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then, did St. Paul convert the heathen? Was it by the exhibition of miracles? Certainly not. A miracle may convince the judgment, and demonstrate the power of the present Deity; ; but it cannot convert the heart, and inspire the soul with the love of God, with a hatred of sin, and a hope of glory. The miracles of the first age were merely the credentials of the teachers; and were given as a solemn confirmation, once for all, of the divinity of the new dispensation. But miracles were not the ordained and common means of conversion. St. Paul performed miracles but seldom ; and, when he did perform them, they had not always a salutary effect on those that beheld them. When he wrought a miracle in Lycaonia, the people first worshipped him, and sometime afterwards proceeded to put him to death. What, then, were the ordained means of conversion ? The same that are ordained now;


PREACHING OF THE CROSS, as the scripture hath declared; “ faith cometh by hear. ing.The Apostle informed the judgment with facts, and addressed the conscience with doctrines, and the Holy Spirit s guided their “ minds into all truth.” This influence of the Holy Spirit was the miracle which produced the conversion of the heathen world, and of

* 1 Cor. i. 18.

the Jewish world. And the influence of the same Spirit exists at this day, though less in degree, agreeably to the promise, that it should " abide for ever;" and is manifest, in every case, of the conversion of a sinner, whether he belong to the heathen or to the Christian world.

Our duty then, my brethren, in regard to. the Gentiles in this age, is to do what was done in the first age; to assert the truth of revelation by oral preaching, or by writings sent among them; praying that God would do honour to his own word by the witness of the Spirit ; and depending on " the author 6 and finisher of our faith," for a blessing on the work which he hath commanded.

But you are to understand, that those who disbelieve the doctrine of the atonement, and of the influences of the Holy Spirit, will never be solicitous to communicate Christianity to beathen nations; and, for this obvious reason, they have no motives, Survey the whole body of men, now employed in the four quarters of the globe, in promoting the Gospel of Christ, whether societies or individuals, and whether by preaching, by writipg, by pecuniary contribution, or by personal exertion, and you will find that they ALL, or nearly all, believe in the doctrines of divine grace, and of atonement by “ the blood “ of the Lamb." For these are the doctrines

which engage the heart and affections; and, when men have felt their power and consolation, then have they found MOTIVES for diffusing them. When we shall have learned to consider the Gospel as “the UNSEARCHABLE REhes," and the INESTIMABLE GIFT, then shall we earnestly desire to impart it to others. Thus much of the consequences of disbelieving the spiritual doctrine of Christ. We further observed, that many persons disbelieve also his divine predictions.

Our Saviour foretold that, the city of Jerusalem should be destroyed on account of its sin, before the generation, which then lived, had passed away. And he warned mankind that this judgment on Jerusalem would be a type of the judgment of the world at the last day; and that, therefore, if the first event should come to pass, they might believe in the certain accomplishment of the second. He further referred them to a former great event in the history of the world, as if to establish the fact by analogy) which was a type of both the subsequent events ; namely, the judgment of the food. “ For, as it was," said he,“ in the days “ of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of “ Man.” As if he had said, the scene which the world saw once, it shall see AGAIN. it was, so shall it BE.” Now, my brethren, let us look round, and survey our Christian com


munity, and inquire whether there be any tokens of a general belief in this prediction of our Saviour? At the time our Lord uttered it, he added the following sentence ;

66 heaven “ and earth shall pass away, but my words “ shall not pass away." But even this solemn declaration makes no impression on many. In regard to them,“ his words have passed away." They are regarded as “ a voice, and nothing more.”

VI. Let us then impress on your minds, once more, the solemn admonition, to believe the words of Christ, and to prepare for those events which“ must shortly come to pass.” There are many persons who sincerely desire to establish their principles, and to secure for themselves the consolations and support of an unshaken faith, against the day of trial. * But they find they make but little progress in the great work, as the years revolve. Being occupied by the business, or fascinated by the pleasares of life, they perceive that they cannot fix their thoughts on the scenes of the world to come. Holy scripture, they find, cannot be read with interest by a man of the world. By this, indeed, its divine original is proved. In the midst of dissipation, they can peruse the most solemn pages of pagan antiquity ; but they dare not read the Bible. And, after some years have been passed in this manner, (the sacred

volume being all the while unread, and never meeting their view in the societies to which they belong) they begin, at length, to doubt whether there shall be a day of retribution at all. They once read that “the blood of the “ Lamb" was shed, to “ deliver them from the " wrath to come.” But they now begin to doubt whether there shall be a wrath to "come."

How, then, is such an one to be delivered from the fatal error into which he is falling ? and which will certainly destroy his peace at the last? He is in danger of being “ taken

captive by Satan at his will,” and of being " tied and bound by the chain” of unbelief. There is but one remedy. He must come again to the scriptures of God, and submit his understanding to “ his sure testimony." He must endeavour to read them with the docility of a child who would be instructed by his father. Our Lord hath said, “ except ye be“ come as little children, ye shall not enter “? into the kingdom of heaven.” He ought, at the same time, to exercise his reason, and acquired knowledge, in a dispassionate manner. Let him compare the state of the world with the records of scripture, and endeavour to form a judgment from ANALOGY, (even as Christ hath taught us in his reference to the flood) that is to say, let him judge of what

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