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by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know; him, being deli. vered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and flain.” But David foretold of the Messiah, that he should rise from the grave, and not see corruption, And accordingly “this Jesus hath GoD raised up, whereof we all are witnesses."
Such is the clear demonstration of the apoftle, that Jesus was the Messiah ; that, being man, he suffered, and died, and rose again from the dead. But did the holy preacher stop here? having taught the humanity of this Son of David, did he
prudently avoid dropping the least intimation, before a prejudiced multitude, of a higher character, sustained by the same person ; and reserve that and other mysterious points, to be instilled by degrees, among the initiated, in private conference ? Far otherwise. The very fame gift, which in the beginning of his speech, he ascribes unto God, even Jehovah the true God, for He it is, who utters the words in Joel '; this self same gift, to
9 See Joel ii, 27. &c.
wards the close of his address, he attributes to Chrift: “ Therefore," says he, “ being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath fhed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” Immediately after this, he quotes from the royal Psalmist, a passage, which is, at once, a proof of our gracious Redeemer's exaltation, as the Mefsiah, and of his proper Divinity, as the Son of God: “The Lord said unto my Lord, fit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.” And then he draws, from the whole, this general conclufion : * Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
During the personal abode of our blessed Saviour with his disciples, they were enjoined secrecy, on some important articles; but it was only, till the Son of man was risen from the dead'. There were likewise many things, which as yet they could not bear"; but when the Spirit of truth was come, he was to guide
'Comp, Matt. xvii. 9. Mark. ix. 9. with Matt. xvi. 20. Mark viii. 30. Luke ix. 21. s See John xvi. 12, 13•
them into all the truth; and then, as their Lord had expressly charged them, they were to speak in the light, what he had told them in the darkness of parables, and to preach upon the house-tops, boldly and publicly, what they had heard in the ear, the instructions imparted to them in private '. And they did what they were commanded, in this, as well as in other instances. They kept back from their hearers, as they themselves, with conscious integrity, professed, nothing that was profitable for them ; nor shunned to declare unto them all the counsel of God". Points of doctrine, or of discipline, which were of subordinate moment, might be afterwards taught, and errors might be confuted, as they should arise ; but articles of essential consequence engaged their chief attention, and the first care of the wise master-builders was, to lay a firm foundation. The great atonement of the cross, as we learn from St. Paul, was a primary doctrine *; and this was not taught, perhaps indeed could not be, without explaining the dignity of Him who made it. For a creature, however exalted, must owe, to his Creator, all possible ho
u See Acts XX. 20, 27.
i See Matt. X. 27. * See 1 Cor. xy. 3.
mage ; and cannot therefore pay for the transgreffions of others.
But this momentous point was not left to uncertain inference. As by St. Peter in his first fermon, so likewise by the rest, it was explicitly taught. Belief in God, and belief in Christ, were inculcated by them, with equal earnestness, and in the very fame form of words. “Repentance from dead works,” the confession and renunciation of fin, led the way'. This was followed by faith, towards Him who had accepted, and towards Him who had made, through the eternal Spirit, a full propitiation. To these was added “ the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of eternal judgement.”
: Conformable to what the apostles taught was the declaration of faith, made by their converts, when they were admitted into the church. For they were required to profess, not only that Jesus was the Christ, but that he was likewise the Son of God?; after which they were baptized, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghosta,"
y See Heb. vi. 1, 2. and comp. ix. 14. Acts xx. 21. 2 See Ads viii. 37.
a Matt. xxviii. 19.
But to return from this digreffion; if indeed, on the present occasion, it be a digres, fion, to Thew the order and manner, in which the gospel truths were communicated to mankind. Upon the miraculous accession of converts, on the day of Pentecost, a regular church seems forthwith to have been esta blished. For they, who were baptized, “ continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and” in “ fellowship” one with another ; they partook of the emblems of Christ's blessed body and blood, and joined together in prayers.
As yet no fign, or none that is recorded, had been wrought by the apostles, if we except that stupendous one, of speaking with new tongues.
But in the third chapter of the Acts, a miracle is recited, of which no instance is distinctly related, in any of the Gospels, as performed by our Lord'; the healing of a man, lame from his mother's
See Acts ii. 41, 42. c The man healed at Bethesda, John v. 2. &c. seems not to have been lame, but afflicted with some other bodily infirmity. Compare the 3d, 5th, and 7th verses. Cyril of Je. rusalem, in a fragment on this miracle, calls the man a paralytic. See p. 311. ed. Oxon. 1703.