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tition with their self-love ; is content to be nothing, and willing to make sacrifices, and to practise self-denial for the good of others. The gratification of self, without consulting the happiness of those around us, is, though connected with the most polished manners, low, grovelling, and mean. Examine any selfish propensity, and it will be found to deserve this censure.
It will be seen that its indulgence lowers the character, and blunts those nice sensibilities which constitute refinement. In the world, we hear a great deal about “nice tact,” and “high tone;" but the Saviour's precepts, when a person is influenced by his spirit, give an acuteness, a delicacy of perception that nothing else can impart. “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” And what incomparable rules are the following for refining the character ! “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." .“ Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” “ To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” “ Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” And what exalted refinement is there in the apostle's description of charity! Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." The mere high breeding of the world has nothing in common with this beautiful picture of charity. Its varnished selfishness is the antipodes to such refinement. In all things it seeketh its own.
“ Self-love starts nothing but what tends apace
Home to the goal where it began its race." It is easily provoked, envieth, thinketh evil, and will neither bear nor forbear. It is very delightful, however, when contemplating, on the one hand, the inadequacy of any system of politeness to refine the heart, to see, on the other, the entire efficiency of religion ; faith in our Holy Redeemer converting the soul, and bringing forth commensurate fruit. What a beautiful exemplification of this is the character of the apostle Paul ! From the bigoted zealot, persecuting the churches and haling men and women to prison, so transformed that he
himself says, when writing to the Thessalonians, he was “gentle among them, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.” Yet this transformation by no means diminished the energy of his character; it only sanctified and directed its ardour. Zeal, though prompted by love, was still expressed with all the natural fervour of the apostle. My brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown.” “Being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” Self-love was lost in the love of the brethren ; he sought not his own, but his Master's glory. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos ? ” was his expostulating inquiry when the Corinthians would have made him the head of a party; and so far from arrogating anything to himself on account of his superior gifts, though he spoke in more tongues than all the apostles, he declared he would rather speak five words to their edification than ten thousand in an unknown tongue. And how unfeigned was his humility, calling himself the chief of sinners, the least of the apostles, “ not meet to be called an apostle; “ because,” he adds, “I persecuted the church of God!" Yet this humility was consistent with a due estimation of the qualifications and gifts with which God had endowed him; as he boldly manifested when reluctantly compelled to do so by the false brethren at Corinth. And what a beautiful contrast (never found in connexion but where Christ is loved) does the undaunted courage which he displayed before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa, form to the exquisite tenderness with which he treats the prejudices of a weak brother. “ If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” In the world, we hear much of dignity and philosophy; in St. Paul, we behold a dignified Christian philosopher. The philosophy of the world too often despises and ridicules conscientious doubts, terming them ignorant scruples, blind prejudices; and scorns to consult either feelings or usages.
The apostle of the Gentiles was eminently an independent character. He rigidly observed his own precept, “ Owe no man anything, but to love one another.” Yet his independence was far removed from isolated independence of man as a brother; as is beautifully illustrated by the similitude of the body and its members. He sought independence, in order that he might preach the gospel of Christ without charge. And though, in preaching that gospel, he cheerfully submitted to suffering and contumely for the love of his Redeemer, yet he showed himself an advocate for justice and the maintenance of civil rights; for when the magistrates at Philippi sent to release him from prison, after having beaten him openly and uncondemned, he refused to depart, asserting his privileges as a Roman citizen.
Towards constituted authorities, the apostle manifested the greatest respect. How nobly did he acknowledge his error, quoting the law against himself, when he discovered that Ananias was the high priest, towards whom he had spoken disrespectfully for commanding him to be smitten contrary to the law. “I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest : for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” And how exquisite was the courtesy, the refinement of the apostle's reply to king Agrippa's observation, “ Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian,” standing as he did manacled before him : “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds !” His defence also before Agrippa, especially the commencement, exhibits the same politeness. “I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews; especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews.” And when he asks king Agrippa and Festus “ why it should be thought a thing incredible" with them, “that God should raise the dead,” he takes care to censure his former ignorance, as if to disarm opposition, and ingenuously says, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem : and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests ; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.” Paul was also a striking proof, that it is possible to be accommodating without the slightest deviation from principle. No man was further removed from a temporizing spirit, as his bold and public censure of Peter sufficiently showed. But, in things which required no sacrifice of truth, he was, as he himself
“all things to all men. And this adaptation to the different classes of society is beautifully illustrated in his discourses. When, in the synagogue at Antioch, he addressed the Jews from their own Scriptures, and by showing himself thoroughly conversant with them, and by rehearsing the mercies shown to them as a people commencing with their deliverance from Egypt; and bringing them down to the period in which he spoke--the period when, according to those Scriptures, the promised Saviour was to appear, he gained at once their ear and their interest. But to the idolatrous Lycaonians at Lystra, who were a rude and barbarous people, he makes no mention of the Scriptures. He does not exclaim to the priest of Jupiter, bringing oxen and garlands to make a sacrifice and honour him as a deity, it is written, “ Thou shalt have no other gods before me;" but he appeals to their senses, to things with which they were conversant. “Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you
ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein : who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven; and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
Last of all, let us view the apostle standing on Mars Hill, surrounded by the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers-inen renowned for their learning and politeness. St. Paul sees them wholly given up to idolatry : his spirit is “stirred within him ;” but how does he address them? Not by an open attack; not by inveighing against their iniquity ; but by seizing hold of a circumstance furnished by their celebrated city. “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.*
Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” And with what elegance does he consult their taste, appealing to their classical knowledge, as if he would not neglect anything which might allure them to believe in God. * For in him we live and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Altogether, these beautiful addresses of the apostle exhibit a consummate knowledge of human nature, and forcibly teach us, that on all occasions we should seek to remove error by the least offensive methods ; and, as far as is consistent with perfect integrity, consult men's prejudices, whether they arise from opposition to the truth, from ignorance, or from education. Solomon
* It is attested by many writers that the Athenians, having imported the deities of most other nations, had erected an altar to the God of the Jews, who was always spoken of as invisible and incomprehensible, and whose name the Jews themselves scrupled to mention."-Scott.
says, “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength; but wisdom is profitable to direct.” So that we have high authority for asserting, that skill and address make their way better than direct attacks and violent opposition.
THE CRYSTAL WATERS.
Thou, Lord, hast blessed our happy land
With many a bright and gushing stream,
By hamlet fair and meadow green.
In cataracts of foaming snow,
Amidst the coppice wood below.
By pleasant farm and chapel grey ;
And o'er their limpid margin play.
In secret fount, and limpid well,
Through waving fern and mossy cell.
The shining waves rejoice his soul;
And verdure springs where'er they roll.
Though fall'n, is rich in mercy still,
To ocean's waves and mountains rill.
STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS. THERE are those in the world who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter, no wonder then, that some should mistake weakness for strength, and strength for weakness.
I saw a vigorous man walking along with a light step and a laughing eye.
rosy tint of health was on his cheek, and his broad shoulders and muscular limbs were proofs of his bodily strength ; but his bold language, and his self-sufficient look, told me that he trusted in himself, and that his heart