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judgmente burning, and ined by the mercyniting to be gra.
mame signs, and wonders, and divine words, spoken by Pe. ter, and the rest of the Apostles, explaining them, by which divine instruction, and faith, were produced in the Apostolic day, operate the same effects in our day, wherev. tr correct ideas, and belief are formed. It is true they are in writing; but the miracles wrought by the Spirit, and the words of divine inspiration, are just as verily divine when of record, as when exhibited to the confounded, and amazed multitude of the Jews. The words that Pea ter spoke by the Holy Ghost, are as essentially divine, and supernatural, when written in the Acts of the Apostles, as they were when he lifted up his voice to the peo. ple; and they are not more destitute of a superhuman character than they then were it is by apprehending them in this manner, as the word of God, that they become effectu. al. The ideas of a resurrection from the dead; of a future judgment; a hcaven, and a hell; and the means of escaping everlasting burning; and a knowledge of the fact, that we are every moment sustained by the mercy, and power of God, who is ever present with us, and is waiting to be gra. cious, are exclusively from the revelacions of the Gospel; and the same Spirit which was in Christ, who spake through the Prophets. Preaching the Gospel consists in teaching these things as they were taught by the Holy Ghost, and proving them by the proofs he employed; the teacher avail. ing himself of all the sorrows, the brevity, the uncertainty, (for God has not revealed to us when we shall die,) and can lamities of life, which men feel, and the certainty of death, &c. in giving them a practical influence. These are the means which the invisible, and otherwise unknown God, than as he has manifested himself through revelation, has ordained, and established, for the purpose of obedience to him by faith in Jesus Christ. No denomination of preachers, whom I ever heard, who either preached sense, or were profitable to the public, preached in any other way; and their want of success has been ever precisely correspondent to their departure from this plan. This is the only kind of instruction that is suited to the mind; formed as God has made it; it was that which was employed by Christ, and the Apostles.. .
Agreeable to this order, Paul observes, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, Ist. chap. 13th verse, "In whoni (that is, Christ) ye (Gentiles) also trusted after that yeheard the word of truth the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise; who was received, as Peter said above, after repentance. This is the same Spirit, and received in the same way, who Paul, in the same Epistle 4th chap. and 30th verse, guards the Ephesians not to grieve-Grieve not the Holy Spirit of Gud, said he, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. It was in the name of Jesus that all the miracles were wrought, and the gifts of the Spirit confered by the Apostles upon those on whom they laid their hands the gifts, and operations of the same Spirit by whose power the man Christ Jesus was raised from the dead, and which were exercised, and confered by the Apostles in the name of Jesus Christ) to prove that very fact, and the resurrec. tion from the dead, and to establish the authority of the Gospel as being divine. Agreeably to this idea Paul, in the 1st chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, 19th and 20th verses, expresses great anxiety that they should, by the Spirit of wisdom, and revelation, know what is the riches of his, (Christ's) inheritance in the saints; and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us ward who believe, according : to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead. The faith which was produced by these miracles, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, was the faith of the operation of God (Colos. 2. 12.) who hath raised him (Christ) from the dead; and it was by these very operations, viz. the raising of Christ : from the dead, and the miraculous gifts of the Spirit exerci. sed in the name of Jesus Christ, that the faith thus spoken of was produced. The proposition believed, (viz.) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, was divine, and the evidence by which it was believed was also divine, viz. his resur. ' rection from the dead, and the miracles, signs and wonders wrought in the name of Jesus Christ. These attestations of the divinity, and character of Jesus Christ, God never would liave made, were he any other than the very person, and character le professed to be. Paul says that tongues
are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not; but prophecying or teaching serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 1 Corinth. 14. 22.- The tongues which were spoken in the second chapter of Acts, were not for the one hundred and twenty disciples who believed, but for the Jews who were assembled at Jerusalem from every nation under heaven; and, as a sign, they amazed, and confounded the Jews, and when they were thus astonished, Peter began to prophesy or to teach them, &c. John, in a passage formerly quoted, says, these signs which Jesus did are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and believing that ye might have life through his name. Are they not written, also that WE may believe, and, for that purpose, do they not stand as evidence?
We will now pass on to the third chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. In the third chapter of the Acts, we are informed that Peter, and John said unto a man who had been la ne from his birth, (forty years) “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk, and he (Peter) took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength, and he leaping up, stood, and walked, and went into the temple praising God; and all the people saw him walking, and praising God, and they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the beautiful gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder, and amazement at that which had happened unto him; and all the men ran together unto the porch of Solomon greatly wondering; and when Peter saw it he answered unto the people,” (for the Spirit had borne witness by the miracles, and now the disciples are to testify by the explanation which they are enabled to give by inspiration) “Ye men of Israel why. marvel ye at this, or why look ve so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we have made this man to walk? The God of Abrahain, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go; but ye denied the Holy One, and the Just, and killeci the Prince of Life whom God hath raised from the dead :vhere
of we are witnesses. And his same through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see, and know; yea the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now breth. ren I wot that through ignorance ye did it as did also your rulers. But those things which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refresh ing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitu, tion of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly, said unto the Fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren hke unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you,"? &c. By this miracle and preaching, or rather by the Spirit testifying of Jesus by the Apostles working the miracle through faith in his name, and the witness which the As postles bore to the divinity, resurrection, &c. of Jesus Christ, were five thousand persons converted to the Faith of the Gospel. I will here repeat the former request, of the candid reader, to say, from the narrative given, whether any other operations or influences wereexercised uponor in the minds of the hearers, than by seeing, and hearing, and their attention to the objects thus presented, and the ideas thus pros duced by explanation in words? Seeing the miracle, of a man made whole, who had been lame from his birth, forty years, by virtue of Peter saying to him, "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk"-And hearing Peter explain this matter; and denying that it was by their (his, and John's) power or holiness that the man was made to walk; but that God, having glorified his Son Jesus, whom they (the Jews) had slain, him had God raised from the dead, of which they (the disciples) were all witnesses; and that his name, through faith in his name had made the man strong, whom said Peter ye see and know: yea the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all-Peter then by the demon. strations of the Spirit here exhibited, which were to reprove the world of sin, because it had not believed in Jesus Christ, of righteousness because he had risen, and gone to his Father, (and as a proof of it sent the Holy Ghost as he promised), and of judgment because the prince of this world is judged) urged them to repent, and be converted; assuring them that Jesus was received up into heaven until the times of the restitution of all things, telling them that unto you (Jews) first, God, having raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquity; and repeating what Moses had said concerning the prophet whom God should raise up from among them; and pressing upon them the condemnation which they were to lie under, if they did not hear him. I say that it was by the miracle, and words explanatory of it as being produced by the Holy Ghost whom Jesus Christ had sent from heaven, being the promise of the Father, and which proved his resurrection, and government in hea. ven, that the five thousand believed, and not by the secret internal operations as believed by some; they formed no part of the Apostolic plan of faith; if they were ever employed, it was after faith. In the 4th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, it is said, many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
lustrations derived from matters of fact, that the opera.. - tions of the Spirit never were einployed since the ascen."
sion of Jesus Christ but in miracles, in signs, and wonders, and words explanatory in producing faith; which · were always addressed to the mind through the external
senses—and that the graces of the Spirit never were bestowed until after belief by the means above mentioned in correspondence with the promises, as explained by their fulfilment.
The infallible rule of interpretation of the scripture, is the scripture itself; and, therefore, when there is a question about