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the kingdom of God, that is, he preached the great doctrines of one God, of a providence, of a life to come, of a future retribution, all which though the distinguishing principles of the gos pel, were denied by the impostor of Samaria. He next taught the people to believe in Christ, as the person by whom these doctrines were brought to light and established, and in the name of Jesus, whom Simon rejected, though he pre tended to believe in the divinity within him.
The gospel, as it originated in the wisdom of God, and was far from coinciding with the prepos sessions or flattering the vices of men, is styled by the apostolic teachers, the doctrine of God. This title they usually give it, in reference to the de ceivers, whose system was but a heterogeneous mass of Jewish traditions, of the Pagan philoso phy and the Christrian doctrine, so blended indeed as to meet the prejudices and bad passions of those whom they deceived. One leading point in the doctrine which Peter and John taught in opposition to Simon, was the death of Jesus as predicted by the prophets; and remarkable is the incident which providence called forth in the interview between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, in order to furnish future ages with additional evidence of its truth. After reading the beautiful passage in which the evangelical prophet predicts the meekness and silence of the Messiah during his trial, and the cruel manner in which his life was taken away, the latter thus asks the former, "I pray thee of whom doth the prophet say this; of himself or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began from this scripture to preach unto him JESUS,
And as they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch saith, See here is water, why may not I be baptized. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest: and he answered, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," 34,---38.
If we consider this passage in reference to the above history of Simon, it will appear to inculcate, that the Jewish prophets foretold the sufferings and death of the Messiah; that Jesus, and not a divine being within him, was the Christ; and that the Christ was not himself a God, but the son of God, or the anointed king of the Jews; and finally, that the eunuch might be baptized on condition of his believing these things from his heart, that is, with unfeigned simplicity and sine cerity, and not as the deceivers did, from sinister purposes.
As the history advances, we find the apostle Peter directed by the holy Spirit to instruct Cornelius, a centurion of Cæsarea, in the principles of the Christian faith. Now, as this was the express purpose for which he went, and as the person who needed his instruction, was a Pagan and a stranger to the gospel, it is reasonable to sup pose, that the apostle did not omit laying before that good man and his companions any essential branch of it, but that be carefully stated with precision and clearness all its fundamental articles, and placed them too in such a light as to exclude the sentiments of Simon Magus, with whom, if we may believe the author of the Recognitions, the centurion was acquainted.
And Peter having opened his mouth, said, In truth I perceive that God is no respecter of per
but in every nation he who feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him. The Logos which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ, is to become sovereign over all; ye know the word which was spread throughout all Judea, and which began in Galilee, after the baptism of John; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and curing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And. we are witnesses of all the things which he did, both in Judea and in Jerusalem; whom they even killed, having suspended him on a cross. Him God raised up the third day; and shewed him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses whom God chose before hand; namely, to us who ate and drank with him, after he rose from the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that whosoever believeth in him, receiveth in his name the forgiveness of his sins," Acts x. 34, 44.
Here the apostle asserts that the man who worketh righteousness, who repents and leads a virtuous life, is accepted of God. Thus he precludes the atonement of Christ, and those spiritu al privileges in which the impostors prided themselves, as the grounds of divine acceptance. He affirms, moreover, that the glad tidings, of which Jesus was the messenger, began in Galilee, and after the baptism administered by John; and thus he sets aside as forming no part of the gospel, the story of his supernatural birth in Bethle hem. Peter, moreover, says, that God anointed Jesus with power, and raised him from the dead;
and thus he inculcates, that the Saviour was a man acting with the power of God, and not by virtue of his own underived power. The crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews, his resurrection from the dead on the third day, his appearance to his disciples after death, the commandment which he then gave them, to preach him as the person ordained of God to be the Judge of all mankind;-these were the next leading principles which the apostle enforces on his hearers. Nor does he omit reminding them, that the ancient prophets bore witness to him as the Messiah, and that whoever believeth in the name of Jesus shall receive the pardon of his sins.
The history concludes with saying, that this discourse of Peter was corroborated by an immediate descent of the holy Spirit upon those who heard it. Here then we see what apostolic authority holds up to our view as the only principles, which as Christians we are called upon to believe. These principles are the divine mission of Jesus, his being a man come from Nazareth, endued with extraordinary power from God, his death on the cross, his resurrection from the dead, his coming again to judge the living and the dead, and finally, a practical faith in his name. Whatever articles are enjoined upon us as necessary to salvation beyond these, originated with the enemies of the gospel in ancient times; and they constitute that wood, hay, stubble, erected upon the foundation of Christ and his apostles, which one day shall be destroyed by the fire of truth.
I next propose to consider a part of Paul's speech before the Athenian philosophers. "Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his
mind was moved within him, at seeing the city so full of images. Moreover, he was continually reasoning with the Jews and with the Gentile proselytes in the synagogue, and every day in the market-place, with those that came in his way. And some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers happened to meet with him, some of whom said, What doth this babbler mean to say? And others, He seemeth to be a strange publisher of new gods, because he was preaching to them Jesus and the resurrection." Acts
Here again, we see what were the chief, fundamental topics on which the Apostle Paul insisted, when explaining to strangers the nature of that doctrine which he preached. These were the man Jesus, his resurrection from the dead, and through him the resurrection of all mankind. And yet the philosophers concluded, that he published some new god or gods. To prevent the reader from falling into a similar error, the historian immediately subjoins the reason which led them to that conclusion, "Because he was preaching to them Jesus and the resurrection, that is, Jesus, and his resurrection, and through him the resurrection of all mankind. This inference was natural with their prepossessions; since in the estimation of a heathen superiority to death, is the chief circamstance which constitutes a God.
To introduce a new God or a strange demon unauthorized by the laws, was deemed, it is well known, in Greece and in Rome, a capital crime. With this crime the Apostle is here charged by the Epicureans and Stoics and in order to en