James Hastings.

Dictionary of the apostolic church (Volume 1) online

. (page 125 of 234)
Online LibraryJames HastingsDictionary of the apostolic church (Volume 1) → online text (page 125 of 234)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

to external observances we may injure another
man's conscience. To ourselves it is perfectly in-
different whether we conform to a certain obser-
vance or not. But we are called upon to conform for
the sake of our weak brother. Still, this call to sub-
mission is not to be always or in all circumstances.

(iii. ) Another danger to which a man who always
considers the expediency of his actions is exposed
is that of being misjudged. A mode of conduct
largely regulated by consideration for others is
always open to misconception. And that St. Paul
did not escape the charge of being a mere obsequious
time-server, with no steadfast principle, aiming only
at pleasing men, is evident from his writings. "We
can easily understand how readily such accusations
would be set on foot, and how plausible they could
be made to appear. That they painfully affected
the Apostle's mind is evident from the frequency
of the references he makes to them, and from the
earnestness and deep pathos of feeling which not
infrequently mark these references. It is to such
sinister criticism that he alludes when in 2 Co 5",
after saying ' we persuade men,' he adds, ' but we
are become manifest unto God'; i.e. although he
did make a habit of aiming at persuading ( = making
friends of) men, still the unselfishness and sincerity
of his action were known to God. Another refer-
ence to this matter is found in Gal I 10 ' For am I
now persuading men, or God ? or am I seeking to
please men ? if I were still pleasing men, I should
not be a servant of Christ.' Possibly the reference
here is to his action in the matter of the Jerusalem
Decree (Ac 15) and the circumcision of Timothy
(Ac 16 s ).

It will be observed that the case of Timothy and that of Titus
(Gal 2*) are totally different. The former being by birth a son
of the law' on his mother's side, miirht naturally conform to
the usages of what was so far his national religion. Titus, on
the other hand, was a pure Gentile, and his circumcision was
urged as necessary, on principle, and not as a voluntary sacrifice
to expediency for the greater good of others. Hence it is clear

that St. Paul acted with perfect consistency. There is no
betrayal of principle, no unworthy endeavour to win the
approval of men.

To sum up, we see that expediency in its NT
sense is quite consistent with loyalty to principle.
It denotes the noble aim of one seeking 'the
greatest good of the greatest number.' It is not
the action of a trimmer ever seeking the applause
of men, but rather of a strong man willing to curb
his own personal inclinations for the sake of others.
And it may be said that the more steadfast one is
when principles are at stake the more ready one is
to give way on non-essentials.

LITERATURE. Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 1892; H.
Martensen, Christian Ethics (Social and Individual), 1881-82 ;
G. G. Findlay, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle, 1895. See
also the various NT Commentaries.



ETE. In the analogy drawn by St. Paul be-
tween the human body and the Church, the eye
(6<j>9a\fjt6s) is named as a member superior in rank
to either the ear or the hand (1 Co 12 18 - 21 ), though
dependent on the co-operation of both. In virtue
of this superiority, the eye becomes proverbial for
that which is precious (Ep. Barn. xix. 9), and St.
Paul writes of the affection of the Galatian Chris-
tians, ' ye would have plucked out your eyes and
given them to me ' (Gal 4 le ). Partly in view of
those words, many have argued that St. Paul's
' stake in the flesh (2 Co 12 7 ) was ophthalmia (e.g.
Creighton, EBi ii. col. 1456; Macalister, HDB
iii. p. 331 ; against this view, see the weighty argu-
ments of Lightfoot, Galatians, 1892, p. 191 n.).
The blindness with which St. Paul was seized on
the way to Damascus has been medically described
as ' a temporary amaurosis, such as that which has
been caused by injudiciously looking at the sun '
(Macalister, loc. cit.); the reference to the re-
moval of ' scales ' in the account of his recovery is
a comparison, not a pathological detail (Ac 9 s - 18 ).
Ely mas was smitten with temporary blindness as
a punishment for his opposition to St. Paul (13 U ).
The account of the miraculous restoration of Dorcas
to life (9 40 ) shows that it was customary in Pales-
tine, as elsewhere, to close the eyes of a corpse.

The eyes are frequently named by apostolic
writers in connexion with spiritual blindness or
sight. St. Paul sees the fulfilment of prophecy in
the closed eyes of the Jews in Rome (Ac 2S 27 ; cf.
Ro II 8 * 10 ), and is sent to open the eyes of the Gen-
tiles (Ac 26 18 ). Hatred of a brother is a darkness
blinding the eyes (1 Jn 2 11 ). Christ says to the
Laodicean Church, ' buy eye-salve to anoint thine
eyes, that thou mayest see' (Rev 3 18 ). On the
other hand, he who knows Christ has the eyes of
his heart enlightened (Eph I 18 ; cf. 1 Clem, xxxvi.
2, lix. 3 ; also the reference in Mart. Polyc. ii. 3
to tortured martyrs, who, ' with the eyes of their
heart,' gaze upon the good things reserved for
them). The realities revealed by the Spirit of
God are 'things that eye saw not' (1 Co 2 s ; cf.
Ep. ad Diognetum, ii. 1). But these spiritual
realities are built upon historic facts ; the basis
of the Christian gospel was that which apostles
had seen with their eyes (1 Jn I 1 ). As a cloud hid
Jesus from their eyes at His Ascension (Ac I 9 ), so,
when He comes with clouds, every eye shall see
Him (Rev I 7 ). When He is seen in vision, His
eyes are (searching) as a flame of fire (Rev I 14 2 18
19 12 ) ; so, to the eyes of God, all things are naked
and laid open (He 4 U ; cf. 1 P 3 ia ). The many
eyes of the ' living creatures ' and of the Lamb of
the Apocalypse symbolically denote vigilance and
range of vision (Rev 4 6 ' 8 5 8 ).

There are several references to the psychical and




moral qualities of the eye, according to that ' peri-
pheral consciousness' of Hebrew psychology (see
art. EAR), which is so amply illustrated in the OT
(examples in Mansfield College Essays, 1909, p.
275). No doubt, ' the lust of the eyes' (1 Jn 2 16 )
can be satisfactorily explained to a modern mind
as ' all personal vicious indulgence represented by
seeing' (Westcott, ad loc.), but a deeper meaning,
corresponding to St. Paul's idea of sin in the flesh
(see art. MAN), underlies this phrase, as also that
referring to ' eyes full of adultery ' (2 P 2 14 ; read
/toixefas with Bigg, ad loc.). The most striking
apostolic reference to the eye is that in which St.
Paul rebukes the Galatiana for letting themselves

be bewitched by (the ' evil eye ' of envious) false
teachers, when he had already ' placarded ' Christ
crucified before their eyes, who should have arrested
their gaze and averted peril (Gal 3 1 ; cf. Lightfoot,
ad loc.). This expresses the characteristic em-
phasis in apostolic teaching on the positive side
of truth, the expulsion of the false by the true.
Those whose eyes are turned to Christ are trans-
formed into the same image, from glory to glory
(2 Co 3 18 ; cf. Odes of Solomon, xiii. 1 ) ; those who
look at things unseen find their inward man re-
newed day by day, even in the midst of visible
affliction (2 Co 4 16 ' 18 ).



FABLE. In the NT (AV and RV) 'fable' is the
translation of /tC0os. But it is not the myth
charged with high moral teaching as in Plato, for
both word and thing have degenerated into the
expression of fantastic, false, and profitless opinions.
pMos is opposed to the historic story (\6yos) or to
actual fact (dXi^eia) ; cf. art. ' Fable ' in HDB, vol. i.
This is seen in the references : 1 Ti I 4 ' Neither
to give heed to fables . . . the which minister
questionings rather than a dispensation of God'
[RV]; 1 Ti 4 7 'profane and old wives' fables'; 2
Ti 4 4 ' turn aside unto fables ' ; Tit I 14 ' not giving
heed to Jewish fables ' ; 2 P I 16 ' We did not follow
cunningly devised fables.'

The Pastoral Epistles give a vivid picture of the
state of religious feeling in Ephesus, and the
Roman Province of Asia generally, in the years
A.D. 60-70. It was a favourable soil for the rank
growth of the fables and curiously wrought em-
bellishments of OT history, mention of which we
find in the Pastorals. There is no difference of
opinion as to their origin. They were Jewish, and
the Gnosticism supposed to be found in them is as
yet incipient and hardly conscious of itself.

For an explanation of the origin of these fables
we must turn to the accretions of legend and
allegory that grew up in the Jewish mind round
the great scenes and personages of the OT. It
was said that an oral law, ' the law that is on the
lip,' supplementary to the written law, had also
been given on Sinai, and handed down by teachers
from Moses through the centuries. This was added
to and illustrated by the teaching of the Rabbis,
and in course of time became a supplement to the
written law of the Pentateuch a supplement so
ponderous that often the text was overlaid and
almost buried in the commentary. To this our
Lord made reference when He asked 'Why do ye
also transgress the commandment of God because
of your traditions ? ' (Mt 15 3 ). These rank growths,
in deference to which they 'paid tithes of mint
and anise and cummin and left undone mercy and
faith,' had run riot in the Asian Church. Men
were turning back from the worship of ' the King,
eternal, incorruptible, invisible, the only God,' to
old wives' fables, the profane and senile curiosities
of people in their dotage. Jewish and heathen
speculations had seduced their minds from the
essential parts of the Christian faith.

We have specimens of these ' feigned words ' in
the numerous legends of the Talmud, the far-
fetched subtleties of Rabbinical teaching, and in
the allegorizing of Philo. Timothy, therefore,
was sent to recall the Church to the pure milk of
the word, and to nourish it on ' the words of the

faith.' 'Such,' says J. H. Newman, 'was the
conflict of Christianity with the old established
Paganism ; with the Oriental Mysteries, flitting
wildly to and fro like spectres' (Development of
Christian Doctrine, 1878, p. 358). In 2 P I 16 the
writer is replying to a taunt by which the opponents
of Christianity tried to turn the tables on the
teachers of the Faith. These had denounced the
religious fables with which men were deluding
themselves, and to that the reply was a ' tu quoque.'
The Christian doctrine, they said, was also built
upon fable, and its preachers were fraudulent and
sophistical persons (a-effO(pia-fj^voi) who for ambition
or filthy lucre's sake were exploiting the churches.
To this the author of 2 Peter replies : ' We did not
follow cunningly devised fables.' In proof of his
religious certainty certitudo veritatis he writes,
' we were eye-witness of his majesty ' ; and for
certitudo salutis he adds, 'we have the day-star
rising in our hearts.' The answer is still valid.
Against the charge of following sophistical fables
the modern apologetic turns to 'the fact of Christ,'
and the heart stands up and answers, ' I have felt.'


FACTION. Among the works of the flesh are tpis
and epi.Oela.1, ' strife ' and ' factions ' (Gal 5 20 ). tptdela is
selfish intriguing for office (Aristotle, Pol. v. 2, 3),
partisanship, party-spirit.

(1) Faction was rampant in the free cities of
Greece. Personalities were frequently exalted
above principles, and the public good was sacrificed
to private ends. Men were partisans before they
were patriots. The same spirit penetrated the
Church. While St. Paul, Apollos, and Cephas,
differing only in personal idiosyncrasies, preached
essentially the same gospel, their names quickly
became the party-cries of wrangling sects in the
Corinthian Church. ' There are contentions (fyiSes,
' rivalries ') among you ' ( 1 Co I 11 ) ; ' there is among
you jealousy and strife* (tpis, 3 s ), wrote St. Paul to
these typical Hellenes. He had to use all his re-
sources of reason and appeal to overcome their
'strife, jealousy, wraths, factions' (2 Co 12 20 ).

(2) St. Paul's arrival in Rome awoke another,
stranger kind of partisanship in the Roman Church
(Ph I 16 " 18 ). His presence moved the preachers of
the city ; it quickened the evangelical pulse ; but,
while some began to preach Christ in good-will to
him (Si efidoKlav), others did it through envy and
strife (5i4 <f>Bbvov ical fyu>), out of faction (t tpiOdas),
not purely or sincerely (&yvus). They emulated
his labours in the hope of robbing him of his
laurels ; then actually imagined that their brilliant
successes would ' add affliction to his bonds.' But
the Paul whose amour propre might have been




wounded by shafts of that kind had long ago been
crucified with Christ.' The Paul who lived, or
rather in whom Christ lived (Gal 2 20 ), only rejoiced
if there were indeed greater preachers than himself
in Rome. Among true apostles and evangelists
there is no room for jealous contention, ignoble
rivalry, in the publication of the gospel. Only one
thing matters that Christ be preached and His
name glorified. St. Paul's great-mindedness is
similar to that expressed in Browning's Paracelsus :

' Lo, I forget my ruin, and rejoice
In thy success, as thou ! Let our God's praise
Go bravely through the world at last 1 What care
Through me or thee?'


FAIR HAVENS (KaXol At/i<?"es). Fair Havens is
a small bay in the S. coast of Crete, where St.
Paul's ship, after working slowly westward under
the lee of the island, found shelter in rough weather
(Ac 27 8 ). It is not referred to in any other ancient
writing besides Acts, but its name is still preserved
in the modern dialect At/iewras KaXoi/j. While
exposed to the E., it was protected on the S.W.
by two small islands. In this roadstead the
Apostle's ship remained 'a considerable time'
(IKO.VOV xp6vov) weather-bound, strong N.W. winds
apparently continuing to blow. Two leagues west-
ward is Cape Matala, where the coast abruptly
trends to the N., so that if an attempt were
made to round the point the ship would certainly
be exposed to the full force of the wind. But as
it was feared that Fair Havens was not commodious
enough to winter in, a council was held, the ac-
count of which affords a vivid and instructive
glimpse into life on an ancient government trans-
port. While the captain and ship-master (6 va.ii-
KXi?pos) thought it better to make a dash for Port
Phoenix (q.v.), St. Paul considered it more pru-
dent to remain where they were. The Roman
centurion naturally ' gave more heed ' to the
nautical experts than to the landsman, as did the
majority (ol irXet'ous); but, as Smith remarks, 'the
event justified St. Paul's advice.'

'It now appears . . . that Fair Havens is so well protected by
islands, that though not equal to Lutro, it must be a very fair
winter harbour ; and that considering the suddenness, the fre-
quency, and the violence with which gales of northerly wind
spring up, and the certainty that, if such a gale sprang up in
the passage from Fair Havens to Lutro, the ship must be driven
off to sea, the prudence of the advice given by the master and
owner was extremely questionable, and that the ad vice given by
St. Paul may probably be supported even on nautical grounds '
(J. Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Parti, 1880, p. 85).

LITERATURE. W. M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and- the
Roman Citizen, 1895, p. 320 f. See also artt. in Bible Diction-
aries, esp. HDB i. 826 (W. Muir).


FAITH. 1. In the Acts of the Apostles. In the
Acts faith is spoken of as (1) inspired by Christ,
(2) directed to Christ, (3) corresponding to Christian

(1) After St. Peter had healed the lame man, he
explained that the miracle had been wrought by
the power of God by faith in the name of the
' Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead ' ;
'yea, the faith which is through him (>] Si' ai/roO)
hath given him this perfect soundness in the pre-
sence of you all' (3 16 ). The health-bringing faith
both in the apostles and the cripple had been in-
spired by Jesus, the Holy One.

(2) More frequently the faith is directed to Jesus
Christ. Thus the general statement is made:
' Many believed on (<hr2) the Lord ' (9 42 ). St. Paul
enjoins the Philippian jailer : ' Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ' (16 31 ). Similarly Crispus, the ruler
of the synagogue, 'believed in the Lord with all
his house' (18 s ; tirlffTewrev T$ Kiy>(fj=' believed the
Lord'). In all these cases the faith is directed to
the Lord Jesus Christ.

(3) In several passages ' the faith ' is equivalent

to the Christian faith or Christian religion. In
describing the multiplying of the disciples in Jeru-
salem it is said : ' A great company of the priests
were obedient to the faith ' (6 7 ). In Cyprus Elymas
opposed the apostles, ' seeking to turn aside the
proconsul from the faith' (13 8 ). St. Paul returned
to the towns in Asia, ' confirming the souls of the
disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith '
(14 2 -). In each of these cases 'the faith' has
already become the phrase to express all that is
implied by believing in Christ,

We can see the transition from (2) to (3) in the
expression used by St. Peter when speaking of the
work of God among the Gentiles. He says that
God made no distinction, 'cleansing their hearts
by faith ' or ' by the faith ' (15 9 ).

This leads us to note that in Acts faith is made
the medium for healing, cleansing, and salvation.
The largest result of faith is announced by St. Paul
when he promises to the jailer salvation for him-
self and his household as the blessing given to
faith in Jesus Christ. The gift of the Holy Spirit
is associated with faith in Christ, as in the case of
Cornelius and his friends who welcomed the preach-
ing of the gospel by St. Peter, so that ' while Peter
yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all
them which heard the word ' (10 44 ). More generally
the gift of the Holy Spirit follows baptism and
the laying on of hands, as in the case of the disciples
of John the Baptist (19 2 ) and the Samaritans whom
Philip had led to believe in Jesus Christ (8 17 ).

It is noteworthy that in describing both Stephen
and Barnabas it is said of each that he was ' full of
faith and of the Holy Spirit' (6 s II 24 ), and probably
it is implied that each had received not only the
permanent gift of the Spirit (dupedv, 2 38 ) but also
the graces (xaptV/tara, 1 Co 12 B ) imparted by Him
through a full and obedient faith.

2. In the Epistle of St. James. This Epistle must
have been written either in the very earliest apostolic
times or in a period that is almost post-apostolic.
The whole Epistle is practical and undogmatic,
and lays the chief emphasis on ethical observance.
The writer appreciates the value of faith when he
refers to those who are ' rich in faith ' (2 5 ) and to
the ' prayer of faith ' (5 15 ) ; but in the section of
the Epistle which deals with faith and works, it is
not too much to say that he looks upon faith with
a measure of suspicion. In this argument (2 14 " 28 )
the writer evidently defines 'faith' in his own
mind as intellectual assent to Divine truth, and
with his undogmatic prepossessions he becomes
almost antidogmatic in tendency. The Apostle
describes this faith not as false or feigned, but as
having such reality only as the faith of demons in
the oneness of God. To him 'faith' is far from
being an enthusiastic acceptance of a Divine Re-

If the Epistle was written in very early times,
the argument must move more on Judaic than on
Christian grounds, and a certain corroboration of
this is found in the fact that the illustrations are
taken from OT examples like Abraham and Rahab,
and that the typical example chosen is belief in the
unity of God, which was the war-cry of the Jew as
it became in later days that of the Muhammadan.
If the later date is chosen, then time must be left
for a general acceptance of Christian truth so that
' faith ' had become assent to Christian dogma. In
either case the argument of the Epistle cannot be
regarded as a direct polemic against the teaching
of St. Paul. The two writers move in different
spheres of thought, so that, while words and
phrases are alike, their definitions are as the
poles asunder. An instance of this is found in the
words with which St. James closes the section on
' faith.' The Apostle has already declared : ' Faith,
if it have not works, is dead in itself ' (2 17 ), so now




he suras up : 'As the body apart from the spirit is
dead, even so faith apart from works is dead ' (2 28 ).
Here we find that so far from faith being the in-
spiration of works, as St. Paul might suggest, St.
James teaches that works are the inspiration of
faith. Faith may be a mere dead body unless
works prove to be an inner spirit to make it alive.
This declaration agrees with the writer's whole
attitude, for throughout this letter he insists that
the practical carrying out of ' the faith of our Lord
Jesus Christ ' is found in obedience to ' the royal
law ' : ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'
This practice of the will of Christ makes faith to
be alive.

3. In the Epistles of St. Paul. In the writings
of St. Paul ' faith ' and ' grace ' are the human and
the Divine sides of the great experience that revolu-
tionized his own life and the lives of many to whom
the gospel was brought. Occasionally faith is
spoken of as being directed to God, but commonly
it is directed to Jesus Christ. Thus in Gal 2 16 St.
Paul writes : ' Knowing that a man is not justified
by the works of the (but only, tu>n-fi) through
faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ
Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ.'
Here the reiteration is singular, but the insistence
on ' faith in Christ ' is characteristically Pauline.
To St. Paul the only faith that is of value is the
faith that rests on Jesus Christ our Lord, who was
made in the likeness of men, died for our sins, and
rose again from the dead. The Death of Christ
occupies so large a place in his thought that he is
determined to know nothing save Jesus Christ and
Him crucified (1 Co 2 2 ), while he insists so strongly
on the Resurrection as to declare : ' If Christ hath
not been raised, your faith is vain ' (15 17 ).

This revolutionizing faith is awakened by the
preaching of the gospel : ' Belief cometh of hearing,
and hearing by the word of Christ ' (Ho 10 17 ), i.e. by
the word concerning Christ, or, as it is called earlier
(Ro 10 8 ), ' the word of faith,' i.e. the word that deals
with justifying faith. This faith, according to St.
Paul, brings salvation. Thus in Eph I 18 the word
of the truth ' is the medium by which faith comes,
and through faith comes salvation. So in Eph 2 a it
is said : ' By grace have ye been saved through faith'
(SiaTTjj vlffrews, not StA rty irlffriv, i.e. throughfaith as
a means, not on account of faith as a ground of
salvation). Hearing and faith are associated in a
similar way in the Epistle to the Galatians, as the
means by which the gift of the Spirit came. ' Re-
ceived ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by
the hearing of faith?' (Gal 3 2 ), and the meaning
varies little whether we conceive of faith as the
accompaniment of hearing or as its product. It is
possible to infer from Eph I 13f - that the gift of the
Spirit was received after, not contemporaneously
with, the act of faith. ' Having also believed, ye
were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.' The
sealing with the Spirit is posterior to the act of
faith and may be associated with the rite of baptism,
which came to be known as a sealing ordinance.

St. Paul dwells frequently upon faith as a definite
act in his own life and in the lives of Christian
converts. Two instances only need be given. In
Gal 2 16 he says: 'We believed on Christ Jesus,'
where the verb iirurTcfoa.^ denotes one definite
act in the past when they turned in faith to (elf)
Christ Jesus. Even more marked is the sentence
in Ro 13 11 : ' Now is salvation nearer to us (ij 6re
iiri.ffre^ffa.iuv) than when we believed,' i.e. than when
we by a definite act of faith became Christians.
In St. Paul's experience and teaching this act of
faith leads to a life of faith, so that he can write of
himself : ' That life which I now live in the flesh I
live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me' (Gal 2 20 ).

Online LibraryJames HastingsDictionary of the apostolic church (Volume 1) → online text (page 125 of 234)