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concerning mere uninspired opinions? We speak the wis
• dom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. Now we have received, not the spirit which is of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which are freely given us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth ; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. Or, as the last phrase is rendered by Dr. Macknight, explaining spiritual things in spiritual words. In this passage, the things contained in the Gospel are directly asserted to be revealed to the apostles by the Spirit of God; to be the wisdom, even the hidden wisdom,' of God; and to be freely given unto them of God.' It is also asserted, that · '
, they had received the Spirit of God for this very end, viz. that they might know these things.' Finally, it is declared,
· ' that Paul and his companions spoke these things to others, not in the words devised by human wisdom, but in words directly taught by the Holy Ghost; and that they thus explained spiritual things in words which were also spiritual; or, if the common translation be preferred, comparing the spiritual things, thus revealed, with other 'spiritual' things revealed in the Old Testament.
Again : 'Trt a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.' 1 Cor. iii. 1. Ministers of Christ,' here denote those commissioned
. by Chris. lu preach the Gospel of Christ; Stewards of the mysteries of God,' those who are intrusted by God with his own will revealed by him, and otherwise hidden from mankind.
Again ; ' I certify you brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me was not after man ;' (that is, devised by human reason) • For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. It pleased God to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen,' or Gentiles. Gal. i. 11, 12, 15, 16. Once more :
If any man think himself to be spiritual (that is, a spiritual man, possessing the miraculous power of discern
ing spirits or doctrines,)' or a prophet, let him acknowledge. that the things which I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. One would think, that such as now stand in the place of these spiritual men in the church, viz. Ministers of the Gospel, would feel themselves bound to make the same acknowledgment.
These may serve instead of near two hundred different passages, in which, in one manner and another, St. Paul asserts explicitly, the inspiration of himself and his companions in the Gospel : for these decide the point, if any declarations cau.
I intended to have recited declarations to the same purpose fron the other writers of the New Testament; but, as the time is so far elapsed, I shall omit them.
(3.) They declared the same thing by styling the Gospel which they preached, the Gospel of God, and of Christ.
Quotations, to prove this fact cannot be necessary for such , as read the New Testament. I shall therefore only observe,
. it proves directly, that this Gospel was revealed by God: otherwise, any other human production on the same subject might be called the Gospel of God.
(4.) The importance attached by them to the Gospel, is a full declaration that it was revealed to them.
They declare, that it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ;' a savour of life unto life ;' • able to make men wise to salvation ;' quick (or living,) and powerful,' &c.; piercing,' &c. ; ' a discerner,' &c.
& They declare, that Christ • will punish with an everlasting destruction them that obey not this Gospel?
St. Paul says, 'Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel.'
He farther says, “If any man, or if any angel, preach another Gospel' (that is, another than this which he preached to mankind,) let him be accursed.'
He also says, ' God shall judge the secrets of men,' at the final day, ' according to this Gospel!
He says also,' that God shall send' upon a portion of mankind strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they might all be damned, because they believe not the truth,' (that is, this very Gospel) · but had pleasure in unrigbteous. Dess.'
St. Peter, also, styles it the word of God,"incorruptible
seed ;' pronounces it the means of regeneration, and eternal life ; declares, that it • lives and endures for ever;' and asserts, that the angels,' stooping down, desire to look into it.'
Let me now ask, whether all or any one of these things can possibly be said concerning the mere opinions of men ?
(5.) The apostles wrought innumerable miracles to prove the truth of the Gospel.
God only can work a miracle, and therefore he wrought these miracles. If the Gospel was not revealed to the apostles, then it is a mere collection of human testimonies and opinions, and of course, to a considerable extent at least, is false. According to this supposition, then, God wrought miracles to prove a mixture of false and true human opinions, incapable of being separated by man, to be true. The supposition, that God wrought miracles to prove the truth of even just human opinions, is absurd. The supposition, that he wrought miracles to support any falsehood, is blasphemy.
To this evidence the apostles appeal with full confidence. The third verse of the text is such an appeal : ' And they went forth, and preached everywhere; the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with sigas following. Amen.' In the same manner St. Paul, Heb. ii. 3, 4, says, ' How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by those that heard him? God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.' In these two passages, the sacred writers plainly consider the miracles wrought by the apostles as the testimony of the Father and the Son to the fact, that the Gospel preached by them was dictated by God, and communicated by inspiration.
(6.) The Apostles spent their lives for the Gospel.
It is not here my intention to dwell on what the apostles either did or suffered. It is sufficient to observe, that they gave up voluntarily all earthly comforts and hopes, and underwent cheerfully all the evils wbich can betide human life, for the sake of the Gospel. All these things they encountered, solely from confidence in Christ, his promises, doctrines, and precepts, as the source and the means of eternal life. All these things they terminated, also, by quietly yielding their lives to a violent and untimely death a death, which, together with
their other sufferings, was foretold to them by their Master. Thus they' esteemed all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; for whom they suffered the loss of all things :' Accounting not even their lives dear to them, so that they might finish their course with joy, and the ministry which they had received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.'
Now the Apostles knew whether Christ was what he professed himself to be, so far as his character was an object of human observation. Particularly they knew whether his promises to them concerning their life, their supernatural endowments, their inspiration, and the power of working miracles, were fulfilled, or not. If they were not fulfilled, they could not but know that Christ was an impostor; and could not have failed to give up a cause from which nothing but evil had sprung, or could ever spring. Their perseverance is therefore complete proof, that these promises were all fulfilled; that the Holy Ghost descended on them, ' guided them into all the truth;' taught them all things,' pertaining to this subject; or, in the language of St. Peter, ‘ pertaining to life and godliness;' brought to their remembrance all things whatsoever Christ had said unto them; and shewed them things to come.' They have, therefore, in this manner proved that they were inspired; so inspired as to become authoritative teachers of the will of God concerning our salvation ; and as to assure us, that whatever they have taught is true, and even in so momentous a case is to be believed and obeyed with final safety to our well-being.
CHRIST A PROPHET:
PREACHING OF THE APOSTLES.
AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, GO Ye INTO ALL THE WORLD, AND
PREACH THE GOSPEL UNTO EVERY CREATURE. HE THAT BELIEYETH, AND IS BAPTIZED, SHALL BE SAVED; BUT HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT SHALL BE DAMNED. AND THEY WENT FORTH, AND PREACHED EVERYWHERE ; THE LORD WORKING WITH THEM, AND CONFIRMING
THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING, AMEN,
MARK XVI. 15, 16, 20.
In the preceding Discourse, I proposed from these words to consider the following subjects :
I. The fact, that the apostles actually preached the Gospel of Christ, or were inspired:
II. The necessity of their preaching the Gospel :
I shall now proceed to the consideration of the three last.
On the second, viz. The necessity of their preaching the Gospel, I make the following observations :
Christ, in his discourse to the Apostles, recorded John xvi. says, ' But when the Comforter is come, he shall testify of me. And ye also shall bear witness. This testimony they accordingly gave to the Messiahship, and universal character of their