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The Pauline Formula Induere Christum With Special Reference To The Works Of St. John Chrysostom by Saint John Chrysostom

For the investigation of the Pauline formula “induere Christum” a history of its interpretation in the Middle Ages and in modern times will be of great advantage and importance. Such a historical review will not only clearly set forth the problem involved and the status of opinion bearing on it, but also suggest methods of arriving at a correct solution. Since the number of commentaries on Rom. 13:14, and Gal. 3:27, is very great, and since many interpreters give identical explanations, it is both impossible and unnecessary to quote or to mention them all. We shall cite as many authors as is necessary to obtain a comprehensive view of the state of the question. For the sake of clearness and brevity we shall group them in classes, according to their explanations of the origin of the Pauline formula.

Exegetes are quite generally agreed that the phrase “induere Christum” is to be taken, not in a literal, but in a figurative sense; and that it stands in some relation to the idea of putting on a garment. Some commentators, who think that the metaphor is immediately derived from the expression “induere vestem” (ἐνδύεσθαι ἱμάτιον), inquire no further into its origin, but base their interpretation of Gal. 3:27, and Rom. 13:14, solely on the analogies they find by considering Christ as our garment. Opinions vary, however, as to the fundamental idea contained in this comparison.

1. UNION.—To put on Christ as a garment, according to some authors, means to enter into intimate union with Him. Beet explains the ground of this analogy when he says that “clothes are something distinct from us; which, when put on, become almost a part of ourselves.” Applying this explanation to Rom. 13:14, he says God presents to us the image of His Son and “bids us enter into a union with Him so close that Christ becomes the element in which we live and move.” For similar reasons, Farrar describes Christ “as a close-fitting robe” to be put on by “close spiritual communion.”

2. IMITATION.—Shook remarks, in reference to Rom. 13:14, that the putting on of Christ as a garment implies an intimate spiritual relation with Him, which is effected “by shaping our character by his,” or by imbibing “Christ’s spirit to the extent that the ‘ego’ is completely covered up, as far as possible.” According to Horace Bushnell, the ground of the comparison consists in this, that “dress relates to the form or figure of the body, character to the form or figure of the soul”; that, in fact, character “is the dress of the soul.” This similarity in relations, he asserts, is the reason why character is so often represented in Holy Scripture as the dress of the soul. Since “character is the soul’s dress, and dress analogical to character,” he concludes that “whatever has power to produce a character when received is represented as a dress to be put on.” In this manner, he continues, Paul regards Christ as “the soul’s new dress” or “new character” when he exhorts the Romans to put Him on. “Christ,” he explains, “is to be a complete wardrobe for us himself, and that by simply receiving his person we are to have the holy texture of his life upon us, and live in the unfolding of his character.”

3. PROFESSION OF DISCIPLESHIP.—The phrase “induere Christum” in Gal. 3:27, where it occurs in connection with Baptism, is interpreted by Matthew Henry to mean to “put on his livery” and declare ourselves “to be his servants and disciples.” By putting on Christ in Baptism, he adds, “we profess our discipleship to him and are obliged to behave ourselves as his faithful servants.” Already in the middle of the sixteenth century, Musculus interpreted the words “Christum induistis,” in Gal. 3:27, to mean to be dedicated and consecrated to Christ. After stating that “induimini Christum,” in Rom. 13:14, expresses an exhortation to “vivere, ambulare ac conversare secundum spiritum et vitam Christi,” he adds that, in Gal. 3:27, St. Paul reminds the Galatians that, when they were baptized, they put on not Moses but Christ—“non Mosi, sed Christo esse initiatos ac consecratos: ideoque vivendum ipsis esse non sub paedagogia Mosis sed sub gratia, spiritu, fide ac professione Christi.” He further says that, like Moses, Christ has a distinctive garb, which His followers must wear. The robe of Moses is the Law; the garment of Christ is especially His grace, His justice, and His spirit. He concludes with the remark that the baptized person puts on Christ “dum in gratiam illius, justitiam et praerogativam inseritur, ac per spiritum illius regeneratur.”

4. COVERING AND PROTECTION.—The analogy between Christ and a garment that is put on, according to some authors, implies the idea that Christ is our covering and protection. Guyse says that the baptized “are, as it were, all covered with Christ, as a man is covered with his garments.” He gives the same interpretation of Rom. 13:14: “See that ye be all over covered with Christ, as with a garment, and be found in him.” According to Locke, Christ so covers the Christians that “to God now looking upon them there appears nothing but Christ.” Already Calvin had said that Paul by the “metaphor of a garment” wished to express the close union of the faithful with Christ, so that “in the presence of God, they bear the name and character of Christ, and are viewed in him rather than in themselves.” Pool says, in reference to Rom. 13:14, that it is “Christ and his righteousness only that can cover us (as a garment doth our nakedness) in the sight of God.” According to Hofmann, the command to put on Christ was given in contrast to the moral nakedness of the natural man, “im Gegensatze gegen die sittliche Blösse des natürlichen Menschen;” whereas long before him St. Bruno had seen in the words of Paul a reference to the naked state of man’s soul in consequence of original and personal sin. He observes, relatively to Gal. 3:27, that man, who by sin became naked and suffered want and ignominy, puts on Christ “et ad tegendam nuditatem suam et ad gloriam.” More clearly does he refer to Adam’s sin when he interprets St. Paul’s exhortation to the Romans as a command to clothe their nakedness with the faith of Christ and the other virtues that follow on faith: “Homo, enim, propter peccatum de paradiso nudus ejectus est; sed nuditas ista velari debet ornamento fidei caeterarumque virtutum.”

Guyse and Macknight stress the point that Christ covers us completely. Guyse, as we have observed, remarks that we are, “as it were, all covered with Christ, as a man is with his garment.” Macknight asserts that “to put on as a garment this or that quality … signifies to acquire great plenty of the thing said to be put on.” But long before these men, Ven. Herveus explained St. Paul’s exhortation “Christum induimini” as meaning: “Formam Christi sumite vestem, ut habitus et forma illius undique fulgeat, et repraesentetur in nobis.”

The idea of covering suggests, if it does not necessarily include, that of protection. In fact, both ideas may be harmonized in so far as this covering is at the same time decorative and protective. Walafridus Strabo, Peter Lombard, and other medieval writers, in explanation of Gal. 3:27, quote the words: “Christum induistis, id est, conformes ei facti estis, quod est vobis honor, et contra aestus protectio.”

The idea of covering and protection is clearly set forth by St. Thomas: “Qui induitur aliqua veste, protegitur ac contegitur ea, et apparet sub colore vestis colore proprio occultato. Eodem modo et qui induit Christum, protegitur et contegitur a Christo Jesu, contra impugnationes et aestus, et in eo nihil aliud apparet nisi qui Christi sunt.”

Corol. 1. “Induere Christum” means to put on Christ as our armor.—Beet regards the words “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” in Rom. 13:14, as “parallel” with the expression contained in v. 12: “Let us … put on the armour of light.” To the exposition of Rom. 13:14, given above, he adds: “Since union with Christ makes us safe, and gives us power to do God’s work, to put on Christ is to arm ourselves for the fight.” According to Whedon, St. Paul exhorts the Romans to let Christ “be buckled on” to their “body and soul as an armour,” and to put Him on “instead of wanton attire.” Moule explains how we are to put on Christ as our armor: “It is by the ‘committal of the keeping of our souls unto Him,’ not vaguely, but definitely and with purpose, in view of each and every temptation.”

Zahn objects that, although St. Paul’s term reminds us of his words in v. 12, yet “wird … Christus schwerlich dadurch als die Waffenrüstung der Christen bezeichnet sein sollen.” The foregoing explanation, he continues, could not be applied to Gal. 3:27, and Eph. 4:24, and Col. 3:10. Moreover, the passages, in which the Apostle describes the armor of the Christians, militate against the proposed interpretation. On the contrary, he says, the picture of the “notwendigen Rüstung für den Kampf” is superseded by that of the “wohlanständigen Wandels.”

Corol. 2. Christ as the “covering” for our sins.—The interpretation that Christ is as a garment covering us, has, on the other hand, been advanced as a proof of the Protestant doctrine concerning the outward imputation of the justice of Christ. “Induere Christum,” according to Melanchton, means, in the first place, that the sinner with the arm of faith seizes Christ as his Savior and acknowledges Him as the covering whereby we are shielded against God’s wrath. In Baptism, he says, in another place, we have put on Christ “scl. imputata nobis ipsius justicia.”

Catholics maintain that the metaphor gives no countenance to this theory. Belsham calls it a “notion than which nothing can be more foreign to the Apostle’s mind, or more inconsistent with reason and with Christianity.” Cornely also warns against this interpretation. After quoting the words of St. Thomas given above, he adds that we must be careful not to understand St. Paul’s figure “de mera quadam apparentia vel externa imputatione; per baptismum quippe,” he continues, “homo regeneratur,” since through Baptism the new man is born, the Christian becomes a member of the mystical body of Christ, is informed by His Spirit and is perfectly conformed to Him.

Burkitt contends the idea of a garment does not adequately express the change wrought in us when we “put on Christ” in Baptism. “To put on Christ,” he observes, “is not as to put on a Suit of Cloaths fitted to the body, but as Metal cast into a Mould, receiving the figure from it.” Cornely and Schaefer, however, reject this view. According to Schaefer, clothes give a new form and at the same time fit the figure of the person who wears them. “So,” he continues, “besteht der Getaufte in seiner Persönlichkeit fort, tritt aber mit dem lebendigen Christus in eine mystische Vereinigung ein.”

A decidedly better way to find the solution of our problem, is to seek, as many commentators have done, to establish the philological origin of St. Paul’s formula.

Vorstius and others insist that St. Paul borrowed this figure from the Hebrew tongue. Ἐνδύεσθαι, they maintain, is the equivalent for לבשׁ, which, in its literal sense, means “to clothe.” Stock asserts that Vorstius has clearly proved that the metaphorical signification was given to ἐνδύεσθαι by the N. T. writers after the example of the Hebrew equivalent. Stephanus, Cornelius a Lapide, and Alexander Natalis simply regard this phrase as a Hebraism. Cremer remarks “die Prof.-Gräc. kennt diese Ausdrucksweise nicht ausser dem homerischen ἐπιέννυναι ἄλκην, ἀναιδείην, Il. 20, 381; 1, 149. Sie ist wesentlich semitisch.” Gesenius adduces various instances of the metaphorical use of שׁבל and the corresponding words in Aramaic and Syriac; while Schoettgen, to buttress his contention that St. Paul, in Rom. 13:14, is speaking “de anima sane vestienda,” quotes several cabalistic interpretations of rabbis, in which they speak of clothing man’s soul.

Yet when the authors, who think “induere Christum” is a metaphorical locution borrowed from the Hebrew language, wish to determine the precise meaning of the original Hebrew and the fundamental idea underlying the metaphor, they differ not a little.

1. “INDUERE” = UNION.—Borger, who is quoted also by Bloomfield, opines that the Hebrew equivalent for “induere” is used “de quavis conjunctione arctiore.” Accordingly, he interprets Gal. 3:27, as meaning “arctissimo cum Christo vinculo estis conjuncti.” De Wette regards the phrase as a “Bild der innigsten Geistesgemeinschaft mit Chr.” He adds that the word לבשׁ was used in a similar sense by the Hebrews.

2. “INDUERE” = ABUNDANCE.—According to Tholuck, “לבשׁ in a figurative sense, means to be wholly filled with anything.” Accordingly, he states that Paul in Rom. 13:14, “exhorts to a close union of the soul with Christ.” Stuart, after interpreting “induimini Christum,” in Rom. 13:14, in the sense of “imitate,” adds that “perhaps it here means like the Hebrew לבשׁ, to be filled with, and so the idea is: Be filled with a Christian spirit, abound in it; ‘let Christ dwell in you richly.’ ”

3. “INDUERE” = ADOPTION.—Thus Ellicott explains ἐνδύεσθαι, which is used in the LXX for the Hebrew לבשׁ. In this sense, too, he interprets Gal. 3:27. “The Christian, at his baptism, ‘took to himself’ Christ, and sought to grow into full unison and union with Him.”

4. “INDUERE” = ASSUMPTION OF QUALITIES.—Preuschen remarks that in the N. T. ἐνδύεσθαι, like לבשׁ, is very frequently used metaphorically to signify the “Annahme v. Eigenschaften, Tugenden, Gesinnungen u.a.” “Induere Christum” he takes to mean “sich d. Geist Chr. wie e. Gewand umlegen.” In a similar way, Wieseler notes that the figure of a garment is frequently used in the O. T. in regard to “Eigenschaften, Zuständen und Stimmungen der Seele.” In the same meaning, he says, is the phrase “to put on a person” used in the N. T., by which “nicht zunächst der äussere habitus und Wandel, sondern vor Allem die bis in den Grund gehende Umbildung und Verähnlichung gemeint wird.” Accordingly, he explains Gal. 3:27, as meaning “sein Bild,” i.e., that of the heavenly and perfect man, “in sich aufnehmen und in sich ausgestalten.” With this explanation, he contends, also Rom. 13:14, harmonizes very well. Here the Roman Christians are exhorted to put on the Lord Jesus, i.e., “nach dem V. 13 erwähnten Gegensatze, des Herrn Jesu Bild durch einen sittlichen Wandel in sich auszugestalten.”

5. “INDUERE” = ACQUISITION OF ANYTHING whereby we are honored or dishonored.—Stephanus remarks that לבשׁ is used “in re quavis cujus accessione vel ornamur … vel dedecoramur.” He adds, however, that the “peculiaris energia” of the Pauline formula in Gal. 3:27, seems to be “quod in possessionem Christi mittamur, ita ut ille sit in nobis et nos in illo.” By way of example he refers to Judg. 6:34, where we read: “Spiritus autem Domini induit Gedeon.” In Rom. 13:14, Stephanus thinks that the Apostle refers to the “fructus sanctificationis … a Christi Spiritu exorientes,” with which we are to adorn ourselves.

A more exhaustive exposition of the figurative meaning of לשׁב is given by Cornelius a Lapide. He declares that the Hebrew word לבשׁ is used to express that some one is clothed with “pudore, decore, salute, justitia, maledictione, id est, his repleri, copiose decorari, vel dedecorari.” “Indumentum,” therefore, signifies “copiam undique circumfusam.” In Canon XXXVII, he explains the nature of the metaphor. At times, he says, St. Paul mentions the “rem … pro adjacentibus rei.” Thus, for instance, Christ is called faith, grace, and Baptism. Among other examples that serve to illustrate this way of speaking, he adduces that of “induere Christum.” By this figure, St. Paul means to say that the baptized put on “Christi virtutes, spiritum et mores.” In agreement with the foregoing explanation of the figurative meaning of “induere” in general and of “induere Christum” in particular is his interpretation of Gal. 3:27, and Rom. 13:14. The Galatians, he explains, have received in Baptism the “copiam Christi gratiam, dona, virtutes,” which surround and cover them like a garment, so that they become “consortes divinae naturae et filiationis, ac consequenter divinarum operationum,” by which Christ should shine in them. And the exhortation in Rom. 13:14, means: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, so that “Jesu spiritus, gratia, virtus, vita, in vobis eluceant.”

6. “INDUERE” EXPRESSES CONDITION IN CONTRAST TO CONDUCT.—Cremer contends that, whenever Paul uses ἐνδύεσθαι metaphorically, a condition (Zustand) is meant and not conduct (Verhalten). St. Paul’s exhortation to put on Christ “läuft nicht auf ein Verhalten wie das Verhalten Jesu hinaus,” and his statement in Gal. 3:27, “besagt nichts weniger, als dass die Getauften erscheinen, als wären sie Christus oder Abbilder Christi.” Here Christ is to be considered “nicht nach seinem Verhalten, seinem Wandel, sondern nach seiner Heilsbedeutung.” After observing that the words Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε in Gal. 3:27, must be interpreted in accordance with the phrase ἐν Χριστῷ εἶναι, he continues: “Wer getauft ist, hat Christum angezogen, ist des Heiles teilhaftig.” If Rom. 13:14, is to be interpreted consistently with the foregoing explanation, it must mean that the Romans “durch den gläubigen Zusammenschluss mit dem Herrn des Heiles sich in den Stand setzen sollen,” to fulfill the exhortation contained in the second half of the same verse.

Another class of commentators hold that the Apostle’s figure is Greek in origin. They point to the fact that the Greek writers use ἐνδύεσθαι with a personal object, which is exactly the use St. Paul makes of the word. Commentators conclude, therefore, that the inspired writer was not the originator of this figurative locution in Greek, and that he did not borrow the expression from the Hebrew, but that he merely used a metaphor already in vogue among the Greeks. The opinions of exegetes, however, concerning the precise meaning of the current Greek phrase ἐνδύεσθαί τινα, and consequently of the Pauline formula ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν again vary greatly. The following list will give an idea of the obscurity and confusion concerning the fundamental concept contained in these figures of speech.

1. ΕΝΔΥΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΑ = IMITATION IN GENERAL.—Tholuck ventures the opinion that ἐνδύεσθαί τινα “directly signifies, even in Greek, to imitate anyone”; while Stuart less boldly asserts that to imitate “is the usual sense” of the Greek figure. Olshausen observes that “profane writers also use ἀποδύεσθαι and ἐνδύεσθαι … in the sense of fashioning one’s self unlike or like a person.” Evidently he speaks by way of illustration or confirmation of the meaning of “induere Christum” in Rom. 13:14. Stuart, on the other hand, is not certain whether “induere Christum” means “to imitate” or “to be filled with a Christian spirit”; whereas Tholuck, as we remarked above, even thinks it is “more probable” that St. Paul used the figure after the Hebrew.

2. ΕΝΔΥΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΑ = EXTERNAL IMITATION.—According to Bloomfield, the examples of ἐνδύεσθαι and ἀποδύεσθαι, which have been cited by commentators in illustration of St. Paul’s formula, contain “no more than a slight allusion to conduct considered figuratively as a dress.” The exhortation, “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 13:14) he, accordingly, interprets: “Take upon you his manners, follow his example.” Similarly Wieseler says that the expression ἐνδύεσθαί τινα, as used by profane writers, signifies, “Jemand nachahmen, seinen habitus annehmen, aber mehr in äusserlicher, sinnfälliger Weise, ‘agere personam alicujus’ ” It must be observed that he does not regard this expression as the origin of St. Paul’s phrase. According to Zahn, ἐνδύεσθαί τινα means sich in die Rolle eines anderen hineindenken und darnach handeln, sich wie ein anderer geberden und darstellen.” He remarks that St. Paul is wont to employ the verb ἐνδύεσθαι probably not without reference to this use of ἐνδύεσθαί τινα, “aber doch mit lebendiger Vergegenwärtigung der sinnlichen Anschauung, welche der bildliche Ausdruck bietet.” This explanation he applies to Gal. 3:27. Here, he says, St. Paul views Christ as a garment, “welches alle Getauften wie einen einzigen Körper … umhüllt, oder, so fern sie als Individuen betrachtet werden, alle gleich gekleidet erscheinen lässt.” Likewise, in his exposition of Rom. 13:14, he regards Christ as the garment which should cover the nakedness of the Christians, and in which they can appear before men and God.

D’Outrein asserts that the external imitation expressed by ἐνδύεσθαί τινα may be either apparent or real. In the theaters, he explains, the actors are said to put on the person whom they represent. In consequence of this imitation in dress, action, and speech, the audience seem to hear and see the very person who is represented. “Atque illud quidem fit simulanter,” he continues. “Verum et judicis aliusve personam induere dicitur, qui vere judex est ipse, judiciumque exercet, sive scil. ipsius loco, sive vice alterius.” Like D’Outrein, also, Kypke and Rosenmüller say this expression was used of stage players and means to “seek to imitate and represent the actions” of another. In the light of this explanation, they interpret Rom. 13:14: “Imitamini Christum, similes illi fieri studete.” Concerning the interpretation of Gal. 3:27, however, they are at variance. Kypke retains the same explanation as in Rom. 13:14, and interprets the Apostle’s words as expressing similarity to Christ. Rosenmüller, on the contrary, understands the Pauline formula, as it occurs in Gal. 3:27, in the sense of union. Whoever receives Baptism, he explains, “conjungitur cum Christo, adipiscitur jura et commoda Christi sectatoribus propria.”

3. ΕΝΔΥΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΑ = IMITATION OF MIND AND SENTIMENTS.—So Wahl says of ἐνδύεσθαί τινα, “i. e., indolem, mentem, sensum alicujus sumere.” By way of illustration he refers to Gal. 3:27, and Rom. 13:14. Also Preuschen regards ἐνδύεσθαι in general (like לבשׁ) as a metaphor, which denotes the “Annahme 5. Eigenschaften, Tugenden, Gesinnungen u.a.” D’Outrein observes that the subject of the “induere” receives “similes affectus, virtutes sive vitia,” as the personal object, which is to be regarded as the exemplar of the former. He makes no special application, however, of this explanation either to Gal. 3:27, or Rom. 13:14.

4. ΕΝΔΥΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΑ = INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL IMITATION.—Meyer, whom Lange cites in confirmation of his exposition of Rom. 13:14, remarks that also with the Greeks the expression ἐνδύεσθαί τινα signifies “jemandes Sinnes-u. Handlungsweise annehmen.” Bern. Weiss and Luthhardt give precisely the same explanation. According to these authors, however, ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν implies more than the current Greek phrase ἐνδύεσθαί τινα. It signifies not merely imitation but primarily union, by which imitation is effected; or, as Meyer says with regard to Rom. 13:14: “Vereiniget euch zur innigsten Lebensgemeinschaft mit Christo, so dass ihr ganz Christi Sinn und Leben in eurem Thun und Lassen darstellt.” Weiss adds that it is Christ himself, with whom we are united, who effects the “Annahme seiner Sinne und Handlungsweise.” Meyer had already remarked, in reference to Melanchton, that it is the “praesens efficacia Christi …, was das Angezogenhaben Christi von der Annahme anderer Lehrmuster unterscheidet.” Melanchton himself said, in explanation of Rom. 13:14, that we put on Christ, in the first place, when we clothe ourselves and cover our sins with his merits as with a garment; and in the second place, by the “efficax praesentia” of Christ, the Son of God. The Logos, he explains, is “praesens et efficax” by the “vox Evangelii,” manifesting the mercy of the Father. The Holy Ghost is infused into the hearts of the faithful, “ut laetentur in Deo.” By faith their hearts are conformed to the Logos, who again is the “imago Dei.” The effect of this process, as he says, is that we are made a “templum et domicilium Dei.”

Thayer also interprets both phrases as meaning “to become so possessed of the mind of Christ as in thought, feeling and action to resemble him and, as it were, reproduce the life he lived.” By way of illustration he refers to similar expressions of Greek and Roman writers. Barnes notes that the phrase to “put on a person” is often used by Greek authors, and means “to imbibe his principles; to imitate his example; to copy his spirit; to become like him.”

5. ΕΝΔΥΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΑ = EXPRESSION FOR DISCIPLESHIP.—Schleusner attaches a twofold meaning to our figure. Ἐνδύω τινά, he says, is used either of one “qui aliquem doctorem sequitur, qui alterum imitatur eique similis fieri conatur,” or of one, “qui arctissimis cum aliquo conjungitur vinculis.” Accordingly, referring to Gal. 3:27, he says the baptized are united with Christ “arctissimis vinculis.” As is evident from the words quoted above, discipleship, according to Schleusner, implies imitation; and in this sense he understands Rom. 13:14: “Imitamini sensus et animum Domini nostri J. C.” He cites Dion. Hal. as an authority for the use of ἐνδύεσθαἰ τινα in the sense of to imitate, and he adds that also in other writers the phrase “Platonem, Pythagoram induere” is used in the meaning of “fieri discipulum Pythagorae et Platonis, se conformare ad ejus exemplum.” Similarly, Barnes, commenting on Schleusner’s words, observes that the “Greek writers speak of putting on Plato, Socrates, etc.,” in the meaning of “to take them as instructors; to follow them as disciples.” Hence he understands the “induere Christum” in Rom. 13:14, as meaning “to take him as a pattern and guide, to imitate his example, to obey his precepts, to become like him.”

6. ΕΝΔΥΕΣΘΑΙ ΤΙΝΑ = INTIMATE UNION AND LIFE-FELLOWSHIP.—Ellicott remarks that from the instances collected by Wetstein it is clear that ἐνδύεσθαί τινα is a “strong expression, denoting the complete assumption of the nature etc. of another.” Ford, in his exposition of Rom. 13:14, declares that St. Paul’s expression denotes “the most intimate spiritual union and appropriation, such as is indicated by our baptism into Christ.” Ellicott himself interprets the “induere Christum” in Gal. 3:27, as implying a most intimate union with Christ,—“we are brought εἱς μίαν συγγένειαν καὶ μίαν ἰδέαν (Chrys.) with him”; So that, as Calvin had said, before God we bear the name and the person of Christ, and “in Ipso magis quam nobismet Ipsis censeamus.” De Wette, as was noted above, understands the phrase ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν as a “Bild der innigsten Geistesgemeinschaft mit Chr.”; while Philippi calls it a “figure for entrance into most intimate union and life-fellowship with Him.” As examples of this use of ἐνδύεσθαι, both authors refer to the Hebrew word לבשׁ as well as to the Greek and Latin classics.

The explanation of ἐνδύεσθαί τινα given by Borger and approved by Bloomfield, is essentially the same as the foregoing. It means, according to these writers, “homine aliquo familiariter uti; familiaritatem contrahere cum aliquo.” Familiarity connotes union, and it is in this sense that they interpret the Pauline formula in Gal. 3:27. By Baptism, they say, we are united to Christ “arctissimo … vinculo.”

Calmet understands the phrase “indui aliquem” in the same sense; “nempe, res illius curare, unius esse sententiae, familiaiter uti.” According to him, the “induere Christum” in Rom. 13:14, means to love and follow Christ, and to show forth “divini hujus exemplaris effigiem in gestis;” whereas the form in Gal. 3:27, signifies to be filled with Christ’s spirit, “ipsius spiritu perfusi,” to be enriched with his gifts and made beloved sons of God.

Turner and Rendall give no general meaning of the phrase ἐνδύεσθαί τινα, but maintain that the precise sense in each instance must be determined by the context. Turner gives to “induere Christum” in Rom. 13:14, the meaning to “become assimilated to the character of Christ,” and to Gal. 3:27, to embrace “the religion of Christ.”

In order to explain the precise meaning of the Pauline formula, some commentators follow a course quite different from the one described. Abstracting from the philological origin of “induere Christum,” they discover in the phrase a figure taken from the idea of putting on a garment, and maintain that it is used by St. Paul in reference to some incident or custom; but as to the nature of this fact or custom they are by no means agreed. The opinion of exegetes on this point may be divided into three classes, according as they explain our metaphor by facts or customs that are Christian, Jewish, or pagan in origin.

a) From the Garments of Baptism

Taking their cue from the words: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:27), some interpreters conclude that St. Paul derived his simile from the custom of putting on clothes—in later times new clothes—after Baptism. This view is held as certain by Usteri, Macknight, and Beyschlag. Usteri remarks that St. Paul applies this figure to “die das äussere Leben wie das Innere des Gemüthes umfassende Verähnlichung und Vereinigung mit Christo.” Macknight simply adds that, in the Apostle’s phrase, Christ signifies “the temper and virtues of Christ.” According to Beyschlag, the practice of putting on the clothes—“perhaps in those days a new white baptismal robe”—suggested to Paul the idea of Baptism as the medium of our communion with Christ.

It is of interest to note that J. B. Lightfoot seems undecided as to the correctness of this opinion. On the one hand, he deems it “scarcely probable” that “the ceremonial of baptism had become so definitely fixed at this early date, that an allusion to the white garments of the baptized” would speak for itself. On the other hand, after noting that the metaphor is very common in the LXX, he adds that in the context of a passage of St. Justin, which he regards as a “reminiscence of this passage of St. Paul,” “there is apparently an allusion to the baptismal robes.”

Trollope accords to this view only a mere probability; while Ellicott, although deeming it “very plausible,” rejects it. Other commentators are more positive in rejecting this explanation. They assert that the method of procedure was quite the opposite; that the language of St. Paul in the course of time gave rise to the custom of putting on new or white garments after Baptism. Already Musculus advanced this view. According to him, the early Christians, in order to express that by Baptism Christ is put on, clothed in a new and white garment those whom they baptized. Deyling, who flourished in the beginning of the eighteenth century, shared the opinion of Musculus. The practice of putting on white garments after Baptism, and wearing them for eight days, he says, owes its origin to the Apostle’s words, and first came into vogue in the beginning of the third century. Hasaeus, a contemporary of Deyling, likewise rejects the explanation of the origin of the Pauline formula from the putting on of white garments after Baptism on the ground that this custom was not in vogue in the time of St. Paul. Of the more modern exegetes, Sieffert-Meyer declines to accept this opinion for the same reason as Hasaeus. He adduces the common use of the figure of speech and the absence of any hint in the context as further general reasons for rejecting this as well as any other allusion that might be attached to St. Paul’s words. Schaefer also deems the currency of this mode of expression a sufficient reason for rejecting “zu seiner Motivierung” all allusions to any customs, and he mentions especially the “Anlegen von Kleidern bei der Taufe.”

Like Musculus and Deyling, Schaff is of opinion that the “figure of putting on Christ as a new dress gave rise afterwards to the custom of wearing white baptismal garments”; but he adds that there is “no trace that such a custom existed already in the Apostolic Church.” Rendall thinks that “perhaps the language of the Apostle contributed to the spread of the ceremonial.” Yet he maintains that the “symbolism of white garments … differed materially” from the idea St. Paul wishes to express in Gal. 3:27. The white robes, he explains, “signified the cleansing effect of baptism”; whereas the Apostle, as the context shows, is speaking of “enfranchisement and emancipation from control.”

b) From the Water of Baptism

Schmidt and Holzendorff apparently see in the phraseology of St. Paul in Gal. 3:27, an allusion to the waters of Baptism, which, like a garment, entirely covered the neophyte. So, they say, those who are baptized are, as it were, “enveloped in Christ, so that they appear as the image of Christ, the Son of God.”

In a somewhat different way, H. J. Holtzmann explains the “Christum induistis” in Gal. 3:27. According to his view, the immersion in Baptism represents “den Untergang des alten Fleischesmenschen,” the emersion “den Hervorgang eines neuen, eines Geistesmenschen”; “der ganze Akt aber heisst ‘den Christus anziehen.’ ”

a) From the Inauguration of the High Priest

A second class of exegetes, especially of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, think that St. Paul derived his image from Jewish customs. Deyling, who, according to Wolf, is the most celebrated of these authors, seeks to explain the Pauline form of speech by referring to the solemn inauguration of the High Priest, which at the time of the second temple was performed by the vesting with the priestly robes, and which was called “multiplicatio vestium.” At the time of the first temple, he explains, according to the express law of God (Ex. 29:7), the High Priest was anointed before being admitted to his sacred functions. But at the time of the second temple, because, as the Talmudists say, the oil of unction, or holy oil, was no longer to be had, or because the Jews no longer attributed any sanctifying power to it, the priests were consecrated and initiated by the investment with eight garments. Consequently, to put on the robes of the High Priest was tantamount to being made High Priest. In this ceremony Deyling finds the key for the explanation of the “induere Christum” used by St. Paul. For in Baptism the Holy Ghost, like the holy oil, “is poured forth abundantly” on the Christians, and they are clothed with Christ, “hoc est justitia, merito, et sanctitate ejus, tamquam vestibus sanctissimis.” Thereby they are inducted into the priestly office and consecrated priests of the New Law.

The part of the High Priest’s accoutrement, which is most pertinent to our subject, he says, is the עיץ, the plate of gold on which were engraven the words קדשׁ כיהוה—“Sanctitas Jehovae.” This plate, which like a fillet encircled his forehead, was to signify that the High Priest was “ipso Jehova … indutus, summaque Dei sanctitate munitus ornatusque.” After referring to a similar practice of the pagans, who wore coronets bearing the images of the gods, to show that they were their priests and devotees, he remarks that, in contrast to the pagans and the Jewish High Priest, the Christians “non idoli nomen, nee nudas nominis יהוה literas, sed Christum ipsum, quando baptismi lavacro initiantur, et consecrantur, teste Apostolo, induunt.” For Christ is Jahve, our justice; He is the Holy One of the Lord, yes, Holiness itself. The golden plate, Deyling adds, possessed no inherent sanctity, as the Jews foolishly asserted; it was merely a symbol of the sanctity and justice of Christ with which the Christians are clothed in Baptism.

Before concluding, we shall adduce one more parallel mentioned by Deyling. As the High Priest had to observe a certain order in vesting with the sacerdotal robes, so the Christians must first put on Christ “in regeneratione et justificatione … imputative per fidem, … dein in renovatione imitative per sanctificationem.

J. Lightfoot, who wrote in the middle of the seventeenth century, gives a similar explanation of the origin of the Pauline formula. He does not, however, derive the metaphor from the inauguration of the High Priest. He is of opinion that the metaphorical use by St. Paul of “induere” and “exuere” is to be explained by the vesting of the priests in the Old Law in general. For, when the turn of the priests came to minister in the temple, they first put off their ordinary clothes and, after washing themselves, vested with the sacerdotal robes. Also during the time of their service in the temple, they took off their priestly garments at night and resumed them again in the morning. “Ad hanc consuetudinem,” he concludes, “alludere videntur haec loca Scripturae in quibus induere et exuere metaphorice sumuntur.

b) From the Making of the Covenant with the Jewish People

Theodore Hasaeus rejects the exegesis of Deyling chiefly because the whole analogy is limited to only one point, namely, that of clothing; whereas the fact or custom by which Gal. 3:27, is to be explained, must represent both a clothing and a washing. Also, he rejects, without comment, as unsatisfactory, the opinion advanced by J. Lightfoot and others, which contains both these elements. Only that fact or custom, he asserts, can serve as an adequate explanation of the expression “induere Christum” in Gal. 3:27, which contains the vestige of a washing and a clothing; the latter, however, must be of such a nature that it suggests the putting on of Christ as a garment. Moreover, the symbolic meaning of this fact or custom must have been kept alive in the minds of Jews and Christians by some ceremony. Finally, it must agree with the purpose St. Paul had in view. All these elements, he thinks, are contained “in illustri illa populi Judaici in numerum Foederatorum Dei aggregatione” and in the Jewish and the Christian rites to which this fact gave rise.

To obtain a fair idea of the nature of this interpretation, it will be sufficient to examine briefly the author’s exposition of his third point; namely, that the putting on of the clothes on the memorable occasion referred to may be regarded as a type of the putting on of Christ as a garment. The cloud under cover of which God appeared when he gave the Law on Sinai, was the same as the famous pillar of cloud and of fire, out of which God thereafter was wont to speak to His people. But, as is admitted even by the Jews, He who spoke from the cloud and promulgated the Law, was the Son of God. But this cloud or pillar, because it covered and surrounded the people, is represented under the picture of a garment. This contention he seeks to prove especially by passages from sacred and profane writers who describe a cloud after the manner of a garment, and from the fact that the water trickled down from out the cloud and surrounded the people like a garment. Since—so he would have us conclude—at the time of the making of the Covenant, after the people had washed themselves and put on their clothes—perhaps fresh clothes—Christ spoke through a cloud which bears some resemblance to a garment, the act of the people’s dressing may be conceived as a putting on of Christ.

a) From the “Toga Virilis”

The figure “induere Christum,” some authors hold, has been borrowed by St. Paul from the custom of changing the “toga praetexta” for the “toga virilis.” When the Roman youth donned the “toga virilis,” he was emancipated from the domestic rule and ushered into the ranks of citizens. The investment of a youth with man’s dress was celebrated by religious rites. To this custom Bengel and Fausset refer St. Paul’s words when they call Christ our “toga virilis.” Bengel adds, in explanation of Gal. 3:27, that, consequently, the Christians are not estimated by what they were but that they are alike of Christ and in Christ,—namely, sons of God.

Rendall, however, infers from St. Paul’s phrase not the idea of divine sonship but that of enfranchisement and emancipation from control. As the youth donned the “toga virilis” when he became of age, so is the Christian “invested at his Baptism with the robe of spiritual manhood,” and thereby he comes into the possession of the “independence of a grown up son.”

Cornelius a Lapide and Crocio think that St. Paul refers also to the toga of the Hebrews. They add that with the toga the youths, as it were, put on “virum et virilem animum, virtutem et decus.” Wolf says Crocio’s view derives no slight degree of probability from the words of St. Paul, who, on the one hand, compares the Law with a pedagogue and the Jews with infants, and, on the other hand, alludes to the manhood or majority of the Galatians, who were converted to Christ. To illustrate the first point, Wolf quotes Crocio’s words in which he compares the moral law to a strict pedagogue, whose duty it was to lead the pupils to Christ; the ceremonial law to the “toga puerilis,” which prefigured the “toga virilis” of Christ; and the judicial law, to a nurse, who guarded the Jews against what might harm them. On the other hand, remarks Wolf, when St. Paul says the Galatians are no longer under the Law, as a pedagogue (v. 25), and calls them sons (v. 26), i.e., adults, he hints at their majority. The exegete concludes that the Christians who have put on Christ can well be compared to the Roman youths who “toga virili aetatis virilis et libertatis quoque argumentum praeferebant.”

b) From the Initiation of the Sophists

In their search for a suitable explanation of the Pauline formula, interpreters have gone so far as to suggest that the figure was derived from the initiation of the sophists. In ancient Greece, when a young man wished to be enrolled in the ranks of the sophists, he was ceremoniously conducted to the public baths and there clothed with a distinctive garb (τρίβων), which none but a sophist could wear. This initiation ceremony Hasaeus mentions in passing as a possible, though not satisfactory, explanation of induere Christum.”

c) From Seneca or Stoicism

Between the epistles of St. Paul and the writings of Seneca there are such striking parallels in thought and construction that some have deemed the two authors pupils, one of the other. One of these parallels bears on our subject. Seneca exhorts Lucilium: Indue magni viri animum et ab opinionibus volgi secede paulisper.” Pfleiderer notes the similarity between this exhortation and that contained in Rom. 13:14; but he does not think St. Paul borrowed his phrase from Seneca or vice versa. Clemen remarks that the resemblance “is one of expression only.” Pfleiderer thinks that the parallels between St. Paul’s style and Seneca’s prove that both drew from a common source, namely the Greek culture of the time, “which was deeply imbued with Stoic conceptions,” and which, moreover, exercised an influence on the Hellenistic Jews. Clemen, too, admits that St. Paul was “partially indebted for his style to Stoicism,” which flourished at Tarsus.

d) From the Mystery Religions

Perhaps the most interesting explication of our metaphor is that which derives it from the mystery religions. The most striking similarities between Christianity and the ancient religions of the Orient are those that refer to man’s rebirth and his union with the deity. In the mystery religions, man’s regeneration and union with his god is frequently expressed by a change of garment.

In the prehistoric period, divinities were represented under the form of animals; and man, in taking the name and the semblance of his gods, believed that he identified himself with them. Even the ancient Romans clothed themselves with animal skins “be it that they believed they thus entered into communion with the monstrous idols which they worshipped, or that, in enveloping themselves in the pelts of their flayed victims, they conceived their bloody tunics to possess some purifying virtue.” These primitive practices left their traces in numerous cults. The Roman mystics of later days put on cloth and paper masks, which represented the deity they worshipped. The initiates of the different mysteries in Greece and Asia Minor bore the title of Bear, Ox, Colt, and similar names. But let us examine more in detail the alleged analogies with St. Paul’s expression that are found in the different mysteries.

α. Egyptian Mysteries.—The soul of one who is admitted to the mysteries of Isis, travels at night through the twelve houses of the zodiac, and in each his body is consecrated by a new garment. The putting on of these garments signifies that he has undergone twelve transformations. In the morning, the initiated is clothed with the heavenly garment; a burning torch is placed in his right hand, and on his head a crown, from which palm-branches protrude, like so many rays. Thus arrayed he is placed on a pedestal before the goddess as a statue of the sun-god and is revered by the assembled mystics as a god. His divine regeneration is then celebrated with a feast; and for a few days the initiated can enjoy the unspeakable happiness of being god’s image. Thereupon, he leaves his heavenly garment in the temple, where it is kept for him, and returns to the earth. If the goddess so desires, the mystery must be renewed. The renewal, however, can be effected only by the putting on of the heavenly garment. After his death, the mystic is again clothed with this garment or with a simple black and white dress, which designates the wearer as the Logos. The clothing with these garments is to signify the union of the deceased with his god.

β. Phrygian Mysteries.—The same idea pervades the Phrygian Mysteries. The mystic is decked in a wonderful festive robe and a crown during the initiation, which consists in a bath, not with water, but with the blood of a bull. When the dress and the crown are tinged with the blood, he steps forth to be venerated as a god by the assembly. His dress is preserved for him; but after twenty years he must renew the consecration, at which he again wears the garment and thereby again becomes god.

γ. Persian Mysteries.—The cult of Mithra embodies similar ideas. In the liturgy of Mithra, which was strongly influenced by the Egyptian mysteries, the mystic who wishes to be reborn and to become a son of god wanders through the heavens and calls out for his own heavenly body which God has formed for him. This body he must put on instead of his earthly body; but after the initiation he must resume the garment of his earthly body.

Cumont says that there were seven degrees of initiation in the mysteries of Mithra, and that the mystic successively assumed the names of Raven, Occult, Soldier, Lion, Persian, Runner of the Sun, and Father. “These strange appellations,” he continues, “were no empty epithets with no practical bearing. On certain occasions the celebrants donned garbs suited to the titles that had been accorded them.” On various bas-reliefs, they are represented as carrying the counterfeit heads of animals, of soldiers, and of Persians.

Dölger, to prove that the mystics wore the masks of their degree of initiation, refers especially to a representation of Mithra-communion on the bas-relief of Konjica. Here, on both sides of the table, we see mystics wearing animal masks, which, as Dölger emphasizes, cover only the face.

δ. Babylonian Mysteries.—To prove that these ideas were current also in the Babylonian mysteries, Dölger calls attention to a relief in bronze which pictures the exorcism of a sick man. The relief is divided into two parts. Above, there are seven figures with animal heads, which represent the demons, who, according to the ideas of the Babylonians, are the cause of disease. Below, on a pallet, lies the sick man with his hands raised in supplication to the deity. At each end of the bed two figures, wrapped in a fish garment, are performing the exorcism. These figures represent priests who are devoted to the cult of the fish deity Ea-Oannes. Dölger concludes that “wenn nun babylonische Priester im Fischgewand eingehüllt erscheinen, so ist damit sinnbildlich dargestellt die engste Vereinigung mit der Gottheit, dadurch, dass man sie wie ein Gewand anzieht.”

We have seen that the idea of putting on the garment of a god in order to express union with him, is quite common in the mystery religions. It need not surprise us, therefore, that students of the comparative study of religions assert St. Paul derived his idea of putting on Christ as a garment from the mysteries.

But the discovery is not new. Already Hasaeus, who wrote in the beginning of the eighteenth century, referred in passing to the initiation into the mysteries of Isis and Mithra as possible explanations of the origin of St. Paul’s formula. He rejects this view as unsatisfactory, however, chiefly because, as he says, “Apostolus scribit ad Judaeos, quibus illa gentilium sacra, ad quae ἀμυτήοις vix aliquis accessus concedebatur, aut prorsus non, aut parum sane perspecta atque explorata erant.”

In our own times, however, Clemen says that the expression “to put on Christ” “might ultimately be traced to the belief—which was probably no longer held even in regard to the Mysteries in general—that the participant in the rites is physically united with the deity.”

Dölger first discusses the dependence of St. Paul’s formula on the cult of Mithra. After pointing out that this form of worship was spread also in Tarsus, the Apostle’s native city, he states that, if it is true that in the cult of Mithra masks were worn in the religious services already in the first half of the first century, “wäre es an und für sich nicht undenkbar, dass Paulus bei seinem Worte vom ‘Anziehen Christi’ hierauf Bezug genommen hätte.” But he adds immediately, “doch fehlt der Hauptvergleichungspunkt: das Anziehen des Göttlichen.” St. Paul, he explains, is speaking of the transformation into Christ, of the putting on of the spirit of Christ; whereas the masks, worn in the worship of Mithra, were indeed a symbol of the degree of initiation, but not of the putting on of the deity. This idea, he contends, is brought out in the picture described above of the exorcism of the sick man. For the fish garment covered, not only the head, but the whole body, and thereby expressed “die engste Beziehung zu Ea-Oannes, dem Gott der Wasserwohnung, der Fischgottheit.” From this fact he draws the conclusion: “Wäre zur Zeit des hl. Paulus diese morgenländisch-babylonische Auffassung von dem Anziehen des Fischgottes auch in Tarsus, bezw. Kleinasien und Palästina bekannt gewesen,—der Beweis steht jedoch noch aus—so könnte man vielleicht mit Recht annehmen, dass der Apostel mit Bezug auf die geläufige heidnische Vorstellung sein Wort vom Anziehen Christi geprägt hätte.” But this, he says, must remain an open question. Dölger puts it down as his opinion that we need not admit a direct allusion to any symbolic investiture to explain the phrase of St. Paul, for the reason that the idea of ἐνδύεσθαι “als das Anziehen einer geistigen Qualität oder Gemütsverfassung” was very familiar to the Orientals.

Steinmann follows Dölger pretty closely. After referring to the rites in vogue in the Babylonian and Persian mysteries, he concludes: “Sollte in diesen Bräuchen wirklich der Gedanke der Vergottung durch Anziehen des Gewandes ausgedrückt sein, so könnte man vielleicht mit Recht annehmen, dass der Apostel mit Bezug auf die geläufige Vorstellung sein Wort vom Anziehen Christi geprägt hätte.” Yet, after recalling that this metaphor is found in Seneca and is frequently used by St. Paul, he prefers to regard the figure as an “Ausdruck der bilderreichen Sprache des Orients.” We see from the foregoing review that even Catholic authors are much inclined to attribute some influence of the mystery religions on the use of our metaphor by St. Paul.

e) From the Worship of Comus

Before concluding this part of our investigation, we should like to note a few explanations taken from pagan religious customs, which are said to apply especially or solely to Rom. 13:14. The first of these explanations is drawn from the worship of Comus, the god of festive mirth, in the later mythology of the Greeks. In the orgies celebrated in honor of this deity, men and women interchanged their clothes and gave themselves up to immoral practices. To this dissolute custom St. Paul is said to allude when he commands the Romans, as it were, to put on, not Comus, but Christ. This opinion is held by John H. Majus and is mentioned by Wolf.

The latter, however, vigorously opposes this view. He grants that in regard to Rom. 13:14, the gloss has a slight degree of probability (“speciem exiguam”) on account of the word κῶμος occurring in verse 13; but he maintains that the context of “induere Christum” in Gal. 3:27, clearly proves that this interpretation is entirely false, for St. Paul here speaks of an entirely different matter, namely “de Christo, fide in baptismo ad justitiam induendo.” He adds that, in his opinion, the metaphor in Rom. 13:14, refers, not to holiness that is not tainted by the vices of rioting and drunkenness (κώμων, μεθῶν), but “inprimis ad justitiam Christi tenendam et solicite servandam.”

Kypke adopts an explanation of St. Paul’s formula similar to that held by Majus. He does not, however, refer the words of Paul only to the worship of Comus, but in general to the κῶμοι, the nightly riotings that were held in honor of various gods. In these revels, men and women not only exchanged clothes, but frequently engaged in dances in which they wore masks. He concludes that St. Paul, in his exhortation, referred to these πρόσωπα and σχήματα and exhorted the Romans to flee the shameful vices practised on these occasions.

f) From the Sacra Saliorum

We may briefly note two other explanations of Rom. 13:14, which Deyling tells us were held by his contemporaries. Some, he says, refer the words in question to the festivities of the Salii. Every year the Salii, who were priests of Mars, in memory of the small oval shield that fell from heaven during the reign of Numa Pompilius, marched through the city. Each carried a shield on his left arm and in his right hand a short staff with which he struck the shield. At the altars and the temples of the god they halted and, singing a special chant, danced a war dance.

g) From the Lupercalia

Another custom mentioned by Deyling which is made to serve as a key to “induere Christum” in Rom. 13:14, is the Lupercalia. After offering sacrifices to Lupercus and indulging in a banquet at which wine flowed plentifully, the priests, half naked and half clad in goat skins, ran through the streets at night and with thongs made of goat skins struck every person they met, especially women, who sought the whipping from an opinion that it averted sterility and the pangs of childbirth.

After reviewing the various customs proposed as the key for the explanation of “induere Christum,” we may note that some authors, like Ellicott, Sieffert-Meyer, Cornely, and Schaefer, explicitly deny all reference of St. Paul’s words to any custom, whether Christian, Jewish, or pagan. The chief reasons for their rejection of all such explanations are summed up by Sieffert: “Geschichtl. rituelle Beziehungen des Bildes sind bei der allgemeinen Gangbarkeit desselben, und da der Kontext durchaus keine Andeutung enthält, abzuweisen.”

Corollary—Relation Between Gal. 3:27, and Rom. 13:14, in General

Commentators, old and new, have compared the use of the Pauline formula in Gal. 3:27, with its use in Rom. 13:14. In the former passage, the putting on of Christ is referred to our justification, in the latter to our sanctification. Some authors refer the putting on of Christ mentioned in Gal. 3:27, also to our sanctification, and that spoken of in Rom. 13:14, to our justification.

In Gal. 3:27, the phrase is used in a “dogmatic” (Cook, Schaff, Sieffert-Meyer) or “dogmatic-liturgical” sense Zöckler); in Rom. 13:14, in an “ethical” (Cook, Schaff, Sieffert-Meyer, Denney) or “ethical-ascetical” sense (Zöckler). In the former passages, the putting on of Christ is “represented as a finished fact” (Schaff, Lipsius, Sieffert-Meyer); whereas, in the latter, it is the “subject of an ethical exhortation” (Lipsius) to a “continuous duty” (Schaff). “In both cases,” adds Schaff, “vital fellowship is meant, but each step in the growing conformity to Christ is a new putting on of Him.”

Luther says the putting on of Christ mentioned in Gal. 3:27, is “according to the gospel,” that mentioned in Rom. 13:14, is “according to the law.”

Jülicher warns us not to conclude from the use of this phrase by St. Paul in his exhortation to the Romans that there was no trace of the new spiritual life left in them. He merely used this emphatic expression to stir up their conscience thoroughly.

Valuation and Conclusion of the First Chapter

After reviewing the interpretations of “induere Christum” by commentators in medieval and modern times, we are in a position to state the net results and estimate their value at least to some extent. We have noted an astounding variety of opinions concerning the meaning and the origin of our metaphor. A number of exegetes think that the Pauline formula is immediately derived from the expression “to put on a garment”; but they vary greatly in their explication of the fundamental idea expressed by this metaphor. Union, imitation, profession of discipleship, covering, and protection are the main ideas proffered. Some see in the expression a reference to the moral nakedness of the natural man, or of man in the state of original or personal sin. Others think the phrase used in Rom. 13:14, is equivalent to that other phrase of St. Paul, “put on the armour of light.”

Another class of interpreters seek to establish the philological origin of the phrase. Of these some contend it is of Hebrew, others of Greek origin. The principal idea contained in the original, and consequently in St. Paul’s expression, according to those who stand for the Hebrew origin of the phrase, is union, abundance, adoption, assumption of qualities, virtues, and sentiments, or acquisition of anything whereby we are honored or dishonored. Cremer insists that the expression denotes a state or condition, and not conduct. The meanings given to the original phrase and to the Pauline expression by those who emphasize the Greek origin, are still more numerous. By some commentators the expressions are made to imply imitation in general; by others external or internal imitation, or both internal and external imitation, or discipleship, or intimate union and life-fellowship, or finally familiarity. Turner and Rendall say no general meaning can be given; but the sense must be determined by the context in every instance where the phrase is used.

A third class of authors abstract from the philological origin of the phrase. Assuming the phrase to be a figure taken from the idea of putting on a garment, they maintain that St. Paul alludes to some fact or custom, by which his words must be explained. Some of these commentators think the Apostle derived the simile from Christian customs: from the garments of Baptism, or the waters of Baptism. Others seek an explanation in Jewish customs or incidents; namely, the inauguration of the High Priests under the second temple, the vesting of the priests with their ministerial garbs, or the making of the Covenant on Mount Sinai. Finally, others propose pagan customs as the origin of the Pauline phrase. The investiture with the “toga virilis” or with the cloak of the sophists, or the dressing of the initiates in the various mystery religions with a garment to express their union with the deity, have been advanced as explanations. A few authors have suggested that the “induere Christum,” especially as used in Rom. 13:14, contains an allusion to the worship of Comus or to the Sacra Saliorum or to the Lupercalia. On the other hand, others positively deny all reference to any custom or fact, whether Christian, Jewish, or pagan in origin.

This tremendous confusion of ideas clearly shows that we have before us one of the greatest N. T. problems still awaiting a solution. The investigation, however, of the conflicting and confusing interpretations of our metaphor is by no means useless for the solution of our difficulty. For, in the investigation of a problem, a historical review is bound to reveal the strength of one theory and the weakness of another. It shows which methods are impossible and which may be practicable for the correct explanation. So it is in our case. Although by our historical review we have not been able to find the solution of our problem, still in the labyrinth of opinions we can find a thread, which, if followed, may lead us to the solution.

We have observed that some exegetes, in order to discover the fundamental idea contained in our metaphor, have sought first of all to establish the philological origin of the phrase together with the meaning of the original. Commentators have noted a few examples of the very phrase of St. Paul, ἐνδύεσθαί τινα, in Greek authors. In the face of these facts, is it not reasonable to seek the key for the solution of our problem in the meaning and the use of this phrase by other Greek writers? For unless the context or the usage and spirit of St. Paul expressly demand the contrary, it must be assumed that he wrote ἐνδύεσθαι Χριστόν in the current understanding of the phrase ἐνδύεσθαί τινα. But just here lies the difficulty. For, as we have noticed, the answers that have been given to the all-important question concerning the precise meaning of this expression in Greek literature, are extremely conflicting. Hence it seems to be necessary for the solution of our problem to seek some authority who stands in close touch with the Hellenic world and with St. Paul, and who can, therefore, more surely unfold to us the hidden meaning of this phrase both in the Greek literature and in the writings of the Apostle. No one is better suited to this task than the great St. John Chrysostom. For, both as an interpreter of the meaning of Greek phraseology and as an exegete of St. Paul’s epistles, he ranks foremost among the scholars of the early Church. An ardent admirer of the Apostle of the Gentiles, he devoted himself to an assiduous study of his writings. In his exegesis, he is faithful to the historico-philological method. He seeks above all to establish the literal sense of Holy Scripture; and to this end he often prefaces his explanation with a historical introduction, and at times he even stops to clear up grammatical difficulties. Well has it been said that “no one has ever interpreted Holy Scripture so successfully as Chrysostom, with such thoroughness and prudence, one might say, with such sobriety and accuracy, yet with so much depth and comprehensiveness.”

For this task of exegesis he was eminently fitted. Reared and educated at Antioch, he was quite familiar with the thoughts and customs of the Oriental world. Besides, he was conversant with Greek philosophy and customs, was well versed in the Greek classics, and he lived at the time of the later phase of the κοινὴ διάλεκτος. Thus he not only was a grand representative of Oriental and Hellenic culture, but he also possessed a perfect knowledge of the ancient Greek literature as well as of the linguistic milieu in which St. Paul moved and wrote.

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