Billeder på siden

it shall be told thee what thou must do. Gentle as a lamb, the high-spirited and ferocious Saul obeys the mandate. Smitten blind by the light which shone around him, he is led by the hand into Damascus; where he remained three days without light, and did neither eat nor drink. Under such tutelage as no other man ever enjoyed, he passes through the process of conviction and conversion-experiences the second birth-has a new heart put within him-is instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom-is furnished with all gifts and

graces--is taught the service which he is to perform, and the sufferings which he is to endure—and comes forth not a whit behind the chiefest apostles, and straightway preaches Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. Five and twenty years had he tried the service of Christ, when he penned this epistle to Timothy, proving, by turns, and sometimes all together, the honors, the victories, the disappointments, the pains, the sorrows, of his apostleship. At this very moment he was a martyr to the truth, and suffering unheard-of things for the word of his testimony. Yet he utters no complaint; his tone is firm and cheerful; it is the voice of salvation from the belly of hell. I am not ashamed, says he, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day. VOL. I.


[ocr errors]


Brethren, there is something in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and that persuasion of his ability which belongs to his faithful followers, which bears them up over every discouragement, and will at length enable them to elude the great destroyer, and to fly, on the wings of the morning, to the place of their eternal rest. Paul was an example. But he was so, on principles which are common to the household of faith. It was not as an apostle, but as a believer, that he cherished so triumphant a hope, and sung so sweet a song, in the house of his pilgrimage. It will be of advantage to us, if we take a nearer view of Paul's knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; and of that perfect confidence, which he entertained, that all should be safe in his hands.

I. The knowledge which Paul had of his Redeemer; I know whom I have believed.

The apostle's knowledge of Jesus Christ was personal, that is, it was a knowledge of Christ himself, and centered in himself; not merely an acquaintance with his religion. Many people imagine, that to know something about the Christian religion, to be able to explain it, and ready to recommend it, is equivalent with knowing Christ himself. Whencesoever they imbibed such a notion, it was not from their Bible. This makes a very broad difference between the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and every other sort of knowledge;

and the scripture does not deal in vain distinctions. The knowledge and the love which accompany salvation go together, and are coupled by the scripture to the person of the Savior. That I may know Him, saith Paul. Whom, having not seen, ye love, adds Peter. Now here is the parting point with many a decent profession, yet the very point upon which eternal happiness is suspended. Many a demonstration of the Christian verity, and many a splendid panegyric on its excellence, worth, and necessity, have flowed from lips which the fire of God's altar never purified; have been prompted by hearts which were never touched by the love of Christ. Startle not; as if I had preached an unheard of doctrinebut go, if you are not afraid of the experimentsummon the tongues of men and angels to speak the praises of revealed truth ; and then stand aghast at discovering, that without charity, that vivifying principle in the world of grace, you are no better than sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. In living religion Christ is all. The hearts

. of his people are, without exception, drawn, in tender affection, to himself. The thought, that he loved me and gave himself for me, filled, and subdued, and melted the heart of one apostle; and drew from another the gracious declaration, We love him, because he first loved us; and so do all


his sincere followers find the fact to be at the present hour.

Now to both this knowledge and this love of Christ something more is necessary than can be learned from human books, or taught by human speech, or enforced by human example. That which happened unto Paul must happen unto

God must reveal his Son in us; the Holy Spirit must take of the things which are His, and show them unto us. Is it wonderful that Christ Jesus was so glorious in the eyes of his apostles; and is now so glorious in the eyes of all who have an apostle's hope ?

1. Paul was enabled to take an enlarged and decisive view of the glory of the Redeemer's person. He never dreamt that idiot dream of a created Savior. There was no doubt in his mind, nor is there in the minds of any who tread in his steps, whatever there be in the minds of those who pride themselves in their distinction, as philosophical believers, that he who is the eternal Life, must be the true God~God over all, blessed forever. He perceived him to be, and he celebrated him, and taught others to expect him, as the great God our Savior. It was, in his judgment, a mystery, the great mystery of godliness the very pillar and ground of truth, without which the whole fabric of salvation falls to ruins --that God was manifest in the flesh, and so be

[ocr errors]

came our Brother, and has made us bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.

In the person, moreover, of Jesus Christ, all the counsels of the Godhead centre. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge -In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. If God reconciles the world unto himself, it is in Christ Jesus. If the light of his glory shines unto us, it is in the face of Jesus Christ. If he gathers together in one a new family, composed of holy angels and redeemed men, he gathers them in Christ. If every knee is ordered to bow, and every tongue to confess, it is to Jesus Christ, who has a name which is above every name, and has it expressly for this purpose. In fine, the Father hath committed all judgment to the Son, with this end, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father, and that under the fearful sanction, that whosoever shall refuse so to honor the Son, shall find all his worship rejected: He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father who hath sent him.

2. Paul had equally lofty views of the Redeemer's mediatorial work; by whose perfect obedience many shall be made righteous-who gave himself

for us to redeem us from all iniquity -who is the propitiation through faith in his blood, that God may be just, and the Justifier of

JUST, him that believeth in Jesus so that we have re

« ForrigeFortsæt »