PAUL'S PATH

BY REV. S. P. LOG, A. M
2 Cor. 11:19-12:9.
fOR ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye
suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you,
if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you
on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been
weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly), I am
bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I.
Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ?
(I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes
above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews
five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with
rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day
I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in
perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the
heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the
sea, in perils among false brethren ; in weariness and painfulness, in
watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and
nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh
upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am
not weak? who is offended and I burn not? If I must needs glory,
I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed forevermore,
knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the
king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to appre-
hend me : and through a window in a basket was I let down by the
wall, and escaped his hands.
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to
visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above
fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out
of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to
the third heaven. And I knew such a man (whether in the body, or out
of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) how that he was caught up
into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for
man to utter. Of such an one will I glory : yet of myself I will not
glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I
shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest
any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that
he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through
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SEXAGESIMA SUDAY. 253
the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the
flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above
measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might de-
part from me. And He said unto me. My grace is sufficient for thee :
for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore
will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may
rest upon me.
Sanctify us, O Lord, through Thy truth :
Thy Word is truth. Amen.
Beloved in Christ : —
If there is an}^ one thing the apostle Paul would have
done, it was to die for the truth. He declares here, "The
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is
blessed for ever more, knoweth that I lie not." What a
glorious thing it would be if ererj man in the world
todaj' could say that God knows that I lie not. He not
only tried his best to tell the truth at all times, but he
always spoke as in the presence of God. He not only re-
garded it a great weakness to tell a falsehood and to
exaggerate, but he regarded it as a great weakness even
to compare the truths which he uttered, with the truths
of God's Word. In the parable which we heard this
morning we learned tlie great power of the eternal Word
of God, what a good seed it is, and how it brings forth
a harvest unto eternal life if it is sown on good ground.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave the apostle Paul a wonderful
revelation about fourteen years before he wrote this
epistle ; during all those fourteen years he kept that revel-
ation to himself; he never said a word to his best friends
about it; in fact, he felt it would be dangerous to say
anything about it for fear the people would put his word
on a level with Word of God. In order, therefore, that
the honor might be given to the Book of Kevelation, he
kept that great revelation to himself, as stated before, a
period of exactly fourteen years. When we read this
lesson we cannot help thinking what a path of life Paul
had to travel. Last Sunday I spoke to you of Paul's
Power, and tonight I will call your attention to
254 THE ETERAL EPISTLE.
and may we, walking on the path that Paul walked,
walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. While this text
is lengthy, the whole truth may be summed up in two
thoughts :
I. Paul's path was a perilous one; and
II. Paul's path was a prosperous one.
I. Paul's path was a perilous one. He tells us in
one of the verses of this text that Satan buffeted him,
struck the thorn in the flesh until he cried three
times to God to take that thorn away. In the
chapter preceding, he calls attention to the fact that
Satan in his day was transforming himself into an angel
of light. In other words, the apostle Paul never failed to
recognize that the path over which he was going was
perilous because he had to fight Satan every inch of the
way. He found Satan in the church; in the elements; in
the world, and in his own body.
1. He found him in the church. It is said that his
letters were mighty and powerful, but his bodily presence
was weak and his speech contemptible. These things
were said by members of his own congregation. The
apostle Paul, as we heard last Sunday evening, was a
man of power. o man lacking physical power could en-
dure the trials through which he passed, but because he
was not big, like some men are, because he was a little
hump-shouldered and not as straight as some men are,
the people at Corinth began to think, we better get a
•different pastor; we better get a man that makes a better
personal appearance, his bodily presence is weak, and as
•far as his speech is concerned, it is contemptible. These
things w^ere said by people who were Christians, brought
to the Lord by the apostle Paul, himself.
ot only did they say that, but there were false teach-
ers coming up every day. ^^But what I do, that will I
do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire
occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found
even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers.
SEXAGESIMA SUDAY. 255
transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And
no marvel, for Satan, himself, is transformed into an
angel of light.-' In other words, there were people in the
days of the apostle Paul that were just watching for a
chance to say something about him; they were looking
out for occasion; they Avanted to compare him with other
men, and tried their best to get the Corinthians to frown
on the apostle Paul. He Avas perfectly Avilling to bear
that as far as he himself was concerned, but he knew^ these
men Avere not true ministers of the Gospel; he knew they
Avere not there to bring the truth he had taught, and for
the sake of the church, and for the glory of God, it became
necessary for him to defend liioiself ; it became necessary
for him to fight the devil in the church.
ot only did he find that some people behind his
back Avere trying to belittle him, and that false teachers
were trying to teach false doctrines, but he found even
among the good people of the church a certain class that
would tolerate anything, no difference Avliat, that AA^as said
against him, and he refers to them in the words of our
text : ''For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves
are Avise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage,
if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt
hiuiself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as con-
cerning reproach, as though Ave had been weak." In other
AA^ords, the people would say. Look at Paul; the man has
a weak body, his speech is contemptible ; the thing for you
to do is to. get a smarter and a better man here to pro-
claim the Gospel. The apostle Paul, said. You think you
are Avise; I want to tell you that you suffer these men
because you are really a set of fools, but I tell you sar-
castically that you are a bright set of people. I do not
know of better irony in God's Word than this: "For ye
suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise." Just
about as much irony as when Job said to the officers who
AAxre standing around him reproving him, "Wisdom will
die with you." It was in the same spirit that the apostle
Paul said, you aa^ouM let people come right up to you and
make slaves of you; you will let men swalloAV you; you
will let men take you prisoners; you will let men stand in
256 THE ETERAL EPISTLE.
your presence and swell up with pride; you will actually
let men come up to you and slap you in the face, and think
you are wise, but you stand there like a set of dumb fools
and let the church of God suffer, and you never defend
your church ; you never defend me ; I have been away quite
a while, and have endured and suff'ered, and fought my
own battles, and done all I possibly could for you, but like
a set of dumb sheep, you have kept your mouths closed and
let the wolves come and slap our very church in the face.
It does seem to me that we ought to ask ourselves the
question, as a congregation, no difference where we are,
do we defend the truth as we ought? Do we defend our
church as we ought? It is one thing to sit here in the pew
and listen to God's Word; it is another thing tomorrow
night in some worldly circle to hear some people run down
your pastor, and stand there like dumb oxen and never
say a word, even help the world along in saying something
against the minister, or the Sunday School superintend-
ent, or the officers of the church. If you are true children
of God, you ought to stand up and fight for the church of
your Lord and Master; it is not built on your pastor, or
on any man ; it rests on tlie Rock of Ages, — there is the
church of your Lord Jesus Christ, and when you fail to
stand up and defend those that are working for that cause,
you fail to defend your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Himself. Paul needed no defense; he was too great a
man to need any little man to defend him. There are men
right in our own church council that do not need any
defense; there are officers in this church that do not need
any defense; we need not be ashamed of our congrega-
tion, but there is always some enemy glad to run down
the best people that live, no difference who they are, and it
becomes our duty not to let the devil have his own way.
Paul recognized this on the path of life, and consequently
writes a very sharp letter and says. Beware that you do
not consider yourselves wise, and at the same time suffer
yourselves to be made slaves, to be devoured, to be taken
into bondage, to let others exalt themselves over you and
smite you in the face. o man in Mansfield can strike a
blow at any good church member in this church without
SEXAGESIMA SUDAY. 257
striking at you. o man can attack the service here for
God. without striking at the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
and the devil is back of it all, do not forget that. Do
not expect to see the devil coming around with big horns
and cloven feet, standing in your midst, and shouting.
Watch out, I am the devil ! o. He comes with religious
talk, his false religion, and tries to devour you, and upset
everything that rests alone upon Jesus Christ, and Him
crucified. o wonder the apostle Paul wrote sentences
like these: "In perils among false brethren"; "Beside
those things that are without, that which cometh upon me
daily, the care of all the churches." The apostle Paul
then stood in a place where he had to fight the devil right
in the church, and that is what you and I must do every
day of our lives.
2. ot only did he fight the devil in the church, but
also had to fight him in the elements, in the very storms.
"Thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have
been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters."
So we find, my dear friends, that the same Satan who
did blow the house and home of Job down in a storm, the
same Satan Avho tried to wreck the little ship and drown
Jesus Christ, was the same Satan that tried different times
to drown Paul in the Mediterranean Sea. Eemember,
the apostle Paul had not yet passed through that wonder-
ful storm which brought him to Mileta; that occurred at
least two years after this. Four times the apostle Paul
was shipwrecked and thrown out into the deep; once for
tweny-four long hours he was battling with the waters,
and perhaps many a time the question came to him, Shall
I give up and drown, or shall I not? But he kept on
fighting, realizing that the same Satan that brought about
the storm on the sea of Galilee, is the same Satan that
could not bear to have Paul preach the Gospel to the
world, and he fought for life amidst all the elements,
and won, to the glory of God.
3. And not only did Paul fight the devil in the storm,
but in the world at large. "In labors more abundant ; in
stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths
17
258 THE ETERAL EPISTLE.
oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save
one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned,
thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been
in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in
perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in
perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in
the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false
brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings
often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and
nakedness.'' Stop and think of that path ! It just seems
as if all the poAvers of hell were turned loose and put
on the path of Paul to see how they might abuse him;
it made no difference whether Jew or Gentile; whether
on water or on land; whether he was in the city or out
in the country; whether it was day or night; whether
winter or summer, there was not, seemingly, a single place
on God's earth that Paul could go that the devil was not
there ; if nothing better, they would whijD him — five times
thirty -nine stripes on his back; stoned three times; thrown
out by robbers ; caught and abused and almost murdered ;
we find him in the summer time almost dying of thirst;
in the winter time not enough clothing to keep him warm
— freezing ; if he is in the city, with a room in which to
stay at night, the soldiers are watching and guarding the
stairway, and there is no way of escape but to be let down
in a basket by a rope ; wherever he goes he finds the devil
trying to conquer him ; the whole world was against him ;
the civil government was against him; his own country-
men were against him ; his own friends were against him.
If any man in the history of the world could say God and
I are all alone, it was Paul. Oh, it was a perilous path
he traveled over.
4. He not only found that Satan was in the world;
he found the devil was right in himself, trying to conquer
him, "And lest I should be exalted above measure through
the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me
a thorn in the flesh, the. messenger of Satan to buffet me,
lest I should be exalted above measure." What this thorn
in the flesh was I do not suppose we will know before
the Judgment Day. All kinds of conjectures have been
SEXAGESIMA SUDAY. 259
given; some think his eyes were so sore he could hardly
see; some think he had some physical trouble such as
Luther himself had, at times so painful that he had to
shriek for help; no difference what it was, it is generally
conceded it was some kind of physical trouble, some kind
of a disease that took hold of his body, and in spite of all
his work, this disease would at times take hold of him, and
as nearly as he could describe it, it was like a large thorn
in the flesh, with Satan striking that thorn, buffeting,
hitting it with his fist, driving it deeper and deeper, until
he felt he could stand it no longer, and three times he
cried out, O God, take this thorn out ! I have been stoned
and I have been whipped; I have fought the waves in
the sea; I have battled with robbers at night, but, O God,
I have never had anything like this thorn! Take Satan
away, for he is striking it! God, take it away! Help
me ! Help me ! It Avas a perilous path over which he was
traveling, but we learn that God allowed the thorn to
remain. What a blow that is to Christian Science! We
have in the present day, people who seem to think that
after all, pain is only imaginary; that after all, we are
simply mind, and that if we could think as God would
have us think, we could think all pain out of existence. I
met a lady in the city of Columbus a few months ago who
called me to her home, pretending that she had some busi-
ness to attend to, but she wanted to let me know that she
was a Christian Scientist, and was trying to make me one;
it was not very long until she said, "The real truth is that
pain is only found in people who have sinned and do not
know how to think. Why,'' said she, "we are nothing at
all, and consequently there cannot be pain in nothing." I
never like to say anything harsh to a lady, but after talk-
ing to her about an hour, I said, "I now fully agree with
you; I have discovered that you are nothing." These
people actually think the physical body is only a sort of
a thing that we imagine, and therefore pain is only imagin-
ary, and that the way to get well is simply to say, I am
well, and that is the end of it. If you break a limb, of
course you just think of the bones and say, They are
nothing, and put them together. Oh, nonsense! They tell
260 THE ETERAL EPISTLE.
US the reason we have sickness is because we are guilty
of some great sin. Let us not forget, my dear friends,
that when the young man was let down through the roof
at the feet of Jesus to be healed, Christ said to him, "Thy
sins are forgiven thee,'' and when Christ says the sins are
forgiven, they are forgiven, but the young man is still
just as sick as he was before; it was not until the people
doubted whether He had the right to forgive, that He said,
"Take up thy bed and walk." The man was just as much
forgiven before he got up to walk as after he had carried
his bed. The apostle Paul said three times, Lord, take
this thorn away from me; God said. o, you keep that
thorn; My grace is sufficient for thee. Paul was not a
Christian Scientist, and I want to warn my people today
to beware of Christian Science! Like all other isms, it is
trying to rob you of the sacraments. Quite innocently
people turn to Christian Science, and do not know that
Christian Science has no baptism, no Lord's Supper, and
no Christ on Calvary dying for the sins of the world. If
the devil can only get people to believe that they are Chris-
tians, and get rid of Christ bleeding on Calvary, then he
has won the victory, and I warn you to be careful that
you do not go to dabbling in any kind of Christianity that
has not got Jesus Christ in it as the Lamb of God that
taketh away the sins of the world, for just as sure as you
do, that religion is of the devil, I care not by what name
it is known. The test of a true religion is Jesus Christ,
my Eedeemer, my Savior, the Lamb of God that taketh
away ni}^ sins. I say that for the encouragement of the
sick. Some of the best people of this church this evening
are at home with sad hearts because they cannot be in
the house of God, and I want no angel of the devil in the
form of an angel of light to step into these homes and
burden their consciences, and make them believe that if
they just thought rightly they are not sick at all. When a
man has a fever, he is sick ; when he has a broken limb, it
is broken; there is a bone there that is broken, and every
man knows it, and let us beware that we do not let the
devil make us believe there is nothing where something
exists, and that there is something where there is nothing.
SEXAGESIMA SUDAY. 261
II. The apostle Paul liad to fight every inch of the
perilous path of life, and yet I bring you this day the
glorious news that it was a prosperous path. If the
apostle Paul had been told on the day that he was eon-
verted, that he would have to pass through all that he
did pass through. Oh, how he would have trembled, and
tried, like Jonah, to flee away from his God! What a
beautiful thought it is in Providence that God never tells
us what is coming tomorrow; and what a beautiful
thought it is to know that every time we fight one battle
we get strength for the next. On this path of life the
apostle Paul was led gloriously by the hand of God that
was constantly around him, above him, below him, and in
him.
1. I say the hand of God was around him. Do you
suppose the apostle Paul could have passed through all
these trials if it had not been that the hand of God was
around him? I see him out in the deep for a whole day
and a night. Why did he not go down? The arm of God
was around him. I see him three times in shipwrecks,
when the vessel sinks and men must flee for their lives,
and I have no doubt that in those three times some men
went down to death, but why was Paul saved? The arm
of God Avas around him. I see them beating him with
stripes, thirty-nine times — ^Ye times thirty-nine —
enough to kill any man, but Paul lives on. How does he
stand it all? The hand of God is around him. I see them
stone him, and Avhen he is stoned, they take his body and
throw it outside of the city on a pile of stones, but he
does not die. The arm of God is around him. I see him in
the winter, freezing, no hand to give him a garment to cover
that cold body of his. Why does he not freeze? God's
arm is around him. I see him in the midst of the church,
fighting the devil in the church, fighting him in the storms,
fighting him in the world, fighting him in his own body.
How does he stand it? How does he, hold out? Where
does he get his strength? The arm of God is around him
every day, and whenever he has won one battle, the arm
of God leads him to the next, and, remembering how he
won the victor}^ out in the waters for twenty-four hours,
262 THE ETERAL EPISTLE.
he says, what do I care for robbers? and he won the vic-
tory there. Knowing how he endured when he fought the
robbers, when he was cold he said, God's arm will keep
me warm. And thus he goes through life, meeting one
trial after the other, getting strength every time for the
next battle, and the more he looks back, and the more he
sees the battles he has fought, the more glorious his life
becomes. Did you ever stop to think that the only man's
life really worth having is the man with the victories be-
hind him? The soldier who Avent to war and stayed there
for four long years and came home without ever seeing a
battle, we have forgotten long ago ; but the one soldier who
has made more of an impression on me than any other I
ever saw, is the man who showed me the mark on his fore-
head where the bullet struck and glanced off ; who showed
me the mark across his neck where the sword almost
severed his head from his body; he showed me where his
right arm had been removed ; and where his left arm had
been removed ; and he showed me his limb with the bullet
inside ; and there is a soldier I will never forget ; there was
a soldier who did not regret at all that he had been to
Avar. Wherever he went he was asked to tell his story.
His arms AA^ere gone and his body scarred, but he had been
loyal, and when he came home he was the pride of the
nation. Only six men in the United States can say the
same thing, that they have lost both of their arms and are
still living. I Avant to tell you the trouble with most of
us is, that we are cowards; we want to go through life
Avith never a battle, and we never get strength because
Ave have not fought the battles. Let us remember, the arm
of God is around the true soldier of Christ.
2. ot only around Paul, but above him, was the
arm of God. "In Damascus the governor under Aretas,
the king, kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison,
desirous to apprehend me; and through a window in a
basket was I let down by the AA^all, and escaped his hands."
There was a time when Paul started for Damascus as a
policeman to arrest Christians; Paul became converted,
and Damascus now hated him, AA^ho at one time was sent
there to arrest Christians. A sjarrison is formed and the
SEXAGESIMA SUDAY. 263
order is given to watch him tonight, to apprehend him,
put him in jail, and forever settle this question. But
that night the hand of God comes to him, bringing a rope
and a basket, and touches the brain of his friends and
says, think I That night the hand of God came and lifted
up the window, and placed Paul in the basket, fastened
the rope securely, and said, Remember, Paul, My hand is
above you; I will let you down; I will let you escape.
There in the darkness of the night, Paul runs across the
country and is free ! Who freed him? The hand that was
over him. Oh, says some one,, that is all nonsense ; it was
not God at all; God did not make the basket; God did not
make the rope ; it was men that did .these things ; it was
men that saved Paul. Dear friends, there were men on
that Avail, and there were men down on the ground. Why
did those men on the ground have their swords in their
hands, while those at the window had the rope? Where
did tbat rope come from? Who put it into the mind of
one man to save Paul, while others were trying to kill
him? I want you to understand it was God that made
the basket; it was God that put into the hearts of men
to save his life; it was God that put strength into the
hand that held the rope that let Paul dOAvn, and so, after
all, it is the hand of God above him on this perilous path
that made Paul's path so glorious and prosperous.
That same hand has been over you many a day and
you did not know it; that same hand has permitted you
to escape many a death trap, and you never thanked God
for it.
3. That hand was not onl}'^ over him, but that hand
of God was also under him. "It is not expedient for me,
doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations
of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years
ago, (whether in the body I cannot tell; or whether out
of the body, I cannot tell; God knoweth) ; such an one
caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man,
(whether in th« body or out of the body, I cannot tell;
God knoweth) : how that he was caught up into Paradise,
and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for
a man to utter." It was a wonderful vision that Paul had.
264 THE ETERAL EPISTLE.
Just when it took ])]ace, we do not know, except that it was
just fourteen years before the day he wrote this letter.
It was no dream. It made such a wonderful impression
on Paul that he never could forget it, and yet he never
dared tell it. He speaks of himself as a man, because he
did not want to tell them directly that it was himself, but
we all know who this man was. The probability is that
it occurred about the time they stoned him. He tells us,
himself, that he was beaten with rods, and once was he
stoned. It may be when he was stoned the people picked
him up and threw him out on that pile of rocks, thinking,
there lie, you little preacher ; there lie and be food for the
dogs of the city of Jerusalem ; but they did not recognize
that when they threw him out on that pile of rocks that
they threw him into the hand of the Eock of Ages, and
while his body was lying there that Hand was under him
and lifted him up, lifted him up into the skies, where the
birds fly, through the first heaven, lifted him up above the
bird's flight, past the stars and zones of stars and whirl-
ing world systems, up, up, past the second heaven; and
on that same Hand that started with him from the little
pile of rocks near Jerusalem, that hand of the Rock of
Ages, he went higher, further than eye had ever pene-
trated? away up where the angels are in the presence of
God, into Paradise! We often say, if only our dead could
come back and tell us how it is over there; we often say,
why did not God send some one back from beyond the
veil? Dear friends. He did. That hand that lifted Paul
up into the third heaven, into Paradise, that same Hand
left him down again; but remember one thing; Paul said
that he saw things there, and heard things there, that he
could not tell on earth. Why, my dear friends, you might
just as well take Luther's catechism and try to teach a
drove of sheep as to try to teach us poor earthly mortals
here about the glories that my boy and your girl, and my
father and your mother, and our dear friends who have
died in Christ, are seeing up there in Paradise. But how
did they get there? The hand of God under them put
them there; and that is the Hand that led Paul over the
perilous path and made him prosperous.
SEXAGESIMA SUDAY. 265
4. ot only was the hand of God under him, but
the hand of God was within him. "And He said unto me,
My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made
perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather
glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest
upon me." The apostle Paul, as I said before, felt that
thorn as he never felt anything else. Three times he
prayed to the Father in heaven in this manner : Oh
Father, remember me. Thy servant; remember how I
struggled in the sea a night and a day; remember how
three times I thought the sea would be my grave ;' remem-
ber me when the robbers caught me, and how I was
treated in the cities, in the prisons, how I was whip-
ped and scourged until my body was covered with blood!
Father in heaven, remember me when they hit me with
the stones and my soul took its flight fourteen years ago
to Paradise! O Father in heaven, all that I could bear
so easily, but now I have a burden that I can bear no
longer! O Father in heaven, this thorn! this thorn! this
thorn ! Take it away, O Father, take it away ! O Father,
take this thorn away! But the answer comes, Paul, I
will leave that thorn just where it is; I have lifted you
up to the third heaven, but for fear you will think on
earth that you are no man any more, I will keep the thorn
in your flesh ; I will put you down there and I will let the
devil strike that thorn in order that you may not forget
that there is a devil ; I will let him strike hard, but remem-
ber one thing, Paul, while I will not take that thorn out
of you, I will put My hand against the point inside, and
1 will help you to bear it. We will not take this thorn and
throw it down, and walk away from it, but I will take My
hand and put it inside of you, and I will take the thorn
into My wounded hand and hold it, and I will help you
to bear it, and I will help you to bear that thorn until
you die. If you die with your head cut off, I will with
My wounded hand pick up that head and put on it the
crown of eternal life, and I will take your body and your
soul and preserve them in these hands of Mine, and I will
keep you until the Resurrection morning, when I will
reunite you and bring you in all glory to stand in heaven
266 THE ETERAL EPISTLE.
in the presence of the holy angels, as one who has traveled
the most perilous path, and the most glorious and pros-
perous path in life. Paul, Paul, remember one thing:
My grace is sufficient for thee.
Dear friends, I have just reached the point where now
I would like to begin to preach the grace of God, sufficient
for you and sufficient for me, but it is time to close.
PRAYER.
O Father in heaven, we thank Thee that there is no path in life
hidden from Thee; no path so thorny that Thou hast not traveled over
it; no thorn so sharp nor so lasting that Thou art not willing to put
Thy hand against its sharpness, and with Thy grace help us to bear
the burden. We thank Thee,, heavenly Father, for the life, and the
struggles, and the glorious victories of the Apostle Paul. And we pray
Thee, heavenly Father, that Thou wilt help us in this life to find com-
fort for our own souls in this evening hour. We pray Thee to go
with us this week in all our duties and may we each hour remember
that Thy hand is sufficiently strong around us, above us, under us and
in us, to lead us prosperously over the path of life. Father in heaven,
remember this evening our public and our private prayers ; remember
those that we pray in secret that need not be secret, and remember
those prayers in secret that must be secret because Thou alone canst
understand them. Father in heaven, may this day bring us twenty-four
hours nearer to the consummation of that plan so glorious in Thy
hands.
Lord, make us defenders of the truth. Give us the spirit of a Paul,
sanctified by Thy Holy Spirit on high. Hear this, our prayer, for Jesus
sake, who taught us to pray :
Our Father who art in heaven ; Hallowed be Thy name ; Thy
kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; Give
us this day our daily bread ; And forgive us our trespasses, as we for-
give those who trespass against us ; And lead us not into temptation ;
But deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
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