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TRUTH MUST BE REVEALED TO
ME FROM GOD.
The example of him, who not only received from the Holy Spirit the most complete revelation of the Gospel made to the Church, but whose own life was by the same Spirit made the very image and living expression of that Gospel, is a study for a lifetime. It is only possible here to suggest and consider briefly some of those characters of his work for God which seem to be of special importance in the present day.
It is a peculiarity of that knowledge of the truth of God, which is life eternal, that it is a revelation from God to the individual soul. When Peter confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, instead of commending him as having learnt this truth from the evidence supplied by his Lord's words and works, Jesus answers, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” And so, in His discourse at Capernaum,* when the Jews were offended by the doctrine of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, Jesus said, “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” “Every one that hath heard from the Father and hath learned, cometh to me.” It is unnecessary, however, to multiply passages from Holy Scripture in proof of this fundamental truth.
Indeed my work for God, as a witness to His truth, will be valueless as regards myself, and will produce little or no effect for good on others, unless the truth for which I bear witness has been learned by myself from God. This revelation of the truth to the soul distinguishes between him who is walking in the light of life, and him who is walking in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth. “ And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit.” Of this need of Divine teaching, Paul is in a
1 John vi. 44-46,
pre-eminent degree, and in a manner peculiar to himself, the example set before us in the word of God. If all the apostles had been taught by Jesus Christ present in the flesh, the necessity of a revelation from God to the individual soul to convey to it spiritual light and life, would not have been so distinctly exhibited. One was therefore taken, who had no intercourse with Jesus in the days of His flesh, who probably never heard of Him except through the prejudiced reports of His enemies, who was himself a sincere but vehement persecutor of His Church ; and he is brought to the full knowledge of the Gospel, both of the facts of its history and of all its spiritual truths-indeed · of much more truth than had been as yet revealed to any other disciple—not through their teaching, nor in consequence of any communication with them, but entirely and exclusively by revelation from Jesus Christ. Paul is an instance, the only instance in the history of the Church, of a man receiving the whole truth of which He was appointed to bear witness for God quite independently of human teaching. It was not merely that there was a Divine illumination of his spirit, as in the case of Peter and all other true believers, enabling the soul to realise and apply to itself the truth which had been in one sense known from other sources; but the whole knowledge, in the intellect and the reason, as well as in the heart and conscience, was communicated by God only. And thus St. Paul is specially set forth as an example to every one who, whatever he may have learned from human instruction, yet can bless God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that from Him, and not from flesh and blood, he has received that revelation of His truth, which he has found to be life to his soul.
And undoubtedly we who have received this unspeakable gift of God are bound to testify to the same with no faltering lips ; to say with the very same confidence as those who were eye-witnesses of the Word of life, “ We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ.” My witness for the truth will be effectual and powerful and blessed by God in proportion as I receive it in my inner man by the teaching of His Spirit, and realise it as His teaching. It is this confidence that often gives spiritual power to the testimony of men whom the world accounts utterly weak and foolish; while the absence of such faith, or its feebleness, often renders ineffectual the work of those who seem otherwise the most highly qualified.
But there is another lesson to be learned here from the example of St. Paul. Of all men that ever lived he had the most unquestionable right to speak of the truth to which he bore witness as taught him by God. But do we find in him any of that self-confidence, that exalting of himself above others as more enlightened, which too often mars the witness for God of those especially who, after having for many years hardened their heart against the word of God, are roused from