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Lord? and the Lord said, I am Jesus, (of Nazareth,) whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." It is hard for thee to strive against One mightier than thou; it can but bring harm and loss to thyself; the thorns, which thou spurnest, will but enter into thy own flesh. And here the gracious and merciful words of our Blessed Saviour, together with divine grace, seem at once to have changed the purpose and heart of Saul, to have humbled and bowed him to the divine will. "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? And the Lord said, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do."

Thus our Lord, even after his miraculous call, was pleased to remit St. Paul unto the Church, and unto man, and unto the sacraments, to make known unto him His will, and to perfect in him his conversion; as St. Augustine says, "Let us consider rather, that the apostle Paul himself, although cast down to the earth and instructed by the divine voice from heaven, was yet sent unto man, to receive the sacraments, and to be joined unto the Church." A lesson, Christian brethren, for us all, to look to the means of grace in the Church, and to listen to them who are set over us in the Lord.

"And Saul arose from the earth, and, when his eyes were opened, he saw no man; and they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink." No doubt these were days of severe trial and bitterness of soul, when as yet he knew not what was God's will and purpose concerning him, and when, no doubt, the sense of his past sin in persecuting the Church of God was fresh and keen. At the end of the three days Ananias was sent to him by God, that "he might receive his sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." The words of Ananias, as given in chap. xxii., are much to be noted, as setting forth the necessity of the ordinary means of grace, even when the conversion had been miraculous. "And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see That Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth. thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now, why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the Name of the Lord." How great must be the necessity of the means of grace, where they may be had! And, chiefly, how great must be the necessity of the sacra

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ment of holy Baptism, if St. Paul, even after his conversion by miracle, yet needed that holy sacrament, and was yet in his sins, until his sins were washed away by the "one baptism for the remission of sins!" Our Lord had Himself called St. Paul by a voice from heaven, our Lord had Himself wrought St. Paul's conversion by miracle, and yet, after all, it was necessary for St. Paul also to be baptized. It was not enough that he believed, he needed also to be baptized; even as our Lord had said, "he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved." St. Paul needed (even as we need) to be born again of water and of the Holy Spirit, in order to enter into the kingdom of God: and Ananias preached unto St. Paul, even after his conversion, the necessity of holy Baptism for the remission of sins, even as St. Peter had before preached it unto the multitude on the day of Pentecost, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

These then are among the lessons which we may learn from the conversion of St. Paul. That God has compassion upon such as are serious and earnest, even when in error: and mercifully seeks to lead them unto the truth: not that it

matters little, what a man believes, if only he be sincere rather it matters much, very much, or, so to say, it matters everything: (otherwise, surely, God would not have wrought so great a miracle to bring about the conversion of St. Paul, to .open his eyes, and to make him to see and receive the truth, against which his early education had blinded and hardened him)-but that God, of His mercy, has regard to such as are serious, earnest, and sincere, and saves them, not usually, in their error, but by leading them to the truth. Again, that when God touches men's hearts by His grace, even when He works a miracle to convert and save them, it is to His Church, to His ministers, to His sacraments, that He sends them, to perfect in them that good work which His grace has begun. It was so at the first; so we read, "the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved;" it is so now, it is in the Church that God wills to save men, by the ministry of His word and sacraments, by His pure word preached, by His sacraments duly ministered. The Church is the sheepfold, wherein the good shepherd hath set the sheep and lambs of His flock. There He careth for them. There He washeth away their sins by the cleansing waters of holy Baptism. There He

feedeth them with the word of life, and with the bread from heaven. And blessed are they, who are content and glad to remain within that secure fold, who, having been washed from their sins, endeavour to keep themselves pure, feeding on such food as their heavenly Father hath provided for them, not yearning after strange pastures, not seeking meat for their lusts, not hewing them out broken cisterns. Blessed are they, who can take to them the words of holy David, and can say from the heart, "The Lord is my shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing; He shall feed me in a green pasture, and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort: He shall convert my soul, and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff comfort me: Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me, Thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full. But Thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

Now all this is very contrary to what men at this day say and feel; men make light of religious error, however serious, provided the persons in

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