God's Chosen Vessel
Of St. Paul, Jesus said, "He is a chosen vessel
unto Me to bear My Name to the Gentiles." (Acts 9:15.)
He is first brought to our attention as one of those who
consented to the death of St. Stephen. Subsequently, he went about
"breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of
the Lord."--Acts 9:1.
When we see the power of the Truth in its transforming
influence upon the human mind, we are amazed. Yet we should remember that
God never coerces the free will. In St. Paul's "conversion,"
Jesus merely showed an honest man wherein he was wrong, and what
privileges he would have in connection with a Divinely-directed course.
St. Paul became the successor of Judas. There were to be
twelve Apostles of the Lamb--a crown of twelve stars on the Church's
brow--and twelve foundations to the New Jerusalem, and in them were the
names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. We are sure St. Paul's name is
amongst them. This is in accord with the testimony that he was not one
whit behind the very chiefest of the Apostles, and was more abundant in
visions and revelations than they all. Matthias was chosen before
Pentecost and was never recognized by God.
St. Paul is the most prominent amongst the Apostles, all
of whom were glorious characters, especially chosen of God for His special
service. Like the other Apostles, St. Paul had nothing to say respecting
an eternity of torture for anybody. He declared that those ultimately
found unworthy should "be punished with everlasting
destruction." It is St. Paul who especially set forth that Jesus must
come a second time, and then must reign until He shall have put all
enemies under His feet. Through this noble mouthpiece Jesus sent us
particulars of the resurrection of the just and the unjust, the
"change" of the Church at Christ's Second Coming, the character
of Antichrist, etc. If St. Paul's Epistles were omitted, how great would
be our ignorance on many subjects!