Chapel services were conducted last night by the Rt. Rev. W. N. McVickar, D. D., of Providence, who spoke from the text: "But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee." (Acts: 26; 16.) He said in part:
One of the most forcible lessons of the Bible is in the sudden change of Paul's life after the vision which came to him during his journey to Damascus. From this moment he worked with a hope and purpose as noble as his former life had been bad.
What was true in Paul's case is true in that of every man. There is no life, however evil in outward aspect that has not some thread of purpose running through it, and it is our duty to accept this as Paul accepted the vision, and to crystallize it by earnest work toward some high end. Because there is present in every soul a serious purpose, we can see further that it must be God's purpose and God's will that we are fulfilling by our labor. Many of us, to be sure, are afraid to admit this close relationship between God and man; we resist his will and try to act independently. Surely we do this in ignorance and blindness; for what more pitiable fate could man have than to be, as it were, an orphan, cut off from all intercourse with his God?
No one can say truly that he has never been offered a share in this inter-course. All of us have had some opportunity, some flash of Paul's vision, but too often we have let it slip past. And with every such opportunity lost, our natures become more callous, less open to these appeals. Paul seized his chance and made of it the inspiration for a grand life; we should do the same, remembering that the only useful life is that which has in it the realization of a high purpose bestowed by God.