1 Timothy 1:16
But for this very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His perfect patience, as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
Sermons
A Test CaseAlexander Maclaren1 Timothy 1:16
An Encouraging ReflectionJ. Flavel.1 Timothy 1:16
Encouragement from the Case of St. PaulC. H. Spurgeon.1 Timothy 1:16
John Newton's ConversionJ. Newton.1 Timothy 1:16
On Patterns in ReligionE. White.1 Timothy 1:16
Paul an Example of MercyT. Kidd.1 Timothy 1:16
Paul's Conversion a PatternC. H. Spurgeon.1 Timothy 1:16
Praise for SalvationA. Rowland, LL. B.1 Timothy 1:16
Salvation for the Chief of SinnersE. Bayley, M. A.1 Timothy 1:16
Saul of Tarsus Obtaining MercyJ. Alexander.1 Timothy 1:16
The Character and Conversion of Saul of TarsusJ. Sherman.1 Timothy 1:16
The Divine Mercy UnlimitedS. Charnock.1 Timothy 1:16
Personal DigressionR. Finlayson 1 Timothy 1:12-17
The Apostle an Example of the Divine Long-Suffering to All AgesT. Croskery 1 Timothy 1:16, 17


There was an economical purpose in the salvation of the Apostle Paul.

I. THE EXERCISE OF THE LORD'S LONG-SUFFERING TOWARD THE APOSTLE. "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy."

1. The mercy takes the form of long-suffering; for the Lord bore long with the ways of this fierce persecutor of the saints, when he might have cut his career short in judgment.

2. It took the form of positive deliverance from guilt and sin and death. How often "the long-suffering of the Lord is to usward salvation" (2 Peter 3:9)!

II. THE DESIGN OF THIS REMARKABLE EXHIBITION OF MERCY. "That in me as the chief Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."

1. The long-suffering is exercised by the Lord himself. It is he who is wounded in the persecutions of his members. "Saul, Saul! why persecutest thou me?" Yet it is he who shows mercy.

2. The greatest persecutors may not despair of mercy. The Lord will tarry long with them if peradventure they may repent and turn to him.

3. The case of Paul - "the chief of sinners - ought to encourage sinners of every class and sort to exercise hope and trust in the Lord, as well as to meet the misgivings of those who think they have sinned too much to warrant the expectation that the Lord will have mercy upon them.

4. Trust in Jesus Christ necessarily brings with it eternal life. There is nothing needed but faith for this purpose. He that hath the Son hath life."

III. ASCRIPTION OF PRAISE AND THANKFULNESS TO GOD FOR HIS MERCY.

1. Consider the titles by which God is addressed. "Now to the King of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God."

(1) He is King of the ages, as his kingdom is called the kingdom of all the ages (Psalm 145:13); because as God, knowing the end from the beginning, he fixes the periods or stages of the development through which this world is destined to pass, shaping all events according to his pleasure, and making all things work together for good to them that love him.

(2) Incorruptible; because "he only hath immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16).

(3) Invisible; for no man hath seen him at any time, as he dwells in light inaccessible.

(4) The only God; in opposition to the false gods of the heathen, or to the multitudes of angels and principalities and powers.

2. Consider the doxology. "Unto him be honor and glory for ever and ever."

(1) They already belong to him alone.

(2) They will belong to him to all eternity.

(3) The thought of the overruling wisdom and. mercy and goodness of God in his case leads to this devout acknowledgment. - T.C.









Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy.
The narration of personal experience may be very helpful to those who are wanting instruction or sympathy. Men are better able to grasp truth in the concrete than in the abstract. To see a sinner saved from sin is more helpful than to read of salvation. No one recognized this more clearly, or acted on it more wisely, than Paul; and some of the most instructive parts of his Epistles are those in which he recounts his own religious experience. We may similarly help others, especially our own children, and those who are within the sacred circle of friendship; but the narration of experience may be as harmful as beneficial, if it becomes frequent or formal. There is danger of egotism, till our own personality covers the whole horizon of our thought. There is risk of affected singularity, as if we wished to be distinguished from others and considered superior to them. Referring to himself he says —

I. THAT SALVATION CAME TO ONE MOST UNDESERVING. "Chief of sinners though I am," he exclaims, "I obtained mercy," "that in me," in the very depths of my nature, in my whole future destiny, Jesus Christ might "show forth all long-suffering."

II. THAT HIS CONVERSION WAS A PATTERN FOR ALL THE FUTURE.

III. THAT SUCH CONVERSION SHOULD EXPRESS ITSELF IN PRAISE TO GOD is evident from the noble doxology which follows — "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, incorruptible, invisible, the only (wise) God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." Paul was always ready for a song of praise, and could sing as heartily in prison at Philippi as at the prayer-meeting beside its river. It is not often that God is spoken of as "King," and the expression rendered by our translators "the King eternal," but more correctly in the margin of the Revised Version "King of the Ages," is quite peculiar to this verse. What a helpful assurance this is that our God, our Saviour, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the supreme Lord of all the successive ages which stretch from the forgotten past into the infinite future; that He controls all stages of development in the natural realm, in the creation and dissolution of worlds, and in the kingdom of grace!

(A. Rowland, LL. B.)

I. LET US CONSIDER THIS MERCY IN REFERENCE TO HIMSELF.

1. In the first place, the mercy which he obtained pardoned all his sins. His sins, numerous and aggravated as they were, instead of being visited with deserved punishment, were all forgiven. The hand of mercy blotted out his iniquities as a cloud, and his transgressions as a thick cloud, so that in his own condition the promise of God to the penitent was fulfilled, "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." How complete and efficacious is the pardon which the penitent transgressor never fails to receive when he confesses his iniquities and cries, "Lord, save me, or I perish"!

2. The mercy which he obtained renewed and sanctified his heart and character. By this Divine and sanctifying illumination an entire change was effected in his sentiments, and feelings, and character; and though no new faculties were imparted to his mind, yet the original faculties of his mind received a new impulse and direction. His mind acquired new associations of ideas; new trains of thought and feeling; new views of himself, and of Christ, and of religion in general; so that he began to love what he once hated, and to hate what he once loved, and to declare, as the result of his own experience, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." How warm and constant was his love to Christ, whose mercy he had obtained! "Many waters could not quench it, neither could the floods drown it." With what tender and earnest compassion did his spirit yearn over those who wilfully rejected the mercy which he had obtained, and which, in his estimation, was infinitely valuable! "Of whom," says he, "I have told you often, and I now tell you, even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction." How entirely was he devoted to the work in which he was engaged! What steady and unflinching fortitude and magnanimity he manifested, in the midst of all the afflictions and persecutions he endured! "None of these things move me," said he. And yet what deep humility was associated with all his holy excellencies, and his abundant usefulness! He was "not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles."

II. CONSIDER THIS SAME MERCY IN REFERENCE TO JESUS CHRIST. For He was its source and giver, and by Him was this apostle constituted a "vessel of mercy, and a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use." And if such a character as Paul's was formed by Christ, what, think you, must be His own character? If Paul was the workmanship of Christ, what, think you, must be the skill, and purity, and power of the heavenly Architect? There was much in the character of Paul that was great, and much in it that was glorious; but every attribute of his greatness and every beam of his glory was derived from Christ.

1. In the first place, the mercy which Jesus Christ exercised towards him was long-suffering mercy. "In me," says he, "Jesus Christ hath showed forth all long-suffering." And in him it was indeed shown most evidently and extensively. Why did not flames from heaven descend, and consume him to ashes? Why? — for the same reason that they have not yet fallen upon you. "Because He is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

2. The mercy which Jesus Christ exercised towards him was sovereign mercy. And so far was he from even expecting it, that his thoughts and affections were fully occupied in anticipating the havoc which he intended to make in the church at Damascus. Such was his character up to the very moment when the persecuted Saviour met him in the way. And yet, though he neither deserved this mercy nor desired it, nor expected it, he most abundantly obtained it, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. No reason, I apprehend, can be assigned, by us at least, why he should be converted at all, or why his conversion should take place at that time, and under those circumstances, except "the good pleasure" of the Saviour's will. "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in Thy sight."

3. The mercy which Jesus Christ exercised towards him was efficacious mercy; for it came to him, "not in word only, but in power." If ever any case of depravity and crime appeared to be invincible and desperate, this was the case.

III. CONSIDER THIS MERCY IN REFERENCE TO OURSELVES AND TO SINNERS IN GENERAL. The apostle further says in our text, that the mercy which he obtained at his conversion was intended to render him "a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Christ to life everlasting."

1. In the first place, this pattern shows us that the conversion and salvation of a sinner's soul is effected by Divine mercy. Yes, throughout the whole work of man's redemption by the incarnation and sufferings of Christ, and throughout the pardon, and sanctification and spiritual progress of every saved sinner, mercy, sweet mercy reigns. Mercy determined on our salvation in the ages of eternity, and provided a Saviour for us in the fulness of time. Mercy arrests the sinner in his course, and enlightens his mind, and softens his heart and teaches him to pray, and enables him to be faithful even unto death. And mercy opens for him the gates of the celestial city, and conducts him to the throne, and places on his head the crown of everlasting life.

2. In the second. place, this pattern shows us the ability and willingness of Christ to show mercy to the greatest sinners, who repent and believe His gospel.

3. This pattern shews what a believer may become through the Saviour's mercy.(J. Alexander.)

Judgment and mercy are to be our songs in the house of our pilgrimage; and judgment and mercy are the chief subjects of God's Word. In one page of that Word we read of God's destroying the world with a deluge — in the other, of saving Noah and eight persons in the ark. In one page we read of His giving up the nations of the earth to the basest idolatry — in the other, of His calling Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees, and bidding him separate himself in mercy from them. In one page we read of His destroying the cities of the plain, and the inhabitants with them — in the other, of His rescuing Lot and his family lest he should be devoured in the coming devastation. God's wisdom and love are surprisingly manifest in these portions of Holy Writ, and in thus setting before us judgment and mercy. Some are monuments of His wrath, to alarm, arouse, and convict the impenitent, hardened, and profligate sinner; while others are monuments of His grace, His free mercy, and His sovereign love, to, show how boundless it is in its extent, and to animate penitent sinners to come to the same source from whence these individuals obtained so large a share. The apostle tells us that his conversion was "a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on Christ to life everlasting." Is there any one supposing that his sins are too peculiar and too aggravated to find mercy? I call upon him now to look at the peculiar case presented, at the specimen of the divine workmanship here brought to his view. It is to be held up as "a pattern," to show the vast and boundless extent of the grace of God in the conversion of the sinner, and the plenitude of the mercy of Christ in its extending to the utmost bounds of a sinner's guilt. Those of us who have believed through grace, ought to find our minds refreshed by looking at these patterns which God has set up in His Word.

I. THE SINFULNESS OF SAUL'S LIFE BEFORE HIS CONVERSION.

1. He was a horrid blasphemer. "I verily thought," he says, "that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth; which things I also did in Jerusalem." His name was like poison to his very soul; he never spoke of Him but with the most daring impiety; he would never examine the evidences of His mission, never look to the prophecies of olden time, never examine the types which the prophets represent and set forth of the great Messiah who was hereafter to come: but he took it for granted that He was an impostor, and he treated Him as such. He was a man of great learning, and he turned all his learning to despise his Saviour. He insulted Him and His disciples, and as far as lay in him he was determined that the name of Christ should never be known in the world, but as a name of execration fit only for the mouths of swearers and blasphemers. This was his determination.

2. He was a furious persecutor as well as a blasphemer. Whoever professed the name of Jesus Christ was the object of his inveterate rage. But let us trace the gross features in his character as a persecutor, in order to discover the strength of his enmity to Jesus Christ and His disciples.(1) He tells us that he was "exceedingly mad against them." And in Acts 9:1, there is a peculiar phrase used: "Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter." You have seen a man in a great passion; the passion affects his breathing, so that he breathes out his words; he cannot utter them with that coolness, and conciseness, and readiness, which he does when he is quite free from passion; but he breathes them out; it seems to affect all his powers. This is the exact metaphor used in the words of the passage: "breathing out." He was "exceedingly mad against them": not only angry, but mad; and not only mad, but exceedingly mad.(2) He threatened them with "slaughter." His tongue was a servant which he employed in the devil's service to a vast extent; he used the most desperate threats to these poor individuals, these lamb-like persons, of confiscation, of imprisonment, and even of slaughter.(3) He "compelled them to blaspheme." And methinks this is the cream of his defilement, that he was not content to be an infidel himself, that he was not content to degrade Christ himself, but he made this the price of being let loose from his grasp, that they should deny Christ, that they should forswear Christ, that they should give up Christ, and that they should sever themselves for ever from Christ.(4) He "haled men and women to prison": not only men but women. Their sex might have excused them and pleaded for pity; but that was nothing to him; women were no more regarded than men: his bowels were shut against the mother with the child at her bosom; she might plead them — it was of no use.(5) Look at another point of his character: "many of the saints did he shut up in prison"; not one family, but many, numbers; all within his own reach or power — he not only took them before the magistrates, but "shut them up in prison." And mark what he also tells us in Acts 26; he was not content with his rage exerting itself in Jerusalem, but he persecuted them "even unto strange cities." He extended this madness of persecution not only to Jerusalem and its suburbs, but to strange cities, cities that he had no connection with, and among whose inhabitants he had no need to go; only if there was a saint there, if there was one who named the name of Jesus there, that would bring him to that city.(6) He "caused them to be put to death," and triumphed over them in their sufferings. Acts 26:10. This was the character of Saul previous to his conversion. I do not know whether there is a persecutor present; of course I could not suppose that there is such a persecutor as Saul was. God be thanked that in happy Britain the government of the country would not allow it, or else the spirit, in numbers, is the same. But I refer to that man whose wife has just begun to be serious; he does not take a razor and cut her throat; he does not shoot her with a pistol; he does not drag her before a magistrate; but everything that can embitter her life, everything that can cross and aggravate her temper — this he does; and in this manner he persecutes her because she prays for him, because she loves Christ, and serves Him, and delights in His service. Art thou here, O man? Look at the spirit of the individual whom I present before you this evening, and see yourself, and hate yourself while you look at it.

3. He was not only a furious persecutor, but he was an injurious neighbour. He himself tells us this: "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious ": that is, he never did any real good; that is, he never sought God's glory, or his fellow creatures' true happiness: he would not only not enter in himself, but he would not let others enter in. How many widows did this man make! How many orphans did he make! How many hearts did he break! How much poverty did he occasion!

4. There was another point in his character: he was a proud Pharisee. This may appear light to some, but this was the crown of his character, this is the greatness of his guilt; this is (if I may use the expression) his scarlet and his crimson sin — that he went about to set up and establish his own righteousness, not submitting himself to the righteousness of God. "Publicans and harlots," says our Saviour, "enter into the kingdom of heaven before them." Now there are many individuals who are similar to Saul. We hear numbers say, "I am not a liar; I am not a drunkard; I pay my way; I live respectably in the world, and endeavour to train up my children respectably; and if I don't go to heaven, who ought to go?" And where is Christ, and where is the Saviour of sinners? "Yes, but then," you say, "I know I have done wrong in many things; we are all guilty in some respects: but then I have never been a great sinner, and I do hope that if I do as well as I can, the Lord Jesus Christ will help me, and give me some of His merit that I may die in peace." Now this, though not uttered in such plain and direct language, is often implied, and is the meaning of thousands of sinners.

II. THE FREE GRACE OF CHRIST EXHIBITED IN HIS CONVERSION. Perceive how his conversion was effected by Christ. Imagine yourselves in Jerusalem a few minutes, and see Saul just as he is setting out on his journey to Damascus, for the sake of persecuting the poor saints in that city. See him mount his horse; see the numbers around him — what a splendid guard the man has. Look at the Sanhedrim, the chief priests and the great men of his nation coming to him, shaking hands with him, and saying, "God speed your way, and give you the success of your mission": look how the people are congratulating him all around. See the poor saints trembling. "Now," they say, "I fear for the safety of my sister, who has gone to Damascus. Now is my dear friend who lives in that city about to be butchered by this furious tyrant." See the people all running to John Mark's house, to engage in prayer, and bring down the blessing of heaven, that this man be stopped in his persecution; and going home to write letters, to prevent, if possible, the danger to which some of their friends and relations will be subject by this man's arrival. Never man thought himself more secure; never man thought he was going on a more virtuous embassy; and he had pretty nearly reached Damascus, he was within sight of the gates; and just as he was going forward, and some of the saints perhaps looking out of the windows, seeing him advancing, and trembling for fear of his entry — just as he approached the gate, the Lord Jesus Christ opened a window in heaven, and let one single ray of His glory fall down from heaven upon him. This was the manner of his conversion; now let us see what effect did his conversion produce? What effect did it produce on the spot? It turned proud Saul into humble Paul: he that was raging with madness against the disciples, was now trembling and astonished for himself. See what it did for him the three days afterwards. The light that came from heaven had taken away his natural sight, but how it had illuminated his mind. How great his anguish now he saw his past life! Oh, the grace that could soften such a heart, melt such a mind! But see what his conversion did for him in after days. And here mark, there was not only grace to make him a Christian, but there was grace to make him a minister: he was not only taken from the world as the Church are, but he was taken from the Church as Aaron was, and made a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now let us see him in his ministry. What was the subject of it? "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." And he went and preached boldly before kings, and rulers, and magistrates, and assemblies of different classes, the glories of his Saviour, and the triumphs of His grace. Oh, the labours of this man! Oh, the prayers of this man! Oh, the zeal of this man! Oh, the melting pity of this man over lost souls! Oh, the subjugating power of Divine grace, and the influence of Divine love!

III. THE DESIGN OF CHRIST IN HIS CONVERSION. I know not which to admire most, the sovereignty and grace of Christ in converting him, or the sovereignty and grace of Christ in exhibiting his conversion as a pattern to others, as an example from which they might take encouragement as long as time should last.

1. Here is the pattern of the infinite merit of Christ's death. The atonement of Christ reaches back to the first sin, and extends itself to the last: "He was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." "He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him."

2. The unquestionable willingness of Christ's heart.

3. You here see the great design of Christ's gospel. Why is the gospel published? This is the pattern. To show you the great design of Christ's gospel — that is to encourage the souls of sinners to come to Him and be saved.

4. Again: look here and see the pattern of the renovating power of Christ's grace. Oh, how it changes the hearts and lives of sinners! In one of my village stations, a little time ago, I looked in at a cottage, and inquired of a poor woman there how things were going with herself and family. She said, "Oh, sir, I have more reason to bless God for the gospel than I can tell you. When we first came to this cottage, both my husband and myself were drunkards, our children were but barely clothed, and everything we had in the world was marked by the extremest poverty and misery; but now, instead of that, the Lord laid hold of my husband's heart first, then He was pleased to convert me by the preaching at the place of worship; and now the children are blessed, and I am blessed, and we are all happy together." And now you will see her one of the most respectable women in the village, with a little money in the savings' bank: on the Sunday all the children are catechised, and the husband delights to read and pray with his wife and children. Is not this an exhibition of the renovating power of Christ's grace? And this is not a solitary instance: you yourselves know instances like this in the neighbourhoods wherein you reside, where Christ's renovating power has been manifested. You are to look at this for a pattern if you are ever downcast for any individual. Here see what the power of Christ's grace can do. In the first place, corruption has a power over the individual, and makes him a blasphemer, a persecutor, injurious, and a Pharisee: and now the grace that has renovated his heart makes him a humble seeker of the Saviour, a zealous disciple of Christ, an anxious neighbour, desirous of the good of others, and pondering the way to heaven, and walking in it.

(J. Sherman.)

I. THE FACT WHICH IS HERE ASSERTED BY ST. PAUL. "I obtained mercy."

II. THE USE WHICH ST. PAUL MAKES OF THIS GREAT FACT IN HIS HISTORY. St. Paul speaks here of his conversion, not only in its reference to himself, but also in its reference to others. Perhaps more than any person that ever lived St. Paul lived for others; perhaps more than any person that ever lived St. Paul was the most useful to others. It was a great fact for himself; it brought Salvation to his soul, and he rejoiced in God for it. But it was a great fact for the world. Two things are especially, I think, to be noted in St. Paul's conversion. The one is its distinctness — it was a very marked conversion. His life was very decided before it and very decided after it. He was a prominent character, a well-known man, and it was a very distinct and a very decided conversion; but it is not upon that which he dwells in our text. There was another thing to be noted about the conversion of St. Paul, that it afforded a very wonderful exhibition and illustration of the long-suffering of Jesus Christ. The other apostles had been called by the Lord Jesus-Christ to serve and follow Him from a life of innocence, comparatively speaking, at all events from a life that was void of any opposition to Him.

(E. Bayley, M. A.)

I. The IMPROBABILITY of Paul's obtaining mercy. "Howbeit, I obtained mercy."

II. The MERCY which, notwithstanding the improbability of the case, Paul did receive.

1. It was sovereign in its source. Whence did it spring? Through what medium did it flow? Human merit could have nothing to do in the gift of mercy to the chief of sinners. Mercy always excludes merit, and most evidently so in the instance before us.

2. It was great in its degree. We estimate the greatness of mercy by the guilt of the offender, and by the effects it produces.

3. It was boundless in its blessings. Hear the elevated sentiment of this apostle, writing to the Ephesians: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ"; blessings of the best kind; blessings adapted to the nature and necessities of the soul; blessings that are from heaven, that lead to heaven, that bring us into intimate connection with heavenly realities, and that are durable as their eternal enjoyment. It is the observation of a late author, Though God is sovereign in the bestowment of mercy, He is not stingy. He goes beyond the humbled sinner's highest expectation. Where he looked for a single drop, there descends the copious shower. Where he hoped to receive the alms of one mite, he finds the collected treasures of a thousand ages, the great mountain of solid gold.

III. The DESIGN of its bestowment.

1. It was to illustrate Divine long-suffering.

2. It was to promote human encouragement. We here behold its majesty, its energy, and its triumph.

(T. Kidd.)

Some men speak only of a salvation which they have heard of from others. Some teach others a salvation which they have experienced themselves. Paul was the chief of these. This personal element runs through all his writings. The stream of his teaching sprang at first, and still springs, from the fountain depths of his own soul, and it was, therefore, a living stream, like the river in Ezekiel's prophecy, which deepened as it flowed and healed wherever its waters descended. God had fulfilled to him the words, "The water that I shall give him shall be within him a fountain of water springing up to everlasting life." The point which comes before us to-day is this — his salvation ended not in himself, it was a pattern to encourage all other sinners to trust in the like forgiving mercy. We are very dependent on fashions and patterns in all parts of our life, to assist our labours, to stimulate our energies, to encourage our hopes. Examples act upon us more powerfully than arguments. Happy the Church which can say to all around, not only "Believe the Gospel," but "See what it has done for us! — that it has given us peace with God, a new and nobler life within, of thought, of design, of love, of hope, of action. Come with us, and we will do you good." The best recommendation of a remedy, and of teaching, is its visible effect on ourselves. Let us see, by looking more closely into the history of St. Paul, how remarkably he was a typical pattern of salvation by Christ in all its stages and developments from first to last.

I. IN HIS CALL. This was a supernatural and gracious work of God, brought about by an act above and beyond all ordinary moral laws. The act of placing saving truth before us as a heavenly vision is always the act of God alone, in His providence and grace. It is the result of a purpose of God, a call. Men do not discover truth savingly by mere study or experiment, as they find out the secrets of nature. Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. It is the Spirit who says to Philip on behalf of the Treasurer, "Draw nigh to this chariot," and opens to him the book of Esaias the prophet. If you have been visited with a view of the reality of Jesus Christ as your Saviour, this has been the act of God. "Of Him are all things." So it was with Saul of Tarsus.

II. Paul's life is A PATTERN OF ARBITRARY AND SOVEREIGN SELECTION TO SPECIAL SPIRITUAL ADVANTAGES AND SPECIAL APPOINTMENTS — the result of an everlasting purpose of God. He is a chosen vessel to Me to bear My name before kings and peoples — a splendidly embossed golden vase in which sweet odours of truth shall be burned before all nations. The world is full of such special and individual destinations that can be traced to no other source than the special will of God. Thus, too, some nations, as Israel of old, and now the Saxon race. Yet this Divine predestination is quite consistent with man's ultimate freedom. The predestinations of God do not enslave, but liberate and energize the will of man. "He worketh in us — to will." The will is ours, the inspiration is God's. "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision." But the special vocations of God's servants are not for their own private and personal behoof. They look toward the profit of many, that they may be saved. If Paul is the chosen vessel, it is that he may "preach the Gospel to every creature." "To make all men see the fellowship of the mystery."

III. St. Paul was A PATTERN IN HIS PARDON. "In him first Jesus Christ showed forth all long-suffering," to encourage others, though vile as he, to wash in the same life-giving fountain. We need other and nearer patterns. And they abound around us. Would that some whose experience is large and exact, and who have seen into the secret of the salvation of many different kinds of souls, would write for us a variety of biographies to serve as encouraging patterns, suited to modern contemporary society. It seems useless to tell the modern young man, whose form of alienation from God, his heavenly Father, is not that of a cruel persecutor, that he may take courage to trust in the mercy of God from the example of St. Paul. It does not touch him. A pattern of modern spiritual life that sprang out of a modern callousness and love of trifling amusements, just like his own, is what he requires. Tell them of such "patterns" as these, and they prove very helpful. God reveals Himself in many ways in nature, and Christ reveals Himself in many ways in the spiritual providence — not by books only, much less by sermons only — but by lives, somewhat akin to our own, and likely to move and touch and animate us by their example in kindred spheres of action. And so with women, and young women. The "patterns" which are likely to affect them, in a way to draw them to Christ, in closer love, are not those set before us in "Foxe's Book of Martyrs," where men had to burn at Smithfield for denying transubstantiation, at the behests of Mary Tudor and her bishops. They must be drawn from nearer home and from our own day. And such "patterns" of loving and noble lives, inspired with tender compassion, and industrious obedience, and diligent zeal in home duties are so numerous nowadays that a girl must live in a very heathenish circle if she knows of none which can help her to serve her Saviour. Let us not be so blind as to see no transfigurations of character except in the dead. There are around us not a few who shine already in the garments of immortality; who can be depended on for truth, for gentleness, for industry, for serious tenderness, and for active sympathy; and whose uplifted faces already gleam with the reflected light of that city of the living God to which they are moving upwards. But when all is said of the helpfulness of patterns of salvation in aiding us to believe and love the Lord, it remains true that earthly lives are but patterns of things in the heavens, and not "the very image of the things." They serve but as the shadows of the heavenly realities. They are but prophecies of a more glorious dawn. For the end is not yet, and when that which is perfect is come, that which is imperfect shall be done away. "Then shall I be satisfied when I wake up in Thy likeness."

(E. White.)

I. IN THE CONVERSION OF PAUL THE LORD HAD AN EYE TO OTHERS, The fact of his conversion and the mode of it —

1. Would tend to interest and convince other Pharisees and Jews.

2. Would be used by himself in his preaching as an argument to convert and encourage others.

3. Would encourage Paul as a preacher to hope for others.

4. Would become a powerful argument with him for seeking others.

5. Would, long after Paul's death, remain on record to be the means of bringing many to Jesus.

II. IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE PAUL SPEAKS TO OTHERS.

1. In sin. His conversion proves that Jesus receives great sinners.

2. In grace. He proved the power of God to sanctify and preserve.

III. IN HIS WHOLE CASE HE PRESENTS A CARTOON OF OTHERS.

1. As to God's longsuffering to him. In his case longsuffering was carried to its highest pitch. Longsuffering so great that all the patience of God seemed to be revealed in his one instance. Longsuffering which displayed itself in many ways, so as to let him live when persecuting saints; to allow him the possibility of pardon; to call him effectually by grace; to give him fulness of personal blessing; to put him into the ministry and send him to the Gentiles; to keep and support him even unto the end.

2. As to the mode of his conversion. He was saved remarkably, but others will be seen to be saved in like manner if we look below the surface of things. Saved without previous preparation on his own part; saved at once out of darkness and death; saved by Divine power alone; saved by faith wrought in him by God's own Spirit; saved distinctly, and beyond all doubt. Are we not also saved in precisely the same way?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

John Newton, speaking of the sudden death of Robinson, of Cambridge, in the house of Dr. Priestly, said: "I think Dr. Priestly is out of the reach of human conviction; but the Lord can convince him. And who can tell but this unexpected stroke may make some salutary impression upon his mind? I can set no limits to the mercy or the power of our Lord, and therefore I continue to pray for him. I am persuaded he is not farther from the truth now than I was once."

(S. Charnock.)

I have heard it said of the elephant, that sometimes before he crosses a bridge he puts his trunk, and perhaps one foot, upon it; he wants to know if it is quite safe, for he is not going to trust his bulky body to things that were built only for horses and men. Well, after he has tried it, if he finds it strong enough, away he goes, and his great carcase is carried right across the stream. Now, suppose you and I sat on the other side, and said we were afraid the bridge would not bear us! Why, how absurd our unbelief would be. So when you see a great elephantine sinner, like the apostle Paul, go lumbering over the bridge of mercy, and not a timber creaks, and the bridge does not even strain under the load, why, then methinks, you may come rushing in a crowd, and say, "It will bear us if it will bear him; it will carry us across, if it can take the chief of sinners to heaven!"

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I have never doubted the power of God to convert the heathen world since He converted me.

(J. Newton.)

It is no small encouragement to a sick man, to hear of some that have been cured of the same disease as his own, and that in a higher degree of prevalence.

(J. Flavel.)

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