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tian, and thus was at once the same, and not the same, as it had been

Such being the double aspect of God's dealings towards His Church,
when the time came for His exhibiting it in its new form as a Catholic,
not a local Institution, He was pleased to make a corresponding change
in the internal ministry of the Dispensation ; imposing upon St. Paul
the particular duty of formally delivering and adapting to the world at
large, that Old Essential Truth, the guardianship of which He had al-
ready committed to St. James and St. John. In consequence of this
accidental ditference of office, superficial readers of Scripture have some-
times spoken as if there were some real difference between the respec-
tive doctrines of those favoured Instruments of Providence. Unbe-
lievers have objected that St. Paul introduced a new religion, such as
Jesus never taught ; and, on the other hand, there are Christians who
maintain, that St. Paul's doctrine is peculiarly the teaching of the
Holy Ghost, and intended to supersede both our Lord's recorded words,
and those of His original follows. Now a very remarkable circum-
stance it certainly is, that Almighty God has thus made two begin-
nings to His Gospel ; and, when we have advanced far enough in sacred
knowledge to see how they harmonize together, and concur in that
wonderful system, which Primitive Christianity presents, and which
was built on them both, we shall find abundant matter of praise in this
Providential arrangement. But, at first there doubtless is something
which needs explanation ; for we see in matter of fact, that different
classes of religionists, do build their respective doctrines upon the one
foundation and the other, upon the Gospels and upon St. Paul's Epistles ;
the more enthusiastic upon the latter, the cold, proud, and heretical,
upon the former ; and though we may be quite sure that no part of
Scripture favours cither coldness or fanaticism, and, in particular, may


zealously repel the impiety, as well as the daring perverseness, which
would find countenance for an imperfect Creed in the heavenly words
of the Evangelists, yet the very fact that hostile parties do agree in di-
viding the New Testament into ahout the same two portions, is just
enough at first sight to show that there is some difference or other,
whether in tone or doctrine, which needs accounting for.

This state of the case, whether a difliculty or not, may, I conceive,
any how be turned into an evidence in behalf of the truth of Christianity.
Some few remarks shall here be made to explain my meaning; nor is it su-
perfluous to direct attention to the subject ; for, though points of evi-
dence seldom avail to the conversion of unbelievers, they are always
edifying and instructive to Christians, as confirming their faith, and
filling them with admiration, and praise of God's marvellous works,
which have more and more the stamp of Truth upon them, the deeper
we examine them. This was the effect produced on the Apostles'
.minds by their own miracles, and on the Saints' in the Apocalypse by
the sight of God's judgments ; prompting them to cry out in awe and
thankfulness, " Lord, Thou art God, which hast made Heaven and
earth !" " Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty ;
just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of Saints !"*

My remark then is simply this ; — that, supposing an essential unani-
mity of teaching can be shown to exist between the respective writings
of St. Paul and his brethren, then the existing difference, whatever it is,
whether of phraseology of subject, or of historical origin, in a word, the
difference of school, only makes that agreement the more remarkable,
and after all only guarantees them as two independent Witnesses to the
same Truth. Now to illustrate this argument.

I suppose the points of difference between St. Paul and the Twelve
will be considered to be as follows: — that St. Paul, on his conversion,
" conferred not with flesh and blood,f neither went up to Jerusalem to
them which were Apostles before him ;" — that, on the face of Scripture,
there appears some sort of difference in viewing doctrine between St.
Paul and the original Apostles, that St. Paul on one occasion '' with-
stood Peter to the face," and says that " those who seemed to be some-
what" referring apparently to James and John, " in conference added
nothing to him,":}: and St. Peter, on the other hand, observes, that in
St. Paul's Epistles there "are some things hard to be understood," while
St. James would even seem to qualify St. Paul's doctrine concerning
ihe pre-eminence of faith ;§ that St. James, not to mention St. John,

*Actsiv. 24. Rev. XV. 3. t Gal. i. 16, 17. | Gal. ii. 6. 11.
§ 2 Peter lii. 16. James ii. 14—26.


was stationary, having taken on himself a local episcopate, while St,
Paul was subjected to what are now called missionary labours, and laid
the foundation of churches without undertaking the government of any
of them ; — that St. Paul speaks with especial earnestness concerning
the abolition of the Jewish Law, and the admission of the Gentiles into
the Church, subjects not prominently put forward by the other Apos-
tles ; — that St. Paul declares distinctly and energetically, that we are
elected to salvation by God's free grace, and justified by faith,* and
traces out, in the way of system, all Christian holiness and spiritual
mindedness from this beginning; whereas, St. James says we are justi-
fied by works,! St. John that we shall be "judged according to our
works," and St. Peter that " the Father judgeth according to every
man's work, without respect of persons,":}: phrases which are but sym-
bols of the general character of their own and our Lord's teaching ;
lastly, that there is more expression of kindled and active affections
towards God and towards man in St. Paul's writings than in those of
his brethren. This is not the place to explain what needs explaining in
this list of contrasts : nor indeed is there any real diiiiculty at all (I may
say) in reconciling the one side with the other, where the heart is right
and the judgment fairly clear and steady. It has often been done most
satisfactorily. But let us take them as they stand, prior to all explana-
tion ; let a disputer make the most of them. So much at least is
proved, that St. Paul and St. James were two independent witnesses
(whether concordant or not) of the gospel doctrines ; which is abun-
dantly confirmed by all those circumstances which objectors sometimes
enlarge upon, St. Paul's peculiar education, connexions, and history.
Take these difiercnccs at the worst, and then on the other hand take
account of the wonderful agreement after all in opinion, manner of
thought, feeling, and conduct, nay, in religious vocabulary, between the
two Schools, (as I have called them,) — most wonderful, considering
that the very idea of the Christian system in all its parts was virtually
a new thing in the particular generation in which it was promulgated, —
and if it does not impress us with the conviction, that an Unseen Hand
a Divine Presence, was in the midst of it, controlling the human in-
struments of His work, and ruling it that they should and must agree
in speaking His ^\ ord, in spite of whatever differences of natural dispo-
sition and education, surely we may as well deny the agency of the
Creator, His power, wisdom and goodness, in the appointments of the
material world. — The following are some instances of the kind of
agreement I speak of.

*Rom. V. 1. tJam. ii. 24 t Rev. xx. 13. iPct. i.l7.


1. Take the New Testament, as we have received it. It deserves
notice, that in spite of what partisans would desire, after all we cannot
divide its contents between the two Schools under consideration. Ad-
mitting there were two principles at work in the development of the
Christian Churchg they are inextricably united as regards the docu-
ments of faith ; so that the modern parties in question, whether their
particular view be right or wrong, are at least attempting a return to a
state prior to the existence of the New Testament. Consider the
Epistle to the Hebrews, — which would be sufficient evidence, were
there no other, of the identity of St. Paul's doctrine with St. James's.
Be as disputatious as you will about its author ; still it comes at least
from the School of St. Paul, if not from that Apostle himself. The
parallelisms between it and his acknowledged writings, forbid any other
supposition. Now look through it from beginning to end, observe well
its exhortations to obedience, its warnings against apostacy, its solemn
announcement of the terrors of the Gospel, and further its honourable
treatment of the Jewish Law, which it sets forth as fulfilled, (after our
Saviour's doctrine,) not disrespectfully superseded by the Gospel, and
then say whether this Epistle alone be not a wonderful monument of
the essential unity of the Gospel creed among all its original dissemi-

Again, consider the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, which are confess-
edly St. Paul's, and try to discriminate if you can, between the ethical
character which they display, and that of St. James's Epistle. Next
observe the position of St. Luke's writings in the inspired volume, an
Evangelist following the language of St. Mattliew, yet the associate of
St. Paul. Examine the speeches of St. Paul in the book of Acts, and
consider whether he is not at once the Apostle of the Gentiles, and the
fellow disciple of those who had attended our Lord's Ministry.* Con-
sider too the history of St. Peter, and see whether the revelations made
to him in order to the conversion of Cornelius, do not form a link be-
tween "St. Paul's Gospel" and that of his earlier brethren. Lastly,
count up the particular parts of St. Paul's writings, in which that Apostle
may be supposed to speak a different doctrine from the rest, and deter-
mine their extent and number. Are there much more than nine chap-
ters of his Epistle to the Romans, four of that to the Galatians, three in
the Ephesians, a passage in the Colossians, and a few verses in the
Philippians? Are there not in other chapters of these very Epistles
clear and explicit statements, running counter to these supposed pecu-
liarities, agreeing with St. James, and so protesting (as it were) against

* Vide e. g. Acts xx. 25. xxviii. 31.


those who would put asunder Apostles whom God has joined together 1
These shall be presently instanced ; but for the moment concede the
whole of these separate documents, — yet you cannot make more than
five out of fourteen, which is the whole number of his Epistles ; and
these, however sacred and authoritative, are not after all of greater
prominence and dignity than some of the remaining nine. It would
appear then, from the very face of the New Testament, that the differ-
ences between St. Paul's doctrine and that of his brethren, (whatever
they were,) admitting of an amalgamation, as far as Christian Teaching
went, from iJiQ laoment that office was first exercised in the Church.

2. In the catc of the oiiginal / postles, the intention of delivering
and explaining their Di- ine Master s teaching cannot be mistaken.
Now, of course, St. Paul, professiiig r'> preach Christ's Gospel, could not
but avow such an intention also ; but it should be noticed, considering
that he was not with our Lord on earth, how he devotes himself to the
sole thought of Him; that is, it wouldhe remarkable, were not St. Paul
divinely chosen and called, as we believe to have been. Simon Magus
professed to be a Christian, yet his aim that of exalting himself.
It was quite possible for St. Paul to have acknowledged Christ generally
as his Master, and still not practically to have preached Christ. Yet
how full he is of his Saviour ! He could not be more so, if he had at-
tended Him all through His Ministry. The thought of Christ is the one
thought in which he lives; it is the fervent love, the devoted attachment,
the zeal and reverence of one wlio had " heard and seen, and looked
upon and handled, the Word of Life."* What a remarkable attestation
is here to the Sovereignty of the Unseen Saviour ! What was Paul,
and what was James " but ministers," by whom the world believed on
Him ? They clearly were nothing beyond this. This is a striking ful-
filment of our Lord's declaration concerning the ministration of the
Spirit ; " He shall glorify Me."t St. John records it ; St. Paul exem-
plifies it.

It is remarkable too, how St. Paul concurs with the other Apostles in
referring to our Lord's words and actions, though much opportunity for
this does not occur in his writings ; that is, it is plain, that he was not
exalting a mere name or idea, any more than the rest, but a Person, a
really existing Master. For instance, St. John says, " That which we
have seen and heard, declare we unto you ;" and St. Peter, " This voice
which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the
Holy Mount ;" again, " We are witnesses of all things which he did."|

* 1 John i. 1. t John xvi. 14.

t 1 John i. 3, 2 Pet. i. 18. Acts x. 39.


In like manner St. Paul enumerates, as his " Gospel," not mere princi-
ples of religion, but the facts of Christ's life, recurring to that very-
part of the Dispensation, in which he was inferior to his brethren. " I
delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received, how that
Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, .... was buried
. . . rose again the third day, and that He was seen of Cephas, then
of the Twelve, after that ... of about five hundred brethren at once
.... after that ... of James, then of all the Apostles ;" he adds
with expressions of self-abasement, " And last of all, He was seen of
me."* Again in his directions for administering the Lord's Supper, he
refers carefully to our Lord's manner of ordaining it, as recorded in
the Gospels ; again, in the seventh chapter of the same Epistle, there
would seem a repeated reference to our Lord's words in the Gospel ;"
" Unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord." In the same
chapter the verse beginning, " This I speak for your own profit," has
been supposed with reason to refer to St. Luke's account of Martha's
complaint of Mary, and our Lord's speech thereupon. In his first
Epistle to Timothy, he alludes to our Lord's appearance before Pilate.
In his farewell address to the Elders of Ephesus he has preserved one
of His sayings which the Gospels do not contain ; " It is more blessed
to give than to receive. "t And in the Epistle to the Hebrev/s reference
is made to Christ's agony in the garden.

3. The doctrine of the Incarnation, or the Gospel Economy, as
embracing the two great truths of the Divinity of Christ and the Atone-
ment, was not (as far as we know) clearly revealed, during our Lord's
ministry. Yet, observe how close is St. Paul's agreement with St.
John. " The Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the
Word was made flesh." — " Christ Jesus, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God ; yet humbled Himself,
being made in the hkeness of men." St. John calls Christ " the Only-
begotten Son in the bosom of the Father ;" and St. Paul, " the First-
begotten." St. John says, that He hath "declared the Father," and in
His own sacred words, that " he that hath seen Him, hath seen the
Father ;" St. Paul declares that He is " the Image of the Invisible God,'
— " the brightness of His glory, and the express Image of His Person. '
St. John says, " All things were made by Him ;" St. Paul, that
" By Him God made the worlds." Further, St. John says, " The blood
of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin ;" — St. Paul, that " in Him we
have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins ;" —
St. John, that " if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,

• 1 Cor. XV. 3—8. t Acts xx. 35,


Jesus Christ the righteous ;"-St. Paul, that He " is^even at the right
ha"d of God, and also maketh intercession for us ;"— St. John, that
"He is the propitiation not for our sins only, but also for those of the
whole world;"— St. Paul, that He has "reconciled" Jew and Gentile
" in one body bv the cross."*

Now, conside'ring the mysteriousness of these doctrines, the proba-
bility that there would be some diversity of teaching, in the case of
two different minds, and the actual differences existing among va-
rious sects at the time, I must consider this exact accordance between
St. John and St. Paul, (men to all appearance as unlike eacn other by
nature as men could be,) to be little short of a demonstration of the
reality of the divine doctrines to which they witness. " The testimony
of two men is true ;" and still more clearly so in this case, supposing
(what unbelievers may maintain, but they alone,) that any rivalry of
Schools existed between these Holy Apostles.

4. To continue our review. St. John and St. Paul both put forward
the doctrine of Regeneration, both connect it with Baptism, both de-
nounce the world as sinful and lost. They both teach the peculiar
privilege of Christians, as God's adopted children, and make the grant
of this and all other privileges, depend to faith.f Now the ideas and
the terms employed are peculiar ; and, with all allowance for what
might have been anticipated by former Dispensations and existing
Schools of religion, vet, could it be shown, that ever so much of this
doctrine was already" familiar to the Jewish Church, this does not ac-
count for the unanimity with which they respectively adopt and modify
it. I add some parallel texts on this part of the subject. St. John
delivers our Saviour's prediction; "If I depart, I will send the Com>
forter unto you ; He will guide you into all truth ;"-St. Paul God
hath revealed (the mysteries of the Gospel) unto us by riis Spirit ;
"All these (gifts) worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to
every man severally as He will." St. Paul says, " He whicli estab-
lisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us is God ; -St.
John, " Ye have an unction from the Holy One." St. John, m accor-
dance with the teaching of his Lord, declares, "There is a sin unto
death ; I do not say that a man shall pray for it ;" and St. Paul, that

*Johni. 1. U. PMl. ii. 5-8. John i. 18. Hcb. i. 6. J°h" i' f " f !^^
Col. i. 15. Hcb. i. 3. John i. 3. Heb. i. 2. 1 John i. 7. Col. i. 14. 1
ii. 1. Rom. viii. 34. 1 John ii. 2. Ephes. ii. 16.

t John iii. 3-5. 16. 19. 1 John iii. 1. v. 19. Rom. iii. 19- v. 1. ^. vm- 14,
i5. Tit. iii. 5, &c.

Vol. I.— 21


" it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, if they shall
fall away, to renew them again unto repentance."*

5. We all recollect St. Paul's praise of charity as the fulfilling of
the Law, and the characteristic precept of the Gospel. Yet is not the
pre-eminent importance of it as clearly set forth by St. John, when he
says, " Wc know that we have passed from death unto life, because we
love the brethren," and the nature of it by St. James in his description
of "the wisdom that is from above T' Again, it is observable, that our
Lord's precept, adopted from the Law, of our loving our neighbour as
ourselves, is handed down at once by St. Paul and St. James. f

6. We know that an especial stress is laid by our Lord on the duty
of Almsgiving. St. John and St. James follow Him in so doing ;:{: and
St. Paul likewise. That Apostle's words, in the Galatians, are espe-
cially in point here, as expressly acknowledging this agreement between
himself and his brethren. " When James, Cephas, and John, who
seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they
gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should
go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision ; only they would
that we should remember the poor ; the same which I also was forward
to do."||

7. Self-denial, mortification of life, bearing our cross, are especially
insisted on by Christ. St. Paul delivers clearly and strongly the same
doctrine, declaring that he himself was " crucified with Christ," and
" died daily. "§ The duty of Fasting may here be mentioned, as one
in which St. Paul unhesitatingly enters into and enforces our Lord's
religious system.

8. I need not observe how urgent and constant is St. Paul in his
exhortations to Intercession ; yet, St. James equals him in his short
epistle, which contains a passage longer and more emphatic than any
which can be found in St. Paul. IT Again, both Apostles insist on the
practice of sacred Psalmody as a duty. St. James, " Is any afflicted I
let him pray. Is any merry ? let him sing psalms." St. Paul, " Speak-
ing to each other in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs."**

9. St. Paul makes much of the Holy Eucharist ; nay, to him the
the Church is indebted for the direct and clear proof we possess of the
sacramental virtue of that Ordinance. Far different is the conduct of

* John xvi. 7. 13. 1 Cor. ii. 10. xii. 11. 2 Cor. i. 21. 1 John ii. 21. v. 16.
Heb. vi. 4 — 6.

t 1 John iii. 14. James iii. 17. Rom. xiii. 9. James ii. 8.

\ 1 John iii. 17. James ii. 15, 16. |1 Gal. ii. 9, 10,

§ Gal. ii. 20. 1 Cor. xv. 31.

IT Eph. vi. 18. 1 Thess. v. 17. James v. 14—18.

*♦ James v. 13. Eph. v. 19.


innovators ; who are impatient of nothing more than of ordinances
which they find estabhshed. He also recognizes the obUgation of the
Lord's day,* he being the Apostle who denounces, as other Jewish rites,
so also the Sabbath.

10. St. Jude bids us " contend earnestly for the faith once delivered
to the Saints." In like manner, St. Paul enjoins Timothy to "hold
fast the form of sound words, which he had heard of him ;" and Titus,
to " hold fast the faithful word as he had been taught, that he might
be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsay-
ers."f St. Paul bids us "speak the Truth in love;" St. John says, he
" loves Gains in the Truth.":j:

11. It is observable that our Lord speaks of His Gospel being preach-
ed, not chiefly as a means of converting, but as a witness against the
world. This is confessedly a remarkable ground to be taken by the
Founder of a new religion. " The Gospel of the kingdom shall be
preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations. "|| Accord-
ingly, He Himself witnessed even before the heathen Pilate, " To this
end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should
bear witness unto the Truth. "§ Yet, surely it is still more remarkable,
that the Apostle of the Gentiles should take up precisely the same view,
even referring to our Lord's Confession before Pilate, when giving
Timothy his charge to preach the Truth, declaring, that the Gospel is
" a savour of death unto death," as well as " of life unto life," and fore-
telUng the growth of " evil men and seducers" after his departure.lF

12. Observe the agreement of sentiment in the following texts : St.
James, taught by his Lord and Master, says, " Be ye doers of the word,
and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." St. Paul nearly in
the same words, " Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the
doers of the law shall be justified."** Again, did we not know whence
the following passages come, should we not assign them to St. James 1
" God will render to every man according to his deeds ; to them, who
by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and
immortality, eternal life ; but unto them that are contentious, and do
not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath

for there is no respect of persons with God." This, as well as

the text just cited, is to be found in the opening of that Epistle, in which
St. Paul appears most to differ from St. James ; now observe how he
closes it. " Why dest thou judge thy brother 1 And why dost thou

* Acts XX. 7. 1 Cor. xvi. 2. t Jude 3. 2 Tim. i. 13. Titus i. 9.

X Eph. iv. 15. 3 John 1. || Matt. xxiv. 14. xviii. 37.

§ John xviii. 37. H 1 Tim. vi. 13, 2 Cor. ii. 16. 2 Tim. iii. 13.
** James i. 22, Rom. ii. 13,


set at nought thy brother ? For we shall all stand before the judgment-
seat of Christ Every one of us shall give account of himself to

God." Again, in another Epistle : " We must all be made manifest
before the judgment-seat of Christ ; that every one may receive the

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanParochial sermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 36 of 76)