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The temper to which allusion has been made, is not, it is to be feared, quite extinct. Are there not, at this favoured period of light and knowledge, some Christians by profession, who manifest more hostility towards those who are labouring to procure instruction for the Hindoos, than towards Hindooism itself? Are not shades of our own colour looked at with a more jealous eye, than a colour of the most opposite character ? and is not the remark too nearly founded in experience, that approximation rather inflames than cools; that nearness aggravates because it is not identity? If, like the apostle, a man is impelled by his conscience to act against the opinion of those with whom he desires to live well; to obey the impulse, as it is a severer trial of his feelings, so it is a surer test of his integrity, than to expose himself to the censure of his enemies; of their hostility he was assured before; he is, in the other case, risking the loss of his friends.
Saint Paul's prudence, under the Divine direction, led him to adopt very different measures in his intercourse with the Jews and with the Gentiles; measures suggested by the different condition of the two classes, both in their civil and religious circumstances. To the one, the very name of Messiah was unknown; of the other he was both the glory and the shame. To the one true God in whom they fully believed, they were to add the reception of Jesus Christ. "He came to his own," but his own, so far from receiving, crucified him. Subsequently to this event, Paul laboured to convince them, that this was the Saviour promised, first by God himself, then by a long and unbroken succession of the
very prophets whom they professed to venerate. With these adversaries, therefore, he had substantial grounds on which to expostulate; analogies, from which to argue; promises, which they believed; predictions, of which they had expected the accomplishment; and, to leave them without the shadow of excuse, he had to plead the actual recent fulfilment of these predictions.
But with the Gentiles he had no common ground on which to stand, no references to which to send them, no analogies from which to reason, except indeed the visible works of creation and providence. He did what a profound thinker of our own country has since done more in detail; he shewed them the analogy of revealed religion with the constitution and course of nature.* In this he had, as it were, to address their senses rather than their intellect or their knowledge, great as were both, for their wisdom had served only to lead them wider from the mark.
As they were little acquainted with first principles, he had with them no middle way to take. He could not improve upon polytheism; there was no such thing as mending idolatry; it was not a building to be repaired; it must be demolished; no materials were to be picked out from its ruins towards the construction of the everlasting edifice; the rubbish must be rolled away. A clear stage must be left for the new order of things; with this order it had no compatibilities; old things were past away, all things must become new.
* Bishop Butler,
The Sun of Righteousness which was to absorb the faint, but not false, lights of Judaism, was utterly to dispel the darkness of Paganism. One of the Roman Emperors (most of whom thought that they could not have too many gods, nor too little religion) would have added Jesus to the number of their deities. Paul abhorred any such compromise. "We know," says he, "an idol is nothing in the world." Such an association, therefore, would not be of good and bad, but of every thing with nothing. Christianity would not accept of any thing short of the annihilation of the whole mythologic rabble.
The new economy was now to take place. The fundamental doctrine of One God over all blessed for ever, which had been long familiar to the Jew, was at length to be made known to the heathen, with the participa tion in common with the Jew, of salvation by his Son. The partition wall was taken down for ever.
Paul however retained, to the end of his ministry, a cordial kindness for "his brethren after the flesh." His heart's desire and prayer for Israel was, that they might be saved, for the Rose of Sharon was grafted on the Stem of David. Not only the same God was to be wor shipped by both, but "Jesus whom he had sent;" while Paganism lay prostrate, never more to rise from its ruins. It is a remarkable circumstance, that while to this day surviving Israel remains without a Temple, the surviving Pantheon remains without a worshipper,
SAINT PAUL'S JUDGMENT IN HIS INTERCOURSE WITH THE PAGANS.
It is among the mysteries of Christianity, that the preaching of Jesus made so few converts, and his death so many. The more affecting were his discourses, the stronger was the indignation they excited; the deeper was the anxiety which he expressed for the salvation of men, so much the more vehemently were they exasperated against him; the more merciful were his mira. cles, so much the faster did they accelerate his ignominious catastrophe." Did not this prove," says the eloquent Bossuet," that not his words, but his Cross was to bring all men to Him? Does it not prove that the power of his persuasion consisted in the shedding of his blood?" This he himself predicted-" And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Were it not for this reason, it would be astonishing to our shallow wisdom, that the Author of Christianity made so few proselytes to his own faith and his apostles so many. That the disciple who denied him should, after the descent of the Holy Spirit, awaken, by a single sermon, the consciences of three thousand auditors; and that the persecutor, who reviled Him, should become, under the influence of the same Divine Spirit, the mighty instrument of the conversion of the Pagan world.
If Saint Paul had declined visiting the learned and polished regions of Greece, it might have been produced against him, that he carefully avoided those cultivated cities where men were best able to judge of the consistency of the Gospel doctrines with its precepts, and of the truth of those miracles by which its Divinity was confirmed. The Greeks might have urged it as an argument against Paul's integrity, that he confined his preaching to the countries which they called barbarous, knowing they would be less acute in discovering inconsistencies, and more easily imposed upon by impostures which men of liberal education would have im、 mediately detected. His visiting every city famous for literature, science, and philosophy, would also be a complete refutation of any such charge in after ages. "Because," says a judicious commentator, "if upon an accurate examination, great numbers of men embraced the Gospel, who were best qualified to judge of its nature and evidences, their conversion would render it indubitable in after times, that the Gospel was supported by those great and undeniable miracles which were performed in every country by the preachers of Christianity; so that no person might hereafter suspect that idolatry was destroyed and Christianity established merely through the simplicity and ignorance of the people among whom it was first preached."*
Saint Paul was with more propriety selected to be the Apostle of the Gentiles, than if he had been of Genile extraction: none but a teacher, educated as he had
*Macknight on the Life of Saint Paul,