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by Dr. John Thomas
So that they could say in the words of one of them, "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us: he that is not of God heareth not us.
Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error".
And they were perfectly justified in saying so.
For Jesus said to them, "It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you"; therefore he said in another place, "He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that heareth me heareth him that sent me".
The word of reconciliation, then, was committed to the apostles, whom God appointed as His ambassadors to the world.
And, be it observed, that their ambassadorial character did not rest upon assumption, like that of their pretended successors.
God attested them, as He had done His Son before them.
Their credentials were in the miracles which accompanied their word.
They produced the signs of their apostleship; and multitudes acknowledged them, as Nicodemus did their Lord, saying, "We know thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him".
They would not have been received as ambassadors of heaven if God had not attested them by His power; but being so attested, they were prepared, and did present themselves at Satan's court -- that is, before Caesar -- to invite the world to be at peace with Him.
The pulpit orators of this age are either greatly deceived, or, if their eyes be open, most egregiously impose upon the credulity of the public, in pretending to be Christ's ambassadors to the world.
Why, they are the world's allies; the friends and supporters of the institutions of Satan's kingdom; whose subjects pay them their wages on condition of preaching such doctrine as suits them!
Talk of being ministers and ambassadors of Jesus Christ, how perverted must their own minds be to imagine it; and how spoiled by "philosophy and vain deceit" the people, who can acquiesce in so unfounded a pretension.
"Have they seen Jesus?
" or what special message have they to the world from God, that men cannot read for themselves in the scriptures of truth?
If they have any new light from Him, He will attest it as He has always done by a display of power.
Men will then be justified in receiving them as plenipotentiaries of the Divine Majesty, provided always that what they speak be in strict accordance with what Paul preached; otherwise not.
"God hath given to us," say the apostles, "the ministry of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us; we pray in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God".
These are the men whom He appointed, who sought not to please the public, but to enlighten them; "for," saith one of them, "if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ".
The church was associated with the apostles in the ministry of reconciliation.
By "the church," I mean, not that multiform thing called "the church "by the world in these times; but that one, undivided body of disciples, collected together by the personal labours of the apostles and evangelists; and all through subsequent generations, who should believe and practise the same truth.
To this "one body," energized by the "one spirit," and "perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment," and styled "the bride" -- is committed the work of making known "the manifold wisdom of God," as contained in the word; and of inviting the world to be reconciled to God.