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THE theology of St. Paul has found exponents many and able; the ethics of St. Paul has not been so fortunate. Some reference to the moral teaching of the apostle is made by most of the modern treatises on New Testamenu theology as well as by several of the recent works upon Christian ethics; but, with the exception of a small volume by Ernesti, entitled Die Ethik des Apostels Paulus, published in 1868, and one or two papers in English and German periodicals, there is a singular dearth of writings specially devoted to this theme.

No one can read the epistles of Paul without perceiving the ethical character of a large portion of their teaching, and noticing how even the great theological principles themselves have a profound moral import. In these days when the ethics of Christianity is claiming attention, and when men are asking what has the Gospel to say upon the great moral and social problems, it is only natural that an attempt should be made to ascertain the attitude to the practical questions of life of one who was the first, as he was the greatest exponent of the mind of Christ. It has been said that for many thinkers "St. Paul is as obsolete as Tertullian or Calvin." Whether this be an exaggeration or not, it may be that, for an age impatient of the technical language of dogma, the practical teaching of the apostle with regard to the conduct


of life may have a note of appeal and do something to convince the modern mind that Pauline truth when translated out of its theological nomenclature has a deathless message for men of all times. It has seemed, therefore, to the present writer that a separate view of the ethical as distinguished from the doctrinal teaching of the apostle may be of some service. It will scarcely be denied that Paul dwells frequently upon the details of human conduct, but the point to be noted is that such details are not excrescences but of a piece with all his thinking, his ethical precepts are not simply tacked on as an appendix, but flow directly, as a natural sequence, from his dogmatic principles.

The special aim of this volume consequently is not only to present in a systematic whole the various virtues and duties which the apostle inculcates, but also to show (and this is indeed the central thought of the book) that morality is absolutely vital to St. Paul's religion, and that he ever seeks to bring the dynamic of the Gospel to bear upon practical life.

No man is independent of his environment, and with all his originality Paul was affected by the conditions of life and thought amid which he was reared. The writer has therefore endeavoured to indicate the apostle's relations to the ethical conceptions of his day, contrasting and comparing at various points his teaching with the philosophical systems of the ancient world.

The particular topics dealt with fall into three main divisions:

1. Sources and Postulates, treating not only of the influences which shaped the early life and thought of Paul, but also of the presuppositions with regard to man's moral nature which he brought over into the new life from his pre-Christian days.

2. Ideals and Principles, dealing with the new Ideal of life, the peculiarity of which, as Paul conceived it, is shown to be that it is at once Norm and Power, Vision and Energy; and the chief forms or virtues in which the ideal is to be realized.

3. Duties and Spheres, indicating the particular obligations prescribed by the Christian ideal and the different spheres amid which the Christian is called upon to exercise the ethical life.

The attempt has been made to base the exposition upon a careful study of the actual words of the apostle, and the value of a work of this kind must largely depend not only upon the appositeness of the quotations, but also upon their cumulative force. While the author would fain believe that no important passage bearing upon the moral life has been overlooked, he has sought to avoid giving to his treatment of the subject the character of a mere mosaic of texts.

The detailed synopsis of contents as well as the abundant references to other works, it is hoped, may prove useful to those who desire to pursue the subject. A large number of books upon philosophical and Christian ethics has been consulted, but the author has endeavoured as far as possible to acknowledge his indebtedness.

To the Rev. Charles Allan, M.A., Finnart Church, Greenock, who with ungrudging kindness carefully read each chapter in MS. and afterwards in proof, and placed at his disposal many valuable suggestions, the present writer tenders his most grateful thanks.


Justitia et Caritas unicum et certissimum verae fidei Catholicae signum est, et veri Spiritus Sancti fructus; et ubicunque haec reperiuntur, ibi Christus re vera est, et ubicunque haec desunt deest Christus: Solo namque Christi Spiritu duci possumus in amorem justitiae et Caritatis.

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