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THE GLORY WHICH SHALL BE REVEALED,
ROMANS viii. 18. I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
SUCH is the point of view, in which the Apostle would direct us to consider the afflictions to which mankind are subject ! So light is the estimation, which he attaches to those afflictions, when considered with a reference to that state, which is to come!“I reckon,” says he, “ that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." For,” as he
says other place, “ this our light affliction, which
is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
And yet St. Paul, whose words we have here before us, was not a mere speculative observer of human actions and sufferings. He was not one of those slothful characters, who in the peaceable and undisturbed possession of all the enjoyments that fortune can bestow, are sheltered from the storms to which indigence is exposed, and exempted from the necessity of making such exertions, as are required from honest and industrious poverty. He was not one of those, who assume to themselves a superior character from the possession of superior abilities and acquirements; and who, in their endeavours to attain the heights of human learning, trouble themselves not with attending to the concerns of their fellow creatures ;
concerns of which the peaceable and even tenor of their own retired lives leaves them not only careless but ignorant. Nor was he one of those, who with an affectation of insensibility,
a 2 Cor. iv. 17.
which, as they pretend, raises them above their fellow creatures, but which in reality is unworthy of a human being, shut their hearts against the influence of every
feeling, which Providence has implanted in them.
There was nothing in the character or condition of St. Paul, which would authorize us to place bim in the same class with persons of either of these descriptions. He was poor, and under the necessity of haying recourse to his own personal, nay his own manual, exertions for subsistence. He was weak; and in consequence exposed not only to those sufferings, to which the weak
inay be regarded as ordinarily liable ; but he was in a more especial manner exposed to the malice of the profligate and unprincipled; to the indignation of the Heathen philosophers and populace; and to the fury of his own bigotted countrymen: all of whom in turn scrupled not to wield against him the power they could command, in order to overbear by violence what they could not refute by argument. Learned indeed he was, and versed not only in Jewish but in Heathen literature; but powerful as was his mind, and extensive as many have been his acquirements, so far were they from being an obstacle to his engaging in the active occupations of life, that they were on the other hand constantly and vigorously employed in such a manner, as to bring upon him unremitted hatred and persecution. So far was he from possessing, or affecting to possess, a stoical insensibility, that his natural feelings appear to have been singularly acute; and his character is accordingly distinguished by an uncommon liveliness, that forces itself on our attention, whether we consider his conduct or his language : the former of which was animated by the most fervent zeal; and the latter, both in his speeches and in his epistles, was marked by that vehemence and impressiveness, which have never been surpassed, and rarely equalled.
We may then consider acute sensibility; unceasing activity ; habitual hardship ; and severe sufferings and persecutions ; as eminently distinguishing the mind and life of St. Paul. These different particulars appear to be summed up by himself in a comprehensive and most forcible passage, , in which he compares himself with the other Apostles. “ Whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they. Hebrews ? so am I.
Are they Israelites ? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham ? so am I. Are they Ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more ; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often ; in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the Heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things which are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the