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and powerful impressions upon your hearts," and in the Holy Ghost " whose miraculous and gracious influence concurred to add force to it, “and in much assurance ye were well assured of its truth and efficacy.
The success of the Gospel then, amongst the Thessalonians must be attributed to a divine influence accompanying its audible preaching. It effected a great reformation in their opinions, dispositions and habits. They had been Idolators, but they turned from idols to serve the living and true God.-(ver. 9.)
They had walked in the lust of concupiscence; indulging themselves in gross and lascivious gratifications, but they abstained from such wickedness.-(chap. iv. 5.) They had been fraudulent, but were now honest and honourable, (chap. iv. 6.) and whatever other sins they had indulged in, were all broken off, and they became followers of the Apostles and of the Lord, (ver. 6.) and they were ensamples to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia; (ver. 7.) and it deserves particular attention that though in the midst of persecution they were remarkable for Christian steadfastness; their love to God and the Apostles and one another being remarkably conspicuous.
The effect of divine influence in them was not mere emotion, but the cultivation of solid Christian virtues. Virtues not confined to audible and visible acts of public worship; but shining at home and in their necessary intercourse with the world around them. The Gospel was really to them, the power of God to Salvation. It saved them from the guilt and power, and habit of sin.
Now, what the Holy Ghost accomplished in Thessalonica through powerful preaching, He accomplishes everywhere, when his influences are accepted and entertained. We have no other way of accounting for the stupendous moral reformations accomplished by the Gospel in all nations MARCH, 1855.
where it has been received, than by saying that God himself in the person of the Holy Ghost has been with his word to render it successful. The astonishing effects of Peter's Sermon on the day of Pentecost were most evidently the result of divine influence. In addition to the amazing miracle of the Apostles speaking fluently, accurately, and powerfully, different languages, which they had never learned, we see that about three thousand souls were added to the number of the disciples, and these persons were not merely transported with a sudden passion, but had received an impression which produced the most solid, durable, and virtuous results. They loved to worship God, and to do good to men. They kept the two great commandments. Devotion towards God, sympathy and generosity towards man, pre-eminently distinguished them from heatheus and infidels and false professors of religion.
The Spirit of God is the great author of all success in Gospel preaching. His Divine person and hallowing influences have indeed been denied an existence both by the infidel and heterodox professor, and yet the Scriptures assert both the one and the other. The distinct personality and godhead of the Holy Ghost are easily proveable from numerous passages—but I have now to do with his influences on the human mind. A Philosopher, though denying the Scriptures, or if believing them, anxious (as I am) to guard against delusions must acknowledge the possibility of God operating on the human will, so as to produce morally purifying results. God who made our souls, can certainly control their various powers and passions. He has done so. He is doing
Since Apostolic times (when divine influences in connection with gospel preaching could not possibly be denied by any honest-minded, reasonable, and thinking man)-consider the remarkable successes of modern
Christian missions-contrast all the glorious moral effects of preaching on savages and cannibals——(details of which may be seen in all missionary publications)—with the feeble efforts of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle—though beyond all question these were valuable men. Consider also the learning and eloquence of Greece and Romewhat did mere reasoning, philosophizing, and great powers of oratory do in the way of making bad men good—as compared with the faithful energetic preaching of the gospel ?-Yes, this very gospel-this preaching of Christ crucified, which was to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness—was to them that were saved—“ Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
Recognize and acknowledge the effects of divine influence in the conversion of sinners. In some cases this is more conspicuous than in others, but in all we may discover such evidences of a transforming influence as cannot be designated anything but divine.
Pray seriously that on all occasions of preaching the word the end of preaching may be answered. Where there is no latent infidelity to frustrate the design of preaching, it is too often the case that “ the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things, entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful." (Mark iv. 19.) Perhaps in most congregations the word is more frequently sown among
" thorns” than in a soil of unbelief. This, therefore, must be looked at; and we must all, both preachers and people, "cast all our care upon God." Detach our thoughts—though it may require immense effort to do it as much as possible from anxiety and vexation. Abstract attention, blended with prayer and faith, will not fail to secure the
end—the salvation and sanctification of the soul. Preaching should never be below the standard of other kinds of public address. The pulpit ought, if possible, to maintain the pre-eminence in point of producing intense interest in the minds of auditors and though we delight in Godly simplicity, and good extemporising—yet the keeping up an interest in Christianity in the churches is a work which requires and demands of the preacher serious premeditation, and the application of his best energies, both intellectual and spiritual
The word will come with power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance, so long as in preaching we succeed in arresting, detaining, and religiously delighting the attention of those who hear it.
REDEEMING LOVE—THE LOVE OF THE
BY THE REV. H. W. HOLLAND, OF STAMFORD, LINCOLNSHIRE.
"For GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY
BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.--JOHN III. 16.
All our knowledge of God must proceed from God Himself. Without revelation we could form no adequate conceptions of the Divine existence and character. It has been affirmed that we may at least form some vague and uncertain notions of the existence of an Infinite Being, by contemplating the works of nature; yet, conceding this, for the purpose of argument, what is nature but creation, and what is all creation but a revelation of God ? Tradition is His voice, its errors are of man. Written revelation is a transcript of the divine will presented to us in the forms of human thought. Providence, with all the principles of divine procedure which it evinces, -redemption, with all the evidences of divine perfection manifest in its constitution and workings are both alike the productions of God, and