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Paul and Barnabas and declared the Gentiles to be free. But it was only now that the difficult question arose : What was to be the consequence for the Jewish Christians ? They themselves were to remain faithful to the law. Such was the decision given at Jerusalem. But was mutual intercourse henceforward possible ? Could a Jewish Christianity that remained true to the law, and a Gentile Christianity that was free from the law, continue side by side in a brotherly relationship?

The extremes quickly fell assunder. Paul placed Christianity in opposition to the law, and proclaimed the freedom of the Jewish Christians in Gentile countries. James and his party completely identified Christ and the law, and claimed the right to force the Gentiles to observe the law. In between these two extremes, the apostles remained in the old position of doubt and uncertainty which they had taken up at Jerusalem, without any definite principles, buffeted about by every storm and tempest, ill-fitted for leadership.

Such was the origin of Judaistic Christianity, a reversion to the Judaistic type in the very heart of the early Christians, occasioned by the progressive measures taken by St Paul. It was an altogether reactionary movement. The law was set above Christ, the Jewish idea maintained in its fanatical narrowness and intolerance. The majority of these people were sincere enough, to be sure. One does not make a burden of one's life in mere superficial lightheartedness. But for them Jesus had come into the world in vain.

This tendency falsified the picture of Jesus by the insertion of many foreign Judaistic features. To

say the very least, it wrongly exalted the utterances of a moment into the position of universally binding principles. It was this party which set on foot the mission in opposition to St Paul which sometimes questioned his authority for taking up this work at all. In Galatia its emissaries tried to win over the superstition of the heathen to the side of Jewish ceremonies, guided by the right instinct that the two were closely related and common foes of the Gospel. At Corinth they exploited a temporary wave of ill-feeling on the part of the congregation against their apostle, and attempted, first of all by mean denunciations, to rob him of the confidence that was felt in him, and so to have free play for their proselytizing efforts. The pious zeal of the narrow-minded, the passions of partizans and the malice of the wicked, here made common cause and did not shrink from employing even the worst means. But all this counter-mission ended in an utter want of success, and that for this reason, without going any further -- the immense majority of the Gentile Christians did not want to become Jews. Even in St Paul's lifetime the Church, in so far as it spoke Greek, could boast of a freedom that was securely assured.

It was only in Palestine and the neighbouring districts, where there had always been a strong Jewish element at the foundation, that this Jewish Christianity tenaciously maintained itself, but it was without any importance whatsoever for the fate of the Church at large. It retained its sectarian character all the more readily as it had itself split up

into numerous subordinate sects. To these two main currents of thought in the apostolic age

Judaism (the law for all Christians) and apostolic Christianity (the law for the Jews)---numerous gnostic variations akin to Essenism must soon be added. It is only in connection with the evolution of Islam that they are of any importance in the history of the world. It was just out of such a Jewish Christian sect that the faith of Mahomet developed into a world religion. Neither the political occurrences in the two Jewish wars nor Hadrian's edict against circumcision inflicted so heavy a blow upon Jewish Christianity as the circumstance that both Jews and Christians alike rejected this compromise—the former with curse and excommunication, the latter with the charge of heresy. So it was just put on one side—a proof to the world that compromises are to be saved by no sacred tradition, that there is indeed no such thing in history as standing still, but only progress or regression.

Such was the end of Jewish Christianity. The enthusiasm of the early days was succeeded by stagnation, decay, and finally dissolution.

Its enthusiasm, as well as all its living fruitful germs, St Paul took over into his Gentile church. By his progressive tendencies he drove the Church at Jerusalem into reactionary courses, and so sealed its decay and ultimate ruin. He was the disturbing, the exciting element in the earliest form of Christianity. He pulled down as much as he built up. He destroyed the peace, the vagueness, the compromises of this first age, and in so doing he understood the mind of his Master and the new mode of government of his Master's God.




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John the Baptist came as “more than a prophet,” as greatest “among them that are born of a woman. He set himself against the existing order of things and roused the whole people. But all that he left behind him was the ascetic sect of the Baptists which vanished in the chaotic confusion of different religions. Jesus followed. He grasped and combined all that was sound, deep, and genuine in the Jewish religion and rejected all that was morbid and artificial. He brought to His disciples the redemption and freedom of the children of God. But the immediate result of His activity—the early Christian fellowship—remained a mere sect composed of communities of pious Jews who longed for the Messiah and the kingdom, lived strictly according to the commandments of Jesus, and loved their own people. Almost exactly as they lived a few decades after the death of Jesus, Mahomet found them living centuries later. This Jewish Christianity lived apart from the main current of the world's history, in watchful expectation of the last day, and occupied in devotional exercises. The intro

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duction of Christianity into the history of the world is entirely the work of St Paul. He is not the founder of the new religion, and he did not wish to be accounted such. When he called Jesus his Lord and Redeemer he merely gave expression to actual facts. But it was he who brought Christianity out of Palestine and transplanted it among the Greeks and Romans, chief of all civilized nations. It could no longer now remain a mere Jewish sect. It had to measure its strength with the religions, the civilization, and the philosophy of the leading nations in the world's history. It had to enter into their needs, their language, and their social intercourse, assuming now a friendly, now a hostile attitude. It was bound to undergo a radical transformation, not merely of external form but of innermost essence. For as a simple community of brethren, believing in the Messiah and obeying the words of Jesus, there was no hope of its enduring in the midst of the civilization of the world. The new start is one of such importance that we must distinguish the pre-Pauline from the post-Pauline Christianity, or, what amounts to the same thing, the Palæstinian sect and the world religion.

But in so doing we are realizing one of history's secrets. History makes great leaps, reveals deep chasms and yawning abysses, never advances in a straight line, and thus mocks all a priori theorizing. Paul never knew Jesus during His lifetime, and nevertheless it was he who best understood Him. He was one of those Scribes and Pharisees on whom Jesus called woe, the cause of whose moral and spiritual malady was just the theory “True religion

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