THE GREAT DESIGN OF CHRISTIANITY by William Penn of Pennsylvania

Admiral William Penn (1621-1670)  *oil on canvas  *127 x 101.5 cm  *1665-1666

The Truth is Timeless

THE

GREAT DESIGN

OF

CHRISTIANITY.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting-House, in Wheelers-Street, London, Jan. 27, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

THE great end for which God hath in all ages and generations visited the sons and daughters of men, hath been to bring them home to himself; to make man and woman sensible of that duty which they owe to God, to their neighbors and to themselves. And in order to effect this, great hath been God’s love, and manifold have been his mercies: he hath not taken man at his word, neither would he be put off at once, twice, or thrice, but repeated have been the visitations of God, and the calls of God in every age and generation of the world, according to the various administrations thereof; yea, the Lord hath waited to be good and gracious to mankind from the beginning.

And now, my Friends, we have not only the testimony of the holy records of the scriptures of truth, but we have our own experience to exalt God’s love by : we in our day, we mankind in our age and generation; we can say that God is good, we can say that God is a long suffering God, and that God is a God of patience, and that he is a God of mercy, and that he hath waited long to be gracious to us, or we had been cutoff long ago, and taken out of the land of the living. I would have all those that have not laid hold of the long suffering of God, but have made light of it, not to do so any longer, but that the long-suffering of God might lead them to repentance, and bring salvation to them; that they would lay hold of the time and blessed opportunities which God giveth them, and hearken to the voice of the Charmer, and give ear to the voice of God, and seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near to hear them, while he is near to help them, while he is near to save them. This is the experience we have bad, the Lord hath visited us and touched us, and made us sensible of his love and kindness to us, in his gathering of us; and that he hath made us nigh, that were afar off; and that those that are not convinced, may be made sensible of their sin ; and those that are convinced, may be converted; and those that are converted, may persevere to the end, and receive the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls, is our travail.

Let all that are really convinced of the evil of their ways and doings, of their wantonness, worldliness, malice and bitterness, strife and envyings and animosities, and those things that the light of Christ in their own consciences condemn them for; let all that lire in such a state of conviction turn from that evil they are convinced of.

But here is the sin, and misery, and ruin of many men and women, they flatter themselves into hell, with their false hopes of heaven: They hope to live eternally happy by the death of Christ, and yet they will not leave one sin for the love of Christ; so that sin and death reign over them. They that will not mortify sin, and die to sin here, must die for their sins hereafter. It is only unpardoned sin that will sink men into perdition. They that have a mournful sense of sin, and a true contrition for it, they will humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, who will exalt them in due time. They breathe forth holy desires, and lift up their hearts to God. and say,’ Lord, I am as clay in the hands of the potter, O fashion and shape me, that I may be an honourable vessel in thy house, that I may be fit to glorify thee, and shew forth thy praise:’ ‘Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, for they will be still praising thee;’ they offer praise and glorify thee here for a short time, and thou wilt glorify them to eternity. God called Abraham, the father of the faithful, out of his own land, a land of idolatry; he obeyed the voice of God,, went into a strange country and followed the Lord, not knowing whither he went: So God calls the sons and daughters of men out of their sin and transgression, that they may come to a land that flows with milk and honey; that after all their wearisome labours and travels, through the wilderness of this world, they might come to an everlasting rest, and obtain salvation for their immortal souls. They that come to be convinced of the evil of their ways, and turn from them, that bitterly bewail their sins, and lament and mourn for their transgressions, and turn to the Lord with all their hearts; it may be said concerning such, these have learned that divine arithmetic, of numbering their days, and applying their hearts to true wisdom: These are the persons that take heed to their ways, and turn their fact to God’s testimonies. They take more care, and are more concerned for their souls, than for all the perishing things of this world. Such an one will say, my soul is more worth, than ten thousand worlds: ‘What will it profit me to gain the whole world, and lose mine own soul? Or what shall I give in exchange for my soul?’ What is this world but an empty bubble, a shadow that flies away? All its glittering profits, and charming pleasures, and delusory honours, that appear great to a carnal eye, how quickly do they vanish and disappear, and afford no true satisfaction to them that admire them, and pursue after them? ‘Vanity of vanities (saith the wisest of men). Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, and vexation of spirit!’ But worldly minded men, that set their hearts upon this world, they are not for these holy reflections; but the truly convinced men and women, that are touched with a deep sense of their misery, and of their own erring and straying, and wandering from God’s holy ways, that fear to sin and provoke the Lord, and stir up the indignation of the Almighty, they love to reflect upon themselves, and to consider their ways, and turn to the Lord, and to set their faces Zionward: I say to all such persons, travel on, the Lord hath been gracious to you.

O improve your precious time! You know not how few days you have yet remaining to run your great race in. ‘To day, while it is called to day, if you will hear the voice of God, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.’ Let none of you be careless and black, but let every one of you consider your latter end, consider how far you have done the work of God and whether you have been working out your own salvation, with fear and trembling, and give all diligence to make your calling and election sure; that when you come to lay down your heads, it may be as conquerors that have fought the good fight, and overcome the enemy of your souls.

O Friends, we have a great and subtle enemy: If we be secure, and keep not our watch, he will surprise us and overcome us; but if we resist him, and fight against him, we shall overcome him, through Christ that hath loved us. ‘O wretched man that I am, (saith the Apostle) who shall deliver me? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord;’ He will deliver me from this great Goliah, that hath led me captive at his will. It is Christ that stands at the door of my heart and knocks, and bids me open to him that will be my deliverer: It is he of whom, David was a type, he will deliver me, and enable me to overcome that Goliah, that grand enemy of my soul. When the sons of Jesse came before Samuel, one of whom God had appointed him to anoint king over Israel, the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him, for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart: and Jesse, made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel, and he said to Jesse, the Lord hath not chosen these: then he sent and brought David, his youngest son, a keeper of sheep, and he was anointed king.’ He was little in stature, and ruddy, and withal of beautiful countenance and complexion; yet was strong in heart, and of great courage; of a wise and heavenly mind, that lived in the fear of the Lord, and also a man after God’s own heart. When he came to fight Goliah, that monstrous giant, that defied the armies of the living God, king Saul armed young David with his own armour, and put an helmet of brass upon his head, and also put on him a coat of mail, and he girded his sword upon his armour. And David put them off him, and said to Saul, I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them. David fights Goliah after his own manner, out of the road of the mighty, and of the great ones of the earth: ‘he took only his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, and his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine: and when Goliah saw David, he despised him, for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance; then said David to the Philistine, thou comest to me with a sword and a spear, and with a shield; but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, whom thou hast defied; this day will the Lord deliver thee into my hand: and David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone and slang it, and smote the Philistine in the forehead, and the stone sunk into his forehead, and he fell upon his face to the earth; so David prevailed over Goliah, with a sling and a stone, and smote him, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.’ Thus he conquered that great giant, though he was little and despised. So our Lord Jesus Christ (of whom David was a type) when he came into the world, he was rejected and despised of men; but notwithstanding, there were many that beheld his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

My Friends, it is Christ that hath conquered the devil, that Goliah and great enemy of our souls: he hath spoiled principalities and powers, and overcome death, and hell, and all the powers of darkness: we also obtain the victory and are made more than conquerors, through the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Captain of our salvation. We are a people of his setting up: it is not by strength and human wisdom, not by arts and parts, and academical acquirements; not by power and might; but by the Spirit of the Lord, that we are enabled to overcome the enemies of our salvation, sin, hell, and the grave, and to triumph in the power of God, and sing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb, a song of deliverance. But before we come to sing this song of Moses, there must be first a mourning state, an humbling of ourselves, and a bowing down before the Lord ; we must say with the returning prodigal, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son:’ and we may say, as the centurion, ‘Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof.’ The power of divine truth must lay us low, and sink us into a deep humility; they that come not to hear the voice of judgment, can never enjoy mercy of the Lord, nor know the working of God upon their souls effectually to salvation. Yet he will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax, till judgment break forth into victory. Where judgment hath not victory, nor patience its perfect work, people will not be patient, under God’s judgment. But ‘ Zion must be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. This is promised to the citizens of Zion, and Jerusalem shall be the praise of the whole earth. Then they shall sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb, a song of deliverance and redemption. The Apostle Paul sung this song, after he was sensible of his miserable state. ‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death! I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’

All are in a condemned state out of Christ; but when once in Christ, there are new thoughts, new desires, and new will and affections. Then we shall shake; off every weight and burden, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is before us, and deny ourselves, and take up the cross of Christ, and follow him, and learn of him a holy resignation to the will of our heavenly Father; and say with him, ‘Not my will but thy will be done.’ Thus God gathered a people in the beginning, and thus he reacheth people now, and is gathering a people to this day.

Blessed are they that live and walk according to the ministration of the grace of God in their hearts, and that come, by Christ, to be made free from the law of sin and death. It is Christ alone that giveth grace and truth in the inward parts, to make us free; and that giveth us power against the enemy: And though the devil our enemy be too mighty for us, he is not too mighty for Christ, who is mighty to save, and to save to the uttermost too, all that come unto God by him. Our Lord Jesus foiled the enemy in all his assaults, and conquered him by his divine power, even then when he ‘ was led of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.’ The tempter knew he was hungry, he knew he wanted sustenance: ‘If thou be the Son of God, (said he, ‘command that these stones be made bread.’ But he answered and said, ‘It is written, man liveth not by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Then he attacks him, and ‘taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written he shall give his angels charge concerning thee, lest at any time thou shouldst dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ Then again the devil assaulted him, ‘ and taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee behind me, satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’ Thus our blessed Lord overcame the devil, and vanquished him in all his assaults and temptations. ‘Then the dev.il leaveth him, and behold angels came and ministered unto him.’

This is an emblem of what Christ will do for all his followers, that open the door of their hearts to him: He will enable them to overcome the devil when he does attack them; and to conquer that enemy that hath sometimes overcome them. He will put upon them the whole armour of God, and they shall be able to stand in the evil day, having their loins girt about with truth, and having on tie breast-plate of righteousness, and having the shield of faith, wherewith they shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; and the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God ‘Pray always, with all prayer and supplication in the-Spirit, watching thereunto, with all perseverance. ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ will preserve his people under his pavilion, and cover them under the shadow of his wings, all those that make their applications to him, and obey him, and submit to him, when he reproves them for sin. If they turn from their evil ways, they shall know his power that overcometh the world, and all the powers of darkness, and obtain salvation from sin, and from the wrath to come. Take away the cause, and the effect ceaseth: Can you hope to escape the wrath of God, while sin, that is the cause, remains? This is as great a contradiction as the doctrine of transubstantiation, that a thing is, and is not, at the same time. O that people would come to be wise, and in this their day consider the things that belong to their eternal peace, before they are hid from their eyes!

God hath given Christ to be a Redeemer to us, to finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness; and behold Christ stands at the door and knocks; if you open the door of your hearts and let him in, he will bind the strong man, and spoil him of his goods, and cast him out, and take possession for himself. My Friends! you that have heard the call of God, and obeyed the voice of your Maker, and known the operation of his divine hand; you that have known the work of conviction and conversion, and do persevere to the end, happy are ye. You do not know how soon God may call you. The time past is gone, only the present time is yours. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation, let none harden their hearts, now is the time wherein we are to act for eternity. Now we have time and opportunity, for the saving of our souls; we are shortly to go out of this world, and the Lord will call us to account for our time, and all the talents which he hath given to us. O that we may so live as to give up our account with joy! It is the desire of my soul that all the opportunies and seasons of grace we now enjoy, may bring us nearer to God, and bring us to a better frame of spirit; that we may acquaint ourselves with God, and be at peace. Thus saith the Lord by the prophet, ‘Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you.’ As men come to turn from their sins, and from the evil of their ways and doings, they shall come to know the mystery of God’s salvation revealed to them. ‘The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant.’ O keep yourselves from iniquity, and say when a temptation presents itself, ‘How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’ Do not rush into sin, as a horse into battle, with a brutish violence; not considering that death is before him. Do not indulge yourselves in any sin; do not gratify your lusts, and passions, and appetites, but keep them under government. Be of a considerate heart and mind, having the fear of God before your eyes, that you may say with the Psalmist, Psal. Xvi. 8, ‘I have set the Lord always before me, he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’ The enemy shall not move me, not hurt me, nor prevail against me; he cannot ensnare me. If I set the Lord always before me, I shall not want power and ability to resist the devil and overcome him. Those that have set the Lord before them, he will be at their right hand, and they shall know and experience his preserving arm and power in the time of affliction and distress, and losses, and crosses, and disappointments: And in time of great calamities, God will be present with his people; even in the night season, he will sweetly refresh them, with the sense of his love, and lift up the light of his countenance upon them.

‘Take therefore,’ Friends, ‘no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,’ Matt. vi. 34, whether they be moral evils, or providential evils; the evils we do, or the evils we suffer; the evils and sins we commit, or the evils that God by his providential hand inflicts upon us. Upon our repentance God will graciously pardon the one, and assist us by his grace to bear the other. God will help us by his grace and Spirit to overcome moral evils, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. What hope is that which the apostle there mentions? (Tit. ii. 15,) It is the hope of the glory of heaven and eternal happiness: That we shall come to ‘ Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born, who are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.’

This world is but an inn, and we must not think to dwell here. We are travelling in the way to heaven, the undefiled way; and glory, immortality, and eternal blessedness are our mark we aim at; the recompense of reward, and the eternal inheritance. Christ the forerunner, that shall be the desire of all nations, is gone before us, and we cannot be followers of him, if we walk in pride, envy, covetousness; we must learn of him to be humble, meek. and lowly, and bow to the name and authority of Jesus; to submit to his sceptre and government. Let us walk in the way of holiness, humility, self denial, and take up the cross, and be crucified with Christ, and glory in the cross of Christ by which we are crucified to the world, and the world to us; and then we walk in the way that leads to heaven and glory; and look up to the things which are not seen, which are eternal.

Dear Friends, take heed of visible things have a care that you stumble not on things below, that are temporal; but look up to the things that are invisible and eternal, and lay up treasure above, against a stormy day. There are many that build upon a sandy foundation, and not upon Christ, the rock of ages, the chief corner stone. Such are likened by our Saviour to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. and the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. These were among the foolish virgins, they had lamps and made a profession, but a mere profession will not do. The graces of the Spirit of God, and the life of the Son of God, leads ta a life of righteousness and holiness; that is the oil of the lamp which they wanted. Blessed are they that have this oil in their lamps; they that have it not, let them make haste to buy before it be too late, when time shall be no more. And you that have it, see that your lights continue to shine before men, and thereby glorify your heavenly Father. It is the desire of every honest hearted Christian, that this light may shine and cover the nations, according to the prayer of the royal Psalmist, that ancient servant of God, ‘Lord send forth thy light arid thy truth.’ Where must this light go forth? It must shine forth of your hearts, and lives and conversations, that people may say concerning you, God is with them, of a truth. O Friends, answer the love and kindness of God, in this day of your visitation! If ever God appeareth in any age, he bath hath eminently appeared in this of ours. He called, and qualified, and sent forth to preach the everlasting gospel, a company of poor, unlearned, and illiterate men, and he hath given them power, and they have gone out in the name of the Lord; without academical education, without logic and philosophy, arts and acquired parts, and they have declared the whole counsel of God. I wish that every one may know the day of their visitation. They that will not bow to the mercy of God, shall bow to his judgments. Dost thou think, O man, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God, if thou despisest the riches of his goodness? No; God will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, that obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil: of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God.

When the Pharisees sent out men to ensnare and entrap our Lord Jesus Christ, they were astonished at his doctrine, and declared to those that sent them, ‘Never man spake like this man.’ He had reached their hearts and spoken to their consciences. When our Saviour had declared himself to be the bread of life to believers, John vi. 51, many of the disciples departed from him. ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever: and the bread that 1 will give him, is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world. Then many of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is 4 hard saying, who can bear it? As the living Father bath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me even he shall live by me. It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. From that time many of bis disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, will ye also go away? And Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life?’ We did not want words, we wanted life. Thou hast living words, the words of eternal life dwell with thee. ‘In him is life, (saith the Apostle John) and the life is the light of men.’ And our Saviour says, Mark x. 29, ‘And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Peter said unto him, Behold we have left all and followed thee, what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’ I have sometimes told you, that man’s travel in this world is like Jacob’s ladder; we ought to ascend every day one step towards heaven: Every day is a step towards our latter end, and towards the grave; let then every day be a step towards God and heaven.

O you young ones! It is my heart’s desire and prayer, that you may be saved in the great day of the Lord Jesus; that you may now have an holy tenderness and brokenness of heart, and that you ‘may receive the truth in the love of it; and love ‘the truth as it is in Jesus, and serve the Lord in your generation. It is not the faith of your parents will save you, nor will their well-doing recommend you to God. You must walk in the same path of life, and take up your cross also, and follow Christ, and then God will take delight in you, and consecrate you vessels of honour in his house; and you shall declare and tell of the goodness and loving kindness of God, and of his wonderful works, to the generations that are to come after, when your parents’ beads are laid in the grave.

O you young ones! I tell you once more, it is my hearty desire and prayer to God for you, that ye may be followers of them who through faith and patience do inherit the promises; that you may receive the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

I speak to you all, that make a profession of the truth as it is in Jesus. Let all that converse with you behold your holy walking, be witnesses of your watchfulness and tenderness, and observe with what a holy fear, and awe, and reverence of God, you carry yourselves; that their consciences may witness for you and say, Well, these people are such as truly fear the Lord, and have religion not only in their mouths, but at their very hearts: These are Christians indeed, Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile. This, Friends, is the way to approve yourselves to God and men, and to your own consciences. God will then bless you in your trades and callings, and in your basket and store, when you do all you do in the name of Christ, and to the praise and glory of the eternal and ever-blessed God.

O my Friends, have a care that none out-live that tender state that God brought them into in the beginning, but let every one of you stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free: I speak both to you and your children; stand fast in this liberty: ‘If ye be circumcised, (saith the apostle,) Christ shall profit you nothing.’ So I say to you, if ye go back again to the spirit of the world, and be conformed to the world. Christ shall profit you nothing. Let none look back, as Lot’s wife did, lest they also become a standing monument of God’s judgments. O take heed of the accursed thing, the lusts of your own hearts, these enemies of your own peace, that would not that Christ should reign over you; ‘Bring them forth, (saith Christ,) and slay them before me.’

Blessed be the Lord, that hath given us the liberty that we see this day: God is pleased to renew his mercies every day, from one season and opportunity to another.

It is the most ardent desire of my soul, and I earnestly beseech the Lord, that you may all here present feel and enjoy the blessing of our great High Priest before you go. O you that know the Lord Christ Jesus to be your high priest, come and be anointed of him. The ointment that was on Aaron’s head ran down to the skirts of his garments. O bring your lamps to Christ your blessed high priest, and he will give you oil to fill them: Yea, he will sprinkle you with his blood, and bring you into the holy of holies. He is a good Shepherd, that will feed you, and bring you into green pastures; and when you are filled and satisfied with the fatness of his house, he will make you drink of the rivers of his pleasures, and bring you to the fold of eternal rest. But to the wicked he will say, ‘Depart ye cursed:’ here is no room for you in these mansions of glory. He will cast them into utter darkness.

O my Friends, let your souls bless the Lord, and all that is within you praise his holy name. Let your hearts and tongues extol and magnify him; and let your lips and lives show forth his praise; and say with the Psalmist, ‘Holiness becomes thy house, O God, for ever.’ I will adore and worship Thee in the beauties of holiness, with the lowest humility, and highest admiration: For thou are worthy of all honour, glory, praise, dominion and thanksgiving, who art God over all, blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

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THE DYING COUNSEL or THE WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR by William Penn of Pennsylvania

Cross

THE

DYING COUNSEL

or THE

WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting-House, in Devonshire-Howe, London, January 20, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

IT was the blessed encouragement that our Lord Jesus Christ gave to his disciples, and all his followers (when he took on him the nature of man, and was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us) and therein to all the sons and daughters of men, who should follow him through the many and great tribulations, and give up their names and hearts to him, to be witnesses of his truth, and of that holy testimony which he should communicate to them near his farewell, and a little before his being offered up, ‘Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me: in my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also; now my Friends, these mansions they are the recompences of reward that are set in the view of the righteous, and promised of God by Christ Jesus. These many mansions are the manifold rewards, diversities of rewards, that refer to the diversity of states, and conditions and persons, unto whom these many mansions do belong. As all are not of the same stature and growth, neither are all these mansions of the same degree of glory and felicity. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory; yet all these stars shine with a lustre and glory, and the least star hath a beauty and excellency in it; and so the least of these many mansions hath a marvellous light and glory in it. This refers to the state of every man and woman here below. All members are not the hand, all are not the head, but every member of the body hath its service, and will have its reward. This is that which did spring up in my soul this morning, as I sat here among you O that all here present may become the living members of Christ Jesus our blessed head, and live the life they live in the body, by the faith of the Son of God. He that made us, knows our frame; He that created us, and formed and fashioned us after his own image, and gave us power and faculties to glorify and serve him, that we may come to enjoy him for ever, he requires of no man or woman more than he hath given them power and ability to perform. It concerneth us all therefore to live in the exercise of that divine gift, and grace, and ability which our Lord Jesus Christ hath distributed and communicated to every member of his body, that we may come to shine as stars in the firmament of glory. We should do good in our several places and station?, according to our different powers and, capacities. And as every member is by the circulation of blood made useful and beneficial in the natural body, so the divine life and blood of the Son of God circulates through his whole mystical body, and reaches life to every living member. Here is no obstruction through unfaithfulness, or inordinate love of the world, or any temptation from without us, or corruption from within us. Here is a free channel, here is an open passage for life and quickening influences from Christ our glorious head, to all his members. There is in Christ (in whom the fulness of the god-head dwells bodily) a river whose streams make glad the city of God: a fountain to supply and refresh the whole generation of the righteous, that desire to be found in him, (as the Apostle speaks,) not having their own righteousness, but clothed with the robe of his righteousness, which is the garment of salvation. Therefore wait this day, my dear friends, to have your hearts filled with the love and life of the Son of God, that you may appear with joy at his tribunal, where all mankind must appear, and every one give an account of what he hath done in the body, whether it be good or evil. Let every one of you be careful to live according to what you know, and improve the talents that God hath given you, and you shall find that in keeping his commandments, there is great reward, and that God is good to Israel, to them that are of a clean heart. Had not the Lord been on our side, may Israel say; had not the Lord been on our side when men rose up against us, may we say, they had swallowed us up, and the temptations of the devil would have prevailed over us, and we had fallen long ago. It is not we that have stood firm in times of trial and trouble, but it is the Lord that hath stood by us, and made us to stand: and the love of God to his people now, is as great as ever it was: his arm is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear; therefore travel on and feint not, and you shall come with joy to the end of your journey, and you shall be satisfied with the fatness of God’s house, and say with the Psalmist, ‘blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they shall be still praising thee.’ It is the faithful and sincere that shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever, and enter into his everlasting kingdom. O my friends, live as a people bowed down in the presence of the great and holy God, and walk humbly, with him: be humbled under his mighty hand, and you shall be exalted in due time.

The God of heaven hath visited your souls with his divine power and grace, and given you a refreshing sense of his love, that you may perceive and feel a daily renewing of your strength. O wail upon the Lord for his divine power to enable you to conquer the power of Satan, that you may go on conquering and to conquer, till you come to the New Jerusalem, the city of God, and land of peace and rest. Beware of idolatry! bow not down to the work of your own hands : for though you may not be guilty of gross idolatry, yet there is a secret, and more hidden idolatry, that too many are guilty of, who set their hearts and affection, on low and earthly things: this sticks but too near to many. Let the word of exhortation of the Apostle enter into your hearts; ‘little children keep yourselves from idols.’ Let this be the cry of your souls. Lord preserve and keep me this day, every day, and to the end of my days, that I may not only be convinced of the truth, but really converted to it, and walk in the truth and persevere therein to the end, that I may be saved. Remember Lot’s wife; look not back to Sodom: walk in the light as children of light, with your faces Zionward; and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. ‘Ye were sometime darkness, but now (saith the Apostle) ye are light in the Lord’ O shine as stars in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Shine in the beauties of holiness, and walk in the light of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who was given for a light to lighten the Gentiles, and to be the glory of his people Israel. He shall be the desire of all nations; the mighty Saviour, upon whom God hath laid help. Believe in him, cleave to him, and follow him. and you shall be saved, both from your sins, and from the wrath to come. ‘God is light (saith the Apostle John) in him is no darkness at all; if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we shall have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin;’ we know him to be the true Bock and the foundation of God, which standeth sure, and which will stand sure, in stormy and tempestuous times: blessed are they that build upon this foundation which God hath laid.

Blessed be God, which hath opened your eyes, and given you to see this sure foundation, which we must build all our hopes of salvation upon: and not upon any other foundation whatsoever. Not upon men’s arts, and parts, and human acquirements. O the unsearchable riches of Christ! that we may, and are only to covet and seek after; then we shall inherit substance indeed,,and may say of a truth, the Lord is good unto his people; He will satisfy them with his loving kindness, which is better than life, and surround them with his almighty arm, and be unto them as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Be not discouraged, notwithstanding the furious and impetuous assaults of your spiritual enemies; when God is pleased to arise for your help, your enemies shall be scattered. ‘In the world (saith our Saviour) ye shall have trouble, but in mo ye shall have peace; be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ Our Lord Jesus Christ conquered and triumphed over the world, and over principalities and powers, and death, and hell, and we shall overcome through him that hath loved us; his grace will be sufficient for us; let us wait for his salvation, and in order to it, wait to know, and then do his mind and will, and so redeem our time, and double our diligence, that we may improve our talents, and give up our account with joy And then if we are under doubts and fears, we may say with David, ‘ why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, for the help of his countenance.’ God is pleased to exercise his people many times with divers troubles, trials, and afflictions, to wean them from this world, and from an inordinate love to the pleasures and enjoyment of it, that their minds may not be drawn away by the things that are seen, which are temporal, from the things that are not seen, which are eternal. Let us take straight steps towards the glory that shall be revealed; that as every day we are a step nearer the grave, we may be also a step nearer to a blessed eternity. It was the voice of Moses the man of God, and that which he had in charge from heaven concerning the children of Israel, in their march towards Canaan, say unto the people, go forward ; there is a good land before you; a land flowing with milk and honey. The Lord was with them and wrought great things for them, and he hath also wrought great things for us. Let us all press therefore forward towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, till we come to that city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God; and that kingdom that cannot be shaken, which God hath prepared for them that love him. O that every one of you, upon a serious examination of yourselves, may find yourselves in a good state and condition towards God: travelling through the wilderness of this world, your eyes upon heaven. Let your prayers and strong cries be to the Lord for his help; for we are not sufficient of ourselves for any good word or work. It is his almighty arm and power only that can enable us to overcome our spiritual enemies, and to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; yea and to work in us, ..both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. And pray let us, with Moses, choose rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin fur a season: and turn our backs upon this world, and the glory of it; and live so, as seeing him that Is invisible. Let us follow them who, through faith and patience have inherited the promises. There are thousands of faithful witnesses gathered to their eternal rest; let us follow the foot-steps of the flock; that little flock, for which God hath prepared a kingdom. Take a prospect of heaven by the eye of faith, in the light of Christ Jesus; and behold the glory of God shining upon you in the face of Jesus Christ. Suffer not your hearts to cleave to this world, nor to any pleasure or enjoyment in it, that may be a snare and temptation to draw your minds and affections from the Giver to the gift. Live a self-denying life: keep your dominion, you that have it, over that which hath dominion over you, and then you may say, thy kingdom is come, and thy will is done, on earth as it is in heaven. Then the power of sin shall be subdued in your souls, and the body of sin, and death shall be destroyed; and as you have had cause to cry out, with the Apostle, ‘O wretched man that I am. who shall deliver me from the body of sin and death!’ so each of you will be able to rejoice, and say with him, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, I am made free from the law of sin and death. And my friends, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be set a top of all the mountains, then shall you rejoice and praise his holy name.

O that the nations round about might come to the saving knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, which is life eternal. O look for the appearance and manifestation of the Son of God in your hearts, then you will admire and adore the mercy, justice, holiness, goodness, patience, and long suffering of God, which will lead you to repentance, then you will cry out and say God is just, God is merciful, God is holy, and abundant in goodness and truth; He hath made us sensible of the riches of bis goodness, and of his forbearance, patience, and long-suffering: I will bless and praise his holy, great and excellent name; and say,’ whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee; in thy favour is life, and thy loving Kindness is better than life,’ and that which I esteem above all tilings on the face of the earth. O friends, be you thankful to God for the manifestation of his love and mercy to you!

Take heed of an ungrateful spirit. Trust in the Lord and he will deliver you, and wound the hairy scalp of your enemies. Many have outlived their youthful greenness, and that tenderness they had when God first awakened them to consider their ways, and to seek after him with their whole heart. ‘I remember, saith the Lord by Jeremiah, the kindness of thy youth, and the day of thy espousals.’ God will remember you, if you remember his loving kindness, and have it ever before your eyes, and walk in his truth. When there was nothing but darkness in Egypt, there was light in Goshen, ‘ we (saith the Apostle) were sometimes darkness, but now we are light in the Lord:’ Let us walk as children of the light, and hate the works of darkness.

We that are made living witnesses of the power, and wisdom, and goodness of God, let us sink down into self abasement, and humility, and we shall feel the living openings of the spirit of truth in our own hearts, and receive with meekness that ingrafted word, in which is light and life, that is able to save our souls; and submit to the authority of God therein; and the word of Christ may dwell richly in us, and become the power of God to our salvation.

‘Now the God of peace which brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of his sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will; working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, to whom be glory, praise, and thanksgiving, who alone is worthy, who is God over all, blessed for ever and ever.’ Amen.

Source: The Harmony of Divine Doctrines: Demonstrated in Sundry Declarations on a Variety of Subjects. Preached at the Quakers’ Meetings in London.

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TWO MADE ONE THE HAPPINESS OF MARRYING IN THE LORD

The Sure Foundation by William Penn

The Sure Foundation by William Penn (Click to enlarge)

Marriage is not a “Civil Right”. Marriage is an institution sanctioned by God for the express purpose of procreation and to advance the species in a manner (if done right) that is acceptable to God, which He gave us to also learn and experience something deeper than mere animal lust and self gratification!

TWO MADE ONE;

OR,

THE HAPPINESS OF MARRYING IN THE LORD.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting-House, in Devonshire-House, London, October 3, 1694, at a Wedding.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

IT becomes the sons and daughters of men to have a sense of their duty, that is incumbent on them, to the great God of heaven and earth; and the duty we owe to God, is to do all tilings to the praise and glory of his holy name. And happy were it for mankind if they were duly sensible of their duty and obligation to their sovereign Lord and Maker; and did set the Lord always before their eyes, and acknowledge him in all their ways, that he might direct their paths. It greatly concerns us to have an eye to the great obligation we lie under to him, who is our God and faithful Creator, that by his almighty power made us, and by his good providence hath preserved us, in the land of the living, to this day; to whom we are deeply indebted, both for our being and well-being.

They that have a sense hereof upon their souls and spirits, they will take heed not to offend him, for the fear of the Lord is planted in their hearts. This is true religion, the fear of God, which teaches man and woman, first to eschew evil, and then to do that which is good and acceptable in his sight.

The fear of the Lord, it is said, is a fountain of life, which preserves from the snares of death. No man that is replenished with the fear of the Lord can be destitute of divine life and comfort. Since the secrets of the Lord are with them that fear him, he will shew them his covenant. Abraham was said to be God’s friend, because he feared God, and God was his friend.

O my Friends! it is not a name to live; it is not the character of a profession; not adhering to a party, or being of such a society or church, or people; but it is the fearing of God, and keeping of is commandments, and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and shewing forth his virtues in our conversation, that doth speak us to be real Christians. ‘He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good.’ O man, that is, mankind; the whole race of human kind. ‘God hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?’ Mic. vi. 8. Let us all take heed to walk in this way, and that will give us acceptance with God, and fit and prepare us for his holy worship. Abraham was the friend of God, because he believed and obeyed, it is not enough to make a profession of religion, and godliness and Christianity, if we be found vain in our conversation, and to love the world more than God, and to be more careful what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and what we shall put on, and how we shall divert and please ourselves than to please God. Our hearts and affections should be set on things above, and not on things below. We should, with the apostle, not look to the things that are seen and temporal, but to the things that are not seen and eternal. They that mind temporal things will fee disappointed upon a death bed; but those that fear God, shall not only have present peace, but future and everlasting comfort. Let us all endeavour to be purifying our minds, wills and affections, that we may enter into a holy covenant with God, into a heavenly marriage and league with him. They that are joined unto the Lord are one Spirit. As we come under the teachings of God, we shall be united in our love and affections to him, and delight ourselves in the Lord, who only can give us the desires of our hearts. The world passeth away, and the lustre and glory of it, and all the visible relations and capacities we stand in. Let us then use the world as if we used it not; and let them that have wives be as if they had none, (as saith the apostle) for the fashion of this world passeth away. There is a time to live and a time to die; and as sure as we die, we must be judged. Let every one of us endeavour so to live, that we may give up our account with joy, and not with grief. Let the fear of the Lord possess your hearts, which is the beginning of wisdom. When men and women do that which is pleasing to God, and live in the fear of God, and eschew evil, and do good, they, in so doing, promote their chiefest interest. The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him: his salvation is nigh unto them that in truth call upon his name. We see God’s visible care over all the works of his hands. Here in this world, his goodness is extended to all, both good and bad; he is kind to the unthankful; he causeth the sun to rise on the evil, and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust; but in the other world there is no shining of the Sun of righteousness upon the wicked and ungodly; no comforts of the Holy Ghost, no manifestations of love vouchsafed to them; but there is a revelation of wrath, and the fiery indignation of the Almighty.

For the very prayers of the wicked are an abomination, and because they love the world more than God, and esteem it more than heaven, they shall never enter into it.

But, my Friends, seek ye the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, in the first place, and follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Those persons that so do, have a solid foundation, they have a sure bottom that they can stand upon; they can look death and eternity in the face, upon this bottom, when they believe in the Lord Jesus with all their hearts, and shew forth all his virtues in their lives; having the promises assured to them, 1 Cor. 7. 1. ‘That God will dwell with them, and walk in them, and be their God, and they shall be his people. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ Having therefore these promises, (saith the Apostle) ‘ let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.’ Now unto such, To live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ They live in holiness and purity, through the sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth, as it is in Jesus, being regenerated and born again, and thereby made meet to enter into the kingdom of God. It was sin that first brought down man, from glory to shame; Christ came down from heaven and glory, that he might bring man out of sin and shame to glory again; which by sin he had lost and forfeited. Our Saviour said unto Nicodemus, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again; the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth, so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, how can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?’ art thou a judge, and a law-giver, and not skilled in the doctrine of regeneration? man being fallen from God, there is no coming to God again without Christ, and without coming from that which separated him from the Lord.

God made all good, and man made all bad. Christ came into the world to make all good again.’ Christ died for all; but they only have the benefit of his death to salvation, that die to their sins. For sin will still live against them, for all Christ’s death, that live in sin and not in Christ. Friends, I desire that you may all come to a sense of your spiritual condition: the Lord is pleased to follow us with his mercies, and with many spiritual favours, and blessings: God is the fountain of all good, from whence comes every good and perfect gift; with whom is no variableness, nor shadow of turning; whom to know is life eternal: let us live suitably, be sensible of his mercies, and be fixed in our obedience ; for it is the obedient that eat the good of the land. Before the deluge came upon the old world, God sent his Spirit, to strive with them, to bring them to repentance. And this is our testimony, 1 John i. 2. 3. ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life; that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us ; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.’ This is a time wherein we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure. We have now a call to repentance, and if we faithfully answer that call, we need not fear a call to judgment; but we may, each of us say, with the Apostle, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there ts laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.’

Every one that cometh to God’s holy Spirit, to be led by it, He will lead them into all truth: if the Spirit of Christ dwell not in you, ye are none of ‘his. If we have the spirit of meekness, patience, humility, charity, and kindness, by these virtues and qualifications of Christ’s working in us, we are brought into a near relation to Christ, who is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He is by nature the Son of God, and by participation of his nature, and adoption, we become God’s children too; and by the operation of the Holy Ghost, they that are born of the Spirit and partake of the fruits of the Spirit, have clear evidence of their being children of God. Gal. v. 22, 23. ‘Now the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.’ If these things abound in you, you are free from the condemnation of the law. There are a people that bolster up themselves, and buoy up themselves, in not being under the law, but under grace ; but they are not yet come to the poor prodigal’s state, ‘ Father I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son:’ nor yet to the state and condition of the penitent Publican, who prayed ‘ God be merciful to him a sinner;’ nor to Paul’s state, when he cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me r” this shall be for a lamentation, that too many are so little troubled, and concerned, for the loss of God’s favour, and of their own immortal souls; when the whole world is not so much worth as one soul. ‘What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ O how many do hazard their precious souls for the trifles of this vain world? let us all consider we must come to the bar of Christ the great judge of all the earth ; and if we be not found in him, not having our own righteousness, as the Apostle tells us; we shall be undone forever, and we shall see too late what we have lost: and like profane Esau, (we shall be rejected,) when he would have inherited the blessing he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. There is nothing will remain then, but chains of darkness, they that loved darkness, here, shall he cast into utter darkness hereafter, even the blackness of darkness for ever.

Wherefore let all that believe in the light of the Lord Jesus, walk in it, and know and embrace the day of their visitation. You that know your Master’s will, be sure to do it, and he will say unto you, ‘well done :’ you shall hear that joyful sound, ‘enter into the joy of your Lord.’ God hath vouchsafed a merciful visitation, a day of grace and salvation, to the sons and daughters of men: He hath brought us from a gloomy night, and the dark clouds of ignorance and superstition, that our forefathers were involved in, and the day-spring from on high hath visited us: we have had the inshinings of divine light: yea, God hath brought us out of darkness into his marvelous light: let us walk as children of light, in the light of the Lamb of God. We live in the last days, wherein that promise shall been fulfilled, ‘That the Mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted upon the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it 5 and many people shall go and say, come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ Pray consider what God speaks to the Jews, that were his chosen people, and what he says concerning his own institutions, when they were formal and hypocritical in the use of them: Isa. i. 12. 13. ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me, bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me, &c. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts, my soul hateth; they are a trouble to me, I am weary to bear them: wash ye, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well, &c. Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool;’ God is no respecter of persons. My Friends, let us not be outward but also inward christians, in all our solemn meetings, and approve our hearts to God, and worship him in spirit and in truth. Let us consider that God is present in the midst of us.

All nations do acknowledge that God is omnipresent; the royal Psalmist thus addresses himself to God, Psal. cxxxix. 7, 8. ‘Whither shall I go from thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there, if I make my bed in hell; behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.’ And the prophet Amos, tells us,’ it is God that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought; that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, the Lord of hosts is his name.’ O bow should we live and walk as in the presence of God! and set the Lord always before us, who is the supreme judge of the world; to whom we must be accountable for all our thoughts, words and actions. But how do the most of men live as without God in the world, live in a contradiction to their own rational natures ? God hath made men reasonable, and his judgment shall be most righteous and reasonable. The Lord hath given unto us his light and grace, if we do not improve it, and live answerably to it, we shall go down into perdition: therefore to day, while it is called to day, let us perform our duty to God, and one another, that it may go well with us for ever.

These things are of great importance which belong to our everlasting peace: these are not chimeras and enthusiastical fancies, but the great realities of religion. God hath been pleased in his admirable love and condescending goodness, to twist his glory and our felicity together, and to require nothing of us, but what is for our own interest and good: He is infinitely blessed in himself, and perfectly happy without us, but we cannot be happy a moment without him; yet we despise the riches of his goodness, that is extended to us: and like a foolish people and unwise, we are ready to frustrate the design of his mercy and kindness, and to receive the grace of God in vain.

Let this opportunity now before us, be carefully improved, in order to our spiritual benefit and advantage. Let our superlative love be set on the Lord Jesus Christ, who should be our husband and head. Let us love him with fervent and inflamed affections, as becomes the living members of his mystical body ; as those that are really united to him, and receive vital influences from him. We are now present at the solemnity of a marriage, which is a thing of itself joyous: but O let not our joy be carnal, but spiritual: let us rejoice in Christ Jesus, who for our sakes became a man of sorrows, that we might partake of that joy that is unspeakable and eternal. We may all live a happy and blesssed life, if we will live to his glory that is the giver of it, and set our affections on things above, and live in a deep and daily sense of our duty, to him that made us, and will make us happy for ever, if we be not wanting to ourselves. When the Lord-God first created man, he said, • It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a help meet for him:’ and he caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and took one of his ribs, whereof he made the woman; and brought her unto the man, and Adam said, ‘this is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.’ Thus you see in the first creation; God made man and woman in one, he then joined them both in one person; then of one. he made them two; and after made them one again : b Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.’ Gen, ii. 24. It is of very great importance to men and women, to dispose of themselves rightly in marriage: for it is for term of life; and it is that which makes people either easy or uncomfortable in their lives : therefore they must take care to be equally yoked, that they are one in judgment, and in affection. And when they change their condition, to marry in the Lord, that they may be meet helps and blessings one to another. God bath made us sensible of that delight and joy that is proper, both to the Outward and inward man, which makes us thirst after the happiness of our souls. This the saints in all ages have borne their testimony to; David who was a mighty hero, and king, a man after God’s own heart; he declares to us the temper and disposition of carnal men; they cry out, ‘Who will shew us any good?’ but this is the language and longing of the saints, ‘Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us,’ Psal. iv. 6. That will make our hearts more glad, than those that have their corn and wine increased. The refreshing light of God’s countenance, and the sense of his love, is that which in all ages, hath been the consolation of the righteous, ever since the beginning of the world; and will be to the end fl it. So my Friends) we lay great stress and weight upon this, that married persons do not enter into that relation with a mere natural affection, or for worldly interest, or advantage: or to gratify a carnal fancy; but we must be in the exercise of a divine and heavenly affection; making the law of God our rule, and his glory our aim and end; remembering that we are none of our own, but are bought with a price: therefore we ought to glorify God, both in our bodies and in our spirits, which are His.

It becometh us to live as strangers and pilgrims on the earth; for we are but tenants at will of the great Lord; let us pass therefore the short time of our sojourning here in fear. The time past, is irrevocable; the time to come, is uncertain; and only the time present, we can call our own. Let us then improve it, while we have it; and in all our solemn meetings, let us have an awful sense of God upon us and love him, and live unto him; for we are entirely at his disposal. You that are strangers, and present in this meeting, may observe the order and method among us, with respect to nuptial solemnities. It concerns us to vindicate ourselves from those aspersions that have been unjustly cast upon us. We have no clandestine proceedings in any of our marriages, though we have been misrepresented to the world; we do observe that order and method which is set down in the holy scriptures, which are our warrant and direction. We have divers instances in scripture concerning marriages, that of Boaz and Ruth is a very eminent one; he solemnly took Ruth to be his wife, as in the presence of the Lord, and before the congregation, even all the people and the elders, and Boaz said unto them, ye are witnesses this day. And all the people that were in the gate and the elders said, we are witnesses, the Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel, and do thou worthily in Ephrata, and be famous in Bethlehem, so Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife.

Thus let us proceed in all our marriages, as in the presence of the Lord; which none can do. but those that have an awful sense of the divine presence, which is graciously vouchsafed to his people in all their humble and solemn approaches to him; then He will meet them, and bless them.

I shall commit you to the Lord, and to the grace of God that is given to you; for we are not a people so stingy, as not to awn the grace communicated to others, as if we engrossed and arrogated all to ourselves; we declare, with the Apostle, that’ there is a measure of the Spirit given to every man to profit withal.’ We are all intrusted with some talents, let us remember we must give an account of them. When we are convinced of sin, let us depart from it, and live in the delightful exercise of a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men. Then we shall find there is hope for us in death, and fruition of happiness after death. It will be said unto us, ‘well done good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord.’

My Friends, consider now that Christ is universally offered to all the sons and daughters of men, and his love is, and is to be, extended to all the habitable parts of the earth. The Sun of righteousness will shine upon them, with healing under his wings; but this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. He that hath given us the knowledge of our duty if we seek it, will also give us strength to perform it, and work in us to will and to do, of his own good pleasure. So that though of ourselves, as of ourselves, we can do nothing, we may say with the Apostle Paul, ‘We can do all things through Christ that strengthens us.’ Let us therefore labour abundantly in the work of the Lord, and then our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord; ‘For if we be faithful to death, we shall receive the crown of life.’

Source: The Harmony of Divine Doctrines: Demonstrated in Sundry Declarations on a Variety of Subjects Preached at the Quaker’s Meetings at London by William Penn [Founder of Pennsylvania] and Others by A Lover of that People

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

THE HEAVENLY RACE by William Penn of Pennsylvania

William Penn quote concerning the Holy Ghost

William Penn concerning the Holy Ghost (Click to enlarge)

THE

HEAVENLY RACE.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers Meeting-House in Grace-Church-Street, London, January 16, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

THE life of man and woman is compared unto a race that is to be run; and unto a post, that makes haste: And our daily experience confirms, what the Holy Ghost hath lively set forth and expressed to us by the holy men of God in several ages and generations. We are all of us that are here this day, running our natural race; our time is speeding on, and we are every day a step nearer to the grave. God requires, that we will every day draw nigh to him: Blessed are all those, that are every day a step nearer to God, as well as a step nearer to the grave, and to eternity! If you draw nigh to God he will draw nigh to you, and turn every one of you from your iniquities, and keep you from returning to folly.

Friends, of ourselves we can do nothing, except the Lord be present with us, and strengthen and uphold us: Blessed are those, that live in an humble sense of their own insufficiency, and are in a true poverty of spirit, and as the light of every morning appears, are waiting upon God, as a watchman waits for the morning. I say wait upon him, for the lifting up of the light of his countenance: «They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not wax faint,’ while they walk in the way of holiness, that leads to eternal blessedness.

All those who are faithful and approved of God at this day, they will not want the presence of the Lord with them, and his hand to uphold them: He will be a God nigh at hand to all, that are true travellers with their faces Zion-ward. All that are travellers to a blessed eternity, to that world that shall never have an end. These shall never want the divine presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; concerning whom God saith, ‘I will give him for a light and a leader, a king and lawgiver.’ Now all you, who obey his voice, and come under his holy conduct and teaching, and have denied yourselves, and resolved to take up his cross, and follow him, and will not be ashamed of his cross, but glory in it; I testify to you from the Lord, that God is with you, and will be with you if faithful. He is such a leader as will lead you in the way of righteousness, and in the midst of the paths of judgment: He will fill your treasures, and make you to inherit substance.

O my Friends! you cannot imagine, what peace and joy, and divine consolation, there is in such a good state and condition, when you have the witness within yourselves, that you give up your hearts to God! God will be always present with you, and withhold no good thing from you: This is my testimony to you this day. O gird up the loins of your minds; be sober and hope to the end. Take heed to your ways, and turn your feet to God’s testimonies, while you are in your heavenly race; turn neither to the right hand, nor to the left, but so run, that you may obtain. There is a running where people may miss the prize and fall short; and there is a running where they may obtain the crown. ‘Let us therefore lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth easily beset us; and run with patience that race that is set before us; looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame.’ Let us have an eye to Christ, the great Captain of our salvation, and we shall be sensible of his living presence and feel his everlasting arms, to uphold us. If we press forward, and strive to enter in at the straight gate, we shall receive the recompense of reward, after all our sufferings, afflictions, poverty, troubles, tribulations, scoffings, cruel mockings, reproach, buffetings, losses and crosses, and persecutions, that we have undergone in this world for Christ’s sake. O let none of us be dejected or discouraged, but wait for the salvation of God. Take no thought for the morrow, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself: Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Let your affections be set upon things above, and not carried after perishing things here below: When temptations do assault you, they shall not prevail; for you shall experience with the apostle Paul, that ‘the grace of God will be sufficient for you.’ Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever, who hath engaged by promise to support and fortify his people in the hour of temptation. While we live in this world, trials and troubles, temptations and tribulations will attend us; we shall not be out of the reach of them on this side the grave. ‘Your adversary, the devil, goes about like a roaring lion, continually seeking whom he may devour; whom resist, being steadfast in faith;’ and you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil, and be more than conquerors through Christ that hath loved you.

And when you come to the New Jerusalem, into the strong city of God, you shall sing songs of praise and thanksgiving to your great Deliverer, and have salvation for walls and bulwarks round about you, and triumph in his praise, who hath dealt bountifully with you, and by his mighty arm hath done wonderful things for you, and remembered you in your low estate; because his mercy endureth for ever.

Such was the infidelity, rebellion, and ingratitude of Israel of old, while they were in the wilderness, ‘fed with quails and manna from heaven,’ Psal. cv. 15, and supplied with water out of the rock, by a miraculous providence, yet they murmured against the Lord, and they entered not into the good land, because of their unbelief. Take heed of shutting yourselves out of the celestial Canaan, by your unbelief and disobedience. As in your natural race you are every day one step nearer the grave, so in your spiritual race, be every day advancing in your progress towards a blessed eternity; that when you come to die, and leave this world, you may live eternally, and be for ever with the Lord. O live now as an experienced and concerned people, that you may be of the number of the wise virgins, who have oil in their lamps and in their vessels; and that you may in all approaches to God be found \ spiritual worshippers, and offer up to him a pure offering, that your prayers may be as incense and sweet odors, most acceptable to him through the intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Mediator, who is the king of saints. Submit to his sceptre and government, as an obedient and willing people, that you may take sanctuary in his mighty name, who is called Jesus, the mighty Saviour, who will save his people from their sins and from the wrath to come.

When you are concerned deeply about your spiritual and eternal state, and cry out, ‘What shall we do to be saved?’ And when you are humble and afflicted for your sins, he will deal tenderly with you, and have compassion on you: For ‘be will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax:’ He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. But many are stopt in the way, because judgment hath not its perfect work. They are not yet humbled under the mighty hand of God, and will not submit to the Lord Jesus Christ, but say obstinately ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ But our Lord Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, saith concerning such, ‘But those mine enemies, that will not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.’ Matt. xix. 27.

O Friends, let us all be a willing people, and take Christ for our Saviour and Sovereign, who is our rightful Lord; ‘who died (saith the apostle) and revived, and rose again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.’ Let us live to Christ, that died for us; live to him here, and we shall live with him for ever. Let our souls praise the Lord, and all that is within us bless his holy name, that hath sent his Son from heaven to seek and to save us chat were lost, and to redeem us from all iniquity, that we might be a peculiar people zealous of good works. Blessed be God, who daily loadeth us with his benefits and blessings! And blessed be Christ, our Redeemer, the Lord of life, who hath invited us to come to him, that we might have life; that we may eat of the fruit of the tree of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations: that we may sit under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit will be sweet unto oar taste. Our Lord Jesus will feed us with heavenly manna, and with honey out of the rock of our salvation, and the true and living bread, that came down from heaven: he will make us a ‘feast of fat things, and with wine on the lees well refined.’ O remember the loving kindness of God, let it ever be before your eyes, that you may walk in his truth, as the royal Psalmist speaks. And when the meeting is over, keep your watch, and let not the spirit of the world, nor the prince of the power of the air, that rules in the children of disobedience, hinder the good seed (the word) from taking root; and bringing forth fruit, that may abound to God’s eternal glory and praise, and your everlasting consolation.

O Friends, live for heaven and eternity, and labour abundantly in the work of the Lord; and you shall know to your joy and comfort, that your labour shall not be in vain. Do you now follow your works while you live, and your works shall follow you when you die. Rev. xiii. 7. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they shall rest from their labours, and their works follow them.’ I would not have you think, that I put you upon any depending upon your own (best) works; for if we do any good work, it is by the help and assistance of the Spirit of Christ, by whose power alone we are enabled to do it. It is by the strength and power of Christ Jesus, in whom we believe: It is by that strength and power, that we derive from him, that we are kept faithful to the death, that we may obtain the crown of life. It is by Christ alone, the great Captain of our salvation, that we must conquer our spiritual enemies, resist the devil, and overcome the world, and be more than conquerors; that persevering in holiness to the end of our days, we may say with the apostle Paul, when we come to die, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also, that love his appearing.’

Therefore I beseech you all, to give all diligence, to make your calling and election sure, and so run in your heavenly race, as to press forward, towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, that you may obtain life eternal. ‘The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men; and God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.’ And the invitation is made to all: ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.’ Salvation is offered to all, and the means of obtaining it, is by faith in Christ Jesus, the dear and blessed Son of God, who was born of the Virgin Mary, and took our nature, as the son of David and the seed of Abraham. As he was made man, he was a confinable being; but he is also both God and man, so he is infinite and eternal, God over all, blessed for ever! Come then to Christ, that you may have life and quickening vital influence from him, and of his fulness, receive grace for grace: Come to the blood of Jesus, that purifying fountain, to wash you from all your sins, and wipe off all your old scores. Christ is made not only wisdom and righteousness, but sanctification and redemption to us: ‘We are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption, that is in Jesus Christ.’

‘Walk in love (saith the apostle) as Christ also hath loved us, and given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. God offers salvation to us in Christ, the second Adam, who only can redeem us from that bondage and misery, which the first Adam by his fall and apostacy brought on all mankind.

Christ is the only Saviour of sinners, and the author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in him and obey him. This is the generation of them that seek the Lord, they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who came from heaven to show them the way thither, and came to seek and save them that were lost. ‘Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in: Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty’ in battle;’ the Lord Jesus Christ, who is mighty to save our souls, and to subdue all the enemies of our salvation.

‘Now unto him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to whom be glory and dominion, for ever and ever.’ Amen.

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

THE PROMISE OF GOD FOR THE LATTER DAYS by William Penn of Pennsylvania

William Penn concerning the Good News (Click to enlarge)

William Penn concerning the Good News (Click to enlarge)

“We shall succeed in our struggle, provided we repent of our sins & forsake them. I will see it out or go to Heaven in its ruins.” ~ John Adams to Benjamin Rush 1777 concerning the Revolutionary War of Independence

THE

PROMISE OF GOD

FOR

THE LATTER DAYS.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting-House, m Wheelers-Street, London, Oct. 21, 1694, in the afternoon.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

MY Friends, this is the day of God’s power and love, the day of grace and salvation; concerning which it was foretold by the prophet, that the people of God should have bread in their own houses, and water in their own cisterns. All you who have answered this day of God’s visitation, and behold the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in your own hearts, that are found faithful, and diligent, and trusty with the talents which the Lord hath intrusted you with, that you may improve them for his glory, and your own everlasting benefit. The Lord is this day spreading his table, and bringing forth his dainties, and filling the cup of salvation, that he may satisfy his people as with marrow and fatness; and that they may celebrate his praises with joyful lips. This is a day wherein you may eat the bread of life, and drink the water of life; this is a day wherein God hath promised to teach his people himself; ‘They shall all be taught of God, and in righteousness and in truth shall they be established;’ that all that are professors of truth may be possessors of it. Now the way to this, is to receive the truth in the love of it, and to love the truth as it is in Jesus; yea, love it above all things in the world. Consider, my friends, where are your hearts and affections this day? Do you love God above all? Do you love him with all your hearts, with all your souls, and with all your strength? God will be served with the whole heart, ‘My son, give me thine heart.’ Examine now, whether God hath your hearts this day; I exhort and beseech you all to give up your hearts to God, give the crown and diadem to him; let him be your Lord, and lawgiver, and king, and he will save you; he will be a sun and a shield unto you, he will supply you with all good, and defend you from all evil; you shall have refreshment from the presence of the Lord this day, if you appear before him in a holy and humble frame and disposition, which is acceptable to him. The Lord will overshadow you with the wing of his love, and he will fill the hungry with good things, and the rich he will send empty away. The Lord is this day breaking the bread of life, and will give it to those that come with a spiritual appetite: and here is a spring opened of living waters, for refreshing of thirsty souls that cannot be satisfied without the Lord Jesus Christ, and that can have no true content, joy or pleasure, without the enjoyment of God. This bath been the stay of our minds when we have been in great tribulation, when the floods of many waters have been ready to overwhelm us. We are a people that have had abundant experience of God’s mighty power in our preservation and deliverance, blessed be the name of the Lord, whose almighty arm hath brought salvation.

Friends, it is the desire of my soul, that you may all be Christians indeed, Israelites indeed, (like Nathaniel) in whom there is no guile: That in all your gatherings you may be gathered, not to man, not to shadows, ceremonies and observations, and perishing things, but gathered to that which is the substance of all; I would not have you gathered to a notion of my experience, or others’ experiences; but I would draw your minds from all visible things, that you may be gathered to the Lord, and his appearance in you; and then you shall have bread in your own houses, and water in your own cisterns, according to that ancient prophecy which is fulfilled in these latter days, that you may have something to rely upon, the all-sufficiency of God, who hath promised to satisfy the hungry and satiate the thirsty soul; ‘Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled:’ It is the full soul that loathes the honeycomb. Those that are over-charged with the world, and the things of the world, they are of an ill constitution; they are so filled with the world, that they cannot hunger and thirst after righteousness. The Lord fills the hungry with good things, but they that are rich and full, and think they want nothing, he sends empty away.

Martha was too intent upon the world, she was too solicitous and over-careful, and cumbered about many things; she was very busy in making provision for entertaining the Lord Jesus Christ, and was troubled that Mary her sister did not come and help her, and complains of her to our Saviour, who was pleased with Mary’s heavenly-mindedness, for she sat at Jesus’s feet, and heard him preach the everlasting gospel, wanting his bread more than he wanted hers. Luke 10: 40. When Martha was cumbered about much serving, and said to Christ, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me: and Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’ Martha was concerned chiefly for the outward entertainment of Christ, which in itself was well, and a testimony of love to the despised Messiah; but she looked too much outward, and was over-careful, and too little regarded his inward fulness; but Mary looked inward, to be filled and satisfied from him, to receive of his fulness, even grace for grace, from the living fountain of it. Friends, I would have you, with Mary, to choose the better part, that you may be filled with divine consolations. This is that which the Lord hath opened to you this day: Receive this blessed treasure that will enrich you, and fill and satisfy you, and empty you of all that is contrary to itself, viz. the inordinate love of earthly and perishing things. This will beautify and adorn you with that which will render you amiable in the sight of God: For the King’s Daughter is all glorious within. I wonder that there are so many that are all for trimming and adorning the outside, when (the King’s Daughter) all those that are called of God, and sanctified by his Spirit, are glorious within; these will open the door of their hearts to Christ, who is the King of glory. Now that they may be espoused and married to Christ, they must have this heavenly adorning from the blessed Spirit of God, who will beautify them with faith and love, holiness, patience, meekness, humility, and all other heavenly graces, which will make them all glorious within. Open the door of your hearts to Christ, the King of glory, who hath long waited and called upon you to open to him, till bis head hath been filled with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night. If you open the door of your hearts to him, he will come in and sup with you and you with him; he will beautify and adorn you, and impress his divine image upon you, and take away every spot and wrinkle, that you may appear amiable to him. Those that are true disciples of Christ, will take up his cross and follow him, and learn of him to be meek and lowly, then they shall find rest to their souls, and know by experience that his yoke is easy and his burden light. Receive the truth therefore, in the love of it, and walk in it, and you will be kept out of all that is evil, and the blessing of the God of heaven will rest upon you, and ‘ the Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ Therefore wait upon the Lord with singleness and uprightness of heart, and desire in all your meetings to meet with God, and you shall feed upon the bread of life, and drink of the cup of blessing, and the Lord will minister and dispense to every one of you according to your necessities.

The Lord propounds and offers to our minds nothing below himself, we must choose him alone for our portion, and we shall receive from his hands, that which is satisfying. ‘One thing (saith the Psalmist, Psal. xxvii. 4.) have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his temple: For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his Pavilion, in the secret of his tabernacle he shall hide me, and he shall set me upon a rock.’ Where is there a better dwelling to abide in, and take up your rest, than where God would have you dwell? God himself will be your dwelling place in all generations, and be all in all to you.

Come away, O you weary and heavy laden, to Christ, and he will give rest to your souls. Make that blessed choice that Mary did; choose that ‘good part which shall not be taken from you;’ you shall increase with the increases of God, and grow up as salves of the stall. Let your living cries ascend to the living God, who heareth the cry of the humble, and of those that are sensible of their low estate; and with strong cries and supplications desire to be made more alive unto God; let the desire of your souls be to him, and to the remembrance of his name. Let no Delilah, no darling sin, lodge in your bosoms to draw away your hearts, and the prime and flower of your affections from Christ, who is the most worthy and supreme object of your love, and altogether lovely, and the chiefest of ten thousands. Let nothing obstruct the vigorous motion of your souls after him. When he draws you with the cords of his love, do you run after him; and let your affections be set on him, and fixed on him, and he will fill you with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

My Friends, see that ye be a willing people, and a living people, God is not straitened towards us, let not us be straitened in our own bowels, and we shall feel his almighty arm supporting of us, and his bountiful hand communicating and reaching out good things to us; we shall have refreshment from the presence of the Lord, and know that he is in the midst of us. He will ‘justify us freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’

My Friends, if we set out affections on things above, and seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, all other things shall be added to us; for godliness is profitable to all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Blessed are they that can witness and experience a work of God upon their souls, changing them and renewing them, in the spirit of their minds, and conforming them to the divine image and will, and putting his fear into their hearts, that thou may never depart from Him. ‘The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them, that fear Him, and delivers them;’ O taste and see that the Lord is good! blessed is the man that trusteth in Him! the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ear is open to their cry; He will give them whatsoever they want, and deny them nothing that is good for them. If they want faith, patience, courage, humility, self-denial, or any other grace of the spirit, he will give it to them; if they want victory over temptation, and strength to subdue corruption, or to bear tribulation, or persecution, or reproach, for the name of Christ, the Lord will answer the desire of their souls. O the besetments, and snares, and stratagems of the devil, the grand enemy of our souls! we are attacked and assaulted on all hands, let us not be discouraged, but travel on in the undented way, that will bring us to an undefined, an eternal rest. Let us forsake sin, and the vanities of the world, and go up to the house of the Lord, the place where His Honour dwells; let us encourage one another, and provoke one another to love and good works, and walk in the way of holiness, having our loins girt; let us so run, that we may obtain; and remember that while we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God will work in us to will and to do of His own good pleasure. Let us be so far from depending upon ourselves, as entirely to depend upon the Lord, who will not be wanting to us, but a present help in trouble. Wait upon the Lord, and improve that measure of light, and grace bestowed upon thee, and thou shalt grow as a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in season; then thy leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever thou dost shall prosper. The dew of heaven shall be upon thy root, and thou shalt grow and flourish in the courts of the Lord. Exercise self-denial, and take up the cross of Christ, (for no cross, no crown,) follow Christ the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings. Be not ashamed of the cross of Christ, but glory in it, as the Apostle Paul did, who said he would glory in nothing else; labour to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and to abound in all the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance; this is to be a christian indeed, and a true Jew or Israelite; for he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men but of God. Friends, think not that a superficial and outside religion will serve you, but you must show forth the virtues of Christ, and the power of godliness; then everlasting joy will be your portion. O my Friends, come into the Light, and walk in it as children of Light, and persevere to the end, and you shall come at last to partake of the inheritance among the saints in Light, and eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life which grows in the midst of the paradise of God. Man was cast out of paradise because of transgression, how shall he come back again, and be restored to a state of felicity? the Lord hath provided a Light and a Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ; blessed are they that follow Him, for he will lead in the way everlasting. Blessed are they which are reconciled to God, and justified by faith, and have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; they know peace and assurance and satisfaction in themselves, for the work of righteousness is peace, and the fruit of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever. Now that you may come to this full assurance, you must first know righteousness, and come to Christ for it, who is a righteous teacher, who will guide and lead you in the way of righteousness, and holiness, out of your wilderness state wherein you have wandered from the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Here is something to enter our hopes upon, here is a firm bottom to stay upon. I reckon, (saith the Apostle,) that I was once alive without the law, but I am now alive through the quickening power of the Son of God, who is the resurrection and the life. This is empirical religion, which is pure and undefiled, to visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. This is a godly religion, that takes the spots out of a man’s garment, and out of his heart, and that is a furnace to refine us, and purge away our dross; that is as fullers soap, to wash out all our spots. If our spots are taken away, this will restore our hearts to God, and render them fit to be his living temples. Receive Christ into your hearts, and he will purge away your dross and reprobate silver, and make you more pure than the gold of Ophir. They that live the life they live here by the faith of the Son of God, they live a pure and heavenly life; the men of this world live none of this life: they seem to receive Christ outwardly, but they reject him inwardly. The Jews were cut off, because they would not receive Christ outwardly; then the axe was laid to the root of the tree, and they were cut down as trees that cumber the ground, and became a desolate people for their disobedience; and they that would not receive Christ, they died in their sins; and our compassionate Redeemer he lamented their miserable condition, and wept over them. Matt, xxiii. 37. Luke xix. 41, 42. ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! and when he came near, he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.’ Thus they rejected Christ the Eternal Son of God, and Light of the world: so those that reject the testimony of the ministers of Christ that speak to them in Christ’s name, they reject Christ himself: though Christ speaks not now to you immediately in his own person, yet he speaks to you instrumentally; and if you reject the testimony that we bring, when we preach Christ to you, you reject Christ as Jerusalem did: what was it that Jerusalem did reject ? they rejected the grace and spirit of Christ, they would not open the door of their hearts to receive and entertain Christ in the day of their visitation : what did become of them? their house was left unto them desolate. ‘I called, (saith the Lord,) but they would not answer; I offered salvation to them, but they refused; they would not in their day, know the things that belong to their peace, and now they are hidden from their eyes.

It is the desire of my soul, that none of you may hear that voice in your consciences, the things that belong to thy peace are now hidden from thine eyes; thou hast had many talents given to thee, but thou hast not improved them: this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, but thou hast loved darkness rather than light; thou hast had grace freely offered to thee, but thou hast refused it, turned from it, or turned it into wantonness.

The Lord hath given us many divine calls and visitations, and hath promised to be our God, if we would be his people; but after all his kindness to us, He justly complains, ‘ my people would none of me; 1 am the Lord thy God, (saith he to the Israel of old,) that brought thee out of the land of Egypt; open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it, enlarge thy desires, and I will satisfy them; but my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me; so I gave up them unto their own hearts’ lust, and they walked in their own counsels. O! that my people had hearkened unto me, and walked in my ways; I would have fed them with the finest of wheat, and with honey out of the rock, should I have satisfied them.’

O, my Friends, it is a dangerous thing for a people that are enlightened by the Spirit of God, to trifle away their precious time and seasons of mercy, the day of grace and salvation; O! therefore, work while it is day, for the night cometh wherein there is no working; let us be faithful and turn our eyes to the light, and walk in tit, and live in obedience to it; God hath been present with us )my friends) in the tribulations, temptations, and afflictions that have attended us, when we have been ready to say, as David, I shall one day fall by the hands of Saul, and the enemy will prevail over us; but God hath wonderfully saved and delivered us, and hath been a shield, and buckler, and a strong tower to us, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Let nothing be found alive in us that would divert us, or draw us away from God, who alone can satisfy us, and give us the desire of our hearts. If we delight ourselves in Him, let us say unto God, ‘O Lord, thou art my portion; whom have I in Heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.’ Let us make war against every thing that is contrary to God’s holy nature and will, and abstain from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and from all appearance of evil.

Have a care that your adversary the devil, does not prevail over you, be not ignorant of his devices; he goes about continually like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

When the devil assaulted our Saviour in Peter, he said ‘ get thee behind me satan, thou savourest not the things of God.’ Examine and try yourselves, whether you have a divine taste and relish, and savour the things of the Spirit? When the devil presents and alluring or charming temptation, to seduce you from your duty to God or your neighbor, or from your great concern, the salvation of your immortal souls; you know what the temptation tends to, therefore be steadfast in the faith; resist the devil and he will fly from you; and wait upon God in the name of Christ, and look up to him, and he will open his divine hand, and shower down his blessings upon you, and give you the upper springs and the nether springs also; God will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from you.

O you young ones! I have a travel in my soul for you! remember your Creator in the days of your youth: give unto God the prime and flower of your time and strength; learn to bear the yoke betimes: come to the yoke of Christ: take his yoke upon you; though it may fret thy neck a little, and cause a little pain, yet be willing to bear it, and thou wilt find that the yoke of Christ is an easy yoke, and his burden a light burden; and that none of his Commandments are grievous. O my Friends! the pomp and pleasure and glory of this vain world prevails over many, and thousands are ensnared by it: but it is better, with Moses, to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin tor a season; and to esteem the reproach of Christ, greater riches than the treasures of the Egyptian kingdom: for if we suffer with Christ here, we shall reign with him hereafter. The sacrifices of old were salted with salt; if you come to know the divine salt, the seasonings of grace, all that is putrefied will be done away, and purged out of your hearts; all that come to Christ are seasoned with divine grace, and they will shine as lights in the world; but for those that are not in Christ, nor made new creatures, they are conformed to this world, and the world will love its own; but what will be the end of these? they must go along with those that shall take their place on the left hand of Christ, and be sentenced to everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

You that are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, that love the vanities of the world, and the pleasures and pastimes of it, the supreme and righteous judge of the world will hid you depart from him into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; wherefore you that are young, remember your Creator in your younger years; and give up your hearts to God betimes, and consider what the wise man saith after all his experience of the pleasures and enjoyments of this world, ‘vanity of vanities, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. Remember now thy Creator in the day of thy youth, while thy evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them:’ while thou art like white paper, let God write upon thee, before thou art blotted and stained with the vanities and impure pleasures of this world; set aii high value on early piety, get an interest in Christ Jesus, in your young and tender years, that as of his fulness, you have received grace for grace, you may obey it in all manner of conversation; for, without holiness no man shall ever see the Lord. Persevere in holiness to the end of your days, that you may receive the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls; O blessed are they that take Christ in all his offices, for a King, Priest, and Prophet! for a King to rule them with the sceptre of his grace, and to subdue their enemies by the might of his power; as a Priest, to make atonement for them, and reconcile them to God, and save them from sin and from the wrath to come; and as a Prophet, to instruct and teach them, and make them wise to salvation; blessed are they that receive the truth in the love of it, and love the truth as it is in Jesus; there is no condemnation to them; for they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. While they wait upon the Lord, they renew their strength; they shall never be weary of well-doing; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. When the Lord saith to them,’ seek ye my face;’ their hearts will answer, thy face Lord will we seek. Search the scriptures to know the mind and will of God, and consult the oracle within, the word of God in your own hearts; whether shall you, or can you go? you have the words of eternal life, from Christ within you the hope of glory. You that have begun in the Spirit, do not end in the flesh; but resist all temptations from without, and corruptions within, and you shall be more than conquerors, through Christ that hath loved you; and you shall witness the fulfilling of that promise,’ him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem; and to him (saith Christ) that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne, and I will give him a white stone, and a name, which none knows but he that hath it.’ As in your Parish books, there is a registering and a writing down of the names of all that are born there; so in the book of life are written down all the names of the children of light, that are born again, born from above; and God will remember them, and they will remember his loving kindness, and have it ever before their eyes, and walk in his truth.

My Friends, it becomes us to be a willing people, io bear the yoke of Christ cheerfully, and not to be like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. ‘If any draw back (saith the Lord) my soul shall have no pleasure in him.’ Let us be willing both to do and suffer the will of God, and follow Christ the Lamb of God, whithersoever he goeth; through persecutions, sufferings, and tribulations, bearing his reproach, and counting it our honour to suffer shame and dishonour for his name; and have a holy ambition to drink of his cup, and to be baptised with his baptism. We read, (Luke xx. 20.) that the mother of Zebedee’s children came to Christ with her two sons, worshipping him and desiring a certain thing of him, and he said unto her, ‘ What wilt thou?’ She said unto him, ‘Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom: But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I drink of? And to be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with? They say unto him, We are able.’ And our Saviour said unto them, ‘Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with; but to sit on my right hand and on my left, is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them, for whom it is prepared of my Father.’ What is this baptism? It is self-denial, and taking up the cross of Christ; and to be willing to part with all for his sake: To stand at a distance from the world, and to be weaned from the enjoyments of it, and to let Christ have the command and government of our hearts, wills, and affections. My Friends, let us so live, as we shall wish we had done, when we come to die. 2 Cor. v. 10, 11, ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that which he hath done, whether it be good or bad.’ Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men: O blessed are they that turn from the evil of their ways, and so hear that their souls may live: ‘Obedience is better than sacrifice; and to hearken than the fat of rams.’ Blessed are they that ponder and weigh, and consider what the Lord’s prophets and messengers speak and declare unto them, that are found in a way of obedience, and live up to what they know, they shall at last lay down their heads in peace; ‘For blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, they rest from their labours, and their works will follow them.’

O Friends, come unto Christ that you may have life, and have it abundantly: He is the living fountain that God hath vouchsafed to open to us, even the fountain of living water, for the refreshment of thirsty souls; and the bread that comes down from heaven, for filling and satisfying the hungry soul. Blessed are they that know Christ to be their Shepherd, and hear his voice, and follow him, who will go before them as their light and leader, and give them eternal life. They shall receive from him in this life food convenient; he will make them lie down in green pastures, and lead them by the still waters, and he will prepare a table before them in the midst of their enemies, and satisfy them as with marrow and fatness, and make them triumph in his love and praise. Let us travel on in the path of life, in the ways of righteousness, without fainting, and labour to answer the great end of our creation, and the design of God’s love in our redemption, and let us live as witnesses for God in our own generation. But some may say, What do we witness? I witness to God’s judgment for my sin, and to his mercy in forgiving my sin, and to his good Spirit visiting my soul, and sanctifying me, and making me free from the law of sin and death; and I witness (may a sincere and humble soul say) a freedom and deliverance from the bondage of corruption, and power and victory over the world, and the flesh and the devil, the grand enemy of my salvation. O that you may all experience these great things in your own souls! Then Christ will say unto every one of you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful in a little, I will make thee ruler over much.’ The Joy of the Lord shall enter now into thee, and thou shalt hereafter enter into the joy of thy Lord; thou shalt then behold his face in righteousness, and be eternally satisfied with his likeness: ‘In whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.’

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THE SURE FOUNDATION by William Penn of Pennsylvania

The Sure Foundation by William Penn

The Sure Foundation by William Penn (Click to enlarge)

[Editor’s note: I am adding these sermons by William Penn, not only for the historical context, but also, because they could very well have been preached by the ministers I have listened to all my life, same spirit, same messages. Truth is truth. no matter what time in history we live.]

THE

SURE FOUNDATION:

A sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting:-House in Grace-Church Street, London, Oct. 10, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN, WITH HIS EXCELLENT PRAYER.

THE foundation of God standeth sure; and they that build sure, must build upon it. This hath been God’s great love to us, in this day, age and generation, that he has laid for us this sure foundation, that which in all ages the people of God have been built upon, and have been preserved in all the storms and tempests that have been raised, both from within and without. They who are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, are built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, ‘Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;’ in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord, Ephes. 2:20.

Friends, I exhort you in the name and power of the living God, mind this foundation, upon it do you build all your hopes of salvation. The living power and truth of the living God, is that which visited us in the beginning, and gathered us out of that which is evil, into that which is holy, pure and precious: blessed are you that feel, and experimentally know this visitation of the Lord, within you, from day to day, and from one season to another: this is that wherein stands your refreshment, your consolation, your succour and relief in all the times of temptation wherein the enemy of souls goes about, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ This subtle enemy is always waiting how he may break into God’s vineyard, and lay waste and spoil the heritage of the Lord; but by his divine Light and Spirit, and the Word of his Grace, they shall be preserved. This is the word which you read of in Rom. 10:8 and mentioned by Moses, Deut. 30:14. ‘The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:’ that is, the word of faith which we preach, that is that word of God by which you and all God’s people have been preserved in all ages and generations. Here is the foundation of peace and love, of purity and holiness; they that come to build on this foundation, they see it to be a sure foundation, by the brightness of Christ’s appearance, by the manifestation of the son of God. For ‘God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.’ This is the foundation; in building upon which, our souls can find peace and satisfaction. This is revealed and made known by the sovereign almighty arm, and power and wisdom of the Eternal God. This is that which I would leave among you; build upon the right foundation, even upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Son of God. God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that you may all come to be justified freely; by his grace, and led by the spirit of God as the children of God: that you may walk in the spirit, and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, for ‘if ye live after the flesh (says the apostle) ye shall die; but if you through the spirit mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live’ Rom. 8:13. The spirit of God is a spirit of purity, holiness, righteousness and self-denial; that will lead you through the straight gate, and in the narrow way, that leads to life.

Friends, this is the work that God hath called you to, even to build upon the right foundation; this is the day of God’s love, the day of his power, wherein you are to be a willing people that this work may be carried on in your hearts, the knowledge you have in religion, it must be experimental; for historical knowledge only, will not do; for that is a knowledge of the concern of others, and not our own. Let us highly prize and value the saving knowledge of God, and Jesus Christ, which is life eternal: let us look unto Christ within us, who is the light that discovers the works of darkness, and leads us out of them. Know God’s foundation, and build well upon it, not hay and stubble, which will be consumed by fire. I beseech you, in the name of the everlasting God, build upon the true foundation, Christ within you, the hope of glory, which is a mystery hid from ages and generations. Our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples a little before his departure; ‘If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.’ It is he, that dwelt in the hearts of the primitive Christians of old, and it is he, that dwells in his people now; he can open in our hearts a living fountain, a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great physician, that can cure all our spiritual maladies, and he is willing and ready to help us: come under his teaching, and guidance, and he will show you the path of life, and lead you in the way everlasting. Behold, he stands at the door and knocks; do you open your hearts to him, and he will come in, and sup with you, and you with him. He is calling you to repentance, to turn from sin, and come to Him that you may have life; he will lay judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, and bring down the man of sin in us, and raise us up to the love of God, and faith in God; that we may deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts , and everything that is contrary to the mind of God, that so we may love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul. And if we love God with all our minds, we must not give our minds to anything else; and if we love God with all our might and strength, we must love nothing but in subordination to him: we must love all things in God, and love God above all things, then we shall come truly to know that the Lord is our God. Matt. 7:24. Our Saviour speaking of building upon the right foundation, ‘Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doth them; I will liken him to a wise man that built his house upon a Rock, (and this Rock is Christ himself,) and the rains decended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the House, and it fell not; for it was founded on a rock.’ Such an one, that heareth Christ’s sayings, and doth them, he builds upon Christ the Rock of our salvation: upon this foundation did the holy patriarchs build; and upon this Rock and Foundation did the holy prophets build.

God told Elijah, 1 King 19:18. ‘Yet have I left seven thousand in Israel, that have not bowed unto Baal.’ Have a care of idolatry, of spiritual idolatry of loving any sin or lust: let Christ have your hearts, and the strength and flower of your love and affections, and build upon him alone who is the true foundation. Do not content yourselves with an external possession; labour to come and experience the work of regeneration, that you may know you are born again, born of the spirit, and are passed from death to life, and live in obedience to the commands of Christ, for he is the Author of eternal salvation, to all them that obey him. Have you known the terrors of the Lord? ask yourselves, am I so terrified, as to be persuaded to turn from that which would turn me from God? am I turned from that; which would eclipse God’s light in my soul? If thou art turned from sin to righteousness, thou art not a canter, thou art not an enthusiast; thou art a true child of God; and a work of regeneration is not only begun in thy soul, but thou art going on to perfection, and thou hast laid the foundation of repentance from dead works, and repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, our great mediator and redeemer, who is the way, the truth and the life: and if thou be faithful to death, he will give thee the crown of life.

Let us take heed to ourselves, and watch against the enemy of our souls, that he may not seduce us and bewilder us, and make us wander and lose our way, while we are travelling through the wilderness of this world, toward the heavenly Canaan. The same almighty arm, that brought us out of Egypt, will conduct us through the wilderness, and bring us safe to Canaan: our heavenly Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be our captain and leader, and after all our labours and dangers and conflicts with potent enemies in our way, he will bring us to the good land, to that kingdom that cannot be shaken; that inheritance, that is incorruptible, and undefiled, and fadeth not away: then we shall know our lot, and sing praises, living praises, with joy in our hearts, and harps in our hands, and worship Him that liveth forever and ever, saying, ‘blessing, honour, and glory, and power, to him, that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever! worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honour, glory, and blessing; who hath redeemed us to God by his blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;’ and hath made us to our God kings and priests.— We must now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, with a faith that worketh by love; we cannot be saved by a dead faith, but by a living faith : and as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. If we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved from sin, and from the wrath to come: ‘unless you believe in me (said our Saviour to the Jews) ye shall die in your sins.’ They that live in their sins, will die in them: blessed are they that mortify their sins, and that die to sin, that they may die in the Lord, and live forever with the Lord! happy are they, that are found in Christ (in a dying hour) not having their own righteousness, they shall be accepted of God; not for any righteousness of their own, but for the righteousness of Christ, who hath all righteousness to justify us, and will by his spirit work righteousness in us, and will be sanctification to us, ‘ he that knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;’ and the apostle tells us, that Christ is made to us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption: O glory, and honour, and eternal renown, be to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is all in all to us!

O friends, you that are an humble people, that mourn for sin, that are merciful, meek, and lowly, and poor in spirit, and pure in heart; our Lord Jesus Christ in his sermon on the mount hath pronounced a blessing on you: ‘blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven: blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted: blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth: blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy: blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ Matt. 5. O friends, you that have tasted, that the Lord is gracious, come unto Christ, as the true and sure Foundation : come unto him, as a Living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious; you also as lively stones, shall be built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ: unto you (saith the apostle) that believe, Christ is precious. Wherefore it is written, Isa. 28:16. ‘Thus saith the Lord God, behold I lay in Zion for a Foundation Stone, a tried Stone, a precious Corner Stone, a sure Foundation.’ He that believeth, shall not make haste: trust in this sure Foundation, you know that it hath never failed you. O lay not a new foundation, depart not from this sure Foundation, the Lord Jesus Christ; but say unto him, as Peter, when many disciples went back, and walked no more with him ; ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.’ Thus, by believing in Christ, and building upon this sure Foundation, you will bring honour and glory to his blessed name, and obtain salvation for your immortal souls.

Blessed is he that overcometh,(not he that is overcome,) he that overcometh, shall inherit all things. Blessed is he that overcometh the world, that overcomes the devil, and that overcometh sin, that overcomethh is lusts, his concupiscence, and all ungodliness and unrighteousness. Rev. 2:7. ‘To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’ It is the desire of my soul, that you may overcome, and be more than conquerors, through Christ, that hath loved you and washed you from your sins, in his own blood: and that you persevere, and continue in well doing to the end of your days, and then lay down your heads in peace, and enter into an everlasting rest, where there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, nor mourning; but God shall wipe away all tears from your eyes. And you that have been mourners in Zion, shall sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints ; who shall not fear thee and glorify thy name, for thou only art holy!’

Thus, my friends, you will bless the Lord forever, that hath visited your souls, when you come to obtain, through our Lord Jesus Christ, salvation and eternal glory; and join in the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, in celebrating the praises of his great and excellent name: who alone is worthy; who is God over all, blessed for ever more! Amen.

HIS PRAYER AFTER SERMON.

MOST Blessed, Glorious, Eternal and Incomprehensible Lord God, we desire to worship, and humbly adore thy excellent Majesty, whose gracious and favourable presence is with all thine, that wait upon thee, and desire to serve thee in the beauties of holiness. Thou hast mercifully made known thyself in this day of thy power and love, to a willing people, that delight to worship thee in spirit and in truth; the desire of whose souls is to thee only, and to the remembrance of thy name, that hunger and thirst, and look, and long for thy appearance.-— Blessed God, thou hast appeared, and thy appearance is glorious: Thou hast wonderfully appeared in the beams of gospel-light and grace, and caused not only the blessed gospel to dawn upon us, but thou hast been pleased to make thy glory to shine upon us, in the face of Jesus Christ, the dear Son of thy love; and by the mighty and powerful working of thy Holy Spirit, thou hast enlightened us with the saving knowledge of thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent, which is Life Eternal. The desire of our souls is after thee, more than after all things besides thee: Lord thou hast raised these living desires in our souls, and fervent breathings after thee, the living God. It is the most sincere and earnest desire of our souls to draw nigh to thee, that thou mayest draw nigh to us, and bless us; and that our services may be accepted, and well pleasing to thee through Jesus Christ. Lord, be graciously pleased to bow down thy people by thy mighty power, to a holy submission and resignation to thy heavenly will; and lift up the light of thy countenance upon all those, that breathe after communion with thee, that are thy peculiar people, and whom thou has set apart for thyself, and whom thou hast raised up to be monuments of thy mercy, and instruments of thy praise. There are many here present can say, that thou hast been very good unto them; thou hast caused joy to spring up in their souls in all the sorrows and troubles that have attended them. O how liberally hast thou distributed of thy light and love! thou hast opened a living fountain, and with living streams thou hast consolated and refreshed their souls, under their many trials and temptations. O God of my life, I beseech thee, bless all thy people, all that have believed in thy dear Son, Jesus Christ; draw nigh to all those that desire to come into the fellowship of thy truth; open thy hand, and dispense thy mercies liberally to us, that every one of us may know, that we receive from thy infinite fullness, and have all our supplies from thee. Let us be abundantly satisfied with thy loving kindness, which is better than life; and fed with the hidden manna; and eat of the bread that came down from Heaven, that whosoever eats of it shall never die, but live forever. Let thy mighty arm and power, O Lord, be revealed, and thy love shed abroad upon our hearts! preserve us and all thy people in the hollow of thy hand, and under thy Pavilion, from the fury and rage of the enemy, and from the strife of tongues. Compass us about with thy favour, as with a shield, and surround us with thine everlasting arms, that the enemy of our souls nay not approach us. O Lord, frustrate the designs of that adversary, that like a roaring lion goes about continually seeking whom he may devour. Lord hear all those that cry to thee in the depth of their distresses and afflictions, and help, and succour, and comfort, and support them, and deliver them in the needful time: show them the path of life; keep them from every evil way, and lead them in the way everlasting; and let them walk therein, and not be weary and faint in their minds; looking up to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith; who for the joy, that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame; who is a merciful high priest, that cannot but be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; that was tempted as we are, that he might succour those that are tempted. Let us follow the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings, having the kingdom of grace in our hearts, and kingdom of glory in our eyes; and by a patient continuance in well doing, seek after glory and honour, immortality and eternal life. Let thy kingdom come in power, and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven! we pray thee, sanctify all such opportunities, as these, unto thy people, and teach them to profit, and so to hear, that their Souls may live.

We cannot open the hearts of men; it is Thou, O Lord alone, that canst open their hearts: Thou hast the key of David, that canst open, and none can shut; and shut, and none can open. Man can do nothing of himself; it is thou, O Lord, that dost all. Prosper the labours of thy servants in the ministry of this nation, and in all the nations that are nigh, and afar off, where any are gathered to wait Upon thee: Lord, be thou in the midst of them; let every plant of thine own planting, grow, and bring forth fruit to thy praise. Send forth thy light, arid thy truth, and let thy glorious gospel have a free course, and be glorified. Be with those that cannot come to the solemn assemblies of thy people, let them be taught of God: those that lie upon beds of languishing, do thou heal and recover them; let them near the voice of thy rod, and not only receive correction, but instruction, and be taught by thy Spirit to improve their afflictions, that they may thankfully and joyfully say, it is good for us that we were afflicted. Pity “those that are wounded with the sense of their sin, and pour oil into their wounds and speak peace unto them, and pardon, and wash them in the precious blood of Jesus, which cleanseth from all sin; and prepare them for the everlasting enjoyment of thyself in the region of blessedness, where all tears shall be wiped from their eyes, and sorrow and sighing shall be no more. Let the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea: finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness! Lord, let the fear and dread of thy blessed majesty fill the hearts of all the inhabitants of this land, that thou mayest delight to dwell in the midst of us, and bless us. O Lord God Almighty, be pleased to go along with us, to the respective places of our abode, and let thy presence abide with us; and let salvation be for walls and bulwarks round about us! Lord, sprinkle the posts of the doors of thy servants, and sprinkle our hearts and consciences with the blood of the Immaculate Lamb, that the destroying angel may pass by: and preserve all thy people in the hollow of thy hand, and under the wing of thy love, that they may lie down in peace and safety, and extol and magnify thy great and excellent name, who hast extended thy favour to them and preserved them, when they have passed through the great waters, and mighty deeps, where thou hast showed them thy wonderful power, and great salvation: let their souls magnify thy name, and their spirits rejoice in thee, their God and Saviour, who didst preserve thy people Israel at the sea, even at the Red sea, and caused the waters on the right hand and on the left, to stand up as a wall, while they passed through the sea on dry land, and made their hearts glad, and to rejoice in thy great salvation, and triumph in thy praise. Honour and glory be ascribed to thy great and holy name, for that, thou hast of late delivered thy people as in days of old. Let them not go back again into Egypt; but be travelling on to the heavenly Canaan; and in thy good time do thou give them rest, after all their labours, travels, distresses and troubles; and let them sit down under their vines and fig-trees, and eat the fruits of their own labours; and of thy bounty and beneficence, and glorify thy name* with solemn praises, and heavenly conversation. And, blessed God, satisfy the desires of their souls, with respect to their inward, and spiritual state and condition, whose minds are exercised, about making their calling and election sure; that they may at last obtain life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Those that have been gathered, and brought to the knowledge of the truth, let them be continued in it, and enjoy heavenly fellowship and communion with thee, and the openings of divine life and love, while they are in their pilgrimage; that they may lay down their heads in peace, and render to Thee, through thy dear Son, Christ Jesus, thy Lamb, and our Light and Leader, (who is both our priest and sacrifice,) glory, honour, dominion and praise, who alone is worthy, and is God over all, blessed forever and ever! Amen.

Reference: The Harmony of Divine Doctrines: Demonstrated in Sundry Declarations on a variety of subjects. Preached at the Quakers’ Meetings in London. By William Penn

GOD’S CALL TO A CARELESS WORLD by William Penn of Pennsylvania

Admiral William Penn (1621-1670)  Founder of Pennsylvania quote concerning Knowledge and Judgement

William Penn Founder of Pennsylvania concerning Knowledge and Judgement (Click to enlarge)

Editors Note: Freedom cannot exist without morality, integrity and self-restraint. This is something the Founding Fathers were quite aware of. The less morality, integrity and self-restraint people have, the greater the need for laws to restrain the actions of men. The idea of self-governance the Founding Fathers promoted included the governing of your passions & desires, to restrain yourself from bad acts and choices. The Founding Fathers knew a people who could govern their own behavior would not need laws to restrain their freedoms! Moral decline in America is key to our loss of liberty!

How many who say “God bless America” realize they each have a duty to help obtain those blessings by living a righteous life? Not only did our ancestors ask for personal forgiveness at Thanksgiving along with their thanks. They also asked forgiveness for our National sins. A very good practice to follow!

GOD’S CALL

TO

A CARELESS WORLD.

A Sermon preached at the Quakers’ Meeting House, in Grace-Church-Street, London, Oct. 21, 1694.

BY WILLIAM PENN.

BLESSED are all those who have answered the call of God, and who are found in his way, whose way is the way of peace, who are not weary of well doing, but having been called of God, have obediently answered that call, and are found diligent, as those that expect to give an account of their deeds done in the body, that neglect not so great salvation, which so numerous a part of mankind are made partakers of; for it is certainly true, that God hath sent his Son into the world to bless mankind, who were all under a curse by nature, and children of wrath; God hath so loved the world, as to send his Son to bless them. But, O my friends! who among us will come to be blessed? who among the sons and daughters of men will come to be blessed of the blessed Son of God this day? who came to bless us, in turning every one of us from our iniquities.

Friends, I call upon you all in the name of the Lord, come and be blessed; they that receive Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God, receive the blessing: O you that have received the dear and blessed Son of God, and have opened the door of your hearts to him and said,’ O come Lord Jesus, come quickly! thou art the chiefest of ten thousand, and altogether lovely, thou art the desire of all nations, and most desirable to my soul; I have had other lovers, but now my soul loveth thee above all, and by thee will only make mention of thy name; which is that strong tower that I will fly unto, and take sanctuary in, at all times: O be not thou far from me when trouble is near, for at what time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee, and thou wilt set me on a rock higher than I; who art mighty to save, who art the author of eternal salvation, that canst save me from sin here, and from the wrath to come.’— All you who have answered thus, the call of God, and love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, that love his appearing, and look and long for it, and who cannot be contented and satisfied without it, that wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus, whom our souls love above all, O wait for Him more than they that watch for the morning; these are they that shall have the heavenly dew of divine grace descend upon them, and they shall grow as the lilly, and increase with the increases of God, and grow strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; ‘they that wait upon the Lord, (saith the prophet Isaiah,) shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint; and they shall get victory over the world, and over the Prince of the power of the air, and triumph over death and the grave, and be able to say, ‘O death where is thy sting! O grave where is thy victory!’ and likewise say with the apostle Paul, when he was ready to be offered, and the time of his departure was at hand, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the Righteous Judge shall give me at that day ; and not to me only, but unto them that also love his appearing: I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith, and that hath kept me:’ and you may further say with the same apostle, ‘forgetting the things that are behind, and reaching forth unto those things that are before, I press forward towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ It is the desire of my ,soul that you may all be a willing people in the day of God’s power, and be pressing forward in the ways of God, towards the heavenly Canaan. And now that you are brought out of Sodom and Egypt, you may never hanker after it again, nor go from the narrow way that leadeth unto life eternal. Remember Lot’s wife; when she looked back, she became a pillar of salt, a monument of God’s displeasure. Therefore take warning by her, you that have hastened out of Sodom; look not back, linger not by the way, but persevere to the end. that you may escape the fiery indignation of the Almighty, which will flame against those, and come upon them to the uttermost, that live and die in their iniquities. O labour therefore abundantly in the work of the Lord, and you shall enjoy eternal rest after all your labours, and you shall then find that your labour shall not be in vain; O faint not in the way of holiness, that leads to everlasting blessedness, and you shall have the love of God shed abroad upon your hearts by the Holy Ghost, and divine refreshment from the presence of the Lord, which will make all the ways of God to be ways of pleasantness and all his paths to be full of peace and joy; that peace that passeth understanding and that joy that is unspeakable and full of glory Therefore follow Christ your grand exemplar and supreme pattern, and be willing to deny yourselves, and take up his cross, and be crucified to the world, and let the world be crucified to you, and you will appear to be the children of the resurrection, who are royally descended, even of the line and family of heaven, children of light, of the Father of lights, who of his own will begat you with the word of truth, that you should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Here is good news for you, and glad tidings, that you that were children of wrath by nature, may by adoption become heirs of the promise, the promise of eternal life, through Christ Jesus, who hath purchased deliverance and eternal redemption for all that do believe in him. Here is true liberty and enlargement, and an opening of the prison doors to all those that have a deep sense of their misery and bondage. It is joyful news to a man in a foreign country, that lies in prison, and under heavy chains, to hear the joyful report of his redemption, and that the prison shall be opened, and his chains and fetters taken off, and that he shall be set at liberty to return to his native country : this is welcome tidings, relating only to the outward man; but here is a greater deliverance, for it is from a worse bondage and captivity: here is a call to the world, that they will come out of the prison and dark dungeon wherein the devil hath long held them in slavery and bondage; Christ Jesus is come from heaven to deliver them.

O come unto Christ, who is the light of the world, who will bring you out of darkness into his marvellous light; and turn you from the power of Satan, to the power of God. Ye that were sometime darkness, may be made light in the Lord ; you that were children of wrath and children of the devil, may become the children of God : you that were conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity you come to partake of the new birth, and be regenerated and renewed by the Holy Ghost, and washed in the blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sin, that you may be made meet to enter into the kingdom of God, into which no unclean thing shall ever enter; for alas! what is the use of purging and washing, but to take away stains and spots? O purify yourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; and come unto Christ the author of eternal salvation, and trust in him, and depend upon him, by a true and lively faith, and he will ordain peace for you: He is the great peace-maker, and will make their peace with God that answer the call of God. Blessed are they that come under his sceptre, under his holy and pure power and government.

O Friends, answer the call of God, that call that doth call thee, O man, from thy sin, which will certainly bring thee to destruction, if thou dost continue in it: O hearken to this call of God ! if thou dost answer that call, then thou wilt mind the reproofs that are given thee by the Spirit of God, and the light that shines in thine own heart: thou wilt then say, I cannot go on in that sin that God reproveth me for doing: I cannot rebel any longer against the holy motions of the Spirit of God. 1 remember such a time when I was travelling upon the way, and another time when I was upon my bed, my conscience reproached me, and the Lord rebuked me, and secretly reproved me for such and such a sin as I had committed. Surely it is meet to be said unto God, ‘ I have borne chastisement. I will not offend anymore; that which I see not, teach thou me: I have done iniquity, and I will do no more.’ Say with the Psalmist, ‘ If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand! but there is forgiveness with Thee, that thou mayest be feared.’

When you are under a sense of sin, and feel it as an intolerable burden, you will cry out, O that He that made us would save us, and shew mercy to us for his Son’s sake! the mercy of God is only extended to us in the Son of his love, Christ Jesus. Let us come unto Him that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. Blessed are they that lay hold «n the mercy and loving kindness of the Lord, with whom there is mercy, that be may be feared. ‘The Lord delighteth not in the death of a sinner, but that he may repent, return and live.’ When the Scribes and the Pharisees brought unto Christ the woman taken in adultery, and said to him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act; now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned; but what sayest thou? Jesus said unto them, he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone upon her;’ and they being convicted by their own consciences, went out one by one. When they were gone out, Jesus said unto the woman, ‘Where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? she said, no man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.’ Here he laid the axe to the root of the tree, they lived in the profession but not in the possession of the truth; they went out one by one, and being accused by their own consciences, they ceased to accuse her. Christ by his Spirit doth reprove thee for thy sin, and bids thee go and sin no more. They only shall have the benefit of what Christ hath done and suffered in his outward coming in the flesh, that believe in him, and see the necessity of his inward appearance and coming in the spirit, and answer the same. When Christ stands and knocks at the door of thy heart, be sure to let him in; if thou shuttest the door of thy heart against Christ, thou dost thereby provoke him to shut the door of heaven against thee. Rom. 2: 6. ‘He will render to every man according to his deeds;’ to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour, immortality, eternal life to them ; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil; of the Jew first, and also the Gentile: but glory, honour and peace, to every man that worketh good. There is a time to live and a time to die. This is the day of God’s visitation, when God calls men by his Spirit, and invites them to accept of mercy. There is a time coming when he will call them to judgment: woe be to them that have not answered the first call, when the second call comes. See to it while the Spirit of the Lord strives with you. Hearken to the voice of God, the oracle within, that reproves thee and checks thee for thy sin, and reverence the hand of the Lord when he corrects thee, and do thou patiently bear the indignation of the Lord, because thou hast sinned against Him. This is the day of God’s visitation! now he calls upon sinners, ‘how long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity, and the scorners, delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? turn ye at my reproof; I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, but ye have set at nought all my counsels, and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish hear and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David cometh upon you: then shall they call upon me, and 1 will not answer, they shall seek me early but they shall not find me; but whoso hearkeneth unto me, shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.’ Isa. 55:3. ‘Incline your ear and come unto me (saith the Lord).’ O live in the fear of the Lord and you shall have peace; live in the fear of God, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; it is the best wisdom that can be; it is the wisdom of heaven and eternity; it is that which promotes thy soul’s eternal happiness. When God calls thee by the voice of the rod, hear the rod, and that hath appointed it, and say in thy heart, O Lord I have waited for thee in the way of thy judgments, I will bear thine indignation because I have sinned against thee. I will submit to thy correction because I have transgressed, L have done- iniquity, I will do so no more ; I have done amiss; I have been vain and foolish, but I will not return to folly. I have forsaken the Lord, and he invites me to return, and I will return unto him.

Friends, they that will not hear God’s call in the day of his grace, God will not hear their call in the day of his wrath; He will be so far from pitying of them, that he will mock when their fear cometh; he will laugh at them and not regard them, and there is reason for it: for they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof; therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices; for the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them; ‘this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil;’ and there is no peace saith my God, to the wicked; the sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord; but unto you that fear my name (saith the Lord) shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing under his wings; and they shall be mine (saith the lord of hosts) in that day that I make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Blessed are those that in the day of their visitation answer the call of God’s love, who hath sent his Son to bless us in turning every one of us from our iniquities. There are many would be glad of the blessing, but they say in their hearts, this man shall not reign over us, Christ shall not be our king: but let me tell thee, O man! He will rule and govern thee’ if ever he save thee; He will rule over thy mind, and over thy will, and affections, and desires; and thou must bow to his sceptre, if thou wilt have any share in his sacrifice. Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor; He is called Jesus, the Mighty Saviour; He will both save us from sin here and from the wrath to come. For the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, and teacheth us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; you must be such, if you will obtain the blessing; you must have a godlike life, and be holy in all manner of conversation, and you must be turned from that which turned you from God; you must be turned from sin, or sin will turn you into hell. They that love sin and will live as they list, will find that the wages of sin is death; and yet when Christ comes to judge the world, He will only save those that have taken Him for their Lord as well as their Saviour. O those who would have Christ then, must receive Christ now, and turn to the light of Christ in their own consciences; Christ is the light of the world, he that hath the Light, hath Christ, and he that hath Christ, hath all that is desirable. ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock;’ open the door of thy heart, that Christ the King of glory may come in. O that men would but use their wits, and exercise their reason and understanding, but how contrary do they act to their own reason? they would be saved from death, but hot from sin, which is the cause of it; they would not be delivered from the cause, but only from the effect. The wages of sin is death. If thou wouldst be saved from destruction and perdition, thou must be saved from the cause of it; thou must be saved from thy sin, which is the root of all thy misery. For this end Christ died and shed his precious blood, that He might take away sin, and if He take away sin, He must take it away where it is, even in the hearts of men and women, and there you must receive Him. But if you will live in your sins, there is no way but you must die in your sins; unless Christ save from sin here, and justify you, sin will certainly condemn you. Be willing that Christ shall save you from sin now, and you will have cause to rejoice in the great day of judgment, for he that is the righteous Judge of the world, and that will sentence and condemn the wicked world, will be your Saviour and Justifier. In that day you that mourn now, shall rejoice forever, and obtain everlasting salvation; for Christ is the Author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in him and obey him. O that will be a trying day indeed, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, saith the Apostle Paul, 2 Thess. 1:7. ‘Because our testimony among you was believed in that day; wherefore also we pray always for you, that God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Blessed are they which are prepared for the coming and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; they that can say with the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5:1. ‘For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an House not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens: for in this we groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed upon with that House which is from heaven.’ It is the groan of faith and hope, and of vehement desire, to be forever with the Lord. Those that are regenerate and born again, they are looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.

It is the desire of my soul, that you may all come to answer the call of God, who hath sent his Son to bless you, and to turn every one of you from your iniquities. Let us not turn aside to the right hand nor to the left, but be pressing forward towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and we shall be made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in Light.

The people of Israel were by Joshua’s command, all circumcised, both old and young, before they could enter into the good land, that flows with milk and honey; so must it be now. if you will enter the eternal land by our heavenly Joshua. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? (saith the Psalmist, Psal. 119: 9.) ‘By taking heed thereto according to thy word.’ Hiding the word of the Lord in your heart, is the circumcising of it: there must be a witnessing of the circumcision in the heart, before we can enter into rest in the heavenly Canaan. The word of the Lord is as a fire, and as a hammer, and as a circumcising knife, the instrument of our purification, which takes away everything that is unclean, that would defile us, that we may become living temples, prepared for the presence of the holy God.

The Proto-Martyr, Stephen, when he reproved the persecuting Jews that stoned him to death, said, ‘Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; As your fathers did, so do ye: Which of the prophets, have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One, of whom you have been now betrayers and murderers.’ The most high God dwelleth not in temples made with hands; ‘Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made. But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.’ Therefore, my friends, give up your hearts to the Lord, that he may say, ‘Here do I delight to dwell, this is my habitation; for I have desired it;’ walk in the holy ways of God, and his word will be a light to your feet, and a lanthorn to your paths, and you will find the good ways of God to be ways of pleasantness, and all his paths to be full of peace. O pray, with the royal Psalmist, ‘Create in me, O God, a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me; cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit: Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.’ People must be first converted themselves, before they can be fit instruments to convert others. ‘I love them that love me, (saith the Lord,) and they that seek me early shall find me,’ that seek me in the first place, before and above all. ‘Wash you, make ye clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes: Cease to do evil, and learn to do well. Come now, and let us reason together, (saith the Lord.) Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ This is the call of God, hearken to it, and obey; and do not start aside like a broken bow, for then woe unto you: ‘Better that a millstone were hanged about your necks, and you cast into the midst of the sea,’ than be disobedient to the Lord, and live and die in your sins, and at last be drowned in destruction and perdition.

O, my Friends, hearken to the call of Christ; hear and your souls shall live. ‘Doth not Wisdom cry, and Understanding put forth her voice? Unto you,

O men, 1 call, and my voice is to the sons of men: Hear, for, I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things; For my mouth shall speak truth, and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness: I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment; that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures.’ What is this substance? It is heavenly treasures in the other world, ‘where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and thieves do not break through nor steal.’ The immutable God, that changeth not, hath an unchangeable inheritance for his people, that cannot find peace nor rest in their own hearts, till they find a place for the God df Jacob to dwell in: it is their most ardent desire that he may dwell in their hearts, and that they may for ever dwell with him in heaven.

O, my Friends, cast your care upon the Lord, and nothing shall be able to overwhelm you. If you have peace with God, he will in his time, make your enemies to be at peace with you; so that you may sit down under your own vines, and under your own fig trees, and eat the fruit of your labours. O say, with the Psalmist, ‘My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning,

I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him there is plenteous redemption.’ ‘What I say to you, I say unto all. Watch, (saith our Saviour,) Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.’ We must watch always, and pray without ceasing; I must not pray before I watch. Let us always be upon our watch, and walk so as remembering we are always in the presence of the omnipresent God. Let us set the Lord always before us, and consider we are under his all-seeing eye: Let us take heed unto our ways, and turn our feet unto God’s testimonies Let us look up to God and say, with holy David, ‘as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God! When shall I come and appear before God? Lord, thou wilt shew me the path of life. In thy presence there is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.’ When you are panting and breathing after the inward enjoyment of the divine presence, some may ignorantly call it enthusiasm, say it is merely the effect of melancholy; but holy David, the man after God’s own heart, was such an enthusiast, be did ardently pant and breathe after the enjoyment of God’s presence: God hath made known himself in and through his well-beloved Son Jesus Christ; God is in Christ, and Christ is in us, if we are his. Examine yourselves, saith the apostle, know ye not that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? If God be in Christ, and Christ Jesus e in us, to rule and govern us, we are safe and happy; he will be with us in the time of distress, trouble and tribulation; and will preserve us in the hour of temptation. What though we may meet with storms and tempests in our labours and travels on this earth: This may encourage us, that we have a serene heaven over our heads, and in the darkest night of our affliction, we may look up to the bright morning star, Christ Jesus, who is our light and our leader; and if we be weary and heavy laden, he will give us rest: And if we be wound ed with the sense of our sins, he is the great physician of souls, and the Sun of righteousness that will arise with healing under his wings.

My Friends, this is the love of God to mankind. He will bless us in turning us from our sin to himself; he will turn us from darkness to light, and turn us from that which hath turned us from God, if we will hear him. Let us pray and strive against sin, and bemoan ourselves with Ephraim, and say, ‘Lord, thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. Turn thou me and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God.’ If we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we shall with Ephraim hear the sounding of God’s bowels, and the voice of God pronouncing peace and pardon to us: ‘Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still, therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I , will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.’ But, my friends, notwithstanding the great love of God to mankind; yet how doth the Lord complain by the Prophet: ‘Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O Earth, for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; but Israel doth not know; my people doth not consider.’ The ox and ass, which are dull and stupid creatures, do upbraid their ingratitude, who are not affected with the kindness of God, but have forgotten him days without number. O remember your Owner; live unto him, and not to yourselves. ‘Ye are none of your own, ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God with your bodies, and; with your spirits, which are his. O live unto Christ that died for you; live unto his glory, that died for your salvation; hereby you will come to please God, by believing in him in whom he is well pleased, and you shall have that peace and joy that the world cannot give nor take away. Our Saviour said to the woman of Samaria, ‘If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water; whosoever shall drink of this water, shall thirst again, but whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.’ They that come unto Christ and believe in him, they shall receive living comforts and refreshments; be will satisfy them with living water. These divine, sweet and refreshing joys, are only tasted by those that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who will abundantly satisfy the thirsty souls. He will give them living waters from the brooks of Shiloh, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. They that that drink of these waters, of these living streams which they receive from Christ the Fountain, shall never thirst again. Christ is that living Fountain that gives refreshment and satisfaction to all that come to him. It is of his fulness that we all receive, grace for grace. Here is a well set open by the living and eternal God, a fountain unsealed, for whoever will come, may come, and drink of the well of the water of life freely.

Living praises be given to the most blessed everlasting God, that thus aboundeth in his mercy towards us, and deals bountifully with us: ‘For God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son; whom he hath appointed heir of all things, who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.’ He came into the world to seek and save us that were lost, who took our nature and sin upon him; who hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: God hath made him to be sin who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ‘He hath suffered for us, (saith the apostle Peter,) leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps, who his own self bare our sins in his own body upon the tree; that we being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness.’ If we follow the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings, we shall overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, and be more than conquerors through him that hath loved us; and go out of the world triumphantly, and say with the apostle, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing:’ To whom be glory, praise and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.

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SALVATION FROM SIN BY CHRIST ALONE: A Sermon by William Penn; Founder of Pennsylvania

William Penn quote concerning the Holy Ghost

William Penn concerning the Holy Ghost (Click to enlarge)

[Editor notes in Italics and brackets]

SALVATION FROM SIN

BY CHRIST ALONE:

OR,

The Arm of the Lord Revealed.

A SERMON PREACHED AT THE QUAKERS’ MEETINGHOUSE IN GRACE CHURCH STREET, LONDON, AUGUST 12, 1694.

By WILLIAM PENN. [Founder of Pennsylvania]

The great and blessed God that made heaven and earth, the seas and the great fountains of the deep, and rivers of water, the Almighty Jehovah who is from everlasting to everlasting; He also made man and woman, and his design was to make them eternally happy and blessed. And therefore He made man in his own image; ‘in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them:’ He made them after his own likeness holy, wise, merciful, just, patient, and humble, endued them with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. But man and woman through their transgressions lost the image of God, and with it lost their happiness and true blessedness, that God made them in a capacity to enjoy.

Now in this state of misery into which we are fallen, we are come short of the glory of God; and it is out of this wretched woeful state we must be brought, else we shall never see the face of God with comfort. This is an eternal truth of God, and recorded in the Holy Scriptures, John 3:16.

That ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ God so loved the world, he gave his Son to be a light unto the world, that all might see their way back to God again: for sin hath darkened the understanding, and clouded the mind of man and woman, and alienated them from the life of God, and their hearts are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. But now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation, the day of God’s grace and favorable visitation, wherein he visits men and women,’ illuminates their minds and spirits with a light from heaven, that they might see the deplorable state and condition wherein they are, and what they are doing: it is in this light that they have a day of grace vouchsafed to them, that it may be well with them, both here and for ever. They that receive this light, and come out of that which they are called from, which is sin, they may come to enjoy peace with God. It was sin that first separated between God and Man; and it is sin now that hinders man from acquaintance with the Lord, who brings peace unto him; it is by this light, that we are to acquaint ourselves with God, that we may be at peace. Thus saith the Lord by the prophet,’ it is sin has separated between me and you!’ Sin hath made a partition wall between God and us, and God hath sent his Son into the world to break down this partition wall that sin hath made; that so fallen man might return to God, and come into Paradise again, out of which sin hath cast him.

Now, none can bring us back to God, and into favor and communion with Him, but our Lord Jesus Christ: He is the light and leader of his people. There is no name under heaven by which we can be saved, but the name of Jesus: It is he that saves his people from their sins; and it is in him alone that we are blessed: ‘Blessed is be whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered;’ And for the sake of Christ alone it is, that the Lord imputeth not iniquity to us. Now pray ‘Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith,’ 2 Cor. 13:5. ‘Prove your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates.’ Examine yourselves, whether you have chosen the Lord for your God, and Christ for your Redeemer? And whether you have forsaken your sins, and turned from your evil ways, and answered the visitation of the love of God in your souls? Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save them that were lost? He is the physician of value, that was wounded to heal our wounds: ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and had the chastisement of our peace upon him; that by his stripes we might be healed:’ It is he alone that can do this. Who is sufficient for these things? The Lord found out one that is sufficient; he hath laid help upon one that is mighty, that is ‘able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.’ God hath given him the Spirit without measure, and filled him with grace and truth, that of his fullness we might all receive, and grace for grace: He is mighty to save the sons and daughters of men, and to give them power to become the children of God.

This was testified of old, John 1:12. ‘But as many as received him, to them gave be power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name.’ Men want power over their sins: When sin appears to be exceeding sinful, they would overcome it, and be rid of it when it is troublesome: And when they are under a deep conviction of the evil of it, and see the woeful and miserable state, that sin has brought mankind into, how they have lost the image of God, and the favour of God; they then desire to be restored, and brought back again into their primitive state. You that know the truth of God, see how the work goes on in your hearts, see how the image of God is carrying on upon you. Consider, that the Lord is a Holy God, of purer eyes than to behold iniquity with approbation: There is no peace to the wicked, that walk in the broad way, and grieve the Holy Spirit, and do not answer his divine call. There is a two-fold call concerning man; a call to repentance, and a call to judgment. The call to repentance is in this day of God’s visitation; they that receive it now, that are so wise as to answer God’s call and believe in the Son of God, and in his inward appearance, that obey his voice, when they hear his call, saying, Come away, come out of thy sins, come out of the wickedness, filthiness and pollution of the world; come into the divine nature of the Son of God; come into his life: Into what life? Into the spiritual life, the divine life?— Thou hast been dead to God and alive to the world: Now that thou mayst be dead to sin, and alive to God, come unto him that hath all power in heaven and earth, committed to him. O come unto Christ, the dear and blessed Son of God, in this day of grace and salvation, and receive power to overcome thy sins! Then thou wilt be a conqueror, and overcome the devil. [i.e. self, adamic nature of man]

We are of ourselves altogether insufficient for these things, we are weak and impotent; and our Saviour hath told us, ‘ Without me ye can do nothing:’ We are justified freely by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; not justified by our own works. How great a contradiction is it to charge them with the contrary, that say, they cannot preach nor pray, but as the Spirit of God moveth them. Blessed be God that hath made us sensible of our own weakness, emptiness and poverty. Our help hath been in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth, who hath given his Son to be an helper, and an all-sufficient Saviour to us; with him he hath given sufficient power and strength, whereby we are enabled to overcome the devil, the enemy of our souls: So that we may be enabled to stand against principalities and powers, against spiritual wickedness, and conquer all the powers of darkness, and fight the good fight of faith, and finish our course with joy, and keep the faith : seeing there is laid up for us a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give us at that day; and not only to us, (saith the apostle) but unto all them that love his appearing. We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in till points tempted like as we are, yet without sin: Christ, our Redeemer, was tempted, that he might succour those that are tempted. When the devil tempted our Saviour in the wilderness, and could not prevail, he went away and left him: The prince of this world found nothing in him, upon which he could fasten his temptation. Christ will enable those that believe in him to overcome the devil, and to be more than conquerors, through him that loved them: He came into the world to purge and purify his people, and to be the Author of eternal salvation to all them that believe in Him, and obey him. But it is said, ‘ He did not many mighty works’ among some to whom he preached the everlasting gospel, because of their unbelief: Many will not believe in the inward and spiritual appearance of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who is the light of the world; they will neither believe in the light, nor walk in the light, which will enable them to conquer the evil one, who is the prince of darkness. It is only through Christ Jesus the great captain, of our salvation, that we are victorious.

Therefore, my friends open your hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ, receive this blessed gift of God which he offers to you: And can God give you a greater, than the Son of his love? And will not you gladly receive him, and that great salvation which he hath purchased for you with his own blood! But, say some people, we have received Christ, and believe in him, and believe the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures. But let me ask you, who keeps house all this while? What have you done for Christ? Christ hath died for you; but hast thou lived to him? And hast thou died to the world, and died to thy sins and lusts? Consider with your-selves, it is both your great duty and interest to die to sin, and live to Christ that died for you. And we must stand at Christ’s tribunal, and give an account, to him, of whatsoever we have done, whether good or bad; and he will judge us at the great day of his appearing. Blessed are you, that receive the blessed Son of God, that now stands in spirit at the door and knocks: Open your heart, and make room for him, and let not the world keep him out and he will come in, and sup with you, and you with him: And he will do that for you, which you cannot do for yourselves. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak: He will give the power over sin, and over the world, and over the devil [your own will and desires]: Whenever he shall assault thee with his temptations, say, Get thee behind me Satan, thou savourest not the things that be of God. When people come to be spiritually minded they will taste and savour the things, that are spiritual and heavenly: if they be not things of God, do not touch with them, have nothing to do with them; but walk in the spirit, and savour the things of the spirit. And hearken to the counsel of Christ, who speaks unto you in the name of wisdom; ‘O ye simple ones understand wisdom, and ye fools be of an understanding heart; hear, for I will speak of excellent things, and the opening of my lips shall be right things: Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors: For whoso findeth me, findeth life’ Hearken to the blessed counsel of Christ, hear his voice and obey it; they that do his will, shall know his doctrine: The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant.

They that have the saving knowledge of God, and Christ Jesus, which is life eternal, they will walk in a correspondent and suitable manner to that knowledge, and be holy in all manner of conversation; they will not be only nominal christians, but true christians, Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile: they will receive Christ Jesus, who is God’s gift, and know the operation of his power in their souls. These persons are fit to live, and prepared to die; when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, they shall appear with him in glory. When the sound of the last trumpet shall be heard at the end of the world, time shall be no more; Come away! that day shall not be terrible to them that have put off the old man [Adamic nature, i.e. the devil], and put on the new man [Christ Jesus, the 2nd Adam]; and have begun to live a new life, and to have new affections, new thoughts, and resolutions, and have laid up their treasure in heaven, where their hearts are also: They have that peace, which the world cannot give, and which death cannot take away. Blessed are they, that take sanctuary in the name of Jesus, as in a strong tower; they shall get power over their sins, and over the vanity of their minds, that die to sin, and live to God, and feel the constraining power and efficacy of the love of Christ, who hath loved them, and washed them from their sins, in his own blood, and made them kings and priests to God.

My friends, hear the voice of wisdom, who bath said,’ Whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord: But be that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul.’ Be you early seekers: seek the kingdom of God in the first place. The Lord calls from heaven; ‘My Son, give me thine heart.’ Let thy answer be; Lord take my heart, purify and cleanse it; break it, and make it new, make it fit for thy acceptance, that I may find favour in thy sight. Without me (saith our Saviour) ye can do nothing: Therefore desire him to do it for thee, and to work in thee both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. How dreadful is it to appear at the bar of God’s justice, as miserable sinners! Those that have not Christ the great mediator, to plead for them, are miserable indeed; Therefore lay hold on Christ now; believe in him, lay hold on his power and spirit in this day of your visitation. If thou art under the power of sin and Satan, thou mayest receive power from Christ, to overcome all the power of darkness: If the strong man armed hath got possession of thy heart, Christ will lay siege to it: and if thou be willing to open the door, Christ will come in and cast out the strong man, and spoil him of all his goods. He will cast out the grand enemy of thy soul, and take possession for himself; that thou mayest be delivered from the power of Satan, and from the bondage of corruption, and brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God: And if the Son of God make thee free, thou shalt be free indeed. For this end Christ came into the world, for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil; And he will not lose the design of his coming, but will finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness.

Let us all come to Christ, and let none deceive themselves, and live in their sins, and yet think to come to Heaven: Be not deceived (saith the apostle) God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man Sows, that he shall also reap: He that sows to his flesh [Own desires, old man, Adamic nature i.e. the devil] shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap everlasting life. Labour for a sure grounded hope, a just hope in the mercy of God for pardon and salvation j then you must know a work of Christ upon you, and the power of the Spirit of Christ within you, subduing your will to a holy subjection to the Divine Will; that you may say with the apostle; I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Then the call to judgment will be joyful to you; for you shall then be justified and acquitted before the whole world, at that great and general judgment, and have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and it shall be well with you forever. Now, say to the righteous, it shall be well with him: not that it doth so appear at present; for through many tribulations we must expect to enter into the kingdom of heaven: And many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord will deliver them out of them all. So that if in this life only (saith the apostle) we have hope, we are of all men most miserable: Yet, say to the righteous, ‘it shall be well with him.’ Whatsoever their trials, troubles and tribulations are, the Lord will deliver them in the best time; they have heaven in their eye, and they look to the recompense of reward. Now what hast thou in thine eye? Is it the high calling in Christ? Is this the mark thou aimest at, and which thou hast in view? Is this the port and haven, that thou art sailing to, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame? Heb. 12:2. The apostle, after he had been speaking of the suffering and martyrdom of those great saints, of whom the world was not worthy; Heb. 11. How that through faith, they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopt the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens; of women, that received their dead to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting of deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Then he comes to speak of the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and bids us, look unto him. Heb. 12:1,2,3. “Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses: Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us; and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith: Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied, and faint in your minds.” Blessed are they that can endure all these things, shame, reproach, contumely and disdain, persecutions and afflictions, that attend the testimony of Jesus! Blessed are they, that can endure the cross [your sins, iniquity, faults, failures], and despise the shame! It is an internal cross, which thou must endure for Christ, or thy own heart will reprove thee, check thee and condemn thee for it: But if thou comest to know a being crucified with Christ, thou shalt reign with him, and be raised up to eternal glory with him. Unless thou knowest a dying to the world, and a being crucified with Christ, thou canst not have a well grounded hope of everlasting happiness.

Therefore now, Friends, examine yourselves about your title to heaven. It is the wisdom and practice of the world, to examine their titles and settlements, and to see they be sure, and firm and stable before hand: So we should make sure for heaven and eternal glory, and of an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, before this earthly tabernacle be dissolved; then for us to live will be Christ, and to die will be eternal gain. Blessed are they that bear record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus, that bear his name, and testify and join with him against the spirit of the world, and the prince of the power of the air. It is within that thou must join with Christ’s appearance, that so thou mayest be Christianized, and thy mind made truly Christian: Thou must be purified in thy spirit, and baptized with the Holy Ghost, and with fire, and know the powerful operation of the Lord: They that have not experience of the new birth, they cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

O my Friends, set before you the example of Christ, who was holy, harmless and undented; his life was glorious in holiness: And as it becomes you, so it highly concerns you, to be holy in all manner of conversation. For if you imitate not the life of Christ, you cannot be saved by his death. He came into the world to redeem you from all iniquity and to save you from sin and hell; labour to answer the dignity of your high and holy calling, with a conversation becoming the gospel of Christ: For you are called to glory and virtue. Whatsoever troubles, temptations and tribulations may attend you in your pilgrimage here below, if you be faithful and sincere, you will have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. In all your labours and travels on this earth, you may look up with joy, for you have a serene heaven over your heads; let Christ be precious to you; open the door of your hearts to him, who is the King of Glory. He is oppressed in the hearts of the unclean, but he is exalted and lifted up in the hearts of the faithful; Blessed are they that set him upon his throne in their hearts! O learn of Christ to be meek and lowly. Your humility will exalt him, and will also exalt you at the last. Be faithful to the death, and you shall receive a crown of life. Those that have eternal life in their eye, and depend upon Christ alone for salvation, they have laid a sure foundation. All other foundations will come to nothing; they are founded in time, and in time they will come to molder away: but that city that God is the Builder and Maker of, that Abraham had in his eye, will never decay, nor molder away. Let us have this always in our eye, that nothing may intercept our view. We have here (saith the apostle) no continuing city; We seek one that is to come. In this world we are as sheep among wolves. Fear not, little flock, (saith our Saviour,) it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you a kingdom. If we be the sheep of Christ we shall follow him; for his sheep follow him, and know his voice, and a stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they know not the voice of a stranger. My sheep (saith Christ) hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hands. Here is encouragement for us to labour abundantly in the work of the Lord; for our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. Let us, with Moses, choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; and esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; and have respect to the recompense of reward.

Friends, I beseech you, in the fear of God, look up unto Jesus, the great Mediator of the new covenant, the Author and Finisher of your faith; that by patient continuance in well doing, you may seek for glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life; which you shall obtain, if you persevere to the end: For he that endureth to the end, shall be saved.

Be not weary of well-doing; for in due time you shall reap, if ye faint not. He that bath appeared, as a God of salvation, and a mighty preserver of his people in all ages of the world, and hath been so both to the primitive Christians, and to all our Christian friends, that are gone before us to an eternal rest, if you faint not, but follow them, who through faith and patience do inherit the promises, you shall lay down your heads in peace in him, when you come to die: And when time shall be no more, you shall be forever with the Lord.

To God be praise, honour and glory, who hath stretched forth his mighty arm to save. Who is the arm of the Lord but Christ Jesus, the Redeemer of souls? When we had undone ourselves, and lost ourselves, in wandering and departing from the Lord, the true and living God, into darkness and the shadow of death, he stretched forth his almighty arm, to gather us, and to bring us into the Paradise of God again, when we were driven out by our own sin, from the face and presence of the Lord. Christ Jesus, the great and good Shepherd of his sheep, came to seek and to save them that were lost. The lost sheep that have wandered from him, he will take them on his shoulder, and bring them to his fold: And he will make them lie down in green pastures, and lead them by the still waters, and satisfy them with the rivers of pleasure that are at God’s right hand for evermore. He hath promised, ‘that he will feed his flock like a shepherd, and gather his lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.’ I hope Christ Jesus, the great Shepherd, will find some here this day, ‘that have gone astray, and gather them with his divine arm, and keep them by his mighty power, through faith, unto salvation. To him be all praise, honour, glory, dominion and thanksgiving; For he alone is worthy, who is God over all, blessed forever and ever! Amen.

Reference: The Harmony of Divine Doctrines: Demonstrated in Sundry Declarations on a variety of subjects. Preached at the Quakers’ Meetings in London. By William Penn

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