As a slave was branded with the initials of his owner, so was Paul. It was his pride to count himself the slave of Jesus, and to regard the scars which had eaten into his flesh as the brand marks of his Master. Why should men try to deflect him from his course, when he was so absolutely implicated in the service of the one great Master, Christ?
The Service of Jesus.--It is founded in His blood, by which He purchased us to be His own; but it must be accepted by the glad consent of the will. We must awake each morning as His property, take His commands for the day, and lie down at night, only satisfied when He has said, Well done! We must own to ourselves that we have no personal rights, no locked rooms, no kind of reserve.
The Brand of Jesus.--The dislike which our religion engenders; the losses to which principle compels; the averted look, the distant manner on the part of those who could not make enough of us when we lived the life of the world--these are as much His brand, the brand of His Cross, as the weals of recent scourgings on the apostle's flesh.
The Peace of Jesus.--"Let no man trouble me." My heart has cast her anchor; my soul her foundation; my life her aim. If He is satisfied, I am content, though the world is in arms. If He is with me, I have good company, though all forsake. The Master said, "Trouble her not."
"Lord, as Thy temple's portals close
Behind the outward-parting throng,
So shut my spirit in repose;
So bind it here, Thy flock among:
The fickle wanderer else will stray
Back to the world's wide-parted way."
- W E Gladstone.