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He had nothing to bias him at the time of his conversion, any more than afterwards. He embraced Christianity when at the height of its discredit: in defending it, he was neither influenced by the obstinacy of supporting a preconceived opinion, nor the private motive of personal attachment. As he had not been a follower nor an acquaintance of Jesus, he had never been buoyed up with the hope of a place in his expected temporal kingdom. Had this been the case, mere pride and pertinacity in so strong a character might have led him to adhere to the falling cause, lest by deserting it he might be accused of disappointment in his hopes, or pusillanimity in his temper. Was it probable then, that on any lower principle he would encounter every hazard, sacrifice every hope, annihilate every possibility of preferment, for the cause of a man, after his ignominious death, whom he had so fiercely opposed, when the danger was less alarming, and the hope less uncertain.

His strong faith was fortified by those trials which would have subdued a weak one. His zeal increased with the darkness of his earthly prospects. What were his inducements? The glory of God. What was his reward? Bonds and imprisonment. When arrived at any fresh scene of peril, did he smooth his language to secure his safety? Did he soften an unpalatable truth to attract upon false grounds? Did he practise any artifice to swell the catalogue of his proselytes? Did he take advantage of ignorance and idolatry, when acclamations met him? Did he court popularity when he refused divine honours? Did he not prefer his Mas

ter's crown of thorns to the garlands with which the priests of Jupiter would have crowned him? Is it not observable, that this offer of deification disturbed the serenity of his spirit more than all his injuries had done?

Two remarks arise out of this circumstance. How little is popular acclamation any proof of the comparative excellence of the objects of acclaim; and how little is genuine grandeur of soul elated by it! Jesus, after all his miraculous deeds, as full of mercy as of power,-deeds repeatedly performed in his own country, and before the same spectators,-never had divine honours paid him. While, for a single cure, Paul and his companions were instantly deified, though they rejected the homage with a holy indignation. Nothing could more fully prove their deep humility than that they bore the abuse and ill-treatment of the people with meekness; but when they would have worshipped them, "they rent their clothes."

In fine, no principle short of the faith described by our apostle in the eleventh of Hebrews, could have enabled him to sustain with such heroic firmness, the diversified sufferings alluded to in the twelfth of the second of Corinthians. Nothing short of that Divine support could have produced a disinterestedness so pure, a devotedness so sublime.

The afflictions of the saints serve to prove the distinguished character of God's favour. The grace so eminently afforded to this apostle neither exempted him from sorrow, nor suffering, nor dangers, nor calumny,

nor poverty, nor a violent death. That its results were in the opposite direction shews at once the intrinsic nature of the Divine favour, and the spirit in which it is received and acted upon by sincere Christians.



THE judgment of Saint Paul is remarkably manifest in the juxta-position of things. In opening his Epistle to his converts at Rome, among whom were many Jews for whose benefit he wrote, he paints the moral character of the Pagan capital in the darkest colours. The fidelity of his gloomy picture is corroborated by an almost contemporary historian*, who, though a Pagan and a countryman, paints it in still blacker shades, and without the decorum observed by Saint Paul.

The representation here made of Roman vice, would be in itself sufficiently pleasing to the Jews; and it would be more so, when we observe, what is most worthy of observation, the nature of the charges brought against the Romans. As if the wisdom of God had been desirous of vindicating itself by the lips of Paul in the eyes of his own countrymen the Jews, the vices charged upon the Romans are exactly those which stand in opposition to the spirit of some one injunction of the Decalogue. Now, though the heathen writers were unacquainted with this code, yet the spontaneous breach of its statutes proved most clearly these statutes to have been suggested by the most correct foreknow



ledge of the evil propensities of our common nature. The universal violation of the law, even by those who knew it not, manifested the omniscience of the Lawgiver.

And, let it be further remarked in this connection, that no exceptions could be taken against the justice of God, for animadverting on the breach of a law, which was not known: inasmuch as, so faithful was the law of Mount Sinai to the law of conscience, the revealed to the natural code of morals, that the Romans in offending one had offended both; in breaking unwittingly the Decalogue, they had knowingly rebelled against the law of conscience; they had sinned against the light of nature; they had stifled the suggestions of their better judgment; they had consciously abused natural mercies; they had confounded the distinctions of good and evil, of which they were not insensible. "Their conscience bore them witness" that they violated many obvious duties, so that "even these were without excuse."

The unconverted Jews would, doubtless, then feel no small pleasure in contemplating this hideous portrait of human crimes as without excuse, and would naturally be tempted, with their usual self-complacency, to turn it to their own advantage, and boastfully to thank God that they were not like other men, or even like these Romans.

To check this unbecoming exultation, the apostle with admirable dexterity, in the very next chapter* be

*Romans, ch. ii.

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