How much more may we be content to bear sorrow and fear, who, wherein we have sinned, have sinned against the light, not of the law only, but of the gospel; not against the light shining around us, but against the light, lightened within us; not against a revelation made without us, but grieving the good Spirit of God placed within us. Sorrow then and aching of heart, brought upon us by God, are mostly the means by which God brings back His prodigal children; sorrow or fear without us, to grow by His grace into a godly fear and dread within us. And as we cannot make ourselves sorrow, so we should beware how of ourselves we cease to sorrow, or use the promises of the gospel to heal our pain rather than our sickness. St. Paul lay there where he was stricken, until God said to him, "Arise." It is a fearful thing to see how people, on an imagined conversion, contrive to forget what they have been, or remember it only to thank God that they are not now such. Yet the sorrow is not to end in itself.
St. Paul had to arise and do God's bidding; and we must arise, and with him ask, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" With him too we must do it; keeping back nothing when we ask, and shrinking from nothing which is laid upon us. Such was St. Paul's conversion. He freely offered up all, and took all. All he had been he gave up; what he was not he, in God's hand, became. He was a ravening wolf, he became a lamb; the persecutor, he became persecuted. So was he in all things, and that exceedingly, transformed into the opposite of what he was before. And this is the most hopeful sign of a real healthful change wrought in us, when we become in life other than we were before; if we, like him, become blinded to the world, and see only in the world Him who was crucified for us, and "with Him" are ourselves "crucified to the world"; if for ambitious, we become lowly; for proud, humble; for angry, meek; for impatient, patient; for self-indulgent, self-denying; for covetous, liberal. Nor, again, are we to hope to have all our way plain before us, or to see His face equally clearly, as when He first by His merciful severity checked our wayward course, and recalled us to ourselves and to Him. By merciful interpositions, if we heed them, He sets us, from time to time, in a right course, but then He leaves us to the ordinary channels of His grace, and the guidance, which He has provided in His Church. Even to St. Paul He declared not at once, all He had in store for him.