I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day;
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When Paul persecuted the church, he did it for the love of God, not out of malevolence. In this way he served God “in his ancestors” and “from his ancestors,” as Levi was served in Abraham, when he gave and accepted tithes from Melchizedek. .
How then, you will say, were unclean persons considered worthy of the gospel? Because they wished and longed for it. Among these, some, though in error, were attracted to him because they were not made unclean through disordered loves. Then there are others who were not rejected because they sought God of their own accord. In these ways, many even from their ancestors have received the true religion.
Paul speaks of his blameless life, for he everywhere calls his life his conscience. Even when he was a persecutor, he understood himself as sustaining a good conscience in what he sought. Hence he says, “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief,” all but saying, “Do not suspect that it was done of wickedness.” Here he commends his own disposition, that he not appear insincere in his love. What he is, in effect, saying is: “I am not false. I do not think one thing and profess another.”
'I thank God,' he says, 'that I remember you,' so much do I love you. This is a mark of excessive love, when a man glories in his affection from loving so much. I thank God, he says, Whom I serve: and how? With a pure conscience, for he had not violated his conscience. And here he speaks of his blameless life, for he everywhere calls his life his conscience. Or because I never gave up any good that I purposed, for any human cause, not even when I was a persecutor. Wherefore he says, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief 1 Timothy 1:13; all but saying, Do not suspect that it was done of wickedness. He properly commends his own disposition, that his love may appear sincere. For what he says is in fact, I am not false, I do not think one thing and profess another. So in the book of Acts we read he was compelled to praise himself. For when they slandered him as a seditious man and an innovator, he said in his own defense, Ananias said to me, The God of our fathers has c...