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This was made known to the primitive Christians. Therefore their fortitude and zeal to do and suffer in the cause of God—“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.I reckon the sufferings of the present time, not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Totally groundless and unjust, was that charge—“I knew thee that thou art an hard man." We serve a just, a kind, a good mafter. Even a cup of cold water, given out of love to him, will in no wise go unrewarded -he asks no sacrifice of us for nought. Much less that we should sacrifice ourselves, and be castaways. “ Those who honor him, he will honor."
The slaves of Satan are repaid with misery ; but not so the servants of God. “ He is not unright. eous to forget our labor of love."
These things are revealed for our encouragement and support. Yea, God hath "given us exceeding great and precious promises ; that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature--let us therefore be fteadfalt, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.".
St. Paul's Wish to be accursed from Christ.
ROMANS ix. 3.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for
my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. Few characters more remarkable than that of St. Paul, are to be found in history. He is intro. duced to our acquaintance on a tragical occasionthe martyrdom of Stephen, where he appears an accomplice with murderers--" he was standing by and consenting to his death, and kept the raiment of them that flew him."
The circumstances of Paul's conversion to Christianity were very remarkable, and afford strong evidence of its truth. He was not an ignorant youth, who could be easily deluded. He had all the advantages of education which that enlightened age
afforded. He was born indeed at Tarfus, a city of Cilicia ; but sent to Jerusalem for an education, and brought up at the feet of Gamaliel," a famous Jewish Rabbi, who is said to have been many years president of the Sanhedrim, and renowned for wisdom and erudition.
PAUL's mind was not only early imbued with general science, but he was particularly instructed in the Jews' religion, and became a zealous memþer of the pharifaic sect-verily believed the truth to be with them—thought it to be his duty to in. culcate their sentiments, both scriptural and tra. ditionary, and oppose all who did not fall in with their views, and help to increase their influence, and spread their principles. Therefore his hatred of Christianity, and determination to destroy it from its foundation --Therefore his implacable aversion to Christians, and unwearied endeavors to seduce them from the faith, or compel then to blafpheme, or where he failed in those attempts, to destroy them from the earth.
But lo! the triumphs of divine grace ! This arch enemy, while pursuing the followers of the Lamb, even to strange cities, is met by the glorified Redeemer, while on his way to Damascus, whither he was going “ breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples !” Arrested in his course! Convinced of his madness! Brought to believe on that Jesus whom he had reviled and blafphemed! And even changed into a preacher of that gospel which he had been so eager to de. froy!
We know the strange process by which these events were effected-how this proud adversary was subdued and melted into a humble, penitent believer! We know the zeal with which he entered on the gospel ministry-what he did--what he suffered, to build up the cause he had destroy
ed! How he persevered to the end, and sealed his testimony with his blood !-What a trophy of divine
power and mercy! “ These were the Lord's doings, and marvellous in our eyes.”
But why marvellous ? Why should we wonder when we consider the agent? God is wont to subvert the purposes of his enemies ; and often uses. those means and instruments which were prepared and intended against him, to accomplish his purposes.
Egypt is said, at a particular period, to have dreaded a deliverer, then expected to arise in Ilrael-therefore the edict for the destruction of the male children which should be born to the Hebrews, thinking to destroy the deliverer among them. But while that edict was in operation, as though in contempt of infernal malice, and Egyp. tian policy, Moses, the savior of his people, was born. And mark what followed. Lo ! The daughter of Pharaoh becomes his mother ! The house of Pharaoh his asylum ! The learned Magi of that hostile empire, his instructors ! And all to fit him for the work for which heaven designed him.
So here : this Mofes of the New Testament this destined chieftain among Chriftians, is educated among Pharisees; the great enemies of Christ -instructed by their greatest teacher-inspired with a double portion of their zeal and rancor against the cause of the Redeemer, and sent forth to destroy. But lo! This mighty Abaddan of diabolical and Jewish malice, is arrested in his
* Hunter Vol. ii. Lect, xviii.
course-changed into another man, and all his zeal and learning from that hour directed to build up the cause of God! The enersy instructed and furnished, but heaven directed the use and application !
God's purposes stand and will 'stand. None can stay his hand, or reverse his decrees. The means chosen to subvert, are used to build his cause and kingdom.
" He taketh the wife in their own craftiness, and the purposes of the froward are carried headlong."
While Paul remained a Pharisee he was the idol of his nation ; but no sooner did he become a Chriftian, than their love was turned to hatred. No other was so abhorred as he. Against no other did they unite with such determined rancor. Numbers foon leagued together, and even “ bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink till they had llain him." But all their machinations were vain. "Obtaining help from God, of whom he was a chosen vessel, to bear his name to the Gentiles, and kings, and the people of Israel,” he continued many years, and did, perhaps, more than any other person in the cause of Christ. Jewish rancor towards him never abated, but he caught no share of their bitter spirit—the temper of Christ governed in him-he loved his enemies, and did them good. Like another Moses he bore Israel on his heart before God, and made daily interceffion for them, weeping at a view of their sad state, and the evils which he saw coming upon