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APRIL 12, August 11, Dec. 9. 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. And as he jourveyed, he came near Damascus : and suddenly there shined round about him a light from They who persecute the followen heaven : 4 and he fell to the of Christ, persecute Him. They afearth, and heard a voice say
flict man, but they sin against God. ing unto him, Saul, Saul,
5 The efforts of those who resist
God are not only vain, but harmful why persecutest thou me?
to themselves ; even as those of the 5 And he said, Who art thou, ox, who is pierced by the goad against Lord ? And the Lord said, which he kicketh. I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he
6 His mind, habitually open to betrembling and astonished lieve in heavenly revelations, insaid, Lord, what wilt thou stantly recognised a voice from heahave me to do? And the ven, even the voice of the Lord, Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth ; and when his eyes were opened he saw no man : but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat
10 Happy thou, if, when called to nor drink. And there was a do or to suffer, thine be the ready certain disciple at Damascus, obedience !-"Behold ! Lord, I am named Ananias; and to him here !" said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord *. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas, for one called Saul, of Tarsus ; for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests
Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, in the lesser Asia, and the birthplace of Saul.
to bind all that call on thy 15 No wonder that, in proportion to name. 15 But the Lord said the importance of his mission, his unto him, Go thy way: for credentials, as an ambassador of he is a chosen vesseľ unto Christ,” should be stamped with
marked authority. (2 Cor. v. 20.) me, to bear my name before
16 St. Paul, the chosen servant, was the Gentiles, and kings, and called to a martyr's death. Be not the children of Israel : 16 for dismayed at thy trials ! God is also I will shew him how great
with thee. things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house ; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And imme- 18 So important is the rite of bapdiately there fell from his tism, as the appointed seal of our eyes as it had been scales : covenant with God. and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway 20 St. Paul insisted upon the divinity he preached Christ in the of Christ, lest the glories of the eversynagogues, that he is the lasting Son of the Father be forgotSon of God. But all that ten in contemplating the sufferings
of the crucified Son of man. heard him were amazed, and said ; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound un
22 Proring the truth, by comparing to the chief priests? 22 But one Scripture with another. Paul's Saul increased the more in extensive and deep knowledge of the strength, and confounded the Scriptures well qualified him to pur
sue such a course, Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ *And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews
24 If men watch for eoil, God watches took counsel to kill him : for good. His providence is ever
but their laying await was over us, when engaged in the path known of Saul. And they
of duty. watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket. 26 And when Saul
26 We do not wonder that when was come to Jerusalem, he Paul attempted, or assayed, to join
* There is an interval of nearly three years from the conversion of St. Paul to his visit to Jerusalem ; the intervening time being passed partly at Damascus, but chiefly in Arabia.
assayed to join himself to the the disciples, they hesitated to receive
him *. disciples : but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, 27 The apostles Peter and John. and brought him to the apos- (Gal. i. 18.) tles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going 39 To stand up as a preacher of that out at Jerusalem. And faith he had persecuted, required a he spake boldly in the name courage which nothing could have of the Lord Jesus, and dis- given but a sincerity blessed and
sustained by the Spirit of God. St. puted against the Grecians :
Paul had to overcome not only the but they went about to slay fear of death, but the more trying him. 30 Which when the fear of shame t. brethren knew, they brought
30 He who rashly risks life, tempés him down to Cæsarea, and the Lord. sent him forth to Tarsus. 31 The Church of Christ is built up, 31 Then had the churches rest
or edified, when the members of it throughout all Judæa and
are truly the people of God .. Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named Æneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him,
34 The apostles refer to Jesus the Æneas, Jesus Christ maketh power by which they worked mirathee whole : arise, and make
cles. (Matt. v. 30.) thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt in Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord. Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas : this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had
* This was doubtless painful to the new disciple ; but he felt it to be part of the penalty attending his former sin as a persecutor: there fore he murmured not. Every penitent must expect to experience this.
+ By the Grecians are meant the Jews who dwelt in foreign countries. #Rest. That is the nearest approach to happiness which the Church of Christ and each individual Christian can expect. Thus we pray in our Liturgy that we be permitted to serve the Lord “in all godly quite ness ;" we implore“ peace in our time," and we trust to heaven for the blessing ; " because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God!”
washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come 39 How tenderly are our feelings to them. Then Peter moved at the sight of even the most arose and went with them. trivial object which reminds us of When he was come, they
the loved dead ! brought him into the upper chamber : and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed ; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw 41 Thus exercising the miraculous Peter, she sat up.
powers promised. (Matt. x. 8.) he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa : and many believed in the Lord. And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.
APRIL 13, AUGUST 12, Dec. 10.
WHIT-SUNDAY, morning, from ver, 34. There was a certain man | The religion of Jesus Christ is at in Cæsarea called Cornelius, hand to sanctify every station in life : a centurion of the band called guarding us against the peculiar
temptations of each ; and enabling the Italian band, a devout us to fulfil its duties. (See Luke iii. man, and one that feared God 14.) with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on
* In our prayers, and our alms, and
our good deeds ; there can be no him, he was afraid, and said, merit. But God graciously accepts What is it, Lord? And he them, and will recompense them for said unto him, Thy prayers
Christ's sake. (Matt. xxv. 40.) and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And bow send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surDame is Peter: he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side : he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. 'And when the angel
* We do not discern the angels ; which spake unto Cornelius
but we cannot doubt their ministradeparted, he called two tion in our service. What a pleas
of his houshold servants, and ing—what a salutary thought! Hox a devout soldier of them that encouraging to virtue ! How abashwaited on him continually ;
ing to vice! and when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour : and he became very hungry, and would have eaten : but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let 12 So the Church was to include down to the earth : " wherein men of every nation. were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 This removed the distinction be the voice spake unto him
tween Jew and Gentile--clean and again the second time, What unclean. God hath cleansed, that call 16 Blessed day! when the whole not thou common.
Church shall be received up into
Heaven-one great fainily of God! was done thrice : and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, and called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek : what is the cause wherefore ye are come ? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, & just : inan, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. 23 Then called he them in, 23 The voice from heaven had reand lodged them.
moved all Peter's scruples. the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
24 Near friends. In one sense of 24 And the morrow after they the word, a Christian views all men entered into Cæsarea. And with friendly eye-his charity free