« ÎnapoiContinuați »
'to man, and purity of heart. These are the effects of the Grace of God alone, accompanying his preached word. The miracles of the first age were merely the credentials of the Teachers. (like the miracles of Egypt, to confirm the Divine mission of Moses), and were given as a solemn confirmation, once for all, of the Divinity of the New Dispensa tion. But miracles were not the ordained and ordinary means of conversion. The Apostle Paul performed miracles but seldom; and when he did perform them, they had not always a salutary effect on those who beheld them. When he wrought a public miracle in Lycaonia, the people first worshipped him, and called him Mercury; and then they proceeded to stone him; and "they drew him out of the city, supposing " he was dead." Acts xiv. 19. Thousands beheld the miracles of the Messiah in vain. What then were the ordained means of conversion in the first age? The same that are appointed in this age-THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS. "Faith cometh by hearing." The Apostles declared the facts; that is, " they preached the word;" and God accompanied the truth with his grace. This is the miracle to which St. Paul almost constantly refers in his Epistles to his converts, even "the grace of God, through which they had believed." He informed the judgment with facts, addressed the conscience with moral reasoning, and "the Holy Spirit guided their minds into all truth." This influence of the Holy Spirit was the miracle which produced the conversion of the heathen world in the first ages; and the influence of · the same grace (restricted to ordinary operation) exists now, agreeably to the promise that it should "abide for ever;" and waits to accompany the word of those teachers, who shall faithfully preach the Gospel to the heathens of this day; that is, who shall inform the understanding with the historic record, authenticate it with the legitimate proof, address the conscience with moral suasion, illustrate the
doctrine by their lives, and look to a superior Power both for conviction of the understanding and conversion of the heart *.
* See this subject ably illustrated in a discourse by his Grace the Archbishop of York, Dr. Vernon. The position derived from the words of Christ is thus stated :
"A genuine faith in the Gospel and a sincere reception of "Christianity must originate from God alone, and from the "blessed influence of his Holy Spirit. No man, says our Saviour, "can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw "him."
Sermon before "The Society for the Propagation of the