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tion and outworking. This exposition gives to the word perfected the same appropriate meaning in the five places in which it occurs in this epistle, a meaning in close harmony with its meaning in James ii. 22.
If the above exposition be correct, the words perfect and perfected denote in the First Epistle of John, not a definite stage of spiritual life, but a full outworking of that love which is the essence of God.
Another Greek word, etymologically quite distinct from the word whose meaning we have just discussed, is used by Christ, in Luke vi. 40, as a description of a degree of spiritual attainment: "a disciple is not beyond his teacher, but every one that is fully equipped (KаTηρTIOμévos: R.V. perfected) shall be as his teacher." The same word is found in 1 Corinthians i. 10, "that ye may be fully equipped in the same mind"; in 2 Corinthians xiii. 11, "be fully equipped"; in Hebrews xiii. 21, "may God fully equip you in every good thing, in order to do His will"; and in 1 Peter v. 10, "the God of all grace will fully equip you." Cognate substantives are found in 2 Corinthians xiii. 9, "we pray for your full equipment"; and in Ephesians iv. 12, "for the full equipment of the saints." A simpler form of the same word and another cognate verb are found together in 2 Timothy iii. 17, "in order that the man of God may be equipped, for every good work fully equipped”: ἄρτιος . πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτημένος.
The root idea of the word aρTios and its cognates here used seems to be fitness for use or work. This is conspicuous in Matthew iv. 21, Mark i. 19, where fishermen are described as "mending their nets," i.e. preparing them for the sea: καταρτίζοντας τὰ δίκτυα. This idea of fitness for use distinguishes the family of words now before us from Téλeos and its cognates, which denote full development, full realisation of inherent tendencies. These ideas of full equipment for work and mature development are found together
in Ephesians iv. 12, 13, in a fine description of the purpose of the Christian pastorate. And they are essentially connected. For all Christian maturity fits for active service.
In 1 Corinthians ii. 6 and iii. 1, we have a bi-partite division of Church members into adults and babes: TéλELOL and νήπιοι ἐν Χριστῷ. That this division was not technical and definite we have already learnt from Paul's refusal to class himself among the full-grown. This inference is confirmed by the fact that in 1 John ii. 12-14 we have a tripartite division of Church members into children, young men, and fathers. The young men who had overcome the wicked one might claim to be of adult strength. But neither Christ as His words are recorded, nor St. Paul, has in view any higher state than that of full-grown men. That Church members were divided, touching their maturity, into two or into three classes proves that the divisions are not technical or definite.
From the above we learn that in the English New Testament the word perfect, whether representing Téλeos or äρrios, or their cognates, describes, not actual persons or actual spiritual attainment, but a moral goal set before men for their pursuit and attainment. The only apparent exceptions are a few places in which the word is used hypothetically or rhetorically. Even St. Paul denies that he is already perfected, but says that he is pressing on towards the goal. This proves that when he classes himself among the perfect or full-grown he does so only to assert the obligation involved in a claim to spiritual manhood. That he speaks wisdom among the perfect is stated only as a reason for not so speaking to his readers.
We also notice that the goal described by the words before us is not always the same. In one case it is indiscriminate beneficence, like the beneficence of the God of nature. In another, it is a surrender of all material good. Elsewhere it is endurance of trial of faith; and in another
place the perfect man is one, who has complete control of his tongue. The perfection which fits a man to apprehend wisdom, i.e. to understand the deep purposes of God, but which the Corinthian Christians had not, would have raised them above the petty contentions which divided the Church into parties. It must therefore have been moral as well as intellectual. The maturity which the Apostle desired for the Ephesians would, as we have seen, save them from vacillation and error in doctrine.
Different as are these descriptions of Christian character, they are closely related. Yet each may be a definite object of moral effort. The teaching of the New Testament about perfection, as a whole, holds before us, for our pursuit and attainment, a measure of moral and intellectual and spiritual maturity as much above the actual condition of some of the members of the apostolic Churches as is the strength and development of manhood above the weakness and waywardness of a child. He sets before us a moral and spiritual ideal, suited to every one in every position in life. The value of such ideal as an inspiration and guide has been recognised by all who have risen above their fellows in spiritual stature. For we shall never rise above our ideal. And without an ideal our path in the future will be limited by our attainments in the past, or at best by the attainments of others around us.
How the various ideals embodied in the teaching of the New Testament about perfection are to be realised, that teaching does not state. The way of perfection must be traced in other teaching of Christ and His apostles. In another paper I hope to call attention to other all-important teaching of the New Testament bearing most closely upon the subject now before us, and supplementing the teaching expounded above. But it has no definite bearing on the use of the word perfect, nor is it directly connected with the teaching in which that word is found.
Meanwhile we have learnt that some whom St. Paul recognises as possessing the real spiritual life of children of God were yet immature and unstable as children, that before even the most mature he sets a still higher maturity as a definite goal for spiritual effort, that he taught that all spiritual maturity is a relative fitness for the service of Christ, and taught that the surest mark of spiritual maturity is consciousness of the need of, and eagerness for, still further growth.
JOSEPH AGAR BEET.
NOTES ON OBSCURE PASSAGES OF THE
THE distinction maintained in one of the XXXIX. Articles between the "four prophets the greater" and the "twelve prophets the less" is, we may hope, on its way to the land of oblivion. Expositors at any rate have found out its unreality, and study the "four" (or rather "three ") and the "twelve" with equal humility and respect; or, if a difference is ever made, it is probably in favour of those who used to be called the "minor prophets." Hitzig wrote, in 1838, respecting the earlier commentators on the Dodecapropheton: "Too often the flesh of the expositors was willing, but the spirit was weak; and the least in the kingdom of knowledge found in his insignificance a call to take up the explanation of a small prophet." 1 This cannot any longer be said. A prophet is no longer reckoned as a minor one because his record is scanty. Nor are there many specimens left of what Hitzig calls the Universalkritiker, the critic who soars above details and gives clever, generalizing views of men and periods; almost everywhere the necessity of the division of labour is heartily recognised.
1 Die zwölf kleinen Propheten, erklärt von F. Hitzig. Leipzig, 1938. "Vorwort," p. vi.
This is of course not intended to discourage those students who aspire to master the entire field of Old Testament study; the achievement of their aim must, however, plainly come as the reward of many years of work, and no sooner does it seem to have been achieved than the reality of their success will appear to the workers themselves to be problematical. Never mind; let us aim at the stars, and not at the garden palings. But let us always remember that though some workers are more versatile than others, no well-trained and industrious student can be dispensed with.
One of the many signs which Prof. G. A. Smith, like other deservedly esteemed scholars, has lately given of willingness to learn from critics who are popularly regarded as rash and arbitrary is to be found on pages 171 and 172 of his attractive work on the Twelve Prophets (vol. i., 1896), where he discusses that difficult verse of Amos (v. 26), rendered in the Revised Version,
Yea, ye have borne Siccuth your king and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
He points out the serious syntactical and exegetical difficulties of the passage, and refers briefly to the opinions of the most recent critics on the words D and 1, which the Revised Version understands to be names of nonIsraelitish deities. For his own part he holds his judgment in suspense, and (as the best critics do under such circumstances) leaves the words untranslated. This critical caution is certainly preferable to the rashness of older commentators of Adam Clarke, for instance, who blindly accepts Chiun, and refers to a Peruvian idol, named (as Picart informs him) Choun. And it is true that the Assyriological explanation of Siccuth and Chiun fails to satisfy such an acute and learned critic as Prof Tiele,' who gives
1 Geschiedniss van het godsdienst, p. 315. That Koun and Keiwân are purely