Galatians 1:15
But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by His grace, was pleased
Sermons
Paul's Personal Grasp of the GospelR.M. Edgar Galatians 1:11-24
PositionR. Finlayson Galatians 1:11-24
A Conference to be AvoidedC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 1:15-16
A Hard LessonDr. Richard Newton.Galatians 1:15-16
Advantages of ObedienceC. Buck., C. Buck., C. Buck.Galatians 1:15-16
Apostolic CredentialsEmilius Bayley, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Apostolic IndependenceEmilius Bayley, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Christ Manifested to the SoulB. Beddome, M. A.Galatians 1:15-16
Conferring with Flesh and BloodDr. Guthrie.Galatians 1:15-16
ConversionW. J. Irons, D. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Conversion a Revelation in the SoulT. W. Handford.Galatians 1:15-16
Conversion of St. PaulB. Jowett, M. A.Galatians 1:15-16
Distinguishing GraceT. Goadby.Galatians 1:15-16
Divine CallingC. Simeon.Galatians 1:15-16
Divine Teaching for AllEmilius Bayley, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Doctrine of PredestinationA. B. Grosart, LL. D.Galatians 1:15-16
God's Call and Paul's ReplyA. F. Barfield.Galatians 1:15-16
Immediate ObedienceH. G. Salter.Galatians 1:15-16
IndividualityC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 1:15-16
Life in the Revelation of ChristH. G. Salter.Galatians 1:15-16
Ministers are Separated to Their Own WorkGalatians 1:15-16
Ministers Must Preach ChristC. H. Spurgeon., Christian Treasury.Galatians 1:15-16
Nature of ObedienceC. Buck.Galatians 1:15-16
Non-Conference with Flesh and BloodT. Goadby.Galatians 1:15-16
Obligation to ObedienceC. Buck.Galatians 1:15-16
Paul's Account of His ConversionR. Nicholls.Galatians 1:15-16
Paul's MissionA. F. Barfield., W. B. Pope, D. D., Dean Stanley.Galatians 1:15-16
Paul's PromptitudeH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
PerfectC. Buck.Galatians 1:15-16
Personal ConvictionEmilius Bayley, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Personal Responsibility as Entrusted with a RevelationThe Dean of Ely.Galatians 1:15-16
Preachers Must not Confer with Flesh and BloodGalatians 1:15-16
Prevenient GraceC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 1:15-16
Prompt ObedienceGalatians 1:15-16
Promptness DiscriminatedH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Promptness: its BlessednessGalatians 1:15-16
Promptness: its ImportanceH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Promptness: the Danger of a Want of it in ReligionH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Providential DealingsC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 1:15-16
Readiness for ServiceC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 1:15-16
RegenerationW. B. Pope, D. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Religious ImpulsesR. Tuck, B. A.Galatians 1:15-16
Revelation Unlike ReasoningJohn Eadie, D. D.Galatians 1:15-16
St. Paul's Call to the Apostolic OfficeThe EvangelistGalatians 1:15-16
The Conversion of StF. W. Farrar.Galatians 1:15-16
The Destiny, Call, and Mission of St. PaulW.F. Adeney Galatians 1:15, 16
The Duty Imposed by RevelationThe Dean of Ely.Galatians 1:15-16
The Duty of ObedienceAnon.Galatians 1:15-16
The Inner Revelation of ChristJohn Eadie, D. D.Galatians 1:15-16
The Inner Revelation of ChristT. Goadby.Galatians 1:15-16
The Inward Realization by StE. Johnson, M. A.Galatians 1:15-16
The Inward Revelation of ChristR. S. Storrs.Galatians 1:15-16
The Inward Revelation of ChristT. Goadby.Galatians 1:15-16
The Missionary an EnthusiastC. Stanford, D. D.Galatians 1:15-16
The Personal History and Public Purpose of the ConversionD. Thomas.Galatians 1:15-16
The Threefold Revelation of ChristW. B. Pope, D. D.Galatians 1:15-16
The Work of a MissionaryR. Wardlaw, D. D.Galatians 1:15-16
Thorough ObedienceT. Brooks.Galatians 1:15-16
VirtualC. Buck.Galatians 1:15-16
What God Calls a Man to Do He Will Carry Him ThroughDr. Payson.Galatians 1:15-16

I. THE DESTINY. St. Paul feels that from his birth he was set apart for the great apostolic work of his later years.

1. There is a destiny in every life. God has his purpose of calling us into being.

2. This destiny is determined for us, not by us. We do not choose the circumstances in which we are born, nor our own gifts and dispositions. We can with difficulty escape from our surroundings, and we can never escape from ourselves. Whether a man will see the light as a prince in a palace, or as a beggar under a hedge, is entirely beyond his control, and it is equally impossible for him to determine whether he will have the genius of Newton or the inanity of an idiot. Yet how largely do these differences effect a man's necessary future!

3. We may be long unconscious of our destiny. St. Paul never dreamed of his while he sat at the feet of Gamaliel nor while he was harrying the Christians. It is a secret of providence gradually revealed.

4. It is our duty to work out our destiny by voluntary obedience to the will of God revealed in it when once it is revealed to us. To resist it is to kick against the pricks. We can do this, for, though set apart for a work, we may refuse to follow it by our free-will, but at our great cost.

II. THE CALL. In the Acts of the Apostles the external details of the call of St. Paul are described; here he gives us only the internal experience. He only could give this, and this was the really important thing. The flashing light, the arrested journey, the audible voice, the blindness, were all accessories. The one important thing was the inward voice that brought conviction to the heart of the man. Every apostle needed a call from Christ to constitute him such. But every Christian has some Divine call. We have not the miracle to convey the call, and we do not want it. By the manifest claims that present themselves to us, by the discovery of our own powers and opportunities of service, by the promptings of our conscience, Christ calls us to our life's work, To see a work for Christ needing to be done, and to be able to do it, is a providential call to undertake it. It is a disastrous superstition that keeps us back while we wait for a more articulate voice. God's will is manifest in the indication of what is right. To know God's will is to be called to his service.

III. THE MISSION.

1. Its object. The revelation of Christ. St. Paul was to make Christ known. He was not to spread his own religious notions, but only to reveal Christ. He was not to teach a doctrinal Christianity so much as to show Christ himself. This was to be done, not only by his words, but also by his life. He was so to live Christ that men should see Christ in him. Thus Christ was to be revealed in him. Before he could preach Christ in words he must have the revelation of Christ in his own person. If we do not reveal Christ by our lives, all our words will count for little, being belied by our glaringly inconsistent conduct. If we act like Christ, the silent influence of our living will be the most clear and powerful setting forth of Christ.

2. The scope of the mission. St. Paul was to preach Christ among the Gentiles. His own special gospel was the message that God's grace in Christ extended to the whole world. It was not for his own sake nor even for the glory of Christ alone that he was called to his great mission. The highest missions are unselfish and beneficent. We are all called in some way to minister to others. We can do it in no way better than by revealing Christ to them in our actions as well as in our words. - W.F.A.







But when it pleased God to reveal His Son in me.
Although Paul was suddenly converted, yet God had had thoughts of mercy towards him from his very birth. God did not begin to work with him when he was on the road to Damascus. That was not the first occasion on which eyes of love had darted upon this chief of sinners.

I. THE PURPOSE OF GOD PRECEDING SAVING GRACE, AS IT MAY CLEARLY BE SEEN DEVELOPING ITSELF IN HUMAN HISTORY. The life of men before conversion is really a working of them in the clay. You may perceive God's purpose in St. Paul, when you think of

(1)the singular gifts with which he was endowed;

(2)his education;

(3)the spiritual struggles through which he passed;

(4)the singular formation of his mind.Even as a sinner, Paul was great. A man full of energy and determination. His conversion only lifted him into a higher life, but left him unchanged as to temperament, nature, and force of character. He seems to have been constituted naturally a thorough-going, thorough-hearted man, in order that when grace did come to him he might be just as earnest, dauntless, fearless, in defence of the right. Such a man was wanted to lead the vanguard in the great crusade against the god of this world, and from his very birth God was fitting him for this position; before he was converted, prevenient grace was thus engaged, fashioning, moulding, and preparing the man, in order that by-and-by there might be put into his nostrils the breath of life.

II. GRACE PRECEDING CALLING IN ANOTHER SENSE. It is impossible to say, concerning the elect, when the grace of God begins to deal with them. You can tell when the quickening grace comes, but not when the grace itself comes.

1. Formative grace. This is to be born of Christian parents, in a Christian country, and nurtured in piety.

2. Preventive grace. Saved from sins that others fall into.

3. Restraining grace. Debarred by circumstances from sins to which we are inclined.

4. Preparatory work of grace. Before casting in the seed, God is pleased to give to some

(a)an attentive ear. Willingness to listen to the Word when it is brought to him;

(b)an ingenuousness of heart;

(c)a tender conscience;

(d)dissatisfaction with their present state.Apples of Sodom, at one time fair and sweet to their taste, God turns to ashes and bitterness in their mouth.Thus it was with , wandering wearily hither and thither with a death-thirst in his soul, that no fount of philosophy, or scholastic argument, or heretical teaching could ever assuage. He was aware of his unhappy estate, and turned his eye round the circle of the universe looking for peace, not fully conscious of what he wanted, though feeling an aching void the world could never fill. He had not found the centre, fixed and steadfast, around which all else revolved in ceaseless change. All this appetite, this hunger and thirst, is not of the devil, or of the human heart alone, but of God.

III. PAUL'S ACTUAL CALLING BY DIVINE GRACE. All preparatory work of which we have spoken, was not the source or origin of the vital godliness which afterwards distinguished him; that came to him on a sudden. In a moment he saw everything in a different light; and from a foe he was changed into a staunch and loyal friend of Jesus. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Some of the good fathers amongst us are mourning very bitterly just now over their sons. Your children do not turn out as you wish they would; they are getting sceptical, some of them, and they are also falling into sin. Well, dear friends, it is yours to mourn; it is enough to make you weep bitterly; but let me whisper a word into your ear. Do not sorrow as those who are without hope, for God may have very great designs to be answered, even by these very young men who seem to be running so altogether in the wrong direction. I do not think I could go so far as John Bunyan did, when he said he was sure God would have some eminent saints in the next generation, because the young men in his day were such gross sinners, that he thought they would make fine saints; and when the Lord came and saved them by His mercy, they would love much because they had had so much forgiven. I would hardly like to say so much as that, but I do believe that sometimes in the inscrutable wisdom of God, when some of those who have been sceptical come to see the truth, they are the very best men that could possibly be found to do battle against the- enemy. Some of those who have fallen into error, after having passed through it, and happily come up from its deep ditch, are just the men to stand and warn others against it. I cannot conceive that Luther would ever have been so mighty a preacher of the faith, if he had not himself struggled up and down Pilate's staircase on his knees, when trying to get to heaven by his penances and his good works. O let us have hope. We do not know but that God may be intending yet to call them and bless them. Who can tell, there may be a young man here to-night who will one day be the herald of the Cross in China, in Hindostan, in Africa, and in the islands of the sea? Remember John Williams wishing to keep an appointment with another young man who committed a certain sin. He wanted to know what time it was, and so just stepped into Moorfields Chapel; some one saw him, and he did not like to go out, and the word preached by Mr. Timothy East fell on his ears, and the young sinner was made a saint; and you all know how he afterwards perished as a martyr on the shores of Erromanga.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

St. Paul here claims to be an apostle, an inspired apostle, one qualified to speak with authority, and to teach infallible truth.

I. A DIVINE COMMUNICATION OF LIGHT AND KNOWLEDGE WAS MADE TO HIM. He had been blind, now he saw.

II. THE SUBJECT OF THIS DIVINE COMMUNICATION WAS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

1. In Christ was seen the glory of the Divine nature.

2. In Christ was seen the glory of the Divine attributes. As the wax bears the perfect image of the seal, so were all the perfections of the Divine character reflected in him.

3. In Christ was seen the glory of the Divine purposes. Redemption is the masterpiece of Divine wisdom; in redemption Christ is the central figure.

III. THE SPHERE IN WHICH THIS DIVINE COMMUNICATION HAD PLACE WAS THE SOUL OF THE APOSTLE. "In me." He saw, believed, and loved. His intellect was more than satisfied; his heart was at peace. Judaism was superseded, and like a dissolving view, passed rapidly away; heathenism was seen more clearly to be a lie and an imposture. To know Christ, to win Christ, to preach Christ, to love Christ, to be with Christ, was all he desired.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

What we need is the revelation of Christ within us; not the communication of truths yet unrevealed, as was necessary in the case of the founders of our religion, but the communication of truths already made known; the removal of the veil from our hearts, and the giving of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Each of us must for himself discover the hid treasure; whether the light flashes upon us in an instant, as with the woman at the well of Jacob, or comes to us as the result of long search and patient inquiry, as in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch, we must find the Messiah, we must hear Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. It will not suffice, in this day at least, to take religion upon trust, to accept the popular faith, just because it is popular. Such belief will not stand in the day of trial; it certainly will exercise no constraining influence upon our hearts and lives. Whether for our peace or for our usefulness, Christ must live within us; the reasonable mind must apprehend Him, the heart must cleave to Him. Thus our lives will tell upon the world around us. There will be a living power within, full of holy joy, and peace, and comfort; whilst a living power will go forth from us, and act silently, it may be, but effectually, upon the world without.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

The Christian religion is emphatically one. It may differ and does differ, in its development; but the foundation must be belief in Deity — an intelligent, devout recognition of the Almighty in His varied relationships to the world. Hence a perfect belief in a perfect Deity means this: That you believe in and regard that Deity as the Creator and Controller of the universe; as the Saviour of the world; as the appliancer of the redemptive scheme — in other words, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Unless this is recognized, there can be no true Christianity.

I. CHRISTIAN LIFE IS IDENTIFIED WITH A KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST.

1. To know Christ is to know the great centre to which all other doctrines converge.

2. Knowing Christ as a Saviour, you realize the damnable nature of sin.

II. CHRIST IS KNOWN ONLY AS HE IS DIVINELY REVEALED.

1. Ordinary means. Bible reading. Church going. Conversation. Sunday Schools, etc.

2. Extraordinary. St. Paul's conversion.

III. THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST IS GIVEN IN PURSUANCE OF A DIVINE PURPOSE.

IV. KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST IS PREPARATORY FOR THE HIGHEST USEFULNESS.

(A. F. Barfield.)

I look upon this earth in which I live. I find it grasped and girded by God's all-embracing laws, as of gravitation, of the ebb and flow of the tides, of light, of the procession of the seasons — all utterly and absolutely beyond my control. They reach above, beneath, around, within me; I cannot touch them. There they are; unalterable, unswerving, necessitated — in its profoundest sense, predestinated. And what is the issue of obedience to these laws? Happiness, in the measure of such obedience. Is that no revelation of the character of the God of the universe. No revelation! I could shut my Bible, and from creation — from the meanest flower that blows, up to the stars that hang like lamps before the great white throne — find infinite proofs that my God is also my Father. Exactly so, I cannot tell how free will, choice, contingency, accord with predestination, election, foreordination, substitution. I do not feel that I am called upon to do so. But as we have seen, our own consciousness attests the former, while the Word of God recognizes and addresses them — recognizes and addresses man as free to think, feel, will, choose, reject. Equally does the Word of God affirm the latter. I therefore accept them also, and can defer knowing how the All-wise harmonizes them, until He pleases to reveal them to me. Nay, more, I have deepest belief that even as the physical world is grasped and girded by its great laws, so must the other and grander world of mind have underneath it, like the granite base of the everlasting hills, above it, like the dome of the sky, kindred laws. These laws I recognize and accept in predestination, election, foreordination, substitution.

(A. B. Grosart, LL. D.)

I. TO HIM. When he was "called" on the way to Damascus, and so to every one who becomes His servant Christ appears to arrest and claim him.

II. IN HIM. The Lord is revealed in His servant's heart as his life and strength.

III. THROUGH HIM. The new life of Christ's servant is a perpetual

(1)reflection;

(2)proclamation of His Redeemer.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

I. Is the FOUNDATION OF ALL DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL TRUTH.

II. Tends to PERSONAL EDIFICATION, DEEP EMOTION, AND DUTIFUL SUBMISSION TO THE DIVINE WILL.

III. DETERMINES THE TONE AND STRENGTH OF OUR LIFE.

IV. Is a means to CONSCIOUSNESS OF DIRECT PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP TO GOD.

(T. Goadby.)

I. Its PERSONAL HISTORY.

1. The inner revelation of Christ to the soul, which is something more than His revelation to

(1)the senses,

(2)the understanding,

(3)the conscience.

2. The inner revelation of Christ to the soul through God.

(1)By predetermination.

(2)By sovereignty.

II. Its PUBLIC PURPOSE.

1. Not his own good.

2. But to preach.

(1)Paul felt the duty of preaching to be paramount.

(2)He employed the best means for its effective discharge.

(D. Thomas.)

I. A soldier who went to the war took with him some of the small instruments of his craft — he was a watchmaker and repairer — thinking to make some extra shillings now and then while in camp. He did so. He found plenty of watches to mend, and almost forgot that he was a soldier. One day, when ordered off on some duty, he exclaimed, "Why, how can I go? I've got ten watches to mend!" Some ministers are so absorbed in self-seeking that they are ready to say to the Master's call, "I pray Thee have me excused!" They are nominally ministers of Christ, but really only watch-menders. Mr. Moody says: — I remember when I was in Chicago before the fire, I was on some ten or twelve committees. My hands were full. If a man came to me to talk about his soul I would say, "I haven't time; got a committee to attend to." But now I have turned my back on everything — turned my attention to saving souls, and God has blessed me and made me an instrument to save more souls during the last four or five years than during all my previous life. And so if a minister will devote himself to this undivided work, God will bless him. Take that motto of Paul's: "One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

A river flowing with rapid and majestic current to the sea would defy the efforts of the whole world to turn it back again to its source; yet, by the returning tide it is not only arrested in its course but driven up again with great rapidity towards its fountain head. It is thus that a sinner is stopped in his career of sin, and turned towards high and heavenly things.

(C. Simeon.)

Now, there is nothing mysterious about this. Have we not all felt this inward revelation of Christ? — a discovery larger, sweeter and more and more luminous, of this nature and work, which enters and is woven like a thread of gold into the fabric of thought and character. The disciples doubtless had a conception at first of the Saviour as a general benefactor to the race and His teachings as generally helpful to men, but after their characters began to mature they came to understand the personal, individual and vital relationship between Him and them. A keen sense of personal sinfulness must precede any vivid conception of the grace of Christ as shown to burdened and aspiring souls. Again, in the silent government of the soul's activities we recognize Christ revealed in us. We recognize inward impulsions that are not born of us, but of a resident and daily more regnant power that is working through our own volitions. In labour and worship, in acts of beneficence and in all the service of life, we feel the silent government of the indwelling Master. With these inward revelations and spiritual intuitions we are guided in duty. Truth is verified in our vision, because it is illuminated by Him who is the light of the world. Christ finds a home in our affectional nature. At first we feel that we ought to love Christ more than all else — parents, friends, or treasure; but it is hard to do this, and our obedience is apt to be mechanical until the inward grace and subtle sense of the indwelling Helper comes to be recognized. It is as indefinable a sense as the odour of the lily and rose that perfumes our dwelling, yet we know it to be a reality. We see bane changed to blessing and a spirit of nobleness begotten in us, so that we come naturally, that is, reasonably and by the tutelage of His grace, to love Him better than all things else. This love toward Christ as He is within us testifies of the Divine indwelling, and it is a love which He will crown and glorify. In the joyful assurance of the future we find evidence of this revelation of Christ in us. He satisfies and gratifies us every hour by these revelations to us. Men of the world wonder at us. They call our confidence credulity and superstition. Nay, it is the dictate of our assurance of Christ in us. The text illumines other utterances of Paul. The life he lived was the life of Christ in him: "I, yet not I." Thus was fulfilled the promise, "We will make our abode with him." We see from this subject how progressive Christian experience is. One may say, "Would that I could at once step into the fulness of the knowledge of God!" Do you expect to step at once into the fulness of earthly knowledge? Shall not this more august revelation be continuous and progressive? Begin now in obedience to Christ, go on step by step till Christ's life is enthroned within you, and then it will be manifested by you. We have here a suggestion as to how the world influences us and crowds out Christ. Work for Christ wears a new significance when the fact and propulsive power of this indwelling are thus revealed.

(R. S. Storrs.)

I. CONVERSION DESCRIBED. Paul writes of the change through which he had passed in brief but forcible terms. "It pleased God to reveal His Son in me."

1. The change in Paul was a spiritual one.

2. God's great work is done in the soul, because the fountain of evil is there.

3. Conversion is a clear, definite recognition of Christ as the Saviour. He was revealed in Paul, so that he had no doubt of His Divinity or of His Messiahship. He believed Him to be the Christ, the Son of God.

II. CONVERSION EXPLAINED.

1. Conversion is an act of God's grace. It pleased God to reveal His Son in Paul.

2. Conversion is preceded by means which are altogether of God's arrangement. Paul here refers to plans, remote and immediate, and both are of God. "He separated him from his mother's womb."

III. CONVERSION MANIFESTED.

1. By his renouncing that which he had formerly sought after.

2. His voluntary exile and solitude was a further manifestation of his conversion.

3. His conversion was manifest by his return to Damascus, and engaging in active service.Lessons:

1. The methods by which men are brought to Christ vary, but conversion is in every instance the same, the revealing of the Son of God to the heart.

2. All who have been renewed by the power of God, manifest in themselves the reality of the change. Conversion is regeneration realized in the heart and life.

(R. Nicholls.)

"It pleased God to reveal His Son in me." He needed not to go to the traditions of the life of our Saviour. Christ was known to him in a more immediate way. He found in his own heart the living oracle, and needed not to travel further. One of his remarkable words is this: — Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven, etc. But, more closely, what was this process? It was the translation of the historical Christ into the present Christ; of the Christ according to the flesh into the Christ of spiritual consciousness. What is translation? It is was the extracting a thought from its visible, or representative envelope, and then(2) it is the recasting of this thought into another form of our own intelligent selection. By this process, faithfully carried out, you make the thought your own. You bring it out of its mere external relation to the mind as an object, and you make it a part of your mind, as subject. It is no longer now something that you contemplate merely with the mind's eye, and which passes from memory when your attention is withdrawn, but it is now bound up with your mind, and must remain a part of your conscious being. We are always performing this process upon some matter or other. In this way the student gathers the thought of a foreign author, throws it out again into the best form in which he can recognize it in his own language, and now it is his possession. The artist gazes for hours at a picture of which we see little more than the surface, and throws out the sense of it on the canvas of his brain, or in visible studies of his own. The friend watches the face of his friend, quickly seizes the thought that is playing in living expression on his brow and eye and mouth, and projects the meaning again into some image or some verbal expression. In whatever interests us we separate the form from the contents; we grasp these contents, we pass them through our mind in deep reflection, until of themselves they flow into a new shape, which is a form of our consciousness, and may be a permanent stamp of it. So St. Paul gazed at the cross and the resurrection of Christ, extracted a marvellous fund of Divine meaning from them, which in turn he threw out into forms of thought which are so mighty in their power over us because they were first so mightily realized in himself. Thus the significance of the cross, translated into his own consciousness, became a personal experience: death unto sin, because Christ died; or, a revelation of Divine love: "the Son of God who loved me." The resurrection in like manner, "raised up together with Christ," "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." There was something deeper even than this process of translation; there was an identification of himself with Christ (no other word will hardly express this deeper process). He felt that he was included in Christ. In the Sonship of Christ he saw his own sonship to God realized. As in Christ the Holy Spirit dwelt in a human body, so St. Paul realized the indwelling of God in himself. He saw a contrast of weakness with power in the crucifixion — he realized that contrast in himself. It seems no strain of language to say that in the consciousness of Paul, Christ was inseparable from himself. He could not abstract the ego, as metaphysicians would say, from a non-ego. He could not think of himself without thinking of Christ. "I am crucified with Christ," etc. He applies the same mode of thought to his converts and disciples.

(E. Johnson, M. A.)

The co-essential, co-eternal Son of God, was revealed in the Apostle Paul. Were we possessed of all the knowledge Adam had in innocence, or which Solomon acquired by labour and industry, or which the prophets and apostles obtained by Divine inspiration — yet, without this internal revelation of Christ, we should be as remote from happiness as the devils in hell. Now observe —

I. HOW THE REVELATION OF CHRIST IN A MAN DIFFERS FROM THE MERE EXTERNAL REVELATION OF CHRIST TO A MAN.

1. They differ in their original source and spring. Both proceed from God; but the one is the fruit of His general favour, the other of His special grace.

2. In the means by which they are wrought. The one, by outward means; the other by the internal agency of the Divine spirit. Moral suasion and human instruction may reveal Christ to a man; but it is the peculiar office of the Spirit to reveal Christ in us, to take of His things and show them to us so convincingly that we shall have no doubt of their truth and reality.

3. The subject of this knowledge is different, as well as the manner of conveyance. The external revelation of Christ affects only the head; that which is internal, the heart. The one reaches only to the understanding; the other influences the practical judgment, directs the will, and gives law to the affections. The necessity and excellency of Christ, in all His characters and offices, is now so clearly discerned, that the soul goes out after Him, and rests in Him, as its supreme good and everlasting portion.

4. In their nature and essential properties. The one dark and confused; the other clear and distinct. The one is seeing things in our own light; the other, in God's light. The one is distant, and therefore undelightful; the other, appropriative and satisfying, — not equally so in every saint, but in a greater or less degree in all.

5. In their continuance. The revelation of Christ to a man may be lost, eclipsed, or destroyed; but the revelation of the text is permanent and abiding. God is the Author of it, and His gifts are without repentance; the Spirit is the efficient cause, and He never wholly withdraws His influence.

II. THE NECESSITY AND EXCELLENCE OF AN INTERNAL REVELATION OF CHRIST.

1. It is the beginning of all Christian experience, the first blessed fruit of the Spirit's influence on a sinner's heart. Without it, no grace here, and no hope of salvation hereafter. The meritorious sufferings of Christ will not save us without the spiritual knowledge of Him.

2. The foundation of all spiritual comfort. When Christ enters, light, peace, glory enter, applying what He has done, bringing home to us what He has purchased.

3. The grand spring of holiness and obedience. The more we know of Christ, the more we shall love Him; and the more we love Him, the more conscientious, universal, and unwearied will be our obedience; subjection a delight and pleasure, instead of a task or burden. Knowledge which reaches the heart, will regulate the life and conversation.

4. This revelation is especially necessary to form the ministerial character. A faithful minister must be a good man, as well as bring good tidings.

5. This revelation is connected with eternal life, and a certain pledge of, as well as necessary preparation for, a future state of happiness and glory. If ignorant of Christ, we cannot believe on Him, or be saved by Him. Closing inferences:(a) No wonder so many men of great ability arc enemies to the gospel and its doctrine of salvation. God has never yet revealed His Son in them.(b) How should we pity those destitute of this revelation! Other wants may be afflicting: this is damning.(c) What reason for thankfulness have those who are blessed with the spiritual saving knowledge of Christ.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Conversion is a revelation, i.e., not a discovery of something new, but the unveiling of what has been hidden. No explanation for such a change as followed this revelation, save in the region of the supernatural.

1. This revelation was to St. Paul a vindication of Christ's character. St. Paul had thought Jesus an impostor; God removes the veil from his heart, and he sees Him to be the Christ, the only begotten Son of the Divine Father.

2. It was a revelation to him of his own position He not only saw who Christ was, but what he himself had been.

3. A revelation of the Divine long-suffering. When the light of that day of mercy dawned, what was the message? It might have been a message of doom; and Paul felt that. It might have been a voice of wrath, proclaiming wrath for his countless sins. But no; the voice comes with the old message of entreaty, "Why persecutest thou Me?" The voice comes with the Divine pathos and the Divine hope: "Saul, Saul, arise and stand upon thy feet, for I have appeared to thee not to hurl the bolts of judgment, not to rehearse the catalogue of thy transgressions, not to ring the knell of thy doom, but to announce the true advent of thy noblest life, to make thee a minister of My gospel, to send thee to men." What wonder, then, that Paul counts himself an example of God's long-suffering? What wonder that he speaks in such terms of redeeming love, of the riches — the unfathomed and unfathomable riches — of grace?

4. A revelation of a glorious destiny. No higher honour than to preach Christ, to be the minister of reconciliation to thousands.

5. This revelation was all-inclusive, In this Divine light, all things looked Divine. Henceforth, Jesus Christ was stamped on everything. The world was His; life was His; labour was His; love was His.

6. This revelation was ever increasing. The horizon widened. Every hour the light grew clearer, and spread to wider stretches. Even after thirty years acquaintance with Christ, Paul only feels there is so much to be known, that what he does know is as nothing to what he has yet to learn (Philippians 3:8-14). Is our conversion like his?

(T. W. Handford.)

The object of this Divine revelation was "His Son"; not the truth about Him, or His work, or His death, or His glory, but Himself — Himself including all. His person is the sum of the gospel. This revelation may have been in some sense subsequent to the direct call, or it may refer also to the appearance of the Redeemer near Damascus qualifying him for the apostleship (1 Corinthians 9:1). It gave him full and glowing views of the Redeemer's person, including His various relations to God and to man, — such views as fixed the apostle's faith upon Him, centred his love in Him, and enabled him to hold Him out in his preaching as the one living and glorified Saviour. It was by no process of reasoning that he came to such conclusions, by no elaborate and sustained series of demonstrations that he wrought out his Christology. Gad revealed His Son in him, Divine light was flashed in upon him, so that he saw what he had not seen before, fully, suddenly, and by a higher than intuitive suggestion. He had not been taught, and he did not need to be taught by any of the apostles.

(John Eadie, D. D.)

Revelation is opposed to knowledge gained by prolonged and patient thought. It is unlike the common process by which an intellectual conclusion is reached, the inference of one syllogism forming but the premiss of another, till by a series of connected links, primary or abstract truth is reached. For it is sudden and perfect illumination, lifting the receptive power into intensest susceptibility, and so lighting up the whole theme disclosed, that it is immediately and fully apprehended in its evidence and reality. We know not, indeed, what the process is, what the waking up of the higher intuition is, or what the ecstasy which throws into momentary abeyance all the lower faculties. It may resemble that new sphere of vision in which genius enjoys gleams of unutterable beauty, or that "demonstration of the Spirit" which gives the truth new aspects of richness and grandeur to the sanctified soul in some mood of rapt meditation. But still it is different and higher far both in matter and purpose. It was God's revelation of His Son, — not glimpses of the truth about Him, but Himself; not merely summoning His attention to His paramount claims, so as to elicit an acknowledgment of them, — not simply presenting Him to his intellectual perception to be studied and comprehended, — nor even shrining an image of Him in his heart to be loved and cherished, — but His Son unveiled in living reality; and in him — in his inner self, not in any distinct and separate realm of his being — with the conscious possession of all this infallible and communicable knowledge which was given, perhaps, first in clear and vivid outline, and then filled in surely and gradually.

(John Eadie, D. D.)

The vision which St. Paul saw on the way to Damascus, followed him through his whole life. There was one image which hovered over him, one thought which urged him onward, one spirit which he breathed, one life which he lived — the image, the thought, the spirit, the life of Christ. In the ruder times of Christianity we have heard of saints whose eyes were ever fixed on the material image of the crucified Redeemer, who bore in their body the marks of the Lord Jesus. What is true of them in a grosser and more literal sense, is true of St. Paul figuratively and spiritually: he felt himself and all other Christians to be crucified with Christ. In all His affliction they are afflicted, even as they are the partakers of His glory, dying with Him in sin and to sin, buried in baptism, filling up in their body the measure of His suffering, partaking of His hidden life in the grave, that with Him also they may rise again. If the apostle rejoices, he is as one risen with Christ; if he suffers, he is crucified with Him; if at one and the same instant he suffers, and triumphs, and is a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men, he is but as Christ was, Who was lifted up from the earth that he might draw all men after Him. He is as one stricken to the earth, at the same time that he partakes of the vision of the Divine glory. It is this thought and image of Christ, not freedom or faith, or any form of the subjective principle, which is the primary idea of the gospel in the mind of the apostle, Neither is it the belief in Christ as an object without him, to whom he is to transfer all his sins, but the ever-present consciousness of Christ within him, Who is one and inseparable from him, that is the support and anchor of his soul. As it is to the apostle more than any other human teacher we trace back the great doctrine of righteousness by faith, so to this event in his life we must refer that impression of Divine truth, which opened the kingdom of heaven to all mankind by the sight of Christ Himself. St. Paul was the human medium through which it was conveyed; an apostle not of man, neither by man, but of Jesus Christ, in whom it pleased God to reveal His Son. As it was necessary for the other apostles that Christ should go away, or otherwise the Comforter would net come unto them, so also it was in a certain sense a preeminence that he possessed over them, that as one born out of due time he had not known Christ according to the flesh, but only in a heavenly and spiritual manner.

(B. Jowett, M. A.)

A man often passes through many stages before he becomes truly converted to God. When he is first awakened to serious impressions, and sees the folly of intently pursuing worldly things, to the neglect of the more durable riches, he resembles a boy emerging from childhood, who throws aside his trifles and playthings for amusements of a higher and more intellectual kind. He now sets himself with all diligence to working out his own salvation in his own strength; multiplies his religious duties, and reforms his bad habits; yet all this while he is like one who has been employed in new painting and varnishing a wooden statue — it has no life within. But when the Holy Spirit influences his heart, and reveals Christ in him, he is in the state of one who has awakened from a dream, in which he has been acting a fictitious part, to live and move and use all his faculties in reality, and enter on the great business of life.

(H. G. Salter.)

Brutus visiting Ligarius found him ill, and said, "What! sick, Ligarius?" "No, Brutus," said he; if thou hast any noble enterprise in hand I am well." So should the believer say of Christ; what might excuse us from other labour shall never prevent our engaging in His service.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"To reveal His Son in me," might seem to imply some internal revelation; doubtless there was, but St. Paul more immediately referred to the fact that God intended to reveal His Son to mankind by and through him; he was to be the instrument of the revelation; God had revealed Christ to him, that he might reveal Him to others. For God can never make a revelation of His Son through a man, until He has first made the revelation within him; the lamp cannot illuminate until the light has been lighted within it; the light shines without because it shines within; and if St. Paul could speak confidently of God having been pleased to call him by His grace, and to reveal Christ through him to the heathen, it was because he could speak confidently of that revelation of Christ to his own soul, which had so thoroughly converted his mind and changed the purpose of his life. Let us leave St. Paul, however, for a few moments, and let me remind you how that God has from the beginning revealed Himself to man, and that the spiritual condition of man before God has depended upon the way in which he has received the revelation. To be able to receive a revelation from God, this is one mark of humanity; and to be able to reject the revelation, this is another. Next observe that the whole course of sacred history, since the days of Adam, has been a history of revelations. God has revealed, unveiled, discovered Himself to this man and to that, in order that he to whom God has been revealed may reveal Him to ethers; the process of which St. Paul speaks when he says, "to reveal His Son in me," is the very process which has been going on from the beginning. Look at Noah. Look at Abraham. "The Lord had said unto Abraham." That is the very beginning of his history. Once more, look at Moses. You see precisely the same characteristics of conduct. He, too, received a revelation from God; and the pressure of the responsibility which that revelation brought with it is made all the more conspicuous by the fact that Moses shrank from it, and tried to evade it. We wish to regard ourselves as laid under a pressure of responsibility by the fact of our having received a revelation from God.

(The Dean of Ely.)

Let us then take the Holy Scriptures in our hands, or press them to our hearts, and say, Here is the record of the way in which God has at sundry times and in divers manners spoken to our fathers by the prophets, and has in these latter days spoken to us by His Son; and having done this, then let us go on to ask ourselves what ought to be the practical consequences of having such a possession? It is a common saying in these days that property has its duties as well as its privileges, and so the possession of the Word of God, compared with which all other possessions must be poor and trifling, must bring with it very great duties: what are they? These, at least; to honour it, to love it, to strive if necessary, or even to die, for it; but besides these, there is the more common and perhaps the more important duty, of exhibiting in our own lives the ideal which Holy Scripture sets before us, the duty of living like Christ, and becoming (as it were) a living practical commentary upon the contents of God's book. This is just the difference between this book and others; other books you may read and forget, this you must not forget; others you may have on your shelves and not read unless you like, this you must read if you can; upon others you may pronounce any opinion you please, but this must govern your opinions, and you must take it as the light of your feet and the lamp to your paths. Yes, this is the way in which you must treat the Scriptures, not only for your own sakes, but for the sake of others. I said just now that you must strive, if necessary, for the Holy Scriptures, but undoubtedly the most effective way of defending them from assaults, and making men honour them, is to act them out in your conduct, and let Christ be revealed to men in your lives. St. Paul speaks in the text of Christ being revealed in him. I have spoken of the force of that phrase; and now, finally, I would ask you to compare it with a similar phrase with which the apostle closes the chapter from which I have taken my text; he says, "they glorified God in me;" they saw his life, they saw the change made by God's revelation, and they glorified God in him when they saw Christ revealed in him; and so, Christian brethren, if we have received a revelation from God, and if a deep responsibility is laid upon us by the reception of that revelation, then the best mode of discharging our responsibility is to lead a holy and godly life. That will show forth Christ.

(The Dean of Ely.)

The Evangelist.
I. THE SOURCE WHENCE HIS RELIGIOUS IMPRESSIONS WERE DERIVED. What does Paul mean to teach us when he says that he was called? He means that it was not he who first came to the Master, but that having been called to Him, he obeyed; that he did not spontaneously seek and find, but that he was found when he was wandering; that it was not he who first looked up to the light, but the light which sent its rays upon his vision, and having closed his outward, opened his inward eyes.

II. HIS DESTINATION TO THE APOSTOLIC OFFICE.

1. That this commission was co-incident with his conversion, and he became a successful advocate of the truth he once opposed. The suddenness of his preparation for the office strikes us as much as the suddenness of his call to it; and his history teaches us that Christ is at no loss for instruments in the advancement of His cause. If the interests of religion require some distinguished champion, He reverses the ordinary laws of procedure, and goes down to the camp of the enemy, and fixing His eye upon the hope and pride of all their hosts, converts him from a foe into a friend, and presents him to the world as a trophy of His power, and a successful herald of His praise. Christ rules "in the midst of His enemies," and from the very stones that threaten to impede his triumphal march, "can raise up children to Abraham." Luther was educated as a monk in the University of Wittemburg, and was so eager an upholder of the existing system, that he publicly defended, in a thesis, the martyrdom of John Huss. He was, even after his conversion, long reluctant to throw off the authority of the Pope; yet this man was the instrument of the emancipation of Europe, and, once engaged, as Atterbury has observed, against the united forces of the papal world, stood the shock with bravery and success. "I was," says Latimer, "as obstinate a papist as any in England, and when made Bachelor of Divinity, my whole oration went against Philip Melancthon and his opinions." Soame Jenyns was for many years a deist, yet, after emerging from a labyrinth of scepticism, he wrote an ingenious work on the internal evidences of the Christian religion, the success of which gave him much joy on his death-bed. The late Mr. Biddulph, in his work on the Liturgy, states of Gilbert West, and his friend Lord Lyttleton, that they were both men of acknowledged talents, and had imbibed the principles of infidelity from a superficial view of the Scriptures. Fully persuaded that the system was an imposture, they were determined to expose the cheat. Mr. West chose the Resurrection of Christ, and Lord Lyttleton the Conversion of St. Paul, for the subject of hostile criticism, Both sat down to their respective tasks, full of prejudice and contempt for Christianity, but the result of their separate attempts was truly extraordinary. They were both converted by their efforts to overthrow the truth, and came together, not as they anticipated, to exult over an imposture turned to ridicule, but to lament their own folly, and felicitate each other upon their joint conviction that the Bible was the Word of God. And their inquiries have furnished two most valuable treatises in favour of revelation: one entitled, "Observations on the Resurrection of Christ," and the other, "Observations on the Conversion of St. Paul." "This also cometh forth from the Lord of Hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working."

2. That the decision and energy he displayed in the service of Christ are worthy of universal imitation. "Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood." In the concerns of salvation flesh and blood are very bad counsellors. Flesh and blood would have kept the three Hebrew youths from the fiery furnace; Abraham from offering the child of promise, etc.

(The Evangelist.).

I.THE SUM OF EXPERIENCE IN CONVERSION.

II.THE CHIEF ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATION OF THE PREACHER.

III.THE GREAT RELIGIOUS WANT OF THE WORLD.

(T. Goadby.)

Education refines and elevates but does not save and sanctify the soul; law civilizes but cannot change the heart and the will; science and philosophy give power and endless resources to enlarge the faculties of the mind, but they leave the problems of sin and pardon unsolved. The revelation of Christ fills the soul with light, and life, and joy; is the only solution of the problems of our moral being; the only deliverer from the law of sin and death; the only pledge of everlasting life, and indeed the beginning of a Divine education which ennobles and saves, and the dawn of a heavenly day which brings wisdom, and righteousness, and peace.

(T. Goadby.)

is the calm exercise of omnipotent power like that which commanded the light to shine out of darkness: it commands the light of the glory of God to shine on the soul from the face of God internally revealed.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

is the personal interview of each conscience with God the Judge of all.

(W. J. Irons, D. D.)

He was not separated from the events, as we are, by centuries of time. He was not liable to be blinded by the dazzling glamour of a victorious Christendom. He had mingled daily with men who had watched from Bethlehem to Golgotha the life of the Crucified. He had talked with the priests who had consigned Him to the cross; he had put to death the followers who had wept beside His tomb. He had to face the horror of a Messiah who "had hung upon a tree." He had heard again and again the:proofs which had satisfied an Annas and a Gamaliel that Jesus was a deceiver. The events on which the apostle relied as proof of His Divinity had taken place in the full blaze of contemporary knowledge. He had not to deal with the uncertainties of criticism or assaults on authenticity. He could question not ancient documents hut living men. He had thousands of means close at hand whereby to test truths which up to this time he had so passionately and contemptuously disbelieved. In accepting this half-crushed and wholly execrated faith he had everything in the world to lose — he had nothing conceivable to gain; and yet, in spite of all — over-whelmed by a conviction which he felt to be irresistible — Saul the Pharisee became a witness of the resurrection, a preacher of the Cross.

(F. W. Farrar.)

Preach Him among the heathen.
I. HIS GREAT MOTIVE. To preach Christ.

II. HIS PROMPT SURRENDER.

1. Personal.

2. Decisive.

3. Final.

(A. F. Barfield.)The very theory of Christianity, not merely its finest enthusiasm, is that when once Christ is in the heart the whole life must be entirely His.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)Paul was not like the missionary of later times, whose great work is accomplished if he can add to the number of his converts; he was this, but he was much more than this; it was not the actual conversions themselves, but the principle which every conversion involved, that constitutes the enduring interest of that life-long struggle. It was not merely that he reclaimed from Paganism the Grecian cities of Asia Minor, but that at every step which he took westward he tore up the prejudice of ages. It was not merely that he cast out the false spirit from the damsel at Philippi, hut that here religion ceased to be Asiatic and became European. It was not merely that at Athens he converted Dionysius and Damaris, but that there was seen a Jew standing in the court of the Areopagus, and appealing to an Athenian audience as children of the same Father, and worshippers, though unconsciously, of the same God. It was not that at Rome he made some impression on the slaves of the Imperial palace, but that a descendant of Abraham recognized in that corrupt metropolis a field for his exertions as sacred as the courts of the Temple at Jerusalem.

(Dean Stanley.)

I.BY WHOM sent.

II.WHITHER sent.

III.To WHOM sent.

IV.FOR WHAT sent.A missionary's work is not that of —

1. Science.

2. Politics.

3. Civilization.

4. But that of preaching to the heathen.

V. With what ENCOURAGEMENT. God's command: that is enough.

(R. Wardlaw, D. D.)

Whom shall the Lord send? The passive neutral? The respectable indolent selfist? The tame, dull, average religionist? The mere doctrinist, whose faiths, instead of being alive and part of himself, are like dry botanical preparations, classified and kept in a book? The man who studies how little he can give, or be, or do, or suffer for Christ, and yet be safe? The sluggard who, when a shadow shakes or a leaf rustles, says, "a lion is in the way"? The coward who makes his profession under shelter, and creeps along with slow cautious steps? No I all these must be cleared out of the way. Lord Lansdowne asked Dr. Price the Unitarian what was to be done to reform the profligate people of Calne? "Send them an enthusiast," was the reply. And only an enthusiast is likely to be a divinely successful missionary to the heathen, whether at home or abroad.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

I. God's way of working in the hearts of His people is to START AND QUICKEN RELIGIOUS IMPULSES.

1. By preaching.

2. Bible study.

3. Prayer.

4. Religious biography. But

5. there are impulses for which we cannot account at all.

II. God carries on His work in us by SETTLING IMPULSES INTO LIFE PRINCIPLES. This is sanctification. The leaping mountain spring that bounds from rock to rock, and rushes over hindrances, gathers strength and becomes presently the noiseless quiet river that flows smoothly along, breathing out refreshment as it flows, and singing to its own quieter music the same song to God.

III. SIN CHECKS THESE IMPULSES by suggesting delay in acting them out.

IV. THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF THESE IMPULSES MAY BE TESTED by their tendency to —

1. Devotion.

2. Work.

3. Holiness.

4. Beneficence.

V. SUCH IMPULSES MAY BE SAFELY FOLLOWED.

VI. DIVINE IMPULSES ARE CHECKED BY THE COOL CALCULATIONS OF SELFISHNESS. Application:

1. Some of you are not naturally impulsive. There is a side of your nature which needs cultivation.

2. Some of you are naturally very impulsive. Don't lay violent hands upon them, but strengthen your other faculties.

(R. Tuck, B. A.)

I conferred not with flesh and blood
It is difficult for us, at this distance of time, to feel, as St. Paul did, the importance of his apostolic independence. That the point was, in his opinion, a vital one, is evident from the fact that he devotes nearly a third part of this Epistle to the proof of it. It was important in two ways.

1. If it could be shown that for some considerable period after his conversion the apostle held little or no intercourse with the twelve, that he sought not their teaching, but maintained an independent course, and acted solely upon his own responsibility, it would go far to prove that he occupied no subordinate position, but possessed an authority which was equal in all respects to theirs.

2. Whilst if it could be further shown that, although deriving no instruction from the twelve, he yet taught a system of Divine truth which was recognized by them as identical with their own, it would be a strong argument in favour of his position that he had received his gospel, not of man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For these reasons St. Paul asserts strongly, and argues out at length, the fact of his independence.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

No man must rest satisfied with merely human teaching. In its proper place such teaching is most valuable. But it is not all that is required. There is a sense in which each Christian ought to be able to say, "I conferred not with flesh and blood" — "I felt the necessity of higher teaching than that of man; I knew that there were endowments which flesh and blood could not bestow upon me; I sought them directly from God." There is doubtless a spirit of independence which is a spirit of pride; but there is an independence of man which is the independence of humility — an independence which is so conscious of the inadequacy of everything human to satisfy the longings of the soul, that it can only carry its great need to a source which is Divine.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

Implicit obedience is our first duty to God, and one for which nothing else will compensate. If a lad at school is bidden to cipher, and chooses to write a copy instead, the goodness of the writing will not save him from censure. We must obey, whether we see the reason or not; for God knows best. A guide through an unknown country must be followed without demur. A captain, in coming up the Humber or Southampton Water, yields complete authority to the pilot. A soldier in battle must fight when and where he is ordered; when the conflict is over, he may reflect upon and perceive the wisdom of his commander in movements that at the time of their execution were perplexing. The farmer must obey God's natural laws of the seasons, if he would win a harvest; and we must all obey God's spiritual laws if we would reap happiness here and hereafter.

(Anon.)

Obedience is —

1. Active; not only avoiding what is prohibited, but performing what is commanded (Colossians 3:8, 10).

2. Personal; for though Christ has obeyed the law for us as a covenant of works, yet He has not abrogated it as a rule of life (Romans 7:22; Romans 3:31).

3. Sincere (Psalm 51:6; 1 Timothy 1:5).

4. Affectionate; springing from love, not from terror (1 John 5:19; 1 John 2:5; 2 Corinthians 5:14).

5. Diligent; as St. Paul's at this time.

6. Conspicuous (Philippians 2:15; Matthew 5:16).

7. Universal; not one duty, but all must be performed.

8. Perpetual; at all times, places, occasions.

(C. Buck.)

We are bound in all to obey God:

1. From the relation in which we stand to Him as His creatures.

2. From the law He has revealed to us in His Word.

3. From the blessings of His providence which we are constantly receiving.

4. From His love and goodness in the grand work of redemption.

(C. Buck.)

1. It adorns the gospel (Titus 2:10).

2. It evidences grace (2 Corinthians 5:17).

3. It rejoices the hearts of the ministers and people of God (3 John 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:19, 20).

4. It silences gainsayers (2 Peter 1:11, 12).

5. It encourages the saints, while it reproves the lukewarm (Matthew 5:16).

6. It affords peace to the subjects of it (Psalm 25:12, 13; Acts 24:16).

7. It powerfully recommends religion, as that which is both delightful and practicable (Colossians 1:10).

8. It is the forerunner and evidence of eternal glory (Romans 6:22; Revelation 22:14).

(C. Buck.)Actual obedience is the practice and exercise of the several graces and duties of Christianity.

(C. Buck.)Obedience is the performance of the commands of a superior.

(C. Buck.)

obedience is the exact conformity of our hearts and lives to the law of God, without the least imperfection.

(C. Buck.)

obedience consists in a belief of the gospel, of the holiness and equity of its precepts, of the truth of its promises, and a true repentance of all our sins.

(C. Buck.)

A soul sincerely obedient will not pick and choose what commands to obey and what to reject, as hypocrites do. An obedient soul is like a crystal glass with a light in the midst, which shines forth through every part thereof. A man sincerely obedient lays such a charge upon his whole man; as Mary the mother of Christ did upon all the servants at the feast, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." Eyes, ears, hands, heart, lips, legs, body, and soul, do you all seriously and affectionately observe whatever Jesus Christ says unto you, and do it.

(T. Brooks.)

A story is told of a great captain who, after a battle, was talking over the events of the day with his officers. He asked them who had done the best that day. Some spoke of one man who had fought very bravely, and some or another. "No," he said, "you are all mistaken. The best man in the field to-day was a soldier who was just lifting up his arm to strike an enemy, but, when he heard the trumpet sound a retreat, checked himself, and dropped his arm without striking the blow. That perfect and ready obedience to the will of his general is the noblest thing that has been done to-day."

I. There was no PAUSE, for he says "immediately."

II. There was NO GIVING OPPORTUNITY FOR ANY COUNTER INFLUENCE. He "conferred not," etc. He neither took counsel with himself nor with others.

III. It is as though he felt THE DANGER OF A MOMENT'S DELAY: fearful lest his convictions should be weakened if they did not at once produce great energy of conduct.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

In matters of prudence second thoughts are best; in matters of conscience first thoughts are the best.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Act "immediately" on your impressions of what is right. Stay not to debate when conscience has decided. Turn feelings into principles by forthwith employing them in practice. Do as Paul did. He was like the mariner who, if he can get a glimpse of the sun, seizes an observation and shifts the rudder. Get you but a glance of God's will, and instantaneously shape your course by it.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

You felt a conviction as to duty, but you determined to take time for consideration, and the conviction cooled. It was a golden moment, but in your prudence — the prudence when a leak is found out in the ship of waiting till to-morrow before trying to stop it — you determined to do nothing hastily, but to wait and see whether the conviction was aught else but a transient feeling. Of course it proved a transient feeling. The first touches of God's Spirit are meant to be transient unless attended to. The Spirit is likened to the wind, and the soul is breathed upon rather than struck. It is your business to prevent the impression being transient. If you would keep the dew on the grass you must keep the sun from it. If you would keep the impression of the heart you must keep the world from the heart. But because you have paused to confer with flesh and blood, you have given the world time to rally its forces, and therefore by the next day the impression is gone, and you have perhaps secretly felt pleased that second thoughts were so different from the first. Second thoughts tie men to the world where first thoughts would have devoted them to God.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Happy he who has learned this one thing — to do the plain duty of the moment quickly and cheerfully, whatever it may be, and whatever may be the consequences,

The subject —

I. Awakens reflection as to the SPHERE AND LIMITS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION.

II. Enforces the necessity of INDIVIDUAL CULTURE and the importance of INDIVIDUAL ACTION.

III. Suggests hopeful anticipations as to the PROGRESS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

(T. Goadby.)

There is not a spider hanging on the King's wall but hath its errand; there is not a nettle that groweth in the corner of the churchyard but hath its purpose; there is not a single insect fluttering in the breeze but accomplisheth some Divine decree; and I will never have it that God created any man, especially any Christian man, to be a blank, a nothing. He made you for an cud; find out what that end is; find.out your niche and fill it. If it be ever so little, do something in this great battle for God and truth.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

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