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dually seek communion with the Father of Spirits, the Saviour of the world will not be our Saviour. But that he might not give false comfort, Paul, when he wishes "peace," wishes " grace" also; this last he always places first in order, knowing that, before the peace can be solid, it must have grace for its precursor. The character of the peace which he recommends is of the highest order of blessings. The peace which nations make with each other frequently includes no more than that they will do each other no evil; but "the peace of God" insures to us all that is good, by keeping our hearts and minds in the love and knowledge of the Father, and of his son Jesus Christ.
In regard to Saint Paul's ecclesiastical polity, we are aware that some persons, with a view to lower the general usefulness of his Epistles, object, that in many instances, especially in the second to the Corinthians, the apostle has limited his instructions to usages which relate only to the peculiar concerns of a particular church or individual person, and that they might have been spared in a work meant for general edification.
But these are not, as some insist, mere local controversies, obsolete disputes, with which we have no concern. Societies, as well as the individuals of whom they are composed, are much the same in all periods; and though the contentions of the churches which he addressed might differ something in matter, and much in form and ceremony, from those of modern date; yet the spirit of division, of animosity, of error, of opposi tion, with which all churches are more or less infected,
will have such a common resemblance in all ages, as may make us submit to take a hint or a caution even from topics which may seem foreign to our concerns; and it adds to the value of Saint Paul's expostulations, that they may be made in some degree applicable to other cases. His directions are minute, as well as general, so as scarcely to leave any of the incidents of life, or the exigencies of society, totally unprovided for.
There are, it is obvious, certain things which refer to particular usages of the general church at its first institution, which no longer exist. There are frequent references to the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, and other circumstances, which though they have now ceased, are of great importance, as connected with its history, and assisting in its first formation; and the writer who had neglected to have recorded them would have been blameable, and the Epistles which had not alluded to them, would have been imperfect.
While the apostle made adequate provisions, such as the existing case required, or rather permitted, he did not absolutely legislate, as to external things, for any church; wisely leaving Christianity at liberty to incorporate herself with the laws of any country into which she might be introduced; and while the doctrines of the new religion were precise, distinct, and definite, its ecclesiastical character was of that generalized nature which would allow it to mix with any form of national government. This was a likely means both to promote its extension, and to prevent it from imbibing a politi cal temper, or a spirit of interferance with the secular concerns of any country.
The wonder is, that the work is so little local, that it savours so little of Antioch or Jerusalem, of Philippi or Corinth; but that almost all is of such general application: relative circumstances did indeed operate, but they always operated subordinately. The Epistle to the Ephesians is not marked with one local peculiarity. There is not a single deduction to be made from the universal applicableness of this elegant and powerful epitome of the Gospel.
Saint Paul belongs not particularly to the period in which he lived, but is equally the property of each suc cessive race of beings. Time does not diminish their interest in him. He is as fresh to every century as to his own; and the truths he preaches will be as intimately connected with that age which shall precede the dissolution of the world, as that in which he wrote. The sympathies of the real believer will always be equally awakened by doctrines which will equally ap. ply to their consciences, by principles which will always have a reference to their practice, by promises which will always carry consolation to their hearts. By the Christians of all countries Paul will be considered as a cosmopolite, and by those of all ages as a contemporary, Even when he addresses individuals, his point of view is mankind. He looked to the world as his scene, and to collective man as the actor.
THE STYLE AND GENIUS OF SAINT PAUL.
THOUGH Saint Paul frequently alludes to the variety of his sufferings, yet he never dwells upon them. He does not take advantage of the liberty so allowable in friendly letters, that of endeavouring to excite compassion by those minute details of distress, of which, but for their relation in the Acts of the Apostles, we should have been mainly ignorant.
How would any other writer than the Apostle have interwoven a full statement of his trials with his instructions, and how would he have indulged an egotism, not only so natural and so pardonable, but which has been so acceptable in those good men who have given us Histories of their own Life and Times. That intermixture, however, which excites so lively an interest, and is so proper in Clarendon and Baxter, would have been misplaced here. It would have served to gratify curiosity, but might not seem to comport with the grave plan of instruction adopted by the apostle; whilst it comes with admirable grace from Saint Luke, his companion in travel,
Saint Paul's manner of writing will be found in every way worthy of the greatness of his subject. His pow erful and diversified character of mind seems to have combined the separate excellencies of all the other saered authors-the loftiness of Isaiah, the devotion of
David, the pathos of Jeremiah, the vehemence of Ezekiel, the didactic gravity of Moses, the elevated morality and practical good sense, though somewhat highly coloured, of Saint James; the sublime conceptions and deep views of Saint John, the noble energies and burn. ing zeal of Saint Peter. To all these, he added his own strong argumentative powers, depth of thought and intensity of feeling. In every single department he was eminently gifted; so that what Livy said of Cato might with far greater truth have been asserted of Paul,that you would think him born for the single thing in which he was engaged.
We have observed in an early chapter, that in the Evangelists the naked majesty of truth refused to owe any thing to the artifices of composition. In Paul's Epistles a due, though less strict degree of simplicity is observed; differing in style from the other as the comment from the text, a letter from a history; taking the same ground as to doctrine, devotion, and duty, yet branching out into a wider range, breaking the subject into more parts, and giving results instead of facts.
Though more at liberty, Paul makes a sober use of his privilege; though never ambitious of ornament, his style is as much varied as his subject, and always adapted to it. He is by turns vehement and tender, and sometimes both at once; impassioned, and didac tic; now pursuing his point with a logical exactness, now disdaining the rules, of which he was a master; often making his noble neglect more impressive than the most correct arrangement, his irregularity more