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for no man can do these miracles that thou doeft, except God be with him." God, who is perfect in wisdom, would choose no improper or unsuita. ble means. Their wisdon might not at first appear to men. It did not at first appear. The world cried folly and weakness. But “ the fool. ishness of God is wiser than men ; and the weak, ness of God is stronger than men.'

In God's hand any means are sufficient to efe fect his designs. The rod of Mofes, when stretched out by divine order, availed to bring all those plagues on Egypt, by which God made himself known and feared. When Israel left that land, it availed to open them a passage through the sea ; and afterwards to bring back its waters to the dela truction of their enemies.

Could we fee no fitness in divine appointments, we should remember that “we are of yesterday and know nothing," and not dare to arraign divine wisdom, or charge folly on God. But in the cafe before us, his wisdom is in many respects discernable, as will appear from a consideration of fome of the objections which are made against the gospel, and against the means appointed of God to, propagate it.

One of the objections is taken from the fupposed unsuitableness of the means. Considered in itself this made an objection. It is said the all- . wise God would not have appointed them that to appoint a company of poor, despised, ignorant fishermen, as prime ministers of a religion, is suffi. cient to prove that it is not from God, who al.

ways useth the best means and most suitable instruments.

It is not strange that this should have been objected at the beginning of the gospel day, before any effect of the apostles labors appeared. It is a natural objection for the proud, who thought themselves the best judges of wisdom and propriety, to have made at that day. But it comes with an ill grace from modern infidels, who cannot de. ny that Christianity triumphed over the power and learning of the world combined against it, though such means only were used to propagate it-such weak instruments employed in it. Naaman, the Syrian, reasoned at first like one of these objectors, but the success which attended the prophets directions convinced him of his error. Why has not the same the like effect on these ? Surely,

.66 had this counsel been of men, it would have come to nought.” Under the circumstances in which Christianity made its appearance, it would have been easily overthrown ; but the power of the world could not overthrow it, or prevent it from spreading far and wide. It continued—it prosper. ed-and every opposing system fell before it. Means and instruments which human wisdom would have judged most suitable, could have done

The success of measures in a contest like this, proves their fitness.

Under this head it is further objected that the first ministers of the gospel were ignorant of the arts and sciences cultivated by the polished nations of the age--that therefore, they were despised, efpecially by the Greeks,

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Despised they might be by those who “profesfing themselves wise had become fools.” Yet they had all the knowledge which their work required imparted to them from above. The language of the schools would have been ill adapted to the fimplicity of the gospel. It would have been unintelligible to many of those to whom the gospel was sent. The gospel offers salvation to the unlearned, equally as to the learned-should be expressed, therefore, in language easy to be understood. Had the apostles and evangelists used the abstruse language of the schoolmen, to many they would have spoken in an unknown tongue. Had the scriptures been written in such language, they would have been much more obfcure than they now are.

Though the gospel is plainly written, it may be rendered dark and mysterious, by a metaphyfic dress. It is a peculiar excellency of the scriptures that they are mostly written in the plain language of common sense-fo plainly, that " he may run who readeth them."

Two of the New Testament writers were men of letters, Paul and Luke ; and we find more ob. fcurity in their writings, especially those of the former, occasioned by allusions to the sciences and usages of the age, than in the other writers of that holy book. The Apocalypse is indeed abstruse, but this is not occasioned by the language, which is plain, but by the subject. That book is chiefly prophetic; and therefore expressed in the inetaphors of prophetic style. Prophecy is

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not generally designed to be fully understood, till éxplained by the accomplishment.

To take occasion from those who might object to the illiterate character of primitive gospel min. isters, a Paul, and a Luke were found among them ; but neither of them was among those first called to the Christian ministry. Those first sent forth to preach the gospel were unlearned men. The great truths of the gospel had been taught, and many had received them before these (especially St. Paul) had become believers that the faith of the first followers of Chrift, might appear, " not to hand in the wisdom of men, but in power of God."

Had the primitive ministry been learned philofophers, or renowned rhetoricians, suspicions might have arisen that mankind had been deceived, that they had been bewildered by the subtilty of science, or charmed by the fascinating power of eloquence; into the belief of a scheme which they did not understand. This cannot be suspected when the character of the first Christian ministers is considered, and the progress which had been made in propagating the gospel, before any of the learned wera joined as their assistants in the work.'

The propriety of the gospel method, may be farther argued from the nature of the gospel. Wisdom of words is not necessary to communicate gospel truths, or deep penetration, sufficiently to understand them. It was a remark of the apostle " that not many wise men after the fleth, not many mighty, not many noble, were called.” The fame


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observation may yet be made. People of plain common sense more often receive the gospel, and savor the things of true religion, than those who affect superior powers, and to understand all mysteries. Those who are wise in their own imaginations, often reject the counsel of God against themselves, and put from them offered salvation.

The manner in which the apostles and their fellow laborers preached the gospel, hath also been objected to as unwise. Their preaching was chief. ly a plain unaffected exhibition of truth; laid before those who heard them, and left with them. To produce faith in Christ, they declared the time, place and circumstances of his birth, referring to the prophecies which foretold them-declared the concurrinig testimonies of angels and inspired persons, who gave witness for him--exhibited sketches of his life-his teaching—his miracles-- declared his predi&ion of his own death, with the manner, time, and place --alfo of his refurrection on the third day, and the fulfilment of those predictions. They referred to his foretelling Peter's fall and recovery ; Judas' treachery and end, with the events which followed—they refer. red also to Christ's teaching and miracles-to those which attended his sufferings and resurrection they adduced the evidence which they had of his death and resurrection-declared the opportunities which they had with him after his passiontheinstructions they received from him—the orders which he gave them, and his ascension from the mount of Olives, of which they were witnesses,

confirming their words with signs following."

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