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Thus it happened that one of the Apostle's "mightiest weapons" was the meekness and lowliness of heart which he drew from the life of Christ. So it ever is : humility, after all, is the best defence. It disarms and conquers by the majesty of submission. To be humble and loving—that is true life. Do not let insult harden you, nor cruelty rob you of tender

If men wound your heart, let them not embitter it; and then yours will be the victory of the Cross. You will conquer as Christ conquered, and bless as He blessed. But remember, fine words about gentleness, self-sacrifice, meekness, are worth very little. Talking of the nobleness of humility and self-surrender is not believing in them. Would you believe in the Cross and its victory? then live in its spirit—act upon it. Again, St. Paul rested his authority not on carnal weapons,

, but on the spiritual power of truth. Consider the strongholds which the Apostle had to pull down and subdue. There were the sophistries of the educated, and the ignorant prejudices of the multitude. There were the old habits which still clung to the christianized heathen. There was the pride of intellect in the arrogant Greek philosophers, and the pride of the flesh in the Jewish love of signs. There was—most difficult of allthe pride of ignorance. All these strongholds were to be conquered : every thought was to be brought "into captivity to the obedience of Christ."

For this work St. Paul's sole weapon was Truth. The ground on which he taught was not authority : but “ by manifestation of the truth” he commended himself to conscience. His power rested on no carnal weapon, on no craft or personal influence ; but it rested on the strong foundation of the truth he taught. He felt that truth must prevail. So neither by force did St. Paul's authority stand, nor on his inspired Apostleship, but simply by the persuasive power of truth. The truth he spoke would at last vindicate his teaching and his life : and he calmly trusted himself to God and time.


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A grand, silent lesson for us now! when the noises of a hundred controversies stun the Church; when we are trying to force our own tenets on our neighbours, and denouncing those who differ from us, foolishly thinking within ourselves that the wrath of man will work the righteousness of God.

Rather, Christian men, let us teach as Christ and His Apostles taught. Force no one to God; menace no one into religion : but convince all by the might of truth. Should any of you have to bear attacks on your character, or life, or doctrine, defend yourself with meekness: and if defence should but make matters worse—and when accusations are vague, as is the case but too often—why, then, commit yourself fully to the truth. Outpray-outpreach-outlive the calumny!

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2 CORINTHIANS, xi. 1-33.- -First Sunday after Easter, Afternoon,

April 3, 1853.


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'HE two chapters that will now come before us in our

regular exposition of this Epistle are of a very peculiar character. They are entirely occupied with the boastings of an inspired Apostle; in the previous chapters we find hini refuting separately each charge that had been brought against him--of being untrue, mean, changeable, and insincere, till at last, as if stung to the quick and worn out at their ingratitude, he pours out, unreservedly, his own praises in self-vindication. We can only call this by one name, and that one (what St. Paul himself calls it)" boasting." He says, it is “folly," “ glorying,” “not after the Lord,” and yet although all this, he yet says, that “he is not ashamed in the same confident boasting." At first this seems strange, but a little thought will make this plain, when we understand fully the meaning of the expression, “not after the Lord.” There are many things which are not exactly after Christ, and yet are not contrary to the Spirit of Christ. We cannot say that resentment or indignation are after Christ, because Christ was essentially meek and humble, and Christianity is meekness, joy, peace, longsuffering, and gentleness. Yet they may be anything but contradictory to the Christian spirit under some circumstances, for there are occasions when if a man did not feel resentment and indignation, hardly could he be a Man. So to defend ourselves from the blow of an assassin by another blow, Tannot be said to be after Christ, yet is self-defence not


only permissible but a duty. Warfare cannot be said to be after Christ, for in Christ's kingdom even the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and the law is—Return good for evil ; but an earthly kingdom would lose its very existence if, as things are, it were to refuse to defend itself by war. All self-vindication, against even false accusations, is painful ; not after Christian modesty, yet it may be pardonable, nay in some circumstances, it is absolutely a duty. This is the subject which will occupy us this afternoon, and our thoughts will run in two lines :

I. The excuses St. Paul offered for this mode of vindication.

And, First, we must notice that it was not merely for his own sake, but for the sake of others. “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you, as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve, through his subtilty, so your minds shall be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." Clearly this was a valid excuse ; for if this charge were unanswered, and thereby his influence would have been undermined, and that of false teachers established, then to refuse to vindicate himself would not have been true but false modesty. But we must here make two remarks on two words that occur in the text we have just read.

First, We must notice the word "jealousy." St. Paul rightly and wisely used it, for rightly speaking and not carried to too great an extent, it is but the necessary manifestation of love, no true affection can exist without it. But this jealousy of which St. Paul speaks was very peculiar, it was not envy that other teachers were followed in Corinth, not anxiety that others should not have more influence than he had, but it was lest those who might not deserve it should have this influence, and might lead the disciples astray. He was jealous for

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Christ's sake, not his own. It was a godly jealousy. He wrote this defence to preserve the faithfulness of the Corinthian converts.

se one moment to consider what it was that he feared. That they should be corrupted from the simplicity of the Gospel This is an expression constantly mistaken. People suppose simplicity means what a child or a ploughman can understand. Now if this be simplicity, evidently the simplicity of the Gospel was corrupted by St. Paul himself, for he is not simple. Who understands his deep writings? Does one in a thousand ? St. Peter says there are things hard to be understood in St. Paul's Epistles. We often hear it alleged as a charge against a book, a lecture, or a sermon, that it is not simple. If we are told that what we are to preach, must be on a level with the most inferior intellect, so that without attention or thought it may be plain to all, we are bound to disclaim any obligation to do this; if it is supposed that the mysteries of God of which we are the stewards, can be made as easy of comprehension as an article in a newspaper, or a novel, we say that such simplicity can only be attained by shallowness. There must be earnestness, candour, patience, and a certain degree of intelligence as well as a sort of sympathy between the minds of the preacher and his hearers, and there must be a determination to believe that no man who endeavours to preach the Gospel will deliberately and expressly say what he knows to be false or wrong. “Simple" means according to St. Paul, unmixed, or unadulterated.

We have an example in the Epistle to the Galatians, where he speaks against those Judaizers who said, “Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved :” they did not deny the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse from sin, but they added to it: they said something was to be mixed with the doctrine of the Cross. These corrupted the simplicity of the

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