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human hearts? If only we would all take to ourselves this promise and make it our own, waiting for its fulfilment as the one hundred and twenty did during those ten days, what a change there would be! What a blessed summer-time! What a glow of true devotion and warm brotherly love, and here and there and everywhere what flashes of light and gleamings of flame and kindlings of fuel! And presently our neighbours would feel it, our churches would feel it, other churches would feel it; and who can tell how far the warmth would spread and the light would shine? We were impressed as we thought of the grand possibilities there are for Christians and the Church, in view of the promise of the Spirit under the symbol of water; but they are grander still, especially as regards the prospect of speedy results as we think of the promise of the Spirit under the symbol of fire. It takes time, long time, for the tiny stream to grow into an Amazon; but " see how great a matter a little fire kindleth!" It takes very little time to produce great results with fire. We all know it as regards the destructive energy of earthly fire; it is equally true of the blessed energy of the fire that comes from Heaven. How important, then, that the Church should welcome the promise of the Spirit in all the fulness of life-giving power, which is within her reach in this "dispensation of the Spirit!"

Welcome, Blessed Spirit, in all the fulness of Thy grace, and love, and power; come as the wind to revive us—as water to cleanse and refresh us, and flow through us as channels of grace to others-as fire, to purify us in the inmost recesses of our souls, to quicken us to a warmer and brighter life, and to give us the blessed power of kindling life all round about us. "Come, Holy Spirit, come!"

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XI.

THE DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT.

THERE HERE are none of the heathen philosophers whose writings come nearer to the morality of the New Testament than those of Seneca. Seneca was a contemporary of the Apostle Paul. He must have been born about the same time, though we do not know the precise date in either case. While the youth Seneca was studying under Attalus, the Stoic, at Rome, the young Saul of Tarsus was "sitting at the feet of Gamaliel" at Jerusalem. At about the same time that Saul's conversion severed him from all his former associates, and ushered him into a life of hardship and vicissitude, the rising fame of Seneca for philosophic virtue alienated from him the corrupt Court at Rome, and led the way to many hardships and sufferings. During the quarter of a century which followed, the parallel sadly fails; for, while the path of the Apostle was like "the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," the path of the philosopher was tortuous and dark. His philosophy deserted him in the hour of need; he became wretched in banishment; and when restored again to Court favour on the accession of Nero, he disgraced himself by apologising for some of that monster's most atrocious crimes. And yet, at the close, the parallel almost reappears, for not only did both fall about the same time by the fury of the same tyrant, but there was a heroism about the

death of Seneca, when the worst came to the worst, that, in the view of his admirers, atones to a considerable extent for the weakness and even wickedness of his life, and gives some ground for placing him, in his death as well as in much of his life and his writings, alongside of the great Apostle. It seems certain that St. Paul and Seneca never met, though both may have been at Rome in the year 61 or 62; but, though their paths did not cross, we have an interesting link of historical connection in the fact that on one occasion the Apostle was summarily dragged before the judgment-seat of Seneca's brother Gallio, the pro-consul of Achaia, an incident related in the 18th chapter of the Acts. It is just possible that Seneca may have heard St. Paul's name mentioned by his brother Gallio; but if he did, it is pretty certain that he would regard him with indifference or contempt, as Gallio himself evidently did. There seems, at all events, no reason whatever to imagine for a moment that the philosopher was indebted to the Apostle for the sound philosophy and lofty morality which have made his writings so deservedly famous.

let us now offer a The life of Seneca

We have had a historical parallel; historical problem founded upon it. was strangely parallel with the life of St. Paul; the words. of Seneca are strangely similar to the words of the Apostle. How comes it, then, that the words of Seneca fell powerless even on the Roman people, and are now read only by a very few scholars and antiquarians, while the words of St. Paul have stirred every community they have reached, have been translated into nearly all the languages of the earth, and have brought instruction, and comfort, and moral strength,-have brought light, and hope, and joy, -to millions of human lives? It is the fashion, in some quarters, to assert or insinuate that the morality of Seneca

was little, if at all, inferior to the morality of St. Paul, or even of the Lord Jesus Himself; and this is triumphantly brought forward as telling against the divine claim of Christianity. There are Christians, too, who weakly tremble when such comparisons are made, and think it a serious thing for the Bible that heathen philosophy can be shown even to approach it. But look at it, -look at it, and it will appear that in this very comparison lies a proof of the strongest kind that Christianity must be of God. If it could be shown that the morality of the New Testament was a thousand times better than that of the noblest and best of the heathen moralists, this difference would at once be seized upon as sufficiently accounting for the peculiar power of Christianity; and so there would be some colour for the cry, "What we want is a pure morality; give us morality, by all means, -more and more of it, but away with your useless divinity; away with the superstition about the supernatural." But with the pages before us of such men as Socrates, and Plato, and Zeno, and Seneca, and Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, it cannot be said that the difference between the power of the moralists and the power of the Christians is accounted for simply by the superiority of the ethics of the latter. The reason must be sought elsewhere; and the question is, Where? Where else can it be found. than in the claim of the Apostle himself: "My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God"? In other words, the peculiar power on which the Apostle relied for the success of his words was not the morality of them, but the divinity of So far as "the wisdom of men" was concerned, there was little more reason why they should do great

things for the world than there was that the words of Seneca should; but "the power of God,"—there was the hope, and there we find the only reasonable explanation of the wonderful historical phenomenon at which we have been looking.

In one of his Epistles St. Paul writes: "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." If "an angel from heaven" had been sent to preach the Gospel, the power of it might have been credited to the angel; but when a weak man does it, and results follow, as sometimes they do, which make even infidels amazed, then the obvious inadequacy of the instrument makes it manifest to those who have intelligence enough to appreciate the conclusion, that "the excellency of the power" must be " of God." There may be those of our readers who can remember the time when they were distressed that the Bible had not come to us in what seemed a state of ideal perfection, without anything in it, from beginning to end, that was not clear as a sunbeam, and as free from possible objections as it was conceivable that it should be; but who now perceive that they were entirely wrong. If this book had been any further set apart from other books than it is, men would have said, "The excellency is in the Book, and what wonderful geniuses these men that wrote it must have been; and the names of Matthew, Mark, and the rest of them would have stood higher in the roll of the world's great ones than those of Plato, or Seneca, or Dante, or Shakspeare. It would have seemed. that all the superiority lay in the words, and so the authors of the words would have been almost deified. But coming to us as it has come, in such a way as to show that the words are not so much superior after all,that, so far as "the wisdom of men" is concerned, it is

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