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Jesus as the Saviour of the heathen. Yet the way had been paved-stepping-stones at least were not entirely wanting. First of all, Paul had a companion, Barnabas, who gave him the benefit of his riper knowledge and past experience. In the next place, the separation between Jew and Gentile was not absolutely complete. Little communities of Jews were scattered far and wide in all the larger Mediterranean towns; their synagogues attracted a number of Gentiles who became members of the community in a variety of ways, or were at least on terms of friendship with it. The first thing that St Paul did, therefore, was to visit the Jewish houses and synagogues in order by this means to obtain access to the proselytes and Gentiles. It was thus possible to take for granted that many of the Gentiles would be acquainted with the Jewish presuppositions of the Gospel especially with the Old Testament. The entirely Jewish character of St Paul's mission and theology is of course sufficiently explained by his own Jewish education, but becomes still more intelligible to us when we remember that the surroundings in which he worked had already been interpenetrated by Jewish influences.
In spite, however, of this Jewish preparation the attempt to bring Jesus to the Greeks was something entirely new. How was it to be
Several ways might be tried. One had already been attempted: the preaching of the twelve. It consisted of two simple parts: the promise and the threat, together with the demand. First the message: The judgment and the kingdom are close at hand:
the Messiah is coming, Jesus the crucified and risen Lord; He is coming as judge of the world. Thereby fear and hope are aroused; and then the exhortation : Do God's will as Jesus taught it, and attach yourself to those who expect Jesus as their Lord. Why should the Gentiles refuse to give ear to this simple appeal?
St Paul rejected this method with the exception of the first part, the announcement of the judgment. It is not that the presuppositions were too Jewish for him. He never experienced any difficulty in explaining the conception of the Messiah. But for himself this description of Christianity as a scheme of a promise and a claim upon conduct was altogether inadequate. Christianity was entirely a religion of redemption for him. He knew what that meantto wish to do God's will and not to be able to do it. All the weakness, the powerlessness and perversity of men when left to themselves, had become intelligible to him through his own failures, and at the same time he had experienced the rescue from this state, the uplifting power-God's grace. Now, with such an experience the scheme of salvation put forward by the earlier missionaries-it was that of Jesus Himself— could never satisfy him. Jesus the Redeemer, not the lawgiver, that was his watchword. It was a great piece of good fortune for Christianity. As a mere teacher of true religion Jesus would only have taken His place in the ranks of the Greek moral philosophers by the side of Socrates or Pythagoras. As such He would doubtless have commanded respect and admiration, but never the faith which gives birth to a religion. Paul saved Christianity
from the fate of stagnation as a school of ethics in the universal Greek rationalism.
An entirely different method of bringing Jesus to the Greeks was indicated by the great example of the Jewish - Alexandrine religious philosophy. Jesus needed but to occupy the position of Moses, as indeed He did later on. The Jews of Alexandria looked upon religion as a philosophy, with all its branchescosmology, psychology, ethics, etc. But as distinguished from the Greek philosophy, they looked upon their own as a revealed philosophy resting upon the oracles of the Old Testament, to which all the wisdom of the Greeks was related either as borrowed or as a preparatory stage. For they either ascribed to the Spirit of God only the sacred writings of the Jews, in which case the Greeks must have stolen from them, or they allowed a certain activity of the divine reason in the Greek thinkers and poets, but proclaimed at the same time the superiority of the absolute revelation which had been granted to Moses.
It is quite possible that the Alexandrine Apollos gave utterance to similar thoughts about Jesus in his teaching regarding the divine wisdom,' as his countrymen did about Moses. But such a mixture of religion and philosophy appeared to St Paul pure perversity. Once more his own personal experience was the decisive factor in the judgment which he formed. There had been a time when, as teacher of the law, he had boasted of the wisdom of his religion, and looked proudly down upon the blind heathen that were ignorant as children. But the collapse of his zeal for the law implied at the same time the fall of his pride in his wisdom. The foolishness of the Cross
as opposed to all the wisdom of the learned, be they Jews or Gentiles, that was his new motto. First brought low in so wonderful a manner, and then exalted as he had been, he seemed to see, at least when he began his work, the essence of all religion in the paradoxical, and rejoiced in the thought that the world had not recognized God through its wisdom, whilst the foolish and the lowly had accepted Jesus as their Redeemer, when He had been presented to them. This, too, was fortunate for early Christianity. Before it had been drawn into the philosophical evolution of the succeeding age, it was able to stand forth in all its sovereignty as a religion. All religion is a paradox. Jesus is not to be counted on the side of the philosophers. His religion can only be treated as an intellectual system, to its own loss and damage. The sole reason that arrested its entire decay was that, thanks to St Paul, it came to the Greeks at the time of its growth as a power of life, and not as a system of philosophy. Jesus no lawgiver, no teacher of philosophy—that is the kernel of Paul's preaching, as it was in later times of the Reformers. Hereby alone Paul proves himself to be the foremost interpreter of Jesus, in spite of his deviations from the message of the twelve.
How does Paul preach Jesus the Redeemer to the Greek world?
As for Jesus and the twelve so also for St Paul, the eschatological message stands in the forefront. The day of judgment is at hand, when each single individual, whether living or dead, shall have to appear before God's throne and give an account of all that he has done.
Reward and punishment are meted out
by God with perfect justice to the one destruction and death: salvation, everlasting life in the kingdom of God to the other. The expressions which St Paul uses are often different to those which we meet with in the message of Jesus. The Jewish conceptions— hell, Paradise, even the kingdom of God-recede into the background. Instead of judgment Paul always uses the word 'wrath'; instead of 'kingdom of God he prefers salvation'; and instead of hell,'' death.' The influence of Jesus is felt in the emphasis that is laid upon the individual, and in the entire abolition of all the privileges of Israel. It is individual men and women that appear before God, not peoples; and moral character is the only issue at stake. As before, an especially earnest appeal is founded upon the nearness of the approaching end: it is still time; soon it may be "too late. "The night is far spent, the day is at hand."
The question may be raised whether St Paul provided sanctions for his eschatological message to the heathen. Prophecy has at no time been greatly disturbed to seek for sanctions. Does it not rest upon God's word, upon the foretelling of His messengers?
The approach of the final catastrophe was a certain fact both for the apostle and for the Jews, proved out of the Old Testament; and Paul might reasonably presuppose among all proselytes of the synagogues some knowledge of the prophecies contained in the Scriptures. Nevertheless he spared no trouble in trying to give reasons give reasons for the positions that he advanced, and met the Greeks as well as he could on their own ground. The conceptions of requital after