; those who retaining the Mosaic law themselves did not wish to impose it on their Gentile brethren, and those who insisted upon conformity in all Christians alike as a condition of communion and a means of salvation (Dial. c. Tryph. § 47; see Sohliemann Clement. p. 553 sq). In the nexfchapter Jnstin alludes with disapprobation to some Jewish converts who held that our Lord was a mere man; and it seems not unreasonable to connect this opinion with the second of the two classes before mentioned. We thus obtain a tolerably clear view of their distinctive tenets. But the first direct and definite account of both sects is given by the fathers of the fourth century, especially Epiphanius and Jerome, who distinguish them by the respective names of' Nazarenes' and' Ebionites.' Irenoeus (i. 26. 2), Tertullian (<U Praescr. 33), and Hippolytus (Haer. vii. 34, p. 257), contemplate only the second, whom they call Ebionites. The Nazarenes in fact, being for the most part orthodox in their creed

and holding communion with Catholic Christians, would not generally be included in the category of heretics: and moreover, being few in number and living in an obscure region, they would easily escape notice. Origen (c. CeU. v. 61) mentions two classes of Christians who observe the Mosaic law, the one holding with the Catholics that Jesus was born of a Virgin, the other that He was conceived like other men; and both these he calls Ebionites. In another passage he says that both classes of Ebionites ('E/Siuraioi ifupdrepoi) reject St Paul's Epistles (v. 65). If these two classes correspond to the 'Nazarenes' and 'Ebionites' of Jerome, Origen's information would seem to be incorrect. On the other hand it is very possible that he entirely overlooks the Nazarenes and alludes to some differences of opinion among the Ebionites properly so called; but in this case it is not easy to identify his two classes with the Pharisaic and Essene Ebionites of whom I shall have to speak later. Eusebius, who also describes two classes of Ebionites (H. E. iii. 27), seems to have taken his account wholly from Irenseus and Origen. If, as appears probable, both names 'Nazarenes' and 'Ebionites' were originally applied to the

Naza- i. The Nazarenes appear at the close of the fourth

renes. ...

century as a small and insignificant sect dwelling beyond the

Jordan in Pella and the neighbouring places1. Indications of

their existence however occur in Justin two centuries and a

half earlier; and both their locality and their name carry us

back to the primitive ages of Jewish Christianity. Can we

doubt that they were the remnant of the fugitive Church, which

refused to return from their exile with the majority to the now

Gentile city, some because they were too indolent or too satisfied

to move, others because the abandonment of the law seemed too

heavy a price to pay for Koman forbearance?

Theii The account of their tenets is at all events favourable to

tenets.

this inference*. They held themselves bound to the Mosaic

ordinances, rejecting however all Pharisaic interpretations and additions. Nevertheless they did not consider the Gentile Christians under the same obligations or refuse to hold communion with them; and in the like spirit, in this distinguished from all other Judaizing sectarians, they fully recognised the work and mission of St Paul8. It is stated moreover that they mourned over the unbelief of their fellow-countrymen, praying for and looking forward to the time when they too should be brought to confess Christ. Their doctrine of the person of Christ has been variously represented; but this seems at all events clear that, if it fell short of the Catholic standard, it rose above the level of other Judaic sects. The fierce and indiscriminate verdict of Epiphanius indeed pronounces these Nazarenes 'Jews and nothing else": but his contemporary Jerome, himself no lenient judge of heresy, whose opinion was founded on personal intercourse, regards them more favourably. In his eyes they seem to be separated, from the creeds and usages of Catholic Christendom chiefly by their retention of the Mosaic law.

whole body of Jewish Christians indis- Hieron. de Vir. III. § 3. criminately, the confusion of Origen - See the account in Sohliemann,

and others is easily explained. In re- p. 445 sq, with the authorities there

cent times, since Gieseler published his given and compare Ritschl p. 152 sq. treatise Ueber die Nazariler und Ebioni- 8 Hieron. in Ii. ix. 1 (iv. p. 130),

ten (Staudlin u. Tzschirner Archiv flir 'Nazaraei...huno locum ita explanare

Kirchengeich. iv. p. 279 sq, 1819), the conantur: Adveniente Christo et prae

distinction has been generally recog- dicatione illius coruscante prima terra

nised. A succinct and good account of Zabulon et terra Nephthali soribarum

these sects of Judaizers will be found in et Pharisaeorum est erroribus liberata

Schliemann Clement, p. 449 sq, where et gravissimum traditionum Judaica

the authorities are given; but the dis- rum jugum excussit de cervicibus sui/-.

covery of the work of Hippolytus has Postea autem per evangelium apostoli

since thrown fresh light on the Essene Pauli, qui novissimus apostolorum

Ebionites. The portion of Ritachi's omnium fuit, ingravata est, id est,

work (p. 152 sq) relating to these sects multiplicata- praedioatio; et in termi

should be consulted. nos gentium et viam universi maris

1 Epiphan. Haer. xxix. 7; oomp. Christi evangelium splenduit.'

Thus they were distinguished from other Judaizing sects Their relaby a loftier conception of the person of Christ and by a frank Twelve, recognition of the liberty of the Gentile Churches and the commission of the Gentile Apostle. These distinguishing features may be traced to the lingering influence of the teaching of the Apostles of the Circumcision. To the example of these same Apostles also they might have appealed in defending their rigid observance of the Mosaic law. But herein, while copying the letter, they did not copy the spirit of their model; for they took no account of altered circumstances.

Of this type of belief, if not of this very Nazarene sect, an Testaearly document still extant furnishes an example. The book the Twelve called the 'Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs" was certainly ^^

1 Haer. xxx. 9. xti. Patr. (Roterod. 1857), and defend

J It is printed in Grabe's Spicil. SS. ed against Kayser. The whole tone

Parr. I. p. 145 sq (ed. 2, 1700), and in and colouring of the book however

Fabricius Cod. Pseudepigr. Vet. Test. I. seem to show very plainly that the

p. 519 sq (ed. 2, 1722), and has re- writer was a Jewish Christian, and the

cently been edited with an introduo- opposite view would probably never

tory essay by Sinker (Cambridge, 1869). have been entertained but for the pre

Eitschl in his first edition had assigned conceived theory that a believer of the

this work to a writer of the Pauline Circumcision could not have written

school. His opinion was controverted so liberally of the Gentile Christians

by Kayser in the Strassburg. Beitr. z. 'and so honourably of St Paul. Some

den Theol. Wisseusch. in. p. 107 (1851), writers again who have maintained

and with characteristic honesty he the Judaic authorship (Kayser for in

withdrew it in his second edition, at- stance, whose treatise I only know at

tributing the work to a Nazarene au- second hand) have got over this as

thor (p. 172 sq). Meanwhile Ritschl's sumed difficulty by rejecting certain

first view had been adopted in a mo- passages as interpolations. On the

nograph by Yorstman Disquis. de Test. other hand Ewald pronounces it' mere

written after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus and probably before the rebellion of Bar-cochba, but may be later1. With some alien features, perhaps stamped upon it by the individual writer, it exhibits generally the characteristics of this Nazarene sect. In this respect at least it offers a remarkable parallel, that to a strong Israelite feeling it unites the fullest recognition of the Gentile Churches. Our Lord is represented as the renovator of the law2: the imagery and illustrations are all Hebrew: certain virtues are strongly commended and certain vices strongly denounced by a Hebrew standard: many incidents in the lives of the patriarchs are derived from some unknown legendary Hebrew source8. Nay more; the sympathies of the writer are not only Judaic but Levitical. The Messiah is represented as a descendant not of Judah only but of Levi also; thus he is high priest as well as king4; but his priestly office is higher than his kingly, as Levi is greater than Judah1: the dying patriarchs one after another enjoin obedience to Levi: to the Testament of Levi are consigned the most important prophecies of all: the character of Levi is justified and partially cleansed of the stain which in the Old Testament narrative attaches to it*. Yet notwithstanding all this, the admission of the Gentiles into the privileges of the covenant is a constant united theme of thanksgiving with the writer, who mourns over the liberal falling away of the Jews but looks forward to their final restitu- Pnn01P estion. And into the mouth of the dying Benjamin he puts a prophecy foretelling an illustrious descendant who is to 'arise in after days, beloved of the Lord, listening to His voice, enlightening all the Gentiles with new knowledge'; who is to be 'in the synagogues of the Gentiles until the completion of the ages, and among their rulers as a musical strain in the mouth of all'; who shall 'be written in the holy books, he and his work and his word, and shall be the elect of God for ever3.'

Hebrew
sympa-
thies

folly to assert that Benj, c. 11 (the
prophecy about St Paul) was a later
addition to the work' (Gesch. d. Volks
1st. Vil p. 329), and certainly such
arbitrary assumptions would render
criticism hopeless.

Whether Ritschl is right or not in
supposing that the author was actually
a Nazarene, it is difficult aud not very
important to decide. The really im-
portant feature in the work is the com-
plexion of the opinions. I do not think
however that the mere fact of its having
been written in Greek proves the au-
thor to have been a Hellenist (Ewald
ib. p. 333).

1 The following dates have been assigned to it by recent critics; A.d. 100-135 (Dorner), 100-120 (Wieseler), 133-163 (Kayser), 100-153 (Nitzsch, Liicke), 117-193 (Gieseler), 100-200 (Hase), about 150 (Eeuss), 90-110 (Ewald). These dates except the last are taken from Vorstman p. 19 sq, who himself places it soon after the fall of Jerusalem (a.d. 70). The frequent references to this event fix the earliest possible date, while the absence of any

allusion to the rebellion of Bar-cochba seems to show that it was written before that time. It is directly named by Origen (Hom, in Jos. xv. 6), and probably was known to Tertullian (c. Marc. v. 1, Scorpiace 13), and (as I believe) even earlier to Irenrcus (Fragm. 17, p. 836 sq Stieren).

2 Levi 10, avaKo.ivoroiodiTa. rbv yinov iv Svvinei i\j/Urtov. 'The law of God, the law of the Lord,' are constant phrases with this writer; Levi 13, 19, Judas 18, 26, Issach. 5, Zabul. 10, Dan 6, Gad 3, Aser 2, 6, 7, Joseph 11, Benj. 10: see also Nepht. 8. His language in this respect is formed on the model of the Epistle of St James, as Ewald remarks (p. 329). Thus the Law of God with him 'is one with the revealed will of God, and he never therefore understands it in the narrow sense of a Jew or even of an Ebionite.'

8 See Ewald Gesch. i. p. 490.

4 Simeon 5, 7, Issach. 5, Dan 5, Nepht. 6, 8, Gad 8, Joseph 19, besides the passages referred to in the next note.

2. But besides these Nazarenes, there were other Judaizing Ebionites. sects, narrow and uncompromising, to whose principles or prejudices language such as I have just quoted would be most abhorrent.

The Ebionites were a much larger and more important body Their than the Nazarenes. They were not confined to the neighbour-tenetshood of Pella or even to Palestine and the surrounding countries, but were found in Rome and probably also in all the great centres of the dispersion*. Not content with observing

1 Reuben 6 rpoi Tbv Aevtiyylaare... the work presents several coincidences

airbs yap «i!Xo-yijaei Tsv 'Iapa1j\ Kal rbv of language with St Paul (see Vorst

'IoiSav, Judas 21 Kal vw riKva fiav iya- man p. 115 sq), and at least one quo

irfpati Tot Atvt.. .ipiol yap (suke Kvpios tation, Levi 6 t<p8aae Si ij Spyij Kvplov

rfjv fiaai\elav KaKiivi p ryjv Upateiav Kal ii? avroM e/s t€"\os, from 1 Thess. ii. 16.

inreral-e ttp flaaC\elav xjj Iepuaivjj- ipuol On the whole however the language in

i'ouw ra trl Tij% yijs K&Ktlvip To. iv the moral and didactic portions takes

eipiwoit, ib. 25 Atvt rpuros, oiirepos its colour from the Epistle of St James,

£yii, Nepht. 5 Aeut i/tpdrtiet rbv rj\iov and in the prophetic and apocalyptic

Kal 'JoiSai ipBdaai irlaat Ttjk aeXi}yijy. from the Revelation of St John.

1 Levi 6, 7. * Epiphan. Haer. xxx. 18.

* Benj. 11. Besides this prophecy

the Mosaic ordinances themselves, they maintained that the

law was binding on all Christians alike, and regarded Gentile

believers as impure because they refused to conform. As a

necessary consequence they rejected the authority and the

writings of St Paul, branding him as an apostate and pursuing

his memory with bitter reproaches. In their theology also

they were far removed from the Catholic Church, holding our

Lord to be a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary, who was

justified, as any of themselves might be justified, by his rigorous

performance of the law1.

Kelation If the Nazarenes might have claimed some affinity to the

Judaizers Apostles of the Circumcision, the Ebionites were the direct

of the spiritual descendants of those false brethren, the Judaizers of Apostoho *

age. the Apostolic age, who first disturbed the peace of the Antio

chene Church and then dogged St Paul's footsteps from city to

city, everywhere thwarting his efforts and undermining his

authority. If Ebionism was not primitive Christianity, neither

was it a creation of the second century. As an organization,

a distinct sect, it first made itself known, we may suppose, in

the reign of Trajan: but as a sentiment, it had been harboured

within the Church from the very earliest days. Moderated by

the personal influence of the Apostles, soothed by the general

practice of their church, not yet forced into declaring themselves

by the turn of events, though scarcely tolerant of others these

Judaizers were tolerated for a time themselves. The beginning

of the second century was a winnowing season in the Church of

the Circumcision.

Another The form of Ebionism8, which is most prominent in early writers and which I have hitherto had in view, is purely Pharisaic; but we meet also with another type, agreeing with the former up to a certain point but introducing at the same time a new element, half ascetic, half mystical.

type of

Ebionism,

1 For the opinions of these Ebion- by all Ebionites alike: (1) The recog

ites see the references in Schliemann nition of Jesus as Messiah; (2) The

p. 481 eq, and add Hippol. Haer. vii. denial of His divinity; (3) The uni

3 tI yap Koi trepis Th reroii}«i 7-A Iv versal obligation of the law; (4) The

vbnip rpoirrerayfih>a, riv av iKtiym b reject ion and hatred of St Paul. Their

Xpurrbf SuvaoBai ti Kal iavrois bnolus differences consisted in (1) Their view

roiriaavtai Xpiarobs yeviaBaf Kot yap of what constituted the law, and (2)

Ko.1 avtov inolui dvBpuroy tb>ai raaiv Their conception of the Person of

\iyovaai. Christ; e.g. whether He was born of

9 The following opinions were shared a Virgin or in the course of nature;

This foreign element was probably due to Essene influences, derived The doctrines of the Christian school bear so close a resemblance Essencs? to the characteristic features of the Jewish sect as to place their parentage almost beyond a doubt1: and moreover the headquarters of these heretics—the countries bordering on the Dead Sea—coincide roughly with the head-quarters of their prototype. This view however does not exclude the working of other influences more directly Gnostic or Oriental: and as this type of Ebionism seems to have passed through different phases at different times, and indeed to have comprehended several species at the same time, such modifications ought probably to be attributed to forces external to Judaism. Having regard then to its probable origin as well as to its typical character, we can hardly do wrong in adopting the name Essene or Gnostic Ebionism to distinguish it from the common type, Pharisaic Ebionism or Ebionism proper.

If Pharisaic Ebionism was a disease inherent in the Church of the Circumcision from the first, Essene Ebionism seems to Its later have been a later infection caught by external contact. In the ongU1' Palestinian Church at all events we see no symptoms of it during the Apostolic age. It is a probable conjecture, that after the destruction of Jerusalem the fugitive Christians, living in their retirement in the neighbourhood of the Essene settlements, received large accessions to their numbers from this sect, which thus inoculated the Church with its peculiar views*. It is at least worthy of notice, that in a religious work

what supernatural endowments He nius are strongly Essene.

bad and at what time they were be- l See especially the careful investi

stowed on Him, whether at His birth gation of Ritsobl p. 204 sq.

or at His baptism, etc. - Ritschl (p. 223), who adopts this

The Ebionites of earlier writers, as view, suggests that this sect, which had

Irenaeus and Hippolytus, belong to the stood aloof from the temple-worship

Pharisaic type; while those of Epipha- and abhorred sacrifices, would be led to

but

greater literary activity,

and zeal-
iHis prose-
lytism.

emanating from this school of Ebionites the 'true Gospel' is reported to have been first propagated 'after the destruction of the holy place V

This younger form of Judaic Christianity seems soon to have eclipsed the elder. In the account of Ebionism given by Epiphanius the Pharisaic characteristics are almost entirely absorbed in the Essene. This prominence is probably due in some measure to their greater literary capacity, a remarkable feature doubtless derived from the speculative tendencies and studious habits of the Jewish sect * to which they traced their parentage. Besides the Clementine writings which we possess whole, and the book of Elchasai of which a few fragmentary notices are preserved, a vast number of works which, though no longer extant, have yet moulded the traditions of the earlyChurch, emanated from these Christian Essenes. Hence doubtless are derived the ascetic portraits of James the Lord's brother in Hegesippus and of Matthew the Apostle in Clement of Alexandria *, to which the account of St Peter in the extant Clementines presents a close parallel *.

And with greater literary activity they seem also to have united greater missionary zeal. To this spirit of proselytism we owe much important information relating to the tenets of the sect.

One of their missionaries early in the third century brought to Rome a sacred book bearing the name of Elchasai or Elxai, whence also the sect were called Elchasaites. This book fell into the hands of Hippolytus the writer on heresies5, from whom our knowledge of it is chiefly derived. It professed to have been obtained from the Seres, a Parthian tribe, and to contain a revelation which had been first made in the third year of Trajan (a.d. 100). These Seres hold the same place in the fictions of Essene Ebionism, as the Hyperboreans in Greek legend: they are a mythical race, perfectly pure and therefore perfectly happy, long-lived and free from pain, scrupulous in the performance of all ceremonial rites and thus exempt from the penalties attaching to their neglect1. Elchasai, an Aramaic word signifying the 'hidden power2,' seems to be the name of the divine messenger who communicated the revelation, and probably the title of the book itself: Hippolytus understands it of the person who received the revelation, the founder of the sect. 'Elchasai,' adds this father, 'delivered it to a certain person called Sobiai.' Here again he was led astray by his ignorance of Aramaic: Sobiai is not the name of an individual but signifies 'the sworn members *,' to whom alone the revelation was to be communicated and who, perhaps, like their Essene prototypes1, took an oath to divulge it only to the brotherhood. I need not follow this strange but instructive notice farther. Whether this was the sacred book of the whole sect or of a part only, whether the name Elchasaism is coextensive with Essene Ebionism or not, it is Its pre- unimportant for my purpose to enquire. The pretended era date. of this revelation is of more consequence. Whether the book

Book of

Elchasai.

welcome Christ as the true prophet,
when they saw the fulfilment of His
predictions against the temple. In
Clem. Hom. iii. 15 great stress is laid
on the fulfilment of these prophecies:
oomp. also Clem. Recogn. i. 37 (especi-
ally in the Syriac).

1 CUm. Hom. ii. 17 J«ta KaBal/xaiv
Tod iylov rorov rfayyAiox iXifiii Kp6<j>a
SuuteiufiBTJyai tit iravip8iaai v Tuv iao-
ntvuv alpiaew. comp. Clem. Recogn.

i. 37, 64, iii. 61 (in the Syriac, as below, p. 86, note 5). See also Epiphan. Haer. xxx. 2.

* Joseph. B. J. ii. 8. 6.

* Paedag. ii. 1 (p. 174 Potter), where St Matthew is said to have lived on seeds, berries, and herbs, abstaining from animal food. See Ritschl p. 224.

* Clem. Hom. xii. 6, comp. viii. 15, xv. 7.

° Haer. ix. 13. See a valuable paper on the Elchasaites by Hitachi in Niedner's Zeitschrift iv. p. 573 aq (1853), the substance of which is given also in the second edition of his Altkatholische Kirche. Hilgenfeld has edited the fragments of the book of Elxai in his Novum Testamentum extra Cmumem Receptum, fasc. in. p. 153 sq (186G). The use made of it by Epiphanius is investigated by Lipsius, QueUenkritik det Epiphan. p. 143 sq.

1 Clem. Recogn. viii. 48, ix. 19. Even in classical writers the Seres or Chinese are invested with something of an ideal character: e.g. Plin. vi. 24, Strabo xv. p. 701, Mela iii. 7. But in the passage which most strikingly illustrates this fact (Geogr. Graec. Min. n. p. 514, ed. Mflller), the name disappears when the text is correctly read ('se regentes,' and not 'Serae gentes').

J 'D3 7*n. Epiphanius correctly ex

plains it Sfoapus KtKa\i/n/Uvri, Haer. xix. 2. See Ritschl 1. c. p. 581, and Altkath. Kirche p. 245. Other explanations of the word, given in Hilgenfeld 1. c. p. 156, in M. Nicolas Evangilei Apocryphes p. 108 (1866), and by Geiger Zeitsch. der Deutsch. Morgenl. GeselUeh. xvm. p. 824 (1864), do not recommend themselves. The name is differently written in Greek, HXx«roi, EWo-eu and HXfai. The first, whioh is most correct, is found in Hippolytus, who had seen the book.

* From J?2E>. Accordingly Hippolytus (ix. 17) relates that the Elchasaite missionary Alcibiades made a mystery of his teaching, forbidding it to be divulged except to the faithful; see Ritschl 1. c. p. 589. Ewald however (Gesch. vn. p. 159) derives Sobiai from i.e. /3arturral. See also

Chwolson die Ssabier etc. I. p. 111. 6

itself was really as early as the reign of Trajan or whether the date was part of the dramatic fiction, it is impossible to decide*. Even in the latter case, it will still show that according to their own tradition this epoch marked some striking development in the opinions or history of the sect; and the date given corresponds, it will be remembered, very nearly with the epoch mentioned by Hegesippus as the birthtime of a numerous brood of heresies*.

Without attempting to discriminate the different forms of

doctrine which this Essene Ebionism comprised in itself—to

point out for instance the distinctive features of the book of

Essene Elchasai, of the Homilies, and of the Recognitions respectively

distin- —it "will be sufficient to observe the broad line of demarcation

guished wJrich separates the Essene from the Pharisaic type'. Laying

risaic, almost equal stress with the others on the observance of the

law as an essential part of Christianity, the Essene Ebionites

undertook to settle by arbitrary criticism what the law was

1 Joseph. B. J. ii. 8. 7. nions which had thus been progressing

3 Hilgenfeld (p. xxi) maintains the stealthily now showed a bold front;

early date very positively against but whether the actual organization

Ritachi. Lipsius (1. c.) will not pro- of the sect or sects took place now or

nounce an opinion. at a still later date (after the rebellion

* See above, p. 71 sq. In the pas- of Bar-cochba), it is impossible to

sage there quoted Hegesippus speaks of say.

these heresies 'as living underground, * The chief authorities for the Es

burrowing (<pu\evbrrav)' until the reign sene Ebionites are Epiphanius (Haer.

of Trajan. This agrees with the state- xix, xxx); Hippolytus (Haer. ix. 13—

ment in the Homilies (ii. 17) already 17) and Origen (Euseb. H. E. vi. 38),

referred to (p. 80, note 1) that the whose accounts refer especially to the

true Gospel (i.e. Essene Ebionism) was book of Elchasai; and the Clementine

first 'secretly propagated' after the writings,

destruction of the temple. The opi- ° See Colossians p. 372.

By this capricious process they eliminated from the Old Testament all elements distasteful to them—the doctrine of sacrifices especially, which was abhorrent to Essene principles —cutting down the law to their own standard and rejecting the prophets wholly. As a compensation, they introduced certain ritual observances of their own, on which they laid great stress; more especially lustral washings and abstinence from wine and from animal food. In their Christology also they differed widely from the Pharisaic Ebionites, maintaining that the Word or Wisdom of God had been incarnate more than once, and that thus there had been more Christs than one, of whom Adam was the first and Jesus the last. Christianity in fact was regarded by them merely as the restoration of the primeval religion: in other words, of pure Mosaism before it had been corrupted by foreign accretions. Thus equally with the Pharisaic Ebionites they denied the Gospel the character of a new covenant; and, as a natural consequence, equally with them they rejected the authority and reviled the name of St Paull.

If the Pharisaic Ebionites are the direct lineal descendants and allied of the 'false brethren' who seduced St Paul's Galatian converts colossiau from their allegiance, the Essene Ebionites bear a strikingheretl0Sfamily likeness to those other Judaizers against whom he raises his voice as endangering the safety of the Church at Colossae *.

Of the hostility of these Christian Essenes to St Paul, as of their other typical features, a striking example is extant in the fictitious writings attributed to the Roman bishop Clement. These are preserved in two forms: the Homilies, extant in the ClemenGreek, apparently an uniform work, which perhaps may be writings, assigned to the middle or latter half of the second century; and the Recognitions, a composite production probably later than the Homilies, founded, it would appear, partly on them or some earlier work which was the common basis of both and partly on other documents, and known to us through the Latin

1 See Epiphan. Haer. xxx. 16, 25, the Clementine writings quoted in the Orig. ap. Euseb. 1. e. rbv iri<rro\oy Tt- text. \tov &Btrei; besides the passages in '-' See Colosiians p. 73 sq.