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ancient and modern times. May our hearts burn within us while we follow the loving, burning thoughts of this master in Israel! May our hopes and feelings rise with the great theme when he tells us of the riches of Divine mercy, the dignity and glory of the redeemed Church, and the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. May we be enabled to say at every fresh discovery of grace, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”

Yes, it is our Father that speaks to us from heaven, and we humbly and joyfully bend our ear to the gracious voice.

I. THE APOSTLESHIP OF PAUL. The word “Apostle” designates one sent from God, and is a name of Christ Himself (Heb. iii. 1). The twelve whom Jesus chose and ordained (Matt. x.) to be with Him, and to preach the Gospel in His name, are, by way of eminence, called the Apostles," and they well deserve that distinguishing title, for they laid the foundations of the kingdom of God in the various nations of the world. The name is, however, given to several others in the New Testament-as to Titus (2 Cor. viii. 23), Epaphroditus (Phil. ï. 25), Andronicus and Junius (Rom. xvi. 7), to Barnabas and Paul (Acts xiv. 14, ix. 15, 20). Paul names himself an apostle of Jesus Christ in many places (Col. i. 1, 1 Tim. i. 1, 2 Tim. i. 1, &c.) The twelve were called by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, when on earth; they were His intimate friends and companions; He gave them their powers, commission, and qualifications, and to Him they were in all things responsible. They were to be His witnesses, and more specially the witnesses of His resurrection; and hence they must have seen and known the Lord (1 Cor. ix. 1,2). It was the appearance of Jesus on the plain of Damascus which changed the fierce persecutor into

the Apostle of the Gentiles (Acts ix. 3). This was the turning point of his marvellous history, and he consulted not with flesh and blood. He had now seen the Lord, and was in so far qualified to be His apostle. No doubt the external splendour which struck him to the earth was the type of an inward light which irradiated his mind and filled his heart with peace and joy. Mede considers the conversion of Paul as a type of the conversion of the Jewish nation, and containing the following typical points—first, he was converted by the personal appearance of Christ, and so will the whole nation

, at the second advent; second, his conversion was a great blessing to the Gentiles, and he is called the Apostle of the Gentiles, and so the converted nation of Israel will be like life from the dead to the world-a new source of blessedness and grace to all the nations of the earth. But what was the apostolic office? They were called and appointed directly by Christ as the eye and earwitnesses of their Master; on this ground Matthias was chosen in the room of Judas (Acts i. 24-26), and Paul mentions, among the proofs of his apostleship, that he had seen the Lord (1 Cor. ix. 1), and heard the voice of the Holy One (Acts xxii. 14); so that he could be a witness unto all men of what he had seen and heard. They were qualified by the Lord and authorized to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and raise the dead. In this way

the risen life of Jesus was manifested and dispensed to the nations; and it is remarkable that all their works were done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as His were done in the name of the Father (Acts iii, 6, iv. 10, iii. 16). They were inspired by God (Gal. i. 11, 12, 2 Tim. ü. 16), and endowed with the wisdom, faithfulness, and strength necessary for the founding of the kingdom of God; but their chief and distinguishing function, which they shared with none, was the power of conveying the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (Acts vi. 6, viii. 16, xix. 6). These wonderful powers were connected with the deepest humility and most abundant sufferings (Matt. x. 17, Acts v. 17, 18, John xv. 19, Acts xvi. 33, 2 Cor. iv. 10); so that the powers of the Holy Spirit working in them thus mightily-power over disease, and Satan, and death-brought them nothing but the opposition and hatred of mankind : love was returned with hatred; patience, with cruel mockery; and their public labours with scourging, imprisonment, and death. Such is the way love conquers the souls of men ! It is out of suffering and death that the triumphs of the Gospel spread over the world; and this Epistle, so full of peace and love and heavenly hope, was written from the dungeons of Rome.

II. THE SAINTS, &c. He did not write to the Ephesians but to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." Saint, in both the sacred languages, signifies clean, pure, without blemish (Rom. xii. 1); and hence it is beautifully applied to the faithful followers of the Lamb who have escaped the pollution that is in the world through lust (Acts ix. 13, 22, 32, 41, xxvi. 10, Rom. i. 7, viii. 27). Forasmuch also as the best and the purest of everything in the old dispensation was separated and set apart for the Lord, the word holy became synonymous with consecrated to God; and in this respect also believers are saints ; they have given up the world ; they have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts; and in body, soul, and spirit they are dedicated to God. These saints in Ephesus were a small part of the population of that luxurious city, and in the hum and bustle of a great capital they were little noticed or noticed only to be despised. Such was the judgment of man; but the eye of God was upon them in their noble contendings, and the heart of Christ was responsive to their cries. Fallen and lost as we are, there is something within us, some remnants of the unfallen glory, which can never be satisfied with shadows. We long, if we know how, to reach upwards into the holiest of all, that we may find tranquillity and satisfaction in God. To such longing, thirsty souls the Gospel comes as life from the dead; it puts them on the way of holiness by giving them an object to fix and draw out their affections, even Jesus Christ the crucified; and the feeble lights and powers of nature are strengthened and brightened by the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Now that their strength is renewed they may have some hope of victory in wrestling with the evils within and around them ; in the act of believing, their eyes have been opened to sin and righteousness;

, God and His creature man appear in a new and more glorious light; what satisfied formerly pleases now no more; for the longing, living soul will seek its native skies, and be tranquillized with nothing but the enjoyments of its God

“And onward, still onward arising, ascending

To the right hand of power and joy never-ending." The saint or believer in Christ has a different theory of life from other men. Most men are practically materialists, having this world for their home and riches for their god. “Eat, drink, and die—what can the rest avail us?" so said the royal sage, Sardanapalus,—is the very spirit of the thoughtless, bustling world. The saints at Ephesus had been led to see something higher than this in the life of man and the destiny that awaits him. Time was but the beginning of their existence; crowns of glory sparkled in the distance; God was their Father, Christ their Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit their Sanctifier. Suffering and trial and persecutions of all kinds were nothing compared with the hopes that filled and sustained them. They had their sorrows, no doubt, but He was the Man of sorrows; they might well tread the thorny path when their Master wore a crown of thorns. He was the Holy One of God and they were called to be saints—holy, pure, and consecrated to Him in all things. They would share His fortunes; and in the life-boat with Jesus commit themselves to the shoreless sea. They preferred heaven to Asia Minor, and the Temple of God above to the Temple of Diana, whom the Ephesians so fiercely worshipped (Acts xix. 28). Such were the saints in days of old, and such should they be still—men whose character is holy, whose home is in the skies, and whose supreme desire, living or dying, is to glorify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are we such? The apostle adds: “And to the faithful in Christ Jesus," which shows that the apostle was not interested for the saints at Ephesus alone, but for all believers universally. It is a truly catholic Epistle, and we might say, with Coleridge, that almost every doctrine of Christianity may be found in it. It is, therefore, a treasure intended of the Lord for the special benefit of the whole Church in all ages.

III. THE WISH OR PRAYER, Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.(Ver. 2.)

The Apostle begins with grace and ends with grace (Eph. vi. 24); and the themes which he so sublimely discusses are all but the manifold forms of the same principle—drops, showers, rills, rivers, from the oceanfulness of Divine grace. Grace in the heart of God, which is election; grace in the cross of Christ, which is redemption ; grace in the office of the Holy Spirit, which is sanctification; grace in the Church militant,

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