Page images


higher principle, a regard for the and embraced, and which he after. glory of God, must necessarily exist wards plainly and unreservedly in every true Christian, but that it is preached to others; and which complete and perfect in none in were so blessed to many, that they this world; for the perfection of wrought the same great and happy this is the perfection of the crea- change in their minds and feelings, ture, and what belongs, not to this as they had previously wrought in life, but to heaven.

himself. Let us steadfastly adhere But it appeared evident from all to these holy doctrines, and not that he said, that in the midst of only understand, but cordially emhis infirmities and his trials, a satis- brace them; and then we shall factory, and at times a joyful hope doubtless be preserved, as prevailed, and that occasionally he brother has been through his had a foretaste of the enjoyments long life, in the ways of God, in above. He seemed to be longing, the paths of righteousness, and not only for his rest and the bless- shall eventually follow him to edness of another world, but also that land of bliss and glory, into for deliverance from all sin and all which sin and sorrow shall never temptations, which were evidently enter. his burden and what his very soul His illness commenced on Frihated. His entire and exclusive day, the 3rd of January, and terdependance on the merits and in- minated on Tuesday morning, the tercession of his Saviour, appear- 7th of the same month. It was ed to have been more complete short, according to his previous than ever : and he deemed all his wish and prayer, without much works, even the best of them, as pain, but great weakness, so that mingled with sin and imperfec- he was not able to speak much. tions. A sinner saved by grace,” But there was evidently peace and seemed to have been the habitual perfect resignation. He was buimpression of his mind, and the ried on the following Saturday, ground of all his hope, joy, and and, according to his own direction, confidence.

at 10 o'clock in the morning. On The history of God's servants is a paper found after his death, were in the main uniform, though in written minute directions as to his many circumstances greatly varied. funeral. He was buried in a spot As to conviction of sin, the need previously fixed by himself, close of a Saviour, and the spiritual con- to the south door of the chancel, test, there has ever been a wonder- on the outside. Opposite, on the ful uniformity. Their views of inside, is to be fixed to the wall a essential truths have throughout tablet of white marble, on which is all ages been really the same. to be inscribed the epitaph here What a confirmation is this of the given. His funeral sermon was reality of divine things and of the preached on the following Wednestruth of God's word! Let this day, at half after two in the afterconsideration have its due effect on noon, in Spratton Church. The our minds. The doctrines preached attendance was very large; several by the Apostles, and found in Holy of the neighbouring clergy were Writ, the doctrines preached by present, and many people from the our illustrious Reformers, and re- surrounding villages; a proof of vived in our Church by many in the the high respect in which he was last century, were those which our held. The memory of the just departed brother received, believed, 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.

He departed this life

Aged A sinner saved by grace! Reader, farewell : Time is short; The salvation of God shall be for ever. Sinner, mind eternity, and. Prepare to meet thy God.'



In those seasons of despondency even the teaching of the Greek we sometimes experience, when language to the Hebrew youth was forced to reflect on the inconsis- prohibited: and thus unconsciously tencies of many around us, or on took part in preparing him for his our own manifold sins and infirmi

subsequent labours as the great ties, it is cheering to be able to Apostle of the Gentiles. In this turn away our attention to some circumstance the hand of Provisplendid monument of divine grace,


dence is strikingly conspicuous. whose history has been left for our Little did Gamaliel think when he instruction. We there find what watched the progress of his pupil, God has been pleased to effect even in whom, perhaps, he saw upon a nature so fallen as ours; competent to become his successor and we feel encouraged to forget in the schools and to preserve the the inadequacy of the materials dignity of Jewish learning, when while contemplating the mighty he carefully led him through the power of him “who worketh ail dark but enticing labyrinth of things after the counsel of his own Rabbinical lore, and permitted him will.” An instance of this kind to glean from the Greeks those we have in St. Paul, whose con- brilliant sentiments or expressions version has often been cited as one which he might have thought of the most striking proofs of the would be employed in defending truth of Christianity : and when the national faith from the inroad we review the circumstances of his of Gentile opinions and practices; eventful life, we cannot but feel little did he or his zealous pupil that we have before us one of those think of the use to which all this favoured beings whom God sends apparatus of learning was hereafter forth, from time to time, to mani- to be applied. fest his glory, and to be his instru- The first time that Saul of Tarments in elevating the destinies of sus is brought before us, he


in the odious character of a perseSt. Paul's instructor, the learned cutor, consenting to the death of and tolerant Gamaliel, suffered his the martyr Stephen, and keeping pupil to make the Greek literature the raiment of those who slew him. part of his studies, in opposition to He had probably come forth from the recent Jewish laws by which his studious retirement filled with

our race.


lofty notions of those doctrines in pected obstacle. A light from which he had been so accurately heaven shone around him : he and instructed; and was seized with those who were with him fell, boundless indignation at the idea dazzled, to the ground : and then that others should hold them in a mysterious sound was heard by disesteem. From being an accom- them all, though to him alone were plice, he advanced to be a principal its accents intelligible. (Compare actor in the fearful work of perse- Acts ix. 7, and xxii. 9.) Saul, cution : and in this he undoubtedly Saul,” said the voice,

Saul," said the voice, “why pergave a strong proof of his sincerity. secutest thou me?”

" Who art He himself, when enumerating the thou, Lord ?” was the trembling claims which he might have made reply.—The God of the Jews is he for distinction among his country

for whose cause I am contending, men, adduces this fact as a proof and I know of no other God. of his devotion to Judaism;

Who art thou, Lord ?” With a cerning zeal,” he says, “ persecut- shock more piercing than that of ing the church.” In persons of the light which had struck him to humane and well-ordered minds the earth must those words have the persecution of others from a reached his ear:-“ I am Jesus, mistaken sense of duty, is an evi- whom thou persecutest.” dence of sincerity scarcely inferior And now an entire change takes to a patient submission to it by place in his heart through the themselves : for to some it would power of the Holy Ghost : divine be a less painful task to suffer for grace reigns triumphant there : the sake of certain opinions than and abandoning the haughty and to be compelled to inflict torments influential sect of which he had on others for not holding them. been so conspicuous a member, he And that Paul did not persecute hastens to preach the faith which from a natural tendency to cruelty, once he destroyed. Immediately is evident from his statement, I on his conversion he seems to have verily thought with myself that I gone, perhaps for purposes of reought to do many things contrary tirement, into Arabia, where, sepato the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” rated from the Apostles, he received The dictates of humanity, the quiet his spiritual instruction directly pursuits of the scholar, which ge- from heaven (Gal. i. 12.), and was nerally have a softening tendency, thus anointed and nerved for the all were sacrificed in his anxiety to post of eminence to which he was repress what he imagined to be to be appointed. It is error. Having probably imprison- probable, however, that there also ed or silenced the preachers of the he preached the Gospel; and that, Gospel in his immediate neighbour- possibly, in the face of the large hood, Saul (in the expressive words and beautiful temple at Petra,* the of St. Luke) " yet breathing out excavated remains of which are threatenings and slaughter against still the wonder of the traveller. the disciples of the Lord” went to From Arabia he returns again to the high priest for further powers. The priests were, doubtless, glad * “ It is possible that the three years to find an ally in a youth of such passed by St. Paul, after his conversion,

[ocr errors]

in Arabia, were spent in asserting the genius and promise: they gave him doctrines of Christ in the face of some of letters of authority; and armed these splendid temples [at Petra], as with these, he hasted to Damascus.

afterwards before the Parthenon at Athens

and the Fane of the Capitoline Jove in But in the way he met an unex- Rome.”-Quarterly Review.



Damascus : and his astonished in the grace of God. (Acts xiii. 43.) hearers scarcely believe the evi- Neither flattery nor persecution dence of their senses when they moves him from his course. At see the bitterest enemy of the Lystra divine honours are tendered Christians become their instructor. him, but he rejects them with indigInstead of bringing men“ bound nation: he is then stoned and left for unto Jerusalem,” he is made the dead, but he rises up and continues honoured instrument of leading his labours : at Philippi he is thrust them to the only seat of true free- into an inner prison, and his feet dom, the heavenly Jerusalem : and made fast in the stocks, but there the unbelieving Jews retire con- he prays and sings praises to God. founded from a disputant far better In the prosecution of his work he versed than themselves in every stayed awhile at Athens. He point of their law. Afterwards, walked amid the streets of that he enters upon that splendid series glorious city where the snowy of missionary enterprises, which temples stood out in fine contrast embraced in their circuit a very with the deep-blue sky, and gracegreat portion of the then known ful statues, personifying the richest world, and extended, if tradition dreams of poetry, glowed beneath may be believed, to the British the sun, or peeped forth from the isles.

grove where the sage and his disOn the character of St. Paul ciples were engaged in earnest volumes have been written : nor is disputation and “found no end, in it easy to exhaust the subject. Its wandering mazes lost.” With most conspicuous points are, per- every spot was linked some histohaps, zeal, deep humility, and one- rical association, with


work ness of purpose.

of art was connected the name of His natural disposition was zeal- some warrior, poet, or orator, which ous : and now that


which had been made familiar to the had been devoted to purposes of scholars of every nation by the mischief was sanctified and made wonderful literature of Greece. subservient to truth. That glow- And with what emotions did the ing zeal, which had led him from learned Apostle gaze upon these place to place in the vain endea- triumphs of human genius? The vour to crush a sect which he sight filled him with bitter anthought inimical to his country's guish : his spirit was stirred in faith, now conducted him to dis- him, when he saw the city wholly tant lands to proclaim the only given to idolatry.” means of salvation. No difficulties Those splendid sculptures around stop him in his course, for the him, showed, indeed, to what a attacks of his enemies only induce height human reason can go in its this Christian hero to grasp his conceptions of beauty; but then, sword with a firmer hand. He at the same time, they showed makes his way into the palace and it lying with fettered wings, at the synagogue, preaching both to the feet of superstition and guilt. the Roman proconsol and the bi- From all around he drew a striking goted Rabbins

the common evidence that " the wisdom of this salvation :” and unwearied by his world is foolishness with God;" public discourses, he addresses to and that men, “professing them

multitude who follow selves to be wise, had become him into the street, further exhor- fools." As he walked mournfully tations and persuasions to continue along, his steps were arrested by

[ocr errors]

the eager

an altar, bearing the inscription, But to this extraordinary zeal “ To the Unknown God.” Ah, he added a deep humility, and yes!" we may imagine him to have tender regard for the infirmities of exclaimed; * God is indeed un- others. Far from attempting in known in this magnificent city. right of his superior gifts to lord it What idea can yon colossal statue over God's heritage, he was satisof the armed Minerva give of Him fied to be nothing, that Christ might whom the heaven of heavens can- be all. At the call of duty, he not contain, and who yet dwelleth abandons his accustomed studies, with him also who is of a contrite and those intellectual pursuits, and humble spirit ?" And gladly which must have been most condid he comply with the request of genial to him, and earns his bread the inquisitive loiterers, who had by manual labour, rather than be been attracted by the novelty of a burden to others. He is even his teaching, to appear before the content to relinquish the common august court of Areopagus, and returns of gratitude from those to declare the doctrine of Christ; whom he had rendered the greatest where, mingling the wisdom of the of benefits, willing to spend and be serpent with the harmlessness of spent for his flock, even though the dove, he clears himself from the more he loved them the less he the capital charge of being a setter were loved. (2 Cor. xii. 15.) He forth of strange gods, by proclaim- reproved sin with an awful severity, ing that the God whom he preach- but he welcomed the penitents on ed was the one whom they already their return, and mingled his tears ignorantly worshipped. In his with theirs. (2 Cor. vii. 10.) The numerous trials, he finds the truth memory of his past madness against of the promise,

the disciples of Jesus, was continuformed against thee shall pros- ally before him; but while it kept per.” If the Jews at Damascus him in deep humility, it fired him lie in wait to kill him, it is that the to more strenuous exertions in the scene of his teaching may be shift- cause of Him whom he had once ed to another place. Do more bitterly hated: so that while he than forty men bind themselves meekly acknowledged that he was with an oath, that they will neither not meet to be called an apostle," eat nor drink till they have slain yet he could also say, “ that he him; it is that he may go and laboured more abundantly than found a church in Cæsar's house. they all;” though, anxious to hold. If he be exposed to ship- avoid even the appearance of boastwreck, God gives him the lives of ing, he adds, “yet not I, but the all that sail with him. Yes, and grace of God which was with me.” if a messenger of Satan be given to We see, too, that all his zeal buffet him, it is to show him that was devoted to one purpose, which God's grace is sufficient for him: was, “that he might finish his so that in all things he is “more course with joy, and the ministry than conqueror through him that which he had received of the Lord loved him.” Many troubles and Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the vexations, much anguish both of

grace of God.”

Whether his body and mind had he to undergo; voice was lifted up in the synabut his sorrows were drowned in

gogues of the Jews, the oratory by the flood of Divine love poured into the river-side, the forum of Athens, his heart by the Holy Spirit, which or the court of Nero, the theme of was given unto him. (Rom, v. 5.) his discourses was ever the same,

“ No weapon

« PreviousContinue »