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sionary. It is to oppose the example of all the apostles; for all the apostles were to some extent missionaries. It is to oppose the commission of Christ; for it was by him that the disciples were sent forthit was by his express commission that they were constituted missionaries. It is to oppose the will of God; for Paul was a missionary "of Jesus Christ by the will of God." In a word it is to oppose a divine institution; for we have seen that the cause of missions is to all intents and purposes an institution of God-an institution of the Gospel.
3. The friends of missions have great encouragement to pray and labour for the promotion of so good a cause. This is the cause for which Paul labored, and in which he died. It is the cause for which all the apostles laboured, and in which most of them fell martyrs. It is the cause of millions of our fellow creatures who are ready to perish. It is the cause of Christ-the cause of God. It is a cause which will go forward. The same omnipotent arm which rolls the spheres, is pledged to carry forward the cause of missions; and the one of these can be stopped as well as the other. Let all esteem it an honor and a privilege to be engaged in such a cause. Let all pray fervently and constantly for its advancement ; and as in the case of good Cornelius, let their "prayers and alms ascend up together, as a memorial before the throne of God."
THE LABORS OF PAUL.
1 Cor. xv. 10.
"I labored more abundantly than they all."
THIS declaration of the Apostle Paul was not the language of ostentation and pride, or of a disposition to undervalue the labors of his apostolical brethren. In the preceding verse, he had given vent to the feelings of his broken and contrite heart, by saying, "I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God." And lest his enemies, who sought to depreciate him that they might detract from the authority of the holy doctrines which he taught, should take an advantage of this humble confession; he adds, in the verse of which the text is a part, "But by the grace of God, I am what I am. And his grace, which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet, not I but the grace of God which was with me." It was true, we have reason to believe, and so palpably true that there was no denying it, that Paul had labored more, and been more successful, in propagating the religion of the gospel, than any other of the Apostles.
In the ensuing discourse, I shall,
I. Give a brief statement of the labors of Paul. And,
II. Inquire how it can be accounted for, that he should accomplish so much as he did.
Paul was a most devoted Minister and faithful laborer, in the Churches which had been established previous to his conversion. He commenced his public Ministry in Damascus, whither he had come to afflict the saints, and "straightway preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God." And from that period till the time of his consecration to the great work for which he had been raised up-the work of publishing the gospel in heathen lands, he was never idle; but in Arabia, in Jerusalem, in Cilicia his native country, and in the great revival which took place at Antioch, he was continually and we may suppose most successfully and delightfully employed, though in the midst of exposures and sufferings, in dispensing the gospel of the grace of God. And after his consecration to the work of a Missionary, he was not unmindful of the beloved Churches and brethren which he had left. No sooner had he returned from his first excursion among the heathen. to the Church at Antioch which had sent him forth, than immediately he resumed his former labors there. "He continued," we are informed, "in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord."
Paul was frequently annoyed in his public labors by Judaizing teachers, and by the remaining prejudices of Jewish believers. But this did not abate the ardor of his affection, towards those who had been converted from among the Jews. At two different periods, we find him engaged in taking up contribu tions and making collections, "for the poor saints which dwelt at Jerusalem ;" and in both instances he went up to the city himself, to minister to their necessities with his own hands. His Epistle to the
Hebrews should also be regarded as an eternal monument of his love for the Jewish christians, and his zeal for their advancement in the knowledge of the truth.
Nor were his benevolent regards confined to those of the Jews who had embraced christianity. Notwithstanding he had more to fear, and actually suffered more, from his Jewish enemies than from all others, he expressed, no doubt, the real feelings of his soul when he said, "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart; for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, for my kinsmen, according to the flesh.”
Hitherto we have contemplated Paul rather in his regards and labors for the Jews, and the churches which he found established at the period of his conversion, than as a messenger of light and mercy to the surrounding nations. It is however in this latter sense-it is as a Missionary to the heathen, that Paul is exhibited in the most noble and interesting attitude.
The first branch of his missionary labor was the dissemination of truth in the regions of surrounding darkness. Not satisfied to continue building "on another man's foundation," as soon as he had been called by the Holy Ghost to plant the standard of the cross in heathen lands, he most cheerfully obeyed. He entered the dominions of idolatry, cruelty and death, and light and salvation followed in his steps. We first behold him tracing and retracing the various parts of Asia Minor; next, visiting the different cities of learned and classic but voluptuous Greece; next, passing, in the character of a prisoner, but as a most indefatigable and successful Minister, through Italy to Rome; and next, probably, accomplishing his expected" journey into Spain" and exploring the benighted regions of the west of Europe. Nor did
he perform these long and then laborious excursions with the feelings of a mere traveller. He had a great object before him which he never suffered himself for a moment to forget. It was to disseminate truth; to pour light upon the dark minds of men; to reclaim lost creatures; to found churches; and to extend by every method the kingdom of his Redeemer. And this heavenly object he was enabled in an unexampled manner to promote. Wherever he went, his path, like that of a meteor in the midnight heavens, was marked with light. The kingdom of darkness melted away under the influence of his pursuasions; churches rose up after him as if by miracle; and in comparatively a little time, a greater part of the Roman empire was filled with his doctrine.
Paul's labor, as a missionary, fextended not only to the dissemination of truth and the founding of churches, but to regulating and establishing them. The rude materials of which the newly formed churches were composed, needed much moulding and shaping before they were properly fitted for God's spiritual house; and this they received under his plastic hand. He instructed them not only in the faith but in the order of the gospel; made them acquainted with the several institutions of Christ; "ordained elders in every city ;" and was instrumental under God of rearing up the churches, as spiritual temples for the dwelling of their Lord.
Another important branch of Paul's Missionary labor was the particular instruction of teachers for the numerous Churches of the Gentiles. Of many of these teachers, he was the spiritual father; and they could have received special instruction from no one else. To have an adequate idea therefore of the labors of Paul, we must regard him, not only as