WHEN the Lord Jesus Christ began His work of preaching the Gospel, He chose from among His disciples twelve men, whom He trained for the duty of spreading the knowledge of the truth throughout all the world. This training included careful teaching about God's will and the way of salvation. But the manner in which He taught them was by making them witnesses of His holy life, wonderful works, and spiritual doctrine, that they might know Him and God the Father through Him (John xiv. 6-10; xvii. 3). He called these twelve men Apostles (Luke vi. 13), because He was about to send them forth as His messengers.1 After His Resurrection and shortly before His Ascension, He gave them their commission to make all nations disciples (Matt. xxviii. 19) and to be His witnesses "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts i. 8). In order that they might not err in their teaching, but might be strengthened and enabled to do their work faithfully, fearlessly, and successfully, He promised that the Holy Spirit of God should within a few days descend upon them (Acts i. 5; see also John xiv. 16, 17, 26; xv. 26; xvi. 7-15; Acts i. 4, 8). In obedience to His command (Luke xxiv. 49; Acts i. 5) they awaited in Jerusalem the fulfilment of this promise. On the fiftieth day after Christ's Crucifixion and the seventh after His Ascension, when not only the eleven Apostles (one of the Twelve, Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was dead) but all other Christians in Jerusalem were gathered together for prayer, the Holy Spirit came down upon

1 Compare Surah lxi. 14.

them all in the manner which is related in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts ii. 1-13), inspiring them with love, faith, zeal, courage, and remembrance of what Christ had taught them (John xiv. 26), and also gradually leading them to a perfect knowledge of the truth (John xvi. 13) which God wished them to know and teach. As a sign that they were to preach the Gospel among all nations, they were on that day enabled to speak foreign languages (Acts ii. 4), though we never afterwards hear of their preaching in distant lands without having to study the languages of the people. God gave them for the moment the power of using other tongues, but only for a sign, not to encourage laziness in study. Some at least of the Apostles were also enabled to work miracles of healing, similar to those wrought by Christ Himself (Acts ii. 43; iii. 1-11; v. 12-16; viii. 17; ix. 31-43), but these were done in Christ's name and by His authority and power (Acts iii. 6, 16), not by any power of their own. Some years afterwards, when Paul became an Apostle, he was given the same power and authority as the other Apostles. Many of his miracles of healing are mentioned in the Acts (Acts xiv. 8-10; xix. 6, 11, 12; xx. 9, 10; xxviii. 8, 9). The power of working miracles of healing was given only for a limited time, and probably ceased on the death of the Apostles. Had it remained permanently among Christians, it would have become so common that miracles would have lost their evidential value. But at the beginning of the growth of the Christian Church such miraculous power was of great importance, to confirm the faith of those who had to endure persecution because they believed in Christ. We do not find that miracles were used either by Christ or by His Apostles to convince unbelievers.

The Apostles were aided by the Holy Spirit in their proclamation of the Gospel, so that they set forth not their own opinions, but the teaching which God gave them (Mark xiii. 11; John xiv. 26; Rom. xv. 18, 19; I Cor. ii. 12, 13; 1 Thess. ii. 13). Therefore what