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FACE OF CHRIST;
A SERMON, PREACHED AT MONKWELL STREET
MEETING, AUGUST 12, 1794.
FOR I WILL GIVE YOU A MOUTH AND WISDOM, WHICH ALL YOUR ADVERSARIES SHALL NOT BE ABLE TO GAINSAY NOR RESIST. LUKE xxi. 15.
2 Cor. iii. 13.
" And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that
the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished.”
ERSE the first; “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?” This is a throw at the false apostles, who, when they had by their evil insinuation ingratiated themselves into the affections of the simple and unwary, obtained letters of commendation from them, to recommend themselves to other churches, that they might do more mischief; for they had nothing else to recommend them but their pride and their speech, which Paul paid no regard to. I do not want to know the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power. But of this they were destitute. They had not the power
of God manifested in them; they had no power with God in prayer; nor did they ever communicate, by their instrumentality, the power of God's grace and spirit to others. They were false apostles, and ministers of Satan; and Paul is commended by the Lord himself for proving them so to be. “Thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.”
These disciples of Moses, who preached Christ out of envy, when they could not obtain letters of commendation from one church to another, would even dare to counterfeit letters in Paul's name; which induced him to sign every epistle of his in future with his own hand writing, as a token that they were not spurious.“ The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle, &c. so I write.” Yea, the apostle cautions his followers against this damnable quackery. “ See that ye be not troubled, neither by word, nor by spirit, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand;" for we have written no such things unto you.
But do we need these letters of commendation? No; those, whom God sends, God will recommend, and make them manifest in the consciences of all his people. It is not he who commends himself that is approved, but whom the Lord commends. Besides, if a minister be a good workman, one that needs not to be ashamed, his own work will recommend him; and the seals of his ministry will be forward enough to proclaim him to others; for “a gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it, whithersoever it turneth