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fulness God may call, and we must of a disembodied spirit rising from the go. It was only last Tuesday that I earth and safe in heaven ! not only was attending the funeral of the Rev. the feeling that he has got to heaven Basil Wood, who for forty-five years himself, but that through grace he has had been preaching a faithful Gospel | been used as an humble instrument in in the metropolis. As he was carried bringing sinners to God, and has got to his grave, among other things, I those in glory, who may be his joy could not help thinking how many and crown of rejoicing in the day of had gone before him to another and a the Lord Jesus. better world, of those who had been Brethren, this is the Gospel we benefited by his ministry. Oh, with wish to preach to you; and after what joy must a faithful minister when having preached it here on earth, may he enters the presence of God and we be permitted through all eternity casts his eye around, with what joy to magnify the love of God in Christ, must he behold some of those who who has washed us from sin, from have been the children of his prayers the guilt of it, from the dominion of and the seats of his ministry! Oh, it, from the power of it, and delivered tell me not what this world can give us from the penalty of it, to admire tell me not of the riches, or the great- the mercy and the love of God, when ness, or the dignities that earth can we shall no longer need the mercy of give—but tell me what are the feelings | God.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. R. C. DILLON.
1 Timothy, i. 13.-“ But I obtained mercy." The whole of this and of the succeed- | finely does he combine the solemn in. ing epistle presents an affecting spec-junction—"This charge I commit unto tacle. It is that of a venerable old thee, son Timothy, fight the good fight minister instructing a young one—not of faith, lay hold on eternal life, wheremerely pointing out principles to him, unto thou art also called, and hast probecause in these Timothy had been fessed a good profession before many early initiated, having from a child witnesses,”-How finely is all this known the Holy Scriptures, which combined with his own triumphant were able to make him wise unto sal. feelings, as he raises the song of vic. vation, through faith in Christ Jesus— tory—“I have fought a good fight, I but illustrating those principles by his have finished my course, I have kept personal experience. He was anxious the faith : henceforth there is laid up to prepare the heart of his young dis- for me a crown of righteousness, which ciple for difficulties, which, in every the Lord, the righteous judge, shall variety of form, would assail him in give to me at that day; and not to me his progress through life. He re- only, but to all them also that love his sembled the brave old warrior un appearing." He had tried the extremity buckling his own armour, that he might of the battle; and he now hears the buckle on the armour of the youthful trumpet sounding his retreat from the soldier going forth to battle. And how field, which, with another note, was
APOSTLB NEEDED AND
summoning the youthful Timothy into quire what were the peculiar circumit.
stances in St. Paul's history which There are three things which this made it, if not more difficult, at short sentence awakens in the mind. least less probable for him to obtain First: What the apostle needed and mercy than for others.
He tells us obtained-mercy.
himself that he was the chief of sin. Secondly: How he obtained what But wherein did his sinfulness he needed : and
consist? What had been St. Paul's Thirdly: The glorious display which peculiar guilt before his conversion to is here made of the Divine Character. the faith of the Gospel? Had he been FIRST: Let us consider WHAT THE an idolator, an adulterer, or a drunk
OBTAINED— ard; or in any marked degree a slave MERCY :—" but I obtained mercy.” to his licentious appetites ? Had he
Probably the most concise and simple been unjust, dishonest, or covetous ? definition that we can give of mercy is, Was he ever chargeable with the guilt that it is tavour shewn to those who are of oppressing the poor, the fatherless, unworthy of it. Mercy, then, in its or the widow? or of notoriously vionature and operations is wholly free.lating the command to keep holy the No man can have any pretensions to sabbath-day? or of openly expressing mercy. Differences there may be, in his disregard and contempt of religious deed, between the degrees of guilt; duties? Was it in all, or in any of but even the least guilty can lay no these particulars, that he had been thus claim to the divine compassion; for eminently guilty? Strange as it may the establishment of a claim on the appear, he had not been guilty in any part of any individual wculd constitute one of them. So far otherwise, no the showing of compassion on God's man perhaps ever carried the code of part an act rather of justice than of moral or of eternal righteousness furmercy. In this respect, then, all man- ther than St. Paul carried it; for he kind are reduced to one melancholy declares, in his epistle to the Philiplevel-all have sinned and come short pians, that, “touching the righteousof the glory of God; so that every ness which is in the law, he had been mouth must be stopped, and the whole blameless.” I can readily imagine it world be found guilty before Him. very possible that I may be addressing But the admission of this truth by no some now present, who consider it sur. means requires us to say, that some prising, and passing strange, that an sinners do not stand in greater need of individual, who had neither been an mercy than others. The transgressions idolator, nor a profane, nor an immoral of some men may be of longer stand-man, should yet be called, and truly ing and of deeper dye than those of called, the chief of sinners. This is a others, and their pardon would be an declaration you find it difficult to underact of greater and richer mercy; it stand. And why do you find it so? would be a more striking display of because, brethren, we erroneously the riches of divine love. Now, such judge of sin if we judge it merely by was the mercy which the Apostle the outward act. The measure of our needed, and obtained : and there is one guilt before God is not to be estimated word in the text which seems to in- merely by the injury which we do to timate, that of all men he seemed the our fellow-creatures. The sinfulness least likely to have obtained it—"but of sin consists in its being committed I obtained mercy.”
against God, and in the opposition and It may be interesting, then, to in- enmity of the heart to the Divine character and will. Taking this as feet, whose name was Saul. He prothe standard, then, by which to form bably reproved their slackness, and our judgment, we shall find that St. said, “Strip and stone him, and I'll Paul's iniquity was of no common take charge of your raiment." He order. Outwardly moral, it is true, he himself, indeed, testifies to the same was in his conduct, and even zealous fact; and how feelingly does he men. in his religious profession; but he was tion it: “When the blood of the inwardly a bitter enemy to God and martyr Stephen was shed, I also was holiness. He was full of pride and standing by and consenting to his unbelief; the two worst sins of which death, and kept the raiment of them a man can be guilty. He hated the that slew him." After this he made Gospel, because it opposed his pre- havoc of the church, entering into judices, and bade him lay aside his
every house, and, without regard to self-righteous hopes of justifying him
sex or age, throwing the Christians self-hy his works; and because he into prison. His own confession ishated the Gospel he refused to attend * Many of the Saints did I shut up in to the proofs which might have con- prison, having received authority from vinced him of its truth. He obsti- the chief priests ; and when they were nately shut his eyes that he might not put to death I gave my voice against see, and his ears that he might not them. And I punished them oft in hear, while he conceived and cherished
every synagogue, and compelled them the most rancorous enmity against the to blaspheme; and being exceedingly holy Jesus and his faithful followers. mad against them, I persecuted them
I apprehend, then, brethren, that even unto strange cities.” Such was even if our examination of the Apostle's the unparalleled ferocity of this extraguilt were to terminate at the point to ordinary blasphemer and persecutor. which I have just brought it, we must You cannot fail, then, of seeing the allow it to have been guilt of no com- force of his expression in the textmon measure. But the description does “BUT I obtained mercy.” Sinner as I not end here; much remains to be was-reduced beneath the level of oradded. The virulence of the Apostle's dinary transgressors—an impious blasheart broke out into open hostility | phemer-an injurious and ferocious against God. In the very verse where persecutor—anenemy even to God himour text is placed he informs Timothy self, I yet obtained mercy. There was that he had been a blasphemer and a mercy with God in Christ Jesus even persecutor, and injurious; and how for me -He who came into the world many blasphemous speeches had he to save sinners found mercy, even for uttered against the blessed Jesus and me I was not out of the limits of his the Gospel of his grace! How many wondrous compassion—“ but I obfalse, malicious, and blood-thirsty tained mercy" and where sin aboundwords had he spoken against the un. ed, grace did much more abound, offending Christians ! But his rage SecondLY: Let us examine, then, against them had not been confined to HOW HE OBTAINED THIS MERCY. Where words; he was a persecutor, and in- was he when he obtained it? Was he jurious, as well as a blasphemer. The attending the sanctuary when the Savery first time his name is mentioned viour met with him? Was he smiting in the sacred history is in connexion upon his breast with agonizing conwith the martyrdom of Stephen, trition like the poor publican, who when the witnesses, it is said, laid went up to pray in the temple? Was down their clothes at a young man's he found in the use of any one of the means of grace? It pleases the Most -had been by no means sufficient to High God oftentimes to reveal himself satisfy his revengefulspirit. His cruelty to the sons of men when they are at to the disciples of the Lord seemed to be tending the ministry of his word. heightened as he proceeded. What was They have been brought to repentance probably at first only a warm attempt under the sermon of a minister, whose to protect the religion of his foredoctrine they rather came to ridicule fathers from the encroaching zeal of than to respect. The word has reached the Christians, seemed really to have the heart and turned the stone to been exasperated into an unmitigated fesh; they have thrown down the thirst for the wastefulness of Chrisweapons of their rebellion, and weep- tian blood. His very subsistence aping as they looked upon those weapons, peared to depend on the gratification they have acknowledged the force of of his rage. His sword was always all conquering mercy. But the Apos- kept unsheathed ; and he had a fierce tle Paul at the time of his conversion satisfaction in forcing the
Chriswas not only not asking for mercy, he tians to taste the last dregs of the cup was not in the way of asking it—he of bitterness which he placed before was neither hearing, nor reading, nor them. But, brethren, I cannot dwell praying. He could not probably at on the dark story of the wrongs and any time have been more unprepared wretchedness, which the church of to receive any manifestations of the church of Christ for a while endured Divine regard.
at the hands of Saul of Tarsus. I He was engaged in a journey of ini- cannot go into the detail of what wereaquity ; in open defiance of the Son of dily may conceive to have been his mer. God, crucifying him afresh, and put- ciless and unpitying indiscriminate bar. ting him to an open shame. He had barity. Let it suffice to tell you, then, received letters from the High Priest, that multitudes of pious and peaceful the highest authority of the Jewish peo- believers, both men and women, were ple, to go to the synagogue at Damas driven from their homes and families ; cus; that if he found any of the dis-hunted like wild beasts, persecuted ciples of Christ, whether they were even unto strange cities ; punished oft men or women, he might bring them in every synagogue; compelled even bound unto Jerusalem. “And he went to blaspheme, and at last sent down forth breathing out threatenings and with violence and butchery to the slaughter against the disciples of the grave. Lord.” I can conceive no representa- No wonder, then, that Saul of Tartion more strikingly descriptive of a sus became the theme of universal apmind abandoned to the fiercest ex- prehension. Every little village, in tremes of persecuting rage ; “ breath. which were faithful followers of the ing out threatenings and slaughter,” Lamb, lived in constant dread of him. as the panting of a beast of prey; and He was an evil that walked in darktruly no savage beast of prey is so ness, and a destruction that wasted at savage as a persecutor; no hyena of the noon-day. For about noon it was desert is so malignant as the malice of on the day of his marvellous, memorathat carnal mind which is enmity ble, and miraculous conversion, (miraagainst God. Saul also, it is said, culous in point of manner and circum
“still breathing out threaten- stance, though not miraculous in point ings.” The havoc he had already made of principle) as he made his journey, the injury he had already done-the in- and was come nigh unto Damascus, offensive families he had already ruined he saw in the way a light from heaven,
above the brightness of the sun, shining round about him and them that journeyed with him. He dropped to the ground trembling and astonished-young man-and tenderness of spirit
stance in all his previous life had power to do. He had witnessed the martyrdom of Stephen when he was a
peculiarly befits the young-he had
his career of vengeance. And with
and heard a voice speaking unto him
But I hasten to the THIRD part of the subject. AND WHAT A GLORIOUS DISPLAY IS Herein made of the DiVINE CHARActer.
Paul obtained mercy in spite of all his rebellion. The very form of his expression in the text throws us back on the words which immediately pre
The blow which his vindictive temper now received was fatal: he instantly falls a victim to the agonies of a wounded spirit. All the wrath of the persecutor is gone; all the pride of the Pharisee is gone; and the whole fabric of his self-righteousness is struck to the ground for ever. One word
fm Jesus did that which no circum-cede it "who was before a blasphemer,