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THIS was made known to the primitive Chriftians. Therefore their fortitude and zeal to do and fuffer in the caufe 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 prefent time, not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
TOTALLY groundless and unjuft, was that charge-"I knew thee that thou art an hard man." We ferve a juft, a kind, a good mafter. Even a cup of cold water, given out of love to him, will in no wife go unrewarded--he afks no facrifice of us for nought. Much lefs that we should facrifice ourselves, and be caftaways. "Those who hon
or him, he will honor."
THE flaves of Satan are repaid with misery ; but not fo the fervants 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 fteadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forafmuch 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 hiftory. He is introduced to our acquaintance on a tragical occafion-the martyrdom of Stephen, where he appears an accomplice with murderers--" he was ftanding by and confenting to his death, and kept the raiment of them that flew him."
THE Circumftances of Paul's converfion to Chriftianity were very remarkable, and afford ftrong evidence of its truth. He was not an ignorant youth, who could be eafily 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 Jerufalem for an education, and brought up at the feet of Gamaliel," a famous Jewish Rabbi, who is faid to have been many years prefident of the Sanhedrim, and renowned for wisdom and erudition.
PAUL'S mind was not only early imbued with general science, but he was particularly inftructed in the Jews' religion, and became a zealous member of the pharifaic fect-verily believed the truth to be with them-thought it to be his duty to inculcate their fentiments, both fcriptural and traditionary, and oppofe all who did not fall in with their views, and help to increafe their influence, and spread their principles. Therefore his hatred of Christianity, and determination to deftroy it from its foundation--Therefore his implacable averfion to Chriftians, and unwearied endeavors to feduce them from the faith, or compel them to blaspheme, or where he failed in those attempts, to deftroy 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 Damafcus, whither he was going, breathing out threatenings and flaughter against the difciples !" Arrested in his courfe! Convinced of his madnefs! Brought to believe on that Jefus whom he had reviled and blafphemed! And even changed into a preacher of that gospel which he had been so eager to deAroy !
We know the ftrange process by which these events were effected-how this proud adversary was fubdued and melted into a humble, penitent believer! We know the zeal with which he entered on the gospel miniflry-what he did-what he fuffered, to build up the cause he had deftroy
ed! How he perfevered to the end, and fealed his teftimony with his blood !-What a trophy of divine power and mercy!"Thefe were the Lord's doings, and marvellous in our eyes."
BUT why marvellous? Why should we wonder when we confider the agent? God is wont to subvert the purposes of his enemies; and often uses. those means and inftruments which were prepáred and intended against him, to accomplish his purposes.
EcYer is faid, at a particular period, to have dreaded a deliverer, then expected to arise in Israel-therefore the edict for the deftru&tion of the male children which fhould be born to the Hebrews, thinking to deftroy the deliverer among them. But while that edict was in operation, as though in contempt of infernal malice, and Egyptian policy, Mofes, the favior of his people, was born. And mark what followed. Lo! The daughter of Pharaoh becomes his mother! The houfe of Pharaoh his afylum! The learned Magi of that hoftile empire, his inftru&tors! And all to fit him for the work for which heaven defigned him.*
So here; this Mofes of the New Teftamentthis destined chieftain among Chriftians, is educated among Pharifees; the great enemies of Chrift -inftructed by their greatest teacher-inspired with a double portion of their zeal and rancor against the cause of the Redeemer, and fent forth to deftroy. 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 enery inftructed and furnished, but heaven directed the use and appli
GOD's purposes ftand and will' ftand. None can ftay his hand, or reverse his decrees. The means chofen to fubvert, are used to build his cause and kingdom. "He taketh the wife in their own craftinefs, and the purposes of the froward are carried headlong."
WHILE Paul remained a Pharifee he was the idol of his nation; but no fooner did he become a Chriftian, than their love was turned to hatred. No other was fo abhorred as he. Against no other did they unite with fuch determined rancor. Numbers foon leagued together, and even "bound themselves under a curfe not to eat or drink till they had flain him." But all their machinations were vain. Obtaining help from God, of whom he was a chofen veffel, to bear his name to the Gentiles, and kings, and the people of Ifrael," he continued many years, and did, perhaps, more than any other perfon in the cause of Chrift. Jewish rancor towards him never abated, but he caught no share of their bitter fpirit-the temper of Christ governed in him-he loved his enemies, and did them good. Like another Mofes he bore Ifrael on his heart before God, and made daily interceffion for them, weeping at a view of their fad ftate, and the evils which he faw coming upon them.