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"Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city." — Acts 18:9-10

The Lord is a very present help in trouble; and before his people express their apprehensions, he foresees them, and effectually provides against them.

It is obvious Paul was now depressed and discouraged. He had nature in him, as well as grace. The Christian, and even the Apostle, did not destroy the man. He had genius; and not only great sensibility, but a tinge of melancholy is perhaps inseparable from this endowment. He was also the subject of bodily enervation, and was now worn down, not only by constant preaching, but also by working manually, day and night, to support himself and relieve others. In allusion to which, he says, in his Letter to these Corinthians, "I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." Yea, he was now it would seem, afraid of men, of suffering persecution, of death. Is this he that said, None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my course with joy? Yes. He then spoke sincerely, and according to the frame he was in. But what a change do we feel, if the Lord hides his face, or faith fails, yea, or if there be only a variation in the humours of the body, or the state of the weather!

The Lord therefore removes his fear by the assurance that no man should set upon him to hurt him; for "He was with him, and had much work for him to do;" so that even his destination secured him. And see how faithfully and remarkably this was accomplished. For though the place was so abandoned, and he had so many enemies, he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them without any molestation. At length a storm arose, which tried his confidence in the promise. But it issued in the proof that the Saviour in whom he trusted was true and righteous altogether. For all the Jews in the city made a violent insurrection against Paul, and brought him before Gallio the deputy. But Gallio refused to take cognizance of the affair, and drove them from the judgment-seat. Upon which, provoked by his conduct, the Greeks, who had joined the Jews in this assault, fell upon Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in sight of the bench. But Paul, on whose account the persecution was raised, was suffered to escape uninjured, and continued his labours a considerable time longer, undisturbed, and at length withdrew from the place in peace.

Is not this enough to prove that nothing is too hard for the Lord; that he can turn the shadow of death into the morning; that our enemies, however numerous and malignant, are all under his control, and cannot move a hair's breadth beyond the length of the chain in which he holds them?

Do we not here see, that if we have his promise we have enough to establish, strengthen, settle us, whatever our difficulties and dangers may be? Heaven and earth may pass away, but his word cannot fail. If a child, even in the dark, feels his father's hand grasping his, and hears him say, I am with thee, fear not; he is calmed and confident. Yea, says David, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me. He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee; so that we may boldly say. The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. "Yea, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us."

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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