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inquire for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth. Ananias objected, expressed his unwillingness, and justified his conduct by Saul's cruelty and persecution, and the authority he had from the chief priests to persecute the saints in that city. "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."
Persuading men consisted in opening up the plan of grace, a method not only approved of God, but the chief of his ways. Explaining and urging the terror of the Lord, without unfolding the method of grace, would be no better than tormenting sinners before the time. In opposition to this the apostle opened up to sinners the covenant of grace with its fulness, and set before them the exceeding great and precious promises. He pointed out an all-atoning and expiating sacrifice, and a perfect righteousness already wrought out, with which God is well pleased. He explained and urged the immediate access which every Gospel hearer had to all the blessings of the everlasting covenant. He proved that it was the greatest duty, as well as highest privilege, to improve that method of salvation. He endeavoured to convince sinners, that a believing improvement of Christ would be more honouring and glorifying to God than their sins had been dishonouring. To understand how he persuaded men to escape the terror of the Lord by proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation, we should carefully read his epistles. The whole of them almost fully prove what we have now said. We shall only mention his emphatic language,
Rom. iii. 20, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them who believe; for there is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ," &c. We have a beautiful example of persuading sinners by unfolding the riches of grace, in the two last verses of the chapter where the text lies; "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." You may also consult 1 Cor. i. 30, "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
3. Persuading men includes great pains and assiduity. The man who aims at persuading is not satisfied with a simple declaration of his message, but gives line upon line. Far from thinking it enough to mention it once, he repeats it again and again, and places it in every point of light. Cold formal declaration is far from suiting his purpose, and he uses all the alluring arts of persuasion. He tries all the avenues to the heart, and adopts every possible method to gain his end. Such were the pains and assiduity of the apostle, that, careless about every other object,
he was "instant in season and out of season." Redemption by free grace, through the Redeemer's righteousness, was his favourite and leading theme. On that subject he dwelt with peculiar delight, opened it up with the greatest care, and adduced numberless arguments to persuade sinners to believe and improve it. He spent much time and pains in unfolding and explaining the doctrines of grace, of which we have an admirable proof in the first part of his epistle to the Romans. He followed the same method in writing to the Hebrews, and proved that Christ was the substance of all the types and ceremonies, with which they were already acquainted. Not satisfied in proposing strong and conclusive reasoning to the understanding, he was at great pains to incline the will, and work upon the affections. We have a striking instance of his manner when he reasoned with Felix of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. So powerful, pertinent, and affecting were his arguments, such an impression did they make on the understanding and affections, that, unable wholly to resist the force of truth, Felix trembled, and dismissed the apostle. His manner is also exemplified in the masterly and persuasive address made to Agrippa, which constrained the king to cry out, in presence of the chief captains and principal men of the city, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
The various ways in which he addressed persons of different characters, were a signal proof of his unremitting care and anxious desire to gain his end. With the Jews he reasoned from their own Scriptures.
With the Athenians he argued from their inscription to the unknown God, and declared unto them Je sus and the resurrection. To impress the Cretians. with their true character, and need of a Saviour, he quoted their own poets. His pains and assiduity appeared in a very conspicuous light in constantly keeping in his eye his great end of persuading meh to avoid the terror of the Lord, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them in the Gospel. The most trying situation in which he was placed never made him desist. In the stocks he praised the Lord, and declared the way of salvation to the poor jailor, and rescued him from rushing into hell, with the attrocious guilt of self-murder added to his other crimes. Carried a prisoner to Cesarea, he ceased not to preach Christ. At sea, in an awful storm of long continuance, in presence of the whole company in the vessel, he gave thanks to God, in such a manner as was calculated to impress them with the highest veneration for that God whom he served, as alone able to change the storm into a calm. We cannot doubt but, during the voyage, he would often speak of Christ, as well as to him. He would preach as well as pray. Cast on the island of Melita, among a barbarous people, he prayed with, and cured the father of the chief man of the island, and many others. During the three months he was detained, he would not fail to unfold the doctrine of Christ, and put an evident mark of distinction on his day. "In his own hired house, at Rome, for two whole years, he received all that came unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern
the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding him." In short, such were his pains and assiduity, that what was said of his great Master was applicable, in a great measure, to himself, that he went about doing good. Wherever he was, in the house, or by the way, among friends or enemies, he embraced every opportunity of preaching the cross of Christ, and always took that method which was best adapted to attract attention, and impress the heart.
4. It includes fervency and zeal. The apostle's fervency was equal to his assiduity. Like one who had a great and favourite object in his eye, he never forgot it, and was never satisfied without it. He was fervent in spirit. In every place, as well as at Athens, "his spirit was stirred in him." Reflecting how much he was indebted to the Redeemer, and how willing Christ was to receive sinners; with the utmost fervency he recommended him as the only Saviour. Interested in him himself, and inflamed with love to him, he deeply felt for those who were in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, and travailed in birth, zealous that Christ should be formed in them.
There cannot be a better proof of his fervency and zeal, than the severe sufferings and hardships he underwent in his Master's service. His labours too were uncommon, and directed to no other end than the glory of Christ, and the good of souls. He exerted himself to the utmost in preaching the faith he formerly destroyed. Zealous and fervent in the good cause, nothing could dishearten or weary, allure or terrify him from his duty. We have a short but surprising account of his labours, Rom. xv. 19, "From