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possession of peace, which becomes again the ground of all Christian joy. The man whom grace has humbled cannot be a dull or peevish man. One with Christ he shares His peace and tastes His joy-a joy which, as Paul himself well knew, earthly sorrow cannot quench. "Sorrowful yet always rejoicing." Thus, with the consciousness of the nothingness of all that a man can be or effect by his own power, Paul combines the elevating sense of what a man is and achieves through Christ. In this we see the unity and uniqueness of Pauline ethics. The virtues merge and shade into each other. Let a man begin with humility, the proper attitude to God, and he rises step by step to the full realization of the blessedness of eternal life in Christ.
(2) Closely allied to humility is meekness, pаÛTNS, and its sister, long-suffering (μakpovuía),—the attitude of the Christian in the presence of suffering and wrongdoing. With these may be connected contentment (avτáρkeia), which makes a man independent of external circumstances, not however to be identified with stoic apathy-"I have learned in whatsoever state I am therein to be content"; and Toμóvn, patience, which indicates not merely endurance but also perseverance; and ereikeia, which is sometimes translated "clemency," sometimes "moderation," and sometimes "forbearance." "Let your moderation be known unto all men "—which means behave gently, kindly, considerately, making allowances, not insisting on your pound of flesh.
Just as humility is not poor-spiritedness, so meekness is not tameness nor cringing servility. It is self-suppression in view of the claims of others, and may consist with the highest courage.
(3) Lastly, we may mention the virtue of forgiveness.
1 Gal. v. 23.
It is not enough to be humble, or to be meek and patient; we have a duty to wrongdoers. We must not only bear but forbear, not only forget but forgive. It is not enough to refrain from rendering evil for evil; we are to follow after that which is good. "Bless them that curse you." "1 "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you."2
The Christian graces or "theological virtues." 'Now abideth faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love." Some have been content to see in these three graces the summary of Christian excellences. Neander works out the whole ethical system of Paul from these three heads alone.3 Others have made them the triple basis upon which the whole edifice of Paul's theology is built.* Faith points to God, love to man, and hope to the life beyond. Attractive as such generalizations are they are fanciful and defective. These graces cannot be separated from one another and made to represent different divisions of life. Man is not made in water-tight compartments. Nor can he exercise at one time faith, at another love, and at another hope. They are all of a piece. He who has faith has also love, and he who has faith and love is not devoid of hope. We may regard the threefold excellence as at once the root and the fruit of the Christian character-its basis and crown.
1 Rom. xii. 20.
"Neander, Planting of Christianity, p. 480.
5"Faith founded the Church, hope sustained it.
2 Eph. iv. 32.
I cannot help
thinking it is reserved to love to reform it." Prothero, Life of Dean Stanley, vol. i. p. 302.
Love is the first and last word of apostolic Christianity. In the New Testament even faith itself is not more constantly used. No other term is so expressive of the spirit of Christ. Even the apostle John, who has been named the apostle of love, does not surpass Paul in his praise of this quality. In the celebrated hymn of love, unparalleled for beauty in all literature, he proclaims the pre-eminence and permanence of this grace. "Now abideth faith, hope, love, but the greatest of these is love." Love was practically unknown in the ancient world. pws, the sensuous instinct or passion, and piλía, the φιλία, bond of friendship, did exist. But ȧyán, love in its highest sense, was the discovery and creation of the Gospel. Pre-Christian philosophy exalted the intellect, but left the heart cold and vacant. It was reserved for the followers of Jesus to teach men the meaning of charity and to find in it the law of freedom.
In the ethics of Paul, as in Christ's own teaching, love is primal and central. It is the virtue in which all the others have their setting. And thus, though the various lists which the apostle gives us may seem wanting in system and formal connection, they have a deep underlying unity and coherence. All have this in common, that they spring directly from love, and are manifestations of it. "Love is the bond of perfectness." It is the golden thread upon which all the pearls are strung. The several virtues are but facets of one rich and manifold gem.
Love, says Paul, is indispensable to a true Christian character. Without this no profession of faith, no practice of good deeds has any value in the sight of God. Though I have all other gifts and merits—the knowledge of all mystery, the enthusiasm of ecstatic
1 Col. iii. 14.
feeling, the sublimest heroism of courage, the most selfdenying sacrifice-all are nothing without love. Without it enthusiasm becomes an empty play of feeling, knowledge a mere intellectual parade, courage a boastful confidence, self-denial a useless asceticism. Love is the fruitful source of all else that is beautiful and noble in life.1 It imbues the entire character, and contains in itself the motive of all Christian conduct. It not only embraces but produces all the other graces. It creates courage. It begets wisdom. It brings forth self-restraint and temperance. It manifests itself in humility, meek
ness, and forgiveness.
As every lovely hue is light
So every grace is love."
Love is the enduring virtue. Paul associates with it faith and hope. Indeed, the close connection of these qualities is so remarkable that it has been suggested that Paul's combination of them may have had its basis in some lost word of Christ Himself. Are faith and hope, then, to be regarded as virtues of the same kind. as love, only inferior? We have already seen the place which faith occupies in the teaching of the apostle. It is the formative and appropriating power by which man receives and makes his own the Spirit of Christ. Faith is the practical principle from which is to be deduced the whole Christian life. But it works through love, and finds in the activity of love its outlet and exercise. As all the actions of the believer may be traced back to the "work of faith," so likewise they may be referred to
"Show me what thou truly lovest. This love is the root and central part of thy being. What thou lovest is what thou livest." Fichte, Reden.
Harnack, Texte ü Untersuchungen, vol. v. and vol. xiv.
the "labour of love." We may say that love is the material, and faith the principle of Christian virtue. Character is formed by faith: it lives in love. The two belong as condition and completion to the same virtue.1
And the same may be said of hope. It is a particular form of faith which looks forward to a life that is to be perfectly developed and completed in the future. The man of hope knows in whom he trusts, and he anticipates with assurance the fulfilment of his longings. Christian hope is not the complacence of shallow optimism. It recognizes the reality of evil. It does not conceal from itself the significance of sin in this world, and its awful consequences in the next. But confident in the mercy of God, in spite of the world's trial and sorrow, it does not hesitate to look forward to the gradual realization of the divine purpose and the final triumph of good over evil. Hope is faith turned to the future-a vision inspired and sustained by love.
The superiority of love is due to the fact that it is the quality which gives their value both to faith and hope. It is the manifestation of the one: it is the inspiration of the other. Faith and hope designate but single phases of our relation to God, and therefore represent but partially the significance of the ethical life. But love is the moral completeness, embracing in its scope our duties both to God and man. Faith is unreal without love; love a mere sentiment without faith and hope. If Paul is the apostle of faith, he is also the champion of hope; and he is both because he is the messenger of love. The Christian is a man of faith, love and hope.2 He looks upwards, outwards and
1 Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, p. 225.
2"Love, hope, fear, faith-these make humanity. These are its
sign and note and character." Browning, Paracelsus.