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that I notice in all the discourses of the apostle, on those points which you consider as so necessary to the success of preaching He appeals to those elders, that he had kept back nothing that was profitable, v. 20. “Wherefore I take you to record this day, “ that I am pure from the blood of all men; for I “have not shunned to declare to you the whole “counsel of God.” v. 27. How could this have been said, if those principles on which you place so great a stress are parts of the counsel of God Or, if the apostle had preached on these topics, how could the historian, when he came to record this solemn appeal, fail to recollect, that he made a very defective report of the apostle's sermons : The imputation of such a neglect and omission can not be admitted against the sacred historian, even by those who do not consider him as writing under a divine inspiration. It would be great irreverence towards the spirit of truth in those to allow it, who conceive that the holy, spirit should record for the instruction of future a ges of the christian church. My respect for the writer of the Acts, my piety will not permit me to suppose, that the only memoirs we have of the first planting of the gospel could be so exceedingly deficient, so totally fail to inform us of the essential parts of discourses which converted the sinner, and christianised the world. It confirms me in the persuasion, that there is no such omission in the narrative of the historian, that in relating the speech of Paul to Agrippa, ch. xxvi, in which the apostle gives én account of his life, conversion and labours, when he comes to the subjects of his preaching, all that he says is, “Having “ obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, “ witnessing both to small and great, saying none “ other things than those which the Prophets and “Moses did say, should come, that Christ should “ suffer, and that he should be the first that should “rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the “ people, and to the Gentiles.” V. 22, 23. It appears from this, if his representation of his own preaching is true and faithful, or if the historian has truly reported his word, that he never touched on the doctrine of the trinity, or the godhead of Christ, on the atonement, or the satisfaction made by his death to divine justice. This is the more remarkable, because, according to what he declares, v. 18, the great and interesting objects of his ministry, the - purposes

dictated to the historian the facts and discourses he with the greatest propriety, with strict truth, be said to have “fur“chased the church.” He hath given it an existence. He hath acquired it to himself, by his blood: by the labours of his ministry as" well as by the sufferings of his cross. The church is his purchased, " acquired, possession : Eph. i. 14. It is his “peculiar people:” xz2, ..., nozoolow; a “people of acquisition ;” Vulgate : “a people “whom God claims as his own.” Beza: “ Having redeemed it not “ with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from their vain conver“sation, but with the precious blood of Christ.” Pet. ii. 9 chap. i.

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purposes which he was sent to effect, were to open “ the eyes of the Gentiles, and to turn them from

“ darkness to light, and from the power of Satan “ unto God, that they might receive the forgiveness

“ of sins, and inheritance among them that are

“ sanctified by faith that is in Christ Jesus.” [The circumstances of Paul's voyage to Rome form the narrative of the next chapter. In the xxviii. we find the apostle, after having been shipwrecked on the shore of Malta, arrived at the emporium of the world, and made a prisoner in his own house. In this situation he sought, and embraced, all opportunities of promoting the gospel of his divine Master. As many, at different times, came to him to his lodgings, “he expounded and testified “the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning “Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the “ Prophets, from morning till evening.” W. 23. On his first explanation of the christian doctrine,

“some believed the things which were spoken.” He continued this course for two years, “and re

“ ceived all that came in unto him ; preaching the • kingdom of God, and teaching those things, which “ concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, “no man forbidding him.” In consequence of this many converts were made to christianity. This acount of the apostle's strain of preaching is very general ; except that, when some of the Jews, on their first interview with the apostle, “believed

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“not,” but rejected the gospel, amidst all the evidence he advanced in favour of it, from Moses and the Prophets, the historian tells us, he declared, that “ the salvation of God was sent unto the Gentiles, “ and that they would hear it.” V. 28. This is the only instance, in which the historian particularises the apostle's preaching. Divines, who did not read the Acts with that intention, with which I have now reviewed it, have seen the matter in the same light, in which it appears to my mind. “Probably, as Mr. “Cradock well observes,” says Dr. Doddridge, “the “ apostle insisted on two topics;–that the kingdom “ of God, which they had so long expected, was of a “ spiritual nature;—and that Jesus of Nazareth, in “ whose name he preached, was the person foretold “ as the promised Messiah, and Lord of that king“ dom”.” Neither of these critics, with a strong bias in favour of those sentiments, could find here the doctrines of original sin, of the deity of Christ, and of the imputation of his righteousness; so essential, in Mr. Fuller's opinion, to the faithful preaching, and to the efficacy, of christianity. Here, again, is a perfect silence on these points. Yet the doctrine, the simple doctrine of the divine Messiahship of Jesus is successful: and the proofs adduced for it reach the heart with energy: “Some believed.”] I may applaud, Sir, the piety, the zeal, the good intentions, with which the Moravian preachers, or

[* Doddridge's Family Expositor, vol. 3, ch. 28, Note (b).] the the Elliots, or yourself, might address the heathens of Greenland, or America, on the fall and corruption of nature through Adam, on the Creator's taking upon him human nature and dying for our sins; but I do not see such a mode of preaching followed by those who first embarked in the glorious and philanthropic employment of converting the world to the faith of Christ. They, I presume, were fully instructed in the mind of Christ, adopted the most proper means of accomplishing their embassy, and have furnished, for future ages, true specimens of the christian faith, and divine models of preaching it. I repeat it again ; and leave it, Sir, for your consideration, that I can find no other doctrine, in all the pieceding discourses which have now passed under our review, but what is, in modern style, called the Unitarian doctrine. This is that “word of “God,” that “gospel,” that made both Jews and Gentiles believers and members of the church of Christ, “purifying their hearts,” Acts xv. 9. And carrying with it, “remission of sins,” ch. x. 43. The matter hath, for many years, appeared to me in this light. The conviction produced, by reading “ the Acts of the Apostles,” both of the truth and efficacy of Unitarian principles, the conviction that these were the principles by which the world was converted, on which christian churches were founded, is so strong that I cannot resist it. Here is a proper place to relieve your attention, D 2 and

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