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CHRIST'S LOVE TO US OUR LAW OF LIFE.
2 Cor. v.
“ The love of Christ constraineth us."
refined, easy, and prudent men, the life of St. Paul was rashness and folly. His whole mind to them was strange and unintelligible. He and the world were contradictions. In all its ways, aims, and judgments, it was set against him, and he against it.
He and the world had no common language, idea, or law of life.
Once he had enjoyed all its good things,— a fair name, a great reputation, high authority, distinguished trusts, a character for learning, zeal, and strictness, the tide of popularity, and the peace of home.
And of all this he had made a voluntary wreck. In one hour he had cast it from him. All that the world counts dearest he had thrown
away; all that the world most shrinks from he had embraced. At all times and in all places he was suffering now as an apostate and a betrayer. His own people hated him; the Heathen scorned him. In Jerusalem, where he once was held in honour, men sought to kill him ; in the luxury of
; Corinth and in the pride of Athens he was a madman and a babbler. Such was his outward life as the world saw it, and wondered. It knew not the interpretation of the mystery. What is its true solution ? “ Whether we be beside ourselves,” he says, “ it is to God: or whether we be sober, it
, is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us."
A power the world knew not of had fallen upon him ;
an attraction had fastened on his inmost will, and drew him to a world unseen. That which had drawn Peter, James, and John from their boats and from their kindred, Nathanael from his shade and solitude, Matthew from his custom and commerce, Mary Magdalene from her sins, had now, in turn, fastened upon him. As he journeyed to Damascus breathing hatred to the name of Jesus, the love of Christ fell upon him. A light, above the brightness of the sun, encompassed him. A drop of light, a drop of the heavenly flame, fell into his soul, and set him all on fire. The love of Christ smote him to the
ground. A revelation of the love divine, of which he was a special object; a consciousness of the
a eternal love withstanding him in his blind career; this expelled his old self, and awakened a new principle of life. He was lifted into a new sphere of consciousness, and his whole being now flowed in a new channel. He saw himself, for the first time, in his true deformity. All that he had believed to be light turned into darkness, and his fairest purposes, in his own sight, became unclean. He beheld himself guilty, and yet beloved. He saw the love of God in His Son to be so much the more miraculous as he thrilled with a piercing conviction that he was indeed the chief of sinners. Therefore he counted all his worldly gains to be but loss for Christ: all that he had been, possessed, or hoped for, all was gladly cast away.
eyes had opened upon the unseen world. The true Jerusalem, the city of the Son of David, the mother of Saints, the home of Patriarchs and Prophets, floated above his path. Jesus, whom he had persecuted, stood as a King at the right hand of God, as the only and true High Priest before the true and only altar. Therefore he lived and laboured for his heavenly Master in obedience and patience, in fasting and prayer,
in preaching and suffering, by night and by day, in
11 Tim. i. 15,