Rachel, daughter of Laban and wife of Jacob


In the Old Testament, daughter of Laban and wife of Jacob, for love of whom he served her father fourteen years.

Rachel weeping for her children "and she would not be comforted, for they were not." An allusion to Herod Massacre of the Innocents after the birth of Christ.

The phrase is an Old Testament quotation introduced in the New Testament narrative.

Le Saint-Esprit Jesus Christ Light Art print

Le Saint-Esprit

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the fourteen stations of the Catholic Church

These are generally called "Stations of the Cross," and the whole series is known as the via Calvaria or via Crucis. Each station represents, by fresco, picture, or otherwise, some incident in the passage of Christ from the judgment hall to Calvary, and at each prayers are offered up in memory of the event represented. They are as follows:

1. The condemnation to death.

2. Christ is made to bear His cross.

3. This first fall under the cross.

4. The meeting with the Virgin.

5. Simon the Cyrenean helps to carry the cross.

6. Veronica wipes the sacred face.

7. The second fall.

8. Christ speaks to the daughters of Jerusalem.

9. The third fall.

10. Christ is stripped of His garments.

11. The nailing to the cross.

12. The giving up of the Spirit.

13. Christ is taken down from the cross.

14. The deposition the sepulcher.

The Judgement of Solomon Giclee Print

The Judgement of Solomon

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The wisest and most magnificent of the kings of Israel, son of David and Bathsheba. Aside from his wise choice of "an understanding heart," he is perhaps most celebrated for his building of the famous temple that bore his name and his entertainment of the Queen of Sheba.

The Biblical narrative ( I Kings ii-xi) relates that "he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart." Nevertheless "King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom." The glory of his reign gave rise to innumerable legends, many of which are related in the Talmud and the Koran.

the English Solomon

James I (reigned 1603-1625), whom Sully called "the wisest fool in Christendom."

the second Solomon

(I) Henry VII of England; (2) James I.

the Solomon of France

Charles V. ( 13641380) called le Sage.

Solomon's ring

Rabbinical fable has it that Solomon wore a ring with a gem that told him all he desired to know.

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The Dream of Solomon, c.1693

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The wisest and most magnificent of the kings of Israel, son of David and Bathsheba. Aside from his wise choice of "an understanding heart," he is perhaps most celebrated for his building of the famous temple that bore his name and his entertainment of the Queen of Sheba.

The Biblical narrative ( I Kings ii-xi) relates that "he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart." Nevertheless "King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom." The glory of his reign gave rise to innumerable legends, many of which are related in the Talmud and the Koran.

the English Solomon

James I (reigned 1603-1625), whom Sully called "the wisest fool in Christendom."

the second Solomon

(I) Henry VII of England; (2) James I.

the Solomon of France

Charles V. ( 13641380) called le Sage.

Solomon's ring

Rabbinical fable has it that Solomon wore a ring with a gem that told him all he desired to know.

Satan: the chief of devils


One of the most popular names for the chief of devils. According to the Talmud, Satan was once an archangel but was cast out of heaven. In medieval mythology, he holds the fifth rank of the nine demoniacal orders. Milton, in his Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, follows the tradition of his expulsion from heaven and makes him monarch of Hell. His chief lords are Beëlzebub, Moloch, Chemos, Thammuz, Dagon, Rimmon and Belial. His standard-bearer is Azazel.

He [Satan], above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower. His form had not yet lost
All her original brightness; nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured . . . but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
Sat on his faded cheek . . . cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse.

Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 589, etc.

In legendary lore, Satan is drawn with horns and a tail, saucer eyes, and claws; but Milton makes him a proud, selfish, ambitious chief, of gigantic size, beautiful, daring, and commanding. Satan declares his opinion that "'tis better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."

Santa Claus or Santa Klaus

Santa Claus or Santa Klaus

The patron saint of children and bearer of gifts at Christmas. His name is a corruption of the Dutch form of St. Nicholas. His feast-day is December 6, and the vigil is still held in some places, but for the most part his name is now associated with Christmastide. The old custom used to be for someone, on December 5, to assume the costume of a bishop and distribute small gifts to "good children." The present custom is to put toys and other presents into a stocking late on Christmas Eve, when the children are asleep. When they wake on Christmas morning, they find in the stocking, hung by the mantelpiece, the gifts left by Santa Claus. According to modern tradition Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and comes driving down over the snow in his famous sleigh, driven by eight reindeer. Clement Clarke Moore's familiar poem for children, A Visit from Saint Nicholas, better known as The Night before Christmas, gives this picture of him:

As I drew in my head and was turning around
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes--how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the
snow. . . .
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf.
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of

Local Saints and Patrons

Local Saints and Patrons
The following are the patron saints of the cities, nations, or places set down:

Aberdeen. St. Nicholas.
Abyssinia. St. Frumentius.
Alexandria. St. Mark, who founded the church there.
Antioch. St. Margaret.
Ardennes (The). St. Hubert, He is called "The Apostle of the Ardennes."
Armenia. St. Gregory of Armenia.
Bath. St. David ( 430-544), from whose benediction the waters of Bath received their warmth and medicinal qualities.
Beauvais. St. Lucian, called "The Apostle of Beauvais."
Belgium. St. Boniface.
Bohemia. St. Wenceslaus; St. John Nepomuk.
Brussels. The Virgin Mary; St. Gudule, who died 712.
Cagliari (in Sardinia). St. Efisio or St. Ephesus.
Cappadocia. St. Matthias.
Carthage. St. Perpetua.
Cologne. St. Ursula.
Corfu. St. Spiridion ( 4th century).
Cremona. St. Margaret.
Denmark. St. Anscharius and St. Canute.
Dumfries. St. Michael.
Edinburgh. St. Giles.
England. St. George.
Ethiopia. St. Frumentius.
Flanders. St. Peter.
Florence. St. John the Baptist.
Forts. St. Barbara.
France. St. Denys. St. Remy ( 439-535) is called "The Great Apostle of the French."
Franconia. St. Kilian.
Friesland. St. Wilbrod or Willibrod, called "The Apostle of the Frisians."
Gaul. St. Irenæus and St. Martin. St. Denys is called "The Apostle of the Gauls."
Genoa. St. George of Cappadocia.
Gentiles. St. Paul was "The Apostle of the Gentiles."
Georgia. St. Nino.
Germany. St. Boniface, "Apostle of the Germans," and St. Martin.
Glasgow. St. Mungo, also called Kentigern.
Highlanders. St. Columb.
Hills. St. Barbara.
Holland. The Virgin Mary.
Hungary. St. Louis; Mary of Aquisgrana (Aixla-Chapelle); and St. Anastasius.
Ireland. St. Patrick.
Italy. St. Anthony.
Lapland. St. Nicholas.
Lichfield. St. Chad, who lived there.
Liége. St. Albert.
Lisbon. St. Vincent.
London. St. Paul and St. Michael.
Milan. St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
Moscow. St. Nicholas.
Mountains. St. Barbara.
Naples. St. Januarius and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Netherlands. St. Amand.
North. St. Ansgar and Bernard Gilpin.
Norway. St. Anscharius, called "The Apostle of the North," and St. Olaus, called also St. Ansgar.
Oxford. St. Frideswide.
Padua. St. Justina and St. Anthony.
Paris. St. Genevieve.
Picts. St. Ninian and St. Columb.
Pisa. San Ranieri and St. Efeso.
Poitiers. St. Hilary.
Poland. St. Hedviga and St. Stanislaus.
Portugal. St. Sebastian.
Prussia. St. Andrew and St. Albert.
Rochester. St. Paulinus.
Rome. St. Peter and St. Paul.
Russia. St. Nicholas, St. Andrew, St. George, and the Virgin Mary.
Saragossa. St. Vincent, where he was born.
Sardinia. Mary the Virgin.
Scotland. St. Andrew.
Sicily. St. Agatha, where she was born.
Silesia. St Hedviga, also called Avoye.
Slavi. St. Cyril, called "The Apostle of the Slavi."
Spain. St. James the Greater.
Sweden. St. Anscharius, St. John, and St. Eric IX.
Switzerland. St. Gall.
United States. St. Tammany.
Valleys. St. Agatha.
Venice. St. Mark, who was buried there; St. Pantaleon and St. Lawrence Justiniani.
Vienna. St. Stephen.
Vineyards. St. Urban.
Wales. St. David.
Yorkshire. St. Paulinus.

specialist saints for tradesmen, children, wives, idiots, students, etc.:

Archers. St. Sebastian, because he was shot by them.
Armorers. St. George of Cappadocia.
Artists and the Arts. St. Agatha; but St. Luke is the patron of painters, having been himself one.
Bakers. St. Winifred, who followed the trade.
Barbers. St. Louis.
Barren Women. St. Margaret befriends them.
Beggars. St. Giles. Hence the outskirts of cities are often called "St. Giles."
Bishops, etc. St. Timothy and St. Titus (1 Tim. iii. 1: Titus i. 7.).
Blacksmiths. St. Peter.
Blind Folk. St. Thomas à Becket, and St. Lucy, who was deprived of her eyes by Paschasius.
Booksellers. St. John Port Latin.
Brewers. St. Florian.
Brides. St. Nicholas, because he threw three stockings, filled with wedding portions, into the chamber window of three virgins, that they might marry their sweethearts, and not live a life of sin for the sake of earning a living.
Brush-Makers. St. Anthony.
Burglars. St. Dismas, the penitent thief.
Candle and Lamp Makers. St. Lucy and St. Lucian.
Cannoneers. St. Barbara, because she is generally represented in a fort or tower.
Captives. St. Barbara and St. Leonard.
Carpenters. St. Joseph, who was a carpenter.
Carpet-Weavers. St. Paul.
Children. St. Felicitas and St. Nicholas. The latter saint restored to life some children who were murdered by an innkeeper of Myra and pickled in a porktub.
Cloth-Weavers. St. John.
Cobblers. St. Crispin, who worked at the trade.
Cripples. St. Giles, because he refused to be cured of an accidental lameness, that he might mortify his flesh.
Dancers. St. Vitus.
Divines. St. Thomas Aquinas.
Doctors. St. Cosme, who was a surgeon in Cilicia.
Drunkards. St. Martin, because St. Martin's Day (November 11) happened to be the day of the Vinalia, or feast of Bacchus. St. Urban protects.
Ferrymen. St. Christopher, who was a ferryman.
Fisherman. St. Peter, who was a fisherman.
Fools. St. Mathurin, because the Greek word matin or maté means "folly."
Freemen. St. John.
Fullers. St. Sever, because the place so called, on the Adour, is or was famous for its tanneries and fulleries.
Goldsmiths. St. Eloy, who was a goldsmith.
Hatters. St. William, the son of a hatter.
Hogs and Swineherds. St. Anthony.
Horses. Sir Thomas More says, "St. Ley we make a horse leche, and must let our horse rather renne vnshod and marre his hoofe than to shooe him on his daye."-- Works, 194. St. Stephen's Day "we must let al our horses bloud with a knife, because St. Stephen was killed with stones."
Housewives. St. Osyth, St. Martha, the sister of Lazarus.
Huntsmen. St. Hubert, who lived in the Ardennes, a famous hunting forest; and St. Eustace.
Idiots. St. Gildas restores them to their right senses.
Infants. St. Felicitas and St. Nicholas.
Insane. St. Dymphna.
Learned Men. St. Catharine, noted for her learning.
Locksmiths. St. Peter, because he holds the keys of heaven.
Madmen. St. Dymphna and St. Fillan.
Maidens. The Virgin Mary.
Mariners. St. Christopher, who was a ferryman; and St. Nicholas, who was once in danger of shipwreck, and who, on one occasion, lulled a tempest for some pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land.
Mercers. St. Florian, the son of a mercer.
Millers. St. Arnold, the son of a miller.
Miners. St. Barbara.
Mothers. The Virgin Mary; St. Margaret, for those who wish to be so.
Musicians. St. Cecilia.
Netmakers. St. James and St. John ( Matt. iv. 21).
Nurses. St. Agatha.
Painters. St. Luke, who was a painter.
Parish Clerks. St. Nicholas.
Parsons. St. Thomas Aquinas, doctor of theology at Paris.
Physicians. St. Cosme, who was a surgeon; St. Luke ( Col. iv. 14.
Pilgrims. St. Julian, St. Raphael, St. James of Compostella.
Pinmakers. St. Sebastian, whose body was as full of arrows in his martyrdom as a pincushion is of pins.
Poor Folks. St. Giles, who affected indigence, thinking "poverty and suffering" a service acceptable to God.
Portrait-Painters and Photographers. St. Veronica, who had a handkerchief with the face of Jesus photographed on it.
Potters. St. Gore, who was a potter.
Prisoners. St. Sebastian and St. Leonard.
Sages. St. Cosme, St. Damian, and St. Catharine.
Sailors. St. Nicholas and St. Christopher.
Scholars. St. Catharine.
School Children. St. Nicholas and St. Gregory.
Seamen. St. Nicholas, who once was in danger of shipwreck; and St. Christopher, who was a ferryman.
Shepherds and their Flocks. St. Windeline, who kept sheep, like David.
Shoemakers. St. Crispin, who made shoes.
Silversmiths. St. Eloy, who worked in gold and silver.
Soothsayers, etc. St. Agabus ( Acts xxi. 10).
Spectacle-Makers. St. Fridolm.
Sportsmen. St. Hubert.
Statuaries. St. Veronica.
Stonemasons. St. Peter ( John i. 42).
Students. St. Catharine, noted for her great learning.
Surgeons. St. Cosme, who practiced medicine.
Sweethearts. St. Valentine.
Swineherds and Swine. St. Anthony.
Tailors. St. Goodman, who was a tailor.
Tanners. St. Clement, the son of a tanner.
Tax-Collectors. St. Matthew ( Matt. ix, 9).
Tentmakers. St. Paul and St. Aquila, who were tentmakers ( Acts xviii. 3).
Thieves (against). St. Dismas, the penitent thief; St. Ethelbert, St. Elian, St. Vincent, and St. Vinden who caused stolen goods to be restored.
Tinners. St. Pieran, who crossed over the sea to Ireland on a millstone.
Travelers. St. Raphael.
Upholsterers. St. Paul.
Vintners and Vineyards. St. Urban.
Virgins. St. Winifred and St. Nicholas.
Weavers. St. Stephen.
Wheelwrights. St. Boniface, the son of a wheelwright.
Wigmakers. St. Louis.
Wise Men. St. Cosme, St. Damian, and St. Catharine.
Woolcombers and Staplers. St. Blaise, who was torn to pieces by "combes of yren."

Saints of special competencies, Saints for diseases and ills

Saints of special competencies, Saints for diseases and ills

These saints, who either ward off ills or help to relieve them, are invoked by those who rely on their power:

Ague. St. Pernel and St. Petronella cure.
Bad Dreams. St. Christopher protects from.
Blear Eyes. St. Otilic and St. Clare cure.
Blindness. St. Thomas à Becket cures.
Boils and Blains. St. Roque and St. Cosme cure.
Chastity. St. Susan protects.
Children. St. Germayne. But unless the mothers bring a white loaf and a pot of good ale, Sir Thomas More says, "he wyll not once loke at them."
Children's Diseases (All.) St. Blaise heals; and all cattle diseases.
Colic. St. Erasmus relieves.
Dancing Mania. St. Vitus cures.
Defilement. St. Susan preserves from.
Discovery of Lost Goods. St. Ethelbert and St. Elian.
Diseases Generally. St. Roque, "because he had a sore"; and St. Sebastian, "because he was martered with arrowes."--Sir T. More.
Doubts. St. Catherine resolves.
Dying. St. Barbara relieves.
Epilepsy. St. Valentine cures; St. Cornelius.
Fire. St. Agatha protects from it, but St. Florian is invoked if it has already broken out.
Flood, Fire and Earthquake. St. Christopher saves from.
Gout. St. Wolfgang.
Gripes. St. Erasmus cures.
Idiocy. St. Gildas is the guardian angel of idiots.
Infamy. St. Susan protects from.
Infection. St. Roque protects from.
Leprosy. St. Lazarus the beggar.
Madness. St. Dymphna and St. Fillan cure.
Mice and Rats. St. Gertrude and St. Huldrick ward them off.
Night Alarms. St. Christopher protects from.
Palsy. St. Cornelius.
Plague. St. Roque, they say, in this case is better than the "good bishop of Marseilles."
Quinsy. St. Blaise.
Riches. St. Anne and St. Vincent help those who seek them.
Small-Pox. St. Martin of Tours.
Sore Throats. St. Blaise, who (when he was put to death prayed if any person suffering from a sore throat invoked him, that he might be God's instrument to effect a perfect cure.-- Simeon Metaphrastes, Life of St. Blaise.
Storms and Tempests. St. Barbara.
Sudden Death. St. Martin saves from.
Tooth-ache. St. Appolonia, because before she was burned alive, all her teeth were pulled out; St. Blaise.
Vermin Destroyers. St. Gertrude and St. Huldrick.

St. Thomas: the disciple of Jesus

St. Thomas

One of the twelve, the disciple of Jesus who doubted ( John xxi. 25); hence the phrase, a doubting Thomas, applied to a skeptic. The story told of him in the Apocryphal Acts of St. Thomas is that he was deputed to go as a missionary to India, and, when he refused, Christ appeared and sold him as a slave to an Indian prince who was visiting Jerusalem.

He was taken to India, where he baptized the prince and many others, and was finally martyred at Meliapore. His day is December 21.

Another legend has it that Gondoforus, King of the Indies, gave him a large sum of money to build a palace. St. Thomas spent it on the poor, "thus erecting a superb palace in heaven." On account of this he is the patron saint of masons and architects, and his symbol is a builder's square. Still another legend relates that he once saw a huge beam of timber floating on the sea near the coast, and, the king unsuccessfully endeavoring, with men and elephants, to haul it ashore.

St. Thomas desired leave to use it in building a church. When his request was granted he dragged it easily ashore with a piece of packthread.

St. Peter: One of the twelve disciples of Jesus

St. Peter

One of the twelve disciples of Jesus, noted for his impulsive nature. More incidents are related of him in the Gospels than of any other disciple. He was first called Simon, but Jesus changed his name and addressed to him the words on which the authority of the Papacy is based "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock (Lat. petra, "rock") I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it; I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."

At the time of his Master's trial, Peter denied three times that he knew him before the cock crew, as he had been warned that he would. After the crucifixion he became the "Apostle to the Gentiles" and many of his missionary activities are related in the Acts. He figures in numerous popular tales as the keeper of the door to Heaven, to whom saints and sinners present themselves for admittance.

Peter is the patron saint of fishermen, having been himself a fisherman. His day is June 29, and he is usually represented as an old man, bald, but with a flowing beard, dressed in a white mantle and blue tunic, and holding in his hand a book or scroll. His peculiar symbols are the keys and a sword. Tradition tells that he confuted Simon Magus, who was at Nero's court as a magician, and that in 66 he was crucified with his head downwards at his own request, as he said he was not worthy to suffer the same death as our Lord.

St. Paul: The great apostle and missionary

St. Paul

The great apostle and missionary of Christianity, author of the principal Epistles of the New Testament. As Saul of Tarsus he was originally one of the most bitter persecutors of the early Christians, but he was converted by a vision on the road to Damascus. His great missionary travels, described in the Acts of the Apostles, took him "in journeyings often, in peril of rivers, in peril of robbers . . . in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren."

He was finally beheaded at Rome. He is patron saint of preachers and tentmakers (see Acts xviii. 3). Originally called Saul, his name, according to tradition, was changed in honor of Sergius Paulus, whom he converted ( Acts xiii. 6-12).

His symbols are a sword and open book, the former the instrument of his martyrdom, and the latter indicative of the new law propagated by him as the apostle of the Gentiles. He is represented of short stature, with bald head and grey, bushy beard; legend relates that when he was beheaded at Rome ( 66 A. D.), after having converted one of Nero's favorite concubines, milk instead of blood flowed from his veins. He is commemorated on June 30.

St. Patrick: The apostle and patron saint of Ireland

St. Patrick (ca. 373-464)

The apostle and patron saint of Ireland (commemorated on March 17) was not an Irishman, but was born at what is now Dumbarton, his father, Calpurnius, a deacon and Roman official, having come from "Bannavem Taberniae," which was probably near the mouth of the Severn. As a boy he was captured in a Pictish raid and
sold is a slave in Ireland. He escaped to Gaul about 395, where he studied under St. Martin at Tours before returning to Britain. There he had a supernatural call to preach to the heathen of Ireland, so he was consecrated and in 432 landed at Wicklow. He at first met with strong opposition, but, going north, he converted first the chiefs and people of Ulster, and later those of the rest of Ireland. He founded many churches, including the cathedral and monastery of Armagh, where he held two synods. He is said to have died at Armagh and to have been buried either at Down or Saul. One tradition gives Glastonbury as the place of his death and burial. Downpatrick Cathedral claims his grave.

St. Patrick left his name to numerous places in Great Britain and Ireland, and many legends are told of his miraculous powers--healing the blind, raising the dead, etc. Perhaps the best known tradition is that he cleared Ireland of its vermin.

The story goes that one old serpent resisted him, but he overcame it by cunning. He made a box, and invited the serpent to enter it. The serpent objected, saying it was too small, but St. Patrick insisted it was quite large enough to be comfortable. After a long contention, the serpent got in to prove it was too small. St. Patrick slammed down the lid and threw the box into the sea.

In commemoration of this, St. Patrick is usually represented banishing the serpents; he is shown with a shamrock leaf, in allusion to the tradition that when explaining the Trinity to the heathen priests on the hill of Tara he used this as a symbol.

St. Patrick's Cross

The same shape as St. Andrew's Cross (✕), only different in color, viz. red on a white field.

St. Patrick's Purgatory

A cave in a small island in Lough Derg (between Galway, Clare, and Tipperary). In the Middle Ages it was a favorite resort of pilgrims who believed that it was the entrance to an earthly Purgatory. The legend is that Christ Himself revealed it to St. Patrick and told him that whoever would spend a day and a night therein would witness the torments of Hell and the joys of Heaven. Henry of Saltrey tells how Sir Owain visited it, and Fortunatus, of the old legend, was also supposed to be one of the adventurers. It was blocked up by order of the Pope on St. Patrick's Day, 1497, but the interest in it long remained, and the Spanish dramatist Calderon wrote a play on the subject, El Purgatorio de San Patricio.

St. Nicholas: One of the popular saints in Christendom

St. Nicholas

One of the most popular saints in Christendom, especially in the East. He was the patron saint of Russia, of Aberdeen, of parish clerks, of scholars (who used to be called clerks), of pawnbrokers (because of the three bags of gold--transformed to the three gold balls--that he gave to the daughters of a poor man to save them from earning their dowers in a disreputable way), and of little boys (because he once restored to life three little boys who had been cut up and pickled in a salting-tub to serve for bacon). He is invoked by sailors (because he allayed a storm during a voyage to the Holy Land) and against fire. Finally, he is the original of Santa Claus.

Little is known of his life, but he is said to have been Bishop of Myra ( Lycia) in the early 4th century. One story relates that he was present at the Council of Nice ( 325) and there buffeted Arius on the jaw. His day is December 6, and he is represented in episcopal robes with three purses of gold, three gold balls, or three small boys, in allusion to one of the above legends.

St. Michael: The great prince of all the angels

St. Michael

The great prince of all the angels and leader of the celestial armies.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not.-- Rev. xii, 7, 8.

Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince, And thou, in military prowess next, Gabriel; lead forth to battle these my sons Invincible; lead forth my armed Saints By thousands and by millions ranged for fight.

Milton, Paradise Lost, vi, 44.

His day ( St. Michael and All Angels) is September 29, and in the Roman Church he is also commemorated on May 8, in honor of his apparition in 492 to a herdsman of Monte Gargano. In the Middle Ages he was looked on as the presiding spirit of the planet Mercury, and bringer to man of the gift of prudence.

In art St. Michael is depicted as a beautiful young man with severe countenance, winged, and clad in either white garments or armor, bearing a lance and shield, with which he combats a dragon. In the final judgment he is represented with scales, in which he weighs the souls of the risen dead.

St. Martin: The patron saint of innkeepers and drunkards

St. Martin

The patron saint of innkeepers and drunkards, usually shown in art as a young mounted soldier dividing his cloak with a beggar. He was born of heathen parents but was converted in Rome, and became Bishop of Tours in 371, dying at Caudes forty years later.

His day is November 11, the day of the Roman Vinalia, or Feast of Bacchus; hence his purely accidental patronage (as above), and hence also the phrase Martin drunk.

The usual illustration of St. Martin is in allusion to the legend that when he was a military tribune stationed at Amiens, he once, in midwinter, divided his cloak with a naked beggar, who craved alms of him before the city gates. At night, the story says, Christ Himself appeared to the soldier, arrayed in this very garment.

St. Martha: The sister of Lazarus and Mary

St. Martha

The sister of Lazarus and Mary.

When Jesus came to their house, Mary sat at his feet and listened, but Martha "was cumbered about much serving" and complained of her sister to Jesus. She is the patron saint of good housewives and is represented in art in homely costume, bearing it her girdle a bunch of keys and holding a ladle or pot of water in her hand.

Like St. Margaret, she is accompanied by a dragon bound, for she is said to have destroyed one that ravaged the neighborhood of Marseilles, but she has not the palm and crown of martyrdom. She is commemorated on July 29, and is patron of Tarascon.

St. Margaret

St. Margaret

The chosen type of female innocence and meekness, represented as a young woman of great beauty, bearing the martyr's palm and crown, or with the dragon as an attribute. Sometimes she is delineated as coming from the dragon's mouth, for legend says that the monster swallowed her, but on her making the sign of the cross he suffered her to quit his maw.

Another legend has it that Olybrius, governor of Antioch, captivated by her beauty, wanted to marry her, and, as she rejected him with scorn, threw her into a dungeon, where the Devil came to her in the form of a dragon. Margaret held up the cross, and the dragon fled.

St. Margaret is the patron saint of the ancient borough of Lynn Regis, and on the corporation seal she is represented as standing on a dragon and wounding it with the cross. The inscription is "Sub . Margareta . Teritur . Draco . Stat . Cruce . Laeta." She is commemorated on July 20.

St. Kentigern: The patron saint of Glasgow

St. Kentigern (ca. 510-601)

The patron saint of Glasgow, born of royal parents. He is said to have founded the cathedral at Glasgow, where he died. He is represented with his episcopal cross in one hand, and in the other a salmon and a ring, in allusion to the wellknown legend:

Queen Langoureth had been false to her husband, King Roderich, and had give her lover a ring. The king, aware of the fact, stole upon the knight in sleep, abstracted the ring, threw it into the Clyde, and then asked the queen for it. The queen, in alarm, applied to St. Kentigern, who after praying, went to the Clyde, caught a salmon with the ring in its mouth, handed it to the queen and was thus the means of restoring peace to the royal couple, and of reforming the repentant queen.

The Glasgow arms include the salmon with the ring in its mouth, and also an oak tree, a bell hanging on one of the branches, and a bird at the top of the tree:

The tree that never grew,
The bird that never flew,
The fish that never swam.
The bell that never rang.

The oak and bell are in allusion to the story that St. Kentigern hung a bell upon an oak to summon the wild natives to worship.

St. Kentigern is also known as "St. Mungo," for Mungho (i.e., dearest) was the name by which St. Servan, his first preceptor, called him. His day is January 13.

The Apostle St. James the Great, St. James the Less

St. James

There were two of the twelve disciples of Christ named James.

The Apostle St. James the Great, brother of John and son of Zebedee, is the patron saint of Spain. Legend states that after his death in Palestine his body was placed in a boat with sails set, and that next day it reached the Spanish coast; at Padron, near Compostella, they used to show a huge stone as the veritable boat. According to another legend, it was the relics of St. James that were miraculously conveyed in Spain in a ship of marble from Jerusalem, where he was a bishop. A knight saw the ship sailing into port, his horse took fright, and plunged with its rider into the sea.

The knight saved himself by "boarding the marble vessel," but his clothes were found to be entirely covered with scallop shells. The saint's body was discovered in 840 by divine revelation to Bishop Theodomirus, and a church was built at Compostella for its shrine. St. James is commemorated on July 25, and is represented in art sometimes with the sword by which he was beheaded and sometimes attired as a pilgrim, with his cloak covered with shells. He is also known as Santiago, a variation of St. James (Span. San Diego).

St. James the Less

His attribute is a fuller's club, in allusion to the instrument by which he was put to death after having been precipitated from the summit of the temple at Jerusalem in 62 A. D. He is commemorated on May 1. Less means the shorter of stature.

Raphael Saint George and the Dragon Giclee Print

Saint George and the Dragon

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The patron saint of England since about the time of the institution of the Order of the Garter (ca. 1348), when he was "adopted" by Edward III. He is commemorated on April 23. St. George had been popular in England from the time of the early Crusades, for he was said to have come to the assistance of the Crusaders at Antioch ( 1089), and many of the Normans (under Robert, son of William the Conqueror) then took him as their patron.

St. George was probably a Cappadocian who suffered martyrdom under Diocletian in 303. There are various versions of his Acta, one saying that he was a tribune and that he was asked to come and subdue a dragon that infested a pond at Silene, Libya, and fed on the dwellers in the neighborhood. St. George came, rescued a princess ( Sabra) whom the dragon was about to make its prey, and slew the monster after he had wounded it and the princess had led it home in triumph by her girdle.

That St. George is an historical character is beyond all reasonable doubt; but the somewhat hesitant assertion of Gibbon ( Decline and Fall, Ch. xxiii) that the patron saint of England was George of Cappadocia, the turbulent Arian bishop of Alexandria, who was torn to pieces by the populace in 360 and revered as a saint by the opponents of Athanasius, has been fully disproved by the Jesuit Papebroch, Milner, and others. He is now believed to have been an official in Diocletian's army, martyred April 23, A. D. 304.

The legend of St. George and the dragon is simply an allegorical expression of the triumph of the Christian hero over evil, which St. John the Divine beheld under the image of a dragon. Similarly, St. Michael, St. Margaret, St. Sylvester, and St. Martha are all depicted as slaying dragons; the Savior and the Virgin as treading them under their feet; St. John the Evangelist as charming a winged dragon from a poisoned chalice given him to drink. Bunyan avails himself of the same figure when he makes Christian prevail against Apolyon.

The legend forms the subject of an old ballad given Percy Reliques. Spenser introduces St. George into his Faërie Queene as the Red Cross Knight.

St. George's cross

Red on a white field. when St. George goes on horseback, St. Yves goes on foot. In times of war it was supposed that lawyers have nothing to do. St. George is the patron of soldiers, and St. Yves or Yvo, an early French judge and lawyer noted for his incorruptibility and just decrees (d. 1303, canonized 1347), of lawyers.

St. George Killing the Dragon

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St. Adrian, St. Agatha, St. Agnes, St. Alexis, St. Ambrose, St. Andrew

St. Adrian

The patron saint of the Flemish brewers is represented in art with an anvil and a sword or axe close by it. He had his limbs cut off on a smith's anvil, and was afterwards beheaded.

St. Agatha

A saint who was tortured and martyred in Sicily during the Decian persecution of 251. She is sometimes represented in art with a pair of shears or pincers, and holding a salver on which are her breasts, these having been cut off. The Veil of St. Agatha is a miraculous veil belonging to St. Agatha, and deposited in the church of the city of Catania, in Sicily, where the saint suffered martyrdom. It is believed to be a sure defense against the eruptions of Mount Etna.

St. Agnes

A saint martyred in the Diocletian persecution (ca. 303) at the age of 13. She was tied to a stake, but the fire went out, and Aspasius, set to watch the martyrdom, drew his sword, and cut off her head. There is a picture of the incident by Domenichino. St. Agnes is the patron of young virgins. She is commemorated on January 21.

One of Keats' best known poems is The Eve of St. Agnes.

St. Alexis

Patron saint of hermits and beggars. The story goes that he lived on his father's estate as a hermit till death, but was never recognized. It is given at length in the Gesta Romanorum (Tale xv). He is represented in art with a pilgrim's habit and staff. Sometimes he is drawn as if extended on a mat, with a letter in his hand, dying.

St. Ambrose

Bishop of Milan in the 4th century. He is represented in Christian art in the robes of a bishop. His attributes are (1) a beehive, in allusion to the legend that a swarm of bees settled on his mouth when he was lying in his . cradle; (2) a scourge, by which he expelled the Arians from Italy.

St. Andrew

One of the twelve disciples of Jesus; the brother of St. Peter. He is depicted in Christian art as an old man with long white hair and beard, holding the Gospel in his right hand, and leaning on a cross like the letter X, termed St. Andrew's cross. His day is November 30. It is said that he suffered martyrdom in Patrae ( 70 A. D.).

St. Anne

The mother of the Virgin Mary and wife of St. Joachim.

St. Anthony the Great

The patron saint of swineherds. He lived in the 3rd or 4th century, and was the founder of the fraternity of ascetics who lived in the deserts. The story of his temptations by the devil is well known in literature and art. It forms the subject of Flaubert's novel, La Tentation de St. Antoine. His day is January 17. Not to be confused with St. Anthony of Padua, who was a Franciscan of the 13th century, and is commemorated on June 13.

St. Anthony's cross

The tau-cross, T ; used as a sacred symbol and in heraldry.

St. Anthony's fire

Erysipelas is so called from the tradition that those who sought the intercession of St. Anthony recovered from the pestilential erysipelas called the sacred fire, which proved so fatal in 1089.

St. Anthony's pig

A pet pig, the smallest of the litter, also called the "tantony pig"; in allusion to St. Anthony's being the patron saint of swineherds. The term is also used of a sponger or hanger-on.

St. Augustine (354-430)

St. Augustine (354-430)

Bishop of Hippo, and, with St. Ambrose, Jerome, and Gregory the Great, one of the four great Fathers of the Church. Born in Tagaste, Algeria, of a Christian mother and a pagan father, he first sought his salvation in Manichaeism, and led a life of promiscuous pleasure-seeking. He sought to establish himself as a rhetorician first at Tagaste, later at Carthage, Rome and Milan. In Milan, listening to the sermons of Bishop Ambrose, he was converted to Christianity (386), after which he returned to his hometown.

Invited to preach at Hippo Regius, the modern Bona, he so impressed the congregation that lie was appointed assistant to the aging bishop, whom he succeeded into the bishopric (395). His most important work, The Confessions (397), constitutes the first completely honest self-analysis in the history of literature. See also The City of God (begun 413). His total work is enormous in volume and encyclopedic in scope. He has justly been called the "Christian Aristotle," for it is he who first succeeded in compacting the truths of religion into a system. His theology has been of lasting influence on Christian dogma and philosophy.

The Wandering Jew

Wandering Jew, the. The central figure of a widespread medieval legend which tells how a Jew who refused to allow Christ to rest at his door while He was bearing His cross to Calvary, was condemned to wander over the face of the earth till the end of the world. The usual form of the legend says that he was Ahasuerus, a cobbler. The craftsman pushed him away, saying, "Get off! Away with you, away!" Our Lord replied, "Truly I go away, and that quickly, but tarry thou till I come."

Another tradition has it that the Wandering Jew was Kartaphilos (Cartaphilus); the doorkeper of the judgment hall in the service of Pontius Pilate. He struck our Lord as he led Him forth, saying, "Go on faster, Jesus"; whereupon the Man of Sorrows replied, "I am going, but thou shalt tarry till I come again" ( Chronicle of St. Albans Abbey; 1228). The same Chronicle, continued by Matthew Paris, tells us that Kartaphilos was baptized by Ananias, and received the name of Joseph. At the end of every hundred years he falls into a trance, and wakes up a young man about thirty.

In German legend, he is associated with John Buttadaeus, seen at Antwerp in the 13th century, again in the 15th, and a third time in the 16th. His last appearance was in 1774 at Brussels. In the French version, he is named Isaac Laquedem or Lakedion. Another story has it that he was Salathiel ben Sadi, who appeared and disappeared towards the close of the 16th century, at Venice, in so sudden a manner as to attract the notice of all Europe; and another connects him with the Wild Huntsman.

There is a ballad in Percy Reliques called The Wandering Jew; and poems by Béranger and Quintet entitled Ahasuerus, and by Caroline Norton entitled The Undying One, deal with the legend. Shelley introduces Ahasuerus into Queen Mab, The Revolt of Islam; and his prose tale The Assassin.

In prose fiction, the Jew is the subject of Croly Salathiel ( 1827) reprinted in 1900 as Tarry Thou till I Come, of Lew Wallace Prince of Indıa, and of the more famous romance by Eugene Sue entitled The Wandering Jew ( Le Juif errant; 1845). In the latter, Ahasuerus and his half-sister Herodias, both eternal wanderers, find their chief interest in guiding the affairs of their descendants. The romance is episodic, but the principal events take place in the Paris of 1832 and the plot centers about the struggle between the Protestants and Catholics to control a large sum of money invested for seven heirs of Count Rennepont, a descendant of Herodias. The Jesuits, led by a shrewd and energetic little priest named Rodin, succeed in bringing six of the seven heirs to disaster and presenting the seventh, Gabriel Rennepont, a young Jesuit priest, as the only claimant for the inheritance, but their schemes are finally thwarted.

Zacchaeus, Zechariah, Zedekiah, Zophar the Naamathite

Zacchaeus. In the New Testament, a little man who climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus pass. He was a rich publican and later entertained Jesus at his house.

Zechariah. One of the Minor Prophets of the Hebrews; also the book of the Old Testament called by his name.

Zedekiah. In the Old Testament, the king of Judah that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, set up in Jerusalem after the conquest. He rebelled against Babylon and was carried into captivity.

Zophar the Naamathite. In the Old Testament, one of the three "false comforters" who came to comfort and admonish JOB in his distress.

Meaning in the Midst of Mystery

The other thing to remember is that although Biblical faith confronts us with mystery, it also helps us to see meaning in the midst of mystery. We are not confronted simply with mystery. We are also confronted with enough meaning directly given so that we can live confidently in the face of the remaining mystery. We see through a glass darkly, but we do see -- not everything, but enough. We see enough so that we can walk in confidence.

We see enough light shed on the mystery of God to be willing to commit our lives to him.

We see enough light shed on the mystery of evil to be willing to trust God for the rest.

We see enough light shed on the mystery of sin and salvation to be sure that God has resources for meeting our deepest need.

Particularly, we see enough light shed on the mystery of Jesus Christ to know that he is the "clue" to the meaning of life, not only showing us God as he is, but also showing us ourselves as we are meant to be. In this fundamental assurance, we are able to hold fast to him, reaffirming with the writer of the letter to the Hebrews:

We do not yet see everything . . . but we see Jesus ( Heb. 2: 8, 9).

And he is enough.

Mystery as a Gateway to Meaning

We can recognize, for one thing, that mystery need not mean sheer incomprehension. Mystery may, in fact, be the gateway to a deeper understanding of life than would be possible without the element of mystery.

For example:

Here is your best friend in high school. Up until a couple of months ago he has been very attentive in class and has never been known to get behind in his assignments. (As a matter of fact, you have sometimes wished he would, just to show that he is human.) Now, with final exams almost upon him, he doodles in class, and sits for hours with a book in front of him and never turns a page. His greatest interest has always been mathematics, and after school you find him furtively writing poetry! Ask him a question and he doesn't hear you. Ask him what the matter is, and he looks at you glassily, and walks out of the room. Later that evening he returns starry-eyed and goes to bed without a word to anyone. You can't understand what's come over him. He's a mystery to you. And then somebody says: "Didn't you know? He's in love." And now you can understand him-at least, you can understand him better than you did before.

Now "being in love" is a mystery, something you can never fully explain or understand. And yet, by means of that mystery you can now understand your friend better than you could before. The mystery of "being in love" has helped to clarify your comprehension, rather than clouding it. Mystery can be a gateway to meaning, in other words. It need not lead you up a blind alley.

The mystery of creation is not something you can rationally explain, but by means of that mystery you can understand that God's world has purpose and direction, and that you have a job to do here.

The mystery of resurrection is not something you can rationally explain, but by means of that mystery you can understand that a victory has been won over sin and death, and that you are the inheritor of that victory.

The mystery of forgiveness is not something you can rationally explain, but by means of that mystery you can understand that God loves you for yourself, and that he calls upon you to love others in the same way.

And so on. In the case of all the affirmations of Biblical faith, we are confronted by an element of mystery, of something that cannot be reduced to a neat formula-and yet each of those areas of mystery can be the means to a fuller understanding of the meaning of life.

Mystery and Meaning

As we come to the end of this book, it is apparent that

not all the questions have been answered, not all the doubts dispelled, not all the difficulties resolved, not all the mystery cleared away.

The Christian has the obligation to understand his faith as fully as possible -- to push his questions no matter how perplexing, to face difficulties no matter how shattering, and to do his best, with God's help, to surmount the problems. As he goes through life the Christian can expect to receive greater illumination, firmer assurance, deeper knowledge, and sounder understanding. But it is wrong to assume that finally all the mystery will disappear and one will have "all the answers" -whether as a result of "reading one more book," or going to another conference, or having some particularly clarifying vision. As long as he lives, the Christian will be forced to say with Paul, "Now we see through a glass, darkly" ( I Cor. 13: 12).

No one who is trying to know and love and serve God can ever claim that he has fully realized his goal. In fact, the greater his depth of understanding, the greater will be his apprehension of the sense of mystery underlying the relationship between God and man. He will see that he has come up against something for which he does not have the full answer, and for which he will never have the full answer. Mystery will always remain, mystery that will never be rationally grasped or explained. The Christian, until the end of his life, must confess, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" ( Mark 9: 24). What can we say, in the light of this situation?

The Ever-present Element in Christian Ethics

It is thus clear that there is no "easy answer" to the problem of the Christian and war. It should be clear also that this is true of all the ethical decisions that the Christian makes. The issue of war simply underlines the constant ethical problem of the Christian. He lives in a non-Christian world which does not accept the Christian ethic, and yet he must seek to live by the Christian ethic. Some kinds of compromise are always involved. It is part of Christian wisdom to recognize this fact.

This is the note on which any discussion of Biblical ethics must close. As Christians, attempting to "think Biblically" about life, we must realize that even our very best falls short, that no matter how much we do we have not attained, and that on every level of life ethics are not enough, but need to be surrounded and encompassed by the renewing love and forgiveness of God, who can pick up and use even our faulty attempts at the doing of his will, and make from them something that we ourselves have. been unable to make. For His is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.

Some Safeguards for All Concerned

Neither the pacifist nor the nonpacifist can say, "My position is wholly good." In either case the Christian is involved in guilt and wrongdoing. This does not mean, however, that the Christian is morally helpless. There are certain things any Christian can do in time of war or in times when war threatens:

1. You can refuse to hate. No matter how tense the cold war or how bitter the hot, you can refuse to give in to the vindictiveness and calculated hatred which characterize nations at such times. You can recognize that you are involved in the evil of the situation, and that your nation bears part of the responsibility for the situation.

2. You can support positive measures that will help to counteract the threat of war. This might mean supporting legislation to send food, clothes, and machines to downtrodden areas.

It might mean sending them yourself (at least the first two). It might mean support of attempts to rebuild areas that have been devastated by bombs. It might mean backing all attempts to get "enemy" nations together around a conference table. There is almost no limit to the kinds of things it might mean.

3. You can counteract some of the things you may have to do because you live in a society at war or threatened by war. For example, although your nation may be "against" another nation, you can continue to be active in the Christian Church, which embraces men of all nations, including the "enemy" nation, and thus help to keep alive a bridge of good will which stands above national interests.

4.You can avoid indiscriminate approval or disapproval of all that is done by your nation, either before, during, or after a war. (The temptation of the pacifist is to condemn all that his nation does in time of war; the temptation of the nonpacifist to approve everything.) The Christian must remember that he is subject to a higher authority than the State; he must be willing to say the unpopular thing when an important matter or conviction is at stake.

What Shall the Christian Do?

What shall the Christian do, in the face of the strict demands of Jesus, and their echo in Paul? Must he not refuse to bear arms, or to do other things that would suggest his approval of war?

Since this is such a crucial problem for Christians today, and since there is not one "party line" on the issue, let us look at a statement of the case for Christian pacifism, and then at a statement of the case for the Christian use of force. We shall then conclude with some safeguards which must be borne in mind by advocates of either position.

A Case for Christian Pacifism
The case for Christian pacifism can be stated in some such terms as these: War is utterly destructive of human life and human values, and it can serve no good end. This is particularly true of modern war, as it will be waged with atomic and hydrogen bombs. War is also the complete antithesis of the spirit of Jesus. It is inconceivable that Jesus would sanction war. He talked about loving our enemies, not killing them. Jesus would never shoot another man, or drop bombs on defenseless women and children. Therefore the Christian must follow his Master in this matter, no matter what the consequences. If the consequences are rejection, punishment, persecution, or imprisonment, the Christian must be willing to pay the price in order to witness to the way of love as opposed to the way of violence. The Christian can only act in the faith that if he does God's will, God will accept and make use of this witness in his own way, no matter how "foolish" the witness may appear to men. Ultimate loyalty must be given to Christ and his way-and if Christ's way comes into conflict with the way of a nation, there is no question whom the Christian must serve. He must serve Christ.

All Christians must respect the main substance of the pacifist position even if they do not personally agree with it. Whatever else such a witness may accomplish, it can always remind others that there is a higher way than violence that calls for men's allegiance -- a way that the pacifist believes in so firmly that he is willing to pay any personal price to maintain it.

Some pacifists will modify the argument at one point, by insisting that pacifism will "work." If we refuse to bear arms against the enemy, they say, the enemy will not harm us but will be transformed and conquered by our example of love, so that the war will cease right there. Since there is "that of God" in every man, we should appeal to "that of God" in the enemy and so change him.

That there is "that of God" in every man is a part of Christian faith. But there is the other part of the truth, which reminds us that the image of God in man has been distorted, so that man is influenced by self-interest as well as by the power of love.

The Clear Intent of Jesus' Teaching

We find a less ambiguous, though ethically more exacting, picture in the New Testament. Nothing in Jesus' life or teachings can be "twisted" into support of killing and warfare. If, as we have seen, he gives us the absolute ethic of the Kingdom of God, it is at just the point under discussion that the demands are most stringent.

Not only must you not kill your enemy; you must not
even hate your enemy; you must love him.

Not only must you refrain from retaliation; you must pray
for your enemy with active good will.

Not only must you not be angry if someone slaps you; you
must "turn the other cheek" and let him slap that one
if he wants to. If somebody takes your coat away, you
must not get angry or go to court, you must give him
your cloak as well.

The people who will be blessed are the "peacemakers." They are the ones who will be called "sons of God."

The ethical outlook of Jesus is one of active, outgoing love, never counting the cost in terms of self, always giving unstintingly to the needs of the other person. He inculcates an attitude so far-reaching in its demands upon the self that the self will never make demands upon the enemy.

Paul displays the same concern for the fulfillment of the command to love. In a typical passage he says to let love be genuine, to live in harmony with one another, to bless those who persecute, to repay no one evil for evil, to live peaceably with all (as far as it depends upon you), not to take vengeance, but rather to feed the enemy if he is hungry and to give him drink if he is thirsty (see Rom. 12: 9-21).

Light from the Old Testament

Much of the Old Testament seems to give a frank approval of war, and very brutal war at that. Some of the Old Testament material is even based on a document known as the "Book of the Wars of Yahweh" (see Num. 21: 14). Israel's military victories are often interpreted as the victories of God (see the stories of the conquest of Canaan in Judges). Nahum is a paean of exultation to God for having overthrown the enemy. Fragments of early laws justify revenge, such as "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," though this is offered as a check on even more indiscriminate revenge, and is thus a symbol of moral advance! There are disturbing passages in the psalms:

O daughter of Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall he be who requites you with what you have done to us!

Happy shall be he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

( Ps. 137: 8, 9)

These instances are deliberately cited as a sober reminder that we cannot use the Bible as a "static" book in which the same truths are found in all places. These are attitudes that modern Christians and Jews would not want to adopt today. It is important to remember that the Bible, as a record of the dealings of God with his people, gives the whole picture of those people. It is not just a record of the "nice" aspects of the relationship, but of the total relationship as it was -- good, bad, and indifferent. It is a tribute to the honesty of the Biblical writers and compilers that such passages were not surreptitiously removed as ethical insight deepened, for we find passages in other parts of the Old Testament of a distinctively different character.

This becomes clear in the thunderings of the prophets. Most of the "pro-war" passages in the Old Testament equate the doing of God's will with the military victories of the Israelites. It is the message of the prophets that no such equation can be made. God stands in judgment over the Israelites just as he does over the Assyrians or the Egyptians. He may, in fact, raise up nations to defeat the Israelites precisely because they have wrongly assumed that his will and theirs are identical (see Chapter 8). While this does not represent the outlawing of war, it is clear gain over the suggestion that a military victory equals God's approval.

The prophets also recognize the limits of what can be accomplished by war, political intrigue, and the indiscriminate use of power. Isaiah, for example, warns the people against too great a reliance upon the instruments of force, and he paints a vision of the universal reign of God, in which war shall be no more, and in which he clearly sees that war is not the highest fulfillment of God's holy will:

He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

( Isa. 2: 4)

The clear imperative of the Sixth Commandment, "You shall not kill" ( Ex. 20: 13), is frequently misunderstood. It needs to be said (even though chaplains sometimes make the point too uncritically in wartime) that this prohibition historically applied to those within the tribe of Israel only, and that the Hebrew word is closer to what we mean by "murder" than to "killing." For people today, however, it is increasingly difficult to see much difference between the inhuman slaughter of war and the act of murder.

What Does the Christian Do About War?

"Got your draft notice yet?"
"No, but it's due any day now."
"Going into service right away?"
"Natch. What else is there to do?"

This kind of situation confronts almost every boy in America today. When he is eighteen, he will face a period of military service. He will be given intensive training in the most up-todate methods of killing his fellow men; he may even be sent into battle to put his training into practice. Everybody in his society (and that means all of us) is morally involved in the fact that he must do this.

There is a problem here for the Christian, since war -- particularly modern atomic war -- seems to be a complete violation of the Christian ethic of love. It is hard to reconcile the command to love our enemies with the command to drop atomic bombs on them or kill them with flame throwers. What does the Christian do in this situation?

A Caution

Text-juggling here is no help. Particularly during wartime, militarists produce verses showing God's support of bloodthirsty Israelite wars, while nonmilitarists isolate sayings like "Love your enemies." Anyone can find what he wants in the Bible by stressing the things that agree with his position and ignoring the things that do not. It is particularly easy to lift statements out of context in playing this fruitless game. When Jesus said, "I bring not peace but a sword," for example, he was not talking about the problem of participation in war.

On the contrary, we must try to discover the total Biblical view on this question, and then work out an answer to the question, What shall I do?

Biblical Faith and Democracy

SUSPICIOUS READER (still worried about subversive tendencies): You've been insisting that no political system can receive our absolute and unqualified allegiance. Maybe the Bible does imply this. But doesn't this mean that there is no real difference between political systems -- between, say, democracy and Communism?

Not at all. There are profound differences. The Christian has to make a choice between such political systems. He has to ask himself, "Which political system has the greater possibilities for approximating the will of God in human life?" And when he has answered the question, he must then pitch in and try to make the political system he chooses a better one.

Why must the Christian reject a totalitarian system such as Communism? Precisely because the totalitarian system repudiates the fundamental principle of Biblical thinking, "You shall have no other gods before me." The totalitarian state says: "I am your god. You must worship me and me only shall you serve. If anything comes along and demands higher loyalty, be it morality, religion, human decency, or anything at all, you must repudiate it and reject it thoroughly, because I demand your total allegiance." To such a claim, no Biblically minded person can submit. For this is an utter repudiation of the living God.

In what way, then, is democracy closer to "Biblical thinking"? The answer is in terms of the Biblical view of man, with its recognition of both our possibilities and limitations. Reinhold Niebuhr distills a lot of wisdom into two lines when he says:

Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.

The wisdom lies in the fact that belief in democracy is based both on man's potentiality and on his corruption of his potentialities. While it is realized that we can create just forms of government, it is also realized that we can destroy the instruments of justice which we create, or, even worse, twist them to our own purposes. Particularly as men gain power this temptation grows upon them. No man or group of men is "good" enough to have unlimited power over other men. And to see that no individual or group of individuals gets unlimited power, a democratic society provides for periodic elections, so that all of the people have a "say" rather than just a few. If "man's inclination to injustice" seems to be gaining the upper hand, members of a democratic society can protest against such totalitarian impulses by means of the ballot.

Another example of this kind of provision is contained in the American Constitution, which provides that no one branch of government shall have unlimited power, but that there shall be "checks" and "balances" by other branches of government. The founding fathers realized that democracy was not only "possible" (because of man's capacity for justice), but also "necessary" (because of man's inclination to injustice). Democracy thus makes it possible to guard against idolatry.

SUSPICIOUS READER: Where's the catch?

The catch is right here. It is always possible to become idolatrous about some particular version of democracy, such as the British version, or the American version, or the French version. No existing system ever embodies all the qualities that it should, and the Christian will always have to be on guard to protest and root out those elements in the political life of his own country which perpetuate economic injustice, or exalt one race above another, or give extravagant powers to small groups. The struggle is never over.

That is one reason why it is so exciting.

The Problem of Compromise

"But," someone says, "if I get involved this way, I may have to compromise my principles." And it is true that the "best" or "ideal" course of action is not a possibility very often in the give-and-take of political life. Almost any political choice will involve "compromise." For which of the two following men would you vote as mayor of your town? □ Candidate A: (He believes that Negroes should be able to swim in the public swimming pool and that there shouldn't be "restricted" housing covenants, so that Jews are forbidden to live in the "nicest" parts of town, but he drinks excessively and isn't much of a churchman.)
□ Candidate B: (He has been a lifelong member of First Church, is a member of the board of trustees, and is a teetotaler, but he believes in racial segregation and thinks that the Jews should be "kept in their place.")
Instructions: Place an "x" in the box opposite the candidate of your choice.

For whom do you vote? Either way you vote, you will be "compromising" some of your belief.

And there is your problem! For there is no Candidate C who combines all the good traits you want. It's either A or B. It's no solution not to vote. That is merely to say by your action that the Christian must remain aloof from concrete political activity, which is in turn a way of saying that Christian faith is irrelevant.

The Christian, therefore, has to realize that God has placed him in the world here and now, and that he must be responsible here and now. He cannot sigh and wait for the Kingdom of God when the issues will be black and white. He must choose now between the existing grays. The Bible does not show us people fulfilling God's will by twiddling their thumbs until things are tidied up. It shows us people doing God's will right where they are, in the midst of apparently uncreative, unpleasant situations:

in a slave-labor camp in Egypt;

in a rotten city government in Bethel;

under a despotic king named Solomon;

in exile in Babylonia;

under cruel Roman rule.

It was in situations like those that people had to speak and act and legislate and (if they could do none of those things) protest. And we today are called to the same kind of responsibility.


The conclusion should not be hard to draw. The Christian must busy himself with the realm of life in which these issues are debated, and decided. And in the twentieth century this is the realm of politics. This means that the Christian who is trying to "think Biblically" about politics must take the obligations of citizenship seriously. He must work to see that responsible people are nominated for office, campaign to get them elected, vote for them, and put pressures on them once they are in office. He may even feel that it is his Christian vocation to run for office himself.

That Christians must all have this concern does not mean, as we have seen, that Christians are all going to have identical attitudes about specific legislation -- solving the housing problem in a slum area, for example. Some will feel that the matter can best be dealt with by private industry. Others will feel that a Federal housing project is the most feasible solution. Christians may have legitimate differences of opinion here. The unpardonable sin is to be unconcerned, and therefore uninvolved.

The Necessity of "Involvement"

But there is more to it than just that. For what we have said so far might lead someone to say: "I can't be involved in the messy business of government or politics. It's too sordid. I'll say no all the time." And this would be a tragic distortion of Biblical faith. Consequently, another thing the Bible tells us which is relevant to political responsibility is that we must be involved in life about us. We cannot be side-line Christians. The main themes of the Bible all imply this. Look at just a few of them.

The Biblical emphasis on the importance of history stresses this. History is where God works; he is concerned about what happens here. He has placed us in history and given us work to do also right here and now. We repudiate our God-given responsibility if we "take a rain check," or refuse to be involved.

The Creation stories stress this. We are placed here to "till the earth." This is an image from an agricultural society of the necessity of work, of keeping life on earth a going proposition. You don't do that as a bystander.

Jesus tells us, in his model prayer, to pray for "our daily bread." People who think Jesus was just concerned about "spiritual things" ought to ponder that fact. If "man does not live by bread alone," as Jesus also said, it is equally clear that he does not live without bread. Daily bread is important. How we get it is important. That all men have enough of it is important.

All these emphases suggest that how people live together is a religious problem. If people are hungry, that is a religious problem; if people do not have decent housing, that is a religious problem; if people who have dark skins are not allowed to eat in restaurants with people who have light skins, that is a religious problem -- because God loves all of his children, and has given us a large share of responsibility in ordering our social life together.

The Committee on Un-Roman Activities

To see the full force of this early Christian witness, let us glance at the transcripts of some hearings of the first century Committee on Un-Roman Activities. The Christians are being investigated as a menace to the Roman way of life:

Q: Your name?

A: Simon Bar-Jona, now known as Simon Peter, or Cephas, the Rock.

Q: Married?

A: Yes.

Q: Occupation?

A: Formerly a Galilean tradesman, a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. Now an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Q: You are, then, an active member of this band of Christians?

A: I certainly am.

Q: Where were you a year ago today?

A: A year ago today? Probably somewhere in Jerusalem.

Q: No evasions please. . . . Is it true that on the day in question you were appearing before the Jerusalem council?

A: Yes, I appeared before the council on two occasions.

Q: What happened on those two occasions?

A: On the first occasion, another disciple and I were warned not to preach or teach any more about Jesus of Nazareth. (Reminiscently) They seemed pretty insistent about it.

Q: Did the two of you promise to obey the orders?

A: Certainly not. We replied, as I remember it, "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."

Q (to committee members): Note that, please, gentlemen. The witness admits that he did not take the demands of the council seriously. (To Peter) And the second occasion?

A: We were called before the council again, and reminded that we must keep quiet.

Q: And what was your reply?

A: Our reply was, "We must obey God rather than men."

Q: H'mph . . . That's all, Mr. Cephas. Witness dismissed. (Peter leaves) There it is, gentlemen, plain as the nose on your face. These Christians won't even obey religious councils, let alone Caesar. Mr. Cephas' statement, "We must obey God rather than men" is anti-Roman. These Christians are a menace!

Q: Your name, please?

A: Demetrius.

Q: Home?

A: Ephesus.

Q: Occupation?

A: I am a silversmith.

Q: What do you make?

A: Shrines for statues of the beloved goddess, Artemis of the Ephesians.

Q: Are you acquainted with the name of Paul of Tarsus?

A: I am indeed.

Q: Does that mean that you are a Christian?

A: Oh, no, sir! I am not and never have been sympathetic to Christian ideas. Paul of Tarsus is an enemy, not a friend.

Q: Do the other artisans share your antagonism to Paul of Tarsus?

A: Oh, yes, indeed, your honor-I mean, sir. I speak on behalf of eighty-three of my fellow artisans.

Q: just what has Paul done to you?

A: He preaches a false religion, and he's ruined our business.

Q: Just how has he ruined your business?

A: Well, he tells the people there's only one God, his God. Now the fellow's got a gift of gab, so a lot of Ephesians believe him, see. Well, naturally, if they believe in his God, they stop believing in Artemis, and we don't sell any shrines. (Then, hastily) I mean, it's an insult to our beloved Artemis, that's what it is, sir.

Q: Did you people do anything to try to stop him?

A: Oh, yes, sir, we put on a demonstration, as you might say. We . . .

COMMITTEE MEMBER (interrupting): We've got all that information in writing; I don't believe it will be necessary to repeat it now. Here it is, sir, confidential document S-2934j, taken from a Christian house of worship. An account by Dr. Lukas of the whole thing, in a manuscript called The Acts of the Apostles, section 19, the last couple of long paragraphs.

Q: Very well. (Ponders the document, which you had better read yourself, right now) You are dismissed. (Demetrius leaves) Well, gentlemen, here is the same sort of thing all over again. Wherever these Christians go, they stir up trouble. All on account of believing in only one God. It's too dangerous to go on. Oh, I don't mind a man having his own private religion, so long as he obeys the laws of the state, and doesn't stir up any trouble. But this Paul-he has to up and suggest that Artemis isn't real, and bash! the whole economy of a city goes blooey. This Christianity is too revolutionary. We must stamp it out.

COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Gentlemen, an extremely dangerous and subversive document has just found its way into my hands, a "letter to the Hebrews." Let me read you a few excerpts. (Reads)

These [and here the writer is referring to the people he has just been praising] all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. [Note that, gentlemen, "strangers and exiles on the earth," not willing to acknowledge that the Roman Empire is all that a man could want.] For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. [Seeking a homeland, gentlemen. The Roman Empire is apparently not good enough for them.] If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is [and notice this particularly, gentlemen] as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. [And one last sentence, gentlemen. Yes, here it is. Listen to this if you will, please.] Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. [These people think the glorious Roman Empire is second-rate! There is something better, some heavenly country or other. If people begin to think this way, the Empire will go to pieces. People who think this way must be silenced.]

The point should be clear. If you give your final allegiance to God, you cannot give final allegiance to anyone else. This may have difficult consequences. The time may come when, in the name of your faith in God, you have to say no to the president of your boys' club, or to a fraternity house brother, or to a business associate, or to your boss, or even to your Government. German Christians found this out when the Nazis came to power. Russian Christians find it true every day. The same principle applies to American Christians if their Government orders them to do something that is a betrayal of the Commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me." At such times Christians have no choice but to say with Martin Luther: "Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me."

Light from the Early Church

The early Christians discovered this in no uncertain terms. They were under obligation to worship their government, quite literally. Unless they acknowledged the emperor as divine and declared, "Caesar is Lord," they could be tortured or killed, since anyone who didn't give final allegiance to Caesar gave it to someone else and was obviously a traitor.

But the earliest Christian "creed" of which we have any record read, "Jesus is Lord." Jesus, not Caesar. The Christian was saying, "I will not give unconditional allegiance to Caesar; but I will give unconditional allegiance to Jesus." To make a statement of faith in those days meant to be involved in politics! Charges were brought against a group of Christians in Thessalonica, for example, that "they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus" ( Acts 17: 7). Obviously, Caesar couldn't have that sort of thing going on. Luke adds, "And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard this" ( Acts 17: 8). You bet they were! Christianity was risky business in the first century.

"No Other Gods"

Let us frame our discussion of Biblical faith and political responsibility around the first of the Ten Commandments, since, while it seems to be simply "religious," it is actually one of the most "political" statements in the whole Bible.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me ( Ex. 20: 2, 3, italics added).

What does this mean? It means that there is but one God, the living God of Hebrew history. Absolute allegiance must be given to him, and to no one else. Only to the living God can final and unqualified allegiance be given. What does this have to do with politics?


It means that we can never give our final allegiance to any political system, any economic system, any set of political or social ideals, any nation or group of nations. Our final allegiance belongs to God alone. If we give it to someone else, or something else, that person or thing takes the place of God in our lives. And from the standpoint of Biblical faith, this is idolatry: the worship of an idol or a false god. "My native land" is not God, therefore I may not give final allegiance to my native land. The attitude "My country, right or wrong" is an un-Biblical attitude, whether the country is Russia or Germany or India or . . . America. The Socialist (or Republican or Democratic or Prohibition) party is not God, therefore I may not be a completely uncritical party member. "My party, right or wrong," is also un-Biblical. The temptation is always to make some man-made object (a country, a political system) into an object of final allegiance. This is idolatry whether in the seventh century B.C. or in the twentieth century A.D. The Christian may worship only the living God.

Now this sounds like dangerous talk! Give allegiance to something higher than the United States? Subversive! Realize that America may be less than a fully "Christian nation"? Seditious! And yet Biblical faith leaves us with no other alternative. Everything, absolutely everything save God himself, stands under judgment, and is something less than God.

A High Priority Caution -- There Is No Social Blueprint in the Bible

An important word of caution is necessary as we begin: The Bible does not give us a blueprint, or a detailed map, or a constitution for a "Christian political order." Whenever you find someone quoting isolated bits of Scripture to "prove" a point with regard to some specific piece of legislation, you are entitled to be suspicious. During the Civil War preachers quoted the Bible to support slavery and to repudiate slavery. In South Africa today, government officials are trying to defend racial segregation on Biblical grounds. What usually happens in such cases is that a person believes something and then goes hunting for "proof texts" in the Bible to back it up. There is no "readymade" plan for society in the pages of the Bible.

But this does not mean that the Bible is irrelevant. Far from it! For the Bible gives us an indication of the attitudes, the concerns, the motivations, that must inform and direct the kinds of decisions we make on specific issues. One Christian may feel that his concern for minority groups can best be implemented through participation in the Democratic party, while another may feel that the best ends can be achieved by the Republicans, and a third may prefer to remain independent. What none of these people can claim is that the Biblical concern for all men is made effective only through the Democratic party or only through the Republican party or only by maintaining political independence. The Bible does make clear that you must have an attitude of concern for all men, and a particular concern for the downtrodden. Once that is established, then you have to work out for yourself, as honestly and intelligently as you can, how, within the structure of the society you live in, you can best implement that concern.

For example, the fundamental Biblical emphasis that "the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof" ( Ps. 24:1) is both a religious and a political statement. The earth is not ours to use in such a way that we exploit our fellow men and make life on earth a hell. How are we to live together in a world that is God's world? Similarly, the recurring theme, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" ( Lev. 19: 18; Luke 10: 27), is both religious and political. In what kind of social situation, in what political framework, can I best implement my concern for my neighbor?

You Mean Religion and Politics Do Mix?

You've heard statements like:

"Religion and politics don't mix."

"The job of minister is to 'preach the gospel' and not to get concerned about politics."

"Politics is too 'messy' for the Christian."

These statements are dangerous nonsense.

They are nonsense because they ignore the fact that the minute you take "religion" seriously, you've got to be concerned about your fellow men, and in our kind of world concern for fellow men inevitably means concern with the political arena in which men live. Since the "gospel" is concerned not only with individuals, but with individuals in their social relationships, it must be relevant to the way people order their social relationships in politics and government.

They are dangerous, because they mean that religion is irrelevant to one of the most important areas of modern life. The decisions made in Congress, for example, affect the destinies of millions of people across the face of the earth. No Christian has the moral privilege of being unconcerned about that fact, or of claiming that politics is so "messy" that the Christian must not soil his hands by getting too close to it. On the contrary, the Christian must demonstrate that politics can be a "realm of grace," a place where, as least in a roughhewn way, men can attempt to do the will of God.

Work and Worship

Even more important is the inseparability of work and worship. Worship must be related to work, and work must grow out of worship. In many places in the Christian world, when the Lord's Supper is celebrated, the elements of bread and wine are brought forward by the people at the appropriate time in the service and laid upon the table-symbolic of the way in which man's work (the growing of the grain, the cultivation of the vine) is offered to God for his blessing.

When the elements are blessed and distributed, it is an indication that God deigns to accept these symbols and use them as the visible reminders of his presence. Man's work has been received and blessed and transformed. The very word liturgy, which we use to describe a specific order of worship, meant originally "work" or "public service." Faithful performance of public service was "liturgy"; any work well done was thus service rendered not only to the public but to God. Paul indicates this tie-up when telling the Corinthians to give to those in need: "The rendering of this service [liturgy] not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God" ( II Cor. 9: 12).

Christ as Worker

The term "worker" was, in fact, applied to Jesus himself. While the main understanding of the "work" of Christ refers to his work of salvation for men (his coming to earth, dying on the cross, and being raised again by God in power), there is an interesting reference to him as a worker, or more specifically, a carpenter (see Mark 6: 3). The fact that Jesus worked at a trade is significant. It not only shows us that he identified himself with those who sweated to earn a living; it also reaffirms the dignity of work. Work has been sanctified because of the fact that Christ himself worked. It can scarcely be beneath our dignity if it was not beneath his. It can scarcely be degrading if he ennobled it. Anyone who says that real, honest work is just too, too degrading must face the fact that the Son of God did not find it too degrading for him.


A few minutes ago we saw that the Fourth Commandment stressed the importance of work in God's sight. But another phrase, following hard upon it, goes like this: "But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work" ( Ex. 20: 10). Work is not the whole story. We are made to work and to rest (and also to worship, as the following section will point out). To "rest" means that we stop for a while from shaping the world after our own fashion; that we try to remember that this is, after all, God's world, and that our real job is to try to fulfill his will rather than our own. Furthermore, rest is part of the way in which we are to reflect the divine image within us. We are to rest, as God "rested," according to the bold figure of speech in the Creation story: "And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done" ( Gen. 2: 2).

Jesus makes a similar point during his visit to Mary and Martha. Martha bustles about, positively bristling with activity, getting more and more flustered. Mary sits and listens to Jesus. Result:

MARTHA (peeved because she is doing all the work and the kitchen is very warm): Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? (Then petulantly) Tell her to help me.

JESUS: Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her ( Luke 10: 40-42).

Jesus is not praising laziness, but he is suggesting that we can become so fretful over our work that it ceases to have meaning. Mary was choosing "the good portion," not Martha. For Martha was "distracted with much serving" ( Luke 10: 40). It would have been better for her to sit at Jesus' feet than to prepare an unnecessarily elaborate meal.

There is a rhythm of work and rest which needs to be observed. Sleep is the most obvious example of this. Just try going without sleep for three nights in a row and then see how effective a job of work you can do on the fourth morning.

Pushing the New Testament Teaching

The New Testament does not give us specific answers to twentieth century problems of vocation, neatly laid out on a silver platter. But it does offer some basically sound principles. Let us see how our Protestant forefathers worked these out.

Here is what happened in the early centuries of the Church: The world was looked upon as so evil that, although the ordinary Christian might remain within the world and pursue his trade of butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, the really dedicated Christian would withdraw from the world and follow a specifically "religious" calling, entering a monastery. If you made a report card for various medieval friends of yours, this would be roughly the way it would come out:

John Smith, butcher C --
Father Jones, ordinary priest B
Abbot Doe, monk A

Now the Protestant Reformers changed all that. They cut across this distinction between "secular" and "sacred" vocations. They felt that this was God's world and that he wanted men to serve him within that world, not by withdrawing from that world. It was Luther's contention, for example, that the housemaid could serve God in her calling just as effectively as the nun could in hers; that the shoemaker could serve God in his calling just as effectively as the monk could in his. For Calvin, the entire world was to be a monastery, that is, a place where the life of service and praise of God could be lived to the full. From their standpoint, then, our report card would have to be revised so that potential grades would read thus:

John Smith, electrician A
Pastor Jones of the local church A
Professor Doe, theologian A

Thus Protestants believe that no one calling is intrinsically more sacred or "religious" than any other. It is not God's intention that everyone be a minister or a missionary or a director of religious education; God also "calls" people to carry out their Christian concern in politics, business, schoolteaching, and other professions. Such people can realize God's will in their vocations as they do their jobs with integrity. The first job of the lab technician who is a Christian is not to sing in the church choir; it is to do his experiments thoroughly, honestly, and scientifically. He must not do a shoddy job in the laboratory to get to choir practice on time.

Workers in the New Testament

A number of other passages in Paul's letters deal with advice to the "workers" (really "slaves"). We looked at Paul's attitude toward "slaves" in the last chapter. Here let us see what insight we can draw from Paul's advice to them. Take, for example, these words to the Ephesians:

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men ( Eph. 6: 5-7).

Here is some clear wisdom about the approach to work. The Christian is to do his daily work for God rather than for men. The reward of his work is to be that it is pleasing to God. Whatever your particular work is, it is to be done as unto God, not in such a way that you are merely a "man-pleaser."

Now this is a radical notion. This means doing an honest job on your algebra homework and taking a C -- instead of cribbing the answers and getting a B+. This means that the significance of a "nine to five" man is not whether he makes $ 50,000 a year or not, but whether the work he does is worthwhile in the sight of God.

The New Testament Calling

In the New Testament the notion of a vocation (or being "called" to do something) has an added dimension. The primary sense is the job of helping in the furtherance of the gospel. Your "work" may be as an evangelist. Mine may be as a teacher, or as a prophet. Paul was called to be "a servant of Jesus Christ," and he exercised this vocation by going from place to place preaching, teaching, and writing letters. At the same time he had a means of livelihood, tentmaking, which he pursued to keep himself financially solvent and able to do his other job. But his main work was to bring the "good news" to people. In all of this, he was only making himself available to be used by God. What he accomplished was not to his credit, but to God's greater glory. As he says to the obstreperous Corinthians:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. For we are fellow workmen for God; you are God's field, God's building ( I Cor. 3: 6-9).

The New Testament word for "calling" is, significantly, from the same Greek root as the word "church." The Greek word for church (ekklesia, from which we get "ecclesiastical") means literally those who are "called out," or set apart from the rest of the world. Your "calling" is fulfilled within the fellowship of those who are "called out."

Now this does not mean that regular, ordinary jobs are unimportant. Writing to the Thessalonians (who could be just as obstreperous as the Corinthians), Paul faces the problem that a lot of Christians, expecting the immediate return of the Lord, have stopped working. Paul strongly condemns this:

We hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living ( II Thess. 3: 11, 12).

For those who will not follow this advice there is a short, succinct formula: "If any one will not work, let him not eat" ( II Thess. 3: 10).