W. J. (William J.) Scott.

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Book of Esther, because, forsooth, the name of God is
not mentioned a single time by its author, whether
Ezra or Nehemiah. The oft-quoted reply to this
objection that in no book of the Old Testament are the
foot-prints and finger-marks of a Divine Providence
more clearly visible, at once effectually silences the
puerile cavil.


That St. James wrote his Epistle to antagonize the
special views of St. Paul, and in the interest of the Ju-
daizing teachers who so stoutly opposed him in his apos
tolic work, has scarcely the semblance of historic truth.

The probabilities are largely in favor of the theory
that the Epistle antedates the period of the "foolish
Galatians," as well as the weightier Epistle to the Ro
mans. Moreover, the personal relations between Paul
and James, as shown from the former's successive visits
to Jerusalem, contraindicate the correctness of this state
ment. The one as the representative of Judaic Chris
tianity, and the other as the representative of Gentile
Christianity, at no time or place had a "sharp conten
tion," as did Paul and Barnabas at Antioch. Whatever
their minor differences, they both, in the best of moods,
went their several ways, both aiming at the glory of God
and the honor of a common Saviour.

From this polemical writing we turn to the simpler
and more congenial study of the manner of the life and
death of the first Bishop of Jerusalem. The religious
life of St. James was somewhat tinged by an asceticism
that savored of the sect of the Essenes, whose scheme
of philosophy was the stoicism of Hebrew history.

By some writers he has been likened to John the Bap
tist, whose trumpet-voice first roused a backslidden peo
ple to a consciousness of their individual and national
transgressions. Beyond any man of the first century.
St. James was abundant in fastings and prayers. Of
the latter it has been said that such was the frequency


of his public and private devotions that his knees were
"worn hard like those of a camel."

He had the same love for the sanctuary that distin
guished the aged Simeon and Anna the prophetess, who
departed not from the temple day or night. While St.
Paul owed to him the earliest official recognition of Gen
tile Christianity, yet it is doubtful if St. James ever was
outside of the walls of Jerusalem after the ascension of
Christ. Nor did this proceed from any indifference to
the evangelistic work of Peter and Paul, but from a
thorough conviction that Jerusalem the Holy City
was the divinely-appointed field of his apostolic labor.
There was about him a brotherly appreciation of moral
goodness, wherever seen, that endeared him to all classes
of his countrymen. Already we have referred to the
fact that because of the immaculate purity of his life he
was surnamed "The Just," to which popular verdict
even the stern ecclesiasticism of the Scribes assented.

But soon the shadows began to thicken about James
and the city he so ardently loved. As the day of reck
oning drew near, there were portents and prophecies of
the impending destruction. During the Feast of Tab
ernacles, and likewise in the midst of the Paschal solem
nities, a wild-eyed fanatic, called Jesus, appeared upon
the scene. He was only a less mysterious personage
than Melchizedek, who met Abraham after his slaughter
of the five kings. Day and night he lifted up his voice
in wailing and warning. The little children were nestled
closer to their mothers, as the stillness of midnight was


broken by his frantic outcry: "Woe to Jerusalem! woe
to the Temple!"

By every visible token a mightier and sharper sword
than that of Damocles was suspended above the Davidic
capital, which, like majestic Babylon, had made itself
drunken with the "blood of the saints." Already the
tramp of the Roman legions might be heard in the dim
distance. The prophetic eagles were gathering to the
carcass of a doomed city and a dead dispensation. But
despite these evil omens the rush of traffic and the rev
elry of licentiousness suffered not even a momentary
abatement. "As it was in the days of Noah so also
shall it be in the days of the Son of man." These
words spake Jesus as He departed from the Temple, and
now they were to be shortly fulfilled. At this critical
juncture the Sanhedrim hierarchy that "sat in Moses'
seat" began to plot for the murder of the saintly Chris
tian Bishop of Jerusalem. Under the leadership of
Hanan, a descendant of the wicked Caiphas of our
Saviour's time, they secured the arrest of James, and,
placing him on the pinnacle of the Temple, they mocked
and jeered him, and closed the shameful spectacle by
hurling him down headlong. Seeing that he was not
killed by the fall they began to stone him, as aforetime
they had stoned the blessed martyr Stephen. In the
midst of the murderous melee St. James scrambled to
his knees and prayed, saying: "I entreat thee, O Lord
God! O, Father, forgive them, for they know not what*
they do." Thereupon a Rechabite of priestly rank
entreated the rabble to spare the "just one." But,


instead, one of their number seized a fuller's club and
smote out the brains of the venerable servant of God.
They buried him, we are told, beside the sanctuary he
had loved long and well.

Josephus was not alone in the belief that this killing
of St. James was one of the principal causes of the
destruction of Jerusalem. At any rate, it was the
beginning of an end that was tragical beyond precedent
or parallel.

If the martyrdom of St. James occurred, as is most
probable, in the year 63, then short shrift was granted
that untoward generation. Seven years thereafter the
destruction of the city was completed. Not only was
the Temple burned to the ground, but its foundations
were upturned by the plowshares, the walls of the city
were leveled, and its gates dismantled. Such of its
inhabitants as escaped the sword and the pestilences
and the famine were "parted and scattered" to the
ends of the earth. The nobler captives were reserved
to grace the triumph at Rome, but many thousands
were sold into abject slavery. By such methods did
the Most High avenge the quarrel of His violated

But after all, this terrible destruction was " the bring
ing in of a better hope." Christian Judaism, as inculcated
by St. James, would have been of necessity provincial.
Like Mohammedanism, it would have been no less than
Buddhism or Brahmanism, one of the ethnic religions
of the world. Christianity must have a wider area and
a broader field for its activities. Henceforth the great


commission, " Go ye into all the world," became in a
higher sense than even the apostles as yet understood
it, the marching orders of the Church militant. And
now there are signs, neither dim nor dubious, that the
twentieth century will see

Jesus enthroned where'er the sun
Does the successive journeys run.

Let the Church universal respond: "Amen! even
so come, Lord Jesus."


No careful student of the New Testament has failed
to note what Archdeacon Farrar has styled the "dia
lectical method" of St. Paul as contrasted with the
"intuitive method" of St. John. This difference is
properly emphasized by Conybeare & Howson in their
elaborate work on the "Life and Epistles of St. Paul,"
the Apostle of the Gentiles. It indeed may be said that
even a casual reading of St. Paul's Epistles will suffice
to show that he was thoroughly argumentative in his
intellectual trend, leaving us to infer that the school at
Tarsus was not less affected by the methods of Aristotle
than was the Alexandrian philosophy by the impress of
Plato, the foremost pupil of the illustrious Socrates.
The Apostle's later training at O.e feet of Gamaliel,
" the glory of the law, " did not efface these marks of
Greek culture. So far indeed is this from the exact
truth that Paul's speech before Agrippa might have been
delivered by Demosthenes in the Pnyx at Athens, and


his address on Mars' Hill was worthy of Eschines, who
was only inferior to that great rival whose oratory

Fulmined over Greece
To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne.

One of the Fathers has said that "if Stephen had not
prayed Paul would not have preached." This is clearly
an unwarrantable limitation of Divine Providence and
gospel grace. God, in the accomplishment of His pur
poses, is not shut up by Procrustean methods or meas
urements. Nor does it matter in the least whether
Paul's notable conversion was due to the prayer of Ste
phen or the thunderbolt that smote him in the way to
Damascus Whatever the cause, the contrast was none
the less striking between the hot-blooded Sanhedrimist
demanding Lctlres de Cachet to Damascus and the
Brother Saul who, afterward, at the bidding of Ananias,
rose up and was baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
We have always regarded this conversion of St. Paul as
next to the resurrection of Christ the strongest of the
Christian evidences. I have long ceased to wonder that
Lord Lyttelton, a jurist of much celebrity, was himself
converted by the patient and honest investigation of this
"strange and eventful history." Nor do we wonder
that the Apostle made it the text and the argument of
his mightiest appeals to Jew and Gentile. The miracles
concerning which Hume made such a persistent pother
were polemical, and, while they served an admirable
purpose, they were of necessity local in their sphere
and transitory in their influence. Not so with the con
version of St. Paul, an event of world-wide significance


Nor did that event fail to impress alike the first and all
succeeding generations of religious thinkers. Viewed
in the light of subsequent developments, it was indeed
a pivotal event in the future history of the Church.

In an age of controversy, when Jew and Greek were
to be confronted and confounded, not by a philosophy,
but by the foolishness of preaching, it was fortunate
that St. Paul was the "chosen vessel" to accomplish
these great purposes. This matter of preaching was
not altogether a new departure. Ezra, the Scribe, soon
after the return of Israel from their captivity, had his
pulpit whence he hurled "the thunder of the violated
law." John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, and
Peter lifting up his voice at Pentecost, had demonstrated
that there was an energy in the spoken word vastly
transcending the power of the written word.

But the time had arrived when the field of apostolic
labor must be enlarged. Not otherwise could the king
doms of this world become the kingdoms oi our Lord
and His Christ. St. Paul was quick to perceive the
necessity, and accordingly his circuit was extended
from Jerusalem round about unto Illyricum. Afterward,
if we may trust well-authenticated tradition, he pressed
westward and northward until he passed the pillars of
Hercules and planted Christianity in Britain, the ultima
thule of ancient geography. Why, indeed, might not
an apostle, thoroughly alive to the claims of the gospel,
follow, for the sake of souls, wherever a Phenician navi
gator had gone in quest of tin and copper. And this
leads us quite naturally to speak of Paul as a preacher.


We have always found it somewhat difficult to reconcile
the scriptural account of his evangelistic successes at
Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica, and other chief cities
with the criticism of his enemies that his bodily pres
ence was weak and his speech contemptible. Much has
been said of sundry physical ailments of the great
Apostle. Sometimes it is stated that he suffered with
ophthalmia or other eye disease, brought on by expo
sure to the intense light and heat of a Syrian sea. Others
speak of his liability to epileptic seizures, as were
Mohammed and Bonaparte. This is given as a reason
why Luke, the beloved physician, was his frequent
traveling companion. Whether there is more than a
coloring of truth in these statements is fairly question
able. His long and frequent journeyings by land and
sea, his exposure to and endurance of perils and hard
ships in city and wilderness, all are clearly incompatible
with the idea that he was a physical wreck, or even a
constitutional invalid. There is a moral certainty that,
like Zaccheus, he was small of stature, and that for this
reason he exchanged the name of Saul, suggestive of
precocity for that of Paul, which signifies little. But
Palmerston, we know, was under the regulation size, and
so was Douglas, of Illinois ; nor can you in any age of
the world measure true manhood with a yardstick. But
all this concerns only the outward man which perisheth
intellectually he was the grandest of men, and as a
moral force scarcely equaled in the annals of the race.

It is noteworthy that Paul, who kept the clothes of
those who slew Stephen, should have caught no little


of the manner and the matter also of the protomartyr.
St. Paul's defense before the great council at Jerusalem
bears a striking resemblance to Stephen's defense
before the same august tribunal. There is the same
wealth of illustration drawn from the Jewish Scrip
tures, the same mighty appeal, enforced by a like impet
uous oratory. Paul never at any time dallied or drawled.
As has been said of Luther, and also of honest Hugh
Latimer, his very words were "half-battles," or rather
they might be likened to ponderous stones hurled from
an ancient catapult. There was in his speech the utter
absence of that flippancy that pleases "itching ears,"
but instead directness and impressiveness which roused
and thrilled like a trumpet. I have been told that Mr.
Calhoun was heard to say on more than one occasion
that the great Apostle was at times an inconclusive
reasoner. We see no proof of this either in his epistles
or sermons. Least of all do we find it in his masterly
discourse on the resurrection ol the dead, which Strauss
thought was open to a like adverse criticism. This
German neologist refers particularly to the Apostle's
reply to the question, "How are the dead raised up,
and with what body do they come?" "Thou fool,"
says St. Paul, "that which thou sowest is not quickened
except it die." Whereupon Strauss alleges that the
very opposite of this statement is true, and proceeds to
twit the Apostle with his utter ignorance of vegetable
physiology. What solemn trifling is here, when we
keep in mind that Paul employs this striking analogy
not in its technical sense, but according to popular


usage. What astronomer (Newton or Herschel) does
not speak of the sun rising and setting, according to the
vernacular of the multitude, although even Strauss
would not venture to suggest that either was ignorant
of the fact that the sun was stationary.

But no better vindication of the Apostle's great argu
ment could be devised than the fact that it has with
stood, like a massive sea-wall, the flood of infidel cavil
and criticism that has beaten against it throughout the
Christian centuries. In spite of these assaults, its defi
ant challenge: " O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory?" has been the strength and stay
of the dying Christian as he walked unhurt and undis
mayed through the valley of the shadow of death.

Take that other great argument on justification in the
Epistle to the Romans, and where will you find the
record of its refutation ? It was the key-note of that
Reformation that shook Europe from the Orkneys to
Calabria. Even in this age of "higher criticism," and
also of the projected revision of creeds, few men of
note will be found to attack the Apostle's postulate:
"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We know very well that from the first century to the
present time St. Paul has been charged with corrupting
Christianity Late infidel writers allege that he laid
undue stress on dogma, and that the controversial tone
that pervades the epistles has obscured the milder
spiritual effulgence of the Fourth Gospel, and almost
hidden from view the ethics of the Sermon on the


Mount. We are not unduly wedded to dogmatic the
ology ; yet, without proper emphasis of Christian doc
trine, our ministry and membership are sure to drift
into Broad-churchism. What would become of Geome
try without its axioms and definitions? And what
would be the fate of Christianity without such rigorous
statement of these much-abused and much-dreaded dog
mata as St. Paul has made prominent in his greater

There is yet a more inviting aspect of St. Paul's
character, which will amply repay our consideration.
We refer to his religious characteristics These best
appear in his Epistle to the Philippians. Between him
and the saints at Philippi there existed a closer bond of
sympathy than with any of the apostolic churches. In
this epistle we note especially his humility as when he
says, "I count not myself to have apprehended;" nor
does he reckon himself as "already perfect.'' There is
here no morbid self-depreciation, but such humility as is
befitting the chiefest of the apostles Indeed it is only
the wise man who best knows the limitations of human
knowledge So it is likewise the genuinely good man
who is most conscious of the limitations of human good
ness. Even in his maturity of wisdom and saintliness
he is "reaching forth,'' and still with undiminished
ardor and unstinted effort "pressing toward the mark
for the prize of the high calling.'' How this humility,
only in a measure less than the meekness of Christ, is
fitted to "chasten ever lofty imagination," and even
"pour contempt on all our pride!" As John Newton


was humbled to the very dust when he thought of him
self as once the "old African slave-trader," so Paul was
deeply humiliated when he recalled the former days in
which he had roamed like an evening wolf, and breathed
out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of
the Lord Jesus.

But there is still another feature of his character
which Mr Fletcher brings out in his "Portrait of St.
Paul." We refer to his gentleness. Read his Epistle
to Philemon, wherein he pleads so piteously for Ones-
mius, the fugitive slave, whom he had "begotten in his
bonds." Study that scene by the sea-side at Miletus,
and ponder well his tender leave-taking of the elders of
Ephesus. If you had for a single instant supposed that
St. Paul was an austere and unsympathetic man, revise
your estimate while you read the pastoral letter to Tim
othy, his "son in the gospel," and to Titus, the first
Bishop of Crete.

There remains another feature of St. Paul's character
which we must not overlook, if we would have a clear-
cut conception of this great apostle. With all his
humility and tenderness there was a courage that never
faltered in any extremity of his eventful career. Stoned
and dragged forth for dead at the gate of Lystra,
fighting with wild beasts in the arena at Ephesus, tossed
for three consecutive days on Adria, wrestling with
infuriated mobs at divers times and places never on
any occasion did he so much as lose his self-possession.
But never was this moral courage more severely tested
than at his second and final hearing before Nero. For-


saken by friends, but strengthened by the Lord, he
bore himself not less grandly than Luther at the Diet
of Worms. But what of his last hours, as he was shut
up alone amidst the stench and darkness and every
other conceivable discomfort of a Roman prison ? His
second Epistle to Timothy is supposed to have been
written from this confinement. Perhaps those last
words, "I am now ready to be offered," etc., were
written by a dim rush-light furnished him by his jailer.
What trust, what resignation, what hope breathes
through these words: "I have fought a good fight; I
have kept the faith. Henceforth there is a crown of
righteousness (brighter and better than any earthly
diadem) laid up for me and for all that love His
appearing ! "

Here we let the curtain fall. No need to follow him
to the place of doom and death on the historic Appian
Way. " No prophet," said Jesus, " can perish out of
Jerusalem." But an apostle, the greatest of them all,
went through the city gates, bearing his cross as did
the Master. Swordsman, do thy work well, and do it
quickly. For, lo !

Cherubic legions are ready to guard him home
And shout him welcome to the skies.

O, thou tent-maker of Tarsus ! thou wast indeed a
valiant worker in the vineyard ; and now, while the
bells ring glad paeans from every turret and tower of the
golden city, " enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."



When the gallant 10,000 that followed the standard
of Xenophon in his Cyrus expedition caught their first
glimpse of the ocean they shouted, "The sea! The
sea!" with unspeakable rapture. It was only a less
degree of joyousness that I felt when, from the deck of
an ocean steamer, I got my first distinct view of the
broad and billowy Atlantic. I had read books of voy
ages by the score before ever I had known the need of
a razor. Marryat and Cooper were favorite novelists
with me in my boyhood. I still retain a lively remem
brance of Long Tom Coffin, the typical boatswain, and
of the striking adventures of the Red Rover. Not un-
frequently I dreamed at nights of the "vasty deep,"
ploughed by those mighty ships that "weave the conti
nents together. " Such, indeed, was my boyish enthu
siasm that I have often thought that if I had been reared
at a seaport, I might have started in life as a stowaway,
and not as a beardless student of Blackstone.

I gravely question if Byron was ever conscious of a
greater yearning "to lay his hand upon old ocean's
mane and ever wanton with its breakers," and yet, after
all, I was the veriest lubber in a half dozen States.

J had reached my majority before I had ever snuffed
the salt sea gale, or glimpsed at a single brood of
Mother Carey's chickens.


During my first and only storm at sea I fully realized
my utter unfitness for a sea-faring life. How I longed
for a foothold on terra firma. As I lay in my berth at
midnight, and heard the stout ship struggling with a
heavy sea, and felt her quiver from stem to stern, I
recalled with vividness the ode of Horace, in which he
berates the folly of the man who first tempted the
" treacherous sea." But somehow I still have a fancy
for the legends of the forecastle, and have never lost
interest in the marvels and mysteries of the deep sea.
Men that have gone down "to the sea in ships" still
have a hold on my sympathy and veneration, and none
more so than Captain J. Mclntosh Kell, our present
efficient Adjutant-General. Look at him with his
broad, Scotch face, and his reddish hair, which betoken
a " vera brither " of Rob Roy or some better highland

It was he that fought the Alabama against the Kear-
sarge off the French port of Cherbourg. A wooden
ship against an ironclad the latter having the heavier
battery and a larger crew. The contest was as unequal
as if a light-weight pugilist should enter the ring with
his bare knuckles to exchange blows with a heavy
weight with a mailed hand.

"How did it happen," I inquired of Captain Kell,
a few days ago, "that you sailed out of port to fight
against such odds?''

"Well,'' he replied, " you must remember that we
could not have remained much longer in Cherbourg
without going into dock. This would have demoralized


and probably dispersed our crew, and thus greatly em
barrassed us in all our future efforts to cripple the com
merce of the enemy. Another consideration which
was not without weight, was that the alternative offered
us was either to fight the Kearsarge singly, or to delay
and fight her and such reinforcements as she was sure
to receive in a few days. But, besides, we did not
know that she was an armored ship until Admiral
Semmes, who was in the rigging, noticed that neither
our shells nor our solid shot made any impression, but
fell off into the water. We did, it is true, plant a
hundred-pound shell in her stern-post, and but for a
defective fuse, that single shot might have disabled our
enemy or sent her to the bottom. Once into the fight,
we must needs make the best possible of a bad

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Online LibraryW. J. (William J.) ScottHistoric eras and Paragraphic pencilings → online text (page 9 of 14)