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The Conbersion of Saint Paul.
O GOD, who, through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world; Grant, we beseech Thee, that we, having his wonder. ful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto Thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
" And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."-ACTS ix. 1, 2. HE narrative of Paul's persecution and conversion us one thing
that we are never to assume that a great confidence in the truth of our
opinions is a criterion of their truth. Paul was probably as convinced that he was right as Peter knew that he was wrong; the only difference being, that the fisherman had a reason (1 Peter iii. 15) for his view, while the Pharisee depended only upon his own persuasion of its truth. The same consideration may
lead us to reflect, how little the confident statements and assurance of others that our views are erroneous should move us, provided we have good reason for them. Should Peter have doubted his Master's mission, because Paul was confident of its nullity ? Nor does decision of character argue correctness of judgment. Paul was quite as decided in his course of persecution-nay, I am sure, quite as devoted ; and would with as little reserve have resigned his life for the anti-Christian cause, as the apostles were ready to be "poured out" and offered up for the Lord. How strong the suggestion must force itself on us, when we see another violent in his prosecution of error and persecution of right. This blind bigot carries with him a torrent of zeal. Oh, that it received its true coursean impetuous river sweeping along through every plain but where it is wanted, where it does more. harm than good! Oh, that the Spirit of grace might convert that whole life, which, however specious to men, as it is governed by a hardened heart, is in the sight of God no virtue, but a damnable sin !
“ And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”—Matt. xix. 29.
Peter regarding the advantages which attended the sincerity of his profession. It is not improbable that the parable of the murmuring Labourers, which immediately follows in the 20th chapter, is meant to repress too mercenary a spirit; yet the answer does not deny, but assert, that sincere discipleship will always be rewarded, and makes a direct appeal to our motives of self-interest. Christ declares that he will be no loser who follows Himno more than he should be who quits the shadow for the substance. No doubt such a one, in the opinion of the world, might have done better; but the extreme good of the world is not happiness, but the shadow of happiness-riches and honour. He who barters these for Christ, gains much more. Even in this life he will receive a hundredfold more in the inexpressible consolations of the Gospel (1 Peter i. 8), and in that peace which passeth all understanding (Phil. iv. 7); but in the world to come " life everlasting."
A blest conversion, and a strange,
Was that when Saul a Paul became; And, Lord, for making such a change,
We praise and glorify Thy name.
For whilst he went from place to place,
To persecute Thy Truth and Thee, And running to perdition was,
By powerful grace called back was he.
When from Thy truth we go astray,
Or wrong it through our blinded zeal, O come and stop us in the way,
And then Thy truth to us reveal.
And as Thy blessed servant Paul,
When he a convert once became, Exceeded Thy apostles all
In constant preaching of Thy name:
So grant that those who have in sin
Exceeded others heretofore,
Love, serve, and honour Thee the more.
The Presentation of Christ in the Temple,
The Purification of Saint Mary the Virgin.
THE COLLECT. ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly beseech Thy Majesty, that, as Thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented anto Thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“ And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple
But who may abide the day of His coming ? and who shall stand when He appeareth ? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope.”—MAL, ü. 1, 2.
temples of the one God are alluded to in Scripture-Solomon's, Zorobabel's, and the Communion of Saints, which is the body of Christ. The