2 Corinthians 4:7
Now we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this surpassingly great power is from God and not from us.
Divine Power Illustrated by the Triumphs of the GospelJ. Innes.2 Corinthians 4:7
Earthen VesselsE. Hurndall 2 Corinthians 4:7
Heavenly Treasure in Earthen VesselsR. Tuck 2 Corinthians 4:7
Spiritual TreasureJ.R. Thomson 2 Corinthians 4:7
The Gospel TreasureMatthew Henry.2 Corinthians 4:7
The Gospel Treasure in Earthen VesselsJ. Alexander.2 Corinthians 4:7
The Gospel Treasure in Earthen VesselsJ. Sherman.2 Corinthians 4:7
The Lamp in the PitcherD. Fraser 2 Corinthians 4:7
The Treasure in Earthen VesselsW. Syme.2 Corinthians 4:7
Ministers in Their Weakness and StrengthC. Lipscomb 2 Corinthians 4:7-18

There is the ever-recurring contrast. It is now the ministry as a "treasure," and this treasure is "in earthen vessels." We understand the apostle to refer to the body when speaking of the "clay vessel," the contrasted elements being the glory of the ministry as a Divine illumination and the fragile human form in which it was contained. It was thus that "the excellency of the power" was seen to be "of God, and not of us." Not only was it the power of God, but of "exceeding greatness" (Kling), and while the "surpassing might" demonstrated itself in the gracious and widespread effects of the ministry, it was also obvious in the physical support given in the midst of such unprecedented labours and trials. To illustrate this "surpassing might" (Conybeare and Howson), St. Paul adduces his own experience. As it respects the "earthen vessel:"

1. Troubled on every side.

2. Perplexed.

3. Persecuted.

4. Cast down.

5. Always dying; bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.

As it respects the "excellency of the power:"

1. Not stressed.

2. Not in despair.

3. Not forsaken.

4. Not destroyed.

5. Life of Jesus made manifest in our mortal body.

These ideas of suffering are taken from the body.

1. Pressed or hemmed in on every side.

2. Benighted on our path.

3. Pursued in a conflict.

4. Thrown down and expecting to be killed.

5. The dying of the Lord Jesus never absent as a bodily impression.

This is the second of those vivid pictures St. Paul has given of his personal life, the first being found in 1 Corinthians 4:9-13. There is a marked difference between the two representations, the former referring to the contrast between himself and the self-sufficient Corinthians, while the latter sets forth the contrast between "the glorious gospel" and the weakness of its ministration by means of men. Here the prominence is given to the similarity of his own life to that of Christ," that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." Had he spoken in the previous Epistle of self-denials and voluntary sufferings over and above "other apostles," going on a warfare "at his own charges," planting a vineyard and eating not "of the fruit thereof," a shepherd who "eateth not of the milk of the flock"? No such allusions (except in the reference made in the twelfth verse) are found in this chapter. Before him, in full view, is the career of Jesus of Nazareth, his resignation of the comforts of earth, the homelessness and other privations he endured, and he, the apostle of the Gentiles, is conformed in outward or physical aspects to the sufferings of Christ. Still more, the life of Christ's resurrection and exalted glory appears in him, and this life, so manifested in "our mortal flesh" and the more signally exhibited because of infirmities and afflictions, is for their benefit. "Death worketh in us, but life in you." But is death a shadow, a discouragement, a paralyzing terror? Nay; the life imparted to the Corinthians through him returned from them to his own soul. He believed and spoke; they heard and believed. Furthermore, he had another consolation, the hope of a resurrection, when he and they should be presented by Christ to the Father for final acceptance. Yes; the fellowship would be immortal as well as glorious. "All things are for your sakes," whatever had befallen him, and this "abundant grace," extended to an ever-enlarging number, would swell the volume of thanksgiving to God. In his mind "the glory of God" is never associated with narrow bounds, never with a few, always with the "many" - "through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God." This is his manhood; largeness in everything; breadth of thought and sentiment for this world and the future! a manhood that could breathe in nothing smaller than a universe. How much he is worth to us in this particular! On this account "we faint not." Nothing had power to dishearten his spirit or depress his efforts. The burden rallied the strength; the heavier the weight the more energetic the resistance. Another contrast - outward man, inward man: man in each. St. Paul, who is the theologian of the Bible on the subject of the body no less than of the soul, is here in one of his favourite moods, and, as usual, his philosophy (if we choose so to regard his discernment) is as profound as his piety. "Though our outward man perish." It cannot but perish. "Dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return." The body exists for no independent purpose, it is for the soul, and the ideal of the soul determines the ideal of the body's history. It eats, sleeps, works, for the soul. It decays for the sake of the soul. Now, this decay which the apostle is considering, we may look at in the light of modern physiology. St. Paul is no teacher of physiology or of science in any form, but he mentions facts, which we can interpret by aid of recent science. What, then, do we know of decay as a bodily law? We know it is a law coexistent and cooperative with our physical life. It sets in early, goes on continuously, and ends only when the body dies. It is a succession of decays. Viewed in this light, decay is a function of activity or a sequel to activity, and, accordingly, a condition of renewal. Exercise the arm like a blacksmith, and it rapidly wastes matter. Exercise the brain as a student, and certain constituents are constantly thrown off and expelled from the system. Yet, in all this, there is reproduction and even growth. The decay has an order; it proceeds from the less serviceable to the more useful functions. Early in life, animal sensations are in excess. The outer world floods the young senses, and no image is painted on the brain that is not a copy of something external. But this abates. It lessens by providential law. The spirits decline in boisterousness; perceptions are not so vivid; reflectiveness increases; and the pulse is more of a pulse of thought, will, emotion. What we can spare best is the first to decay. Long before eye and ear show signs of failing other organs begin to advertise their decline. And hence the decay proceeds as to time and method in such a form as to answer the ends of the body in its relation to the soul. Seldom are there violent changes, No great revolutions occur. Little by little the alterations go on, so that the mind is insensibly accommodated to them. Agreeably to this law, decay contributes till late in life to the development of the mind. Not until decay has accomplished higher ends does it tend towards dissolution. Gently, indeed, the hand of the Father touches the frail tenement, here a nerve and there a muscle, so as to make it less a body for the earth and more a body for the soul. Physiologically, therefore, there is a basis for St. Paul's theology of the body. Now, physiologists may say, as some of them have said, that their science has nothing to do with religion, and, forsooth, this in one sense may be true. But it is certain that Christianity has a good deal to do with their science. Nor, indeed, have we to look further than the text for proof of the fact that, while St. Paul was doing nothing more than unfolding the glory of the gospel, one or more of the rays of that splendour shone on facts which science is only just now beginning to understand. But the inner man, what of him? "Renewed day by day." We have seen that Providence uses decay for restoration and even enhancement of power, and moreover, not until physical development has attained its maximum in respect to mind, does it happen that decay operates towards dissolution. Outward and inward - both the man, as we have said - and yet the differencing adjectives are very expressive. Look at the outside of a tree, the rough bark adapted to the hard usages of wind and weather, and fitted to enclose and protect the fibre and circulating sap. So of the body. It is a sheath to the soul, preserving its freedom from being overpowered by the outward world and guaranteeing self-direction to its activity. More than this, body is a developing instrumentality of mind, and, in this respect, fulfils the special purpose of Providence. Nevertheless, the soul has its own prerogatives. It is God's image, and, as such, witnesses to its own nature as infinitely different from matter. We call it soul because it is perfectly unlike body. We call it spirit because "God is a Spirit." Such words as body, soul, spirit, stand alone and contain the truth of all truths. Now, the apostle urges this contrast; body decays and dies, spirit under the influence of the Holy Ghost is renewed daily. Spirit has a capacity for interminable growth. Day by day, a clearer knowledge of itself, a keener penetration of consciousness, a deeper sense of sinfulness in its nature, and, anomalously enough, while gaining a victory more and more over particular sins, having an acuter conviction of inbred sin. Day by day, the world falling away from its senses, and yet, amid the decay of sensuousness, a continual ascension of delight and gladness as the spirit loses its hold on merely aesthetic beauty and enters more fully into moral beauty, so that, while the body becomes more and more the "temple of the Holy Ghost," the earth grows into a sanctuary of God, where the hours fail not to observe their ritual of worship and the air is never so hushed as not to breathe praise to God. Day by day? Ah! are there not idle days, apparently useless days, even days when prayer and holy service seem a burden? Doubtless; but we must not conclude that these seasons are altogether unprofitable. If we are learning nothing else, we are learning how weak and impotent we are, and how unreliable are our constitution and habits except we have daily renewing grace. God leaves us to ourselves sometimes, that we may find out what company we keep when he is absent. Day by day, the most precious of all is a growing nearness to the Lord Jesus Christ. We can recall the time when he was mainly to our young souls a traditional Christ. We knew him by the hearing of the ear and by the sight of the eye. Voices there were that spoke of him and commanded our listening. Faces there were that shone with unearthly light and touched our eyes to a reverent gaze. They are gone now. Sorrow has done its work, and, if that be done, all other work is made effective for spiritual progress. How real he becomes when we suffer as Christians! In the loneliness that comes with all profound grief, what a personal Christ is he to our hearts! Hearts, we say, for the revelations of sorrow, the fullest and grandest ever made to the soul, are all revelations of the blessed Jesus to the affections. Once we could not have thought it possible, but, in later years, the secret of the Lord is with us, and we commune with him as friend with friend. The wonder now is, how we could ever live an hour without this sense of sonship possessing the soul. "Out of the depths" we have learned to say, "Abba, Father," and then we can rejoice with "joy unspeakable and full of glory." The outward man perishing, the inward man renewed day by day, how would such a man as St. Paul look upon trial and adversity? We know more of the nature, variety, and depth of his sufferings than of any one among the saints of the New Testament, and yet he calls his affliction light. It is also "but for a moment? Why he spoke in this way is made clear at once, for the light and momentary affliction is working for his benefit, fulfilling a purpose, executing a design, and this is a "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." These words are best left to private meditation. "Glory" in contrast with "affliction," "weight" with "light," "eternal" with "moment," and then the "exceeding," the "more exceeding," the "far more exceeding;" we honour the sublimity most by thoughtful silence. And this winking, which is now going on by means of Christ's presence in affliction and derives no merit from him, is so far realized by the apostle that he cannot look upon the things about him other than as transient. It is not the mere decay of the outward man nor the evanescence of the world's glory that produces in him this exalted state of mind. The point of view is altogether different. From the height of spiritual life as essentially eternal life, he glances at the panorama of the world as it passes by, but his look - the fixed eye, the earnest gaze - is on the things which are eternal. For him this eternity has already begun; and while every new grief and every repetition of an old sorrow "worketh" a deeper feeling of the spiritual and eternal life within, he is equally well assured that each one adds something to the accumulated glory of the heaven awaiting him as an apostle of the Lord Jesus. - L.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels. &&&
I. COMPARES THE MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL TO EARTHEN VESSELS, A vessel contains what is put into it. The vessels of the temple were some of gold, others of silver, and they were consecrated to God. In the most ancient times there were vessels of gold. This may remind you of Enoch. It must have seemed strange to observe one so much devoted to God as he was. He persuaded few. The treasure then, as now, was little esteemed. Silver vessels may represent the prophets. As the vessels of silver were the ornaments of the sanctuary, so were the prophets the ornaments of the Church. Earthen vessels may represent the weakness of man.

II. THE GOSPEL IS COMPARED TO A TREASURE. The gospel finds man in a state of poverty, and he must remain in the same state unless enriched by it. The gospel is a treasure that the soul can enjoy. The gospel is a treasure which the thief cannot touch. The gospel is a treasure which will not leave the Christian at death.

III. THE GOSPEL GAINS GLORY FROM THE MEANNESS OF THE VESSELS IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED. It is wonderful that such a treasure is in earthen vessels, because it exceeds the expectation of men. God is more observed when the instrument is weak. Such as are furnished with this treasure ascribe it all to the goodness of God. We shall now make a few inferences.

1. Is it so, that there is a treasure? Then it requires diligence to secure it. No man succeeds in this world who is not active.

2. Is it so, that there is a treasure? Then take heed that you do not despise it. When the Spaniards conquered South America, they made it evident that they adored its gold, and they practised every exertion to obtain it. Let the Christian show that he values the heavenly treasure by his diligence in seeking it.

3. Is it so, that this treasure may be obtained by all? Then value it. It is not in the power of all to be rich.

(W. Syme.)

God designs His glory as the result of the instrumentality He employs. What apparently could be more visionary than the design of Moses to deliver the Israelites? But God chose to illustrate His power by "leading His people like a flock by the hands of Moses and Aaron." But the twelve fishermen of Galilee appeared, in fanaticism, to exceed all their predecessors. But ere they died they had filled the world with their doctrine.

I. IT STATES AN IMPORTANT FACT. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels."

1. The depositaries of Divine truth. Need I specify the truths of which they were made the depositaries? They received "Christ crucified"; they were put "in charge of the gospel"; the doctrine of man's ruin by nature, and his recovery by sovereign grace. These truths are beautifully styled a treasure.

(1)Think on their value.

(2)Think on their magnitude.

(3)Think on their permanence.There is a sense, peculiar to the apostles, in which they were made the depositaries of this treasure. Most of them had been admitted to personal converse with the Lord of heaven; the Spirit had taken of the things of Christ and showed to them what they had heard.

2. The instruments of Divine agency. "That the power may be of God." All believers have this invaluable treasure, but to some it is committed with a more extensive design than to others. Jehovah's wise and gracious plan is that of co-operation, and when He blesses any being it is to make him a blessing. Thus the world of grace corresponds with that of nature. The sun has the treasure of light and heat. Why? That he may shine — may display the glory of God, and show through nature His handy work; may fertilise the ground — may illuminate the system, and shed a lustre which some of tim receivers shall again reflect. The recommendation of Divine truth, according to the station which we fill, necessarily results, not only from the Divine appointment, but from the knowledge of the truth itself. It is a treasure which cannot be concealed.

3. The occasions of Divine glory. "The power" — "the excellence of the power" — reminds us that something worthy of God is produced. What has been the effect upon society. In the metaphorical language of Scripture, "the wilderness and the solitary place was glad for them, and the desert rejoiced and blossomed as the rose."

II. AS THE STATEMENT OF A PRINCIPLE WHICH RELIGION WILL IMPROVE. The excellence of the power is of God. Let us consider it —

1. With reference to God. He will be acknowledged; He has written His name in all His hands have made. Jehovah's eternal praise is to result from the redemption of a lost world. By it His nature is exhibited, His perfections are displayed, His government is illustrated. By this method He impresses us with the nature and importance of salvation; for we see the necessity of His immediate agency to effect it.

2. With reference to ourselves. "The excellency of the power" is "of God, and not of us." This conviction is calculated to qualify for the engagement. It is adapted —(1) To keep us humble.(2) Therefore the conviction is further calculated to keep us near to Himself.(3) This principle, further, will prevent our discouragement. "Therefore, seeing, we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not."

3. With reference to our hearers.(1) It wilt produce in them satisfaction with our message. They will remember that our doctrine and our reproofs are not ours, bug His that sent us.(2) Again, the belief of the truth in our text will induce our hearers to aid us — to aid us by their prayers.

(J. Innes.).


1. There are on earth many mines of material treasures, but the mine which contains this is the Word. Here are contained all things which "are profitable."

2. But while this treasure is spiritual, it is invaluable. "Man knoweth not the price thereof, neither is it found in the land of the living." And if you ask for the evidence of this, you may see the price that it cost — not silver and gold, but the precious blood of Christ.

3. Spiritual and invaluable as it is, it is an obtained treasure. "We have it."



1. When God predicted the success of the gospel, He said, "My Word shall not return unto Me void." When the apostles looked upon their hearers, they said, "The power is of God." And even now, when the gospel is preached, that mind which authority could not govern, nor vengeance terrify — how often has it been carried captive by Christ! And how excellent is this power! It keeps the heart and mind in the knowledge of Jesus Christ; it is a good hope through grace.

2. Now, had an angel been the depository of this treasure, we might have been ready to give praise to the angel's eloquence and power; but it is not so now, "for God," saith the apostle, "hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."

(J. Alexander.)


1. There is in it an abundance of that which is of inestimable value. "The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal them, the onyx, or the sapphire" (Job 28:19). There are treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the truths which the gospel discovers to us. There are treasures of comfort and joy in the offers which the gospel makes us, and the blessings it assures to all believers. These are things of value to the soul of man. And there is an abundance of them, infinitely exceeding that of light in the sun or water in the sea. In Christ there is enough of all that our souls need.

2. This is safely laid up for a perpetuity, and therefore it is a treasure. It is deposited in good hands. It is hid in God — in His wisdom and counsel. It is hid in Christ and in His undertaking for us, which contain all that we need as sinners. It is hid in the Scripture. There it may be found; thence it may be fetched by faith acting on Divine revelation, assenting to it with application and resignation. It is a treasure, for it is laid up for hereafter. The bulk of these riches is that which is reserved in heaven for us — a glory that is to be revealed in due time.

3. It is of universal use to us, and therefore it is a treasure. It is not only valuable in itself, but every way suitable and serviceable to us. It is a treasure in the world; it puts honour upon it, and puts good into it. It is a treasure to any nation or people. It is a treasure in the heart of every true believer who receives it.

II. MINISTERS ARE EARTHEN VESSELS IN WHOM THIS TREASURE IS PUT. They are said to have this treasure, not only because they ought to have it in their hearts themselves firmly to believe it, but because they have the dispensing of it to others.

1. They are but vessels that afford no more, no other, than what is put into them, nor can give but just as they have received. God is the fountain of light and life. Ministers must remember this and religiously adhere to their instructions. People must remember this, and not expect more from their ministers than from vessels. We have a gospel to preach, not a gospel to make.

2. They are but earthen vessels. Some think here is an allusion to Gideon's soldiers, who, advancing to battle in the night, took lamps in their earthen pitchers, with the glaring light of which, upon breaking the pitchers, the enemy was discomfited. By such unlikely methods is Christ's cause carried on, and yet is victorious. Let us see why the ministers of the gospel are here compared to earthen vessels.(1) They are made of the same mould with other people. All the children of men are earthen vessels; the body is the vessel of the soul, and it is of the earth, earthy. We are not only children of men, as you are, but we are by nature children of wrath, even as others.(2) They are oftentimes, in respect of their outward condition, mean and low and of small account, as earthen vessels are not only men, but men of low degree, sons of earth, as the Hebrew phrase is. Their family, perhaps, like Gideon's, poor in Manasseh. The first preachers of the gospel were poor fishermen — earthen vessels indeed — bred up to the sea.(3) They are subject to many infirmities, to like passions as other men, and upon that account they are earthen vessels; they have their faults, their blemishes, as earthen vessels have.(4) They are made of different sorts of earth, as earthen vessels are — all of the same nature, but not all of the same natural constitution. The bodies of some are of a stronger make, and more cut out for labour, while others are feeble, and soon foiled. But those of the finest mould, even the china vessels, are but earthen ones. A great deal of difference there is likewise between some and others of those earthen vessels in respect of natural temper; some are more bold, others more timorous; some more warm and eager, others more soft and gentle.(5) They are of different shapes and sizes, as earthen vessels, notwithstanding which they may all receive and minister the treasure according to their different capacities.(6) They are all what God, the great potter, makes them. Therefore we ought not to envy the gifts of those who excel us.(7) They are all vessels of use and service in the family, though they are but earthen ones.(8) They are oftentimes despised by men, notwithstanding the honour God has put upon them, and are thrown by as broken vessels in which is no pleasure. It has often been the lot of some of the most faithful ministers of Christ to be loaded with reproach.(9) They are frail and mortal and dying, and upon that account they are earthen vessels. Thus the apostle explains it here: "We which live are always delivered unto death." They are worn out with their labours, and are spent in the service of Christ and souls.

III. God has put the treasure of the gospel into earthen vessels THAT THE DIVINE POWER WHICH GOES ALONG WITH THE GOSPEL MAY BE SO MUCH THE MORE GLORIFIED. The great design of the everlasting gospel is to bring men to fear God and give glory to Him. There was an excellency of power going along with the apostles which appeared to be of God, and not of themselves.

1. To strengthen them for the work they were employed in. To preach down Judaism and paganism, and to preach up the kingdom of a crucified Jesus, was a service that required a far greater strength, both of judgment and resolution, than the apostles had of themselves.

2. To support them under the hardships that were put upon them.

3. To give them success in that great work to which they were called.Now for the application of this.

1. It may be many ways instructive to us who are ministers, and may remind us of our duty.(1) Are we earthen vessels? Then we have reason to be very humble and low in our own eyes, and to take great care that we never think of ourselves above what is meet, but always think soberly.(2) Are we earthen vessels? Then let us not be indulgent of our bodies, nor of their ease or appetites. What needs so much ado about an earthen vessel when, after all our pains about it, we cannot alter the property of it.(3) Are we earthen vessels? Then let us not be empty vessels. A vessel of gold or silver is of considerable value though it be empty; but an earthen vessel, if empty, is good for little, but is thrown among the lumber.(4) Are we earthen vessels? Then let us be clean vessels.(5) Are we earthen vessels? Then let us take heed of dashing one against another, for nothing can be of more fatal consequence than that to earthen vessels — no, nor to the treasure that is deposited in them.(6) Are we earthen vessels? Then let us bear reproach with patience, and not think it strange, or fret at it.(7) Are we earthen vessels? Then let us often think of being broken and laid aside, and prepare accordingly.

2. This doctrine may be of use to you all. Are your ministers earthen vessels?(1) Thank God for the gospel treasure, though it be put into earthen vessels — nay, thank God that it is in such vessels, that it may be the more within your reach.(2) Esteem the earthen vessels for the treasure's sake that is put into them.(3) Bless God that the breaking of the earthen vessel is not the loss of the heavenly treasure. Ministers die, but the Word of the Lord endureth.(4) Let the glory of all the benefits you have, or may have, by the ministry of the gospel be given to God — to Him only, to Him entirely — for from Him the excellency of the power is.(5) Let the consideration of the frailty and mortality of your ministers quicken you to make a diligent improvement of their labours while they are continued with you.

(Matthew Henry.)

I. THE EXCELLENCY OF THE GOSPEL. The gospel is described as a treasure for —

1. Its value. By some it is not estimated as a very great treasure; but let a man be convinced of sin, or be threatened with death, and he will prove its value.(1) Is a Saviour of any value to the lost and the guilty? Why, this is a revelation of Christ and of salvation by Him.(2) Is free favour of any value to the poor criminal, whereby the judge tells him the king has pardoned him? Then the gospel is precious to such a mind, for it is the gospel of the grace of God.(3) Is life valuable to a dying man? Then the gospel is precious, for it is the word of life, and he that believeth it hath everlasting life.(4) Is light valuable? This is "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."(5) Is wisdom precious? All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are summed up in the gospel.(6) Is not food precious? "I have estimated the words of His lips more than my necessary food."

2. Its abundance. It is the glory of the gospel that in it atonement is complete. All the influence necessary to apply this gospel with Divine power to the heart is treasured up in Christ. When the Spanish ambassador was shown the treasures of St. Mark in Venice, he immediately groped to find the bottom of the treasure, and a page who was standing by said, "In this my master's treasure excels yours — in that it has no bottom." So we say of the gospel. None have ever reached the depth and sufficiency of this heavenly treasure. Millions in all ages have received, and yet there is abundance. There are in it the riches of pardon, justification, sanctification, expectation; and hence proceeds satisfaction. A man is never satisfied till he enjoys the gospel.

3. Its duration. "Riches and honour are with Me; yea, durable riches and righteousness." Other treasures make to themselves wings, and flee away. Does it announce mercy? "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting." Does it speak of joy? "The ransomed of the Lord shall come to Zion with everlasting joy upon their heads." Does it tell me of love? It is "the everlasting love wherewith God has loved me." Does it tell me of strength which I am to receive? Well then, it is "everlasting strength." Does it speak to me of salvation? "Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation." Does it speak of the habitations beyond the grave? These are "everlasting habitations."

II. THE INSTRUMENTS WHO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL — earthen vessels. And ministers are so called for various reasons.

1. As to their origin.

2. As to the estimation in which they are held. They are received by the world only as earthen vessels — their poverty, their appearance. Paul's bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible. Moses said, "I am not eloquent heretofore nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant." Amos was a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. Peter was a fisherman, Matthew a publican, John Bunyan a tinker, Whitfield a servitor at college.

3. As to their bodily constitution. Are you sick and dying? So are we. Are you subject to infirmities? So are we. Earthen vessels are subject to knocks, to falls, and speedily to be broken; they last generally but a short time. This has been the case with some of the most eminent servants of Jesus Christ.

4. As to their usefulness. An earthen vessel is useful for reception and effusion. Something must be put in, and something must be poured out.

III. THE REASON WHY THIS TREASURE IS GIVEN TO SUCH INSTRUMENTS TO DISPENSE. "That the excellency of the power," etc. Now, this Divine power is almighty, and therefore not all the powers of hell, of prejudice, of error, of ignorance, of obstinacy and blindness, can stand before it. But it is not a power which subjects an individual against his own will, but it is the power of light discovering darkness to the mind; of mercy showing the way of escape from the wrath to come; of truth overcoming error and prejudice in the mind; of love silently yet effectually drawing the soul to attend to Christ's voice.

(J. Sherman.)

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