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joining his friends in inflaming the mul. still more affecting to remark, that it titude, and in echoing the shout, Cruci was his religion itself which made him fy him! or of accompanying the rulers, so pre-eminently wicked. The unicorchief priests, scribes, and elders, who rupted law of the Lord might have enbasely derided the blessed Redeemer in lightened his mind and purified bis his dying moments ? Or, would the heart; but viewed through the corrupt Apostle, who so pathetically laments glosses of his sect, it produced contrary the part he took in the death of Stephen effects. He rested in the foren of gode and other martyrs, have been wholly liness, and denied its power. Spiritual silent, had he had any part in the cruci- religion was a thing of which he knew fixion of Christ?
nothing. The broken heart and conSoon after Pentecost, however, we trite spirit were sacrifices he never offind Saul in Jerusalem, where he was
fered. He was not an humble Simeon not calculated to remain long a neutral waiting for the consolation of Israel ; spectator. His education, principles, nor an honest Nathaniel, who, by gladly and connections, decided the part he coming to the light, proved that his was to take, and the natural vehemence, works were wrought in God. He was fearlessness, and activity of his charac- one of those of whom Christ testifies, ter, inflamed by a zeal as fervent as it that harlots and publicans, ignorant and was ill directed, gave an cnergy to his fagitious as they were, were more disexertions, which rendered him one of posed to receive the invitations of the the most formidable antagonists of the Gospel, and entered into the kingdom Church of God. He appears to have of God before them. His prayers were commenced the career of persecution, not heard, but rejected, as the service by joining in the clamour against Ste- of a proud sinner. Witness the words phen. He was present in the council of our Lord to Ananias, Behold he pray, at Stephen's accusation, saw the mira- eth, as if it had been the first time of culous glory on his face, and yet took a his bending the knee to God. His sanpart in his death, as a witness of the guinary persecutions prove his religion legality of the proceedings against him. earthly, sensual, and devilish, and that Having once tasted blood; with the cha- he himself was of his father the devil, racteristic fierceness of his tribe, he ra who was a murderer from the beginvened as a wolf. From a subaltern, he ning. Reader, is thy religion of this became a leader in the alien hosts. cast? Does it fill thee with high conBlind to reason, deaf to pily, his firm ceits of thyself and proud contempt of nerves shrunk not from torture and others, and teach thee to smite, though blood. For he was now become ex- only with thy tongue, those who differ ceedingly mad, and made havoc of the from thee? Know, thy religion is vain. Church, entering into every house, and God never did, and never will authorize haling men and women to prison. He intemperance, revilings, and violence. persecuted and beat the disciples in The enemy of man cannot be the friend every synagogue, blasphemed himself, of God. No; should there even be but and comfielled them to blaspheme ; and one man on earth whom thou hatest, when they were put to death, he gave thy character is not equivocal, nor thy his voice against them. Yet in all this fate uncertain. Let not then the fiery he verily meant to do God service. religionist, who glories in that GosWith untroubled conscience, he repeat- pel which Paul persecuted, congraed his daily tale of alms and prayers, tulate himself too hastily.
Shall we supposed himself a better man as he fight for Christ with weapons which are became a more furious persecutor, and Satanic? We may, indeed, prove from proudly thanked God he was not a Scripture, that we espouse a righteous Christian..
cause ; but the same Scripture will The contemplation of such a charac. prove, that we ourselves are not Christer excites our astonishment and hor- tians. Persecution in any and every ror. It is painful to see a man of Saul's form is of the wicked one, and never talents, learning, morals, and religious so much as when those who are called Zeal, acting so terrible a part. But it is Christians persecute each other. Let
the leaders of every name into which is wonderful, and every part of it claims the Church is divided well consider our deliberate attention. As the Hethis, and let them discuss their diffe- brew legislator, who was designed from rences peaceably as Christians ought, his birth to be the deliverer of Israel, and whose object is sanctifying truth, and the destroyer of Egypt, was nursed and not fame, wealth, or dominion.
reared in the palace of Pharaoh ; so did In justice to Saul, it is necessary to the mysterious wisdom of God separate observe, that his character was far su- this Jew of Tarsus, even from his mo. perior to the generality of the Phari-' ther's womb, to be an apostle of Jesus
However ignorant and furious Christ; and for that office every feature he was, yet he meant well; a circum. of his character, and every circumstance which, though it cannot justify, stance of his life, were amazingly adaptin some degree serves to extenuate his ed. Educated at Jerusalem, at the feet conduct. He himself pleads his igno- of Gamaliel, with an unspotted characrance in this view, and tells us that God ter, the champion of Moses, and the admitted the consideration, not indeed determined enemy of Christ; while he as meriting the mercy he found, but as gloried in himself, and was arrived at that without which mercy might not the highest pitch of furious opposition have been extended to him. He perse. to the Gospel; the time was come to cuted in ignorance and unbelief: but strike a deadly blow at pharisaic relihad he not abundant means of coming gion, by the hands of a man who was to the knowledge of the truth? Did he the pride of his sect. For this purpose not despise the wisdom and spirit of the blessed Jesus, clothed with light, at Stephen, the evidence of the glory on mid-day shewed himself to Saul, with a his countenance, and the dying prayers glory which he had deigned, on Mount of that blessed martyr? In his judicial Tabor, to exhibit only to his most faproceedings against the Church, how voured disciples. He dazzled, blinded, many tender scenes did he not witness, and struck him to the ground, and while and what evidence must he not have the fiery Saul trembled at his feet, avowresisted ? His conduct was, therefore, ed himself to be that Jesus whom he inexcusable; his heart was corrupt, as persecuted, and expostulated with him that of every man naturally is; his re on his causeless hate and stubborn opligion had, in some respects, made it position. This was demonstration which worse; his talents and learning fur. ignorance could not resist; an exhibinished him with weapons against the tion against which no human courage truth; and his zeal, and the conscious- was proof. Flight or resistance were ness of his good intentions, deceived impossible. He lay at the mercy of his him, by their specious appearance, to injured and insulied conqueror, and an uncommon degree of fury and im- took the only part which could be taken, placability.
that of an unconditional surrender of Such was Saul of Tarsus, the Goliah himself to Christ, intimated in language of pharisaic orthodoxy. Unsatisfied with expressive of his faith and obedience.com the devastation he had committed at Je- Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do? rusalem, he solicited a commission from Immediately Jesus commanded him to the high priest to persecute the Chris- arise, and stand on his feet, for he had tians at Damascus, and cominenced his nothing to fear, and added, that in Dajourncy, according to St. Luke's de- mascus he should be instructed as to scription, rather like a wild beast than a what he must do. But it was not enough man, breathing threatenings and slaugh- that our Lord, should descend from heater. But when he was ready to invade ven to convert this chief of sinners. He the fold, the Great Shepherd of the meditated grace still more rich and sheep withstood his fury, disarmed, sub- free-to make him a chosen instrument dued, and led him-captive. Requesting of his glory. For this purpose (saith the reader to compare Acts ix. and Acts he) I have appeared unto thee, to make xxvi. for a full account of his conver thee a minister and a witness, both of sion, it will be sufficient here to give a these things which thou hast seen, and of comment on the text. The whole scene those things wherein I will appear unto
thee, delivering thee from the people and mind. His sins were marshallcd bethe Gentiles, to whom now I send thee : fore him, and his fanced righteousness to open their eyes, and to turn them from vanished. Every self-righteous plea darkness to light, and from the power of was answered, every dependence cut Satan to God, that they may receive for- off, every hope precluded. The ignogiveness of sins, and inheritance among minious cross now became his only rethem that are sanctified by faith in me. fuge and hope ; and to that cheering Thus, at his first interview with our Sa- spectacle he raised his eyes, as the exviour, is Saul accused and arraigned; piring Israelites in the wilderness gazed convicted and condemned; believes with upon the serpent. Such were the views his heart unto righteousness; with his and feelings of the broken hearted Saul, lips makes confession unto salvation; is and such are the views and feelings in justified freely by grace; nominated an a greater or less degree, of all who are Apostle, and assured of Christ's protec- truly regenerated. tion and blessing in the discharge of his But new miracles were to facilitate office. What an astonishing display of and to grace Paul's entrance into the power and grace! But we shall not do Church. He was comforted with a vijustice to the subject, if we consider it sion of Ananias coming to his assistance, as a mere private transaction. It was and Ananias was commissioned to rean illustrious testimony to the truth of store Saul's sight, and to introduce him Christianity, a gracious interposition in to the brethren. The good man was behalf of the persecuted Church, a amazed and startled at the commission; striking lesson to the persecuting Jews, but his doubts and fears were removed a noble triumph over Satan's malice, an by the information, that Saul was a choeverlasting monument of God's long- sen vessel to bear Christ's name before the suffering and a general benefit to the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Gentile world.
Israel. He therefore went to him, laid Let us now accompany to Damascus his hands on his eyes, and said, Brother the humbled Saul, smarting under the Saul, ihe Lord Jesus who appeared to thee anguish of a wounded spirit. Though in the way hath sent me, that thou mightthe gracious communication of Jesus est receive thy sight, and be filled with the Christ was calculated to preserve him Holy Ghost. And immediately he receivfrom despair, and to inspire hope, yet ed sight, and arose, and was bajuized. And it is not the method of our physician when he had received meat he was strengthslightly to heal the wounds which he ened. Thus was Saul translated from inflicts: Saul's were probed to the bot. darkness into marvellous light, and retom. He was made to see and feel joiced with joy unspcakable and full of what lie himself was, and what his con- glory. By faith he was grafted into duct had been. From his in most soul he Christ, and by every grace of the Chriswas then made to exclaim, o wretched tian temper Christ dwelt in him man! who shall deliver me from this bo. through the spirit. In every apostolic dy of deain! He had seen him whom he gist he was not one whit behind the chief. had pierced, and mourned as a man for est of the Apostles. Every distinction his first born. His bodily eyes were upon which he had before valued himblinded, while faith disclosed the things self
, he now esteemed dung and dross of a spiritual and invisible world, in in comparison of the excellent knowtheir true forms, colours, magnitudes, ledge of Christ.
He renounced all proand relations. A ligbt more pure and perty in himseif, and as one purchased benign than that which he saw on his with his Saviour's blood, gave himself journcy, shone on his heart; and the and all he had to his absolute disposal, Lord the Spirit convincing him of sin, that whether living or dying, Christ righteousness, and judgment, purificá might be magnified in him. His change hin as with a refiner's fire. Now were
was universal and complete, internal as prophecies, which had been familiar to well as external; a change of temper him, unfolded to his understanding, and and principle, faith and practice, of the precepts and spirit of the moral fear, hope, and desire, of sorrow, averlaw assumed their due empire over his sion, and enjoyment. Hear his lan
guage-I live not, but Christ liveth in well known. Some rumours of what me, and the life that I live in the flesh, I had happened in the way, were probalive by the faith of the Son of God, who bly spread abroad by his attendants. He loved me, and gave himself for me. God was expected in the synagogue. An grant that every one who reads these explanation of his conduct, and an unewords
may be able with truth to apply quivocal declaration of his present then to himself.
views, were absolutely necessary. А Saul was now a Christian, an Apos. character so decisive would not hesitle, and furnished with those weapons tate to take such a step. The amazewhich were mighty to the throwing down of ment expressed by his auditors evinstrong holds. He, therefore, conferred ces, indeed, that he did do so; for as his not with flesh and blood, but straightway conversion must have been well known declared that he had seen Jesus in the at Damascus, it is not likely any thing way, and preached in the synagogue, that like astonishment should have been exhe is the Son of God. But all who heard cited by his conduct a year and a half him were amazed, and said, Is not this he, after, when he returned from Arabia. sho destroyed those that called on this Nor need we wonder that the opposiname at Jerusalem, and came hither that tion he encountered in the first instance he might bring them bound unto the chief was not so great as he afterwards expepriests? But Saul increased the more in rienced. Persecution was not yet orstrength, and confounded the Jews which ganized. Saul's character stood high dweli at Damascus, proving this is very in the synagogue, and the Jews would Christ. While we adopt the opinion of be unwilling to proceed to extremities Beau sobre, who places Saul's first against a man whom they might hope preaching immediately after his conver- to conciliate, and of whose formidable sion, it is proper to notice, that Dr. opposition they had not yet felt the efLardner and Bishop Pearson place it fects. after his return from Arabia. Our opi
(To be continued.) nion has been formed from a comparison of Acts ix. 19, with the 22d verse of the same chapter. In the 19th verse, SIR, St Luke tells us, that after Saul had re
Perceiving that you have, on several ceived meat, and was strengthened, he occasions, published practical exposiwas certain days with the disciples at
tions of passages of Scripture, I have Damascus, and straitway fireached Christ, sent for insertion, if approved of, the &c. and in the 22d verse--that after following abstract of a Sermon written many days, were fulfilled, the Jewus took by a great divine and an eminently holy council to kill him. It seems evident that man of our Church, Bishop Beve. St. Luke speaks in the former verse of RIDGE, on a text which has deservedly Saul's preaching at Damascus, after excited much attention. his conversion, for certain days ; and in
I remain your sincere well-wisher.
S.P. the latter, passing by the journey to Arabia, (Gal. i. 17.) of his return to Damascus where he made a long stay,
MATT. xxi. 14. until he was compelled to save himself
Many are called but few chosen. by flight. This interpretation is coun- Who can hear this sentence without tenanced by the following considera- trembling ? If our Saviour had said, tions, nor are the reasons against it of that of all who were born few should be real importance. The only imputation chosen, we might still hope that we on Saul's character, was his persecu- who are baptized in his name, and who tion of the Church. But the first Chris- are few in comparison of the whole tians were not vindictive, and Ananias's race of men, might be of the number, testimony, as well as the part Saul then But it is of those very persons who are acted, were sufficient to secure to him called that he saith, few are chosen. a cordial reception. His arrival in the 1. By the call here spoken of is meant city, and the nature of the letters he God's voice making known bis will to brought from the chief priests, were men, and calling them to act accord.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
ingly-inviting them to his service God? how shall I escape if I neglect so here, and to the enjoyment of his pre- great salvation ? For we may be assursence hereafter.
ed, that the great end of God's calling God calls us, in the first place, from us so urgently to come to him, is, that darkness to light, from error and igno- we may be saved from his wrath, and rance to truth and knowledge, so as not enjoy his love and favour for ever. to be occupied about temporal affairs The means which God employs in only, but principally about the concerns calling us are, the ministry of his word, of our souls. 1 Pet. ii. 9.
and of his servants, the prophets and He calls us, secondly, from supersti- apostles, and their successors, declaring tion and idolatry to his worship and ser- and explaining it. By virtue of Christ's vice ; not only from popish superstition commission (Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.) not and heathenish idolatry, but from cove- only the Apostles, but all succeeding tousness, or any other desire of the ministers are sent to cail mankind to heart which we are disposed to idolize embrace the Gospel. They are ambasin God's stead. 1 Thess. i. 9. 1 Cor. sadors for Christ.
They are unpunes, x. 14. Col. iii. 5.
heralds, sent to offer peace and pardon He calls us also from all manner of to all who have rebelled against their sin and profaneness to holiness and pie. Lord and Master, the King of Heaven, ty, both in our affections and conduct. provided they will now submit themi Thess. iv. 7. Tit. ii. 11, 12. As he selves to him ; but if not, solemnly to who hath called us is holy, so ought we denounce his wrath against them. to be holy in all manner of conversation. From our Saviour's times how many Thus are we called to be a people zea- thousands of millions of souls have been lous of good works, wholly devoted to called to the faith of Christ by the God, and consecrated to his service. preaching of the Gospel, low soon did Our thoughts, affections, words, desires, the sun of righteousness arise upon this every faculty of our souls, every mem- land. And since the Gospel was first ber of our bodies, every action of our planted here, how many have been calllives, should be holy.
ed by it to the faith of Christ. Yea, God sees our eagerness in the pur- through the mercy of God, how many at suit of vanity and temporal enjoyments, this moment are called in every part of and he calls us to leave such fleeting the nation, though I fear, alas, there and unsatisfying objects, that we may are but few. chosen. attend to the things which belong to our II. By the term, few are chosen, we peace-to heaven, and eternal glory. are to understand that there are but He calls us likewise, not to be conform- few so approved of by God as to be ed to this world, but to be transformed chosen from the rest of the world to by the renewing of our minds—to set inherit eternal life. Not few in themour affections on things above-to seek selves considered, but few in comparifirst the kingdom of God.
son of the many which are called. He calls us, lastly, from misery and Christ hath many professed adherents, danger to a state of happiness; not be- but few faithful and obedient servants; cause he cannot be happy without us, many who make a plausible profession but because we cannot be happy without of the faith and religion which he him.
taught, but few who practise it. All, It is on this account he calls us so however, will acknowledge, that whatearnestly-For as I live, saith the Lord, soever profession a man makes of Chris I have no pleasure in the death of the tianity, it will avail him nothing withwicked, but that the wicked turn from out the practice of it. Matt. vii. 21. and his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye, Rom. ii. 13. for why will ye die? Let us not then It is not our hearing and knowing stand pausing whether we shall obey our duty, that will stand us in any stead the call or no. Let us not say, how before God, but our doing it; it is not shall I part with my profits, my sensual our believing that we may be saved by enjoyments, my darling sins? but ra- believing in Christ, that will be of any ther, how shall I abide the judgment of use to us, without such a faith as leads