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PRAYING FOR THE MINISTERS OF GOD.
“Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift
bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”—2 Cor. i. 11.
In the verses preceding that which I have read to you as the text, St. Paul mentions to the Corinthians the grievous sufferings with which he was “pressed out of measure” in Asia. Some commentators have imagined that he alludes to the commotion raised against him in Ephesus by Demetrius the silversmith. But it does not appear, that, on that occasion, he had any reason to “despair of life,” as he states to have been the case here. No actual violence was resorted to, though there was much uproar; and, therefore, it is probable that the Apostle refers to the dangers brought upon him by exposure to wild beasts in Ephesus, which he was doomed to encounter for the entertainment of a savage populace.
His peril at this period must have been, as he declares, “above strength ;” and well might he state his persuasion, that he had the “sentence of death in himself ”-that he should " not trust in himself, but in God which raiseth the dead.” He means that, his situation was at that time so precarious, as to convince him of inevitable destruction; had not that Almighty Power, on whom he entirely relied, in mercy interposed for his rescue. God, he asserts, “ delivered him from so great a death, and doth deliver-in whom he trusts, that He will yet deliver.”
The ground of the Apostle's confidence was indeed of the best and firmest nature. called to the work upon which he was engaged by a voice from heaven ; and it were impossible to doubt, that life and strength would be given him from thence in the requisite proportion. The honour of his Maker was interested, and he well knew that the Omnipotent would not fail in the advancement of His own glory.
Christ had descended from heaven's bright courts to reveal that Gospel which St. Paul now preached ; and he had reascended there to intercede with His Almighty Father in behalf of that Church, which His sacred blood had purchasedto pour down those gifts of the Holy Spirit which were most needful to the dissemination of the Gospel. To Christ “all power was given in heaven and in earth ;” and He had promised to