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the Wind and Fire, in which the Holy Ghost came upon them, and with às much unconcernedness, as if they had no difficulties to encounter: the World they very well knew, and found was against them, but they had the assurance of his help, who had overcome the World. They were pressed on every side, with Want and Disgrace,and all manner of Hardships; some mocked and reviled them, others tormented them; the rage, the tumults, the conspiracies of whole Cities and Countries broke loose upon them, all the malice and contrivance of Men and Devils was joined against them; and yet with what freedom doth St. Peter speak? Le men of Ifrael hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signsę which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye your selves also know : him being delivered by the determinate Counsel and fore-knowledge of God, ye. have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and sain, whom God hath raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and bazing received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear, A&s ii. 22, 23, 24, 32, 33. And in the third Chapter, The God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy one, and the just, and desired a murtherer to be granted unto you, and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses, ver. 13, 14, 15.
And before the Council, Oye Rulers of the People and Elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought by you
Builders, Builders, which is become the head of the corner, neither is there Salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven-given among men, whereby we must be farved, Ads iv. 8, &C. And again, The God of our Fathers raised up Jefus, whom ye flerw, and hanged on a tree; him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to If ael; and forgiveness of fins : And we are his witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghoft, whom God hath given to them that obey him, Aas v. 30, &c. With what freedom and authority doth he now speak? How unlike is he now to the Man he was before, when he thrice denied his Master whilft alive? And what could make fuch an Alteration in him after his Master's death, but a supernatural Power ? What could caufe him thus frequently and earnestly to make an open confeffion of him in the midst of the People, and before their Council, if he had not known him to be risen from the Dead, and had not done all his Miracles by virtue of that Power which was bestown ed upon him and the rest of the Apostles, after Christ's Afcenfion ?
And the same Constancy and Greatness of Mind appeared in St. Stephen, and the rest of the Disciples ; which yet was accompanied with equal Humility and Meekness : Whether it be right in the fight of God to hearken unto you, more than unto God, judge ye : for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard, A&s iv. 19, 20. You may do your Pleasure, but we must do our Duty: Nothing of Fury and Violence, nor of Wildness and Extravagancy, but a constant Composedness and Gravity, and a rational sober Zeal, appeared in all their Behaviour. They told a plain Truth, and then wrought Miracles to confirm it and afterwards suffer'd any Torments, rather than they would reronce it, or defist from preaching it. Though they could cure all Diseases, and difpoffefs Devils, and raise Men from the Dead, or take away
their Lives with a Word speaking, as in the case of
Ananias and Sapphira; yet they were not exempted from Sufferings, because we must then have wanted one great argument for the Confirmation of our Faith. And
the Gospel was to be founded upon Principles of Love and Goodnefs, not of Fear and Astonishment: There is something in the Sufferings of good Men, which is. apt mightily to work upon the Affedions, and upon any Seeds of good Nature in us ; and therefore, when by their Miracles they had raifed the Admiration of the Beholders, and convinced them of the Power by which they were wrought, their Patience under Sufferings not only confirmod them in the Truth of Religion, but laid the foundations of a religious Life, in gaining upon the Inclinations and Affe&tions, and in calming the Spirits; and preparing them by fo great Examples of Patience to endure all the Calamities incident to Men: Who is there, that is not more affected with the meek and humble Cous rage, and invincible Patience of the Apostles, than with all the great A&s of the mighty Conquerors and Destroyers of Mankind ? A few poor; unarmed, defenceless Men, stand before armed Multitudes, and speak with as much Authority, as if all the Power of the World were in their hands; and indeed, all Power was in their hands, inasinuch-as He-allisted and inspired them, who is above All : They speak to Multitudes with as much freedom as to one Man, and to all Nations with as much ease as to one People
And the same Holy Spirit who descended upon the rest of the
Apostles on the Day of Pentecoft, descended upon St. Paul, at his Conversion, and gave that great Apostle fo much Confidence and Resolution, so much Patience and Zeal under his Sufferings, which were so severe and terrible, that we can scarce read them with so little Hortot as he underwent them; nay, as if he had been-above all sense of Fear or Pain, he
took pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's Sake, 2 Cor. xii. 10.
Thus did the Holy Ghost fit and prepare stles to be Witnesfes to Christ, by inspiring them with all that Courage and Patience which was necessary for Men that were to declare an ungrateful and despised Truth, amongst those who would think themselves so much concern'd to oppose and suppress it. If they had wrought no Miracles, their Courage and Refolution might have pass’d for a groundless Confidence; and if they had not had the Courage to stand fo refolutely to the Truth of what they deliver'd, their Miracles themselves might have become fuspected; but acting by a Divine Power, and being supported in alt their Sufferings by a fupernatural Constancy and Greatness of Mind, and being so suddenly changed and rait fed above themselves in all they did or suffered, and working the same change in others; they gave all the evidence and certainty of the Truth of the Doctrines they taught, that it was possible for Men to give.
As a Power of working Miracles was derived from the Apostles down upon their Disciples, fo was the Spirit of Meekness and Patience under. Afflictions communicated to them. St. Peter, writing to the Con verts under much Distress, testifies, That their Faith in Christ made them happy and triumphant in the midst of all their Sufferings; wherein, says he, ye greatly rejoyce, tho' now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness, through manifold temptations ; that the tryal of your faith being much more precious than of gold that pe-, visheth, tho it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, ye love ; in whom, tho”. now ye fee him not, yet believing, ye rejoyce with joy. unSpeakable and full of glory, 1 Pet. i. 6, 7, 8, And as other Histories are chiefly taken up in the Account of Battles of Warriours, with confused Noise, and Garments rolled in Blood : So the History of the Church for
divers Ages, principally contains the most cruel Tor: ments undergone, not only with the greatest Patience, but with the greatest Joy. And it is observable, that God was pleased not to raise up any Christian Em peror, 'till above three hundred Years after Christ, that he might fhew, that the Religion which came from Heaven could need no human Aid, nor be suppress’d by any human Force; and that he might res commend the great Vertues of Meekness and Patience to the World, by the Examples of Men as eminent for these, as for the Miracles they wrought, and might instru& Mankind in a suffering Religion. For to assure the World of the Truth of it, he would not grant it prote&tion from Christian Emperors, till most of the Empire was become Christian,. and Christianity had diffused it self into all the known Parts of the Earth. For before the last Persecution, begun by. Dioclefan, o the Church flourished as much, and had the favour of the Court, and of Grear Men, in as high a degree almost as under Constantine himself; Still their Prosperity caused their Sins, and these brought Persecution. But at last the persecuting Emperors were forced by a Divine Power, manifested in miraculous Diseases inflicted on them, to restore the Christians to their former Liberty, in their Worship of God; that so it might appear to all the World, that the Christian Religion needed no Patronage of Men; for God would compel its worst Enemies to become its Protectors, when he saw it fitting. And p when Julian made it his great aim and business to restore Paganisın again in the World, he saw, to his grief, how ineffećtual all his Endeavours proved ; he obferved that the Christian Religion still retained a general esteem and approbation, and that the Wives,
o Euseb. Hift. I. viii. c. I.