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Gospels properly so called, must have been lost to the world. The account must, I think, have been closed, antecedently to the institution of the Lord's Supper: for, from the commencement of the celebration of the passover preceding it, he does not appear to have had any opportunity of writing at all. Of course, the celebration of this passover; the institution of the eucharist; his washing the disciples feet, and his instructions on that occasion ; his consolatory discourses ; his intercessory prayer; his agony in the garden ; the treachery of Judas ; his trial, condemnation, death, and burial; his resurrection; his subsequent appearances to his disciples; and his final ascension to the heavens; together with all the things connected with them, could have found no place in the Gospel. But these constitute a large part of the objects of our faith, the means of our instruction, and the rules of our duty. I need not observe, that these, also, are objects of the utmost consequence to every man, who reads the Gospel ; essential parts of the dispensation ; without which the system would be broken and lame; without which the most important inquiries of the mind could never be satisfied; and without which the chief wants of the probationer for Eternal life could never be supplied.

Further, Christ uttered a number of predictions, which were not fulfilled during his life, nor intended to be ; but which, according to the nature of his declarations, were to be fulfilled soon after his ascension. Among these, were his prophecies concerning the descent of the Holy Ghost at the day of Pentecost; the saccess of the Apostles in preaching the Gospel; the miracles, which they were to accomplish; the sufferings, which they were to undergo; and the extensive establishment of the Church, by their preaching, among the nations of men. All these prophecies are of such a nature, that the mind of every reader would unavoidably demand an account of their fulfilment. Had no such account been given; as, if the Gospel had been finished by Christ, must have been the fact; the omission would have been perceived by every reader to be an unhappy chasm in the history of the Church which nothing could successfully fill up, and about which there. would have arisen many doubts, perplexities, and distresses.

The Christian Sabbath was adopted as a commemoration of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The only hint concerning

it, which we find given by Christ, is contained in his answer to the Pharisees; when they asked him, why his disciples did not fast, as did their own disciples, and those of John the Baptist : The children of the bride-chamber cannot fast, while the bridegroom is with them : but the days come, when the bride-groom shall be taken away : then shall they fast. Christ was taken away on the evening, preceding the seventh day, or Jewish sabhath; and during the whole of that day lay buried in the tomb. On this day, then, he declares, they should fast; and in this declaration indicates, that the Jewish sabbath should then come to an end; so far as the day was concerned, on which it was celebrated. The Sabbath is a festival ; not a fast: a day of joy only, and not of sorrow. When, therefore, Christ declared, that the seventh day should be a day of fasting to his immediate disciples, he may fairly be considered, as indicating that this day should no longer be a Sabbath to them.

In conformity to this indication, the Apostles introduced the first day to Christians, for their future observance as the Sabbath, by their own adoption of it in their religious practice. In this manner, principally, is it announced to us in their writings, as the proper Sabbath for all the followers of the Redeemer. On the wisdom, displayed in this manner of introducing the Christian sabbath, 1 design to discourse more particularly hereafter. It is sufficient to observe at the present time, that, had Christ completed the Gospel, it is not easy to see how this manner of introducing the Sabbath could have taken place; and it is evident, that this account of it could not have been given.

Finally, the whole history of the Church, contained in the Acts of the Apostles, would, in this case, have been lost to the Chris. tian world. No part of the Word of God is, in many respects, more filled with instruction, or consolation, than this book. The doctrines, which it contains, are of the highest importance, for their wisdom ; the precepts, for their plainness and excellence; the examples, for their number, their variety, and their adapta. tion to the different circumstances and characters of Christians. The history of this book, also, is of the greatest value, for its edifying and instructive nature, for the satisfaction which it furnishes concerning the state of the Church at that interesting pe

VOL. II.

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riod, for the life, sufferings and deliverances, the preaching and success, of the Apostles, the opposition which they met, and the causes which produced it; the sufferings, patience, and perseverance, the errors and faults, of the first converts; the progress of Christianity, and the extension of the Church; together with a multitude of other things interwoven with these. How useful, how necessary, these things are, to instruct, edify, and comfort, every Christian, particularly every Minister, I need not explain; nor need I observe, that in a Gospel, written by our Saviour, they could have had no place.

3dly. Because it was necessary, that the Immediate followers of Christ in the propagation of Christianity should be clearly seen to be commissioned of God.

It will be readily acknowledged, that a body of men, so small, so uneducated, so humble, so unfriended, as the Apostles and their companions were, must have wholly failed of spreading the Gospel through the world by any efforts, which they could have made, independently of peculiar assistance from Heaven. Let us inquire, then, What was the assistance, which they needed ? Was it the gift of speaking with tongues? What purpose would this have answered, if their minds had been ignorant concerning what they were to speak; or whether that, which they were about to speak, was the will of God, and justly demanded the faith and obedience of their hearers. Was it the Power of working miracles ? For what purpose were their miracles to be wrought? For what purpose could they be wrought? Plainly for no other, but to prove, that that, which was spoken by those who wrought them, was true. But if they were not inspired, that which they uttered was, and could at the best be, no other than the opinions, and the remembrance, of honest men. Of course, it must, necessarily, be partially false. Their miracles, therefore, would be wrought to prove the truth of falsehood; and God, if they actually wrought miracles, would set his seal to this falsehood, and employ his power to deceive their hearers. To refute this blasphemous opinion certainly cannot be necessary.

It is plain then, that no assistance could be given to them, short of Inspiration, which would at all qualify them for the diffusion of the Gospel, and the erection of Christ's kingdom in the world.

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The sole end of all other miraculous powers, so far as their Commission, and their employment, were concerned, was evidently to prove them inspired with a knowledge of the divine will concerning the salvation of men, and sent to declare it to their fellow-men. Independently of this great purpose, their supernatural powers were of no other use, except to amuse and astonish mankind.

In exact accordance with this scheme, St. Paul, in 1 Cor. xii. asserts directly the Inspiration of himself, and his companions in the ministry; and in the xiv. Chapter declares the superiority of

1 it to all other supernatural endowments for the edification of the Church. To one, he says, is given by the Spirit the Word of Wisdom ; to another the Word of Knowledge ; by the same Spirit. To another

faith; to another gifts of healing ; to another the working of miracles ; to another the discerning of spirits, or doctrines. In the 31st verse he directs them to covet earnestly the best gifts. In the 39th verse of the 14th chapter, he says, Wherefore brethren, covet to prophesy, that is, to declare the will of God by inspiration, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Greater, he says, is he that prophesieth, than he that speaketh with tongues. And again, Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by Revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine ? All these are only different words to express that Inspiration, by which they either originally received, or unerringly understood, proposed, explained, or enforced, divine truth. Without this, he declares expressly, that he should not profit the Church in its spiritual concerns at all. Accordingly, after having directed them to covet earnestly the best gifts, he further directs them to covet the gift of prophesying, and not forbid speaking with tongues : as much as to say, “ Covet to receive from God, by Revelation, divine truth; and the gifts of unerringly explaining, declaring, and enforcing, it to others; as being things of supreme importance and usefulness : at the same time, forbid not to speak with tongues; as being an endowment, really, though very subordinately useful.”

From these passages I think it is unanswerably evident, that a Revelation, such as Dr. Priestley, without meaning, calls particular, existed in a standing manner in the minds of the Apostles and their companions ; in the latter to direct them in their preaching; in the former, for the same purpose, and the still more important one, of committing the Word of God to writing, for the instruction of all succeeding generations. So extensive, and common, was this Revelation, as to be made the proper subject of a system of directions from St. Paul to the Corinthian Church: a thing wholly inexplicable, if this fact had not existed.

From these observations it is plain, that without inspiration all the other supernatural endowments of the Apostles must, if given, have been given, to po valuable end; that, on the contrary, they would only have served to establish falsehood and delusion; and that, unless they were inspired, it may certainly be concluded, that they were in no other respect supernaturally endowed. Their inspiration, therefore, was absolutely necessary to prove their commission to be froin God.

If it had not been made evident, that the Apostles were cominissioned from God, this fact must, I think, have been fatal to the cause of Christianity. In this case, although we might have acknowledged Christ to be a Divine Missionary; yet we should have naturally and unanswerably have said, “ What authority did these men possess to transmit his instructions and precepts to us? What proof have we, that they understood them; remembered them; or expressed them with correctness and certainty? Why are we bound to regard what they have said, any more than the numerous Gospels, written by others ? Christ wrote nothing. Had he intended to require our Faith and Obedience to his precepts, he would undoubtedly have taken effectual care, that we should receive them in such a manner, and from such persons, as would assure us, that they were bis, and only his."

To us, it ought to be observed, the Inspiration of the Apostles furnishes a proof, that they were commissioned from God, whicà is additional to the proofs, given to those who heard them preach. In their writings they have left on record a number of important prophecies. Several of these have been remarkably fulfilled; and others are daily receiving their fulfilment. In the fulfilment of these prophecies we have a direct proof of their Inspiration,

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