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nanimous a soul, united to so warm and tender a heart. Where else (except in St. Paul's divine Master and model) shall we find such fervent piety, unclouded by a shade of fanaticism,—such boundless benevolence, unsullied by a tinge of ostentation,-so much greatness of mind, with so much gentleness of manner,-a zeal so unquenchable, regulated by a judgment so calm, and tempered by a kindness so endearing, the overflowings of that charity without which, he has himself assured us, an angel's eloquence, or a martyr's zeal were nothing worth.
Such a noble superiority to all this world's pursuits and pleasures, however splendid and fascinating, that they could not for a moment turn away his eye from God, or his soul from heaven; and yet such a patient attention to all its concerns and circumstances, however uninteresting or fatiguing, which demanded his superintendence, or deserved his care. Whoever, that was so severe in condemning himself, was so charitable in judging others,—whoever, that required so little indulgence, shewed so much,—whoever that mourned so little over his own griefs, sympathized so deeply with the sufferings of others ? And where shall we find such a noble and affecting exhibition of this mingled heroism and tenderness, as in that speech, which blends the awful grandeur of the Christian martyr with the amiable sensibility of the sympathizing friend. “What mean ye, to weep and break mine heart?—for I am ready, not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 0, where shall we find another such example of sublime forgetfulness of personal sufferings in the tenderest pity for the sorrows of others, unless in the history of Him, who while, faint and bleeding, he was toiling on to Calvary, there to expire in all the lingering horrors of the most agonizing death, turned, in that hour of unutterable anguish, to the mourners who followed Him, and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children!”
Religion had not, in St. Paul, chilled, but consecrated, the warmth of his natural affections not paralyzed, but purified, by touching them with the living fire from the altar: and deep and tender, as it was holy, was the love of St. Paul for his brethren in the Lord Jesus; and fondly as ever mother watched over an only child, did he watch over his children in Christ, rejoicing with them that did rejoice, and weeping with them that wept; and, to use his own beautifully simple expression, “gentle among them, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.”
But the great apostle was not more distinguished by the ardour of a Christian's affection, than by the consistency of a Christian's character. He did not proudly rebuke pride, nor uncharitably declaim against the uncharitable,-he was not vain of his own humility, nor unmerciful in his zeal for the Father of all mercies, – he was not so
watchful over the souls of others, as to neglect his own salvation,—he did not hate sin in another more than in himself, or feel more solicitous for his convert's holiness than his own. With what holy, heavenly wisdom and moderation did he steer between those fatal extremes in religious profession and practice, on which so many, who are eager to espouse his doctrines but forget to follow his example, have made shipwreck of their faith or of their obedience. He prayed as fervently and unweariedly, as if all depended on prayer alone,—he laboured to keep his body under subjection, with as unceasing vigilance as if all depended on his own watchfulness,-he trusted in divine grace, as entirely as if he could do nothing himself,-he strained every nerve and faculty, as energetically as if he could do all things. He prayed—preached-toiled--suffered —obeyed—as zealously and perseveringly as if he believed heaven was to be the purchase of his own obedience and sufferings. He looked away from all those for acceptance and salvation, to the obedience and sufferings of Him who alone is worthy—with the exclusive and adoring regards of one, who knew that heaven was the purchase only of His precious blood! O! who can behold, without the deepest admiration and awe, such a devoted and holy life of the greatest of saints, accompanied with such a simple undivided trust in the merits of the Saviour of sinners!
Happy had it been for the Church of Christ, if
the life of St. Paul had always been contemplated as affording the safest and most satisfactory commentary on his doctrines, and a portion of his spirit had always rested on the expositors of his creed.
How many an absurd and how many an angry controversy about faith and good works might have been prevented, if the exalted character and conduct of the apostle had been allowed to bear testimony to the sanctifying nature of that faith, to which he has annexed such glorious promises and privileges:—then would it have been discovered, that in the mind, as in the preaching, of this great champion of the Gospel, there was no separation between faith and obedience, but a hallowed and indissoluble union, ordained by God himself, and what God had joined together, he did not dare to put asunder. His whole life, indeed, from his conversion to its close, was one beautifully consistent exhibition of the hallowed influence of that pure and powerful principle which he has himself declared to be the sum and substance of Christianity, faith working by love." Yes, my friends, the faith of St. Paul (and ours must be like his, if ever we desire such a crown of glory as he now wears) was no floating speculation of the head, or frenzied dream of the imagination; but an enlightened and influential conviction of the understanding, an indwelling and ever-animating affection of the heart-calm, but not cold-fervent, but not feverish; it was reverential love towards the best of parents,-confiding tenderness towards the kindest of friends,—the fidelity of an attached servant to the most generous of Masters,-inspiring the most profound veneration for His character,—the most cheerful obedience to His commands,—the most affectionate zeal for His glory: it was a firm trust in Almighty power and divine promises, a realizing anticipation of expected glories, which triumphed alike over the world's fascination and its fear: it was gratitude for love that passeth knowledge, and blessings that transcend all praise; a gratitude too deep and too intense to be satisfied with the language of thanks, however cordial, or the songs of adoration, however rapturous; a gratitude that struggled to express its overpowering and unutterable feelings by the only means within its reach, the devotion of the whole soul to the great Father of spirits--the consecration of the whole life to the God of his salvation.
With him, indeed, in all the comprehensive fulness of that phrase, so brief in expression, but so boundless in spirit, to live was Christ; and we may estimate the constraining influence unceasingly exercised over the heart and life of St. Paul, by that one reflection, He died for me! He seems never, for an instant, to have lost sight of Him who met him on the way to Damascus, – the glory of that great light from heaven appears for ever shining round about him,—the accents of that divine voice for ever sounding in his ears: