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authority for those which we contemplate. Nor is this the only method by which we contrive to wrest a good example to

own destruction, and by which we might misapply even that of St. Paul.—Point out a man (if haply such can be found) who is righteous in all his ways, and just in all his doings— who is a faithful servant of Christ his Lordand a friend and benefactor to all his brethren, whose conscience, in short, is void of offence towards God and manand what shall we say of him ?—We shall say-yes! undoubtedly-he is all this now, and we cannot deny it.-But we can remember a time when he was very different.-We can remember a time when his ways were as our ways are—and he walked as we are now doing. -Do not hold him up as our pattern.If we take him at all, we will take the good and the bad together-or take him at that period of his life, which it would best suit us to imitate.—Upon the same principle and with the same reason, we might fix our whole thoughts upon Saul, the persecuting bigot—and forget altogether the meek, but indefatigable servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we do so, however, our end will be destruction. -But would we turn the examples of our fellow men--whether that of St. Paul, or of those who walk as he has taught them, to the welfare of our own souls - we must imitate only the best portions of their character, at the best periods of their career.—This may be a sufficient answer to the first question suggested by the text.

Having determined then how far we ought to be followers of Paul—let us now consider how far we can follow him.How far can we follow one who was snatched like a brand from the burning, by the hand of God, visibly stretched out for his preservation ?-how far can follow one who was carried, as he himself expresses it, into the third heaven, that the counsel of God might be revealed to him ?-how far can we follow him, the virtue of whose touch transferred to napkins, healed the sick—and at whose

we

embrace the soul returned into the body of the dead !--To what extent can we be the followers of so privileged a servant of Christ ?- To the same extent of moral perfection, my brethren,-to the same degree of Christian holiness, as that to which himself attained. We have not indeed, one of us the power of working miracles—we have not, one of us the gift of tongues—none of us have been converted by the open and immediate interposition of Jesus Christ-or blessed by a special revelation from heavenbut we all have that, by which alone St. Paul was enabled to walk uprightly,and by which we shall be enabled to tread in his steps—I mean—the inward assistance of God's Holy Spirit. It is a mistake to suppose that the Apostles and first Christians, because endowed with certain special gifts, are beyond the reach of our imitation on any point of Christian righteousness. They had these especial gifts it is true—but they were granted for an especial purpose--and did not supersede or overpower the ordinary motives, which regulate the conduct and form the character.—“ We may be sure,” says an acute writer,

“ that the Apostles were not, even the most highly gifted of them, guided by immediate revelation in all the actions of their lives; but were left to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling; though still encouraged to do this by the assurance that God wrought in them.-In fact, the early Christians could hardly have been moral agents, if they had not been left watchfully to regulate their own conduct according to the best of their judgmentbut had in every case recognised the immediate dictates of the Holy Spirit, forbidding or enjoining each action of their lives.—And yet they were taught that in all their conduct the assistance of God's Spirit was requisite, and was promised to them-our Lord himself told them that without him they could

lo nothing—and St. Paul's encouragement to them to work out their own

salvation is it is God that worketh in

you !

And thus is Christ still with us and thus does God still continue to work in us.—Why then, profiting by the same assistance, should we not make the same progress ?- Why should we not attain the same degree of perfection that was reached by St. Paul, seeing that the same Almighty Spirit prevents and furthers us in all our efforts after holiness? -I am aware, that in proposing the example of St. Paul as one within the reach of general imitation, I am citing perhaps the most finished pattern of Christian perfectness that ever was exhibited by man.-But it does not follow that the pattern is. inimitable—because so excellent. We are apt to dwell upon it as a whole, till its completeness overwhelms and disheartens us. But let us take it in detail. -Let us examine it point by point.—Let us mark for instance, the particulars to which the

- Whately's Essays.

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