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Utility of suffering.-I know enough of gardening to under- in joyous feelings stand that, if I would have a tree grow upon its south side, I as in a constant must cut off the branches there. Then all its forces go to votedness to God, repairing the injury; and twenty buds shoot out, where, other- and in laying our wise, there would have been but one. When we reach the garden selves out for the above, we shall find, that, out of those very wounds over which goederodrothers." we sighed and groaned on earth, have sprung verdant branches, bearing precious fruit, a thousand-fold.s

f H. 24—27. Jews. . times, of these we have no other record. a De. XXV. 3. forty.. one,a the law limited the num. to 40.6 thrice. , rods, 10 «The whip with only one mentioned in Acts.

once..

stoned, Lystra.d which thrice.. shipwreck, no record of any one. a .. deep, “prob. stripes were on some remnant of a wreck aft. one of these shipwrecks.”e given, consisting waters, perh. in fording them.s robbers, always numerous in rate cords, and the E. countrymen, kindred, Jews. heathen, Gentiles. city, each stroke being Damascus,9 Jerus., " Ephesus,i etc. wilderness, desert. false counted as three brethren, fr. treachery, etc. in weariness . . often, mental stripes, thirteen troubles. in hunger .. nakedness, bodily sufferings. thirty-nine

Beating with rods.—This was a Roman punishment, and was stripes, beyond therefore inflicted by the civil au ties. Scourging, properly

which they never

Mackso called, was at this time considered far more ignominious than night. beating with rods. The punishment was usually inflicted by the lictors, who were in constant attendance on the principal magis

c Ac, xvi. 22, 23. trates, going before them as they went. The insignia of their d Ac. xiv. 19. office, as well as the dignity of the magistrate on whom they

e Alford. attended, consisted of a number of elm rods, bound with a thong

f Cony. and How into a bundle, which they carried on their shoulder. An axe was

i. 457; Stanley bound up in the bundle, and its head jutted forth from it. Within the city of Rome, however, the axe was omitted, out of respect to g Ac. ix. 23 ff. the Roman people. The bundle, in fact, comprised the apparatus of n Ac. ix. 29. the lictor as executioner of the magistrate's sentence. The thong i Ac. xix. 23 ff. served him to bind the criminal, with the rods he inflicted beatings, and with the axe he beheaded.k

k Dr. Kitto. 28–31. those .. without, outside of the personal trials. he will glory daily, entering always into my thoughts. care, matter of even in infir

mities earnest anxiety and oversight. Churches, wh. I have planted. who .. weak? in this kind of boasting? burn, with zeal. a Col. ii. 1. glory .. things, yes, even of them. infirmities, in the very 6 2 Co. xii. 9, 10. things that make him appear mean in the eyes of some men. We ought to be the .. not, he calls God to witness to the truth of this summary prepared against of his sufferings.

the vicissitudes

of life; if we are Glorying in infirmities.—The things to which Paul applies the incapable of term infirmities :—I. Suffering-for Christ's sake- of a most resignation, we painful kind and a most frequent repetition- bodily discomfort, shall privation, and pain. II. A keen sense of responsibility-anxiety support good forabout the welfare of the Churches he had founded. III. A most tune with pruacute sympathy with the weakness of others.c

The victory of the weak. It is a lovely spectacle to behold the timid and feeble defending the citadel of truth; not with hard

c Dr.C.J.Vaughan. blows of logic, or sounding cannonade of rhetoric, but with that tearful earnestness and implicit confidence against which the

“ Religion, attacks of revilers are utterly powerless. Overthrown in argu- star, that beams

everlasting lodement, they overcome by faith; covered with contempt, they think the brighter in it all joy if they may but avert a solitary stain from the escutcheon the heavens the of their Lord. “Call me what thou wilt," says the believer, “but

not even how to

dence and moderation."

Plutarch.

-an cus

darker here on

of

re

earth grows the speak not ill of my Beloved. Here, plough these shoulders with night around him."-Carlyle.

your lashes, but spare yourselves the sin of cursing Him! Ay, d Spurgeon.

let me die : I am all too happy to be slain if my Lord's most

glorious cause shall live."d Paul's escape 32, 33. Damascuse [ii. 87]. governor, ethnarch, or from Damas- prefect.

Aretas, K. of Arabia Petræa [i. 98, 291]. The

name or title of Aretas was borne by sev. Arabian chiefs or kings. a Ac. ix. 22—25. basket [i. 110]. Perh. it was a “ rope-basket,” or net. b Stanley.

Paul delivered at Damascus.—Here is—I. Danger-imminent " It is the office -incurred in the cause of Christ. II. Deliverance-effected by of prudence to avoid being in

the providence of God, through human agency. III. Instruction jured if possible ; --God protects His own against all forces—delivers them out of but after an in- the greatest difficulties.—Paul's deliverance.—How God—I. Frusjury has been rea trates the designs of the wicked. II. Delivers His own people. ceived, a regard for our own tran- Escaping from the persecutor.--Archbishop Bancroft having quillity will pre- received information that Mr. Robert Parker, a Puritan divine, serve us from a

was concealed in a certain citizen's house in London, immediately desire venge."

Demo- sent a person to watch the house while others were prepared with critus.

a warrant to search for him. The person having fixed himself c Dr. J. Lyth. at the door, boasted that he had him now secure. Mr. Parker, at “ He only who is this juncture, resolved to dress himself in the habit of a citizen, temperate can and venture out, whereby he might possibly escape ; but if he discern advant

remained in the house he would be sure to be taken. Accord. ages in everything; he alone ingly in his strange garb he went forth ; and God so ordered it, knows how to that, just at the moment of his going out, the watchman at the discriminate by door spied his intended bride passing on the other side of the and experience, street; and, while he just stepped over to speak to her, the good so as to make man escaped. When the officers came with the warrant to search always the best the house, to their great mortification he could not be found. stantly to avoid After this signal providential deliverance, he retired to the house evil."-Socrates. of a friend in the neighbourhood of London, where a treacherous

the servant in the family gave information to the bishop's officers, journey of life are who came and actually searched the house where he was ; but, by like the hills wh. the special providence of God, he was again most remarkably preupon their road: served; for the only room in the house which they neglected to they both appear search was that in which he was concealed, from whence he great at a dis- heard them swearing and quarrelling one with another; one prowe approach testing that they had not searched that room, and another as them, we find that confidently asserting the contrary, and refusing to suffer it to be they are far less searched again. Had he been taken, he must have been cast into insurmountable prison, where, without doubt, says the narrator, he must have ceived." --Colton. died.

Evils in

CHAPTER THE TWELFTH.

caught up to 1, 2. visions,a things presented in a supernat. manner, and the third seen while awake. revelations, discov. of things unknown, by heaven

internal impressions on mind. knew, know. I know now. a Lu.i. 11,26; Ac. above .. ago, this first mention of it shows how little P. to such occas. as was given to boasting. whether .. knoweth, in atter loss of Ac. ix. 27; xviii. self-consciousness; he is not sure whether he was “caught up” 9; axii. 18; xxiii. bodily, or only in a figure.d third heaven, the seat of God 6 Ac. xiii. 2; 1 Ti. and of holy angels.

Paul's rapture.-I. Its different circumstances: 1. He was

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honoured with revelations of the Saviour; 2. These were of the c. Prob. at Ansame kind with those experienced by other men ; 3. Besides these tioch; at time of he was the subject of extraordinary communications; 4. The the Apostleship. locality into which he was taken; 5. The time of the event; 6. Wordsworth. The circumstances. II. Some reflection upon this history: 1. Or, shortly aft. Why was Paul selected for this? To make him superior to the Damascus. – difficulties of his work; 2. It should confirm our faith likewise. Stanley.

The Apostle caught up to the third heaven.—We have here and Cf. Ac. viii. 39, account of something: I. Pre-eminently glorious, with which 40; Ez. viii. 3. Paul was favoured: 1. The designation given of the favoured in- e "The Apos.' dividual. 2. The period of the event. Consider here-(1) The rapture is all. to Apostle's humility ; (2) The truth of Christianity. Paul kept the

Philopatris, thing quiet fourteen years. 3. The manner of its performance. cian, c. 12: "When 4. Its certainty. II. Peculiarly trying, which he endured: 1. the Galilean met The nature of this visitation (read to v. 10); 2. Its design; 3. me, with his high The course which the Apostle adopted ; 4. The success he met and high nose, with.

walked The seven heavens.—The sum of Wetstein's quotations on the through the air to Rabbinical conception of the seven heavens is as follows: 1. The

ven.'

.'"-Stanley. veil (comp. Heb. vi. 19); 2. The expanse ; 3. The clouds; 4. The

f Macknight. dwelling place (habitaculum); 5. The habitation (habitatio); 6. The fixed seat; 7. Araboth. In “ the clouds” are said to be the 9 A. Clarion. mill-stones which ground the manna. Before the Fall, God lived h Anon. on the earth ; at the sin of Adam, He ascended into the first “Know ye are as heaven; at the sin of Cain, into the second ; at the generation of pear heaven as Enoch, into the third ; at the generation of the flood, into the ye are far from fourth; at the generation of the confusion of tongues, into the far from the love fifth ; at the generation of Sodom, into the sixth; at the genera- of a bewitching tion of Egypt, into the seventh. Then, at the rise of Abraham, he world.” – S.

Rutherford. descended into the sixth; of Isaac, to the fifth ; of Jacob, to the

i Stanley. fourth; of Levi, to the third; of Kohathi, to the second; of Amram, to the first; of Moses to the earth again.i

3, 4. and .. man, P. thus modestly alludes to himself (v. 7). and heard Paradise « [ii. 207]. heard .. words, Gk., words and no unspeakable words.b

words The communications from the dead to the living.-I. It is the a:2 Co: v. 17: Ez: express will of God that we should derive our knowledge of the Re. iv. 1, 2; Lu. eternal world from the Bible. II. Were communications to be xxiii. 43. made by those who had visited the land of spirits, concerning 6 "Expression what they had seen or heard, they would divert our minds from taken from the the Bible, our guide to eternal life. III. Had Paul been permitted Secres of the Gk.

" to utter his visions and revelations, it might have encouraged Stanley. others to expect such communications; and dreams and phan-c Rev. T. L. Shiptasms of the imagination would have been taken for heavenly man. visions. IV. We have no reason to believe that messengers from "Generally those the dead could give testimony more impressive than that which whomostexcel in

Divine we now have.

Heaven anticipated.—Mr. John Holland, the day before he plation are most died, called for the Bible, saying, " Come, O come; death ap- temptation. By proaches, let us gather some flowers to comfort this hour.” And the first, the soul turning with his own hand to the eighth chapter of Romans, he is lifted up to gave the book to Mr. Leigh, and bade him read: at the end of second, it is every verse, be paused, and then gave the sense, to his own com- pressed down infort, but more to the joy and wonder of his friends. Having con

to itself. Were

it not for this, tinued his meditations on the eighth of Romans, thus read to the mind would him, for two hours or more, on a sudden he said, “O stay your fall into pride.

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There is, by the reading! What brightness is this I see? Have you lighted up Divine dispo- any candles ?” Mr. Leigh answered, “No, it is the sunshine;' fal temperature for it was about five o'clock in a clear summer evening.

“ Sunin this subject, shine!” said he,“ nay, it is my Saviour's shine. Now, farewell, that the saint may World; welcome, Heaven. The Day-star from on high hath visited high, norsink my heart. O speak it when I am gone, and preach it at my too low." – Gre- funeral! God dealeth familiarly with man.

I feel His mercy ;

I gory.

see His majesty; whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell, God knoweth; but I see things that are unutterable.” Thus ravished in spirit, he roamed towards heaven with a cheerful look, and soft sweet voice; but what he said could not be under

stood. the thorn in 5—7. myself. . glory, for he was hardly himself when the the flesh

subject of these visions. for . . fool, boasting of what I know a " A metaphor not. forbear, he would be judged of by what he was on ordinary

occasions. paling or cruci

lest .. measure, inflated with pride. thorn, fying, as in Ga. oxóloy, "something pointed," "a pointed stake,” “ palisade." ii. 20."

Stanley, Not found elsewhere in N. T.a flesh, almost endless conjectures whose disser. see as to nature of this particular trial.! buffet,' maltreat. in p. 563 of Notes

The thorn in the flesh.-I. The best answer to prayer is not on Cor.

" It seems quite always the receiving of our request. II. The feeling of weakness necessary to infer is strength. III. The Apostle's lofty view of affliction.e that the Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh.There are several opinions concerning alludes to some this “ thorn in the flesh,” held by different persons: I. That it painful and

bodily

was some bodily ailment. II. That it was some opposition he malady, which at had encountered from his enemies, or suffering endured. III. the same time put Carnal longings. IV. Spiritual trials—faint-heartedness in the him to shame be discharge of his ministerial duties, temptations to despair or to whom he exer- doubt, blasphemous suggestions of the devil.s cised his minis- Satan's opportunity. -No sooner was Christ out of the water of try-"-Alford. baptism than in the fire of temptation. So David, after his 4. Ma. sxvi. 67; anointing, was hunted “as a partridge among the mountains." Mk.xiv. 65; 1 Pe. Israel is no sooner out of Egypt than Pharaoh pursues them. ii. 20.

Hezekiah no sooner had left that solemn Passover than Senna. d Job ii. 7; Lu.

cherib comes up against him. Paul is assaulted with vile tempta"The devil drives tions after the “abundance of his revelations;" and Christ but a poor trade teacheth us, after forgiveness of sins, to look for temptations and by the perse pray against them. While Jacob would be Laban's drudge and saints; he tears pack-horse, all was well; but when once he began to flee, he the nest, but the makes after him with all his might. All was jolly quiet at bird escapes; he Ephesus before Paul came thither; but then “there arose no cracks the shell, small stir about that way."

All the while our Saviour lay in His nel."-J. Flavel. father's shop, and meddled only with carpenter's chips, the devil

D. Longwill, troubled Him not; but now that He is to enter more publicly M.A.

upon His office of Mediatorship, the tempter pierceth His tender f J. B. Lightfoot, soul with many sorrows by solicitation to sin. And dealt he so

with the green tree, what will He do with the dry ?-J. Trapp. strength 8–10. thrice, i.e., often, earnestly. depart, this, bef. the perfected in weakness

use of " the thorn” was seen. said, a giving both comfort and

instruction. a De. iii. 25, 26.

grace . . thee, my favour in special gifts and mercies. strength .. weakness, nothing more shows Christ6 Ph. iP.13. c 2 Co. iv.7; 1 Pe. ianity to be of God than the weakness of the instruments by wh.

it was first promulgated. that.. me, and be manifested by me. a Ro. v. 3; 2 Co. pleasure . . sake," since, through me, they make His grace apvii. 4.

parent. weak, as to natural powers. strong, as to spiritual gifts.

xiii, 16.

but loses the ker

e

D.D.

iv. 14.

for Christ be

He

The sufficiency of grace.-I. Christ speaks of grace as being e Jean Guillebert. His, and properly belonging to Him. II. However great our offences may be, His grace is yet greater: 1. It justifies us before needs the hu

“If any one saint God; 2. It regenerates and sanctifies us. III. However sad our mility of many condition may be, it is efficacious to console us. IV. What ought saints, it is he to be the chief end of our desires to possess this grace.e-Paul's suffer. To glory thorn in the flesh.-I. His affliction : 1. Paul was bowed down in his sufferings with a heavy trial; 2. The design of this affliction. II. The

way in which he sought deliverance : 1. He made it matter for prayer; but to glory in

comes him well; 2. He addressed himself to Christ. III. The happy result of this himself for them application to the Throne of Grace: 1. In due time his petition is hateful. was answered; 2. The answer, though not precisely agreeable to needs a quick eye the letter of the Apostle's petition, fully corresponded with its hand that has to spirit. IV. The cheerfulness with which this result inspired him. drive his chariot Application: (1) Let us inquire into the cause of our troubles; on the brow of so (2) Let us carry them all to the Throne of Grace; 3. Let us exer

dangerous a precise faith in Christ.s

cipice."--Gurnall. All-sufficient grace.—One evening, as Bunyan was in a meeting f Anon. of Christian people, full of sadness and terror, suddenly there “ brake in " upon him with great power, and three times together, the grace needed

Look upward for the words, "My grace is sufficient for thee; My grace is suf- now, and for ficient for thee; My grace is sufficient for thee.” And Oh! me

ward for the rest

that remaineth. thought,” says he, " that every word was a mighty word unto me; as · My,' and 'grace,' and 'sufficient, and for thee;' they were then, and sometimes are still, far bigger than others be.”

11–13. I. . glorying, so ye may say. ye..me,a the blame, the signs of therefore, is yours.ought, on higher grounds. to.. you, for an Apostle my work's sake. for.. Apostles, in all that relates to the a Ga. ii. 6. work, call, etc., of an Apostle. nothing, when judged aft. the 6 1 Co. iii. 7; Ep. flesh.

signs, by their fruit ye shall know them. for ..Jiji. 8; Lu. xvii. 10. Churches, the same argument against me as an Apostle is c 2 Co. vi. 4. against the Churches I have planted. except .. you ? d as other a 2 Co. xi. 9. teachers to other Churches. forgive .. wrong, ironical. They « Faith's

great would have more highly prized what had cost them more.

Signs, wonders, and mighty deeds.The miracles which accom- nounce selfpany the preaching of the Gospel : I. In the world of spirit: power, and to

bring in the i. Evil spirits expelled (refer to Mk. ix. 17–27, etc.); 2. Good

power of God to spirits praise the Lord (new tongues). II. In the external world be ours. Happy of nature,-injurious things overcome, evil in life made service- they that are

weakest in themable, life triumphing over death. III. In the personal life as soul

selves-mostsenand body,—diseases removed, the restored rejoicing in a new sibly so! That existence.

word of the Old-fashioned theology.I long for a theology and I love a

Apostle is theirs,

• When Gospel that has in it power to shake a man; that has in it thun weak, then I am der, as well as rain and dew. Those Della Cruscan teachers that strong;' they

what it are all pulp, are like thin fogs hanging over shallow oceans. old rugged doctrines of the Schools may be too sharp here or is a riddle to the

means, though it there, and they may have wrecked many a sensitive nature; but, world."- Leighton. after all, those old rugged doctrines have in them power both for Lange,

f H. W. Beecher. condemnation and for lifting up and consolation. I

14, 15. behold, as proof of my love. third .. you, once he spending and had actually been,a once he had purposed to go, and now was

being spent again ready.c your's, your property. you, your persons for a Ac. xviii, 1; Christ. for, etc., this relates esp. to spiritual providing. spend c Macknight, Es.. you, I will do even more than a parent is expected to do. tius; cf. Stanley.

work is to re

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