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    Mr. Wesley, in his reply to Dr. Middleton, referring to the writers of the second and third centuries, says:MIRP 49.1

    “You own they all ‘speak of spiritual gifts as abounding among the Christians of that age,’ but assert, ‘These cannot mean anything more than faith, hope, and charity.’ You assert: But the proof sir! I want the proof. Though I am but one of the vulgar, yet I am not half so credulous as you apprehend the first Christians to have been. Ipse dixit will not satisfy me; I want plain, clear, logical proof; especially when I consider how much you build upon this; that is the main foundation whereon your hypothesis stands. You yourself must allow, that in the epistles of St. Paul, pneumatipsa psarismata, spiritual gifts, does always mean more than faith, hope, and charity; that it constantly means miraculous gifts. How then do you prove, that, in the epistle of St. Ignatius, it means quite another thing?”—Wesley’s Works, p. 717.MIRP 49.2

    To the question, “If you allow miracles before the empire became Christian, why not afterward too?” Mr. Wesley answers:MIRP 50.1

    “Because after the empire became Christian, a general corruption both of faith and morals infected the Christian church; which, by that revolution, as St. Jerome says, ‘lost as much of her virtue, as it had gained of wealth and power.’ And this very reason St. Chrysostom himself gave in the words you have afterward cited: ‘There are some who ask, Why are not miracles performed still? Why are there no persons who raise the dead, and cure diseases?’ To which he replies, that it was owing to the want of faith, and virtue, and piety in those times.”—Ib. p. 706.MIRP 50.2

    The following authorities are quoted by Wesley, which will of course have great weight with those who receive the testimony of the fathers.MIRP 50.3

    “Justin Martyr,” says Mr. Wesley, “who wrote about fifty years after the apostles, says: (I translate his words literally),MIRP 50.4

    “‘There are prophetic gifts among us even until now. You may see with us both women and men having gifts from the Spirit of God.’ He particularly insists on that of ‘casting out devils, as what every one might see with his own eyes.’MIRP 50.5

    “Irenaeus, who wrote somewhat later, affirms ‘that all who were truly disciples of Jesus wrought miracles in his name; some cast out devils; others had visions, or the knowledge of future events; others healed the sick.’ And as to raising the dead, he declares it to have been frequently performed on necessary occasions, by great fasting, and the joint supplication of the church. ‘And we hear many,’ says he, ‘speaking with all kinds of tongues, and expounding the mysteries of God.’MIRP 50.6

    “Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, who lived in the same age, speaks of casting out devils as then common in the church.MIRP 51.1

    “Tertullian, who flourished toward the end of the second century, challenges the heathen magistrates, to ‘call before their tribunals any person possessed with a devil. And if the evil spirit, when commanded by any Christian, did not confess himself to be a devil, who elsewhere called himself a god, they should take the life of that Christian.’MIRP 51.2

    “Minutius Felix, supposed to have written in the beginning of the third century, addressing himself to his heathen friend, says, ‘The greatest part of you know what confessions the demons make concerning themselves, when we expel them out of the bodies of men.’MIRP 51.3

    “Origen, something younger than Minutius, declares, that there remained still the manifest indications of the Holy Spirit. ‘For the Christians,’ says he, ‘cast out devils, perform many cures, foretell things to come. And many have been converted to Christianity by visions. I have seen many examples of this sort.’MIRP 51.4

    “Again Origen says, ‘Some heal the sick. I myself have seen many so healed of loss of senses, madness, and innumerable other evils, which neither men nor devils can cure.’ ‘And this is done, not by magical arts, but by prayer, and certain plain adjurations, such as any common Christian may use, for generally common men do things of this kind.’MIRP 51.5

    “Cyprian, who wrote about the middle of the third century, says, ‘Beside the visions of the night, even in the day-time, innocent children among us are filled with the Holy Spirit; and in ecstasies see, and hear, and speak those things by which God is pleased to admonish and instruct us.’ Elsewhere he particularly mentions the casting out of devils: ‘Which,’ says he, ‘either depart immediately, or by degrees, according to the faith of the patient, or the grace of him that works the cure.’MIRP 52.1

    “Arnobius, who is supposed to have written in the year of Christ 303, tells us, ‘Christ appears even now to men unpolluted, and eminently holy, who love him;—whose very name puts evil spirits to flight, strikes their prophets dumb, deprives the soothsayers of the power of answering, and frustrates the acts of arrogant magicians.’MIRP 52.2

    “Lactantius, who wrote about the same time, speaking of evil spirits, says, ‘Being adjured by Christians, they retire out of the bodies of men, confess themselves to be demons, and tell their names, even the same which are adored in the temples.”—Wesley’s Works, pp. 720, 721.MIRP 52.3

    Eusebius says of Justin Martyr, who wrote about A. D. 140:MIRP 52.4

    “He writes also, that even down to his time gifts of prophecy shone forth in the church.”—Eccl. Hist. Bk. iv, ch. 18. Roses’ Neander, p. 43.MIRP 52.5

    Eusebius testifies concerning Irenaeus who wrote in the latter part of the second century. He says:MIRP 52.6

    “In the second book of the same work, he also shows that even down to his times, instances of divine and miraculous power were remaining in some churches,.....for even among the brethren, frequently, in a case of necessity, when a whole church united in much fasting and prayer, the spirit has returned to the exanimated body, and the man was granted to the prayers of the saints..... Some indeed most certainly and truly cast out demons. So that frequently those persons themselves, that were cleansed from wicked spirits, believed and were received into the church. Others have knowledge of things to come, as also visions and prophetic communications; others heal the sick by the imposition of hands and restore them to health. And moreover as we said above, even the dead have been raised and continued with us many years. And why should we say more? It is impossible to tell the number of the gifts which the church throughout the world receive from God, and the deeds performed in the name of Jesus Christ, that was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and this too every day, for the benefit of the heathen, without deceiving any, or exacting their money. ... We hear many of the brethren in the church who have prophetic gifts, and who speak in all tongues through the Spirit, and who also bring to light the secret things of men for their benefit, and who expound the mysteries of God. These different kinds also continued with those that were worthy, until the times mentioned.”—Eusebius’ Eccl. Hist. Bk. v, chap. 7. Roses’ Neander, p. 43.MIRP 52.7

    Of the Montanists in the second century, Neander says:MIRP 53.1

    “The Montanists looked upon it expressly as something characteristic of this last epoch of the development of the kingdom of God that according to the prophecies of Joel then in course of fulfillment, the gifts of the Spirit should indifferently be shed abroad over all classes of Christians of both sexes.” “It appears also to have been the doctrine of the Montanists, that the season of the last and richest outpouring of the Holy Spirit would form the last age of the church and precede the second coming of Christ, and be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel.”—Roses’ Neander, pp. 330, 332.MIRP 53.2

    Mr. Wesley was prepossessed in their favor by reading a work designed to ridicule them. He says:MIRP 54.1

    “By reflecting on an odd book which I had read in this journey, ‘The General Delusion of Christians with Regard to Prophecy,’ I was fully convinced of what I had long suspected, 1, That the Montanists, in the second and third centuries, were real scriptural Christians; and 2, That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn, was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost; but that dry, formal, orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves; and to decry them all, as either madness or impostors.”—Wesley’s Journal, Vol. 3, p. 496.MIRP 54.2

    Milner, writing of events in the second century says:MIRP 54.3

    “We cannot but hence conclude that the effusion of the Spirit of God, which began at the feast of Pentecost, was still continued. Christians were so in power, and not in name only, by the testimony of an heathen prince.”—Church Hist., p. 67.MIRP 54.4

    Again, of the third century he says:MIRP 55.1

    “Though the miraculous dispensations attendant on Christianity form no part of the plan of this history, I cannot but observe on this occasion, how strongly their continuance in the third century is here attested. Pionius affirms that devils were ejected by Christians in the name of Christ; and he does this in the face of enemies, who would have been glad of the shadow of an argument to justify their bitterness, resentment, and perfidy.” Church History, p. 143.MIRP 55.2

    Gibbon says:MIRP 55.3

    “The supernatural gifts, which even in this life, were ascribed to the Christians above the rest of mankind, must have conduced to their own comfort, and very frequently to the conviction of infidels. Besides the occasional prodigies, which might sometimes be effected by the immediate interposition of the Deity when he suspended the laws of Nature for the service of religion, the Christian church, from the time of the apostles and their first disciples, has claimed an uninterrupted succession of miraculous powers, the gift of tongues, of visions, and of prophecy, the power of expelling demons, of healing the sick, and of raising the dead.”—Milman’s Gibbon, Vol. I, p. 539.MIRP 55.4

    Cyprian, speaking of the effusion of the Holy Spirit, and its results, says:MIRP 55.5

    “Hence an ability is given with sober chastity, uprightness of mind, and purity of language, to heal the sick, to extinguish the force of poison, to cleanse the filth of distempered minds, to speak peace to the hostile, to give tranquility to the violent, and gentleness to the fierce, to compel, by menaces, unclean and wandering spirits to quit their hold of men, to scourge the foe, and by torments bring him to confess what he is.”MIRP 55.6

    Upon this Milner remarks:MIRP 56.1

    “The testimony here given to the ejection of evil spirits, as a common thing among the Christians, even in the third century, deserves to be noticed, as a proof that miraculous influences had not ceased in the church.” “Minutius Felix,” continues Milner, “speaks to the same purpose, and I think with more precision. ‘Being adjured by the living God, they tremble and remain wretched and reluctant in the bodies of men; they either leap out immediately, or vanish by degrees, as the faith of the patient, or the grace of the person administering relief, may be strong or weak.’ Indeed the testimonies of the fathers in these times is so general and concurrent, that the fact itself cannot be denied without universally impeaching their veracity. We may safely, therefore, infer that such things were frequent among Christians.”—Church Hist., Am. ed., p. 254.MIRP 56.2

    Gregory Thaumaturgus lived in the third century. Of him Milner says:MIRP 56.3

    “He went to a ‘large and populous city—full of idolatry—the very seat of Satan.’ When he commenced his labors, there were only seventeen Christians in the city; and it is remarkable that when he was about to leave, by diligent search only seventeen unbelievers could be found! He was greatly distressed on account of these, and prayed earnestly for their conversion.MIRP 56.4

    “The situation of Gregory,” says Milner, “so like that of the primitive Christian preachers, in the midst of idolatry, renders it exceedingly probable that he was, as they were, favored with miraculous gifts: for these the Lord bestowed in abundance, where the name of Jesus had as yet gained no admission; and it is certain that miracles had not then ceased in the church. Gregory Nyssen himself lived within less than a hundred years after Gregory Thaumaturgus; and both he and his brother—the famous Basil—speak of his miracles without the least doubt. Their aged grandmother, Macrina, who taught them in their youth, had, in her younger years, been a hearer of Gregory. Basil particularly observes that she told them the very words which she had heard from him; and assured us that the Gentiles, on account of the miracles which he performed, used to call him a ‘second Moses.’ The existence of his miraculous powers, with reasonable persons, seems then unquestionable. It is only to be regretted that the few particular instances which have come down to us are not the best chosen; but, that he cured the sick,—healed the diseased,—and expelled devils; and, that thus God wrought by him for the good of souls, and paved the way for the propagation of the gospel,—as it is, in itself, very credible, so has it the testimony of men worthy to be believed.”—Milner’s Ch. Hist. p. 178.MIRP 57.1

    Mosheim, in speaking of the progress of the Christian cause, in the third century, says:MIRP 57.2

    “Among the causes which belong to the first of these classes, we do not only reckon the intrinsic force of celestial truth, and the piety and fortitude of those who declared it to the world, but also that special and interposing providence, which, by such dreams and visions as were presented to the minds of many who were either inattentive to the Christian doctrine, or its professed enemies, touched their hearts with a conviction of its truth and a sense of its importance, and engaged them without delay, to confess themselves the disciples of Christ. To this may also be added the healing of diseases, and other miracles, which many Christians were yet able to perform by invoking the name of the divine Saviour. The number of miracles, however, we find to have been much less in this than in the preceding century; nor must this alteration be attributed only to the divine wisdom which rendered miraculous interposition less frequent in proportion as they became less necessary, but also to that justice which was provoked to diminish the frequency of gifts, because some did not scruple to pervert them to mercenary purposes.”—Church Hist. Vol. I, p. 78.MIRP 57.3

    Of miracles in the fourth century, Mosheim says:MIRP 58.1

    “But I cannot, on the other hand, assent to the opinions of those who maintain, that, in this century miracles had entirely ceased; and that, at this period, the Christian church was not favored with any extraordinary or supernatural work of a divine power engaged in its cause.”—Id., Vol. I, p. 105.MIRP 58.2

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