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Paul Our Example.

Paul Our Example.

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Published by glennpease

If I be not an Apostle unto others, yet doubtless I

am to you,

I Corinthians ix. 2.

If I be not an Apostle unto others, yet doubtless I

am to you,

I Corinthians ix. 2.

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 29, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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PAUL OUR EXAMPLE. BY JOSEPH BARBER LIGHTFOOT, D.D., D.C.L., LLD., If I be not an Apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you, I Corinthians ix. 2. Feast of the Conversion of S. Paul, 1874. In this place, on this day, the preacher cannot hesitate about his theme. Speaking on this great festival which commemorates the Conversion of S. Paul, speaking in this famous church which bears the name of S. Paul, the great Apostle of the Gentiles must be, this afternoon, our example, our teacher, our guide. S. Paul, in the words of the text, claims to stand in a very intricate and very sacred relation to the Corinthian Church, He had planted the first seeds of the Gospel among them. He had preached to XVI.] S. PAUL OUR EXAMPLE. 219 them, had toiled among them, had suffered for them. Corinth was written on his heart Others might question his authority : others might disdain his teaching. But Corinth — his own Corinth — was the last place, where such feelings should be entertained. Corinth was a witness against herself. * If I am not an Apostle to others, yet indeed I am to you.'
And to-day we may well imagine the Apostle addressing the same words of remonstrance to our- selves, to the congregation which gathers from time to time within these walls, to the clergy and the laymen of all degrees whose privilege it is to minister daily in this sanctuary: 'Whatever may be the influence of my teaching on others, yet with you it should be paramount My name, my authority, my work, are ever before you. With you my relations are most sacred and quite unique. To you I am an Apostle, if to any congregation in tliis metropolis, in England, in Christendom.' For indeed the dedication of this great church in the name of S. Paul is a much more striking fact than at first sight appears. We ourselves are very familiar with sacred buildings commemorating the Apostle of the Gentiles. It is almost the first name, which could occur to us when dedicating a church in any town or neighbourhood, where it was not already forestalled. The case was far otherwise. 220 S. PAUL OUR EXAMPLE. [xvi. when in the sixth century of the Christian era Ethelbert king of Kent founded on the very spot, where we are now assembled, a cathedral dedicated to S. Paul. The selection then was very singular, almost unique. Despite the great and unparalleled labours of this Apostle in the first diffusion of the Christian Church, despite the exceptionally large space occupied by his writings in the volume of the ew Testament, it is a strange fact that in Western Christendom during the early and middle ages the name of S. Paul was very rarely given to any church. Besides the building, in which we are met, there is indeed one other instance among the more famous churches of Western Europe : but this one exception
may be said to strengthen the rule. It is the church built on the traditional site of the Apostle's martyr- dom and burial, the church of S. Paul without the walls of Rome. Of our English cathedrals not one, I believe, besides our own, is dedicated solely to the Apostle who laboured more abundantly than all, whom tradition especially associated with England. Some of the noblest, such as York and Westminster, bear the name of S. Peter — the most favourite dedi- cation of all. Others, and these not a few, are designated after the mother of our blessed Lord. Others, again, bear the name of local saints. In the midst of all this strange neglect, it is surely a notable xvi.l S. PAUL OUR EXAMPLE. 221 fact, that our own great church — the cathedral of this metropolis, the cathedral of the greatest city in the modem world — ^bears the appropriate name of the Apostle of the ations. May we not take this unique fact, as our watchword and our beacon, a sign of our special calling here, and a token of the spirit which should animate us in our work ? More than seven centuries ago, when the Cathedral of S. Paul was laid in ruins by a fire — not the first nor the last of those fierce conflagrations which have raged on this site — a, neighbouring bishop pleaded in his diocese for contributions to the rebuilding, on the ground that, though S. Paul had planted Churches throughout the world and shed the light of the faith in all lands, yet this was the only epis- copal see on earth which bore the Apostle's name. On the same grounds I press upon you an appeal of another kind to-day. As the memory of S. Paul is our special privilege here, so his example is our special inheritance and his doctrine our special obli- gation; 'If I am not an Apostle to others, yet indeed I am to you.'

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