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ly Ghost, agreeable to Christ's promise; and afterwards preached the Gospel by working of miracles in the name of Jesus Christ, pursuing the same plan to prove that he was the Son of God, which had been employed upon him at his conversion. That the above contains all that entered into the essential character, and nature of the divine agencies in Saul's conversion is manifest from Paul on two different occasions, detailing the same facts, without any hint at the operations of our day. In the 22d chapter of the Acts, Paul, in his defence before the Jews, said unto them, “as I made my journey, and was come nigh to Damascus, about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me, and I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered who art thou Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest. The Lord said unto me, arise, and go into Damascus, and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. Ananias was sent, and said unto him, Brother Saul receive thy sight, and he said the God of our Fathers hath chosen thee that thou shouldest know his will, and see that just one, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men, of what thou hast seen, and heard. In the 26th chapter of Acts, Paul, in his defence before Agrippa, rehearses nearly the same facts; and observes that the "Lord said unto me arise, (when on the ground) 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; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee; to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unte God, that they receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." He told Agrippa that he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, and having obtained help of God (by the gifts of the Holy Ghost) said he, I continue unto this day witnessing both to small, and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets, and Moses did say should come; that
Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shed light unto the people, and unto the Gentiles. Never was there a more clear, and intelligible narrative than is here exhibited-by the signs, and wonders, and voices explanatory, is Saul converted to the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; and thus convinced by this ample, and clear testimony, it was indeed hard for him to kick against the pricks of conscience, consisting in the clearest convictions from these overwhelming proofs; he, therefore, was not disobedient to the heavenly vision-but addressed himself to the work whereunto he was called, (viz.) in bearing witness unto all men of what he had seen, and heard, and particularly unto the Gentiles, to whom he was sent to open their eyes, and to turn them (by preaching the gospel, and working miracles in the name of Jesus Christ, in confirmation of its truth) from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance amongst them which are sanctified by faith that is in Jesus Christ; urging the Gentiles that they should repent, and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. There is not a single hint in these narratives of the operations which are contended for in our day; the external evidences prove the propositions taught, and the evidences are the signs, and wonders, and words explaining them;all of which are of the Holy Ghost; for the miracles were wrought by him, and the words by which they were explained, were given to the Apostles by the Spirit that they. might know, and teach the things of God. They were recorded by the direction of the Spirit under the literal fulfilment of the promise of Christ, and he (the Spirit,) shall take the things of mine, and shew them unto you, and bring all things to your remembrance; by which they not only wrote what Christ had told them, but also what was shewn to them after his resurrection. Paul seems to have been designed by Jesus Christ to fill the vacancy occasioned by the apostacy of Judas in the number of the twelve disciples. After the Saviour was crucified, and ascended, and before the day of Pentecost, the eleven cast lots, in order to determine whether Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed
Justus, or Matthias, should take part of the ministry, and Apostleship, from which Judas, by transgression, fell—and the lot fell upon Matthias. The Holy Ghost was not then given; and it does not appear that the lot was of divine appointment. We hear no more of Matthias after he was chosen... When Paul was converted, "the Lord said unto Ananias, he is a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." He was sent to testify of the things which he had seen; and of those things in the which Jesus Christ would appear unto him; to open the eyes of the Gentiles; to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. For these purposes he received the Holy Ghost; by which he was not only inspired with suitable knowledge; but was enabled to work miracles, in proof that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, &c. When he went to Damascus, instead of persecuting the christians, men, and women, he increased in strength in behalf of christianity; confounding the Jews; and proving that Jesus is the very Christ. Correspondent with these divine endowments by the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of working miracles which were bestowed upon him by Jesus Christ; Paul, in his Epistle to the Romans, says, "I have whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ, in those things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient in word, and deed, through mighty signs, and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illiricum, I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ. "He informs them that he strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest (saith he) I should build upon another man's foundation; but as it is written (Isa. 52. 15.) they shall see, to whom nothing hath been told concerning him; and they who have not heard, shall understand. Correspondent with Paul's commission, and divine endowments, before stated, he writes to the Corinthian Church, "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many Fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten
you through the gospel. Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye foliowers of me. It was from Corinth that Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans. In that Epistle, he tells them, that he fully preached the Gospel from Jerusalem, round about unto Illiricum. How did he fully preach the Gospel? He tells them by those things which Christ had wrought by him to make the Gentiles obedient in word, and deed. Those things consisted in mighty signs, and wonders, wrought by the power of the Spirit of God. Rom. 15. And also by the words of the Spirit, through which the mighty signs, and wonders, were applied to spiritual instruction, and faith, as on the day of Pentecost, and other occasions of a like nature. It was in this way that the Apostle preached the Gospel to the Corinthians, by reason of which they believed it; hence, in his Epistle to them, he says, "for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. And it is with a view to those mighty signs, and wonders, and the gifts of working them, that he saith to the Corinthians, "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." 1 Corinth. 4. And, on the same account, he tells them, in chapt. 2. 4, 5. "My speech, and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Connected with Paul's declaration, 1 Corinth. 4. 20. "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power," he asks, "what will ye?" Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" The Apostle terms the power of punishing obstinate offenders by miracle, a rod, as in striking Barjesus (or Elymas, by interpretation,) with blindness, who withstood Paul, and Barnabas; seeking to turn away Surgius Paulus from the faith, who desired to hear the word of God. Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, fixed his eyes upon Elymas, and, after delineating his satanical character, said, "the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season;" and immediately he became blind. Then Surgius Paulus, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. Acts 13. Which power was also manifested in. Peter, when he struck Ananias, and Sapphira with death,. for lying against God; by which great fear came upon all
the church, and upon as many as heard these things. This was the power which, when exercised for chastisement, was called a rod, and, when exercised in confirmation of of the Gospel, is called the demonstration of the Spirit, and ef power; the power of signs, and wonders, and of impart ing the gifts of the Spirit to them that believed, that the faith which was produced, and confirmed by them, and the words of the Holy Ghost, (for faith cometh by hearing) should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the of God.
So much for Paul, and his ministry.
We are informed, in the 9th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, which gives an account of Paul's conversion, that there was at Lydda a man named Eneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him, Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole, arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda, and Saron, saw him, and turned to the Lord. There was, also, a certain female disciple named Tabitha, which, by interpretation, is called Dorcas, who died; unto whom Peter was sent for by the disciples. After Peter came into the room where she lay, he put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body, said, Tabitha, arise; and she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she sat up; and he presented her alive to her friends, and the saints. And it was known throughout Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.
I must pause here, to ask my reader what were the operations which induced the many at Joppa, in the former case, to believe in the Lord; and, in the latter, to turn to the Lord? Were they not the miracles which were performed? Let us not go beyond what is written. In the case of Saul of Tarsus; what operations converted him? Were they not the light which shone round about him, and the voice which explained this manifestation of glory, and informed him that it was Jesus of Nazareth, whom he had persecuted, that was speaking to him? And was not the Holy Ghost imparted to him, after he believed, by the imposition of the hands of Ananias? "To the law, and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no