Birth and education
From St. Paul himself we know that he was born at Tarsus in Cilicia (Acts 21:39), of a father who was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:26-28; cf. 16:37), of a family in which piety was hereditary (2 Timothy 1:3) and which was much attached to Pharisaic traditions and observances (Philippians 3:5-6).
St. Jerome relates, on what ground is not known, that his parents were natives of Gischala, a small town of Galilee and that they brought him to Tarsus when Gischala was captured by the Romans (Illustrious Men 5; "In epist. ad Phil.", 23). This last detail is certainly an anachronism, but the Galilean origin of the family is not at all improbable.
As he belonged to the tribe of Benjamin he was given at the time of his circumcision the name of Saul, which must have been common in that tribe in memory of the first king of the Jews (Philippians 3:5). As a Roman citizen he also bore the Latin name of Paul. It was quite usual for the Jews of that time to have two names, one Hebrew, the other Latin or Greek, between which there was often a certain assonance and which were joined together exactly in the manner made use of by St. Luke (Acts 13:9: Saulos ho kai Paulos). See on this point Deissmann, "Bible Studies" (Edinburgh, 1903, 313-17.) It was natural that in inaugurating his apostolate among the Gentiles Paul should have adopted his Roman name, especially as the name Saul had a ludicrous meaning in Greek.
As every respectable Jew had to teach his son a trade, young Saul learned how to make tents (Acts 18:3) or rather to make the mohair of which tents were made (cf. Lewin, "Life of St. Paul", I, London, 1874, 8-9). He was still very young when sent to Jerusalem to receive his education at the school of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Possibly some of his family resided in the holy city; later there is mention of the presence of one of his sisters whose son saved his life (Acts 23:16).
From that time it is absolutely impossible to follow him until he takes an active part in the martyrdom of St. Stephen (Acts 7:58-60; 22:20). He was then qualified as a young man (neanias), but this was very elastic appellation and might be applied to a man between twenty and forty.Conversion and early labours
We read in the Acts of the Apostles three accounts of the conversion of St. Paul (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-23) presenting some slight differences, which it is not difficult to harmonize and which do not affect the basis of the narrative, which is perfectly identical in substance. See J. Massie, "The Conversion of St. Paul" in "The Expositor", 3rd series, X, 1889, 241-62. Sabatier, agreeing with most independent critics, has well said (L'Apotre Paul, 1896, 42):
These differences cannot in any way alter the reality of the fact; their bearing on the narrative is extremely remote; they do not deal even with the circumstances accompanying the miracle but with the subjective impressions which the companions of St. Paul received of these circumstances. . . . To base a denial of the historical character of the account upon these differences would seem therefore a violent and arbitrary proceeding.
All efforts hitherto made to explain without a miracle the apparition of Jesus to Paul have failed. Naturalistic explanations are reduced to two: either Paul believed that he really saw Christ, but was the victim of an hallucination, or he believed that he saw Him only through a spiritual vision, which tradition, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, later erroneously materialized. Renan explained everything by hallucination due to disease brought on by a combination of moral causes such as doubt, remorse, fear, and of physical causes such as ophthalmia, fatigue, fever, the sudden transition from the torrid desert to the fresh gardens of Damascus, perhaps a sudden storm accompanied by lightning and thunder. All this combined, according to Renan's theory, to produce a cerebral commotion, a passing delirium which Paul took in good faith for an apparition of the risen Christ.
The other partisans of a natural explanation while avoiding the word hallucination, eventually fall back on the system of Renan which they merely endeavour to render a little less complicated. Thus Holsten, for whom the vision of Christ is only the conclusion of a series of syllogisms by which Paul persuaded himself that Christ was truly risen. So also Pfleiderer, who however, causes the imagination to play a more influential part:
An excitable, nervous temperament; a soul that had been violently agitated and torn by the most terrible doubts; a most vivid phantasy, occupied with the awful scenes of persecution on the one hand and on the other by the ideal image of the celestial Christ; in addition the nearness of Damascus with the urgency of a decision, the lonely stillness, the scorching and blinding heat of the desert — in fact everything combined to produce one of those ecstatic states in which the soul believes that it sees those images and conceptions which violently agitate it as if they were phenomena proceeding from the outward world (Lectures on the influence of the Apostle Paul on the development of Christianity, 1897, 43).
We have quoted Pfleiderer's words at length because his "psychological" explanation is considered the best ever devised. It will readily be seen that it is insufficient and as much opposed to the account in the Acts as to the express testimony of St. Paul himself.
* Paul is certain of having "seen" Christ as did the other Apostles (1 Corinthians 9:1); he declares that Christ "appeared" to him (1 Corinthians 15:8) as He appeared to Peter, to James, to the Twelve, after His Resurrection. * He knows that his conversion is not the fruit of his reasoning or thoughts, but an unforeseen, sudden, startling change, due to all-powerful grace (Galatians 1:12-15; 1 Corinthians 15:10). * He is wrongly credited with doubts, perplexities, fears, remorse, before his conversion. He was halted by Christ when his fury was at its height (Acts 9:1-2); it was "through zeal" that he persecuted the Church (Philippians 3:6), and he obtained mercy because he had acted "ignorantly in unbelief" (1 Timothy 1:13).
All explanations, psychological or otherwise, are worthless in face of these definite assertions, for all suppose that it was Paul's faith in Christ which engendered the vision, whereas according to the concordant testimony of the Acts and the Epistles it was the actual vision of Christ which engendered faith.
After his conversion, his baptism, and his miraculous cure Paul set about preaching to the Jews (Acts 9:19-20). He afterwards withdrew to Arabia — probably to the region south of Damascus (Galatians 1:17), doubtless less to preach than to meditate on the Scriptures. On his return to Damascus the intrigues of the Jews forced him to flee by night (2 Corinthians 11:32-33; Acts 9:23-25). He went to Jerusalem to see Peter (Galatians 1:18), but remained only fifteen days, for the snares of the Greeks threatened his life. He then left for Tarsus and is lost to sight for five or six years (Acts 9:29-30; Galatians 1:21). Barnabas went in search of him and brought him to Antioch where for a year they worked together and their apostolate was most fruitful (Acts 11:25-26). Together also they were sent to Jerusalem to carry alms to the brethren on the occasion of the famine predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). They do not seem to have found the Apostles there; these had been scattered by the persecution of Herod.Apostolic career of Paul
This period of twelve years (45-57) was the most active and fruitful of his life. It comprises three great Apostolic expeditions of which Antioch was in each instance the starting-point and which invariably ended in a visit to Jerusalem.First mission (Acts 13:1-14:27)
Set apart by command of the Holy Ghost for the special evangelization of the Gentiles, Barnabas and Saul embark for Cyprus, preach in the synagogue of Salamina, cross the island from east to west doubtless following the southern coast, and reach Paphos, the residence of the proconsul Sergius Paulus, where a sudden change takes place. After the conversion of the Roman proconsul, Saul, suddenly become Paul, is invariably mentioned before Barnabas by St. Luke and manifestly assumes the leadership of the mission which Barnabas has hitherto directed.
The results of this change are soon evident. Paul, doubtless concluding that Cyprus, the natural dependency of Syria and Cilicia, would embrace the faith of Christ when these two countries should be Christian, chose Asia Minor as the field of his apostolate and sailed for Perge in Pamphylia, eighty miles above the mouth of the Cestrus. It was then that John Mark, cousin of Barnabas, dismayed perhaps by the daring projects of the Apostle, abandoned the expedition and returned to Jerusalem, while Paul and Barnabas laboured alone among the rough mountains of Pisidia, which were infested by brigands and crossed by frightful precipices. Their destination was the Roman colony of Antioch, situated a seven day's journey from Perge. Here Paul spoke on the vocation of Israel and the providential sending of the Messias, a discourse which St. Luke reproduces in substance as an example of his preaching in the synagogues (Acts 13:16-41). The sojourn of the two missionaries in Antioch was long enough for the word of the Lord to be published throughout the whole country (Acts 13:49).
When by their intrigues the Jews had obtained against them a decree of banishment, they went to Iconium, three or four days distant, where they met with the same persecution from the Jews and the same eager welcome from the Gentiles. The hostility of the Jews forced them to take refuge in the Roman colony of Lystra, eighteen miles distant. Here the Jews from Antioch and Iconium laid snares for Paul and having stoned him left him for dead, but again he succeeded in escaping and this time sought refuge in Derbe, situated about forty miles away on the frontier of the Province of Galatia. Their circuit completed, the missionaries retraced their steps in order to visit their neophytes, ordained priests in each Church founded by them at such great cost, and thus reached Perge where they halted to preach the Gospel, perhaps while awaiting an opportunity to embark for Attalia, a port twelve miles distant. On their return to Antioch in Syria after an absence of at least three years, they were received with transports of joy and thanksgiving, for God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
The problem of the status of the Gentiles in the Church now made itself felt with all its acuteness. Some Judeo-Christians coming down from Jerusalem claimed that the Gentiles must be submitted to circumcision and treated as the Jews treated proselytes. Against this Paul and Barnabas protested and it was decided that a meeting should be held at Jerusalem in order to solve the question. At this assembly Paul and Barnabas represented the community of Antioch. Peter pleaded the freedom of the Gentiles; James upheld him, at the same time demanding that the Gentiles should abstain from certain things which especially shocked the Jews.
It was decided, first, that the Gentiles were exempt from the Mosaic law. Secondly, that those of Syria and Cilicia must abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication. Thirdly, that this injunction was laid upon them, not in virtue of the Mosaic law, but in the name of the Holy Ghost. This meant the complete triumph of Paul's ideas.
The restriction imposed on the Gentile converts of Syria and Cilicia did not concern his Churches, and Titus, his companion, was not compelled to be circumcised, despite the loud protests of the Judaizers (Galatians 2:3-4). Here it is to be assumed that Galatians 2 and Acts 15 relate to the same fact, for the actors are the same, Paul and Barnabas on the one hand, Peter and James on the other; the discussion is the same, the question of the circumcision of the Gentiles; the scenes are the same, Antioch and Jerusalem; the date is the same, about A.D. 50; and the result is the same, Paul's victory over the Judaizers.
However, the decision of Jerusalem did not do away with all difficulties. The question did not concern only the Gentiles, and while exempting them from the Mosaic law, it was not declared that it would not have been counted meritorious and more perfect for them to observe it, as the decree seemed to liken them to Jewish proselytes of the second class. Furthermore the Judeo-Christians, not having been included in the verdict, were still free to consider themselves bound to the observance of the law. This was the origin of the dispute which shortly afterwards arose at Antioch between Peter and Paul. The latter taught openly that the law was abolished for the Jews themselves. Peter did not think otherwise, but he considered it wise to avoid giving offence to the Judaizers and to refrain from eating with the Gentiles who did not observe all the prescriptions of the law. As he thus morally influenced the Gentiles to live as the Jews did, Paul demonstrated to him that this dissimulation or opportuneness prepared the way for future misunderstandings and conflicts and even then had regrettable consequences. His manner of relating this incident leaves no room for doubt that Peter was persuaded by his arguments (Galatians 2:11-20).Second mission (Acts 15:36-18:22)
The beginning of the second mission was marked by a rather sharp discussion concerning Mark, whom St. Paul this time refused to accept as travelling companion. Consequently Barnabas set out with Mark for Cyprus and Paul chose Silas or Silvanus, a Roman citizen like himself, and an influential member of the Church of Jerusalem, and sent by it to Antioch to deliver the decrees of the Apostolic council. The two missionaries first went from Antioch to Tarsus, stopping on the way in order to promulgate the decisions of the Council of Jerusalem; then they went from Tarsus to Derbe, through the Cilician Gates, the defiles of Tarsus, and the plains of Lycaonia. The visitation of the Churches founded during his first mission passed without notable incidents except the choice of Timothy, whom the Apostle while in Lystra persuaded to accompany him, and whom he caused to be circumcised in order to facilitate his access to the Jews who were numerous in those places.
It was probably at Antioch of Pisidia, although the Acts do not mention that city, that the itinerary of the mission was altered by the intervention of the Holy Ghost. Paul thought to enter the Province of Asia by the valley of Meander which separated it by only three day's journey, but they passed through Phrygia and the country of Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word of God in Asia (Acts 16:6). These words (ten phrygian kai Galatiken choran) are variously interpreted, according as we take them to mean the Galatians of the north or of the south (see GALATIANS). Whatever the hypothesis, the missionaries had to travel northwards in that portion of Galatia properly so called of which Pessinonte was the capital, and the only question is as to whether or not they preached there. They did not intend to do so, but as is known the evangelization of the Galatians was due to an accident, namely the illness of Paul (Galatians 4:13); this fits very well for Galatians in the north. In any case the missionaries having reached the upper part of Mysia (kata Mysian), attempted to enter the rich Province of Bithynia, which lay before them, but the Holy Ghost prevented them (Acts 16:7). Therefore, passing through Mysia without stopping to preach (parelthontes) they reached Alexandria of Troas, where God's will was again made known to them in the vision of a Macedonian who called them to come and help his country (Acts 16:9-10).
Paul continued to follow on European soil the method of preaching he had employed from the beginning. As far as possible he concentrated his efforts in a metropolis from which the Faith would spread to cities of second rank and to the country districts. Wherever there was a synagogue he first took his stand there and preached to the Jews and proselytes who would consent to listen to him. When the rupture with the Jews was irreparable, which always happened sooner or later, he founded a new Church with his neophytes as a nucleus. He remained in the same city until persecution, generally aroused by the intrigues of the Jews, forced him to retire. There were, however, variations of this plan. At Philippi, where there was no synagogue, the first preaching took place in the uncovered oratory called the proseuche, which the Gentiles made a reason for stirring up the persecution. Paul and Silas, charged with disturbing public order, were beaten with rods, imprisoned, and finally exiled. But at Thessalonica and Berea, whither they successively repaired after leaving Philippi, things turned out almost as they had planned.
The apostolate of Athens was quite exceptional. Here there was no question of Jews or synagogue, Paul, contrary to his custom, was alone (1 Thessalonians 3:1), and he delivered before the areopagus a specially framed discourse, a synopsis of which has been preserved by Acts 17:23-31 as a specimen of its kind. He seems to have left the city of his own accord, without being forced to do so by persecution. The mission to Corinth on the other hand may be considered typical. Paul preached in the synagogue every Sabbath day, and when the violent opposition of the Jews denied him entrance there he withdrew to an adjoining house which was the property of a proselyte named Titus Justus. He carried on his apostolate in this manner for eighteen months, while the Jews vainly stormed against him; he was able to withstand them owing to the impartial, if not actually favourable, attitude of the proconsul, Gallio. Finally he decided to go to Jerusalem in fulfillment of a vow made perhaps in a moment of danger. From Jerusalem, according to his custom, he returned to Antioch. The two Epistles to the Thessalonians were written during the early months of his sojourn at Corinth. For occasion, circumstances, and analysis of these letters see THESSALONIANS.Third mission (Acts 18:23-21:26)
Paul's destination in his third journey was obviously Ephesus. There Aquila and Priscilla were awaiting him, he had promised the Ephesians to return and evangelize them if it were the will of God (Acts 18:19-21), and the Holy Ghost no longer opposed his entry into Asia. Therefore, after a brief rest at Antioch he went through the countries of Galatia and Phrygia (Acts 18:23) and passing through "the upper regions" of Central Asia he reached Ephesus (19:1). His method remained the same. In order to earn his living and not be a burden to the faithful he toiled every day for many hours at making tents, but this did not prevent him from preaching the Gospel. As usual he began with the synagogue where he succeeded in remaining for three months. At the end of this time he taught every day in a classroom placed at his disposal by a certain Tyrannus "from the fifth hour to the tenth" (from eleven in the morning till four in the afternoon), according to the interesting addition of the "Codex Bezae" (Acts 19:9). This lasted two years, so that all the inhabitants of Asia, Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord (Acts 19:20).
Naturally there were trials to be endured and obstacles to be overcome. Some of these obstacles arose from the jealousy of the Jews, who vainly endeavoured to imitate Paul's exorcisms, others from the superstition of the pagans, which was especially rife at Ephesus. So effectually did he triumph over it, however, that books of superstition were burned to the value of 50,000 pieces of silver (each piece about a day's wage). This time the persecution was due to the Gentiles and inspired by a motive of self-interest. The progress of Christianity having ruined the sale of the little facsimiles of the temple of Diana and statuettes of the goddess, which devout pilgrims had been wont to purchase, a certain Demetrius, at the head of the guild of silversmiths, stirred up the crowd against Paul. The scene which then transpired in the theatre is described by St. Luke with memorable vividness and pathos (Acts 19:23-40). The Apostle had to yield to the storm. After a stay at Ephesus of two years and a half, perhaps more (Acts 20:31: trietian), he departed for Macedonia and thence for Corinth, where he spent the winter. It was his intention in the following spring to go by sea to Jerusalem, doubtless for the Pasch; but learning that the Jews had planned his destruction, he did not wish, by going to sea, to afford them an opportunity to attempt his life. Therefore he returned by way of Macedonia. Numerous disciples divided into two groups, accompanied him or awaited him at Troas. These were Sopater of Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica, Gaius of Derbe, Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia, and finally Luke, the historian of the Acts, who gives us minutely all the stages of the voyage: Philippi, Troas, Assos, Mitylene, Chios, Samos, Miletus, Cos, Rhodes, Patara, Tyre, Ptolemais, Caesarea, Jerusalem.
Three more remarkable facts should be noted in passing. At Troas Paul resuscitated the young Eutychus, who had fallen from a third-story window while Paul was preaching late into the night. At Miletus he pronounced before the ancients of Ephesus the touching farewell discourse which drew many tears (Acts 20:18-38). At Caesarea the Holy Ghost by the mouth of Agabus, predicted his coming arrest, but did not dissuade him from going to Jerusalem.
St. Paul's four great Epistles were written during this third mission: the first to the Corinthians from Ephesus, about the time of the Pasch prior to his departure from that city; the second to the Corinthians from Macedonia, during the summer or autumn of the same year; that to the Romans from Corinth, in the following spring; the date of the Epistle to the Galatians is disputed. On the many questions occasioned by the despatch and the language of these letters, or the situation assumed either on the side of the Apostle or his correspondents, see EPISTLES TO THE CORINTHIANS; EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS; EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS.Captivity (Acts 21:27-28:31)
Falsely accused by the Jews of having brought Gentiles into the Temple, Paul was ill-treated by the populace and led in chains to the fortress Antonia by the tribune Lysias. The latter having learned that the Jews had conspired treacherously to slay the prisoner sent him under strong escort to Caesarea, which was the residence of the procurator Felix. Paul had little difficulty in confounding his accusers, but as he refused to purchase his liberty. Felix kept him in chains for two years and even left him in prison in order to please the Jews, until the arrival of his successor, Festus. The new governor wished to send the prisoner to Jerusalem there to be tried in the presence of his accusers; but Paul, who was acquainted with the snares of his enemies, appealed to Caesar. Thenceforth his cause could be tried only at Rome. This first period of captivity is characterized by five discourses of the Apostle: The first was delivered in Hebrew on the steps of the Antonia before the threatening crowd; herein Paul relates his conversion and vocation to the Apostolate, but he was interrupted by the hostile shouts of the multitude (Acts 22:1-22). In the second, delivered the next day, before the Sanhedrin assembled at the command of Lysias, the Apostle skillfully embroiled the Pharisees with the Sadducees and no accusation could be brought. In the third, Paul, answering his accuser Tertullus in the presence of the Governor Felix, makes known the facts which had been distorted and proves his innocence (Acts 24:10-21). The fourth discourse is merely an explanatory summary of the Christian Faith delivered before Felix and his wife Drusilla (Acts 24:24-25). The fifth, pronounced before the Governor Festus, King Agrippa, and his wife Berenice, again relates the history of Paul's conversion, and is left unfinished owing to the sarcastic interruptions of the governor and the embarrassed attitude of the king (Acts 26).
The journey of the captive Paul from Caesarea to Rome is described by St. Luke with an exactness and vividness of colours which leave nothing to be desired. For commentaries see Smith, "Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul" (1866); Ramsay, "St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen" (London, 1908). The centurion Julius had shipped Paul and his fellow-prisoners on a merchant vessel on board which Luke and Aristarchus were able to take passage. As the season was advanced the voyage was slow and difficult. They skirted the coasts of Syria, Cilicia, and Pamphylia. At Myra in Lycia the prisoners were transferred to an Alexandrian vessel bound for Italy, but the winds being persistently contrary a place in Crete called Goodhavens was reached with great difficulty and Paul advised that they should spend the winter there, but his advice was not followed, and the vessel driven by the tempest drifted aimlessly for fourteen whole days, being finally wrecked on the coast of Malta. The three months during which navigation was considered most dangerous were spent there, but with the first days of spring all haste was made to resume the voyage. Paul must have reached Rome some time in March. "He remained two whole years in his own hired lodging . . . preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, without prohibition" (Acts 28:30-31). With these words the Acts of the Apostles conclude.
There is no doubt that Paul's trial terminated in a sentence of acquittal, for
* the report of the Governor Festus was certainly favourable as well as that of the centurion. * The Jews seem to have abandoned their charge since their co-religionists in Rome were not informed of it (Acts 28:21). * The course of the proceedings led Paul to hope for a release, of which he sometimes speaks as of a certainty (Philippians 1:25; 2:24; Philemon 22). * The pastorals, if they are authentic, assume a period of activity for Paul subsequent to his captivity. The same conclusion is drawn from the hypothesis that they are not authentic, for all agree that the author was well acquainted with the life of the Apostle. It is the almost unanimous opinion that the so-called Epistles of the captivity were sent from Rome. Some authors have attempted to prove that St. Paul wrote them during his detention at Caesarea, but they have found few to agree with them. The Epistles to the Colossians, the Ephesians, and Philemon were despatched together and by the same messenger, Tychicus. It is a matter of controversy whether the Epistle to the Philippians was prior or subsequent to these, and the question has not been answered by decisive arguments (see EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS; EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS; EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS; EPISTLE TO PHILEMON).
This period is wrapped in deep obscurity for, lacking the account of the Acts, we have no guide save an often uncertain tradition and the brief references of the Pastoral epistles. Paul had long cherished the desire to go to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28) and there is no evidence that he was led to change his plan. When towards the end of his captivity he announces his coming to Philemon (22) and to the Philippians (2:23-24), he does not seem to regard this visit as immediate since he promises the Philippians to send them a messenger as soon as he learns the issue of his trial; he therefore plans another journey before his return to theEast. Finally, not to mention the later testimony of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom, and Theodoret, the well-known text of St. Clement of Rome, the witness of the "Muratorian Canon", and of the "Acta Pauli" render probable Paul's journey to Spain. In any case he can not have remained there long, for he was in haste to revisit his Churches in the East. He may have returned from Spain through southern Gaul if it was thither, as some Fathers have thought, and not to Galatia, that Crescens was sent later (2 Timothy 4:10). We may readily believe that he afterwards kept the promise made to his friend Philemon and that on this occasion he visited the churches of the valley of Lycus, Laodicea, Colossus, and Hierapolis.
The itinerary now becomes very uncertain, but the following facts seem indicated by the Pastorals: Paul remained in Crete exactly long enough to found there new churches, the care and organization of which he confided to his fellow-worker Titus (Titus 1:5). He then went to Ephesus, and besought Timothy, who was already there, to remain until his return while he proceeded to Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3). On this occasion he paid his promised visit to the Philippians (Philippians 2:24), and naturally also saw the Thessalonians. The letter to Titus and the First Epistle to Timothy must date from this period; they seem to have been written about the same time and shortly after the departure from Ephesus. The question is whether they were sent from Macedonia or, which seems more probable, from Corinth. The Apostle instructs Titus to join him at Nicopolis of Epirus where he intends to spend the winter (Titus 3:12). In the following spring he must have carried out his plan to return to Asia (1 Timothy 3:14-15). Here occurred the obscure episode of his arrest, which probably took place at Troas; this would explain his having left with Carpus a cloak and books which he needed (2 Timothy 4:13). He was taken from there to Ephesus, capital of the Province of Asia, where he was deserted by all those on whom he thought he could rely (2 Timothy 1:15). Being sent to Rome for trial he left Trophimus sick at Miletus, and Erastus, another of his companions, remained at Corinth, for what reason is not clear (2 Timothy 4:20). When Paul wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy from Rome he felt that all human hope was lost (4:6); he begs his disciple to rejoin him as quickly as possible, for he is alone with Luke. We do not know if Timothy was able to reach Rome before the death of the Apostle.
Ancient tradition makes it possible to establish the following points:
* Paul suffered martyrdom near Rome at a place called Aquae Salviae (now Tre Fontane), somewhat east of the Ostian Way, about two miles from the splendid Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura which marks his burial place. * The martyrdom took place towards the end of the reign of Nero, in the twelfth year (St. Epiphanius), the thirteenth (Euthalius), or the fourteenth (St. Jerome). * According to the most common opinion, Paul suffered in the same year and on the same day as Peter; several Latin Fathers contend that it was on the same day but not in the same year; the oldest witness, St. Dionysius the Corinthian, says only kata ton auton kairon, which may be translated "at the same time" or "about the same time". * From time immemorial the solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul has been celebrated on 29 June, which is the anniversary either of their death or of the translation of their relics.
Formerly the pope, after having pontificated in the Basilica of St. Peter, went with his attendants to that of St. Paul, but the distance between the two basilicas (about five miles) rendered the double ceremony too exhausting, especially at that season of the year. Thus arose the prevailing custom of transferring to the next day (30 June) the Commemoration of St. Paul. The feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (25 January) is of comparatively recent origin. There is reason for believing that the day was first observed to mark the translation of the relics of St. Paul at Rome, for so it appears in the Hieronymian Martyrology. It is unknown to the Greek Church (Dowden, "The Church Year and Kalendar", Cambridge, 1910, 69; cf. Duchesne, "Origines du culte chrétien", Paris, 1898, 265-72; McClure, "Christian Worship", London, 1903, 277-81).Physical and moral portrait of St. Paul
We know from Eusebius (Church History VII.18) that even in his time there existed paintings representing Christ and the Apostles Peter and Paul. Paul's features have been preserved in three ancient monuments:
* A diptych which dates from not later than the fourth century (Lewin, "The Life and Epistles of St. Paul", 1874, frontispiece of Vol. I and Vol. II, 210). * A large medallion found in the cemetery of Domitilla, representing the Apostles Peter and Paul (Op. cit., II, 411). * A glass dish in the British Museum, depicting the same Apostles (Farrara, "Life and Work of St. Paul", 1891, 896).
We have also the concordant descriptions of the "Acta Pauli et Theclae", of Pseudo-Lucian in Philopatris, of Malalas (Chronogr., x), and of Nicephorus (Hist. eccl., III, 37).
Paul was short of stature; the Pseudo-Chrysostom calls him "the man of three cubits" (anthropos tripechys); he was broad-shouldered, somewhat bald, with slightly aquiline nose, closely-knit eyebrows, thick, greyish beard, fair complexion, and a pleasing and affable manner. He was afflicted with a malady which is difficult to diagnose (cf. Menzies, "St. Paul's Infirmity" in the "Expository Times", July and Sept., 1904), but despite this painful and humiliating infirmity (2 Corinthians 12:7-9; Galatians 4:13-14) and although his bearing was not impressive (2 Corinthians 10:10), Paul must undoubtedly have been possessed of great physical strength to have sustained so long such superhuman labours (2 Corinthians 11:23-29). Pseudo-Chrysostom, "In princip. apostol. Petrum et Paulum" (in P.G., LIX, 494-95), considers that he died at the age of sixty-eight after having served the Lord for thirty-five years.
The moral portrait is more difficult to draw because it is full of contrasts. Its elements will be found: in Lewin, op. cit., II, xi, 410-35 (Paul's Person and Character); in Farrar, op. cit., Appendix, Excursus I; and especially in Newman, "Sermons preached on Various Occasions", vii, viii.Theology of St. PaulPaul and Christ
This question has passed through two distinct phases. According to the principal followers of the Tübingen School, the Apostle had but a vague knowledge of the life and teaching of the historical Christ and even disdained such knowledge as inferior and useless. Their only support is the misinterpreted text: "Et si cognovimus secundum carnem Christum, sed nunc jam novimus" (2 Corinthians 5:16). The opposition noted in this text is not between the historical and the glorified Christ, but between the Messias such as the unbelieving Jews represented Him, such perhaps as he was preached by certain Judaizers, and the Messias as He manifested Himself in His death and Resurrection, as He had been confessed by the converted Paul. It is neither admissible nor probable that Paul would be uninterested in the life and preaching of Him, Whom he loved passionately, Whom he constantly held up for the imitation of his neophytes, and Whose spirit he boasted of having. It is incredible that he would not question on this subject eyewitnesses, such as Barnabas, Silas, or the future historians of Christ, Sts. Mark and Luke, with whom he was so long associated. Careful examination of this subject has brought out the three following conclusions concerning which there is now general agreement:
* There are in St. Paul more allusions to the life and teachings of Christ than would be suspected at first sight, and the casual way in which they are made shows that the Apostle knew more on the subject than he had the occasion, or the wish to tell. * These allusions are more frequent in St. Paul than the Gospels. * From Apostolic times there existed a catechesis, treating among other things the life and teachings of Christ, and as all neophytes were supposed to possess a copy it was not necessary to refer thereto save occasionally and in passing.
The second phase of the question is closely connected with the first. The same theologians, who maintain that Paul was indifferent to the earthly life and teaching of Christ, deliberately exaggerate his originality and influence. According to them Paul was the creator of theology, the founder of the Church, the preacher of asceticism, the defender of the sacraments and of the ecclesiastical system, the opponent of the religion of love and liberty which Christ came to announce to the world. If, to do him honour, he is called the second founder of Christianity, this must be a degenerate and altered Christianity since it was at least partially opposed to the primitive Christianity. Paul is thus made responsible for every antipathy to modern thought in traditional Christianity.
This is to a great extent the origin of the "Back to Christ" movement, the strange wanderings of which we are now witnessing. The chief reason for returning to Christ is to escape Paul, the originator of dogma, the theologian of the faith. The cry "Zuruck zu Jesu" which has resounded in Germany for thirty years, is inspired by the ulterior motive, "Los von Paulus". The problem is: Was Paul's relation to Christ that of a disciple to his master? or was he absolutely autodidactic, independent alike of the Gospel of Christ and the preaching of the Twelve? It must be admitted that most of the papers published shed little light on the subject. However, the discussions have not been useless, for they have shown that the most characteristic Pauline doctrines, such as justifying faith, the redeeming death of Christ, the universality of salvation, are in accord with the writings of the first Apostles, from which they were derived. Julicher in particular has pointed out that Paul's Christology, which is more exalted than that of his companions in the apostolate, was never the object of controversy, and that Paul was not conscious of being singular in this respect from the other heralds of the Gospel. Cf. Morgan, "Back to Christ" in "Dict. of Christ and the Gospels", I, 61-67; Sanday, "Paul", loc. cit., II, 886-92; Feine, "Jesus Christus und Paulus" (1902); Goguel, "L'apôtre Paul et Jésus-Christ" (Paris, 1904); Julicher, "Paulus und Jesus" (1907).The root idea of St. Paul's theology
Several modern authors consider that theodicy is at the base, centre, and summit of Pauline theology. "The apostle's doctrine is theocentric, not in reality anthropocentric. What is styled his 'metaphysics' holds for Paul the immediate and sovereign fact of the universe; God, as he conceives Him, is all in all to his reason and heart alike" (Findlay in Hastings, "Dict. of the Bible", III, 718). Stevens begins the exposition of his "Pauline Theology" with a chapter entitled "The doctrine of God". Sabatier (L'apotre Paul, 1896, 297) also considers that "the last word of Pauline theology is: "God all in all", and he makes the idea of God the crown of Paul's theological edifice. But these authors have not reflected that though the idea of God occupies so large a place in the teaching of the Apostle, whose thought is deeply religious like that of all his compatriots, it is not characteristic of him, nor does it distinguish him from his companions in the apostolate nor even from contemporary Jews.
Many modern Protestant theologians, especially among the more or less faithful followers of the Tübingen School, maintain that Paul's doctrine is "anthropocentric", that it starts from his conception of man's inability to fulfill the law of God without the help of grace to such an extent that he is a slave of sin and must wage war against the flesh. But if this be the genesis of Paul's idea it is astonishing that he enunciates it only in one chapter (Romans 7), the sense of which is controverted, so that if this chapter had not been written, or it had been lost, we would have no means of recovering the key to his teaching. However, most modern theologians now agree that St. Paul's doctrine is Christocentric, that it is at base a soteriology, not from a subjective standpoint, according to the ancient prejudice of the founders of Protestantism who made justification by faith the quintessence of Paulinism, but from the objective standpoint, embracing in a wide synthesis the person and work of the Redeemer. This may be proved empirically by the statement that everything in St. Paul converges towards Jesus Christ, so much so, that abstracting from Jesus Christ it becomes, whether taken collectively or in detail, absolutely incomprehensible. This is proved also by demonstrating that what Paul calls his Gospel is the salvation of all men through Christ and in Christ. This is the standpoint of the following rapid analysis:Humanity without Christ
The first three chapters of the Epistle to the Romans shows us human nature wholly under the dominion of sin. Neither Gentiles nor Jews had withstood the torrent of evil. The Mosaic Law was a futile barrier because it prescribed good without importing the strength to do it. The Apostle arrives at this mournful conclusion: "There is no distinction [between Jew and Gentile]; for all have sinned, and do need the glory of God" (Romans 3:22-23). He subsequently leads us back to the historical cause of this disorder: "By one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). This man is obviously Adam, the sin which he brought into the world is not only his personal sin, but a predominating sin which entered into all men and left in them the seed of death: "All sinned when Adam sinned; all sinned in and with his sin" (Stevens, "Pauline Theology", 129).
It remains to be seen how original sin, which is our lot by natural generation, manifests itself outwardly and becomes the source of actual sins. This Paul teaches us in chapter 7, where describing the contest between the Law assisted by reason and human nature weakened by the flesh and the tendency to evil, he represents nature as inevitably vanquished: "For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: But I see another law in my members fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin" (Romans 7:22-23). This does not mean that the organism, the material substratus, is evil in itself, as some theologians of the Tübingen School have claimed, for the flesh of Christ, which was like unto ours, was exempt from sin, and the Apostle wishes that our bodies, which are destined to rise again, be preserved free from stain. The relation between sin and the flesh is neither inherent nor necessary; it is accidental, determined by an historical fact, and capable of disappearing through the intervention of the Holy Ghost, but it is none the less true that it is not in our power to overcome it unaided and that fallen man had need of a Saviour.
Yet God did not abandon sinful man. He continued to manifest Himself through this visible world (Romans 1:19-20), through the light of a conscience (Romans 2:14-15), and finally through His ever active and paternally benevolent Providence (Acts 14:16; 17:26). Furthermore, in His untiring mercy, He "will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). This will is necessarily subsequent to original sin since it concerns man as he is at present. According to His merciful designs God leads man step by step to salvation. To the Patriarchs, and especially to Abraham, He gave his free and generous promise, confirmed by oath (Romans 4:13-20; Galatians 3:15-18), which anticipated the Gospel. To Moses He gave His Law, the observation of which should be a means of salvation (Romans 7:10; 10:5), and which, even when violated, as it was in reality, was no less a guide leading to Christ (Galatians 3:24) and an instrument of mercy in the hands of God. The Law was a mere interlude until such time as humanity should be ripe for a complete revelation (Galatians 3:19; Romans 5:20), and thus provoked the Divine wrath (Romans 4:15). But good will arise from the excess of evil and "the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise, by the faith of Jesus Christ, might be given to them that believe" (Galatians 3:22). This would be fulfilled in the "fullness of the time" (Galatians 4:4; Ephesians 1:10), that is, at the time set by God for the execution of His merciful designs, when man's helplessness should have been well manifested. Then "God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: that he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4).The person of the Redeemer
Nearly all statements relating to the person of Jesus Christ bear either directly or indirectly on His role as a Saviour. With St. Paul Christology is a function of soteriology. However broad these outlines, they show us the faithful image of Christ in His pre-existence, in His historical existence and in His glorified life (see F. Prat, "Théologie de Saint Paul").
(1) Christ in His pre-existence
(a) Christ is of an order superior to all created beings (Ephesians 1:21); He is the Creator and Preserver of the World (Colossians 1:16-17); all is by Him, in Him, and for Him (Colossians 1:16).
(b) Christ is the image of the invisible Father (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15); He is the Son of God, but unlike other sons is so in an incommunicable manner; He is the Son, the own Son, the well-Beloved, and this He has always been (2 Corinthians 1:19; Romans 8:3, 8:32; Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 1:6; etc.).
(c) Christ is the object of the doxologies reserved for God (2 Timothy 4:18; Romans 16:27); He is prayed to as the equal of the Father (2 Corinthians 12:8-9; Romans 10:12; 1 Corinthians 1:2); gifts are asked of Him which it is in the power of God alone to grant, namely grace, mercy, salvation (Romans 1:7; 16:20; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 16:23; etc. before Him every knee shall bow in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Philippians 2:10), as every head inclines in adoration of the majesty of the Most High.
(d) Christ possesses all the Divine attributes; He is eternal, since He is the "first born of every creature" and exists before all ages (Colossians 1:15-17); He is immutable, since He exists "in the form of God" (Philippians 2:6); He is omnipotent, since He has the power to bring forth being from nothingness (Colossians 1:16); He is immense, since He fills all things with His plenitude (Ephesians 4:10; Colossians 2:10); He is infinite since "the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him" (Colossians 2:9). All that is the special property of the God belongs of right to Him; the judgment seat of God is the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10); the Gospel of God is the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:1, 1:9, 15:16, 15:19, etc.); the Church of God is the Church of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2 and Romans 16:16 sqq.); the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Christ (Ephesians 5:5), the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9 sqq.).
(e) Christ is the one Lord (1 Corinthians 8:6); He is identified with Jehovah of the Old Covenant (1 Corinthians 10:4, 10:9; Romans 10:13; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16; 9:21); He is the God who has purchased the Church with his own blood" (Acts 20:28); He is our "great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13); He is the "God over all things" (Romans 9:5), effacing by His infinite transcendency the sum and substance of created things.
(2) Jesus Christ as Man
The other aspect of the figure of Christ is drawn with no less firm a hand. Jesus Christ is the second Adam (Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49); "the mediator of God and men" (1 Timothy 2:5), and as such He must necessarily be man (anthropos Christos Iesous). So He is the descendant of the Patriarchs (Romans 9:5; Galatians 3:16), He is "of the seed of David, according to the flesh)" (Romans 1:3), "born of a woman" (Galatians 4:4), like all men; finally, He is known as a man by His appearance, which is exactly similar to that of men (Philippians 2:7), save for sin, which He did not and could not know (2 Corinthians 5:21). When St. Paul says that "God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3), he does not mean to deny the reality of Christ's flesh, but excludes only sinful flesh.
Nowhere does the Apostle explain how the union of the Divine and the human natures is accomplished in Christ, being content to affirm that He who was "in the form of God" took "the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:6-7), or he states the Incarnation in this laconic formula: "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally" (Colossians 2:9). What we see clearly is that there is in Christ a single Person to whom are attributed, often in the same sentence, qualities proper to the Divine and the human nature, to the pre-existence, the historical existence, and the glorified life (Colossians 1:15-19; Philippians 2:5-11; etc.). The theological explanation of the mystery has given rise to numerous errors. Denial was made of one of the natures, either the human (Docetism), or the Divine (Arianism), or the two natures were considered to be united in a purely accidental manner so as to produce two persons (Nestorianism), or the two natures were merged into one (Monophysitism), or on pretext of uniting them in one person the heretics mutilated either the human nature (Apollinarianism), or the Divine, according to the strange modern heresy known as Kenosis.
The last-mentioned requires a brief treatment, as it is based on a saying of St. Paul "Being in the form of God . . . emptied himself (ekenosen eauton, hence kenosis) taking the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:6-7). Contrary to the common opinion, Luther applied these words not to the Word, but to Christ, the Incarnate Word. Moreover he understood the communicatio idiomatus as a real possession by each of the two natures of the attributes of the other. According to this the human nature of Christ would possess the Divine attributes of ubiquity, omniscience, and omnipotence. There are two systems among Lutheran theologians, one asserting that the human nature of Christ was voluntarily stripped of these attributes (kenosis), the other that they were hidden during His mortal existence (krypsis).
In modern times the doctrine of Kenosis, while still restricted to Lutheran theology, has completely changed its opinions. Starting with the philosophical idea that "personality" is identified with "consciousness", it is maintained that where there is only one person there can be only one consciousness; but since the consciousness of Christ was truly human consciousness, the Divine consciousness must of necessity have ceased to exist or act in Him. According to Thomasius, the theorist of the system, the Son of God was stripped, not after the Incarnation, as Luther asserted, but by the very fact of the Incarnation, and what rendered possible the union of the Logos with the humanity was the faculty possessed by the Divinity to limit itself both as to being and activity. The other partisans of the system express themselves in a similar manner. Gess, for instance, says that in Jesus Christ the Divine ego is changed into the human ego. When it is objected that God is immutable, that He can neither cease to be, nor limit Himself, nor transform Himself, they reply that this reasoning is on metaphysical hypotheses and concepts without reality. (For the various forms of Kenosis see Bruce, "The Humiliation of Christ", p. 136.)
All these systems are merely variations of Monophysitism. Unconsciously they assume that there is in Christ but a single nature as there is but a single person. According to the Catholic doctrine, on the contrary, the union of the two natures in a single person involves no change in the Divine nature and need involve no physical change of the human nature of Christ. Without doubt Christ is the Son and is morally entitled even as man to the goods of His Father, viz. the immediate vision of God, eternal beatitude, the state of glory. He is temporarily deprived of a portion of these goods in order that he may fulfill His mission as Redeemer. This is the abasement, the annihilation, of whichSt. Paul speaks, but it is a totally different thing from the Kenosis as described above.The objective redemption as the work of Christ
We have seen that fallen man being unable to arise again unaided, God in His mercy sent His Son to save him. It is an elementary and often repeated doctrine of St. Paul that Jesus Christ saves us through the Cross, that we are "justified by His blood", that "we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:9-10). What endowed the blood of Christ, His death, His Cross, with this redeeming virtue? Paul never answers this question directly, but he shows us the drama of Calvary under three aspects, which there is danger in separating and which are better understood when compared:
(a) at one time the death of Christ is a sacrifice intended, like the sacrifice of the Old Law, to expiate sin and propitiate God. Cf. Sanday and Headlam, "Romans", 91-94, "The death of Christ considered as a sacrifice". "It is impossible from this passage (Romans 3:25) to get rid of the double idea: (1) of a sacrifice; (2) of a sacrifice which is propitiatory . . . Quite apart from this passage it is not difficult to prove that these two ideas of sacrifice and propitiation lie at the root of the teaching not only of St. Paul but of the New Testament generally." The double danger of this idea is, first to wish to apply to the sacrifice of Christ all the mode of action, real or supposed, of the imperfect sacrifices of the Old Law; and second, to believe that God is appeased by a sort of magical effect, in virtue of this sacrifice, whereas on the contrary it was He Who took the initiative of mercy, instituted the sacrifice of Calvary, and endowed it with its expiatory value.
(b) At another time the death of Christ is represented as a redemption, the payment of a ransom, as the result of which man was delivered from all his past servitude (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23 [times egorasthete]; Galatians 3:13; 4:5 [ina tous hypo nomon exagorase]; Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:7, 14; Colossians 1:14 [apolytrosis]; 1 Timothy 2:6 [antilytron]; etc.) This idea, correct as it is, may have inconveniences if isolated or exaggerated. By carrying it beyond what was written, some of the Fathers put forth the strange suggestion of a ransom paid by Christ to the demon who held us in bondage. Another mistake is to regard the death of Christ as having a value in itself, independent of Christ Who offered it and God Who accepted it for the remission of our sins.
(c) Often, too, Christ seems to substitute Himself for us in order to undergo in our stead the chastisement for sin. He suffers physical death to save us from the moral death of sin and preserve us from eternal death. This idea of substitution appealed so strongly to Lutheran theologians that they admitted quantitative equality between the sufferings really endured by Christ and the penalties deserved by our sins. They even maintained that Jesus underwent the penalty of loss (of the vision of God) and the malediction of the Father.
These are the extravagances which have cast so much discredit on the theory of subsitution. It has been rightly said that the transfer of a chastisement from one person to another is an injustice and a contradiction, for the chastisement is inseparable from the fault and an undeserved chastisement is no longer a chastisement. Besides,St. Paul never said that Christ died in our stead (anti), but only that he died for us (hyper) because of our sins.
In reality the three standpoints considered above are but three aspects of the Redemption which, far from excluding one another, should harmonize and combine, modifying if necessary all the other aspects of the problem. In the following text St. Paul assembles these various aspects with several others. We are "justified freely by his grace, through the Redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the shewing of his [hidden] justice, for the remission of former sins, through the forbearance of God, for the shewing of his justice in this time; that of himself may be [known as] just, and the justifier of him, who is in the faith of Jesus Christ" (Romans 3:24-26). Herein are designated the part of God, of Christ, and of man:
* God takes the initiative; it is He who offers His Son; He intends to manifest His justice, but is moved thereto by mercy. It is therefore incorrect or more or less inadequate to say that God was angry with the human race and that He was only appeased by the death of His Son. * Christ is our Redemption (apolytrosis), He is the instrument of expiation or propitiation (ilasterion), and is such by His Sacrifice (en to autou aimati), which does not resemble those of irrational animals; it derives its value from Christ, who offers it for us to His Father through obedience and love (Philippians 2:8; Galatians 2:20). * Man is not merely passive in the drama of his salvation; he must understand the lesson which God teaches, and appropriate by faith the fruit of the Redemption.
The subjective redemption
Christ having once died and risen, the Redemption is completed in law and in principle for the whole human race. Each man makes it his own in fact and in act by faith and baptism which, by uniting him with Christ, causes him to participate in His Divine life. Faith, according to St. Paul, is composed of several elements; it is the submission of the intellect to the word of God, the trusting abandonment of the believer to the Saviour Who promises him assistance; it is also an act of obedience by which man accepts the Divine will. Such an act has a moral value, for it "gives glory to God" (Romans 4:20) in the measure in which it recognizes its own helplessness. That is why "Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto justice" (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6). The spiritual children of Abraham are likewise "justified by faith, without the works of the law" (Romans 3:28; cf. Galatians 2:16). Hence it follows:
* That justice is granted by God in consideration of faith. * That, nevertheless, faith is not equivalent to justice, since man is justified "by grace" (Romans 4:6). * That the justice freely granted to man becomes his property and is inherent in him.
Protestants formerly asserted that the justice of Christ is imputed to us, but now they are generally agreed that this argument is unscriptural and lacks the guaranty of Paul; but some,loth to base justification on a good work (ergon), deny a moral value to faith and claim that justification is but a forensic judgment of God which alters absolutely nothing in the justified sinner. But this theory is untenable, for:
* even admitting that "to justify" signifies "to pronounce just", it is absurd to suppose that God really pronounces just anyone who is not already so or who is not rendered so by the declaration itself. * Justification is inseparable from sanctification, for the latter is "a justification of life" (Romans 5:18) and every "just man liveth by faith" (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11). * By faith and baptism we die to the "old man", our former selves; now this is impossible without beginning to live as the new man, who "according to God, is created in justice and holiness" (Romans 6:3-5; Ephesians 4:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11). We may, therefore, establish a distinction in definition and concept between justification and sanctification, but we can neither separate them nor regard them as separate.
A remarkable characteristic of Paulinism is that it connects morality with the subjective redemption or justification. This is especially striking in chapter 6 of the Epistle to the Romans. In baptism "our old man is crucified with [Christ] that, the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer" (Romans 6:6). Our incorporation with the mystical Christ is not only a transformation and a metamorphosis, but a real reaction, the production of a new being, subject to new laws and consequently to new duties. To understand the extent of our obligations it is enough for us to know ourselves as Christians and to reflect on the various relations which result from our supernatural birth: that of sonship to God the Father, of consecration to the Holy Ghost, of mystical identity with our Saviour Jesus Christ, of brotherly union with the other members of Christ. But this is not all. Paul says to the neophytes:
"Thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed from the heart unto that form of doctrine, into which you have been delivered. . . . But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting (Romans 6:17, 22).
By the act of faith and by baptism, its seal, the Christian freely makes himself the servant of God and the soldier of Christ. God's will, which he accepts in advance in the measure in which it shall be manifested, becomes thenceforth his rule of conduct. Thus Paul's moral code rests on the one hand on the positive will of God made known by Christ, promulgated by the Apostles, and virtually accepted by the neophyte in his first act of faith, and on the other, in baptismal regeneration and the new relations which it produces. All Paul's commands and recommendations are merely applications of these principles.Eschatology
(1) The graphic description of the Pauline parousia (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) has nearly all its main points in Christ's great eschatological discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). A common characteristic of all these passages is the apparent nearness of the parousia. Paul does not assert that the coming of the Saviour is at hand. In each of the five epistles, wherein he expresses the desire and the hope to witness in person the return of Christ, he at the same time considers the probability of the contrary hypothesis, proving that he had neither revelation nor certainty on the point. He knows only that the day of the lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3), and he counsels the neophytes to make themselves ready without neglecting the duties of their state of life (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12). Although the coming of Christ will be sudden, it will be heralded by three signs:
* general apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3), * the appearance of Antichrist (2:3-12), and * the conversion of the Jews (Romans 11:26).
A particular circumstance of St. Paul's preaching is that the just who shall be living at Christ's second advent will pass to glorious immortality without dying [1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:51 (Greek text); 2 Corinthians 5:2-5].
(2) Owing to the doubts of the Corinthians Paul treats the resurrection of the just at some length. He does not ignore the resurrection of the sinners, which he affirmed before the Governor Felix (Acts 24:15), but he does not concern himself with it in his Epistles. When he says that "the dead who are in Christ shall rise first" (proton, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Greek) this "first" offsets, not another resurrection of the dead, but the glorious transformation of the living. In like manner "the evil" of which he speaks (tou telos, 1 Corinthians 15:24) is not the end of the resurrection, but of the present world and the beginning of a new order of things. All the arguments which he advances in behalf of the resurrection may be reduced to three: the mystical union of the Christian with Christ, the presence within us of the Spirit of Holiness, the interior and supernatural conviction of the faithful and the Apostles. It is evident that these arguments deal only with the glorious resurrection of the just. In short, the resurrection of the wicked does not come within his theological horizon. What is the condition of the souls of the just between death and resurrection? These souls enjoy the presence of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8); their lot is enviable (Philippians 1:23); hence it is impossible that they should be without life, activity, or consciousness.
(3) The judgment according to St. Paul as according to the Synoptics, is closely connected with the parousia and the resurrection. They are the three acts of the same drama which constitute the Day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16). "For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Two conclusions are derived from this text:
(1) The judgment shall be universal, neither the good nor the wicked shall escape (Romans 14:10-12), nor even the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3); all who are brought to trial must account for the use of their liberty.
(2) The judgment shall be according to works: this is a truth frequently reiterated by St. Paul, concerning sinners (2 Corinthians 11:15), the just (2 Timothy 4:14), and men in general (Romans 2:6-9). Many Protestants marvel at this and claim that in St. Paul this doctrine is a survival of his rabbinical education (Pfleiderer), or that he could not make it harmonize with his doctrine of gratuitous justification (Reuss), or that the reward will be in proportion to the act, as the harvest is in proportion to the sowing, but that it will not be because of or with a view to the act (Weiss). These authors lose sight of the fact that St. Paul distinguishes between two justifications, the first necessarily gratuitous since man was then incapable of meriting it (Romans 3:28; Galatians 2:16), the second in conformity to his works (Romans 2:6: kata ta erga), since man, when adorned with sanctifying grace, is capable of merit as the sinner is of demerit. Hence the celestial recompense is "a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render" (2 Timothy 4:8) to whomsoever has legitimately gained it.
Briefly, St. Paul's eschatology is not so distinctive as it has been made to appear. Perhaps its most original characteristic is the continuity between the present and the future of the just, between grace and glory, between salvation begun and salvation consummated. A large number of terms, redemption, justification, salvation, kingdom, glory and especially life, are common to the two states, or rather to the two phases of the same existence linked by charity which "never falleth away".
Here beginneth the Life of S. Paul the Apostle and Doctor.
Paul is as much to say as the mouth of a trumpet or of sense; or marvellously chosen, or a miracle of election. Or Paul is said of pause, that is rest, in Hebrew, or it is said little, in Latin. And by this be understood six prerogatives which Paul had before the other apostles. The first is a fruitful tongue, for he replenished the gospel from Jerusalem to Jericho, and therefore he is said the mouth of a trump. The second was virtuous charity, for he said: Who is sick, and I am not sick? and therefore he is said mouth of sense or understanding. The third is conversion much marvellous, and therefore he is said marvellously chosen, for he was marvellously chosen and converted. The fourth is the hand working, and therefore he is said marvellous of election, for it was a great miracle when he chose to get his dispenses with the labour of his hands, and to preach without ceasing. The fifth was contemplation delicious, for rest of thought is required in contemplation, for he was ravished unto the third heaven. The sixth was humility virtuous, and therefore he is said little. Of this name, Paul, be three opinions. Origen saith that he hath always two names, and was called Paulus and Saulus. And Rabanus saith that he was called Saulus, and that was after Saul the proud king, but after his conversion he was called Paul, as it were little and humble of spirit, and therefore he said: I am least of all the apostles. And Bede said that he was called Paul of Sergius Paulus proconsul, whom he converted to the faith. And Linus the pope writeth his passion.
Of S. Paul, Doctor and Apostle.
S. Paul the apostle, after his conversion, suffered many persecutions, the which the blessed Hilary rehearseth shortly, saying: Paul the apostle was beaten with rods at Philippi, he was put in prison, and by the feet fast set in stocks, he was stoned in Lystra. In Iconia and Thessalonica he was pursued of wicked people. In Ephesus he was delivered to wild beasts. In Damascus he was let by a lepe down of the wall. In Jerusalem he was arrested, beaten, bound, and awaited to be slain. In Cæsarea he was enclosed and defamed. Sailing towards Italy he was in peril of death, and from thence he came to Rome and was judged under Nero, and there finished his life. This saith S. Hilary: Paul took upon him to be apostle among the gentiles. In Lystra was a contract which he lost and redressed. A young man that fell out of a window and died, he raised to life, and did many other miracles. At the Isle of Melita a serpent bit his hand, and hurted him not, and he threw it into the fire. It is said that all they that came of the progeny and lineage of that man that then harboured Paul may in no wise be hurt of no venomous beasts, wherefore when their children be born they put serpents in their cradles for to prove if they be verily their children or no. In some place it is said that Paul is less than Peter, otherwhile more, and sometimes equal and like, for in dignity he is less, in preaching greater, and in holiness they be equal. Haymo saith that Paul, from the cock-crow unto the hour of five, he laboured with his hands, and after emended to preaching, and that endured almost to night, the residue of the time was for to eat, sleep, and for prayer, which was necessary. He came to Rome when Nero was not fully confirmed in the empire, and Nero hearing that there was disputing and questions made between Paul and the Jews, he, recking not much thereof, suffered Paul to go where he would, and preach freely. Jeronimus in his book, De viris illustribus, that the thirty-sixth year after the Passion of our Lord, second year of Nero, S. Paul was sent to Rome bound, and two years he was in free keeping and disputed against the Jews, and after, he was let go by Nero, and preached the gospel in the west parts. And the fourteenth year of Nero, the same year and day that Peter was crucified, his head was smitten off. Hæc Jeronimus. The wisdom and religion of him was published over all, and was reputed marvellous. He get to him many friends in the emperor's house and converted them to the faith of Christ, and some of his writings were recited and read tofore the emperor, and of all men marvellously commended, and the senate understood of him by things of authority.
It happed on a day that Paul preached about evensong time in a loft, a young man named Patroclus, butler of Nero, and with him well-beloved, went for to see the multitude of people, and the better for to hear Paul he went up into a window, and there sleeping, fell down and died, which when Nero heard he was much sorry and heavy therefor, and anon ordered another in his office. Paul knowing hereof by the Holy Ghost, said to them standing by him that they should go and bring to him Patroclus, which was dead, and that the emperor loved so much. Whom when he was brought, he raised to life and sent him with his fellows to the emperor, whom the emperor knew for dead, and, whiles he made lamentation for him, it was old to the emperor that Patroclus was come to the gate. And when he heard that Patroclus was alive he much marvelled, and commanded that he should come in. To whom Nero said: Patroclus, livest thou? And he said: Yea, emperor, I live; and Nero said: Who hath made thee to live again ? And he said: The Lord Jesu Christ, king of all worlds. Then Nero being wroth said: Then shall he reign ever and resolve all the royaumes of the world? To whom Patroclus said: Yea, certainly, emperor; then Nero gave to him a buffet, saying: Therefore thou servest him, and he said: Yea, verily, I serve him that hath raised me from death to life. Then five of the ministers of Nero, that assisted him, said to him: O emperor, why smitest thou this young man, truly and wisely answering to thee? Trust verily we serve that same King Almighty. And when Nero heard that he put them in prison, for strongly to torment them, whom he much had loved. Then he made to enquire and to take all christian men, and without examination made them to be tormented with overgreat torments. Then was Paul among others bound and brought tofore Nero, to whom Nero said: O thou man, servant of the great King, bound tofore me, why withdrawest thou my knights and drawest them to thee? To whom Paul said: Not only from thy corner I have gathered knights, but also I gather from the universal world to my Lord, to whom our king giveth such gifts that never shall fail, and granteth that they shall be excluded from all indigence and need; and if thou wilt be to him subject, thou shalt be safe, for he is of so great power that he shall come and judge all the world, and destroy the figure thereof by fire. And when Nero heard that he should destroy the figure of the world by fire, he commanded that all the christian men should be burnt by fire, and Paul to be beheaded, as he that is guilty against his majesty. And so great a multitude of christian people were slain then, that the people of Rome brake up his palace and cried and moved sedition against him, saying: Cæsar, amend thy manners and attemper thy commandments, for these be our people that thou destroyest, and defend the empire of Rome. The emperor then dreading the noise of the people, changed his decree and edict that no man should touch ne hurt no christian man till the emperor had otherwise ordained, wherefore Paul was brought again tofore Nero, whom as soon as Nero saw, he cried and said: Take away this wicked man and behead him, and suffer him no Ionger to live upon the earth. To whom Paul said: Nero, I shall suffer a little while, but I shall live eternally with my Lord Jesu Christ. Nero said: Smite off his head, that he may understand me stronger than his king, that when he is overcome we may see whether he may live after. To whom Paul said: To the end that thou know me to live everlastingly, when my head shall be smitten off, I shall appear to thee living, and then thou mayest know that Christ is God of life and of death. And when he had said this he was led to the place of his martyrdom, and as he was led, the three knights that led him said to him: Tell to us, Paul, who is he your king that ye love so much that for his love ye had liefer die than live, and what reward shall ye have therefor? Then Paul preached to them of the kingdom of heaven and of the pain of hell, in such wise that he converted them to the faith, and they prayed him to go freely whither he would. God forbid, brethren, said he, that I should flee, I am not fugitive, but the lawful knight of Christ. I know well that from this transitory life I shall go to everlasting life. As soon as I shall be beheaded, true men shall take away my body; mark ye well the place, and come thither to-morrow, and ye shall find by my sepulchre two men, Luke and Titus, praying. To whom when ye shall tell for what cause I have sent you to them, they shall baptize you and make you heirs of the kingdom of heaven. And whiles they thus spake together, Nero sent two knights to look if he were slain and beheaded or no, and when thus S. Paul would have converted them, they said: When thou art dead and risest again, then we shall believe, now come forth and receive that thou hast deserved. And as he was led to the place of his passion in the gate of Hostence, a noble woman named Plautilla, a disciple of Paul, who after another name was called Lemobia, for haply she had two names, met there with Paul, which weeping, commended her to his prayers. To whom Paul said: Farewell, Plautilla, daughter of everlasting health, lend to me thy veil or keverchief with which thou coverest thy head, that I may bind mine eyes therewith, and afterwards I shall restore it to thee again. And when she had delivered it to him, the butchers scorned her, saying: Why hast thou delivered to this enchanter so precious a cloth for to lose it ? Then, when he came to the place of his passion, he turned him toward the east, holding his hands up to heaven right long, with tears praying in his own language and thanking our Lord, and after that bade his brethren farewell, and bound his eyes himself with the keverchief of Plautilla, and kneeling down on both knees, stretched forth his neck, and so was beheaded. And as soon as the head was from the body, it said: Jesus Christus! which had been to Jesus or Christus, or both, fifty times. From his wound sprang out milk into the clothes of the knight, and afterward flowed out blood. In the air was a great shining light, and from the body came a much sweet odour.
Dionysius, in an epistle to Timothy, saith ot the death of Paul thus: In that hour full of heaviness, my wellbeloved brother, the butcher, saying: Paul, make ready thy neck; then blessed Paul looked up into heaven marking his forehead and his breast with the sign of the cross, and then said anon: My Lord Jesu Christ, into thy hands I commend my spirit, etc. And then without heaviness and compulsion he stretched forth his neck and received the crown of martyrdom, the butcher so smiting off his head. The blessed martyr Paul took the keverchief, and unbound his eyes, and gathered up his own blood, and put it therein and delivered to the woman. Then the butcher returned, and Plautilla met him and demanded him, saying: Where hast thou left my master? The knight answered: He lieth without the town with one of his fellows, and his visage is covered with thy keverchief, and she answered and said: I have now seen Peter and Paul enter into the city clad with right noble vestments, and also they had right fair crowns upon their heads, more clear and more shining than the sun, and hath brought again my keverchief all bloody which he hath delivered me. For which thing and work many believed in our Lord and were baptized. And this is that S. Dionysius saith. And when Nero heard say this thing he doubted him, and began to speak of all these things with his philosophers and with his friends; and as they spake together of this matter, Paul came in, and the gates shut, and stood tofore Cæsar and said: Cæsar, here is tofore thee Paul the knight of the king perdurable, and not vanquished. Now believe then certainly that I am not dead but alive, but thou, caitiff, thou shalt die of an evil death, because thou hast slain the servants of God. And when he had said thus he vanished away. And Nero, what for dread and what for anger, he was nigh out of his wit, and wist not what to do. Then by the counsel of his friends he unbound Patroclus and Barnabas and let them go where they would.
And the other knights, Longinus, master of the knights, and Accestus, came on the morn to the sepulchre of Paul, and there they found two men praying, that were Luke and Titus, and between them was Paul. And when Luke and Titus saw them they were abashed and began to flee, and anon Paul vanished away, and the knights cried after them and said: We come not to grieve you, but know ye for truth that we come for to be baptized of you, like as Paul hath said whom we saw now praying with you. When they heard that they returned and baptized them with great joy. The head of S. Paul was cast in a valley, and for the multitude of other heads of men that were there slain and thrown there, it could not be known which it was.
It is read in the epistle of S. Dionysius that on a time the valley should be made clean, and the head of S. Paul was cast out with the other heads. And a shepherd that kept sheep took it with his staff, and set it up by the place where his sheep grazed; he saw by three nights continually, and his lord also, a right great light shine upon the said head. Then they went and told it to the bishop and to other good christian men, which anon said: Truly that is the head of S. Paul. And then the bishop with a great multitude of christian men took that head with great reverence, and set it in a tablet of gold, and put it to the body for to join it thereto. Then the patriarch answered: We know well that many holy men be slain and their heads be disperpled in that place, yet I doubt whether this be the head of Paul or no, but let us set this head at the feet of the body, and pray we unto Almighty God that if it be his head that the body may turn and join it to the head, which pleased well to them all, and they set the head at the feet of the body of Paul, and then all they prayed, and the body turned him, and in his place joined him to the head, and then all they blessed God, and thus knew verily that that was the head of S. Paul. This saith S. Dionysius. And S. Gregory telleth that there was a man that fell in despair in the time of Justin the emperor, and made ready a cord to hang himself, and always he cried on S. Paul, saying: S. Paul, help me. Then came there a black shadow, saying to him: Hie thee, good man, make an end of that thou hast begun. And he alway made ready the cord, saying: Most blessed Paul, help me. And when all was ready there came another shadow, as it had been of a man that said to him that stirred him: Flee hence, thou most wretched, for Paul the advocate is come. Then the foul shadow vanished away, and the man coming again to himself, and casting away the cord, took condign penance for his offence and trespass. In the same epistle aforesaid, S. Denys bewailed the death of his master Paul with mild words, saying: Who shall give tears to mine eyes, and to my brows a fountain of water, that I may weep day and night that the light of the church is extinct. And who is he that shall not weep and wail and clothe him with clothes of mourning and sorrow, and in his mind be greatly abashed? Lo! Peter the foundement of the church and glory of saints and holy apostles is gone from us, and hath left us orphans. Paul also, the teacher and comforter of the people, is failed to us, and shall no more be found, which was father of fathers, doctor of doctors, pastor of pastors, profoundness of wisdom, a trump sounding high things, and a preacher of truth. I say verily, Paul to be most noble of the apostles, and never weary of preaching of the Word of God; he was an earthly angel, an heavenly man, image and similitude of divinity, and hath us all forsaken, needy and unworthy in this despised world, and is gone unto Christ his God, his Lord and friend. Also my brother Timothy, best beloved of my soul, where is thy master, thy father and lover? From whence shall he greet thee any more? Lo, thou art made an orphan and remainest alone. Now he shall no more write to thee with his own hand, my dearest son. Woe to me, my brother Timothy' what is happed to us of heaviness, of darkness, and harm. Because we be made orphans, now come not his epistles to thee, in which he wrote Paul the little servant of Jesu Christ. Now he shall no more write to the cities saying: Receive ye my well-beloved son. Shut, my brother, the books of the prophets and clasp them, for we now have none interpreter of the parables ne paradigmes, ne their dictes. David the prophet bewailed his son and said: Woe to me! who shall grant me to die for thee my son? And I may say woe to me, master mine, verily woe to me. Now the concourse of thy disciples coming to Rome and seeking, ceaseth and faileth. Now no man saith: Let us go and see our doctors, and ask we them how us behoveth to rule the churches to us committed, and shall interpret and expound to us the sayings of our Lord Jesu Christ and of the prophets. Verily, woe to these sons, my brother Timothy, that be deprived of their spiritual father. And also to us that be deprived of our spiritual masters which gathered together understanding and science of the old and new law and put them in their epistles. Where is now the renewing of Paul and the labour of his holy feet? Where is the mouth speaking, and the tongue counselling, and the spirit well pleasing his God? Who shall not weep and wail? For they that have deserved glory and honour towards God be put to death as malefactors and wicked men. Woe to me that beheld in that hour his blessed body all bewrapped in his innocent blood. Alas! my father and doctor, thou wert not guilty of such a death. Now whither shall I go for to seek thee, the glory of christian men and praising of good, true men? Who shall stint thy voice that sounded so high in the church in preaching the Word of God? Lo! thou hast entered in to thy Lord and thy God, whom thou hast desired with all shine affection. Jerusalem and Rome be evil friends, for they be equal in ill. Jerusalem hath crucified our Lord Jesu Christ, and Rome hath slain his apostles, Jerusalem serveth him that they crucified, and Rome in solemnising, glorifieth them that it hath slain. And now, my brother Timothy, these be they whom thou lovedst and desiredst with all shine heart, like as Saul and Jonathan that were not departed in life ne in death, and so I am not departed from my lord and master, but when ill and wicked men depart us. And the separation of one hour shall not be always, for his soul knoweth them that love him though they speak not to him which now be far from him. And at the day of the great resurrection they shall not be departed from him. Hæc Dionysius.
S. John Chrysostom saith in the book of praising of S. Paul, and commendeth this glorious apostle much, saying: What is founder sufficient in commendation of him, sith all the goodness that is in man the soul possesseth it only, and hath it in him, and not only of a man, but also of the angels ? And in what manner we shall say to you hereafter, Abel offered sacrifice, and of that he was praised, but we shall show thee the sacrifice of Paul, and it shall appear greater, inasmuch as heaven is higher than the earth. For Paul sacrificed himself every day, and offered double sacrifice in heart and in body, which he mortified. He offered not sheep ne meat, but he sacrificed himself in double wise, and yet that sufficed him not, but he studied to offer to God, all the world. For he environed all the world that is under heaven and made angels of men. And moreover men that were like fiends he changed them to angels. Who is he that is found pareil or like to this sacrifice, which Paul with the sword of the Holy Ghost offered up to the altar which is above heaven? Abel was slain by treason of his brother, but Paul was slain of them whom he desired to withdraw and save from innumerable evils. His deaths were so many that they may not well be numbered. He had as many as he lived days. Noah, as it is read, kept himself; his wife, and his children in the ark, but Paul in a more perilous and older flood, in an ark not made with boards, with pitch and glue, but with epistles made for boards, delivered and saved the universal world from the floods of error and of sin. This ark or ship was not borne to one place, but it was sent through the universal world, ne limed with pitch ne glue, but the boards thereof were anointed with the Holy Ghost. He took them that were worshippers of reasonable beasts, almost more fools than unreasonable beasts, for to be the followers of angels. He overcame that ark in which was received the crow, and sent him out again, and closing a wolf therein whose woodness he could not change. But this Paul took falcons and kites, and made of them doves, and excluded all woodness and ferocity from them, and brought to them the spirit of meekness. Some marvel of Abraham that at the commandment of God left his country and kindred, but how may he be compared to Paul, which not only left his country and kindred, but also himself and the world also. He forsook and despised all things and required to have but one thing, and that was the charity and love of Jesu Christ. Ne he desired things-present, ne things to come, etc. But Abraham put himself in peril for to save his brother's son, but Paul sustained many perils for to bring the universal world from perils of the devil, and brought others to great surety with his own death. Abraham would have offered his son Isaac to God, but Paul brought neither friend nor neighbour, but offered himself to God a thousand times. Some marvel of the patience of Isaac, for he suffered the pits that he made to be stopped, but Paul not beholding the pits stopped with stones, ne his own body beaten only, but them of whom he suffered great pains he studied to bring to heaven, and the more this well was stopped, so much the more it flowed out streams in shedding of water of scripture, of meekness and of patience. Of the patience of Jacob scripture marvelleth, which abode seven years for his spouse, but who hath that soul of an adamant that may follow the patience of Paul ? For he abode not only seven years for Christ his spouse, but all his lifetime. He was not only burnt with the heat of the day, ne suffered only the frost of the night, but suffering temptations, now with beatings, now stoned with stones, and always among his torments caught the sheep and drew them to the faith from the mouth of the devil. And also he was made decorate and made fair with the chastity of Joseph. And here I doubt lest some would take it for a leasing for to praise here Paul, which crucifying himself, not only the beauty of men's bodies, but all such things that were seen to be fair and clear that he beheld, set no more by them than we do by a little ashes or filth, and abode unmovable as a dead man to a dead man. All men wonder at Job, for he was a marvellous champion, but Paul was not only troubled by months, but many years enduring in agony, and always appeared clear. He put not away the woodness of his flesh with a shard or shell, but he ran daily, as the understanding mouth of a lion, and fought against innumerable temptations, which were more tolerable than a stone. Which not of three or four friends, but of all men and of his brethren he suffered opprobrium, and was confused and cursed of them all, and he took everything meekly and patiently. Job was a man of great hospitality, and had care of poor people, and that he did was to sustain the filth of the flesh. But S. Paul laboured to help the sickness of the souls. Job opened his house to every man that came, but the soul of Paul showed him to the universal world. Job had sheep and oxen innumerable, and of them he was liberal to poor men. Paul had no possession save his body, and with that he ministered suflicient]y to them that had need, which in a place saith: Unto my necessities, and to them that were with me, these hands have ministered. And to holy Job were given worms, wounds, and sores, which did to him much pain and sorrow; but an thou wilt consider Paul, thou shalt see betimes hunger, chains, and perils that he suffered of his known men and of strangers. He suffered of all the world, business for the churches, and burning for slanders. Thou mayst see that he was harder than any stone, and his soul overcame with infirmity, iron, and adamant. What Job suffered with his body, that Paul sustained with his mind, which is more grievous than any worm. And oft his eyes flowed of tears, not only on days, but also on nights. He was more tormented than a woman in the birth of her child, wherefore he said: My little children, whom yet I bring forth. Moses chose to be defaced out of the book of life for the health of the Jews, and offered himself to perish with others; but Paul would not only perish with his kindred, but, that all other should be saved, would be cast down from everlasting joy. And Moses repugned against Pharaoh, and Paul against the devil every day. He for one people of the Jews, and Paul fought for all the universal world, not by sweat, but by blood. S. John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey, but Paul in the middle of the world was as straight in his conversation as S. John was in desert. Not only he was fed with locusts and wild honey, but with much fouler meat he was content. For oft he left his necessary meat for the fervent study that he had to preach the Word of God. Truly there appeared in S. John great constancy in preaching against Herodias; but Paul, not one, ne two, ne three, but he corrected innumerable men set up in high power, and also older tyrants. It resteth now that we compare Paul to angels, in which we shall preach a great thing, for with all charge, they obey unto God, which David saith, marvelling that they be mighty in virtue, and ever do the commandments of God. And also the prophet saith that he maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers fire burning. And all this we may find in Paul, that like to fire and a spirit he hath run throughout all the world, and with his preaching hath purged it. And yet he hath not sorted heaven, and that is wonderful, for he conversed such as in heaven, and was yet environed with his mortal flesh.
Ah ! Lord, how much be we worthy damnation, when we see all good things to be assembled in one man, and we study not to follow the least part of them. Ne he had in this world none other thing, ne none other nature, ne none other soul dissemblable to us, ne dwelling in none other world, but in the same earth, and the same region, also under the same laws nourished, and manners; and he surmounteth all men, that now be or have been, by virtue of his courage. Ne this thing is not to be marvelled in him only, that for the abundance of devotion he felt no pain, but he recompensed in him the virtue for his reward. And when he saw that his death approached, he called others to the delight of his joy, saying: Make ye joy and rejoice ye with me. And certainly he hasted more to wrongs and injuries which he suffered for his true preaching, and was gladder thereof than he were bidden to a feast of great joy. For he desired more death than bodily life, and he desired more poverty than riches, and travail than rest, for in his rest he chose rather weeping than rest. He used to pray more for his enemies than others do for their friends. And above all other thing he dreaded the wrath of God, and had none other desire, but only to please God. And he forsook not only all present things, but all things that be for to come. He refused all prosperities that ever were or ever shall be on earth, and if we shall speak of heavenly things, thou shalt see the love of him in Jesu Christ. And with this love he thought himself blessed. He coveted not to be fellow with angels ne archangels, ne with none order of angels, but he coveted more with the love of God to be least of them that be punished, than without his love to be among sovereign honours, and that was to him most greatest torment, for to depart from his love, for that departing should be to him a hell and pain without end. And on that other side, for to use the charity of Christ was to him life, world, and promission and all goods without number. And so he despised all that we dread, like as we despise a herb putrified and rotten. He reputed the tyrants conspiring their fury into the apostles, like as bitings of fleas, and he reputed death, cruelness, and a thousand torments, but as a play or game of children whilst he suffered them for Christ's sake. He thought he was made more fair with binding of chains than he had been crowned with a diadem. For when he was constrained to be in prison, he thought he was in heaven, and he received more gladlier beatings and wounds, than others victories. He loved no less sorrows than meeds, for he reputed those sorrows instead of rewards. And such things that be to us cause of sorrows; were unto him great delight, and was ever embraced with great weepings. Wherefore he said: Who is slandered and I burn not? and who can say: I delight in sorrowing? Many be wounded with the death of their children, and take comfort when they may weep enough, and it is most grievance to them when they be restrained from their weeping. In like wise Paul night and day had consolation of his tears and weeping. There could no man weep ne bewail his own defaults as he bewailed other men's defaults, for like as thou weenest him to be in torment that weepeth the perishing for his sins, the which desired to be excluded from the joy of heaven, to the end that they might be saved, for he felt as much the perishing of other souls as he felt or trowed himself to perish. To what thing may he then be likened, to what iron, or to what adamant? For he was stronger than any adamant, and more precious than gold or gems. That one matter he overcame with strength, and that other with preciousness. Then we may say that Paul is more precious than all the world and all that is therein, for he flew, as he had wings, through all the world in preaching, and he despised all labours and perils as though he had been without body. And like as he possessed heaven, so he despised all earthly things; and like as iron that is laid in the fire is made all fire, right so Paul, embraced with charity, was made all charity. And right as it had been a common father of all the world, so he loved all men, and surmounted all other fathers, bodily and ghostly, by curiosity and pity, and desired and hasted him to yield all men to God and to his kingdom, as though he had engendered them. all. This holy Paul that was so simple, and used the craft to make baskets, came to so great virtue, that in the space of thirty years he converted to the christian faith the Persians and Parthians, them of Media, the Indians, the Scythians, the Ethiopians, and the Saromates and the Saracens, and moreover all manner men. And like as fire put in straw or in tow wasteth it, right so wasted Paul all the works of the fiend. And when he was led through the great sea, he joyed him as greatly as though he had been led to see an empire. And when he was entered into Rome, it sufficed him not to abide there, but he went into Spain, and was never idle ne in rest, but was always more burning than fire in the love to preach the Word ot God, ne dreaded no perils, ne had no shame of despites, but was ever ready unto battle, and anon showed himself peaceable and amiable. And when his disciples saw him bound in chains, for all that he ceased not to preach whilst he was in prison. Wherefore some of the brethren considering his teaching, took the more strength to them, and were more constant against the enemies of Christ's faith. And all this, and much more saith S. John Chrysostom, which were overmuch to write here, but this shall suflfice. Then let us pray unto Almighty God, that by the merits of S. Paul we may have forgiveness of our sins and trespasses in this present life, that after the same we may come to everlasting joy in heaven.
Of the Conversion of S. Paul and of the name of conversion
Conversion is said of convertor, I am turned, or is as much as together turned from sins and evils. He is not converted that shriveth him to the priest of one sin and hideth another. It is said conversion, for S. Paul this day was converted to the faith leaving his vices. Why he is said Paul, it shall be said afterward.
Of the Conversion of S. Paul.
The conversion of S. Paul was made the same year that Christ suffered his passion, and S. Stephen was stoned also, not in the year natural, but appearing. For our Lord suffered death the eighth calends of April, and S. Stephen suffered death the same year, the third day of August and was stoned. And S. Paul was converted the eighth calends of February. And three reasons been assigned wherefore the conversion of S. Paul is hallowed more than of other saints.
First for the ensample, because that no sinner, whatsomever he be, should despair of pardon when he seeth him that was in so great sin to be in so great joy. Secondly for the joy, for like as the church had great sorrow in this persecution, so had she great joy in his conversion. Thirdly, for the miracle that our Lord showed when of one so cruel a persecutor was made so true a preacher. The conversion of him was marvellous by reason of him that made him, and of him that ordained him, and of the patient that suffered it. By reason of him that made him to be converted, that was Jesu Christ, which showed there his marvellous puissance in that he said: It is hard for thee to strive against the alle or pricks; and in that he changed him so suddenly, for anon as he was changed he said: Lord what wilt thou that I do? Upon this word saith S. Austin: The lambs slain of the wolves have made of a wolf a lamb, for he was ready for to obey, that tofore was wood for to persecute. Secondly, he showed his marvellous wisdom. His marvellous wisdom was in that he took from him the swelling of pride in offering to him the inward things of humility and not the height of majesty. For he said I am Jesus of Nazareth, and he called not himself God ne the son of God, but he said to him, take thine infirmities of humanity and cast away the squames of pride. Thirdly, he showed his pitiful debonairty and mercy, which is signified in that that he that was in deed and in will to persecute, he converted, how be it he had evil will, as he that desired all the menaces and threatenings, and had evil purpose; as he that went to the prince of priests; as he that had a joy in his evil works that he led the christian men bound to Jerusalem. And therefore his journey and voyage was right evil, and yet nevertheless by the mercy of God was he converted. Secondly the conversion was marvellous of him that ordained it, that is of the light that he ordained in his conversion. And it is said that this light was dispositive, sudden, and celestial, and this light of heaven advironed him suddenly. Paul had in him these vices. The first was hardiness, which is noted when it is said that he went to the prince of the priests, and as the gloss saith, not called, but by his own will and envy that enticed him. The second was pride, and that is signified by that he desired and sighed the menaces and threatenings. The third was the intent carnal, and the understanding that he had in the law, whereof the gloss saith upon that word: I am Jesus, etc. I God of heaven speak, the which thou supposest to be dead by the consent of the Jews. And this light divine was sudden, it was great, and out of measure, for to throw down him that was high and proud, into the ditch or pit of humanity; it was celestial, because it turned and changed his fleshly understanding into celestial, or it may be said that this ordinance or disposition was in three things; that is to wit in the voice crying, in the light shining, and in the virtue of puissance. Thirdly, it was marvellous by the virtue of the suffering of the patient, that is of Paul in whom the conversion was made. For these three things were made in him withoutforth marvellously, that it is to wit, that he was beaten to the earth, he was blind and fasted three days, and was smitten down to the ground for to be raised. And S. Austin saith that he was smitten down for to be blind, for to be changed, and for to be sent; he was sent to suffer death for truth. And yet saith S. Austin, he that was out of the faith was hurt for to be made believe, the persecutor was hurt for to be made a preacher, the son of perdition was hurt for to be made the vessel of election, and was made blind for to be illumined, and this was as touching his dark understanding.
Then in the three days that he abode thus blind, he was learned and informed in the gospel, for he learned it never of man ne by man, as he himself witnesseth, but by the revelation of Jesu Christ. And S. Austin saith thus: I say that S. Paul was the very champion of Jesu Christ, taught of him, redressed of him, crucified with him, and glorious in him. He was made lean in his flesh that his flesh should be disposed to the effect of good operation, and from forthon his body was established and disposed to all good. He could well suffer hunger and abundance, and was informed and instructed in all things, and all adversities he gladly suffered. Chrysostom saith: He overcame tormentors, tyrants, and people full of woodness, like as flies; and the death, the torments and all the pains that might be done to him, he counted them but as the play of children. All them he embraced with a good will, and he was ennobled in himself to be bound in a strong chain more than to be crowned with a crown, and received more gladly strokes and wounds than other gifts. And it is read that in him were three things against the three that were in our foremost father Adam, for Adam erected and addressed him against God our Lord. and in S. Paul was contrary for he was thrown down to the earth. In Adam was the opening of his eyes, and Paul was on the contrary made blind, and Adam ate of the fruit defended, and S. Paul contrary was abstinent of convenable meat.