Paul's Reasonings Like Gamaliel's: Plato, Philo, the Targums

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This is my answer to what Mr. N. says of Paul's reasoning like Gamaliel, and talking of subjects such as Philo reasons about.1 I have no doubt that glimmerings of needed truth were apprehended through the wants of the natural mind. The mind of man (through some traditional rays of light, affected by the creation through which it moved, by its conscience, by its sense of the want of something to meet a thousand questions which arose out of all this, and the heavings of an immortal soul within) felt that something was wanted to answer a craving, a void, which gave no clearness or certainty of what that answer would be. The revelation given in the Old Testament, the secondary effect of which was undoubtedly widely spread, furnished some clue to a large apprehension of the divine nature-opened up inquiries to the mind which it did not satisfy either. These floated about in various forms, and may be resumed in the western world, in Plato and the Targums, or perhaps Philo. The revelation of God in the New Testament met all these by the perfect revelation of God Himself, in His own being, and in every relation in which He stood with creation. Hence, while it gave the whole positive truth as to God, it left no room for the inadequate or erroneous views current on the same subjects in various forms. It took all the elements of truth which floated in men's minds and systems- rani nantes in gurgite vasto-and connected them in their true place with the center of all truth. Chaos became perfect order, and associated with the vast expanse of heaven, with which it took its true place and relationship; while it left no room for the pride of man to pretend to have stores of wonderful knowledge (for he is proud of everything he discovers himself); for all true knowledge was a matter of revelation, and who can boast of that? Hence we find the hazy notions of the Platos, Philos, and Targums, absorbed into perfect truth, and the gnostic reveries and pretensions anticipated and judged. We get the λόγος with divine certainty and clearness, the πλήρωμα in all its simple, divine, clearly defined truth and perfectness. We get the φῶς and ἀλήθετα, everything that man might indulge his imagination and his pride about, in the form of real truth. We get infinitely more knowledge, and certain, yea, divine knowledge, but no room for speculation; and (the perfection of the Godhead being revealed in Christ) all the development of ancient or modem gnostics is shut out by that all-important divine word-" That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us." •
Either the living person of the Son of God is not the object of faith, and the perfect revelation of God and the Father in Him not the subject matter of those who speak of development; or the pretense to add anything to it is the blasphemous denial of His perfectness. Infidelity is openly the latter; Puseyism and Popery have their choice to make between the two. In either case they are not Christianity. THAT WHICH WAS FROM THE BEGINNING is the superscription of that book of scripture which, above all, especially guards us against seducing spirits. Modem infidelity professes to be development; so does modern Popery and Puseyism; and, strange to say, when Mr. N. renounced Christianity and became a developed infidel, he renewed, he tells us, happy intercourse with Mr. J. H. Newman, who is a developed Puseyite or Roman Catholic. Let the saint remember, that if he will be a Christian, he must hold to that which was from the beginning-the truth once delivered to the saints; and he may know, if he trusts an apostle, that he "has everlasting life," 1 John 5:1313These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13).
1. " Paul's reasonings are those of a Gamaliel, and often are indefensible by our logical notions. John also (as I had been recently learning) has a wonderful similarity to Philo." (Phases, p. 147.)