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The Living Letter, written with the Pen of Truth

The Living Letter, written with the Pen of Truth
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Author: Church John
Title: The Living Letter, written with the Pen of Truth
Release Date: 2018-10-02
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Living Letter, written with the Pen ofTruth, by John ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: The Living Letter, written with the Pen of TruthAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: October 2, 2018  [eBook #58011]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE LIVING LETTER, WRITTEN WITHTHE PEN OF TRUTH***

Transcribed from the 1814 B. Bennett edition by David Price,email [email protected]

Public domain book cover

THE
LIVING LETTER,
WRITTEN WITH THE
PEN OF TRUTH,

BEING THESUBSTANCE

Of a Sermon,

PREACHED ATTHE

OBELISK CHAPEL, St.George’s Fields,

On Sunday Morning, Sept. 26, 1813.

 

By J. CHURCH,V. D. M.

 

My Tongue is the Pen of a ready Writer. Psalm xlv.  Ver. 1.

Written among the living in Jerusalem.  Isaiah, Chap.iv.  V. 3.

I will write on him my new name.  Rev. Chap. 3. Ver. 12.

 

London:
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR,
BY B. BENNETT, TICHBORNE STREET,HAYMARKET.

1814.

 

p. 2ToMiss K. and Miss M.

Dear Friends,

Grace and Peace be with you:—I received yourkind present of the Bundle of Pens, and beg youracceptance of my thanks for the same; I really stood inneed them, and I suppose you thought so by the badness ofmy writing, or my reluctance in sending out more Sermomsfrom the PressThe Pens were very good, andI hope to use them for the Glory of God only,—whilstlaying before me they led me to reflect on the passage I selectedfor a Text preached from on the following Sunday morning,and I now send you the outlines of the DiscourseThis Sermon will no doubt meet with the same reception thatothers have; some bless, some curse, somebelieve the things that are spoken, and some believenot, but to the great Head of the Church, I humblycommit my feeble attempt to shew forth his praise, prayingyou may be able to ascertain your personal interest in the Bookof Life, where the names of the elect are enrolled,and remain,

Your obliged Servant in ChristJesus,

Signature of J. Church

p. 3ASermon.

II. Corinthians, Chap. iii.  Verses 2 &3.

Ye are our Epistle written in our hearts, known andread of all menFor as much as ye are manifestlydeclared to be the Epistle of Christ ministered by us,written, not with ink, but with the spirit ofthe Living God,—not in tables of stone, butin fleshy tables of the heart.

The Epistle out of which this Textis selected, was with the one proceeding it, written to theChurch of Jesus at Corinth; many of the Lord’s elect peoplewere in this place, and the Apostle Paul was sent here toproclaim the glad tidings of salvation; the Lord was graciouslywith him, and gave testimony to the word of his grace, those whoreceived the truth, being knit together in spirit, formedthemselves into a body.  Among them the Apostle abode twoyears and then departed.  Soon after his departure he heardof their dissentions; defections in doctrines and ordinances,luxury, intemperance, uncleanness, and abuses of their religiousliberties, litigious law suits and irregularities in their publicassemblies, p.4he writes this Epistle to correct them, to warn,instruct, and direct in all important subjects.  Falseteachers made sad work among them likewise; endeavouring to settheir minds against the Apostle to bring him into contempt thathis ministry might lose its efficacy, and also to misrepresenthis doctrine, as tending to licentiousness, whereas there wasnothing but the violation of law and conscience, the effect oftheir ministry and which is to be seen to this day amongst mostteachers of the law such as direct their hearers to the lawinstead of Jesus, as the law fulfiller:—these in generalare full of wrath, bitterness, pride, and carnal enmity, andthough great advocates for holiness and good works never performany without making it well known, that they may have to plead inthe last day:—“Lord, Lord, have we not done manywonderful works?”  However the Apostle in this secondepistle triumphs, that his ministry is a sweet savour to God; tosome it would terminate in their present salvation, to others addto their condemnation for rejecting it.  Then he levels hisartillery at those false apostles, who had formed themselves intoa body and gave letters of recommendation to one another to theChurches where they went, they could go no where without theseletters.  But Paul and every true Apostle needed not suchrecommendation.

“Do we begin again to commend ourselves to you, or needwe, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or lettersof commendation p.5from you?”  No, ye are our epistles; you werewritten on our hearts, we travailed in spirit for yourconversion, and all could see the change made in you, it was soclearly manifested to be the writing of Christ, which we preach;the impressions made on you could not be erased from the mind,and which will be seen in the last great day.  So runs theText which we will proceed to notice in the following order:first, the writing; secondly, the means; thirdly, its publicity:“Ye are our epistles written in our hearts, known and readof all men.”  We shall first consider thewriting.  First, the writing: Our covenant, God has promisedthat he will write his laws on the hearts of his people; that hewill write on them his new name and the city of God.  Theseblessings in the heart are the writings he himself will own it ishis own image and the superscription to this image all the electpeople of God are divinely predestinated; there never was but oneimage in which the great Jehovah expressed his delight, namely,“Behold, my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom mysoul delighteth.”  This is the image and all others hewill surely despise: this image is the pattern model exemplar, itis Christ’s holy nature and as the elect head of hisfamily, possessing all divine and human excellencies, graces andqualifications; these excellencies shining in the human natureeven in the seven-fold operations of the holy spirit that wasupon him, this was the image in which God made man: “in p. 6the image ofGod made he man.”  In this he delighted even frometernity, for Adam was formed the shadow of him that was to come,from this image Adam fell, and to this we are brought again bythe renewing influences of the Holy Ghost: hence the Apostlesays, we all with open face beholding as in a glass, the glory ofthe Lord are changed into the same image, this image the Apostledeclares is wisdom, righteousness and true holiness, it is anexperimental knowledge of Jesus and a covenant God in him. Our dear Lord is called wisdom.  God made man and endued himwith wisdom and we are made wise unto salvation, through faith inChrist Jesus, this image is love; the Saviour is love also; Adamhad it, and it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghostgiven to us; this image is righteousness: this is another nameour Lord bears; in righteousness the first Adam was created andour privilege is to know that in the Lord we have righteousnessand strength; this image is true holiness, it is the holy spiritthat makes a man holy a spirit of light, life and love, this holyspirit breathed into Adam the breath of life,—rested on theRedeemer and takes up its abode in every believer’sheart—all holiness besides this is false—this iswriting on us, this is stamping the image of Jesus: love to thisimage wherever we see it, evidences we are passed from death untolife;—this image which Christ bears, he stamped on thehearts of his Apostles; the church being converted through p. 7their ministryhaving this image communicated to their souls, are called theirchildren, for this the Apostles travailed in spirit till Christwas formed in them the hope of glory.  Second, the writingin my Text is not only the image of God, but also the words oftruth which these men preached,—hence Paul says in theText, this writing was ministered by us, these words are ofDivine Authority, they were first received of the Father, by theLord Jesus in the everlasting Covenant; during our Lord’sMinistry upon the earth they were applied to the hearts of theApostles; hence the Redeemer says, in John xvii.  “Ihave given them the words thou gavest me, and they have believedthou didst send me.”  The Saviour received theFather’s Mind and Will concerning the elect and theirsalvation; this was written on his heart, then copied off in theword, and afterwards wrote on the hearts of God’sMinisters, and through them conveyed to the hearts of God’select with power:—the Will of the Father is made known toChrist as Mediator,—the Saviour makes it known in his wordby his spirit, and ministers to God’s children.  Thusit appears, what is in Christ’s human nature, is to befound in all his people, and what the Father has made known tohim, he has kindly revealed to us,—this appears the senseof the writing in the Text, the love of God shed abroad in theheart, and the word having an abiding place in the soul,producing its glorious fruits to his honor; these are the lawswritten p.8within, not on tables of stone, which could receive nolively impression, but on the new hearts, God has promised togive his people:—I come secondly, to shew the means,“written by us.”  Those who receive the truth inthe love of it are compared to epistles or letters wrote whichcontain the mind and will of God, and it is evident there must bepen, paper, and ink.  To this the Apostle alludes; here theminister is compared to a pen, to shew their meaness, theirentire dependance, and that they cannot act to any good purposeonly as they are led; as pens, they must be shaped, formed, cuton purpose, simple means, yet accomplishing great ends, no meritdue, yet useful, pleasant, and prized as it suits the purpose,hard or soft, giving broad or fine strokes, often wants nibbingor mending, used to write on various subjects, charges,sentences, consolations, love, promises, and pardons:—thisis a fit emblem of the ministers of the gospel in their differentgifts, as called and qualified by the Great Head of thechurch.  Some of the most simple, mean, and obscurecharacters have been employed in this service of Jesus in thegreat work of the ministry.  Elisha, from following theplough, David, the sheep, and Amos from the herds, Peter, and theother Apostles from their fishing-boats, John Bunyan from mendingkettles, and William Huntington from the coal barge: and Pauldeclares that God has chosen the base things to confound thewise, that no flesh should glory in his presence.  Suchministers are cut p.9and formed for the work; cut also from the from ofGodliness, from fleshly confidences, from dependance, or anything short of the Almighty minister in the Church.  Bytrials, by divine light, life and love, by knowledge and wisdomthey are formed and furnished in heart, head, and tongue. Hence Paul says, God has made us ministers of the New Testament,and spiritual counsel in the heart of such men, is as deep water,and men of understanding shall draw it out.  This makestheir tongue like the pen of a ready writer, whilst their heartsteach their mouths and adds learning to their lips; by such meansthe spirit has accomplished the external designs of Jehovah, inbringing souls to the knowledge of a dear Saviour; hence theProphet predicts the glorious effects of converting grace: theyshall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears intopruning hooks;—this may be seen in Paul, and many otherswho have been persecutors, whose hearts and tongues have beenafterwards used in turning up the ground of sinner’shearts, and employed in God’s vintage.  No merit isdue to the greatest preacher in the world, for he is nothing butas he is made, used

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