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cause him to relax in his endeavours, by all possible means, to guard believers against the subtlety of Satan, the snares of the world, and the deceitfulness of sin.
He knew the inseparable connexion there is between the means and the end; that the one, as well as the other, is divinely ordained. To the ship's crew he said: "There shall be no loss of any man's life among you,"-and yet he added: Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved."
His constant warning therefore was: "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. Be not high-minded, but fear. Let no man deceive himself."
How many err in practical religion by following human theories, instead of the Word of God. The purposes of Jehovah, which are secret to us, do not release us from the performance of revealed duties. "The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Therefore, when we meet with a plain precept, we should simply endeavour to obey it, without tarrying to enquire into God's hidden purpose.
SELF-RENUNCIATION was a prominent feature in the conduct of St. Paul. Self was swallowed up in that one great object, to promote which all his desires centred :-CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED. He was willing to be esteemed as nothing, so that Christ might be all and in all. The glory of Jesus
was his constant aim, to hold him forth in all his excellencies was his delight, though in so doing, he should be esteemed by the worldly wise, and the great ones of the earth, as a fool for Christ's sake. Thus, with beautiful humility, he told the Corinthians: "We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
In his Epistle to the Philippians we have a most interesting instance of this victory over selfish feeling: "I would ye should understand brethren, that the things which happened unto me, have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel: so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."
How cheering it must have been to the Apostle, in the midst of his sufferings, to behold the Gospel making its conquests in the palace of Cæsar! At the close of this Epistle he says: "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæsar's household." Oh! that every palace may be illuminated by the Truth of the Gospel, and by the holy lives of its possessors. Happy is that nation where God is known in its palaces as a sure refuge; where its king is a nursing father, and its queen a nursing mother to his Church. Happy is that nation which is in such a case; yea, blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God.
That the bonds of the Apostle should have emboldened others to speak the word without fear,
when the natural effect might have been intimidation, was a cause for thankfulness. But in the midst of these encouragements, he had to notice, what to many would have been a painful trial: "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also of good-will. The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel. What then? notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein rejoice, yea, and will rejoice: for I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."
Grace shines with peculiar lustre in this generous feeling of his heart. No spleen, no retaliating passion of envy or ill-will was awakened in his bosom. All his desire was that Christ should be
preached and sinners saved. Did any envy his success, or seek to lessen him in the esteem of others? He bore it with patience. Did they
preach Christ as the only Saviour of sinners? He could, and did rejoice, even though they preached Christ of envy and strife, supposing to add affliction to his bonds.
Self was sacrificed to the glory of the Redeemer. This humble servant of Christ felt no keen solicitude about his own reputation, if only the riches of pardoning love, through a crucified Jesus, were proclaimed to the world.
CHRISTIAN FORBEARANCE, was another lovely
excellence in the Apostle.
the glorious liberty of the Gospel, he could bear, with much long-suffering, the prejudices of weaker brethren.
How seldom do old established Christians make sufficient allowance for the inexperience and infirmities of young believers, whose minds, just opening to the Truth, have not attained to the stability of the Christian character.
Toward these babes in Christ, much tenderness should be manifested, and much solicitude exercised, as the nurse watches over the first steps of her infant charge.
This lovely part of the Apostle's character is displayed in the following exhortations: "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. Let us not judge one another any more; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. We that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification, for even Christ pleased not himself. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God: even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. If meat make my brother to offend I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
Living, as we do, in a Christian country, we have not to encounter the Jewish distinctions of meats and drinks; nor to experience the offence of
meat offered unto idols: yet the duties of charity, forbearance, and self-denial are of perpetual obligation, and in one way or other are called into daily exercise. *
*Through the establishment of Temperance Societies, an opportunity is now afforded, for exercising this forbearing spirit, so beautifully manifested in the conduct of the Apostle.
If he would not eat meat offered to an idol, lest he should make his brother to offend: how much rather should we, as professing Christians, entirely abstain, by voluntary agreement, from the use of distilled spirits, except for medicinal purposes; that, by such an association, we may promote general habits of temperance, and thereby discountenance the pernicious practice of spiritdrinking, which is the fatal source of crime and want, of disease and premature death, and of eternal misery in the world to come.
"Temperance Societies," as is justly stated in the First Report of the London Institution, "lay as their basis, these two principles-Christian charity, and selfpreservation.
"If by the use of any article, even of wholesome food, temptation is thrown in a brother's way, Christian charity leads us to abstain.
"The members of Temperance Societies are convinced that the customary use of distilled spirits by the temperate, is decidedly calculated to cast a stumbling-block in the way of their brethren, and therefore they abstain from distilled spirits."
This act of forbearance, though Christian, is still inferior to that of the Apostle.
He was willing to forego, what to himself would have been harmless, lest by his conduct, others might be emboldened to eat what their consciences condemned: whilst we in abstaining from the use of spirituous liquors, abstain from that which is noxious in its nature, and destructive in its consequences, both to ourselves and others.