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 honor. 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 prisoner's cell.
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 favored 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 civilization, art, learning, she was unequaled. 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 brethren." Genesis 49:22-26.
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 and his companions in Babylon were, in their youth, apparently more favored 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 loyalty.
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 favor 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 spiritual development.
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 honors 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 vigor and literary attainment, they stood unrivaled. "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 "favor 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 honored by men with the responsibilities of the court and the secrets of the kingdom, he was honored 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 honored; 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 fulfill 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 favors 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 world's darkness.
Every youth, every child, has a work to do for the honor of God and the uplifting of humanity.
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 honored 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 God.
The prophetic call came to Elisha while with his father's servants he was plowing in the field. As Elijah, divinely directed in seeking a successor, cast his mantle upon the young man's shoulders, Elisha recognized 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 labor of guiding the plow, Elisha had learned not to fail or to become discouraged; and now that he had set his hand to the plow 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,
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 honored by God with weightier trusts.
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 molded 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 endeavored 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 civilized of nations, Moses, as its prospective sovereign, was heir to the highest honors this world could bestow. But his was a nobler choice. For the honor of God and the deliverance of His downtrodden people, Moses sacrificed the honors 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 fulfillment. 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 this disappeared.
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 realized 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 11:27.
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 judgment 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 vigor 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 honored 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-aggrandizement, 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 recognized the necessity of labor 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 centers of civilization. "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
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 unrecognized, 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, 27.
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 honor 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 recognized today by the world's greatest men as the foundation of all that is best in human governments.
The greatness of Egypt is in the dust. Its power and civilization 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 honored.
Paul also in his manifold labors 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 labors--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 labors 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 Europe?
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?