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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

their slumber and brought to the knowledge of the truth, as Saul of Tarsus was—to use his own metaphor*-by a spiritual birth not according to God's ordinary course of working ? On the contrary, in no one is the counsel given to the Philippians, of “doing nothing through faction or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself,” so remarkably exemplified as in the apostle's own character. I refer especially to his conduct at Jerusalem, described in his epistle to the Galatians. † At that time, having never before met the other apostles, “I laid before them,” he says, “the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running or had run in vain.” When there was need of boldness for the truth, he would rebuke Peter himself; but so far as his own work was concerned, his only fear was lest through some misapprehension it might disturb the unity of Christ's body the Church. If we need any explanation of the

of Cal. ii. 2.

*

Cor. xv.

anxiety which St. Paul here expresses, we shall find it in the prayer of our Blessed Redeemer that all that believe on Him should be one; and that in order, He adds, “ that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me."

Let me then take heed, lest while I glorify God for having revealed His truth to my soul, and set it forth, with all boldness, in life and doctrine as I have received from Him, I enfeeble my witness, and “run in vain ”—make my work for God almost or altogether unprofitable—by the spirit of “looking only at my own things," and judging others rather than myself. Such a spirit has been, and is to the present day, the prolific source of divisions and party-spirit in the Church of God, making it a house divided against itself, and thus disqualified for giving to the world that testimony for Christ, which can only be given by those who bear witness as one body in the unity of the same Spirit.

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