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higher principle, a regard for the glory of God, must necessarily exist in every true Christian, but that it is complete and perfect in none in this world; for the perfection of this is the perfection of the creature, and what belongs, not to this life, but to heaven.
But it appeared evident from all that he said, that in the midst of his infirmities and his trials, a satisfactory, and at times a joyful hope prevailed, and that occasionally he had a foretaste of the enjoyments above. He seemed to be longing, not only for his rest and the blessedness of another world, but also for deliverance from all sin and all temptations, which were evidently his burden and what his very soul hated. His entire and exclusive dependance on the merits and intercession of his Saviour, appeared to have been more complete than ever and he deemed all his works, even the best of them, as mingled with sin and imperfections. "A sinner saved by grace,' seemed to have been the habitual impression of his mind, and the ground of all his hope, joy, and confidence.
The history of God's servants is in the main uniform, though in many circumstances greatly varied. As to conviction of sin, the need of a Saviour, and the spiritual contest, there has ever been a wonderful uniformity. Their views of essential truths have throughout all ages been really the same. What a confirmation is this of the reality of divine things and of the truth of God's word! Let this consideration have its due effect on our minds. The doctrines preached by the Apostles, and found in Holy Writ, the doctrines preached by our illustrious Reformers, and revived in our Church by many in the last century, were those which our departed brother received, believed,
and embraced, and which he afterwards plainly and unreservedly preached to others ; and which were so blessed to many, that they wrought the same great and happy change in their minds and feelings, as they had previously wrought in himself. Let us steadfastly adhere to these holy doctrines, and not only understand, but cordially embrace them; and then we shall doubtless be preserved, as our brother has been through his long life, in the ways of God, in the paths of righteousness, and shall eventually follow him to that land of bliss and glory, into which sin and sorrow shall never enter.
His illness commenced on Friday, the 3rd of January, and terminated on Tuesday morning, the 7th of the same month. It was short, according to his previous wish and prayer, without much pain, but great weakness, so that he was not able to speak much. But there was evidently peace and perfect resignation. He was buried on the following Saturday, and, according to his own direction, at 10 o'clock in the morning.
a paper found after his death, were written minute directions as to his funeral. He was buried in a spot previously fixed by himself, close to the south door of the chancel, on the outside. Opposite, on the inside, is to be fixed to the wall a tablet of white marble, on which is to be inscribed the epitaph here given. His funeral sermon was preached on the following Wednesday, at half after two in the afternoon, in Spratton Church. The attendance was very large; several of the neighbouring clergy were present, and many people from the surrounding villages; a proof of the high respect in which he was held. "The memory of the just is blessed."
Subjoined is Mr. Jones's Epitaph, found after his death, in his own hand writing:
"On the outside of this wall lie interred the remains of the Rev. Thomas Jones, who was the officiating Minister of Creaton for fifty years, and for eighteen of that time was the Curate of this Parish.
A sinner saved by grace! shall be for ever. Sinner,
He departed this life
Reader, farewell: Time is short; The salvation of God mind eternity, and Prepare to meet thy God.'"
IN those seasons of despondency we sometimes experience, when forced to reflect on the inconsistencies of many around us, or on our own manifold sins and infirmities, it is cheering to be able to turn away our attention to some splendid monument of divine grace, whose history has been left for our instruction. We there find what God has been pleased to effect even upon a nature so fallen as ours; and we feel encouraged to forget the inadequacy of the materials while contemplating the mighty power of him "who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." An instance of this kind we have in St. Paul, whose conversion has often been cited as one of the most striking proofs of the truth of Christianity: and when we review the circumstances of his eventful life, we cannot but feel that we have before us one of those favoured beings whom God sends forth, from time to time, to manifest his glory, and to be his instruments in elevating the destinies of
St. Paul's instructor, the learned and tolerant Gamaliel, suffered his pupil to make the Greek literature part of his studies, in opposition to the recent Jewish laws by which
even the teaching of the Greek language to the Hebrew youth was prohibited: and thus unconsciously took part in preparing him for his subsequent labours as the great Apostle of the Gentiles. In this circumstance the hand of Providence is strikingly conspicuous. Little did Gamaliel think when he watched the progress of his pupil, in whom, perhaps, he saw competent to become his successor in the schools and to preserve the dignity of Jewish learning, when he carefully led him through the dark but enticing labyrinth of Rabbinical lore, and permitted him to glean from the Greeks those brilliant sentiments or expressions which he might have thought would be employed in defending the national faith from the inroad of Gentile opinions and practices; little did he or his zealous pupil think of the use to which all this apparatus of learning was hereafter to be applied.
The first time that Saul of Tarsus is brought before us, he appears in the odious character of a persecutor, consenting to the death of the martyr Stephen, and keeping the raiment of those who slew him. He had probably come forth from his studious retirement filled with
lofty notions of those doctrines in which he had been so accurately instructed; and was seized with boundless indignation at the idea that others should hold them in disesteem. From being an accomplice, he advanced to be a principal actor in the fearful work of persecution and in this he undoubtedly gave a strong proof of his sincerity. He himself, when enumerating the claims which he might have made for distinction among his countrymen, adduces this fact as a proof of his devotion to Judaism; cerning zeal," he says, " persecuting the church.” In persons of
humane and well-ordered minds the persecution of others from a mistaken sense of duty, is an evidence of sincerity scarcely inferior to a patient submission to it by themselves for to some it would be a less painful task to suffer for the sake of certain opinions than to be compelled to inflict torments on others for not holding them. And that Paul did not persecute from a natural tendency to cruelty, is evident from his statement, "I verily thought with myself that ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth." The dictates of humanity, the quiet pursuits of the scholar, which generally have a softening tendency, all were sacrificed in his anxiety to repress what he imagined to be error. Having probably imprisoned or silenced the preachers of the Gospel in his immediate neighbourhood, Saul (in the expressive words of St. Luke)" yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" went to the high priest for further powers. The priests were, doubtless, glad to find an ally in a youth of such genius and promise: they gave him letters of authority; and armed with these, he hasted to Damascus. But in the way he met an unex
pected obstacle. A light from
heaven shone around him he and those who were with him fell, dazzled, to the ground: and then a mysterious sound was heard by them all, though to him alone were its accents intelligible. (Compare Acts ix. 7, and xxii. 9.) Saul, Saul," said the voice, why persecutest thou me?" "Who art thou, Lord?" was the trembling reply. The God of the Jews is he for whose cause I am contending, and I know of no other God.— 'Who art thou, Lord ?" With a shock more piercing than that of the light which had struck him to the earth must those words have reached his ear:-" I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest."
And now an entire change takes place in his heart through the power of the Holy Ghost: divine grace reigns triumphant there: and abandoning the haughty and influential sect of which he had been so conspicuous a member, he hastens to preach the faith which once he destroyed. Immediately on his conversion he seems to have gone, perhaps for purposes of retirement, into Arabia, where, separated from the Apostles, he received his spiritual instruction directly from heaven (Gal. i. 12.), and was thus anointed and nerved for the post of eminence to which he was soon to be appointed. It is probable, however, that there also he preached the Gospel; and that, possibly, in the face of the large and beautiful temple at Petra,* the excavated remains of which are still the wonder of the traveller. From Arabia he returns again to
"It is possible that the three years passed by St. Paul, after his conversion, in Arabia, were spent in asserting the doctrines of Christ in the face of some of these splendid temples [at Petra], as afterwards before the Parthenon at Athens and the Fane of the Capitoline Jove in Rome."-Quarterly Review.
Damascus : and his astonished hearers scarcely believe the evidence of their senses when they see the bitterest enemy of the Christians become their instructor. Instead of bringing men "bound unto Jerusalem," he is made the honoured instrument of leading them to the only seat of true freedom, the heavenly Jerusalem: and the unbelieving Jews retire confounded from a disputant far better versed than themselves in every point of their law. Afterwards, he enters upon that splendid series of missionary enterprises, which embraced in their circuit a very great portion of the then known world, and extended, if tradition may be believed, to the British isles.
On the character of St. Paul volumes have been written nor is it easy to exhaust the subject. Its most conspicuous points are, perhaps, zeal, deep humility, and oneness of purpose.
His natural disposition was zealous and now that energy which had been devoted to purposes of mischief was sanctified and made subservient to truth. That glowing zeal, which had led him from place to place in the vain endeavour to crush a sect which he thought inimical to his country's faith, now conducted him to distant lands to proclaim the only means of salvation. No difficulties stop him in his course, for the attacks of his enemies only induce this Christian hero to grasp his sword with a firmer hand. He makes his way into the palace and the synagogue, preaching both to the Roman proconsol and the bigoted Rabbins,
salvation:" and unwearied by his public discourses, he addresses to the eager multitude who follow him into the street, further exhortations and persuasions to continue
in the grace of God. (Acts xiii. 43.) Neither flattery nor persecution moves him from his course. At Lystra divine honours are tendered him, but he rejects them with indignation: he is then stoned and left for dead, but he rises up and continues his labours: at Philippi he is thrust into an inner prison, and his feet made fast in the stocks, but there he prays and sings praises to God. In the prosecution of his work he stayed awhile at Athens. He walked amid the streets of that glorious city where the snowy temples stood out in fine contrast with the deep-blue sky, and graceful statues, personifying the richest dreams of poetry, glowed beneath the sun, or peeped forth from the grove where the sage and his disciples were engaged in earnest disputation and "found no end, in wandering mazes lost." With every spot was linked some historical association, with every work of art was connected the name of some warrior, poet, or orator, which had been made familiar to the scholars of every nation by the wonderful literature of Greece. And with what emotions did the learned Apostle gaze upon these triumphs of human genius? The sight filled him with bitter anguish: "his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
an altar, bearing the inscription, "To the Unknown God." "Ah, yes!" we may imagine him to have exclaimed ; God is indeed unknown in this magnificent city. What idea can yon colossal statue of the armed Minerva give of Him whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, and who yet dwelleth with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit?" And gladly did he comply with the request of the inquisitive loiterers, who had been attracted by the novelty of his teaching, to appear before the august court of Areopagus, and declare the doctrine of Christ; where, mingling the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove, he clears himself from the capital charge of being a setter forth of strange gods, by proclaiming that the God whom he preached was the one whom they already ignorantly worshipped. In his numerous trials, he finds the truth of the promise, "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper." If the Jews at Damascus lie in wait to kill him, it is that the scene of his teaching may be shifted to another place. Do more than forty men bind themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have slain him; it is that he may go and found a church in Cæsar's household. If he be exposed to shipwreck, God gives him the lives of all that sail with him. Yes, and if a messenger of Satan be given to buffet him, it is to show him that God's grace is sufficient for him: so that in all things he is " than conqueror through him that loved him." Many troubles and vexations, much anguish both of body and mind had he to undergo; but his sorrows were drowned in the flood of Divine love poured into his heart by the Holy Spirit, which was given unto him. (Rom. v. 5.)
But to this extraordinary zeal he added a deep humility, and tender regard for the infirmities of others. Far from attempting in right of his superior gifts to lord it over God's heritage, he was satisfied to be nothing, that Christ might be all. At the call of duty, he abandons his accustomed studies, and those intellectual pursuits, which must have been most congenial to him, and earns his bread by manual labour, rather than be a burden to others. He is even content to relinquish the common returns of gratitude from those to whom he had rendered the greatest of benefits, willing to spend and be spent for his flock, even though the more he loved them the less he were loved. (2 Cor. xii. 15.) He reproved sin with an awful severity, but he welcomed the penitents on their return, and mingled his tears with theirs. (2 Cor. vii. 10.) The memory of his past madness against the disciples of Jesus, was continually before him; but while it kept him in deep humility, it fired him to more strenuous exertions in the cause of Him whom he had once bitterly hated: so that while he meekly acknowledged that he was "not meet to be called an apostle," yet he could also say, "that he laboured more abundantly than they all;" though, anxious to avoid even the appearance of boasting, he adds, "yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
We see, too, that all his zeal was devoted to one purpose, which was, "that he might finish his course with joy, and the ministry which he had received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God." Whether his voice was lifted up in the synagogues of the Jews, the oratory by the river-side, the forum of Athens, or the court of Nero, the theme of his discourses was ever the same,