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Paul's Trials and Joys

Paul's Trials and Joys

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Acts ix. 20—30. xi. 25—30. 2 Cor. xii. 1— 10.

Acts ix. 20—30. xi. 25—30. 2 Cor. xii. 1— 10.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 20, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PAUL'S TRIALS AD JOYSBY HERY KOLLOCK, D. D,Acts ix. 20—30. xi. 25—30. 2 Cor. xii. 1— 10.In our last lecture we gave an account of Saulfrom his birth to the period of his extraordinary con-version. We saw his sanguinary fury and blind zeaJagainst the disciples of Jesus, and admired the powerand grace of the Redeemer, which were manifested insubduing his opposition and renewing his heart. Inhis subsequent conduct we shall see his sincerityfully proved by his incessant labours, and his unre-served devotedness to the Lord. Let us, then, stepby step, mark his exertions, his trials, and his joys.Let us see the kingdom of Satan shaken whereverthis herald of the cross announces (he everlasting;LIFE OF PAUL. 449gospel. And, oh ! that by his example, we may ac-quire new zeal from God, unshaken confidence inour trials, and consolation in our sorrows !Immediately after his miraculous call as an apos-tle of the Redeemer, and his entrance, by baptism,into the church, he fearlessly and faithfully preachedJesus. He who " had punished believers in everysynagogue," now declared himself of their numberin those synagogues of Damascus, to which he hadbrought letters, urging their assistance in his mur-derous designs. Both the friends and the foes of re-ligion were astonished, and exclaimed, " Is not thishe who destroyed them which called on this nameat Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he
might bring them bound to the chief priests ?" Wellmight they wonder; for nothing but Omnipotencecould have produced such a change. Some wereconverted by his ministry ; others derided him as anapostate and an enthusiast ; while many of the Jews,to whom, at this period, he more particularly address-ed himself, were confounded by the force of his reason-ings, and unable to reply to those arguments, by whichhe proved that Jesus was the Messiah foretold intheir prophetic books, and so long and so anxiouslyexpected by them. He preached Jesus ; his charac-ter, his offices, the intent for which he came into theworld, and the impossibility of salvation exceptthrough him. This was the great object, which,from the commencement to the termination of hisministry, claimed his attention. These were thetruths which were carried home to the consciencesof so many thousands, during his life, and which hestill preaches to us in those writings which will con-sole, edify, and instruct the church, till the consum-mation of all things.vol. ii. 57450 bERMO LXVI.But whence was it, my brethren, that Paul attain-ed his knowledge of the whole system of Christianity?The appearance of Jesus to him in celestial glory,was sufficient to remove his deep prejudices againstthis Saviour, and to prove that he was the Messiah.But how could he at once obtain clear, just, and com-prehensive views of a system so extensive, and soopposite to all his former prepossessions; a system notto be discovered by the unassisted operations of hu-man reason, but founded on the will and revelationof God ? Ananias was not sent as his teacher. Hehad seen none of the apostles ; and even had he con-
versed with them, it would have been impossiblefrom mere human instruction, so soon to obtain thisknowledge. Ah ! he only, who on the day of pente-cost, enlightened the illiterate fishermen of Galilee,and dissipated those national prejudices concerninga temporal kingdom of Messiah, to which before theyhad so obstinately clung ; he, who by his supernatu-ral gifts, enabled so many of the primitive believersto declare, in tongues before unknown to them, thewonderful works of God ; he alone could have thusinstantaneously infused into Paul this divine light.Brethren, we must not now, it is true, expect thisimmediate communication of scriptural knowledgewithout our concurrence. If, in the first ages of thechurch, as in the first deliverance of Israel, mannadescended immediately from heaven, now that thechurch has extended itself and grown, we must la-bour if we would improve. And this is our duty.How much of the order, the connexion, the beautyof divine truth, w r hich we have not yet perceived, andwhich we might discern, if, (to use the comparison of the apostle,) instead of being always satisfied with" milk" the food of infants, we would endeavour, asLIFE OF PAUL. 451spiritual men, to procure "strong meat." Yet let usremember, on the other hand, that study is in vainwithout the illumination of God. If the Holy Spiritwill not now communicate to us, instantaneously, ashe did to Paul, the whole scheme of gospel truth,yet he is ready in the exercise of his ordinary officesto believers, to open their minds, to cast light uponthose scriptures which he himself hath inspired, andto cause us to " behold wondrous things in God'slaw." Seek then to grow in spiritual knowledge bythe use of proper means ; but, at the same time, fer-

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