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higher principle, a regard for the and embraced, and which he after. glory of God, must necessarily exist wards plainly and unreservedly in every true Christian, but that it is preached to others; and which complete and perfect in none in were so blessed to many, that they this world; for the perfection of wrought the same great and happy this is the perfection of the crea change in their minds and feelings, ture, and what belongs, not to this as they had previously wrought in life, but to heaven.
himself. Let us steadfastly adhere But it appeared evident from all to these holy doctrines, and not that he said, that in the midst of only understand, but cordially emhis infirmities and his trials, a satis. brace them; and then we shall factory, and at times a joyful hope doubtless be preserved, as our prevailed, and that occasionally he brother has been through his had a foretaste of the enjoyments long life, in the ways of God, in above. He seemed to be longing the paths of righteousness, and not only for his rest and the bless- shall eventually follow him to edness of another world, but also that land of bliss and glory, into for deliverance from all sin and all which sin and sorrow shall never temptations, which were evidently enter. his burden and what his very soul His illness commenced on Fri. hated. His entire and exclusive day, the 3rd of January, and terdependance on the merits and in minated on Tuesday morning, the tercession of his Saviour, appear- 7th of the same month. It was ed to have been more complete short, according to his previous than ever : and he deemed all his wish and prayer, without much works, even the best of them, as pain, but great weakness, so that mingled with sin and imperfec- he was not able to speak much. tions. “A sinner saved by grace,” But there was evidently peace and seemed to have been the habitual perfect resignation. He was buimpression of his mind, and the ried on the following Saturday, ground of all his hope, joy, and and, according to his own direction, confidence.
at 10 o'clock in the morning. On The history of God's servants is a paper found after his death, were in the main uniform, though in written minute directions as to his many circumstances greatly varied. funeral. He was buried in a spot As to conviction of sin, the need previously fixed by himself, close of a Saviour, and the spiritual con- to the south door of the chancel, test, there has ever been a wonder on the outside. Opposite, on the ful uniformity. Their views of inside, is to be fixed to the wall a essential truths have throughout tablet of white marble, on which is all ages been really the same. to be inscribed the epitaph here What a confirmation is this of the given. His funeral sermon was reality of divine things and of the preached on the following Wednestruth of God's word! Let this day, at half after two in the afterconsideration have its due effect on noon, in Spratton Church. The our minds. The doctrines preached attendance was very large; several by the Apostles, and found in Holy of the neighbouring clergy were Writ, the doctrines preached by present, and many people from the our illustrious Reformers, and re- surrounding villages; a proof of vived in our Church by many in the the high respect in which he was last century, were those which our held. “The memory of the just departed brother received, believed, is blessed.”
Suhjoined is Mr. Jones's Epitaph, found after his death, in his own
hand writing :
“On the outside of this wall lie interred the remains of the Rev. Thomas Jones, who was the officiating Minister of Creaton for fifty years, and for eighteen of that time was the Curate of this Parish.
He departed this life
Aged A sinner saved by grace! Reader, farewell : Time is short; The salvation of God shall be for ever. Sinner, mind eternity, and · Prepare to meet thy God.'”
In those seasons of despondency we sometimes experience, when forced to reflect on the inconsis. tencies of many around us, or on our own manifold sins and infirmities, it is cheering to be able to turn away our attention to some splendid monument of divine grace, whose history has been left for our instruction. We there find what God has been pleased to effect even upon a nature so fallen as ours; and we feel encouraged to forget the inadequacy of the materials while contemplating the mighty power of him “ who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” An instance of this kind we have in St. Paul, whose conversion has often been cited as one of the most striking proofs of the truth of Christianity : and when we review the circumstances of his eventful life, we cannot but feel that we have before us one of those favoured beings whom God sends forth, from time to time, to manifest his glory, and to be his instru. ments in elevating the destinies of our race.
St. Paul's instructor, the learned and tolerant Gamaliel, suffered his pupil to make the Greek literature part of his studies, in opposition to the recent Jewish laws by which
even the teaching of the Greek language to the Hebrew youth was prohibited: and thus unconsciously took part in preparing him for his subsequent labours as the great Apostle of the Gentiles. In this circumstance the hand of Providence is strikingly conspicuous. Little did Gamaliel think when he watched the progress of his pupil, in whom, perhaps, he saw one competent to become his successor in the schools and to preserve the dignity of Jewish learning, when he carefully led him through the dark but enticing labyrinth of Rabbinical lore, and permitted him to glean from the Greeks those brilliant sentiments or expressions which he might have thought would be employed in defending the national faith from the inroad of Gentile opinions and practices ; little did he or his zealous pupil think of the use to which all this apparatus of learning was hereafter to be applied. .
The first time that Saul of Tarsus is brought before us, he appears in the odious character of a persecutor, consenting to the death of the martyr Stephen, and keeping the raiment of those who slew him. He had probably come forth from his studious retirement filled with
lofty notions of those doctrines in pected obstacle. A light from which he had been so accurately heaven shone around him : he and instructed ; and was seized with those who were with him fell, boundless indignation at the idea dazzled, to the ground : and then that others should hold them in a mysterious sound was heard by disesteem. From being an accom- them all, though to him alone were plice, he advanced to be a principal its accents intelligible. (Compare actor in the fearful work of perse. Acts ix. 7, and xxii. 9.) “ Saul, cution : and in this he undoubtedly Saul," said the voice, “ why pergave a strong proof of his sincerity. secutest thou me?” “ Who art He himself, when enumerating the thou, Lord ?” was the trembling claims which he might have made reply.—The God of the Jews is he for distinction among his country- for whose cause I am contending, men, adduces this fact as a proof and I know of no other God. of his devotion to Judaism ; “ con- “Who art thou, Lord ?” With a cerning zeal,” he says, “ persecut shock more piercing than that of ing the church.” In persons of the light which had struck him to humane and well-ordered minds the earth must those words have the persecution of others from a reached his ear :-" I am Jesus, mistaken sense of duty, is an evi- whom thou persecutest.” dence of sincerity scarcely inferior And now an entire change takes to a patient submission to it by place in his heart through the themselves : for to some it would power of the Holy Ghost : divine be a less painful task to suffer for grace reigns triumphant there : the sake of certain opinions than and abandoning the haughty and to be compelled to inflict torments influential sect of which he had on others for not holding them. been so conspicuous a member, he And that Paul did not persecute hastens to preach the faith which from a natural tendency to cruelty, once he destroyed. Immediately is evident from his statement, “I on his conversion he seems to have verily thought with myself that I gone, perhaps for purposes of reought to do many things contrary tirement, into Arabia, where, sepato the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” rated from the Apostles, he received The dictates of humanity, the quiet his spiritual instruction directly pursuits of the scholar, which ge- from heaven (Gal. i. 12.), and was nerally have a softening tendency, thus anointed and nerved for the all were sacrificed in his anxiety to post of eminence to which he was repress what he imagined to be soon to be appointed. It is error. Having probably imprison- probable, however, that there also ed or silenced the preachers of the he preached the Gospel; and that, Gospel in his immediate neighbour possibly, in the face of the large hood, Saul (in the expressive words and beautiful temple at Petra,* the of St. Luke) “ yet breathing out excavated remains of which are threatenings and slaughter against still the wonder of the traveller. the disciples of the Lord” went to From Arabia he returns again to the high priest for further powers. The priests were, doubtless, glad * “ It is possible that the three years to find an ally in a youth of such
passed by St. Paul, after his conversion,
in Arabia, were spent in asserting the genius and promise: they gave him doctrines of Christ in the face of some of letters of authority; and armed these splendid temples [at Petra], as with these, he hasted to Damascus.
afterwards before the Parthenon at Athens
and the Fane of the Capitoline Jove in But in the way he met an unex Rome,”-Quarterly Review.
Damascus: and his astonished hearers scarcely believe the evi. dence of their senses when they see the bitterest enemy of the Christians become their instructor. Instead of bringing men “bound unto Jerusalem,” he is made the honoured instrument of leading them to the only seat of true freedom, the heavenly Jerusalem : and the unbelieving Jews retire confounded from a disputant far better versed than themselves in every point of their law. Afterwards, he enters upon that splendid series of missionary enterprises, which embraced in their circuit a very great portion of the then known world, and extended, if tradition may be believed, to the British isles.
On the character of St. Paul volumes have been written : nor is it easy to exhaust the subject. Its most conspicuous points are, perhaps, zeal, deep humility, and oneness of purpose.
His natural disposition was zealous : and now that energy which had been devoted to purposes of mischief was sanctified and made subservient to truth. That glow. ing zeal, which had led him from place to place in the vain endeavour to crush a sect which he thought inimical to his country's faith, now conducted him to distant lands to proclaim the only means of salvation. No difficulties stop him in his course, for the attacks of his enemies only induce this Christian hero to grasp his sword with a firmer hand. He makes his way into the palace and the synagogue, preaching both to the Roman proconsol and the bigoted Rabbins, “ the common salvation :” and unwearied by his public discourses, he addresses to the eager multitude who follow him into the street, further exhortations and persuasions to continue
in the grace of God. (Acts xiii. 43.) Neither flattery nor persecution moves him from his course. At Lystra divine honours are tendered him, but he rejects them with indignation: he is then stoned and left for dead, but he rises up and continues his labours : at Philippi he is thrust into an inner prison, and his feet made fast in the stocks, but there he prays and sings praises to God. In the prosecution of his work he stayed awhile at Athens. He walked amid the streets of that glorious city where the snowy temples stood out in fine contrast with the deep-blue sky, and graceful statues, personifying the richest dreams of poetry, glowed beneath the sun, or peeped forth from the grove where the sage and his disciples were engaged in earnest disputation and “ found no end, in wandering mazes lost.” With every spot was linked some historical association, with every work of art was connected the name of some warrior, poet, or orator, which had been made familiar to the scholars of every nation by the wonderful literature of Greece. And with what emotions did the learned Apostle gaze upon these triumphs of human genius? The sight filled him with bitter anguish : “ his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.”
Those splendid sculptures around him, showed, indeed, to what a height human reason can go in its conceptions of beauty; but then, at the same time, they showed it lying with fettered wings, at the feet of superstition and guilt. From all around he drew a striking evidence that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God;" and that men, “professing themselves to be wise, had become fools.” As he walked mournfully along, his steps were arrested by
an altar, bearing the inscription, But to this extraordinary zeal “ To the Unknown God.” “ Ah, he added a deep humility, and yes!” we may imagine him to have tender regard for the infirmities of exclaimed; “God is indeed un- others. Far from attempting in known in this magnificent city. right of his superior gifts to lord it What idea can yon colossal statue over God's heritage, he was satisof the armed Minerva give of Him fied to be nothing, that Christ might whom the heaven of heavens can be all. At the call of duty, he not contain, and who yet dwelleth abandons his accustomed studies, with him also who is of a contrite and those intellectual pursuits, and humble spirit ?” And gladly which must have been most condid he comply with the request of genial to him, and earns his bread the inquisitive loiterers, who had by manual labour, rather than be been attracted by the novelty of a burden to others. He is even his teaching, to appear before the content to relinquish the common august court of Areopagus, and returns of gratitude from those to declare the doctrine of Christ; whom he had rendered the greatest where, mingling the wisdom of the of benefits, willing to spend and be serpent with the harmlessness of spent for his flock, even though the dove, he clears himself from the more he loved them the less he the capital charge of being a setter were loved. (2 Cor. xii. 15.) He forth of strange gods, by proclaim reproved sin with an awful severity, ing that the God whom he preach- but he welcomed the penitents on ed was the one whom they already their return, and mingled his tears ignorantly worshipped. In his with theirs. (2 Cor. vii. 10.) The numerous trials, he finds the truth memory of his past madness against of the promise, “No weapon the disciples of Jesus, was continuformed against thee shall pros- ally before him; but while it kept per.” If the Jews at Damascus him in deep humility, it fired him lie in wait to kill him, it is that the to more strenuous exertions in the scene of his teaching may be shift. cause of Him whom he had once ed to another place. Do more bitterly hated: so that while he than forty men bind themselves meekly acknowledged that he was with an oath, that they will neither “not meet to be called an apostle,” eat nor drink till they have slain yet he could also say, “ that he him; it is that he may go and laboured more abundantly than found a church in Cæsar's house they all;" though, anxious to hold. If he be exposed to ship- avoid even the appearance of boastwreck, God gives him the lives of ing, he adds, “yet not I, but the all that sail with him. Yes, and grace of God which was with me.” if a messenger of Satan be given to We see, too, that all his zeal buffet him, it is to show him that was devoted to one purpose, which God's grace is sufficient for him: was, “that he might finish his so that in all things he is “ more course with joy, and the ministry than conqueror through him that which he had received of the Lord loved him.” Many troubles and Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the vexations, much anguish both of grace of God.” Whether his body and mind had he to undergo; voice was lifted up in the synabut his sorrows were drowned in gogues of the Jews, the oratory by the flood of Divine love poured into the river-side, the forum of Athens, his heart by the Holy Spirit, which or the court of Nero, the theme of was given unto him. (Rom, v. 5.) his discourses was ever the same,