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given already, and was to have effect only during the interval
between the promise and its fulfilment in Christ. The promise is
and remains the most important, the substantial foundation of the
whole relation in question ; the scope of the law is entirely sub-
ordinate ; it was added, so to speak, only per accidens, t&v irapa-
fidaecov xapiv. The whole tenor of the passage shows that the
view these words were meant to express was, that the law was
given to set bounds to transgressions, to hold men in check in
regard to transgressions, lest they should go too far in them. All
that the apostle says, be it observed, is that the law was given
T&v irapap. x^pti/, i.e. because there were transgressions ; the article
points, as Eiickert justly observes, to transgressions which had
already been committed. The passages, Eom. iv. 15, and*vii. 8,
seem to assert that before the 1/0/^09 there is no irapd^aa-i^, but we



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196 LIFE AND WOBK OF PAUL. [Part III.

have to distinguish two meanings of irapdfiaa-i^, a wider and a
restricted meaning. The irapafiaa-i^ cannot, of course, precede the
vofu)^ as the transgression of a positive law ; this is the sense of
Eom. iv. 15 ; but inasmuch as the way man had to choose accord-
ing to the will of Grod was always in some sense prescribed, there
were always transgressions and deviations. ^A/mprla is indeed
^a>/}£9 vdfiov veKpa, but that does not mean that without the law
there was no sin at all, but only that sin does not properly awake
nor disclose itself in its full extent until it finds in the positive law
the object in comparison with which it thus appears ; the more is
commanded, the more is sinned.

But scarcely has. the apostle conceded to the law that it is a
useful barrier against transgressions, when he at once adds two
qualifications which serve no other end than to point out the
subordinate position of the law as distinguished from the promise.
First, that it was given by angels (in accordance with the later and
peculiarly Alexandrine view, which did not allow even the giving
of the law to be thought of as an immediate act of God, who is
exalted absolutely above the material world) : second, that it was
given through a mediator, Moses. The passage, verse 20, in which the
apostle defines the office of the mediator, is one of the most vexed
passages in the New Testament : yet it only requires to be looked
at from the point of view which the context naturally suggests, in
order to receive a very clear and simple meaning. The distinction
drawn above, between the en-ayyeKla and the vofio<;, was that the
former was given directly by God, and the latter through the
mediation of angels (and here this can only be said in depreciation
of the law, though it is true that angels are made elsewhere to
exalt the glory of the legislation, Acts vii. 53). The phrase ev xetpi
lieaiTov must thus denote something by which the law is made
subordinate to the promise. And as iiarayei^ Bi arffekoav does
not touch the inward difference between the vdfiov and the ^07-
y€\la» but dwells on a merely external feature, so the definition
contained in verse 20 is to be taken in the same way, as merely ex-
ternal. The question is, it is true, the idea of the mediator, but



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CEBI8TIANITY TO JUDAISM. 107

what is dwelt upon first in defining this idea, is not the essence of
the matter, viz., that the mediation he efifects presupposes a con-
flict, that he has to mediate between two divided and discordant
parties. The first thing to notice about a mediator is this merely
external and local feature, that he stands in the middle between
two parties standing over against each other ; that he occupies the
middle position, and so mediates the one with the other. It is
thus that the idea of mediator is understood in the rabbinical
passages which the interpreters have adduced, in order to explain
fieaiTTi^. The function Moses has to discharge as mediator is
simply to take what is delivered to him, given into his hands, by
one of the parties, and to hand it over to the other. Data est lex
manu mediatoris, it is said in one of these rabbinical passages, and
in the same way iv xetpi, verse 19, directs attention to the hand
which bears and delivers the document of the law ; it is thus that
the mediator's peculiar function is characterized. The sense of this
passage, which has been twisted to so many purposes, is therefore
this : — That the mediator belongs not to one party, but to both
parties ; the mediator as such cannot be conceived of otherwise
than as standing between the two parties : he is not himself there-
fore one of the parties, he stands in the middle between them in
order to be the middle person between the one party and the other.
•But God is one, t.e., God is not such a mediator : he is only one of
the two parties, he stands only on one side, and not between the
two parties, who stand over against each other on the one side and
on the other ; he is thus one party for himself, as the other of the
two parties, with which God is dealing in a ButOrfKrif such as the
hra^yyeXla to Abraham, is one party for himself. Thus interpreted
the passage bears a very simple and natural meaning ; it at once
becomes clear why the apostle says the first time eVo? ovk earvv
and the other time eU eartv, and that without any further defini-
tion, since indeed none is required. It is hard to see what objec-
tion can be raised to this interpretation. Thus o Be Oeo^ eU eariv
does not refer in the least to the absolute, eternal and unchanging
unity of God ; this is entirely apart from the discussion ; God is



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108 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

one simply as standing for himself, as one of the two contracting
parties in this party-relation. And as for the law, what is said
about it is the merely external statement that the vofio^ has a
quite subordinate importance, just as the position of the fiea-lrry:,
as one who is not eU, or rather (what can be said of none but him)
who 6W9 ovK ecrnv, is a merely subordinate position. The hroff-
yeTua as a Biad-qKr) in which God eU etrnv, and in which no fiealrfi^
is concerned, stands higher than the vofiat;, which cannot be
thought of without the iiealrri^; and is essentially conditioned by
him. The law belongs to the same sphere as the fieacTtj^, to whom
it is bound, and whose position is determined for him by the con-
ception of what he is. One is not therefore warranted to place the
pofio<; on the same line with the eira/yyeKla, to compare it with or
exalt it above the promise. All these other ideas about the
relation of the eirayyekla and the i;o/Lto9 which interpreters have
fancied they discovered in our passage, have simply been imported
into it ; however correct they may be in themselves, they do not
belong to this passage. The apostle has indicated his meaning
with sufiScient clearness, and we need not travel beyond it.

Up to this point the apostle has spoken of the vdfu>(; in such a
way as if it were of no importance whatever, in comparison with
the eirar/yeKla. He admitted indeed, in verse 1 9, that it r&v irapa-
fidaecov xapw Trpoa-ereOrjt yet no sooner was this said than he
placed it far below the erroffyeKla, saying that it was Starayeh
Bt ar/yeXcov hf x^V* f^o-^Tov; and when he added o fiealrri^
€1/09 OVK €<mv, 6 Be Oeo^ 6(9 eariv, he represented the relation
of the v6fio(; to the eirayyeXla as one of actual opposition.
Thus he comes very pertinently to put the question : Is the law,
then, so far below the promise, that we should think there is
an actual opposition and conflict between the two, that they are
mutually exclusive of each other, and that thus in comparison
with the promise the law is to be held not only unnecessary and
useless, but an element of disunion and conflict? To this he
answers : That is by no means the case. I am far from wishing to
set up so disparaging a view of the law, and one which so little



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 199

recognises its significance. I do not depreciate the law to suph an
extent as to consider it of no further importance to me. Yet, on
the other hand, I cannot, as the Jewish Christians do, value it so
highly as to make S^Kaioawrf ef epytov vofiov mj highest principle.
I must declare against this view. For if the Mosaic law contained
such a law as could make alive or save, then righteousness would
actually come from the law, then it would be possible to be justi-
fied in the way of the law, by the works of the law. But this is
far from being the case : in the way of the law there is no
righteousness to be attained; the scripture itself asserts the
contrary and declares the result of the operation of the law to be
the very opposite. The scripture declares (avyKTieUiv in the
declaratory sense, as Som. xi 32} that all is held under the might
of sin, stands under the principle of sin, so as to be more or less
affected by it It declares this in passages such as those quoted,
Som. iii 10 ^. And this has come to pass in order that through
the knowledge (the apostle here expresses objectively and teleo-
logically a process which cannot be conceived, but as subjectively
mediated) that one cannot be saved in this way, the promise in the
way of faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
And it is just this consideration, that that which, according to the
scripture, is the result of the operation of the law, the manifest
universality of sin, serves simply to prepare the way for the
promise being fulfilled through faith, it is just this that leads us to
the true view of the law, that it is to be regarded in itself, in its
whole essence, as a mediating and preparatory stage. The chief
stages in the apostle's view of the world's religious history are the
eirayyeXia, the vo^lo^, and iriaris; (ttIoti^, though in itself sub-
jective, is here taken objectively, the apostle regarding the subject
entirely from the objective point of view as a divinely ordained
historical process). Now before faith came, faith that is, as a new
stage of the objective process of development, we were kept under
the law as if shut into a prison with a view to the faith which
should afterwards be revealed. Thus the law was our school-
master till Christ, that we might be justified by faitL Here the



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200 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

apostle is merely drawing a conclusion wliich results of itself from
the foregoing ; and the idea of the iraiBaycoyo^ contains nothing
that was not present in the foregoing ; he simply reverts to the
principal idea prefixed to this section inverse 19, that the law
r&v irapafiaaemv ;^af>&v irpoa-ereOrf, He now takes up this idea
again as it has been defined and substantiated in the intervening
verses. The paedagogic nature of the law must thus, from the
context, refer to its holding back from transgressions, setting a
limit to them. In the same way the law is likened, verse 23, to
a prison where a man is detained and watched. It is only in this
negative sense that the law is to be regarded as a vai£ay(&yo<;, nor
must what follows lead us to ascribe to it the function of an
educator, as if it had been meant to lead to Christ by awaking the in-
ward longing for redemption : the words eU Xpmrov simply express
that the law retained this interim and provisional importance,
until, in the course of this development, the time came at which
Christ could appear.^ And in this negative sense the word points
to another class of men, so named among the ancients, the slaves
namely, who accompanied boys not so much for education or
training, as merely to watch over them. It is such a tutor and
guide that the law is said to ba It wajs God's intention, and the
scope of this whole scheme of religious history that only when
Christ had come, should justification by faith begin, a thing which
was impossible under the law. This paedagogic state was only
for the interval, only a preparation, and so it came to an end at
once, and of itseK, as soon as a new stage of the religious conscious-
ness and life had come with the appearance of irlam^. Thus we
1 Neander says, op, cU, i. 435 : '' Since the law put an outward check on the
sinful propensity, which was constantly giving fresh proofs of its refractoriness,
as by this means the consciousness of the power of the evil principle became
more Tivid, and hence the sense of need both of the forgiveness of sin and free-
dom from its bondage was awakened, the law became a naibaywyos els XpurrSv"
Here two stages are taken together which neither belong to each other essen-
tially, nor are thus connected by the apostle, at least in this Epistle. As a rein,
a check, the law awakens in the first instance merely the consciousness of hinder-
ance, of opposition, in which the man seeks to be freed, not from sin, but only
from the law. [There are some modifications of the above view of the fraibayayhs
and the ticairris in my N. TheoL 166 /.— Editor,]



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM, 201

stand no longer under the vdfio^ vaiSay<oyo^ ; for us the law has lost
its meaning and its use. Here the questions naturally arise whether
7r/oTi9 has made an end altogether of the trapa^daei^, for the sake
of which the law was given ? why, if the vdfio^ be so far inferior to
faith, the latter had not appeared before ? and whether those, who
as being under the law had nothing but the BiKaiovaOac e^ efyfmv
vd/jbov, had not been justified nor saved at aU ? The apostle does
not enter into those questions in this passage, he only takes a broad
view of the process as it moves through the three stages, hrarffeXla,
vdfjko^, tt/ot^. HloTi^ is just the eirayyeXJa fulfilled and realized ;
the actual appearance of that which was implicitly contained in the
eirarfyeXla. Thus the chief difficulty is presented by the vd/w^,
which stands between these two, how it comes to be there at all.
The apostle almost seems to say tliat it should not properly have
been there at all: the relation of the vdfio^ to the other two
momenta is at any rate taken as purely external : the vdfux; has no
inward connexion with the other ; it is there merely t&v irapa^dr
cremv x^P^^> ^^^^ there may not be a total want of government and
order in the interval until irlarv; arrives, and that there may be
something to serve as a thread, though in a merely external way,
for the religious development. As long as man stands under the
law's discipline and severity, he is in a condition of bondage ; law
and faith are related to each other as servitude and freedom, or as
the slave to the son and heir of the house. The apostle finds this
relation also prefigured in Abraham, in his two sons, Ishmael and
Isaac. Ishmael the son of the bondwoman, the slave by birth,
stands for the law, because the law places man in a position of
bondage before God. Isaac, the son of the free woman Sarah,
bom, moreover, after a special divine promise, is the type of
Christians as reKva tj}? errarfyelua^. The one is a son only in the
literal outward sense, the other not in a literal, but in a higher
spiritual sense. The mothers of these two sons represent the two
ButOrjKoi, or forms of religion, Hagar the Jerusalem Ihat now is,
Sarah the upper, heavenly Jerusalem. This upper Jerusalem, the
free, is our mother : for we Christians are Christians simply in



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202 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

virtue of our Christian consciousness which assures us of our
freedom from the law. Having this freedom, we belong to a
Buidi^Kfj essentially different from the Mosaic, GaL iv. 22 s^-

When we consider the position which the apostle assigns to the
law, and the terms he uses to describe its distinctive character,
we see that the law is here degraded from its absolute value, and
reduced to the rank of a subordinate stage. Thus we can easily
understand how Gnostics of the most pronounced Antinomianism
appealed to our apostle's authority. The law is given only for
discipline and punishment, it is to act as a barrier, as a dam
against men's constantly increasing transgressions, that they may
not exceed all bounds. And the law has not proved adequate even
for this negative task of prevention; the scripture and the law
itself attest that under the law sin acquired an unlimited sway.
The law then is there only to appear in its impotence as against
the might of sin, which it has failed to subdue. The apostle has
not further explained what in his view was the reason why the
law was thus, as it appeared, so uselessly interposed between the
promise and faith, as if to hold the two as far as possible asunder,
and cause an interval to intervene before the promise was fulfilled
in faith. But we are able to infer the thought which was present
to his mind on this point, from his comparison of the law to a
iraiBaytoyixif a functionary who has only children to deal with.
Then he calls the man who stands under the law an infant (minor)
in a state of dependence, in which he differs nothing from a bonds-
man, and is under tutors and governors, and who cannot emerge
from that state of pupilage and become the master of his in-
heritance until a certain fixed period. Gal. iv. 1 $q. In the same
connexion it is said expressly that only when the time had come
to its fulfilment, when this period had expired, did God send his
Son. Considering this statement, and in conjunction with it the
term a'Toi,j(€la tov Koafiov which is applied to Judaism, GaL
iv. 3, we see that the apostle stands here at the standpoint of a
great and wide historical view, in which he distinguishes two
periods of the history of the world and of religion. The former



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CERiaTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 203

of these, the ante-Messianic, as commonly distinguished in the
Jewish view of history from the Messianic, he regards as in general
the period of the tirodnivm of the world or of the world's history,
in which, as it must be at the beginning of everything that is to
have a great history, all was yet rude and wild. This character,
which the world as a whole possessed at that period, belonged aho
to the law : its raison cCitre as a vo/jLOf; 'iraiSayayyo^ was to take the
Jews under its hard discipline, and hold them there till the
beginning of a new period of cosmic and religious history. This
new period was that of spiritual freedom, in which the unfree
servile condition had reached its term, and humanity, hitherto
a pupil and in need of a tutor, had grown into a free and in-
dependent man. Short as the apostle's words are, they are so
chosen as to exclude every thought of chance or caprice entering
into this process. The apostle places himself within the process,
one which had indeed been predetermined in God's decree, but
which was nevertheless conditioned by the successive stages of a
historical development, and in which no other cause than this was
possible, since, as he indicates, humanity as a whole, no less than
the individual man, is appointed to pass through certain periods of
life. From this point of view the apostle recognised in the law
simply a pedagogue appointed for the period of youth, and whose
office was little more than to curb the wild outbreaks of sin.
But the law proved unequal to this office, and simply demonstrated
by its powerlessness the universality of the reign of sin. Thus
in one aspect the apostle recognised in the law a mere ircuS(v/{oyo<;,
but, on the other hand, he looked at it in the light of a divine plan
of education ; could he then rest satisfied with this merely external
view of the law ? We see from the Epistle to the Romans that he did
not confine himself to this view of it ; and the harsher view of the
law which we find in the Epistle to the Galatians is clear evidence
that that work belongs to an earlier stage of the apostle's activity.
To apprehend the deeper meaning of the law, it was necessary to
regard it not as a mere instrument of correction thrust in externally
between the eirar/yeXla and irlari^, but as itself an essential and



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204 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

influential factor in the religious development under review. And
this could only be through the assertion of a more inward relation
between the law and sin. The object of the law was not now to
be sought in the transgressions which stood over against it externally
and existed independently of it and before it ; and its relation to
which was one of mere repression and prevention : the trans-
gressions must be referred to their principle, afiaprla, and this
latter could not be understood in its essence except in the light of
the law. If the essence of sin be not what it is objectively, but
what is subjective about it, the consciousness one has of it, then
sin can only be realized through the law ; but as it is realized only
in the element of consciousness, the law, in proportion as it brings
it to reality, brings about also the inward possibility of its removal
Sin, being thus developed by the intervention of the law, comes to a
head in the division of the man with himself which it brings about.
Here the man realizes the whole power of sin ; but in this state of
mind he is already inwardly loosed from it and turned towards the
operation of grace. Thus the law is not merely an outward stage
of the history of religion : it is an inward momentum in the de-
velopment of the religious consciousness : it is the consciousness
of sin turning in upon itself, and it fulfils its mission in the re-
ligious development simply by appearing as the consciousness of
sin to mediate between sin and grace. This is the apostle's stand-
point in the Epistle to the Eomans, where it is said of the law not
merely that it r&v irapa^curetov xapiv irpoa-erdOri, but that it is
ivvafivf; T^ dfJMprla^y and that because hia vdfiov eiriyvoxn^ t^9
dfiapTi,a<:.

We come now to heathenism and its relation to Judaism and
Christianity. It might be thought that the principle stated by the
apostle, Eom. v. 13, that where there is no law sin is not imputed,
furnished us with his moral estimate of heathenism. Eut, on the
one hand, the universality of death attests the universality of the
reign of sin among the heathens also ; and, on the other hand, if
they were judged incapable of having sin imputed to them, this
would not elevate them in the scale of moral and religious life, it



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Chap. V.] BELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM, 205

would, on the contrary, degrade them in that scale ; for unconscious-
ness of sin must necessarily be followed at some time or other by
consciousness of it. But the principle appealed to is not applicable
to heathenism ; though the heathens did not possess the Mosaic
Law, and were to that extent avofiov (Eom. iL 12, 1 Cor. ix. 21),
yet they were not absolutely without law. The place of a positive
law is supplied in their case by the natural moral consciousness,
which of itseK informs them what they ought to do, and what to
leave undone, Eom. ii. 14 sq. Thus the same reign of sin is found
to prevail in heathenism as in Judaism, and even more strikingly
than there ; for the natural law could not be so efifective a barrier
against transgressions as the positive law, and the reign of sin declares
itseK in exhibitions of the grossest sensuality, which reduce heathen-
ism morally far below the level of Judaism. But the characteristic
difference between Judaism and heathenism is not to be looked for
on this moral side, where both alike fall to be included under the
idea of sin. The essential conception of heathenism is that it is
a declension from the true idea of God, a denial and perversion of
the original consciousness of God. There is an original and uni-
versal revelation of God to humanity in which the heathens shared,
which comes from nature and history as well as from conscience,
and which was sufficient to make them acquainted with the nature
of God, so far as it can be the object of human apprehension. It
is therefore entirely their own fault that they did not preserve
and complete the knowledge which God himself had thus given
them of his true nature. This is a moral delinquency to be charged
to their own free-will, the source of which is to be looked for
mainly in their ingratitude, Eom. L 21. But when once through
their own free-wiU they had turned away from the true God, their



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 20 of 35)