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THIS NUMBER COMMENCES THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE

EDITOR'S SERIES

OF THE

PREACHERS' MONTHLY,

EDITED BY THE REV. W. HOPE DAVISON.

Living words of Great Preachers.

Topical Outlines for each Sunday of the Christian year.
Critical Notes on Difficult Texts.

Biographical Sketches and Studies.
Modern Discovery and the Bible.

Suggestive Themes and Texts for week-day Evening Services.
The Preachers' Library.

No effort will be spared to maintain the high character of the Magazine, and to adapt it for immediate use in the Preacher's Library. The aim of the Editor will be, as hitherto, to supply suggestive Thoughts for ThinkersUseful Topics for Preachers and Speakers-Living Seeds which may grow and fructify in the minds and hearts of busy and over-burdened men who are set for the proclamation and defence of the Gospel of Christ.

Arrangements have been made for the publication in forthcoming numbers of Sermons by famous preachers lately deceased.

The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON says "it is first-rate: the best of its class." "Such a monthly visitor must come to lone preachers in rural places as a boon and a blessing. The Editor gives as much variety as the object of the magazine allows, and his selection of homilies is a commendable one. We recommend ministers to buy the volumes, for then they will be likely to retain them among their stock-in-trade, and every now and then, when they are hard driven, they will find a discourse in them which they can use.'

PRICE SIXPENCE.

Of all Booksellers, or of the Publishers,

BEMROSE & SONS, 23, OLD BAILEY, E.C.,

To whom communications for the Editor and Books for review should be addressed.

THE BITTER CRY OF OUTCAST LONDON.

FUNDS

UNDS are now being raised, and are urgently needed, for the purposes indicated in the pamphlet issued by the London Congregational Union. The aim of the movement is not sectarian. The object is to improve the homes of the poor, and to help them to healthier and happier lives.

A second pamphlet is just issued, giving an account of the work already undertaken, and will be forwarded, post free, on application to the Rev. ANDREW MEARNS, Memorial Hall, Farringdon Street, E.C. Cheques should be crossed SMITH, PAYNE AND SMITHS.

N.B.-Clothes of every description will be gladly received by Mrs. MEARNS, 25, Oakley Street, Chelsea, S.W.

THE

PREACHERS' MONTHLY:

STUDIES FOR THE PULPIT.

EDITOR'S SERIES.

Living Words of Great Preachers.

The Christian Paradox.

2 CORINTHIANS vi. 10.

"As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” THESE are the closing words of a grand passage which forms the epistle for the first Sunday in Lent. No one can read it and say that he was not, in every sense of the word, a man who wrote it a very real man, a very remarkable man, a man of wonderful force and tenderness, of deep and wide sympathies, of strong and earnest convictions. From the mention of a late occurrence, his being constrained by intense anxiety about this Church of Corinth, to turn aside from work which God in a particular place had plainly prepared for him—it is, let me say in passing, a singular proof of his reality and naturalness-St. Paul has been led to speak of his great life work; what it is in its object, what it is in its subject, in its character as a mission, and in its character as an embassy. "God has committed to us a message of reconciliation; we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us."

In the paragraph now before us, he is speaking of the spirit in which he discharged this great commission. He feels himself to be working with God, and he throws his whole soul into the persuasion of his hearers. "I beseech you," he says, "not to receive in part this grace of God." There is a day of grace. That day has its twelve hours, and then the night cometh. That day is now running its course. Not yesterday, lest you should despair; not to-morrow, lest you should procrastinate. "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."

Feeling himself to be charged with such an office, St. Paul is watchful to put no stumbling block by his own conduct in the way of his work. VOL. I., JULY, 1884.

B

He takes care to recommend himself to the consciences of men, as God's minister ought to do, and he goes on to draw out this thought in a number of particulars. It is not easy to tabulate or to catalogue them, but they seem to fall under four chief heads, of which the first is patience under injury and suffering; the second, the cultivation of all Christian graces; the third, the wielding of Divine weapons, both of attack and defence; and the fourth, the adaptation of means to circumstances by all lofty superiority to the world's opinion, and by a just and resolute balancing of the apparent against the real.

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Now, it is in the last of these four divisions that the text stands. The turning point of it is in the 8th verse. "We approve ourselves," he says, as God's ministers ought to do" (in the 4th verse) "by honour, and dishonour, by evil report, and good report," that is, by our behaviour in both these experiences. Let men call us deceivers, that shall not hinder our being all the while true. Let men despise us as unknown, obscure, ignoble, very common men, there are those, for all that, who, taught of God, recognise and know us well; dying men, dying daily in our aspect towards the visible, but an inward life works in us, and it is the life of the risen Jesus; chastened of the Lord, and seeming to the world to be this only, yet we are not given over unto death. Sorrowful to human eyes, of all men most miserable, we have a spring, a fount of perennial joy, of which men wot not; poor, even to beggary, as men see us, we make many rich; destitute of everything in the world's judgment; in the sight of God, as His children, we possess all things.

Such was the contrast for St. Paul between the outward and the inward, between the seeming and the real in his condition and circumstances, between the world's idea of him and the actual truth.

I propose it to you now as a study. The contrast is one of principle, applicable to a thousand cases; but let us use one of his own expressions, transfer it in a figure to St. Paul himself, and draw a lesson or two from it.

We are apt to invest the apostles with a false halo of dignity, borrowed unconsciously from those who profess to sit in their seats now. It is thought childish, if not unmannerly, to ask what would Paul think if he could see one of his so-called successors now. We are reminded that we live in other times, and that if it is not all gain to have an endowed and established Church, with some of its ministers ranking with princes, and the rest elevated above destitution by the fact of their ordination, it is, at least, an anachronism, a forgetfulness, if not an ingratitude, to go back into apostolic times for the idea of ministerial income, position, and circumstances.

Brethren, admitting all this, and thankfully acknowledging how much we are spared of suffering, and how much we are aided in ministering, by living all these centuries after the fathers of the Church fell on sleep, we yet would try for a moment to realize the very different condition in life of that hero-apostle to whom, directly or indirectly, we owe the Christianity of England. St. Paul was a poor man; St. Paul had nothing. And I do not envy the man who does not feel some humiliation—I had almost said, who does not feel something like shame—when he thinks of it. To compare St. Paul's poverty with our comforts; to think of him as actually suffering hunger and thirst, while he took those incessant journeys, and wrote those undying letters for the sake of souls and churches, is a sad and sorrowful thought, even after it has been at rest all these centuries. It is probable that St. Paul was not poor till he became a Christian. He had a thorough and a superior education. He

was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, the most celebrated of instructors, and in the metropolis of Judaism, far from his native Tarsus-all indications of a birth at least respectable, in circumstances as well as in parentage. He does not expressly say so, but we may imagine independent, if not affluent, means to have been among those "all things," which he had counted loss for Christ. From that day forth, at all events, from the day that he knew Jesus Christ, he was a stranger to his brothers and an alien to his mother's children. From that time forth he had to shift for himself. The wise practice of equipping even sons of men of gentle Jewish birth with the knowledge of a trade came in usefully now for St. Paul. By his occupation, a tent-maker, he could stitch with his own hands at the rough black goatskin which was to form the movable shelter of many a sad traveller in regions without inn or hostel; and he had a sort of honest pride in earning that livelihood for which he might, without any impropriety-he says so have thrown himself upon the churches. So important did he account it, that he should be above the suspicion of a mercenary motive in preaching the Gospel, that he determined to waive the claim of the labourer worthy of his hire; and, with one single exception, he allowed no church to communicate with him as concerning giving and receiving, lest any should say that he made a gain of godliness. There is something very noble in all this, and withal very human. It seems to bring St. Paul very near to us in the act of lifting him high above us. "Poor, having nothing," not because he could not, but because he would not forbear working; nor again because he was proud or fantastic, but because he was entirely disinterested, and bravely independent, and sensitively honourable. We can thoroughly enter with admiration, if not by imitation, into his character; and it helps us in realizing for ourselves that other, that inner, life of which this was the outer case and shell. But St. Paul's poverty had its disadvantages, even for his Gospel. He seems to speak of it here as having been interpreted to his discredit. It was, evidently, said of him by his enemies at Corinth --for, alas! even then nominal Christianity was not all unity, and not all charity—it was said of him, this man is afraid to accept a maintenance, because he knows that his apostleship stands on precarious ground; it will not bear examination, and he will preclude examination by the parade of disinterestedness. Thus his poverty was, in one way, a hindrance to his ministry. He seems to speak of it here as having been one part of the dishonour, the evil report under which he had to bear himself as a Christian.

Brethren, are we quite sure that it would not be so now? We take it for granted that an apostle at least would be sure of acceptance and honour if he lived now. We picture him to ourselves robed and mitred, or else so idealised and glorified, that his presence would have been commanding and his word law to all of us. These are illusions. In this great city St. Paul would at this moment be far more lost than ever he was at Corinth or in Rome. If for a moment he rose into notice, if religious excitement gathered about him, if curiosity or fashion took him up, the boasted intelligence of the times, modern culture, higher education, and the press echoing and flattering, these would soon, to their own satisfaction at least, put him down. A few hints about enthusiasm, Festus's suggestion that a moping and brooding study had turned his brain, would do the work effectually for all but a few. A man who had nothing, a man who supported himself by tent-making, a man whose converts were chiefly among the lower orders, and who made no account of great and wise and mighty and noble, would have almost as

little chance of success in Christian London as in Pagan Athens. Like his Master, he might come to his own, but his own for the most part would neither recognise nor receive him. We are slaves still of appearances, though we think not so.

But, brethren, if we have fallen away from early Christianity in our practical estimate of things earthly, of wealth, and birth, and station, much more have we done so in our appreciation of Christianity itself. "As poor, , yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things," it was thus that St. Paul spoke of the Gospel. He has many terms and many figures by which to express its value, but a very favourite one is this: he speaks of it as a mine of wealth, a priceless treasure, unsearchable riches. "Silver and gold have I none," he would say with Peter, "but such as I have give I thee." And he would mean by this not exactly what St. Peter meant on that occasion, that he had the power of making a lame man walk, or a blind man see by miracle, but this rather, that he had the power of making rich; that he had the power of endowing for two worlds. He, having nothing, possessed all things; and wherever he went he could say indiscriminately to all who would listen to him and accept his Gospel: "All things shall be yours." And when he was asked what he meant by a phrase so lofty and so magnificent, he would answer: "I mean that the world is yours; I mean that life and death are yours; I mean that things present and things to come are yours."

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Brethren, if there is any meaning at all in such expressions, if they are not idle and empty, if they are not delusive and mischievous, is it harsh to say of all of us—in different degrees, I know, but with too much truth of all—“You are living immensely and unspeakably below your Christianity" Making many rich"-ponder the words "possessing all things"; take the word home; then look into the facts; listen to the talk, mark the lives of the men and the women whom you meet in society or with whom you transact business, and say what indication you see there of this countless wealth, of this measureless empire; or, better still, look into your own heart, each one, and inquire there, "Am I rich? Do I possess all things?" And, if not, it must be because of one of these three things: Is it that St. Paul used seven-leagued words of little meaning? Is it that the virtue has gone out of the once powerful Gospel? Or is it, in the third place, that I have not yet grasped and seized the thing itself which St. Paul spoke of, and which is there, in all its force still, for such as stir up themselves to lay hold of it?

Now this is a worthy subject for our meditation during this season. St. Paul puts together poverty and riches, destitution and possession. He says that he himself,-who certainly was not arrogant, who certainly thought humbly and even meanly of himself, who probably was a man of little address and little attraction, one of whom his detractors at least could say that, although he could write a good letter, his bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible;-that he himself, a poor man, could and did make many people rich; and he says again, that he who like his Master had no certain dwelling place, he who had not so much of earth as to set his foot upon, and not so much of certain income as to see to-morrow's bread, yet did himself possess all things, using the strongest word for possessing that the Greek tongue could supply. Let us compare for a moment the sort of thing which passes for a sufficient Gospel now to live by and to die by. How many persons, suddenly asked if they have peace with God, if they are ready to die, still more, if they have a desire like St. Paul to depart and to be with Christ, could answer

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