Page:A Beacon to the Society of Friends.djvu/88

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84
SER. IV.
ON HUMAN AGENCY IN

God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God, which in Judea are in Christ Jesus." How were the Ephesians converted? By the same means. — "In whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that he heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance." How were the churches in Galatia, at Samaria, Philippi, Colosse, Antioch, &c. gathered? Through the preaching of the word, by the Apostles and their fellow helpers.

And nothing can be more evident, than that the Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles, were the appointed medium, through whom God was pleased to give a standing revelation of the way of eternal life to mankind. How derogatory, then, to the Holy Spirit, to call his attested revelation "the writings of man," — "an outward law made by man," &c.!

The work of conversion is indeed an inward work, effected by the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart: but what is the amount of evidence, that this is ever done wholly without the instrumentality of the outward word, either immediately or indirectly applied? But through the instrumentality of man, both in preaching the Gospel and spreading his written revelation, the Holy Spirit is still pleased to work, for the conversion of kingdoms, and nations, and tongues, and people: so that, to this day we have, on a large scale, a practical comment on the words of our Lord, "Go ye and teach all nations;" and on the words of the Apostle, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God?"

And if to this general rule, viz, that it is the