Lives of Great Men
Sacred history presents many illustrations of the results of true
education. It presents many noble examples of men whose characters were
formed under divine direction, men whose lives were a blessing to their
fellow men and who stood in the world as representatives of God. Among
these are Joseph and Daniel, Moses, Elisha, and Paul--the greatest
statesmen, the wisest legislator, one of the most faithful of reformers,
and, except Him who spoke as never man spake, the most illustrious
teacher that this world has known.
In early life, just as they were passing from youth to manhood,
Joseph and Daniel were separated from their homes and carried as
captives to heathen lands. Especially was Joseph subject to the
temptations that attend great changes of fortune. In his father's home a
tenderly cherished child; in the house of Potiphar a slave, then a
confidant and companion; a man of affairs, educated by study,
observation, contact with men; in Pharaoh's dungeon a prisoner of state,
condemned unjustly, without hope of vindication or prospect of release;
called at a great crisis to the leadership of the nation--what enabled
him to preserve his integrity?
No one can stand upon a lofty height without danger. As the tempest
that leaves unharmed the flower of the valley uproots the tree upon the
mountaintop, so do fierce temptations that leave untouched the lowly in
life assail those who stand in the world's high places of success and
honour. But Joseph bore alike the test of adversity and of prosperity.
The same fidelity was manifest in the palace of the Pharaohs as in the
In his childhood, Joseph had been taught the love and fear of God.
Often in his father's tent, under the Syrian stars, he had been told the
story of the night vision at Bethel, of the ladder from heaven to earth,
and the descending and ascending angels, and of Him who from the throne
above revealed Himself to Jacob. He had been told the story of the
conflict beside the Jabbok, when, renouncing cherished sins, Jacob stood
conqueror, and received the title of a prince with God.
A shepherd boy, tending his father's flocks, Joseph's pure and simple
life had favoured the development of both physical and mental power. By
communion with God through nature and the study of the great truths
handed down as a sacred trust from father to son, he had gained strength
of mind and firmness of principle.
In the crisis of his life, when making that terrible journey from his
childhood home in Canaan to the bondage which awaited him in Egypt,
looking for the last time on the hills that hid the tents of his
kindred, Joseph remembered his father's God. He remembered the lessons
of his childhood, and his soul thrilled with the resolve to prove
himself true--ever to act as became a subject of the King of heaven.
In the bitter life of a stranger and a slave, amidst the sights and
sounds of vice and the allurements of heathen worship, a worship
surrounded with all the attractions of wealth and culture and the pomp
of royalty, Joseph was steadfast. He had learned the lesson of obedience
to duty. Faithfulness in every station, from the most lowly to the most
exalted, trained every power for highest service.
At the time when he was called to the court of Pharaoh, Egypt was the
greatest of nations. In civilisation, art, learning, she was unequalled.
Through a period of utmost difficulty and danger, Joseph administered
the affairs of the kingdom; and this he did in a manner that won the
confidence of the king and the people. Pharaoh "made him lord of
his house, and ruler of all his substance: to bind his princes at his
pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom." Psalm 105:21, 22.
The secret of Joseph's life Inspiration has set before us. In words
of divine power and beauty, Jacob, in the blessing pronounced upon his
children, spoke thus of his best-loved son:
"Joseph is a fruitful bough,
Even a fruitful bough by a well;
Whose branches run over the wall:
The archers have sorely grieved him,
And shot at him, and hated him:
But his bow abode in strength,
And the arms of his hands were made strong
By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; . . .
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee;
And by the Almighty, who shall bless thee
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lieth under: . . .
The blessings of thy father have prevailed
Above the blessings of my progenitors
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills:
They shall be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his
Loyalty to God, faith in the Unseen, was Joseph's anchor. In this lay
the hiding of his power.
"The arms of his hands were made strong
By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob."
Daniel, an Ambassador of Heaven
Daniel and his companions in Babylon were, in their youth, apparently
more favoured of fortune than was Joseph in the earlier years of his
life in Egypt; yet they were subjected to tests of character scarcely
less severe. From the comparative simplicity of their Judean home these
youth of royal line were transported to the most magnificent of cities,
to the court of its greatest monarch, and were singled out to be trained
for the king's special service. Strong were the temptations surrounding
them in that corrupt and luxurious court. The fact that they, the
worshipers of Jehovah, were captives to Babylon; that the vessels of
God's house had been placed in the temple of the gods of Babylon; that
the king of Israel was himself a prisoner in the hands of the
Babylonians, was boastfully cited by the victors as evidence that their
religion and customs were superior to the religion and customs of the
Hebrews. Under such circumstances, through the very humiliations that
Israel's departure from His commandments had invited, God gave to
Babylon evidence of His supremacy, of the holiness of His requirements,
and of the sure result of obedience. And this testimony He gave, as
alone it could be given, through those who still held fast their
To Daniel and his companions, at the very outset of their career,
there came a decisive test. The direction that their food should be
supplied from the royal table was an expression both of the king's
favour and of his solicitude for their welfare. But a portion having
been offered to idols, the food from the king's table was consecrated to
idolatry; and in partaking of the king's bounty these youth would be
regarded as uniting in his homage to false gods. In such homage loyalty
to Jehovah forbade them to participate. Nor dared they risk the
enervating effect of luxury and dissipation on physical, mental, and
Daniel and his companions had been faithfully instructed in the
principles of the word of God. They had learned to sacrifice the earthly
to the spiritual, to seek the highest good. And they reaped the reward.
Their habits of temperance and their sense of responsibility as
representatives of God called to noblest development the powers of body,
mind, and soul. At the end of their training, in their examination with
other candidates for the honours of the kingdom, there was "found
none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah." Daniel 1:19.
At the court of Babylon were gathered representatives from all lands,
men of the choicest talents, men the most richly endowed with natural
gifts, and possessed of the highest culture this world could bestow; yet
amidst them all, the Hebrew captives were without a peer. In physical
strength and beauty, in mental vigour and literary attainment, they
stood unrivalled. "In all matters of wisdom and understanding, that
the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the
magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm." Daniel 1:20.
Unwavering in allegiance to God, unyielding in the mastery of
himself, Daniel's noble dignity and courteous deference won for him in
his youth the "favour and tender love" of the heathen officer
in whose charge he was. The same characteristics marked his life.
Speedily he rose to the position of prime minister of the kingdom.
Throughout the reign of successive monarchs, the downfall of the nation,
and the establishment of a rival kingdom, such were his wisdom and
statesmanship, so perfect his tact, his courtesy, and his genuine
goodness of heart, combined with fidelity to principle, that even his
enemies were forced to the confession that "they could find none
occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful." Daniel 6:4.
While Daniel clung to God with unwavering trust, the spirit of
prophetic power came upon him. While honoured by men with the
responsibilities of the court and the secrets of the kingdom, he was
honoured by God as His ambassador, and taught to read the mysteries of
ages to come. Heathen monarchs, through association with Heaven's
representative, were constrained to acknowledge the God of Daniel.
"Of a truth it is," declared Nebuchadnezzar, "that your
God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of
secrets." And Darius, in his proclamation "unto all people,
nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth," exalted the
"God of Daniel" as "the living God, and steadfast
forever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed;" who
"delivereth and rescueth, and . . . worketh signs and wonders in
heaven and in earth." Daniel 2:47; 6:25-27.
True and Honest Men
By their wisdom and justice, by the purity and benevolence of their
daily life, by their devotion to the interests of the people,--and they,
idolaters,--Joseph and Daniel proved themselves true to the principles
of their early training, true to Him whose representatives they were.
These men, both in Egypt and in Babylon, the whole nation honoured; and
in them a heathen people, and all the nations with which they were
connected, beheld an illustration of the goodness and beneficence of
God, an illustration of the love of Christ.
What a lifework was that of these noble Hebrews! As they bade
farewell to their childhood home, how little did they dream of their
high destiny! Faithful and steadfast, they yielded themselves to the
divine guiding, so that through them God could fulfil His purpose.
The same mighty truths that were revealed through these men, God
desires to reveal through the youth and the children of today. The
history of Joseph and Daniel is an illustration of what He will do for
those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to
accomplish His purpose.
The greatest want of the world is the want of men-- men who will not
be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest,
men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience
is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the
right though the heavens fall.
But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to
special favours or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the
result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher
nature--the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man.
The youth need to be impressed with the truth that their endowments
are not their own. Strength, time, intellect, are but lent treasures.
They belong to God, and it should be the resolve of every youth to put
them to the highest use. He is a branch, from which God expects fruit; a
steward, whose capital must yield increase; a light, to illuminate the
Every youth, every child, has a work to do for the honour of God and
the uplifting of humanity.
Elisha, Faithful in Little Things
The early years of the prophet Elisha were passed in the quietude of
country life, under the teaching of God and nature and the discipline of
useful work. In a time of almost universal apostasy his father's
household were among the number who had not bowed the knee to Baal.
Theirs was a home where God was honoured and where faithfulness to duty
was the rule of daily life.
The son of a wealthy farmer, Elisha had taken up the work that lay
nearest. While possessing the capabilities of a leader among men, he
received a training in life's common duties. In order to direct wisely,
he must learn to obey. By faithfulness in little things, he was prepared
for weightier trusts.
Of a meek and gentle spirit, Elisha possessed also energy and
steadfastness. He cherished the love and fear of God, and in the humble
round of daily toil he gained strength of purpose and nobleness of
character, growing in divine grace and knowledge. While co-operating
with his father in the home duties, he was learning to co-operate with
The prophetic call came to Elisha while with his father's servants he
was ploughing in the field. As Elijah, divinely directed in seeking a
successor, cast his mantle upon the young man's shoulders, Elisha
recognised and obeyed the summons. He "went after Elijah, and
ministered unto him." 1 Kings 19:21. It was no great work that was
at first required of Elisha; commonplace duties still constituted his
discipline. He is spoken of as pouring water on the hands of Elijah, his
master. As the prophet's personal attendant, he continued to prove
faithful in little things, while with daily strengthening purpose he
devoted himself to the mission appointed him by God.
When he was first summoned, his resolution had been tested. As he
turned to follow Elijah he was bidden by the prophet to return home. He
must count the cost-- decide for himself to accept or reject the call.
But Elisha understood the value of his opportunity. Not for any worldly
advantage would he forgo the possibility of becoming God's messenger, or
sacrifice the privilege of association with His servant.
As time passed, and Elijah was prepared for translation, so Elisha
was prepared to become his successor. And again his faith and resolution
were tested. Accompanying Elijah in his round of service, knowing the
change soon to come, he was at each place invited by the prophet to turn
back. "Tarry here, I pray thee," Elijah said; "for the
Lord hath sent me to Bethel." But in his early labour of guiding
the plough, Elisha had learned not to fail or to become discouraged; and
now that he had set his hand to the plough in another line of duty, he
would not be diverted from his purpose. As often as the invitation to
turn back was given, his answer was, "As the Lord liveth, and as
thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee." 2 Kings 2:2.
"And they two went on. . . . And they two stood by Jordan. And
Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters,
and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on
dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah
said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away
from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy
spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing:
nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so
unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they
still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of
fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went
up by a whirlwind into heaven.
"And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the
chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and
he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up
also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood
by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from
him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither:
and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to
view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on
Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground
before him." 2 Kings 2:6-15.
Henceforth Elisha stood in Elijah's place. And he who had been
faithful in that which was least, proved himself faithful also in much.
Elijah, the man of power, had been God's instrument for the overthrow
of gigantic evils. Idolatry, which, supported by Ahab and the heathen
Jezebel, had seduced the nation, had been cast down. Baal's prophets had
been slain. The whole people of Israel had been deeply stirred, 61 and
many were returning to the worship of God. As successor to Elijah was
needed one who by careful, patient instruction could guide Israel in
safe paths. For this work Elisha's early training under God's direction
had prepared him.
The lesson is for all. None can know what may be God's purpose in His
discipline; but all may be certain that faithfulness in little things is
the evidence of fitness for greater responsibilities. Every act of life
is a revelation of character, and he only who in small duties proves
himself "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed" (2 Timothy
2:15) will be honoured by God with weightier trusts.
Moses, Powerful Through Faith
Younger than Joseph or Daniel was Moses when removed from the
sheltering care of his childhood home; yet already the same agencies
that shaped their lives had moulded his. Only twelve years did he spend
with his Hebrew kindred; but during these years was laid the foundation
of his greatness; it was laid by the hand of one little known to fame.
Jochebed was a woman and a slave. Her lot in life was humble, her
burden heavy. But through no other woman, save Mary of Nazareth, has the
world received greater blessing. Knowing that her child must soon pass
beyond her care, to the guardianship of those who knew not God, she the
more earnestly endeavoured to link his soul with heaven. She sought to
implant in his heart love and loyalty to God. And faithfully was the
work accomplished. Those principles of truth that were the burden of his
mother's teaching and the lesson of her life, no after influence could
induce Moses to renounce.
From the humble home in Goshen the son of Jochebed passed to the
palace of the Pharaohs, to the Egyptian princess, by her to be welcomed
as a loved and cherished son. In the schools of Egypt, Moses received
the highest civil and military training. Of great personal attractions,
noble in form and stature, of cultivated mind and princely bearing, and
renowned as a military leader, he became the nation's pride. The king of
Egypt was also a member of the priesthood; and Moses, though refusing to
participate in the heathen worship, was initiated into all the mysteries
of the Egyptian religion. Egypt at this time being still the most
powerful and most highly civilised of nations, Moses, as its prospective
sovereign, was heir to the highest honours this world could bestow. But
his was a nobler choice. For the honour of God and the deliverance of
His downtrodden people, Moses sacrificed the honours of Egypt. Then, in
a special sense, God undertook his training.
Not yet was Moses prepared for his lifework. He had yet to learn the
lesson of dependence upon divine power. He had mistaken God's purpose.
It was his hope to deliver Israel by force of arms. For this he risked
all, and failed. In defeat and disappointment he became a fugitive and
exile in a strange land.
In the wilds of Midian, Moses spent forty years as a keeper of sheep.
Apparently cut off forever from his life's mission, he was receiving the
discipline essential for its fulfilment. Wisdom to govern an ignorant
and undisciplined multitude must be gained through self-mastery. In the
care of the sheep and the tender lambs he must obtain the experience
that would make him a faithful, long-suffering shepherd to Israel. That
he might become a representative of God, he must learn of Him.
The influences that had surrounded him in Egypt, the affection of his
foster mother, his own position as the grandson of the king, the luxury
and vice that allured in ten thousand forms, the refinement, the
subtlety, and the mysticism of a false religion, had made an impression
on his mind and character. In the stern simplicity of the wilderness all
Amidst the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes Moses was alone
with God. Everywhere the Creator's name was written. Moses seemed to
stand in His presence and to be overshadowed by His power. Here his
self-sufficiency was swept away. In the presence of the Infinite One he
realised how weak, how inefficient, how short-sighted, is man.
Here Moses gained that which went with him throughout the years of
his toilsome and care-burdened life--a sense of the personal presence of
the Divine One. Not merely did he look down the ages for Christ to be
made manifest in the flesh; he saw Christ accompanying the host of
Israel in all their travels. When misunderstood and misrepresented, when
called to bear reproach and insult, to face danger and death, he was
able to endure "as seeing Him who is invisible." Hebrews
Moses did not merely think of God, he saw Him. God was the constant
vision before him. Never did he lose sight of His face.
To Moses faith was no guesswork; it was a reality. He believed that
God ruled his life in particular; and in all its details he acknowledged
Him. For strength to withstand every temptation, he trusted in Him.
The great work assigned him he desired to make in the highest degree
successful, and he placed his whole dependence upon divine power. He
felt his need of help, asked for it, by faith grasped it, and in the
assurance of sustaining strength went forward.
Such was the experience that Moses gained by his forty years of
training in the desert. To impart such an experience, Infinite Wisdom
counted not the period too long or the price too great.
The results of that training, of the lessons there taught, are bound
up, not only with the history of Israel, but with all which from that
day to this has told for the world's progress. The highest testimony to
the greatness of Moses, the judgement passed upon his life by
Inspiration, is, "There arose not a prophet since in Israel like
unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." Deuteronomy 34:10.
Paul, Joyful in Service
With the faith and experience of the Galilean disciples who had
companied with Jesus were united, in the work of the gospel, the fiery
vigour and intellectual power of a rabbi of Jerusalem. A Roman citizen,
born in a Gentile city; a Jew, not only by descent but by lifelong
training, patriotic devotion, and religious faith; educated in Jerusalem
by the most eminent of the rabbis, and instructed in all the laws and
traditions of the fathers, Saul of Tarsus shared to the fullest extent
the pride and the prejudices of his nation. While still a young man, he
became an honoured member of the Sanhedrin. He was looked upon as a man
of promise, a zealous defender of the ancient faith.
In the theological schools of Judea the word of God had been set
aside for human speculations; it was robbed of its power by the
interpretations and traditions of the rabbis. Self-aggrandisement, love
of domination, jealous exclusiveness, bigotry and contemptuous pride,
were the ruling principles and motives of these teachers.
The rabbis gloried in their superiority, not only to the people of
other nations, but to the masses of their own. With their fierce hatred
of their Roman oppressors, they cherished the determination to recover
by force of arms their national supremacy. The followers of Jesus, whose
message of peace was so contrary to their schemes of ambition, they
hated and put to death. In this persecution, Saul was one of the most
bitter and relentless actors.
In the military schools of Egypt, Moses was taught the law of force,
and so strong a hold did this teaching have upon his character that it
required forty years of quiet and communion with God and nature to fit
him for the leadership of Israel by the law of love. The same lesson
Paul had to learn.
At the gate of Damascus the vision of the Crucified One changed the
whole current of his life. The persecutor became a disciple, the teacher
a learner. The days of darkness spent in solitude at Damascus were as
years in his experience. The Old Testament Scriptures stored in his
memory were his study, and Christ his teacher. To him also nature's
solitudes became a school. To the desert of Arabia he went, there to
study the Scriptures and to learn of God. He emptied his soul of
prejudices and traditions that had shaped his life, and received
instruction from the Source of truth.
His afterlife was inspired by the one principle of self-sacrifice,
the ministry of love. "I am debtor," he said, "both to
the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the
unwise." "The love of Christ constraineth us." Romans
1:14; 2 Corinthians 5:14.
The greatest of human teachers, Paul accepted the lowliest as well as
the highest duties. He recognised the necessity of labour for the hand
as well as for the mind, and he wrought at a handicraft for his own
support. His trade of tentmaking he pursued while daily preaching the
gospel in the great centres of civilisation. "These hands," he
said, at parting with the elders of Ephesus, "have ministered unto
my necessities, and to them that were with me." Acts 20:34.
While he possessed high intellectual endowments, the life of Paul
revealed the power of a rarer wisdom. Principles of deepest import,
principles concerning which the greatest minds of this time were
ignorant, are unfolded in his teachings and exemplified in his life. He
had that greatest of all wisdom, which gives quickness of insight and
sympathy of heart, which brings man in touch with men, and enables him
to arouse their better nature and inspire them to a higher life.
Listen to his words before the heathen Lystrians, as he points them
to God revealed in nature, the Source of all good, who "gave us
rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and
gladness." Acts 14:17.
See him in the dungeon at Philippi, where, despite his pain-racked
body, his song of praise breaks the silence of midnight. After the
earthquake has opened the prison doors, his voice is again heard, in
words of cheer to the heathen jailer, "Do thyself no harm: for we
are all here" (Acts 16:28)--every man in his place, restrained by
the presence of one fellow prisoner. And the jailer, convicted 67 of the
reality of that faith which sustains Paul, inquires the way of
salvation, and with his whole household unites with the persecuted band
of Christ's disciples.
See Paul at Athens before the council of the Areopagus, as he meets
science with science, logic with logic, and philosophy with philosophy.
Mark how, with the tact born of divine love, he points to Jehovah as
"the Unknown God," whom his hearers have ignorantly worshiped;
and in words quoted from a poet of their own he pictures Him as a Father
whose children they are. Hear him, in that age of caste, when the rights
of man as man were wholly unrecognised, as he sets forth the great truth
of human brotherhood, declaring that God "hath made of one blood
all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." Then
he shows how, through all the dealings of God with man, runs like a
thread of gold His purpose of grace and mercy. He "hath determined
the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that
they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find
Him, though He be not far from every one of us." Acts 17:23, 26,
Hear him in the court of Festus, when King Agrippa, convicted of the
truth of the gospel, exclaims, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a
Christian." With what gentle courtesy does Paul, pointing to his
own chain, make answer, "I would to God, that not only thou, but
also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as
I am, except these bonds." Acts 26:28, 29.
Thus passed his life, as described in his own words, "in
journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils
by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city,
in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false
brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger
and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." 2
Corinthians 11:26, 27.
"Being reviled," he said, "we bless; being persecuted,
we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat; "as sorrowful, yet alway
rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet
possessing all things." 1 Corinthians 4:12, 13; 2 Corinthians 6:10.
In service he found his joy; and at the close of his life of toil,
looking back on its struggles and triumphs, he could say, "I have
fought a good fight." 2 Timothy 4:7.
These histories are of vital interest. To none are they of deeper
importance than to the youth. Moses renounced a prospective kingdom,
Paul the advantages of wealth and honour among his people, for a life of
burden bearing in God's service. To many the life of these men appears
one of renunciation and sacrifice. Was it really so? Moses counted the
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. He
counted it so because it was so. Paul declared: "What things were
gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I
count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do
count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:7, 8,
R.V., margin. He was satisfied with his choice.
Moses was offered the palace of the Pharaohs and the monarch's
throne; but the sinful pleasures that make men forget God were in those
lordly courts, and he chose instead the "durable riches and
righteousness." Proverbs 8:18. Instead of linking himself with the
greatness of Egypt, he chose to bind up his life with God's purpose.
Instead of giving laws to Egypt, he by divine direction enacted laws for
the world. He became God's instrument in giving to men those principles
that are the safeguard alike of the home and of society, that are the
cornerstone of the prosperity of nations--principles recognised today by
the world's greatest men as the foundation of all that is best in
The greatness of Egypt is in the dust. Its power and civilisation
have passed away. But the work of Moses can never perish. The great
principles of righteousness which he lived to establish are eternal.
Moses' life of toil and heart-burdening care was irradiated with the
presence of Him who is "the chiefest among ten thousand," and
the One "altogether lovely." Canticles 5:10, 16. With Christ
in the wilderness wandering, with Christ on the mount of
transfiguration, with Christ in the heavenly courts--his was a life on
earth blessing and blessed, and in heaven honoured.
Paul also in his manifold labours was upheld by the sustaining power
of His presence. "I can do all things," he said, "through
Christ which strengtheneth me." "Who shall separate us from
the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or
famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things
we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am
persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor
depth, nor any other created thing (Rotherham's translation), shall be
able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Lord." Philippians 4:13; Rom. 8:35-39.
Yet there is a future joy to which Paul looked forward as the
recompense of his labours--the same joy for the sake of which Christ
endured the cross and despised the shame --the joy of seeing the
fruition of his work. "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of
rejoicing?" he wrote to the Thessalonian converts. "Are not
even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye
are our glory and joy." I Thessalonians 2:19, 20.
Who can measure the results to the world of Paul's lifework? Of all
those beneficent influences that alleviate suffering, that comfort
sorrow, that restrain evil, that uplift life from the selfish and the
sensual, and glorify it with the hope of immortality, how much is due to
the labours of Paul and his fellow workers, as with the gospel of the
Son of God they made their unnoticed journey from Asia to the shores of
What is it worth to any life to have been God's instrument in setting
in motion such influences of blessing? What will it be worth in eternity
to witness the results of such a lifework?
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