The assertion that in St. Paul baptism is the means of access to Christ, I take to be incorrect. There are passages which, if isolated, might be held to prove it,1 but I think it is nevertheless more correct to say that baptism does not bring about but only sets the seal to the fellowship of Christ. In St. Paul's own case at any rate it was not baptism that was decisive, but the appearance of Christ to him before Damascus; nor did he consider himself commissioned to baptize, but to evangelise.2 The Lord's Supper, again, was to him not the real cause of fellowship with Christ, but an expression of this fellowship; it was an especially intimate contact with the Lord.3 The Lord's Supper does not bring about the fellowship, it only brings it into prominence. Neither baptism nor the Lord's Supper is regarded as of magical effect. 4 In every case it is God's grace that is decisive. St. Paul's Christians can say with him 5:—
'By the grace of God I am what I am.'
Powerful and original as St. Paul's spiritual experience of Christ is, there are not wanting influences that acted upon him as stimuli, chiefly coming from the piety of the Septuagint. In the Greek Old Testament there are a considerable number of prominent passages—and here, I think, an important Hellenisation of the original is revealed—in which the formulae 'in God' and 'in the Lord' are used in a mystical sense. The words of the prophet,6
'Yet I will exult in the Lord,'