For CaptainJamesDavis “A Precious Love”

Thomas Jefferson: We Claim Our Rights Not from kings but from the King of Kings

Thomas Jefferson quote We Claim Our Rights Not from kings or legislators but from the King of kings

We Claim Our Rights Not from kings or legislators but from the King of kings [Click to enlarge]

THOMAS JEFFERSON LETTER To DOCTOR JOHN MANNERS.

FROM MONTICELLO, June 12, 1817

SIR,—Your favor of May 20th has been received some time since, but the increasing inertness of age renders me slow in obeying the calls of the writing-table, and less equal than I have been to its labors. My opinion on the right of Expatriation has been, so long ago as the year 1776, consigned to record in the act of the Virginia code, drawn by myself, recognizing the right expressly, and prescribing the mode of exercising it. The evidence of this natural right, like that of our right to life, liberty, the use of our faculties, the pursuit of happiness, is not left to the feeble and sophistical investigations of reason, but is impressed on the sense of every man. We do not claim these under the charters of kings or legislators, but under the King of kings. If he has made it a law in the nature of man to pursue his own happiness, he has left him free in the choice of place as well as mode; and we may safely call on the whole body of English jurists to produce the map on which Nature has traced, for each individual, the geographical line which she forbids him to cross in pursuit of happiness. It certainly does not exist in his mind. Where, then, is it? I believe, too, I might safely affirm, that there is not another nation, civilized or savage, which has ever denied this natural right. I doubt if there is another which refuses its exercise. I know it is allowed in some of the most respectable countries of continental Europe, nor have I ever heard of one in which it was not. How it is among our savage neighbors, who have no law but that of Nature, we all know. Though long estranged from legal reading and reasoning, and little familiar with the decisions of particular judges, I have considered that respecting the obligation of the common law in this country as a very plain one, and merely a question of document. If we are under that law, the document which made us so can surely be produced; and as far as this can be produced, so far we are subject to it, and farther we are not. Most of the States did, I believe, at an early period of their legislation, adopt the English law, common and statute, more or less in a body, as far as localities admitted of their application. In these States, then, the common law, so far as adopted, is the lev-loci [the law of the place]. Then comes the law of Congress, declaring that what is law in any State, shall be the rule of decision in their courts, as to matters arising within that State, except when controlled by their own statutes. But this law of Congress has been considered as extending to civil cases only; and that no such provision has been made for criminal ones. A similar provision, then, for criminal offences, would, in like manner, be an adoption of more or less of the common law, as part of the lex-loci, where the offence is committed; and would cover the whole field of legislation for the general government. I have turned to the passage you refer to in Judge Cooper’s Justinian, and should suppose the general expressions there used would admit of modifications conformable to this doctrine. It would alarm me indeed, in any case, to find myself entertaining an opinion different from that of a judgment so accurately organized as his. But I am quite persuaded that, whenever Judge Cooper shall be led to consider that question simply and nakedly, it is so much within his course of thinking, as liberal as logical, that, rejecting all blind and undefined obligation, he will hold to the positive and explicit precepts of the law alone. Accept these hasty sentiments on the subjects you propose, as hazarded in proof of my great esteem and respect.

NOTE: When the founding fathers or framers of the Republic of the United States spoke of the “general government” they were referring to what we now know as the “federal government”

Sources: The Writings of Jefferson by Thomas Jefferson

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

I And My Father Are One; As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father

My Father and I are One

“I and my Father are One”

I spent a bit of time this last week having some Bible discussions in the hospital, one particular case was where I was talking to an RN and she talked about the Trinity and how she believes the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are all Three the same being, or entity. This always amazed me the Trinity people vs the Oneness people because they essentially believe the same, yet according to most of them, they would argue they believe the opposite. Now whether you believe all three are one or whether you believe one is all three, the arguments are cutting the hairs pretty thinly.

The way I believe and most people I’ve ever been in church with believe the simple truth with Jesus himself admonished people not to get away from the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. The Bible plainly says there are two in the Godhead. God the Father and Christ Jesus the Son. The Holy Ghost is the Life, Spirit and Love of the Father that Christ Jesus must baptize everyone with for them to be born-again. Born-again, given a new life, given a new spirit and thereby given a new love that comes from the Father, through the Son. No one cometh to the Father, but by me.

The Bible plainly says: God is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of the woman. Putting aside mane being the head of the woman for the point of this piece I am writing. God i.e. the Father, being the head of Christ Jesus the Son. Christ Jesus the Son being the head of man. That puts two in the Godhead, not three, man is not a god, nor is man the Prince of Peace, nor is man the Everlasting Father, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God!

In another example it talks of the woman following the man as the man follows Christ Jesus’ example, words, etc. When it talks of I and my Father being “One”, that is speaking of heart, mind, ability, nature, spirit, love, work, etc.

For example; My mother and father have two children, my brother and I. My brother, he has mainly the characteristics of our mother, they do not take anything from anyone, and will jump right back at anyone who dares cross them or those they care for. I on the other hand have more of the characteristics of our father, we are more forgiving, laid back and yielding. My father has done HVAC work practically his whole life, he had a large HVAC business in the Tulsa / Broken Arrow area for many years. Our parents because of the distance from where we live, mom being secretary / bookkeeper of the business for dad, took my brother and I out of public school when I, myself was twelve years old. My brother and I went to work part time for dad and they enrolled us in homeschool so that we could  also do our studies and fulfill their obligations to educate us.

My brother disliked HVAC immensely and eventually he parted ways with the business and finally found his calling as a heavy equipment operator and quarry man.

Personally, I loved working for my father, and I have spent most of my life doing the same work as he. This is not the only area though where “I and my Father are One” You watch our actions in Church for instance, the way we move, clap, and countless other things, the sound of our voices as we sing, you can easily mistake my voice for his. Again; “I and my Father are One” There are many other character traits, actions, words, ideals, the way we see various and numerous things, issues, etc. Again; “I and my Father are One”

You get to know the times and various other things concerning our sleeping habits. Again; “I and my Father are One”

You get to know our wives, even our wives are one like the other in countless ways. Again; “I and my Father are one”  You get to know us by our demeanor, our silences, our utterings, our attentions. Again; “I and my Father are One”. You look even at the type of television shows, sports, etc. we watch. Again; “I and my Father are One”

No, my Father and I are not the same person, nor are we exactly alike in every aspect of our thinking, hearts, minds, lives. There are many small, insignificant and minor differences between my Father and I. However, in every point that counts, that goes to make up a mans character, sense of duty, motivations that drive us, our passions, etc. Yes! I and my Father are indeed “One”!

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

Founder of Christianity vs Founder of Islam

John Quincy Adams quotes regarding the Gospels of Christ

John Quincy Adams regarding the promises of the Christian gospel [Click to enlarge]

1 John iv. 1-3: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

The spirits and their utterances are to be tried by their attitude to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed and sent of the Father, the Saviour of the whole world, in whom God is well pleased.

John Quincy Adams quotes in regards to reading the Holy Bible

John Quincy Adams in regards to reading the Holy Bible [Click to enlarge]

Christian Spectator Vol 1 excerpt; I Am not a Mohammedan i.e. Muslim, Because; Author unknown

I Am not a Mohammedan,—1. Because I cannot allow to the prophet of Arabia the character which he assumed, and which his followers ascribe to him :—in oilier words. I cannot admit that Mohammed was the most illustrious of all the messengers sent from heaven to our world. I should thus exalt him above all the prophets and apostles; above the Son of God himself. This I should also do, not only without reason, but in opposition to most weighty evidence.

The appearance of Mohammed, certainly his appearance in the character which he assumed, is no where foretold in the sacred scriptures, which even his followers acknowledge to be diviue. This is by no means true, with regard to the Lord Jesus Christ. Long before his incarnation, his appearance, his character, the circumstances of his life and of his death, had been minutely detailed by prophecy. If the pretensions of Mohammed were well founded, why is not the same true, at least in a degree, with respect to him ?—why do the sacred pages contain so many predictions concerning him, who was to be born at Bethlehem, while nothing is said of him, who was to be born at Mecca? This is altogether unaccountable on the supposition, that the latter of these, surpasses the former in the dignity and importance of his character. I will not assert that no allusion is had to Mohammed in the prophetic parts of scripture; but if he is mentioned at all, it evidently is under the appellation of the false prophet.

Mohammed performed no supernatural operations, foretold no future events. The world is entirely destitute of evidence, that he ever did the least thing beyond the natural powers of man. For a long season, he made no pretensions of this kind. At length, to silence the demands of his opposers, and allay the apprehensions of his friends, he professed to have effected certain marvelous absurdities by supernatural assistance. But these things, beside being strangely inconsistent and self contradictory, want the proofs essential to establish a miracle. They were not performed in the face of day, nor under the eye of spectators,—consequently were never, like the miracles recorded in scripture, exposed to examination by the senses. These wonderful works, gained no general credit, even among those who lived at the time when tbey were said to be wrought; the story of them, was believed only by a few among the ignorant multitude; little dependence was placed on them by the prophet or his followers. If Mobammed was the most distinguished of all the messengers seut from God to men, how happened he to be destitute of this most important test of his divine mission?

I remark again, that the personal character of Mohammed, affords convincing evidence, that his high pretensions were unfounded. The prophets and apostles, who have spoken to men in the name of God, have uniformly been men of holy lives. For the Most High, to employ persons of any other description in this manner, would be inconsistent with all our ideas of his character. How then can we suppose that a man given up to debauchery, a man contemptible for the profligacy of his life, should be selected by Jehovah, as his most distinguished ambassador to our world? Such a man was Mohammed. This fact is abundantly supported by history, and is alone sufficient to destroy all belief that he was a true prophet; it clearly stamps him as an impostor. Mohammed’s retiring from public view for a season, and pretending in his seclusion to commence a reformation, and to receive certain secret communications from the invisible world, instead of diminishing, greatly increases our distrust in his assumed character. Such a course was admirably suited to promote the corrupt designs of a wicked and artful impostor.

I am not a Mohammedan—2. Because I cannot allow to the Koran, that respect, which belongs to the word of God. The difference between these books is vastly too great to admit the supposition, that both came from the same author. Their different style shews at once, that they are derived from different sources. The contrast between the Bible of Christians, and that of Mohammedans in this respect, is eloquently given by Mr. Gibbon, a man certainly not void of taste, nor prejudiced in favor of the sacred oracles. Of the Koran he says—”The harmony and copiousness of style, will not, in a version, reach the European infidel; he will peruse, with impatience, the endless incoherent rhapsody of fable, precept and declamation, which seldom excites a sentiment or idea, which sometimes crawls in the dust, and is sometimes lost in the clouds. The divine attributes exalt the fancy of an Arabian missionary; but his loftiest strains must yield to the sublime simplicity of the book of Job, composed in a remote age, in the same country, and in the same language.”

With regard to the most important religious doctrines, the Koran is still more diverse from holy writ. In the sacred scriptures we are clearly taught the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are assured that it is only by his obedience unto death, that any of our race can be pardoned and received into favor with God. In the Koran, Christ is declared to be only a man like ourselves. So far, is he said to be, from dying on account of human guilt, that even the fact, that he died at all, is denied. According to this book, the sufferings of the Saviour were only in appearance, and men, instead of needing a vicarious atonement for their sins, may, by a trifling restraint from open vice, become interested in the divine favor, and entitled to the happiness of heaven. Nor is the heaven promised, less different from the heaven of the scriptures, than the means of obtaining h. While the Christian expects a heaven, where he will be free from sin, where he will be entirely divested of every sensual appetite, and be happy only in the enjoyment of God, the Mussulman is taught to look for a paradise, great part of whose happiness will consist in carnal indulgence. Thus diverse, thus directly opposite, are the doctrines of the word of God, and those of the Koran of Mohammed.

Nor do these volumes bear a nearer resemblance, when we contemplate the morality which they inculcate. The former enjoins upon men, the restraint and the correction of their disorderly passions and propensities; requires them to be holy as their Father who is in heaven is holy; lays the foundation of morality in the heart, and inculcates love and benevolence towards all mankind. Wherever the precepts of the gospel have been obeyed, friendship and peace have prevailed, and the human character has been refined and exalted. Precisely the reverse of this, is true of the Koran. It is, in every respect, such as might be expected from its author. It requires no mortification of corrupt affections, no subduing of wicked passions, no guarding of the heart from sin. On the other hand, it encourages the indulgence of envy, pride, ambition, and sensual desire. Instead of breathing peace on earth and good will to men, it speaks misery and extermination; it literally declares war upon the human race.— Hence, in a moral view, the Koran has ever carried with it pestilence and death. Wherever its principles have been reduced to practice, man has been rendered the foe of man, and has sought the mischief and the ruin’ of his fellow;—in a word, the doctrines of this book, are, in a high degree, adapted to debauch and to brutalize the human character. Other points of difference between the sacred scriptures and the Koran, might be mentioned; bat enough has been said to shew, that if one of these books is what it purports to be, the other must be a forgery. Hence, before I can be a Mohammedan, I must regard the word of God as a fable; but then my Mohammedan creed would be imperfect, since Mussulmans [Muslims] profess to acknowledge the divinity of the holy scriptures.

As a further objection to Mohammedanism, should be mentioned the manner, in which this religion was originally propagated in the world. At first, it was established by fraud and deception, afterwards by fire and sword. It was never, like the religion of Christ, addressed to the understanding and the conscience of men, and spread in opposition to the corruptions of the human heart, and the power of civil authority. Islamism, however, was never proposed for investigation; it lays its strong hold in the depravity of man; has ever been supported by the arm of the magistrate, and has erected its bloody trophies over the miseries and desolations of the world.

Thus, whether I consider the personal character of Mohammed, or the want of prophecy and of miracles in his support; when I reflect on the style, in which his instructions are delivered; on the doctrines which he taught; the morality which he inculcated, or the manner, in which his religion was spread,—when I contemplate these things together or apart, I find abundant reason, why I cannot lay my hand on the Koran and cry,— “Ala, there is but one God, and Mohammed is his prophet.”

John Quincy Adams quotes regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ

John Quincy Adams regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ [Click to enlarge]

Extract from A Missionary’s Letter to a Muslim friend

Attitude of the Quran to Christ.

Testing the Quran thus, it is found to be characterized by a certain veiled hostility and studied depreciation of him. While it admits his perfect sinlessness and prophetic character, it bitterly denies his divinity, and all implied in his being the Son of God. I will quote a passage at random, a sample of countless others.

Sura XLIIL, Surat al Zukhraf, Ornaments of Gold, v. 59: “Jesus is no other than a servant, whom we favored with the gift of prophecy; and we appointed him for an example unto the children of Israel.” V. 63: “And when Jesus came with evident miracles, he said, Now I am come unto you with wisdom, and to explain unto you part of those things concerning which ye disagree.”

It is not strange that, while Muslims say much of their love and honor for the Lord Jesus, he is to the Shiahs only one of one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets, all considered sinless, Adam and Noah being among the number. The Sunnis recognize a hundred and forty-four thousand. Neither is it wonderful that so few of them take the trouble to familiarize themselves with the life and teachings of one who, as they suppose, was only a prophet for the Jews.

In the light of the great discrepancies and flat contradictions existing between the Bible and the Quran, I beg you to examine with the greatest care the foundations of Islam, remembering that your salvation depends upon arriving at the truth. Are you prepared to venture all on the word of one man, or even one angel, when that word plainly supersedes and abrogates the well-established revelations which preceded it? The former systems of religion are like a strong castle founded on a rock, and standing “four square to every wind that blows”; but Islam, resting on the authority of one witness, rather resembles a pyramid poised on its apex.

Jefferson quote concerning the advantages of serving Jesus

Thomas Jefferson concerning the advantages of Jesus [Click to enlarge]

Words of Jesus

Let us look at the words of Jesus, for to them he appealed to authenticate his divine character and mission. Leaving out those spoken by him, as we believe, through the prophets before his birth, and the apostles after his ascension, we will confine our attention to the utterances of his brief ministry of three and a half years.

The wisdom of the whole world has produced nothing like them; they unlock the mysteries of time and eternity, bring ” life and immortality to light,” and satisfy alike the loftiest demands of the intellect and the deepest cravings of the heart. How inimitable his parables! how perfect his precepts, wonderful in condensation and scope! What stores of comfort and instruction in every word, whether uttered in formal teaching or in the familiar intercourse of daily life!

Teachings of the Quran.

But when we turn to the Quran we are reminded of the saying, “What is true is not new, and what is new is not true.” The great doctrines of the unity and holiness of the Creator, his wisdom, justice, and mercy, sin and judgment, the resurrection of righteous and wicked men, heaven and hell, had long before been so fully set forth in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures that no additional revelation was needed. Had the knowledge of sacred books been diffused as it should have been, the Arabs could never have made the mistake of supposing these cardinal truths to be revealed for the first time. We must confess this to have been the fault of the Christian Church, which, having left the simplicity of the faith for image and relic worship, and received for doctrines the vain traditions of men, had forgotten to preach a pure Gospel, and neglected the last command of her Lord to teach all nations his words and works. She paid the penalty of disobedience in being powerless to prevent the rise of the new persecuting religion which was destined to prove her mortal enemy.

“What was true was not new.” Nothing, absolutely nothing, is added by the Prophet in the way of information or enforcement, while many of the old truths are belittled, misstated, and contradicted.

“What was new was not true”: the change of base from Isaac to Ishmael, from the Jew to the Arab, from Jerusalem to Mecca, from Jesus Christ to Muhammad, from salvation by grace to salvation by works, cannot be accepted. The new views of God, the new terms of salvation, the new regime of force, the mechanical character of the new obedience, are all inferior to the light, life, and liberty of Christianity. How, then, can we believe they emanate from the same source? He who has known the liberty of a son in the Father’s house cannot but hesitate when called to assume the station of a slave bowing beneath the inscrutable will of a far-off and unapproachable Master.

George Washington quote concerning the guidance of God.

George Washington quote concerning the guidance of God in his life [Click to enlarge]

Prophetic Gifts and Saving Grace.

We have already adverted to the gifts of prophecy and miracle abounding in the Lord Jesus, but in Muhammad conspicuous by their absence; but we must not lay undue stress on these as primary credentials of a true prophet.

The Old Testament, in the example of Balaam, and the New in that of Caiaphas, show us that, anomalous as it may appear to us, God can use wicked men to utter true prophecies. Of miracles, we see no reason to doubt that they were wrought by Judas as well as his fellow-apostles when Christ sent them out “with power and authority over the devils, and to cure disease.”

Matthew vii. 21-23, our Saviour says: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Matthew xxiv. 24: “There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

2 Thessalonians ii. 9: “Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders.”

Those whose trust is based only On the evidence of prophecy and miracles, or what appears to be such, may build on a sandy foundation, and in the decisive day of trial find themselves overwhelmed by fearful and remediless disaster. God, in his mercy, has provided us with a criterion by which to judge the pretensions of those who profess to be his representatives.

James Monroe quote concerning the blessings of God.

James Monroe concerning the blessings of God. [Click to enlarge]

Test of True Prophets.

Matthew vii. 15-18: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” The supreme test taught and met by Christ himself is personal holiness of character. He spoke of himself as coming, not to destroy, but to fulfil the law of God. If we accept his own word, he as divine was the author of the moral law, yet we never find him taking up a position of superiority to its requirements. On the contrary, we recognize in him the only human being who has ever completely kept the commandments in letter and spirit. Perfect in love to God and love to man, he ” brought in an everlasting righteousness ” sufficient to satisfy all demands of justice, and, as imputed to those who trust in him, able to save even ” unto the uttermost.”

James Madison quote regarding the Rights of Conscience

James Madison regarding the Rights of Conscience. [Click to enlarge]

Sinlessness of Christ.

He set a faultless example to his followers, offering to God a perfect obedience to his will, and to man a wondrous devotion, even laying down his life for the guilty race with which he identified himself. We have the testimony of his disciples to his sinless perfection, men associated with him for three and a half years on the familiar terms of close intimacy. Much of this time was spent in touring: on the road, or in the crowded conditions of Oriental village hospitality, so trying to ordinary friendship. They saw him weary, hungry, exposed to strong provocations. They saw him when the popular tide ran strong in his favor, and again when it ebbed, and most of his followers left him, in danger, betrayal, and death. Looking back on all, they deliberately tell us his life sustained his professed character, and he was indeed a sinless man. Not only their word, but the record of his words and actions as we have it, bears them out in their assertion. Tried by the most exacting standard of modern morality, he is without fault. His friends had every opportunity to judge him by the highest criterion, not the ability to utter beautiful poetry, which even depraved men often possess, but the power to lead a holy life.

We have seen his enemies dogging his steps with keen eyes of hate and prejudice, but unable to find any accusation against him. We have seen the infidelity of nineteen centuries scanning his life, eager to discover some flaw in his moral perfection, but compelled, like the Roman judge, to declare, ” I find no fault in him.” Those who reject him as a divine Saviour are lavish in praising him as the ideal man, the unique flower of humanity. The worst reproach brought to-day against Christians is that they are not like their Master, Jesus of Nazareth, the obscure Jewish carpenter, dying early as a criminal and an offender against Roman law. He who bore the punishment of a slave on the accursed cross furnishes to-day the standard by which all men are judged, while he himself is judged of no man.
John Adams quote regarding Christianity

John Adams regarding Christianity [Click to enlarge]

Morality of Muhammad.

What a contrast to Muhammad, who, setting up a far inferior code of morals, giving indulgence to the weaknesses of the flesh, and proclaiming liberty to its lusts, could not himself observe the law he promulgated as from God! On the ground of his prophetic office he claimed to be superior to its requirements and exempt from its penalties, and it is notorious that he freely acted on this principle.

Readers of the Quran are familiar with the Suras, which specially excuse him from observing the marriage and divorce laws of Islam, though they appear to most persons sufficiently elastic to satisfy any one. To cite but one instance. Sura XXXIIL, Surat ul Ahzab, the Confederates, v. 49-57: ” O Prophet, we have allowed thee thy wives unto whom thou hast given their dower, and also the slaves which thy right hand possesseth, of the booty which God hath granted thee; and the daughters of thy uncles, and the daughters of thy aunts, both on thy father’s side, and on thy mother’s side, who have fled with thee from Makkah, and any other believing woman if she give herself to the Prophet, in case the Prophet desireth to take her to wife. This is a peculiar privilege granted to thee above the rest of the true believers. We know what we have ordained them concerning their wives and the slaves which their right hands possess; lest it should be deemed a crime in thee to make use of the privilege granted thee; for God is gracious and merciful. Thou mayest postpone the turn of such of thy wives as thou shalt please; and thou mayest take unto thee her whom thou shalt please: and her whom thou shalt desire of those whom thou shalt have before rejected; and it shall be no crime in thee. This will be more easy, that they may be entirely content and may not be grieved, but may be well pleased with what thou shalt give every one of them. God knoweth whatever is in your hearts: and God is knowing and gracious. It shall not be lawful for thee to take other women to wife hereafter, nor to exchange any of thy wives for them, though their beauty please thee, except the slaves whom thy right hand shall possess; and God observeth all things. O true believers, enter not the houses of the Prophet, unless it be permitted you to eat meat with him, without waiting his convenient time; but when ye are invited, then enter. And when ye shall have eaten, disperse yourselves, and stay not to enter into familiar discourse; for this incommodeth the Prophet. He is ashamed to bid you depart, but God is not ashamed of the truth. And when ye ask of the Prophet’s wives what ye may have occasion for, ask it of them from behind a curtain. This will be more pure for your hearts and their hearts. Neither is it fit for you to give any uneasiness to the Apostle of God, or to marry his wives after him forever, for this would be a grievous thing in the sight of God. Whether ye divulge a thing, or conceal it, verily God knoweth all things. It shall be no crime in them, as to their fathers, or their sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, or the slaves which their right hands possess, if they speak to them unveiled: and fear ye God, for God is witness of all things. Verily God and his angels bless the Prophet; O true believers, do ye also bless him and salute him with a respectful salutation. As to those who offend God and his Apostle, God shall curse them in this world and in the next, and he hath prepared for them a shameful punishment.”

V. 60-61: “Verily if the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is an infirmity and they who raise disturbances in Medina, do not desist, we will surely stir thee up against them to chastise them; henceforth they shall not be suffered to dwell near thee therein except for a little time and being accursed: wherever they are found, they shall be taken and killed with a general slaughter.”

It is not from unfriendly or neutral historians, but from his own apologists and eulogists, we learn how fully the Prophet availed himself of his exceptional matrimonial privileges. “It is said, in his youth he lived a virtuous life. At the age of twenty-five he married Khadijah, a widow forty years old: and for five and twenty years was a faithful husband to her alone. Shortly after her death he married again, but it was not till he had reached the mature age of fifty-four that he became a polygamist, taking Ayesha, a child of seven or eight years, daughter of Abu Bekr, as rival of Sawda. In his fifty-sixth year he married Hafra, daughter of Umar; and the following year, in two successive months, Zeinab bint Khozeima and Omm Salma; a few months after, Zeinab, wife of Zeid, his adopted son. In the same year he married a seventh wife and also a concubine. And at last, when he was full three score years of age, no fewer than three new wives, besides Mary the Coptic slave, were within the space of seven months added to his already well-filled harem.”* The injunction touching his obnoxious neighbors, the Jews of Medina, we learn from Muslim historians, was carried out by assassination and banishment of his opponents, whole tribes being expatriated or exterminated.

John Adams Quote regarding Christians

John Adams regarding Christians [Click to enlarge]

Force as a Means of Propagandism.

While Islam has not been a religion propagated solely by the sword, it is a well-established matter of history that a large part of its success has been by force of arms. As we have seen, the Quran permits and commands believers to put the enemies of Islam to death. It is written in the Hyat ul Kuloob of the birth of Muhammad: “On that night under the name of the Prophet, in every Torat, Inj eel, or Zabour in the world, a drop of blood appeared, signifying that he would be a prophet armed with the sword.”

We find it impossible to associate such ideas with the personality of the Lord Jesus. In him what meekness, obedience, reverence for the Father, purity, zeal, hatred of sin, combined with infinite love for the sinner and matchless self-sacrifice! In Muhammad what growing pride, ambition, love of power, self-glorification! His apologists are never weary of reminding us how far he rose above his contemporaries, the idolatrous Arabs who surrounded him. Do they not admit the weakness of their cause by thus measuring him from that which was confessedly a very low standard instead of by that perfect ideal of manhood which had been given to the world almost six hundred years before? If he were a true prophet, we have a right to expect higher moral and spiritual attainments than we find in his predecessors. If he were not a true prophet sent of God, what was he? We read the earlier Suras, and admire the lofty thoughts and exalted descriptions of God, imperfect though they seem when placed beside our inspired Scriptures. Turn then to the later Suras, and mark how the commanding personality and central figure has become that of the Prophet himself. He dominates everywhere; we are not suffered for a moment to forget him. The Almighty, relegated to the background, has become an infinitely great and powerful shadow of Muhammad, constantly ministering to the Prophet’s glory, and promptly complying with his desires. A tradition says that Ayesha once said to him: “How kind your God is to you! Verily he always does whatever you wish!” The archangel Gabriel speeds from heaven—for what? To reveal some wondrous depth of divine wisdom, some sweet secret of eternal love, some new incitement to holiness, benevolence, purity? No, verily, but to say to the Prophet, if his wives are not content with his treatment and provision for them, he is permitted to divorce them and God will give better ones in their places. Or he comes to adminish visitors not to indulge in loud conversation before Muhammad’s door, to enter unbidden, or prolong their stay. He comes to vindicate the reputation of one wife, to reinstate her in the affections of her suspicious husband, and to rebuke the jealousies and contentions of the rest of the harem. One cannot help thinking if a prophet, and the greatest of prophets, could not manage his polygamous household without such frequent intervention and aid from above, what can ordinary men do under like circumstances? One fact stands out clearly: Muhammad is evidently the principal figure in his own estimation, and everything, angelic visits included, is made to subserve his glorification.

Thomas Jefferson quote regarding his Bible

Thomas Jefferson regarding his Bible [Click to enlarge]

Superseding of Jesus as Saviour.

We understand from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments that God accepted and commissioned the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world, the only Mediator between man and his Maker. In him he found a perfect righteousness, which by faith could be imputed and imparted to the sinner, a perfect example of the obedience man owes to God, a perfect sacrifice to take away the guilt of sin and bear its punishment. God gave to Jesus the promised sign of acceptance by raising him from the dead on the third day, and causing him to ascend to heaven in the sight of his disciples. He was afterward seen in vision sitting at the right hand of the Father, waiting, as had been predicted of him, till his enemies should be made his footstool. When and why did God reject this Holy One whom he himself had chosen, and with whom he was well pleased—with whom he had covenanted with an oath, sworn by himself, that all kingdoms and tribes should serve him, and of his kingdom there should be no end? If the Lord was faithful, as we know he was, even unto death, why should God remove him from his office and introduce another scheme of salvation for mankind? Was not the divine law of perfect love to God and love to man, which Jesus taught and practised, the highest and best rule of life of which we can conceive? Is it not sufficient to transform earth to heaven and sinners to saints? What need had man of Muhammad? What need of Islam?

Thomas Jefferson quotes regarding the character of Jesus Christ

Thomas Jefferson regarding the character of Jesus Christ [Click to enlarge]

Muslim Intolerance.

As you know,  Islam is the paramount faith; the adherents of other religions only exist on sufferance, theoretically with no rights, in a semi-servile state, dependent on the mercy of the dominant race. No Muslim is allowed to change his belief, on pain of death, nor is he permitted to hear of or investigate the truth of any other religion.

Thomas Jefferson quotes regarding Morality and Religion

Thomas Jefferson regarding Morality and Religion [Click to enlarge]

Christianity in Great Britain.

About the same time that the conquering sword introduced Islam into your country, the Gospel entered the British Isles with no weapon save the “sword of the Spirit,” the Word of God. It came with persuasive love and power to a people far below the grade of the civilization of your ancient land, a race little removed from the level of savages, wild and idolatrous. You have asked, Where are the modern miracles of Christianity? Surely the mental, moral, and spiritual change wrought by the Bible on the Anglo-Saxon race, and the manifest blessings they have enjoyed since they accepted Christ, may answer your question.

It is true that Christian countries contain much of crime and evil, because no nation, as such, has yet become thoroughly Christian. The kingdoms of this world are still ruled by Satan; they are not yet the kingdoms of God and of his Christ. No church even in its entirety is a perfect exemplification of the character and teachings of its Divine Founder. The tares flourish among the wheat, which itself is not yet fully matured and ready for the garner. No individual Christian even has attained to the perfection which is set before him. The sins of so-called Christendom are black enough, but they constitute no part of our religion; indeed, they are flagrant transgressions of it, and as such always strongly for, bidden. But polygamy, slavery, divorce, religious war, disregard of the rights of non-Muslims, are vital and essential points of Islam, practised by its founder and commander in its sacred book.

It is not fair to judge your religion by the conduct and character of all its adherents. I do not wish you to form an opinion of Christianity from the lives of many who profess and disgrace its name. Let us compare those who have most truly received and most deeply drunk of the spirit of their respective faiths, who most carefully regard the precepts and most closely imitate the founder of their religion. We fear no such comparison of the true Christian with the true Muslim.

Nor do we fear any examination of the two religions as to their power of renovating and purifying the heart, of sustaining in the trials and exigencies of life, and of conquering in the dread hour of death. You have tried Islam many years, but, after all, confess it has brought no real peace to your soul. You have said, did you not fear to rush unbidden into the presence of a justly offended God, you would gladly throw aside life as a burden too heavy to be borne. But the Christian’s inheritance is peace, left to us by the last words of our Saviour—John xvi. 33: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The Christian endures the ills of life without a murmur, sustained by a secret joy; in his cross is a hidden sweetness, since its heavier weight is sustained by an invisible companion and lightened by an enduring hope. He knows his trials are ordained by infinite wisdom and love, to secure his final perfection and harmonious relation to God; he anticipates endless holiness and happiness in the society and under the rule of his adored Redeemer. 1 Peter i. 8, 9: “Whom not having seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

Volumes of evidence might be adduced to show the holy lives and triumphant deaths of Christians. My own eyes have repeatedly seen how

“Jesus can make a dying bed
Seem soft as downy pillows are.”

Nay, more, the departing believer often experiences such rapturous joy, such foretastes of eternal bliss, that death is no more death, but truly “swallowed up in victory.” The wondering eyewitnesses of such a scene can only exclaim, ” Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.” And why should not he rejoice who can say, ” The eternal God is my refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms?” “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.” “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

In the New Testament the Christian is never spoken of as dying, for the brief sojourn of our Lord within the realm of death has robbed the enemy of his terrors. Christ is risen! his body rests in no earthly grave: “He is ascended on high, leading captivity captive.”

But the body of Muhammad has long lain at Medina, and the pilgrimages made to his tomb and to those of his successors tell us that your hopes rest on dead saviours, who could not rescue themselves from death and the grave.

Thomas Jefferson quotes regarding God's Divine Will

Thomas Jefferson regarding God’s Divine Will [Click to enlarge]

Islam in Death.

You know better than I what hope or comfort your religion offers in the last hour to the trembling spirit, bowed under a load of guilt and apprehension, and what are its consolations for the survivors. I have seen the deep gloom cast by the mention of death on your people, the unreasoning terror they manifest on its occurrence in their homes, and have heard the wild cries of anguish when the blow has fallen, and they seem to “mourn as those without hope.” That event must indeed be invested with dark forebodings to those who dare not say of the dead that their immediate salvation is assured. I have heard them comfort themselves with the assurance that whoever recites the Muslim Creed in death, the Kalima Shahidat, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God,” will find his sins fall from him as the leaves of a tree in autumn. But, alas! if the analogy were true, when the tree buds again, its leaf and fruit will be unchanged. He who has no guarantee of a radical change of nature must needs fear that, as he has sinned here, he will continue to do so in another world. Where sin remains, must remain alienation from God, punishment and sorrow.

The traditions which we may take as representing the popular belief are far from reassuring. In the Hyat ul Kuloob is written that Salman, the freedman of the Prophet of God, before his death, went to a cemetery to interrogate the dead. “One in his grave began to speak, saying, ‘ Lo, I hear thy words, and will quickly answer. Ask what thou wilt.’ Salman rejoined, ‘ O thou that speakest after death and its sorrows, art thou of Paradise, or of hell?’ The dead replied, ‘I am of the number on whom God has bestowed favor and in his mercy introduced to Paradise.’ Salman said, ‘Thou servant of God, describe to me what thou hast experienced.’ He answered, ‘Verily, cutting the body to pieces many times with shears is easier than the agonies of death. Know thou the Most High had bestowed divine favors on me in this world, and I had well discharged my duties. I read the Quran, and was very dutiful to my father and mother. I avoided what was forbidden, and feared to be unjust and oppressive to servants. Night and day I took pains and strove to find out and do what was lawful, through fear of standing before God to be questioned. The angel of death now approached and gradually drew my soul from my body. Every pull he made was equal in agony to all the pains under heaven. This continued till he reached my heart, when he signed to me with a dart, which, if he had laid upon the mountains, would have melted them, and forcibly drew my soul from my nostrils.'” He then tells of his burial, of the dreadful ordeal of examination by the two angels Munkir and Nakeer, who question him of his faith and practice. Of the latter angel he says, “He then laid me down in the grave, and said, Lie like a bridegroom. At my head he opened a door to Paradise, and at my feet a door to hell, and said, See what you will enjoy and what you are saved from. He then closed the opening to hell and expanded the gate of Paradise, from which its delightful perfume was wafted to me. He then enlarged my grave as far as the eye could see, and left me.”

 
Benjamin Franklin quotes concerning the Holy Bible

Benjamin Harrison concerning the Holy Bible [Click to enlarge]

State of Muslim Women.

Of one feature of Islam I am, perhaps, better fitted to judge than you, with your limited circle of female acquaintance: that is, the effect it produces on the character and condition of woman. As a rule, where the provisions of the law are strictly carried out, only your wife, mother, sister, and daughter can speak with you freely and with unveiled faces. You are not permitted to see the countenances of even cousins and relatives by marriage; all conversation or association with them is watched and guarded with suspicious espionage. You have not concealed from me your very unfavorable estimate of your countrywomen, even while you acknowledged them capable of better things. But you have never lived in a Christian land, and you must pardon me for saying your ideal of womanhood cannot be so high as if you had seen it developed under the influence of light, liberty, and equal legal and moral rights. Remembering how often we are shocked beyond expression by the unintentional coarseness and unconscious vulgarity, the low standard of thought and morals betrayed by your best, most amiable, cultured, religious ladies in even a short, ceremonious call; remembering howling mobs of ragged village women, wild with curiosity, steeped in ignorance, shameless of speech and manner, and contrasting them with the same classes in Christian lands, we are forced to ask, Whence this difference? Forgive me if these criticisms seem harsh, though these women speak of themselves more severely than I should venture to do. “We are beasts, we are donkeys, what do we know? what can we do?” Their husbands seem generally to regard them as a necessary evil, something to be ashamed of, and kept in the background as much as possible. Seeing this, our sisters, many of them so beautiful, talented, attractive, gifted by nature with every requisite of a graceful and virtuous womanhood, we are filled with indignation at their imprisoned and degraded condition, treated as if unworthy of honor or confidence, perpetuating their own ignorance and superstition not only in their daughters, but in their sons. But such is the condition of woman, and even worse in non Christian lands. Jesus alone has brought her into a life of light, liberty, and usefulness. We have learned to love and pity many of these women, and have entered into the shadow where they dwell under a habitual consciousness of inferiority and contempt. We have seen their bitter tears and vain struggles on the entrance of a rival in their homes, we have heard their complaints of their prophet and their attempts to console themselves with the thought that the Christian woman, if happier here, is doomed to the flames of hell, while their sorrows will earn for them the joys of Paradise. We know the insecurity of their position, liable to divorce at the pleasure of their masters, thus taught to separate their interests from those of the husband, according to the proverb, “Bring a wife, bring an enemy.” How often jealousy, deceit, intrigue, and the worst passions of the human heart poison and destroy the happiness which God intended to spring from the family institution! It is not always thus: there are homes where the wife is loved and respected, the husband honored and obeyed, where there is no fear of rivalry or desertion, no strife between the children of different mothers. But such rare examples exist in spite of your religion, and only testify that home happiness is inseparable from permanence and sacredness in the marriage relation. A family fully governed by Christian principle must needs be pure and peaceful; one ruled by the precepts and permissions of the Quran must be like that of Muhammad himself, vexed with jealousy, dissension, suspicion, discontent, and scandal; without any convenient Gabriel to lend a hand in its management. No race can expect to seclude, suppress, and keep in ignorance half of its number without paying a fearful penalty. If a young Muslim is educated, enlightened, where can he find a home companion to understand, to sympathize with him, to prove herself a true helpmeet? Blindfolded, you stretch your hand into the darkness to grasp that of an unknown wife, with whom, as a rule, you have never exchanged a word, or even seen her face; of whose tastes, qualities, and temper you are perfectly ignorant, and who may cause you untold misery. The saddest part is that the harem, the curtain, the veil, the ignorance of women, are essential if society is not to become worse. No greater misfortune could befall Muslim women in their present state than to be put in possession of the privileges enjoyed by their Christian sisters. What causes this difference between the two? Why can one woman be trusted to make no improper use of her freedom, while, as the whole fabric of Muslim society seems to testify, the other cannot? I remember a Muslim gentleman, truly attached to his beautiful wife, an educated woman, by the standard of this land, and a true companion to him. He said once: “I would gladly see my wife free as the Christian ladies are. The veil and the harem curtain are no pleasure to me, I can trust her; but the state of society is such, it would, not be safe, I should be killed for her sake.”

 
William Penn founder of Pennsylvania quotes concerning Christianity

William Penn founder of Pennsylvania concerning Christianity [Click to enlarge]

Fundamental Teaching of Christianity.

But let us come to that which fundamentally distinguishes true Christianity from all other religions. We say, true Christianity, because much that goes by that name is counterfeit, a baptized heathenism, often possessing much in common with Islam and idolatry. The unique doctrine of the Bible is that of the new birth. By this we understand that a lost and ruined sinner, totally unable to help himself, may be made over, have another chance, begin again. Nay, more, that by God’s free grace, he may attain a higher condition than if Adam had not sinned, becoming “an heir of God,” ” a partaker of the divine nature,” dead to sin for evermore, alive to righteousness. Jesus brought us this blessed hope, and, by the gift of his indwelling Spirit, makes this new life a matter of personal consciousness to myriads of men, women and children, who know and can witness that they have received and enjoy it.

Under the influence of Christ, the drunkard becomes abstinent, the libertine chaste, the murderer loving, the thief honest, the liar truthful. As the Muslim says of the good he cannot attain, “Satan will not let me,” the Christian says of the evil from which he is withheld, “Jesus will not let me.”

Our Lord, constantly working these spiritual miracles, lives on the earth to-day as a personal force of infinite power, a real and present personality to his obedient subjects.

Does the Quran offer us any substitute for this doctrine, or does it even recognize its necessity? Search its contents from beginning to end, and you will see guilty man practically left to be his own savior.

Benjamin Franklin quotes regarding those who quarrel about Christianity

Benjamin Franklin regarding those who quarrel about Christianity [Click to enlarge]

Christianity Judaism Developed.

Till Christ appeared, this transcendent mercy of God to the sinner was conserved, lying dormant, as it were, concealed within the ceremonial law and the rigid observances of Judaism, as the germ within the seed, the bird in the egg. His magic touch evoked the light and beauty of Christianity, the flower and crown, the full development of what was first entrusted to the guardian care of Israel, then thrown open to all the world. The types and shadows then vanished; the ceremonial law was no longer needed. Men learned “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”—Rom. xiv. 17. They understood “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 man but of God. “Hebrews ix. 8-12:” the first tabernacle was as yet standing, which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience: which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them till the time of reformation. But Christ being come, a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building, neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!”

The ceremonial law, we must not forget, was given only to the Jews, and none were bound to regard or observe it, or could do so acceptably, except born Jews by birth and proselytes. We are taught it was given to meet a temporary want: to show man his need of a Saviour; and to prefigure an atoning sacrifice yet to be offered.

John Quincy Adams quotes regarding the Christian Faith

John Quincy Adams regarding the Christian Faith [Click to enlarge]

Salvation by Faith Taught from the Beginning.

Yet, from the beginning, God left not unrevealed to man the true way of salvation, nor allowed him to suppose it could be attained by his own efforts. These were aptly typified by the frail, withering fig leaves with which Adam and Eve labored to hide their nakedness after the fall. A pitying God clothed them with the warm and durable skins of innocent animals, whose blood flowed before the gift could be made. Have you never wondered that of all animals, man alone is compelled to use artificial coverings? Is there here no hint of a spiritual truth, that he has no merit of his own, and must receive his robe of righteousness, imputed and imparted from God as a free and undeserved gift, if he would not suffer eternal shame?

Salvation by faith: not the intellectual assent to dogma, but the loving and obedient trust of the soul, tried and found to control the life, linking the frail finite creature with the Holy and Infinite Most High by a living bond—this is the very warp and woof of Old and New Testaments. Four times their pages repeat, “The just shall live by faith.”

Four hundred and thirty years before the giving of the Mosaic law, it was said of Abraham, Gen. xv. 6: “And he believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness.” Christianity returns to Abraham, but Muhammad’s search for truth never brings him to the land of Canaan and the promised possession of Mount Zion. Like Ishmael, he wanders in the desert of Arabia, and coming to Mount Sinai, hearing only the law given to Moses, and that imperfectly, accepts it superficially, apprehended as the best God has for man. He hears the ready response of the people to Jehovah’s awful demand for perfection, and answers with them in their hasty ignorance, “All that the Lord hath said, we will do and be obedient.” He is ready to join them, or rather to make an independent promise of his own, taking the place in God’s house of a sinner saved by his own works and a vague confidence in what he calls the mercy of God. He fails to remark that after their rash promise, Moses sprinkled them with “the blood of the covenant,” a significant intimation of the only road to acceptable obedience.

The Christian is a son, twice born, once of the flesh, again of the Spirit. He has his place in the house, not as a hireling, but by birth. Long ago, for those who could see, this was enacted in parable when Ishmael and his mother were sent portionless away from the tents of Abraham, as told in the twenty-first chapter of Genesis, and explained Gal. iv. 22-26, 29-31: “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman by promise.”

“Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants: the one from the Mount Sinai which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. But as then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
John Quincy Adams quotes  regarding the Glory of the Revolution

John Quincy Adams regarding the Glory of the Revolution [Click to enlarge]

“What Shall I Do to be Saved?”

The one question our race is ever laboring to answer is, “How shall man be just with God?” Turning to Islam with this query, we are referred first to dead works of the flesh, already thoroughly tried and found inadequate to meet the case. As well return the radiant flower to the discarded husk which protected its germination, or compress the soaring, singing bird in the narrow confines of its outgrown shell! Failing the obedience required, man is to trust to a vague hope of the mercy of God, earned by repentance, not necessarily a forsaking of sin, but a sense of regret, evinced by tears and other outward demonstrations. But, alas! who knows when he has repented enough? If God is merciful, he is also just; the sentence has never been repealed, “The soul that sinneth, he shall die.” This means the eternal cutting off the sinner from the source of true life, and finds its ready illustration in the dry and lifeless branches we use for fuel.

Has Muhammad shown his worthiness to displace Jesus, and Islam to supersede Christianity? If it be God’s last word to man, it should as far surpass our religion and its Founder as he excelled Moses and his dispensation. Equality is not sufficient; the inference of superiority cannot be tolerated for a moment.
John Milton quotes regarding Jesus and Christianity

John Milton regarding Jesus and Christianity [Click to enlarge]

True and False Religions.

To my mind, all religions fall into two classes. In the first, God saves his ruined creatures by free grace, by the merits and death of his incarnate Son, “imputed to us and received by faith alone.” A heart renewed and transformed by so great love ascribes the glory to him alone. In the other, man is glorified as his own savior, his own righteousness, or that of other mere creatures, laying God under obligation to save and grant him eternal felicity. Salvation is not a gift, or only partly so; it becomes a debt owed by the Creator to the possessors of accumulated merit, which, they fondly believe, outweighs their actual transgressions. These views, held under a great variety of outward forms, are characterized by a low estimate of sin. They ignore the hereditary taint and corruption of our nature, wherein lie boundless possibilites of disobedience to God and disorder to his creation. They overlook the fact that not only does the law require us to refrain from its violation, it expects of us perfect obedience to its commands, and conformity to its spirit. To the helpless penitent, trusting the authenticated Saviour provided by divine love and wisdom, full forgiveness is granted; of him who prefers to be saved by his own righteousness, or that of unauthorized mediators, or by his own sufferings in purgatorial flames, the debt will be exacted to the very last farthing. We shall not be measured by the low standard of not having been as bad as we could, but by the higher one of the law’s demand for absolute moral perfection. He who failed of being what his Maker meant him to be will be rejected, and his good qualities and deeds may be likened to the two or three grains of silver found in a counterfeit coin, which do not persuade any one to accept it as genuine.

The only man who has ever fully met all the requirements of the divine law of perfection is the Lord Jesus Christ; only as identified with him can we hope for safety.

You have sometimes expressed the hope that both our religions may finally prove to be true— yours for you, mine for me; that all men, if only sincere and obedient to their respective faiths, may, by diverse roads, meet at the same goal. One or two doubtful passages in the Quran may seem to encourage this idea, in the case of Jews and Christians, but the Bible does not countenance it for a moment. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”—John xiv. 6. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”—Acts iv. 12. These are but two of many unequivocal utterances which have made Christianity the most fervently hated religion in the world. It must be all or nothing: it “brooks no rival on the throne.” As you know, Islam occupies exactly the same position, but carries it to the extent of declaring herself divinely commissioned to destroy those who reject her claims. Instead of the “foolishness of preaching,” or rather perhaps to reinforce it, she uses the logic of the sword. This is no empty threat, or unapplied theory. In large tracts of the fairest portions of Europe, Asia, and Africa it has been enforced in tears and blood and fire; the shrieks of the captive and clanking chain of the prisoner have echoed back its war cry, and emphasized its intolerance of all faith but its own. No, my friend, our religions are enemies to the death, and must so remain to the end: no uncertain one; for Christianity, though by her nature and laws debarred from contending with an arm of flesh, has her own peculiar weapons with which she must finally conquer. Your kindness of heart would fain hope a better fate for those whom you esteem and love, and who obstinately reject your religion. But that faith itself offers them nothing but eternal hell-fire.

I beg you to be assured this letter is written with none but the kindest feelings to your country and its people: a race possessing many fine qualities, and ability to be a blessing to the world, a country dear to me as my own, the home of my deliberate choice. Nor is there any thought of boasting, or fancied superiority. When the Anglo-Saxon recalls his savage and debased heathen ancestry, he has no cause for pride, only for deep humility and thankfulness. And should he not be among the foremost to communicate the blessings he has received to every nation, at any cost, even to the sacrifice of life itself?

How deeply should I regret to have learned so much of the unrest and hopelessness of your life, were there no remedy to offer! Knowing of such a remedy, having tried it myself, I cannot but urge it upon you. It may, it is true, cost you all your earthly possessions; you may, as others have done, literally lay down all, but Jesus is worth it!

The heart is the citadel of our life, the controller of the springs of thought and action. The head may assent to overpowering evidence, but the heart only yields to personal experience. You are not invited to a religion, an intellectual persuasion, a human society, but to a personal relation with a personal and ever-present Friend, found of all who seek him with the whole heart.

The whole world is well lost to him who has discovered the love of God in Christ, the priceless pearl, the hidden treasure, our joy, our life, our crown, and our eternal portion. May you seek and be found of him, and find in him the Good Shepherd of the wandering sheep!

End of excerpt from letter

Muslim Fanaticism

Mohammedans have earned for themselves throughout the world the title of ” fanatics,” as a consequence of their wild words and actions in connection with the Faith, once delivered to them by Mohammed. The feeling amongst Moslems has been and is, that they are the chosen of Allah, that they are the appointed instruments of God to bring all men, even by the power of the sword, to the knowledge of the only true faith. Consequently woe be to the individuals, communities, or nations, that will not listen to the call to accept Islamism with all its forms and ceremonies!

It is true that at the present time the power of Mohammedanism, is a conquering religion, or the desire to conquer still remains, and the old feeling of intolerance and fanaticism is probably everywhere almost as strong as ever it was.

In my researches into the history of Mohammedanism I have met with many instances of fanaticism, some of which I would now mention, as they will help us to understand what Islamism really is in the intensity of its wild faith and zeal. Fanaticism in war may well come first. Mohammed, though in the early days of his career a man of peace, and an advocate of mild measures in the propagation of truth, eventually developed into a man of war, and a stern and enthusiastic propagator of Allah’s religion by the sword.

The later books of the Koran teem with passages which counsel strong measures to be taken with infidels. It is written: “Fight against those who believe not in God until they pay tribute by right of subjection, and are reduced low.” And again: “When ye meet the infidels, strike off their heads, until ye have made a great slaughter among them.” And then it is added: “As for those who fight or fall in defence of God’s true religion, He will not suffer their deeds to die. Verily, God loveth those who fight for His religion.” “Paradise,” it was declared, “is under the shadow of swords.” “The sword,” it was asserted, “is a surer argument than books.”

Is it to be wondered at that a people thus taught should have grown to love war as the very breath of their nostrils, and to revel in it with a fanaticism that was cruel as the grave? Even before the Prophet died his terrible injunctions began to bear fruit, and after his death the fighting spirit raged throughout Arabia, and the Moslems went forth conquering and to conquer. From the Caliph to the meanest servant or slave in Islam the fanatical creed was accepted, that “the sword was the Key of Heaven and Hell, that a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, a night spent in arms, were of more avail than months of fasting and prayer.”

Fanaticism in war showed itself not merely in the determination to overcome an enemy, but in the ardent wish, if Allah willed it, to die on the field of battle, as thus to be “martyred “in the cause of God was believed to be the most certain way of obtaining the highest joys of eternal life in the world beyond the grave.

Listen, for example, to the words of an Arabian youth, whom a fond mother and sister vainly sought to persuade from adopting the profession of arms. His parting speech to those who loved him was: “Hold me not back, nor grieve that I leave you! It is not the delicacies of Syria or the fading delights of this world that have prompted me to devote my life in the cause of religion. But I seek the favour of God and His Apostle: and I have heard from one of the companions of the Prophet that the spirits of the martyrs will be lodged in the crops of green birds, who shall taste the fruits and drink of the rivers of Paradise. Farewell! We shall meet again among the groves and fountains which God has provided for His elect.”

I have read of another case of a warrior who on the field of battle fought with reckless fury, raving, as he slashed right and left with his sword, about the joys of Paradise promised to all true believers who fell in the wars of the Faith. “Methinks!” he cried aloud, so as to be heard above the din of arms, “Methinks I see the black-eyed girls looking upon me; one of whom, should she appear in this world, all mankind would die for love of. And I see in the hand of another a handkerchief of green silk, and a cap of precious stones, and she beckons me and calls out: ‘Come hither quickly, for I love thee !'” Scarcely had the fanatic thus spoken when a javelin pierced his heart and despatched him to his vaunted elysium. And these two instances are but types of countless thousands in Islam whose fanaticism has exceeded all bounds in the race for martyrdom in a jihad, or holy war.

Besides the joy of fighting for the Faith, and the incentive of the pleasures of Paradise for the valiant, the fanaticism of Mohammedans has been deepened and strengthened by the doctrine of predestination, as taught by the Prophet, or at any rate as believed by the Faithful. The ‘Koran says in one place: “The fate of every man have we bound about his neck;” and in another, “No soul. can die unless by the permission of God, according to what is written in the book containing the determination of things.”

Mohammed inserted these passages after the temporary defeat of his followers at Ohod, to inspire them with fresh courage. He represented to the Faithful that the time of every man’s death is decreed and determined by Allah, and that those who had fallen in the battle could not have avoided their fate had they stopped at home, so there was no reason to grieve unduly, or to be discouraged and disheartened.

Thus did the Prophet instil into the minds of his soldiers a belief in Fate, and under this persuasion did Moslems engage in battle without anxiety or fear, believing that what would be must be, that no one could die before his time, and that no human sagacity or foresight could evade the hand of death if the moment had been preordained. We can see how such a doctrine of predestination spurred the Faithful on to deeds of recklessness, and made the early soldiers of the Crescent men to be dreaded beyond the ordinary run of adversaries, for they were fanatics.

One of the most remarkable of these warrior-fanatics was Kaled, who was employed by Abu Bekr and Omar in the wars in Syria. He was a man who added superstition to his belief in fate, for he was wont to declare that a special providence watched over him, and that as long as he wore a certain cap which had been blessed by Mohammed he was invulnerable to all the darts of the enemies of Islam. And truly it seemed as if he bore a charmed life, for though in every battle he rushed into the thickest of the fight, and was ever surrounded by dangers, he always marvellously escaped, and in a good old age died in his bed.

The exploits of this fanatic in the siege of Damascus are almost beyond belief. He rushed madly at every antagonist, generally singling out the strongest and the bravest, and he was always conqueror. On one occasion, after a desperate struggle with a bold Christian General, which left him exhausted, a fresh adversary spurred his charger to attack him. A companion in arms, the gallant Derar, seeing the exhaustion of Kaled, called out to him: “O Kaled, repose yourself for a moment, and permit me to supply your place,” but the reply he got was: “Not so, good Derar; if I needs must rest, it will be in Paradise. He that labours to-day will rest to-morrow.” At the word he sprang upon his foe, and hurled him lifeless to the ground. Kaled by such deeds earned for himself the title of “The Sword of God.”

But the doctrine of predestination can influence in two ways: It can make fanatical cowards as well as fanatical braves. And in these latter days it seems in Moslem countries to be producing a weak and degenerate race. The belief in fate is as strong as ever, but it now takes the form of lazy, instead of active, fanaticism, and it is striking at the root of all enterprise and progress. As one writer has said: “Many Moslems positively refuse to exert themselves, while they excuse their natural indolence by declaring: ‘Everything is determined: what is to be will be: if God intends that we should become rich we shall become so without any personal exertion : if He intends that we shall be poor, poor we shall have to remain, despite our labour.'” Thus the doctrine of predestination as held by Mohammedans is baneful, whether in war or peace, for when exercised in the sphere of the former it produces a hard and cruel race of warriors, and when in the sphere of the latter, a race of weak and helpless citizens.

Fanaticism has shown itself very markedly in the department of teaching, and especially in the teaching of the truths of the Koran. The verbal inspiration of the Scriptures has ever been part of the orthodox creed of Islamism. Some of the Faithful at various times have questioned the doctrine, and have even striven to show that the Koran contains passages that contradict each other, and therefore cannot be infallible: but such liberal views are far from common.

In every age Moslems, as a whole, have been most dogmatic in their teaching, and perfectly fanatical in their enforcement upon others of what they have conceived to be truth. Take for example the time of the Abbasides of Bagdad. The author of “Islam under the Caliphs of Bagdad,” says, “Every one who either in act or word questioned a single syllable of the Koran was regarded as an infidel, and was in peril of being torn in pieces by the devout.”

Then to look at an earlier period. Omar, the second Commander of the Faithful, delighted in teaching the law, and would brook no interference from doubters or cavillers. There is a characteristic story told of him when he was on his famous journey from Medina to Jerusalem, when the latter city was subjected by the Moslem arms. The Caliph often stopped by the way as he passed through Arabia and Syria to administer justice and expound the Sacred Koran. Usually a crowd gathered round him to see and hear the grand old man. On one occasion he took for his text a few words from the Koran which assert that those whom God shall lead in the right way are secure from all harm, but that those whom He shall lead in the way of error are doomed to punishment. As Omar enforced these pregnant lessons a grey-headed man in the audience disturbed the flow of the preacher’s utterance by remarking aloud, “Tush! God leads no man into error!” The stern, fanatical Caliph deigned no direct reply, but turning to his body-guard, he said: “Strike off that old man’s head if he repeats his words!” The preacher met with no further opposition.

One of the most fanatical acts on record is associated with the name of Omar—I refer to the destruction of the Alexandrian Library. I know that the story has been gravely questioned of late years. Gibbon and others have made light of it, but still the tale was believed for centuries, and it has not yet been proved false, and it is certainly just such a deed as a fanatical Moslem prince like Omar might have committed.

“The Alexandrian Library was formed by Ptolemy Soter, and placed in a building called the Bruchion. It was augmented in successive reigns to 400,000 volumes, and an additional 300,000 volumes were placed in a temple called the Serapeon. The Bruchion, with the books it contained, was burned in the war of Caesar, but the Serapeon was preserved. Cleopatra, it is said, added to it the library of Pergamus, given to her by Marc Antony, consisting of 200,000 volumes. It sustained repeated injuries during various subsequent revolutions, but was always restored to its ancient splendour, and numerous additions made to it. Such was its state at the capture of Alexandria by the Moslems.” The famous library was, in fact, the finest in the world.

The story goes that Amr, the Conqueror of Egypt, and the leader of the Moslem armies, had his attention drawn to the Library by the learned Greek known as John the Grammarian, to whom Amr had granted many favours. John asked that the books might be given to himself, as the Moslems would probably have no use for them. The General was inclined to gratify the wish of the Grammarian, but his rigid integrity refused to alienate anything without the permission of the Commander of the Faithful, to whom he at once wrote. The answer which Omar is generally believed to have sent was inspired by the ignorance and zeal of a fanatic. It ran: “If these writings of the Greeks agree with the blessed Koran, the Book of Allah, they are useless, and therefore need not be preserved; if they disagree, then they are pernicious, and ought to be destroyed.”

Washington Irving, commenting on this extraordinary message, says: “Amr, as a man of genius and intelligence, may have grieved at the order of the Caliph, while as a loyal subject and faithful soldier, he felt bound to obey it.” Consequently the command went forth to seize and to destroy, and the valuable manuscripts and books were distributed as fuel among the five thousand baths of the city of Alexandria, and, it is said, so numerous were they, that it took six months to consume them. Thus perished by a deed of Moslem fanaticism much of the learning, the arts, and the genius of antiquity.

Fanaticism in Moslem lands is not confined to men, but is as strong or stronger amongst women. Notwithstanding the disabilities and hardships under which women labour in Islam, they cleave with blind enthusiasm to the teaching of the Prophet of God, hugging to their breasts the Book which has made their degradation an article of faith and binding throughout the ages.

And little children too are veritable fanatics. Lane, in his “Modern Egyptians,” tells us that from their earliest days Moslem boys and girls are taught to hate “infidels” with a perfect hatred. It must be remembered that in the eyes of Mohammedans all are infidels who are not of the true Faith—that is, Islam. Let me quote a prayer that is now in use amongst the children of Moslems. Lane translates it thus: “O God, destroy the infidels and polytheists, thine enemies, the enemies of Islam! O God, make their offspring orphans, defile their abodes, cause their feet to slip, and give them and their families, and their children, and their possessions and their race, and their wealth, and their land, as booty to the Moslems.” What an awful prayer to put into the mouths of boys and girls! Little wonder that the rising generation, like all preceding generations in Islam, regards the world with eyes of anger and hate!

A little incident that happened in my own experience may not be unworthy of notice. I was travelling at the time in Palestine, and was drawing near the ancient city of Hebron, once so famous in Jewish history, but now in the possession of Moslems. The day was hot, and I had ridden far, and was suffering from thirst. Suddenly I espied by the wayside a maiden, perchance of seven years of age, tripping gaily along with a waterpot poised on her head in Eastern fashion. I hailed her and made signs for a drink of water. That she understood me perfectly was clear, but to my surprise she was not prepared to grant my request. Now, usually in the East, if the traveller can get nothing else, he can get a drink of water from the people he sees, for it is considered churlish indeed to refuse such a necessary of life.

However, the heart of the little maiden at Hebron was closed against all not of her own Faith. And so insulted and enraged was she that I should have even presumed to ask anything from her, that she put her hands up to her head, and in a tempest of indignation dashed the unoffending waterpot to the ground. Then pointing to the spilt water, she declared, with oaths and curses, so my Dragoman told me, that she hoped that thus would my blood ere many days be spilt and sink into the ground. For the time being the maiden was a little fury, and I was convinced that the fanaticism of the people of Islam was, even amongst the juvenile members of society, something to be carefully watched by travellers, or dangerous results might follow. The inhabitants of Hebron or, as it is now called, El-Khalid, are notorious for their fanaticism, and by their conduct they belie both the ancient and the modern name of their city, which names, being interpreted, mean, “the Friend.”

Sometimes the evil results of the fanaticism of Mohammedans have not been confined to strangers, but have made themselves felt within their own borders; as, for instance, in those sad cases of regicide which have been so common in Moslem countries. As we have seen in the course of these Studies, Omar, Othman, and Ali, three of the Commanders of the Faithful, fell victims to the mad zeal of some of their own followers, who conceived that they were doing God and Islam service by despatching the Caliphs with their daggers.

The truth is fanaticism is an uncertain instrument to use: it is a two-edged tool which it is dangerous to handle. The leaders of Mohammedanism in all generations have found that they have not always been able to control the fierce spirit they have called up, and they have been taught by a terrible experience the truth of that saying: “They that take the sword shall perish by the sword.”

I wonder sometimes whether Mohammedans will ever learn that their best interests lie in realizing the great truth of the Brotherhood of Humanity. There can be no peace, no prosperity, and no real happiness in Islam, until the feelings of cruel religious fanaticism nurtured by the Koran have been replaced by feelings of brotherly sympathy and love for all nations and peoples.

Sources: “Islam and Christianity or the Quran and the Bible: A letter to a Muslim friend,, by a Missionary” by G. Halliday published 1901
Studies in Mohammedanism, historical and doctrinal by John J. Pool; published 1892
Picture quotes taken from various writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States

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

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S VISION: A REMARKABLE PROPHECY OVER A CENTURY OLD

GWGuidance

WASHINGTON’S VISION: A REMARKABLE PROPHECY OVER A CENTURY OLD

The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on the 4th of July, 1859, in ” Independence Square.” He was then 91 years of age, and becoming very feeble; but though so old his eyes were dim as he looked at Independence Hall, he said he had come to gaze upon it once more before he was gathered home.

“What time is it?” said he, raising his trembling eyes to the clock in the steeple, and endeavoring to shade the former with a shaking hand. “What time is it?” I can’t see so well now as I used to.”

Half past three.

“Come, then,” he continued, “let us go into the Hall. I want to tell you an incident of Washington’s life, one which no one alive knows of except myself, and, if you live, you will before long see it verified.- Mark me, I am not superstitious, but you will see it verified.”

Reaching the visitors’ rooms, in which the sacred relics of our early days are preserved, we sat down upon one of the old-fashioned wooden benches, and my venerable friend related to me the following narrative, which, from the peculiarity of our national affairs at the present time, I have been induced to give to the world. I give it as nearly as possible in his [Washington’s] own words:

“When the bold action of our Congress, in asserting the independent colonies, became known to the world, we were laughed at and scoffed at as silly, presumptuous rebels, whom the British grenadiers would soon tame into submission ; but undauntedly we prepared to make good what we had said. The keen encounter came, and the world knows the result. It is easy and pleasant for those of the present generation to talk and write of the days of ’76, but they little know, neither can they imagine, the trials and sufferings of those fearful days. And there is one thing that I much fear, and that is that the American people do not properly appreciate the boon of freedom. Party spirit is yearly becoming stronger and stronger, and, unless it is checked, will at no distant day undermine and tumble into ruin the noblest structure of the Republic. But let me hasten to my narrative.

“From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill, at one time victorious, at another conquered. I think the darkest period was when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the winter of ’77. Ah! I have seen the tears coursing down our dear old commander’s careworn cheek as he would be conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington going to the thicket to pray. Well it is not only true, but he used to often pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine Providence alone brought us safely through those dark days of tribulation.

“One day, I remember it well, the chilly wind whistled and howled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shining brightly; he remained in his quarters nearly the whole of the afternoon alone. When he came out I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and that there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dark, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of the officer I mentioned, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation which lasted some half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his . companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command, said to the latter:

“I do not know whether it was owing to anxiety of mind or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this very table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something in the apartment seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing exactly opposite me a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence. A second, third, and fourth time did I repeat the question, but received no answer from my distinguished visitor. . I began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensation which I have sometimes imagined accompanied dissolution. I did not think, reason, or move; all were alike impossible. I was only conscious of gazing fixedly and vacantly at my companion.

“‘Presently I heard a voice, saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn !” while at the same time my visitor extended her arm and forefinger easterly. I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance, rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated and I looked upon a strange scene. Before me lay stretched out in one vast plain all the countries of the world — Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. I saw rolling and tossing, between Europe and America, the billows of the Atlantic, and between Asia and America lay the Pacific. “Son of the Republic, look and learn! A century cometh; look and learn,” said the same mysterious voice as before.

“‘ At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, standing or rather floating in mid-air between Europe and America. Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand, while he cast some upon England with his left. Immediately a dark cloud arose from each of those countries and joined in mid-ocean. A while it remained stationary, and then moved slowly westward until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightning now gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people.

“‘ A second time the angel dipped from the ocean and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn to the ocean, into whose heaving waves it then sank from view, and the third time I heard the mysterious voice, saying, ” Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

“‘ I cast my eye upon America, and beheld villages, towns, and cities springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dotted with them.

“‘ At this the dark, shadowy angel turned his face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill-omened spectre approaching our land. It flitted slowly and heavily over every village, town, and city of the latter, the inhabitants of which presently set themselves in battle array, one against the other. As I continued looking I saw a bright angel, and on his brow rested a crown of light on which was traced the word UNION, bearing the American flag, which he placed between the different nations and said, “Remember, ye are brethren.”

“‘ Instantly, the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons, became friends once more, and united around the national standard. And again I heard the mysterious voice, saying, “Son of the Republic, the second peril has passed, look and learn.”

“‘ And I beheld the villages, towns, and cities of America increase in size and numbers, till at last they covered all the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and their inhabitants became as countless as the stars in heaven or as the sands upon the seashore. And again I heard the mysterious voice, ” Son of the Republic, the end of a century cometh, look and learn.” At this, the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth, and blew three distinct blasts, and taking water from the ocean, sprinkled it out upon Europe, Asia, and Africa.

“‘ Then my eyes looked upon a fearful scene. From each of those countries arose thick, black clouds, which soon joined into one; and throughout this mass gleamed a dark red light, by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America, which country was presently enveloped in the volume of the cloud. And I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country, and pillage and burn the villages, towns, and cities, which I had beheld springing up. As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of swords, and cries of the millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice, saying, ” Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

“‘ When the voice had ceased, the dark, shadowy angel placed his trumpet to his mouth, and blew a long and fearful blast.

“‘ Instantly a light as from a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which enveloped America. At the same moment I saw the angel, upon whose forehead still shone the word UNION, and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descending from heaven attended by legions of white spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who, taking courage again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle. Again amid the fearful noise of the conflict I heard a mysterious voice, saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

“‘ As the voice ceased, the dark, shadow angel, for the last time, dipped water from the ocean, and sprinkled it on America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious. Then once more I beheld villages, towns, and cities spring up where they had been before, while the bright angel, planting the azure standard He had brought in the midst of them, cried in a loud voice to the inhabitants: “While the stars remain and the heavens send down dews upon the earth, so long shall the Republic last.”

“‘And taking from his brow the crown, on which still blazed the word UNION, he placed it upon the standard, while all the people, kneeling down, said, “Amen!”

“‘ The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last, saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor which I at first beheld. This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor, who in that same mysterious voice I had heard before, said, ” Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: These perils will come upon the Republic; the most fearful is the third, passing which the whole world united shall never be able fo prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his Land, and Union.”

“‘ With these words the figure vanished. I started from my seat, and felt that I had been shown the birth, progress, and destiny of the Republic of the United States.’

“Such, my friend,” concluded the venerable narrator, “were the words from Washington’s own lips, and America would do well to profit by them. Let her remember that in Union she has Strength, in Disunion her destruction.” — American Citizen.

“How fecund [fertile, lush, abundant] is the Supreme Author of peace and order, and how inexhaustible in wisdom and treasures of goodness. He has founded man’s ministry and happiness on the same foundation, and appointed him to speak and act, only to do good, like Himself: and he cannot do good till he begin by being made happy, or vivified by the Word.” — Saint-Martin.

Source: Historic Magazine and Notes and Queries: Volume 15

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

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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Foundations of America: The American Dream

OneNationUnderGod

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!

I hear so many people in this present age speak of the American Dream as if, all it were, was to have a job, buy a house, and raise a family. For some it is to become famous, to be adored far and wide for some God given talent as if it were of their own making. To others it is to grow rich or have powers over others. All of these are far from the dreams of the Founding Fathers of America.

The American Dream was, and still is that, All Men are Created Equal. [Acts 10: 22-35 “God is no respecter of persons”]

This means that all men are able to live up to the potential provided them, by the Creator of all things, unencumbered by overlords, masters, oppressive and intrusive men in high places. America was not formed under a king! The ideal of America was, and is that all men are kings, in charge of their own destinies, and their destinies not to be determined by others, others who thought they knew more of what was good for the common people than the people themselves.

Think of it! All men are kings, all under the rule of the one just and true King, the King of Creation, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. [Revelation 19:16]

Before America was formed, the people who came here. had been taught for centuries the Divine Right of Kings, men’s destinies were determined by their birth, you were what your father was, nothing more and nothing less, and the Kings decree was the law. They were nations of men, ruled by men, instead of nations of laws, which all men were made to abide by. In America all men were to have an equal voice in their own governance.

Once the Bible was translated into languages that even the common people could read and understand, they grew to understand that indeed All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. The Bible taught them there is only one true King and only one true God, God being the head and Father of Christ, Christ and only Christ being the head of man, no, not one man, but all men! [1 Corinthians 11:3] Consider how Revolutionary this must have seemed at the time. The British loyalists of the War of Independence: if not only because they had the kings favor and positions of wealth, they were loyal also because they feared God and believed in the divine right of kings, they would be heard to say “For God and King”.

The American colonial Patriots believed this phrase “For God and Country” the difference being their King was, and is Christ Jesus, not king George of Great Britain, or any other! According to their understanding it was impossible for them to have a king who was mere flesh and blood such as they themselves were, indeed! Christ being the head of man, King of Kings, Lord of Lords! How could they believe anything else, except that all men were created Kings and Lords over their own destinies, over their own lives, over their own lands, over their own happiness.

Their possessions could no longer be confiscated by the king or his underlings, no longer could they be taxed out of existence and sustenance, no longer could their lives be determined by their birth, instead of their self worth! No longer could the church [Ephesians 4:5] and state tell you how to live, where to live, how to serve God, what God expected of you individually, what your destiny would be, what your station and position in life would be! Indeed you could follow your own loves, determine your own destiny, [Philippians 2:12] have any station or position your God given talent and hard work could afford you, and above all, serve God as your conscience alone dictated!

Indeed this was and still is the True American Dream! Your destiny is not to support the state, but for the state to support your liberty to work out your own destiny, follow your own dreams, pursue your own happiness, and for the state to stay out of the affairs that pertain to God, Christ Jesus, and mans conscience alone, for all men in the era of the Founding Fathers….

All men were raised on the Bible, and their consciences formed early in life, this was the true secret of liberty in America, and why America was given so much, because they were taught to follow the precepts of Christ.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ~ John Adams

Indeed! it was those precepts that ended slavery and segregation in America. No, America was not perfect at her birth, but then who ever is? What was and is perfect? The work that God performed through men of wisdom, who sat at the feet of King Jesus, who wrote the Foundation Documents that are our birthright and heritage… The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

The Declaration of Independence declared it to the world, the Constitution sealed it against the powers of men, and the Bill of Rights cemented it against the abuse of government! All men are created equal by one God, and under one King, who all men must answer to for the deeds or misdeeds they commit on others!

What a great and beautiful concept, Revolutionary then, as it still seems to be today, for we are still fighting for the same things in this present time, they fought in their time! Abusive people in positions of power who think they have the right to rule over us, who think we should be thanking them for whatever meager crumbs they let fall from their ivory towers of power!

So yes, we fight, and will continue to fight, to realize the dream, that once was, and still is, America!

In the records of the expedition under Frobisher, which settled the first English colony in America, there is this entry:

“On Monday morning, May twenty-seventh, 1578, aboard the Ayde, we received all, the communion by the minister of Gravesend, prepared as good Christians toward God, and resolute men for all fortunes; and toward night we departed toward Tilbury Hope. Here we highly prayed God, and altogether, upon our knees, gave him due humble and hearty thanks, and Maister Wolfall . . . made unto us a goodbye sermon, exhorting all especially to be thankful to God for his strange and marvelous deliverance in those dangerous places.”

God bless each and every one of you, God bless America and Liberty Forever under Christ Jesus, our Lord and King! America be thankful always for the many blessings God has given to America in all things.

 

Alexis de Tocqueville author was a Frenchman who visited the United States and traveled here  extensively in the early-mid 1800’s explained the importance of Christianity to America, Americans and to her political, private and civil institutions. He wrote of his experiences in 2 volumes Democracy in America. [Following is an excerpt]

NORTH AMERICA PEOPLED BY MEN WHO PROFESSED A DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN CHRISTIANITY.

EVERY religion is to be found in juxtaposition to a political opinion, which is connected with it by affinity. If the human mind be left to follow its own bent, it will regulate the temporal and spiritual institutions of society upon one uniform principle; and man will endeavour, if I may use the expression, to harmonize the state in which he lives upon earth, with the state he believes to await him in heaven.

The greatest part of British America was peopled by men who, after having shaken off the authority of the pope, acknowledged no other religious supremacy: they brought with them into the New World a form of Christianity, which I cannot better describe, than by styling it a democratic and republican religion. This sect contributed powerfully to the establishment of a democracy and a republic; and from the earliest settlement of the emigrants, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved…

I have just shown what the direct influence of religion upon politics is in the United States ; but its indirect influence appears to me to be still more considerable, and it never instructs the Americans more fully in the art of being free than when it says nothing of freedom.

The [Christian] sects which exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due from man to his Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner; but all the sects preach the same moral law in the name of God. If it be of the slightest importance to man, as an individual, that his religion should be true, the case of society is not the same. Society has no future life to hope for or to fear; and provided the citizens profess a religion, the peculiar tenets of that religion are of very little importance to its interests. Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.

It may be believed without unfairness, that a certain number of Americans pursue a peculiar form of worship, from habit more than from conviction. In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of mm than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

I have remarked that the members of the American clergy in general, without even excepting those who do not admit religious liberty, are all in favour of civil freedom; but they do not support any particular political system. They keep aloof from parties, and from public affairs. In the United States religion exercises but little influence upon the laws, and upon the details of public opinion; but it directs the manners of the community, and by regulating domestic life, it regulates the state.

I do not question that the great austerity of manners which is observable in the United States, arises, in the first instance, from religious faith. Religion is often unable to restrain man from the numberless temptations of fortune; nor can it check that passion for gain which every incident of his life contributes to arouse ; but its influence over the mind of woman is supreme, and women are the protectors of morals. There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is so much respected as in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated. In Europe almost all the disturbances of society arise from the irregularities of domestic life. To despise the natural bonds and legitimate pleasures of home, is to contract a taste for excesses, a restlessness of heart, and the evil of fluctuating desires. Agitated by the tumultuous passions which frequently disturb his dwelling, the European is galled by the obedience which the legislative powers of the state exact. But when the American retires from the turmoil of public life to the bosom of his family, he finds in it the image of order and of peace. There his pleasures are simple and natural, his joys are innocent and calm; and as he finds that an orderly life is the surest path to happiness, he accustoms himself without difficulty to moderate his opinions as well as his tastes. While the European endeavours to forget his domestic troubles by agitating society, the American derives from his own home that love of order, which he afterward carries with him into public affairs.

In the United States the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people. Among the Anglo-Americans, there are some who profess the doctrines of Christianity from a sincere belief in them, and others who do the same because they are afraid to be suspected of unbelief. Christianity, therefore, reigns without any obstacle, by universal consent; the consequence is, as I have before observed, that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate, although the political world is abandoned to the debates and the experiments of men. Thus the human mind is never left to wander across a boundless field; and, whatever may be its pretensions, 1t is checked from time to time by barriers which it cannot surmount. Before it can perpetrate innovation, certain primal and immutable principles are laid down, and the boldest conceptions of human de— vice are subjected to certain forms which retard and stop their completion.

The imagination of the Americans, even in its greatest flights, is circumspect and undecided; its impulses are checked, and its works unfinished. These habits of restraint recur in political society, and are singularly favourable both to the tranquillity of the people and to the durability of the institutions it has established. Nature and circumstances concurred to make the inhabitants of the United States bold men, as is sufficiently attested by the enterprising spirit with which they seek for fortune. If the minds of the Americans were free from all trammels, they would very shortly become the most daring innovators and the most implacable disputants in the world. But the revolutionists of America are obliged to profess an ostensible respect for Christian morality and equity, which does not easily permit them to violate the laws that oppose their designs; nor would they find it easy to surmount the scruples of their partisans, even if they were able to get over their own. Hitherto no one, in the United States, has dared to advance the maxim, that everything is permissible with a view to the interests of society; an impious adage, which seems to have been invented in an age of freedom, to shelter all the tyrants of future ages. Thus while the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash or unjust.

Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all the Americans have a sincere faith in their religion; for who can search the human heart; but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation, and to every rank of society.

In the United States, if a political character attacks a sect, this may not prevent even the partisans of that very sect, from supporting him; but if he attacks all the sects together, every one abandons him, and he remains alone.

While I was in America, a witness, who happened to be called at the assizes of the county of Chester (state of New York), declared that he did not believe in the existence of God or in the immortality of the soul. The judge refused to admit his evidence, on the ground that the witness had destroyed beforehand all the confidence of the court in what he was about to say)“ The newspapers related the fact without any farther comment.

The New York Spectator of August 23d, 1831, relates the fact in the following terms: The court of common pleas of Chester county (New York), a few days since rejected a witness who declared his disbelief in the existence of God. The presiding judge remarked, that he had not before been admire that there was a man living who did not believe in the existence of God; that this belief constituted the sanction of all testimony in a court of justice: and that he knew of no cause in a Christian country, where a witness had been permitted to testify without such belief.”

[The instance given by the author, of a person offered as a witness having been rejected on the ground that he did not believe in the. existence of a God seems to be adduced to prove either his assertion that the Americans hold religion to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions—or his assertion, that if a man attacks all the, sects together, every one abandons him and he remains alone. But it is questionable how far the fact quoted proves either of these positions. The rule which prescribes as a qualification for a witness the belief in a Supreme Being who will punish falsehood, without which’ he is. deemed wholly incompetent to testify, is established for the protection of personal rights, and not to compel the adoption of any system of religious belief. It came with all our fundamental principles from England as a part of the common law which the colonists brought with them. It is supposed to prevail in every country in Christendom, whatever may be the form of its government ; and the only doubt that arises respecting its existence in France, is created by our author’s apparent surprise at finding such a rule in America.]

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.

I have known of societies formed by the Americans to send out ministers of the gospel into the new western states, to found schools and churches there, lest religion should he suffered to die away in those remote settlements, and the rising states be less fitted to enjoy free institutions than the people from which they emanated. I met with wealthy New Englanders who abandoned the country in which they were born, in order to lay the foundations of Christianity and of freedom on the banks of the Missouri or in the prairies of Illinois. Thus religious zeal is perpetually stimulated in the United States by the duties of patriotism. These men do not act from an exclusive consideration of the promises of a future life; eternity is only one motive of their devotion to the cause ; and if you converse with these missionaries of Christian civilization, you will be surprised to find how much value they set upon the goods of this world, and that you meet with a politician where you expected to find a priest. They will tell you that “all the American republics are collectively involved with each other; if the republics of the west were to fall into anarchy, or to be mastered by a despot, the republican institutions which now flourish upon the shores of the Atlantic ocean would be in great peril. It is therefore our interest that the new states should be religious, in order to maintain our liberties.”

Such are the opinions of the Americans: and if any hold that the religious spirit which I admire is the very thing most amiss in America, and that the only element wanting to the freedom and happiness of the human race is to believe in some blind cosmogony, or to assert with Cabanis the secretion of thought by the brain, I can only reply, that those who hold this language have never been in America, and that they have never seen a religious or a free nation. When they return from their expedition, we shall hear what they have to say.

There are persons in France who look upon republican institutions as a temporary means of power, of wealth and distinction; men who are the condottieri [warlords] of liberty, and who fight for their own advantage, whatever he the colours they wear: it is not to these that I address myself. But there are others who look forward to the republican form of government as a tranquil and lasting state, toward which modern society is daily impelled by the ideas and manners of the time, and who sincerely desire to prepare men to be free. When these men attack religious opinions, they obey the dictates of their passions to the prejudice of their interests. Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. Religion is much more necessary in the republic which they set forth in glowing colours, than in the monarchy which they attack; and it is more needed in democratic republics than in any others. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie be not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? and what can be done with a people which is its own master, if it be not submissive to the Divinity ’!

PRINCIPAL CAUSES WHICH RENDER RELIGION POWERFUL IN AMERICA.

Care taken by the Americans to separate the Church from the State.–The Laws, pub. lic Opinion, and even the Exertions of the Clergy concur to promote this end.—Influence of Religion upon the Mind, in the United States, attributable to this Cause. –Reason of this.—What is the natural State of Men with regard to Religion at the present Time.—What are the peculiar and incidental Causes which prevent Men, in certain Countries, from arriving at this State.

THE philosophers of the eighteenth century explained the gradual decay of religious faith in a very simple manner. Religious zeal, said they, must necessarily fail, the more generally liberty is established and knowledge diffused. Unfortunately, facts are by no means in accordance with their theory. There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equalled by their ignorance and their debasement, while in America one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world fulfils all the outward duties of religion with fervour.

Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention ; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country. My desire to discover the causes of this phenomenon increased from day to day. In order to satisfy it, I questioned the members of all the different sects; and I more especially sought the society of the clergy, who are the depositaries of the different persuasions, and who are more especially interested in their duration. As a member of the Roman catholic church I was more particularly brought into contact with several of its priests, with whom I became intimately acquainted. To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and I explained my doubts: I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone; and that they mainly attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country, to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America,l did not meet with a single individual, of the clergy or of the laity, who was not of the same opinion upon this point. .

This led me to examine more attentively than I had hitherto done, the station which the American clergy occupy in political society. I learned with surprise that they filled no public appointments; not one of them is to be met with in the administration, and they are not even represented in the legislative assemblies. In several states the law excludes them from political life; public opinion in all. And when I came to inquire into the prevailing spirit of the clergy, I found that most of its members seemed to retire of their own accord from the exercise of power, and that they made it the pride of their profession to abstain from politics.

I heard them inveigh against ambition and deceit, under whatever political opinions these vices might chance to lurk; but I learned from their discourses that men are not guilty in the eye of God for any opinions concerning political government, which they may profess with sincerity, any more than they are for their mistakes in building a house or in driving a furrow. I perceived that these ministers of the gospel eschewed all parties, with the anxiety attendant upon personal interest. These facts convinced me that what I had been told was true; and it then became my object to investigate their causes, and to inquire how it happened that the real authority of religion was increased by a state of things which diminished its apparent force: these causes did not long escape my researches.

The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man ; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. Man alone, of all created beings, displays a natural contempt of existence, and yet a boundless desire to exist; he scorns life, but he dreads annihilation. These different feelings incessantly urge his soul to the contemplation of a future state, and religion directs his musings thither. Religion, then, is simply another form of hope; and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself. Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect, and a sort of violent distortion of their true natures; but they are invinciny brought back to more pious sentiments; for unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind. If we only consider religious institutions in a purely human point of view, they may be said to derive an inexhaustible element of strength from man himself, since they belong to one of the constituent principles of human nature.

I am aware that at certain times religion may strengthen this influence, which originates in itself, by the artificial power of the laws, and by the support of those temporal institutions which direct society. Religions, intimately united to the governments of the earth, have been known to exercise a sovereign authority derived from the twofold source of terror and of faith; but when a religion contracts an alliance of this nature, I do not hesitate to affirm that it commits the same error, as a man who should sacrifice his future to his present welfare; and in obtaining a power to which it has no claim, it risks that authority which is rightfully its own. When a religion founds its empire upon the desire of immortality which lives in every human heart, it may aspire to universal dominion: but when it connects itself with a government, it must necessarily adopt maxims which are only applicable to certain nations. Thus, in forming an alliance with a political power, religion augments its authority over a few, and forfeits the hope of reigning over all.

As long as a religion rests upon those sentiments which are the consolation of all affliction, it may attract the affections of mankind. But if it be mixed up with the bitter passions of the world, it may be constrained to defend allies whom its interests, and not the principles of love, have given to it ; or to repel as antagonists men who are still attached to its own spirit, however opposed they may be to the powers to which it is allied. The church cannot share the temporal power of the state, without being the object of a portion of that animosity which the latter excites.

The political powers which seem to be most firmly established have frequently no better guarantee for their duration, than the opinions of a generation, the interests of the time, or the life of an individual. A law may modify the social condition which seems to be most fixed and determinate; and with the social condition everything else must change. The powers of society are more or less fugitive, like the years which we spend upon the earth ; they succeed each other with rapidity like the fleeting cares of life; and no government has ever yet been founded upon an invariable disposition of the human heart, or upon an imperishable interest.

As long as religion is sustained by those feelings, propensities, and passions, which are found to occur under the same forms, at all the different periods of history, it may defy the efforts of time ; or at least it can only be destroyed by another religion. But when religion clings to the interests of the world, it becomes almost as fragile a thing as the powers of earth. It is the only one of them all which can hope for immortality; but if it be connected with their ephemeral authority, it shares their fortunes, and may fall with

those transient passions which supported them for a day. The alliance which religion contracts with political powers must needs be onerous to itself; since it does not require their assistance to live, and by giving them its assistance it may be exposed to decay.

The danger which I have just pointed out always exists, but it is not always equally visible. In some ages governments seem to be imperishable, in others the existence of society appears to be more precarious than the life of man. Some constitutions plunge the citizens into a lethargic somnolence, and others rouse them to feverish excitement. When government appears to be so strong, and laws so stable, men do not perceive the dangers which may accrue from a union of church and state. When governments display so much inconstancy, the danger is self-evident, but it is no longer possible to avoid it; to be effectual, measures must be taken to discover its approach.

In proportion as a nation assumes a democratic condition of society, and as communities display democratic propensities, it becomes more and more dangerous to connect religion with political institutions ; for the time is coming when authority will be bandied from hand to hand, when political theories will succeed each other, and when men, laws, and constitutions, will disappear or be modified from day to day, and this not for a season only, but unceasingly. Agitation and mutability are inherent in the nature of democratic republics, just as stagnation and inertness are the law of absolute monarchies.

If the Americans, who change the head of the government once in four years, who elect new legislators every two years, and renew the provincial officers every twelvemonth ; if the Americans, who have abandoned the political world, to the attempts of innovators, had not placed religion beyond their reach, where could it abide in the ebb and flow of human opinions? where would that respect which belongs to it be paid, amid the struggles of faction ‘? and what would become of its immortality in the midst of perpetual decay ’! The American clergy were the first to perceive this truth, and to act in conformity with it. They saw that they must renounce their religious influence, if they were to strive for political power; and they chose to give up the support of the state, rather than to share its vicissitudes.

In America, religion is perhaps less powerful than it has been at certain periods in the history of certain peoples ; but its influence is more lasting. It restricts itself to its own resources, but of those none can deprive it: its circle is limited to certain principles, but those principles are entirely its own, and under its undisputed control.

On every side in Europe we hear voices complaining of the absence of religious faith, and inquiring the means of restoring to religion some remnant of its pristine authority. It seems to me that We must first attentively consider what ought to be the natural state of men with regard to religion, at the present time ; and when we know what we have to hope and to fear, we may discern the end to which our efforts ought to be directed.

The two great dangers which threaten the existence of religions are schism and indifference. In ages of fervent devotion, men sometimes abandon their religion, but they only shake it off in order to adopt another. Their faith changes the objects to which it is directed, but it suffers no decline. The old religion, then, excites enthusiastic attachment or bitter enmity in either party ; some leave it with anger, others cling to it with increased devotedness, and although persuasions differ, irreligion is unknown. Such, however, is not the case when a religious belief is secretly undermined by doctrines which may be termed negative, since they deny the truth of one religion without affirming that of any other. Prodigious revolutions then take place in the human mind, without the apparent co-operation of the passions of man, and almost without his knowledge. Men lose the objects of their fondest hopes, as if through forgetfulness. They are carried away by an imperceptible current which they have not the courage to stem, but which they follow with regret, since it bears them from a faith they love, to a skepticism that plunges them into despair.

In ages which answer to this description, men desert their religious opinions from lukewarmness rather than from dislike ; they do not reject them, but the sentiments by which they were once fostered disappear. But if the unbeliever does not admit religion to be true, he still considers it useful. Regarding religious institutions in a human point of view, he acknowledges their influence upon manners and legislation. He admits that they may serve to make men live in peace with one another, and to prepare them gently for the hour of death. He regrets the faith which he has lost ; and as he is deprived of a treasure which he has learned to estimate at its full value, he scruples to take it from those who still possess it.

On the other hand, those who continue to believe, are not afraid openly to avow their faith. They look upon those who do not share their persuasion as more worthy of pity than of opposition; and they are aware, that to acquire the esteem of the unbelieving, they are not obliged to follow their example. They are hostile to no one in the world; and as they do not consider the society in which they live as an arena in which religion is bound to face its thousand deadly foes, they love their contemporaries, while they condemn their weaknesses, and lament their errors.

As those who do not believe, conceal their incredulity; and as those who believe, display their faith, public opinion pronounces itself in favour of religion: love, support, and honour, are bestowed upon it, and it is only by searching the human soul, that we can detect the wounds which it has received. The mass of mankind, who are never without the feeling of religion, do not perceive anything at variance with the established faith. The instinctive desire of a future life brings the crowd about the altar, and opens the hearts of men to the precepts and consolations of religion.

But this picture is not applicable to us; for there are men among us who have ceased to behave in Christianity, without adopting any other religion ; others who are in the perplexities of doubt, and who already affect not to believe; and others, again, who are afraid to avow that Christian faith which they still cherish in secret.

Amid these lukewarm partisans and ardent antagonists, a small number of believers exist, who are ready to brave all obstacles, and to scorn all dangers, in defence of their faith. They have done violence to human weakness, in order to rise superior to public opinion. Excited by the effort they have made, they scarcely know where to stop; and as they know that the first use which the French made of independence, was to attack religion, they look upon their contemporaries with dread, and they recoil in alarm from the liberty which their fellow-citizens are seeking to obtain. As unbelief appears to them to be a novelty, they comprise all that is new in one indiscriminate animosity. They are at war with their age and country, and they look upon every opinion which is put forth there as the necessary enemy of the faith.

Such is not the natural state of men with regard to religion at the present day; and some extraordinary or incidental cause must be at work in France, to prevent the human mind from following its original propensities, and to drive it beyond the limits at which it ought naturally to stop.

I am intimately convinced that this extraordinary and incidental cause is the close connexion of politics and religion. The unbelievers of Europe attack the Christians as their political opponents, rather than as their religious adversaries; they hate the Christian religion as the opinion of a party, much more than as an error of belief; and they reject the clergy less because they are the representatives of the Divinity, than because they are the allies of authority.

In Europe, Christianity has been intimately united to the powers of the earth. Those powers are now in decay, and it is, as it were, buried under their ruins. The living body of religion has been bound down to the dead c0rpse of superannuated polity; cut the bonds which restrain it, and that which is alive will rise once more. I know not what could restore the Christian church of Europe to the energy of its earlier days; that power belongs to God alone; but it may be the effect of human policy to leave the faith in all the full exercise of the strength which it still retains.

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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.

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

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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THE SPIRIT OF DESPOTISM vs THE RIGHTS OF MAN

TheEducatorAnarchy

NOTE: Not Sure Which Was the True Author, it was published as The Spirit of Despotism by Knox and The Rights of Man by Branagan, in reading them both I would determine Knox to be the author since Branagan starts every paragraph with a quotation mark as seen in this piece.

THE SPIRIT OF DESPOTISM & THE RIGHTS OF MAN by Vicesimus Knox, Thomas Branagan

“Man in a state of simplicity, uncorrupted by the influence of bad education, bad examples, and bad government, possesses capacity for all that is good and beautiful. He is capable of a degree of moral and intellectual improvement, which advances his nature to a participation with the divine. The world in all its magnificence, appears to him one vast theatre, richly adorned and illuminated, into which he is freely admitted to enjoy the glorious spectacle. Acknowledging no natural superior, but the great architect of the whole fabric, he partakes the delight with conscious dignity, and glows with gratitude. Pleased with himself and all around him, his heart dilates with benevolence, as well as piety; and he finds his joys augmented by communication. His countenance cheerful, his mien erect, he rejoices in existence. Life is a continual feast to him, highly seasoned by virtue, by liberty and mutual affection. God formed him to be happy and he becomes so, thus fortunately unmolested by false policy and oppression. Religion, reason, nature, are his guides through the whole of his existence, and the whole is happy. Virtuous Independence, the sun, which irradiates the morning of his day, warms its noon, tinges the serene evening with every beautiful variety of color, and on the pillow of religious hope, he sinks to repose in the bosom of Providence.

But where is man to be found, thus noble, thus innocent, thus happy? Wherever the rights of nature, and the virtues of simplicity are not violated or banished by the false refinements, the base artifices of corrupted government.

Unhappily for man, society has been almost universally corrupted, even by the arts intended for its improvement; and human nature is gradually depraved in its very progress to civilization. Metamorphosed by the tampering of unskillful or dishonest politicians, and the craft of interested priests, co-operating with politicians, Man at present appears, in many countries, a diminutive and distorted animal, compared with what he was in his primeval state. He has become the dwarf and the cripple of courts and cities, instead of the well-formed, beautiful creature, who once bounded in the glory of health and strength, over the forest and the mountain, glowing with the warmth of virtue, and breathing the spirit of independence.

“Various are the causes which contribute to the factitious depravity of man. Defective and erroneous education corrupts him; the prevalent examples of a degenerate community corrupt him; but bad government corrupts him more than all other causes combined. The grand adversary of human virtue and happiness is Despotism. Look over the surface of the whole earth, and behold man, the glory and deputed lord of the creation, withering under the influence of despotism, like the plant of temperate climes scorched by the sun of a torrid zone. The leaf is sickly, the blossom dares not expand its beauty, and no fruit arrives at its just size and maturity.

“Turkey, Italy, Egypt! how changed from what ye were when inhabited by ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians! Nature, indeed, still smiles upon them with unaltered favor. The blue mantle of the skies is still spread over them in all its luminous magnificence. There is no reason to suppose the earth less fertile. The corn laughs in the valleys. The tree aspires to Heaven with all its original verdure and majesty. But Man decays; withered, shrunk, enervated; a form without spirit, an animal less happy than the beasts of the field, and more ignoble, inasmuch as degeneracy is baser than native, original, created inferiority. Fallen with the columnar ruins of better times, over which, in these countries, he often tramples, Man himself appears little better than a ruin, displaying all the deformity of the mouldering pile, with scarcely any vestige of its former magnificence.

“Government (so called) has counteracted the beneficence of nature. The Men are fallen; while the human figures, with their internal and external organization, continue yet, in a great measure, the same. They are inactive and pusillanimous. They aspire at no extraordinary excellence or achievements, but crouch beneath their despot, glad of the poor privilege allowed them by a fellow-creature, as weak and more wicked than themselves, to eat, drink, sleep, and die. Any pre-eminent degree of merit among them would render the distinguished possessor of it fatally illustrious, the certain object of a tyrant’s vengeance; and they find their best security in their want of virtue. By a voluntary submission to contempt, they retain and transmit the privilege of breathing, and build the bulwark of their safety on their personal insignificance.

“Fear must, of necessity, become the predominant passion in all countries subject to the uncontrolled dominion of an individual and his ministers: but fear chills the blood and freezes the faculties. Under its icy influence there can arise no generous emulation, no daring spirit of adventure. Enterprise is considered as dangerous, not merely from the general casualty of all human affairs, but because it excites notice, and alarms the jealousy of selfish power. Under a despotic government, to steal through life unobserved, to creep, with timid caution, through the vale of obscurity, is the first wisdom; and to be suffered to die in old age, without the prison, the chain, the dagger, or the poisoned bowl, is the highest pitch of human felicity.

“Ignorance of the grossest kind, ignorance of man’s nature and rights, ignorance of all that tends to make and keep us happy, disgraces and renders wretched more than half the earth, at this moment, in consequence of its subjugation to despotic power. Ignorance, robed in imperial purple, with Pride and Cruelty by her side, sways an iron sceptre over nearly both hemispheres. In the finest and largest regions of this planet which we inhabit, are no liberal pursuits and professions, no contemplative delights, nothing of that pure, intellectual employment which raises man from the mire of sensuality and sordid care, to a degree of excellence and dignity which we conceive to be angelic and celestial. Without knowledge, or the means of obtaining it; without exercise or excitements, the mind falls into a state of infantine imbecility and dotage, or acquires a low cunning, intent only on selfish and mean pursuits, such as is visible in the more ignoble of the irrational creatures—in foxes, apes, and monkeys. Among nations so corrupted, the utmost effort of genius is a court intrigue or a ministerial cabal.

“A degradation of the understanding, like this, is usually accompanied with depravity of heart. From an inability to find pleasure and honorable employment in the energies of thought, in noble and virtuous actions, in refined conversation, in arts, in commerce, in learning, arises a mischievous activity in trifles, a perversion of nature, a wantonness of wickedness, productive of flagitious habits, which renders the partaker of reason the most despicable and detestable animal in the whole circle of existence. Thus sunk under the pressure of despotism, who can recognize, notwithstanding the human shape they bear, the lineal descendants of Egyptian, Grecian, Roman worthies, the glory of their times, the luminaries of their own country and the world, the instructors and benefactors of human nature? Thus the image of the Deity, stamped on man at his creation, is defiled or utterly effaced by government, instituted and exercised by man over his fellow-man; and his kindred to Heaven is known no more by the divine resemblance. A bad government is therefore the curse of the earth, the scourge of man, the grand obstacle to the divine will, the most copious source of all moral evil, and for that reason, of all misery; but of bad governments, none are comparable, in their mischievous effects, to the despotic.

“But if despotism in its extreme produces consequences thus malignant, reason will infer, and experience will justify the inference, that all the subordinate degrees of despotism are proportionally destructive. However it may be disguised by forms, it is ever seeking its own increase and aggrandizement, by openly crushing or secretly undermining the fabric of liberty: it is ever encroaching on the privileges and enjoyments of those who are subjected to it; greedily, though foolishly, wishing to engross every good of every kind in this sublunary state, except the good of virtue.

“Power, though limited by written laws, in the hands of mortal men, poorly educated, and surrounded by sycophants and flatterers, who wish, by partaking the power, to partake also of its profits and distinctions, and thus gratify at once their pride and avarice, is always endeavouring to extend itself beyond the limitations; and requires to be watched with the most jealous eye, by all who are subject to it, and to be restrained within its bounds by the manifest efforts, and the most determined resolution of virtue. Every engine of artifice and terror will be used to repress such virtue: but the friend of man and of his country will defy persecution, fines, imprisonment, and death, in attempting, by every lawful and rational means, to push back the gigantic strides of encroaching despotism, more destructive of happiness than an earthquake or a pestilence. A country deserves no love, when it ceases to be a country of liberty. Human beings constitute a country, and not a soil in a certain latitude; and an attachment to liberty is the truest patriotism.

“It is therefore highly expedient, whenever a people, free by law and constitution, appear in the smallest degree to remit their attention to the preservation of freedom, to urge them, by the most serious admonition, to an immediate resumption of their vigilance. While they slumber and sleep, lulled by the Circean cup of corruption, the enemy is awake, and busily making his insidious approaches to the citadel. Every inch of ground, they carelessly relinquish, is eagerly seized by the covetous possessor of dominion; the love of which, like the love of money, increases by accession. Nor are there ever wanting numbers of artful men, who stimulate a weak or a wicked ruler in his encroachments; sensible as they are, that their own power and privileges will be augmented with those of said ruler, whose exclusive favour they have gained by sycophantic arts, and by co-operations in the fallacious service of enlarging his power. The more the power of the ruler is augmented, the greater will be the emoluments of office. In the view of American, as well as European tories, a star shines with higher lustre, a riband displays a brighter hue, a title soothes the ear with sweeter music, when conferred by a mighty potentate far exalted above vulgar control, and who holds his power in contempt of the people. If kings can be once elevated to the rank of Heaven’s vicegerents, how must admiring plebians idolize their choice favours and their prime favourites? There is always, therefore, a set of men (to whom pomp and vanity are the chief good) who are continually endeavouring to add glory and greatness to the orb from which they derive their own lustre. Moons and satellites would shine faintly indeed, unless the sun of the system glittered with intolerable effulgence. If the sun were shorn of its beams, their native opaqueness would pass without notice.

“Natural rights are those which appertain to man, in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others.—Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for foundation, some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to the enjoyment of which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.

“From this short review, it will be easy to distinguish between that class of natural rights which man retains after entering into society, and those which he throws into the common stock as a member of society.

“The natural rights which he retains, are all those in which the power to execute is as perfect in the individual as the right itself. Among this class, as is before-mentioned, are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind: consequently, religion is one of those rights. The natural rights which are not retained, are all those in which, though the right is perfect in the individual, the power to execute them is defective. They answer not this purpose. A man, by natural right, has a right to judge in his own cause; and so far as the right of the mind is concerned, he never surrenders it: but what availeth it him to judge, if he has not the power to redress? He therefore deposits this right in the common stock of society, and takes the arm of society, of which he is a part, in preference and in addition to his own. Society grants him nothing. Every man is a proprietor in society, and draws on the capital as a matter of right.

“From these premises, two or three certain conclusions will follow.

“First, That every civil right grows out of a natural right; or, in other words, is a natural right enchanged, (or extended.)

“Secondly, That civil power, properly considered as such, is made up of the aggregate of that class of the natural rights of man, which becomes defective in the individual in point of power, and answers not his purpose; but when collected to a focus, becomes competent to the purpose of every one.

“Thirdly, That the power produced from the aggregate of natural rights, (imperfect in power in the individual,) cannot be applied to invade the natural rights which are retained in the individual, and in which the power to execute is as perfect as the right itself.

“We have now, in a few words, traced man from a natural individual to a member of society, and shown, or endeavoured to show, the quality of the natural rights retained, and of those which are exchanged for civil rights. Let us now apply these principles to governments.

“In casting our eyes over the world, it is extremely easy to distinguish the governments which have arisen out of society, or out of the social compact, from those which have not: but to place this in a clearer light than what a single glance may afford, it will be proper to take a review of the several sources from which governments have arisen and on which they have been founded.

“They may all be comprehended under three heads. First, Superstition. Secondly, Power. Thirdly, The common interest of society, and the common rights of man.

“The first was a government of priestcraft, the second of conquerers, and the third of reason.

“When a set of artful men pretended, through the medium of oracles, to hold intercourse with the Deity, as familiarly as they now march up the back-stairs in European courts, the world was completely under the government of superstition. The oracles were consulted, and whatever they were made to say, became the law; and this sort of government lasted as long as this sort of superstition lasted.

“After these a race of conquerors arose, whose government, like that of William the Conquerer, was founded in power, and the sword assumed the name of a sceptre. Governments thus established, last as long as the power to support them lasts; but that they might avail themselves of every engine in their favour, they united fraud to force, and set up an idol which they called Divine Right, and which in imitation of the Pope, who affects to be spiritual and temporal, and in contradiction to the founder of the Christian religion, twisted itself afterwards into an idol of another shape, called Church and State. The key of St. Peter, and the key of the Treasury, became quartered on one another, and the wondering, cheated multitude, worshipped the invention.

“When I contemplate the natural dignity of man; when I feel (for nature has not been kind enough to me to blunt my feelings) for his honor and happiness, I become irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force and fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools, and can scarcely avoid disgust at those who are thus imposed upon.

“We have now to review the governments which arise out of society, in contradistinction to those which arose out of superstition and conquest.

“It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of freedom to say, that government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed: but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for, as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government; and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.

“To possess ourselves of a clear idea of what government is, or ought to be, we must trace it to its origin. In doing this, we shall easily discover that governments must have arisen, either out of the people, or over the people. Mr. Burke has made no distinction. He investigates nothing to its source, and therefore he confounds every thing; but he has signified his intention of undertaking, at some future opportunity, a comparison between the constitutions of England and France. As he thus renders it a subject of controversy, by throwing the gauntlet, I take him upon his own ground. It is in high challenges that high truths have the right of appearing; and I accept it with the more readiness because it affords me, at the same time, an opportunity of pursuing the subject with respect to governments arising out of society.

“But it will be first necessary to define what is meant by a constitution. It is not sufficient that we adopt the word: we must fix also a standard signification to it.

“A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and whenever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting a government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article, and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organized, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and, in fine, every thing that relates to the complete organization of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government, what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them. It only acts in conformity to the laws made, and the government is, in like manner, governed by the constitution.”

“Toleration is not the opposite of intolerance, but is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, and the other of granting it. The one is the pope, armed with fire and faggot, and the other is the selling or granting indulgences. The former is church and state, and the latter is church and traffic.

“But toleration may be viewed in a much stronger light. Man worships not himself, but his Maker; and the liberty of conscience which he claims is not for the service of himself, but of his God. In this case, therefore, we must necessarily have the associated idea of two beings: the mortal who renders the worship, and the Immortal Being who is worshipped. Toleration, therefore, places itself, not between man and man, nor between church and church, nor between one denomination of religion and another, but between God and man; between the being who worships, and the Being who is worshipped; and by the same act of assumed authority by which it tolerates man to pay his worship, it presumptuously and blasphemously sets itself up to tolerate the Almighty to receive it.

“Were a bill brought into any parliament, entitled, ‘An Act to tolerate or grant liberty to the Almighty to receive the worship of a Jew or a Turk, or prohibit the Almighty from receiving it,’ all men would startle, and call it blasphemy. There would be an uproar. The presumption of toleration in religious matters would then present itself unmasked; but the presumption is not less because the name of ‘man’ only appears to those laws, for the associated idea of the worshipper and the worshipped cannot be separated. Who, then, art thou, vain dust and ashes! by whatever name thou art called—whether a king, a bishop, a church or a state, a parliament, or any thing else, that obtrudest thine insignificance between the soul of man and its Maker? Mind thine own concerns. If he believes not as thou believest, it is a proof that thou believest not as he believeth, and there is no earthly power can determine between you.

“With respect to what are called denominations of religion, if every one is left to judge of their own religion, there is no such thing as a religion that is wrong; but if they are to judge of each others religion, there is no such a thing as a religion that is right, and therefore all the world is right, or all the world is wrong. But with respect to religion itself, without regard to names, and as directing itself from the universal family of mankind to the Divine object of all adoration, it is man bringing to his Maker the fruits of his heart; and though those fruits may differ from each other, like the fruits of the earth, the grateful tribute of every one is accepted.

“A bishop of Durham, or a bishop of Winchester, or the archbishop who heads the dukes, will not refuse a tythe-sheaf of wheat because it is not a cock of hay, nor a cock of hay because it is not a sheaf of wheat, nor a pig because it is neither one nor the other; but these same persons, under the figure of an established church, will not permit their Maker to receive the varied tythes of man’s devotion.”

“It is attributed to Henry the Fourth, of France, a man of an enlarged and benevolent heart, that he proposed, about the year 1610, a plan for abolishing war in Europe. The plan consisted in constituting an European Congress, or, as the French author styles it, a Pacific Republic, by appointing delegates from the several nations, who were to act as a court of arbitration in any disputes that might arise between nation and nation. .

“Had such a plan been adopted at the time it was proposed, the taxes of England and France, as two of the parties, would have been at least ten millions sterling annually to each nation less than they were at the commencement of the French Revolution.

“To conceive a cause why such a plan has not been adopted, (and that instead of a congress for the purpose of preventing war, it has been called only to terminate a war, after a fruitless expense of several years,) it will be necessary to consider the interest of governments as a distinct interest to that of nations.

“Whatever is the cause of taxes to a nation, becomes also the means of revenue to a government. Every war terminates with an addition of taxes, and consequently with an addition of revenue; and in any event of war, in the manner they are now commenced and concluded, the power and interest of governments are increased. War, therefore, from its productiveness, as it easily furnishes the pretence of necessity for taxes and appointments to places and offices, becomes a principal part of the system of old governments; and to establish any mode to abolish war, however advantageous it might be to nations, would be to take from such governments the most lucrative of its branches. The frivolous matters upon which war is made, show the disposition and avidity of governments to uphold the system of war., and betray the motives upon which they act.”

“Many, who have arisen to high elevation of rank or fortune, seem to think that their nature has undergone a real metamorphosis; that they are refined by a kind of chemical process, sublimed by the sunshine of royal favor, and separated from the feces, the dross, and the dregs of ordinary humanity—that humanity of which the mass of mankind partake, and which, imperfect as it is, God created. They seem to themselves raised to a pinnacle, from which they behold, with sentiments of indifference or contempt, all two-legged and unfeathered beings of inferior order, placed in the vale, as ministers of their pride and slaves of their luxury, or else burdens of the earth, and superfluous sharers of existence.

“The endeavor of their lives, never employed in the essential service of society, is to keep the vulgar at a distance, lest their own pure nature should be contaminated by the foul contagion. Their offspring must be taught, in the first instance, to know and revere, not God, not man, but their own rank in life. The infants are scarcely suffered to breathe the common air, to feel the common sun, or to walk upon the common earth. Immured in nurseries till the time for instruction arrives, they are then surrounded by a variety of domestic tutors. And what is the first object in their education? Is it the improvement of their minds, the acquisition of manly sentiment, useful knowledge, expanded ideas, piety, philanthropy? No; it is the embellishment of their persons, an accurate attention to dress, to their teeth, to grace in dancing, attitude in standing, uprightness; not the uprightness of the heart, but the formal and unnatural perpendicularity of a soldier drilled on the parade. The first object with the pupil, and the last, the lesson to be got by heart, and to be repeated by night and by day, is an adequate conception of his own native consequence, a disposition to extend the influence of rank and riches, and to depress and discourage the natural tendency of personal merit to rise to distinction by its own elastic force.

“Their masters themselves are to be dependent on the caprice of wealthy pupils, or a rebellion may ensue. Such an event, indeed, is sometimes devoutly wished, as it affords opportunities for embryo heroes to show their prowess and their noble pride. Every ebullition of spirits, as it is candidly called, displaying itself in insolence or ill usage of the inferior ranks—defenceless old men or women, and the poor in general—is remembered and cherished with care, as a flattering prognostic of future eminence in the cabinet, the senate, at the bar, or in the field. Justice, generosity, humility, are words, indeed, in the Dictionary, and may adorn a declamation; but insolence, extravagance, and pride, must mark the conduct of those who are sent, rather to support the dignity of native grandeur by the spirit of arrogance, than to seek wisdom and virtue with the docility of modest and ingenuous disciples. Practical oppression of inferiors is one of the first elements of aristocratical education, and the order of Faggs (as they are called) contributes much to familiarize the exercise of future despotism. Mean submissions prepare the mind, in its turn, to tyrannize.”

“Those who are possessed of exorbitant power, who pant for its extension, and tremble at the apprehension of losing it, are always sufficiently artful to dwell with emphasis on the evils of licentiousness, under which opprobrious name they wish to stigmatize liberty. They describe the horrors of anarchy and confusion in the blackest colors, and boldly affirm that they are the necessary consequences of intrusting the people with power. Indeed, they hardly condescend to recognize the idea of a People; but, whenever they speak of the mass of the community, denominate them the mob, the rabble, or the swinish multitude. Language is at a loss for appellatives, significant of their contempt for those who are undistinguished by wealth or titles, and is obliged to content itself with such words as reptiles, scum, dregs, or the many headed monster.

“Man, that noble animal, formed with powers capable of the sublimest virtues, possessed of reason, and tremulously alive to every finer feeling, is degraded by his fellow-man, when dressed in a little brief authority, to a rank below that of the beast of the field; for the beasts of the field are not treated with epithets of contumely, but regarded with a degree of esteem. The proud grandee views the horses in his stable, and the dogs in his kennel, with affection, pampers them with food, lodges them in habitations, not only commodious, but luxurious; and, at the same time, despises his fellow creatures, scarcely fed, wretchedly clothed, and barely sheltered in the neighboring cottage. And if his fellow creature dares to remonstrate, his complaint is contumacy and sedition, and his endeavor to meliorate his own state and that of his miserable neighbor, by the most lawful means, downright treason and rebellion.

“Villainous oppression on one hand, and, on the other, contemptible submission! If such acquiescence, under the most iniquitous inequality; such wretchedness, without the privilege of complaint, is the peace, the order, and the tranquillity of despotism; then peace, order, and tranquility change their nature, and become the curse and bane of human nature. Welcome, in comparison, all the feuds, animosities, and revolutions attributed to a state of freedom, for they are symptoms of life and robust health, while the repose of despotism is the deadness of a palsy. Life, active, enterprising life, with all its tumult, disaster, and disappointment, is to be preferred to the silence of death, the stillness of desolation.

“But I deny that a love of liberty, or a state of liberty, is, of necessity, productive of any injurious or fatal disorder. I presuppose that the minds of the people, even the lowest of the people, are duly enlightened; that the savageness of gross ignorance is mitigated by culture—by that culture which all well-regulated states are solicitous to bestow on every partaker of the rational faculty.

“In a state of liberty, every man learns to value himself as man; to consider himself as of importance in the system which himself has approved and contributed to establish, and therefore resolves to regulate his own behavior consistently with its safety and preservation. He feels as a proprietor, not as a tenant. He loves the state because he participates in it. His obedience is not the cold, reluctant result of terror, but the lively, cheerful, and spontaneous effect of love. The violation of laws formed on the pure principle of general beneficence, and to which he has given his full assent by a just and perfect representation, he considers as a crime of the deepest dye. He will think freely, and speak freely, of the constitution. He will incessantly endeavor to improve it, and enter seriously into all political debates. In the collision of agitated minds sparks will sometimes be emitted, but they will only give a favorable light and a genial warmth. They will never produce any injurious conflagration.

“But I repeat that the people should be enlightened, in every rank, the highest as well as the lowest, to render them capable of perfect liberty, without danger of those evils which its enemies are always asserting to be its unavoidable consequences. The vulgar must be instructed not merely in the arts which tend to the acquisition, increase, and preservation of money, but in a generous philosophy. They must be liberalized. They must early learn to view human life and society in their just light; to consider themselves as essential parts of a whole, the integrity of which is desirable to every component member. Their taste will improve with their understanding; and they will see the beauty of order, while they are convinced of its utility. Thus principled by virtue, and illuminated with knowledge, they will eagerly return, after every deviation, which even a warmth of virtue may cause, to regular obedience, and to all the functions of citizens; valuing the public peace and prosperity, because they understand clearly that the public happiness is intimately combined with their own. They may infringe laws, from the imperfection of their nature; but they will return to their obedience without force, having” been convinced that no laws are made but such as are necessary to their well-being in society. They will consider laws, not as chains and fetters, but as helmets and shields for their protection. The light of the understanding will correct the eccentricities of the heart; and all deviations, however rapid at their commencement, will be short in extent and transitory in duration.

“Such would be the effect of enlightening the people with political knowledge, and enlarging their minds by pure philosophy. But what say the despots? Like the tyrannical son of Philip, when he reprimanded Aristotle for publishing his Discoveries, they whisper to their myrmidons, ‘Let us diffuse darkness round the land. Let the people be kept in a brutal state. Let their conduct, when assembled, be riotous and irrational as ignorance and our Spies can make it, that they may be brought into discredit, and deemed unfit for the management of their own affairs. Let power be rendered dangerous in their hands, that it may continue unmolested in our own. Let them not taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge, lest they become as we are, and learn to know good and evil.’ ‘Darken your doctrines,’ said the despot Alexander to the great philosopher.

“That such are the sentiments of the men who wish for the extension of royalism or aristocracy, and the depression of the people, is evident from the uneasiness they have shown at all benevolent attempts to diffuse knowledge among the poor. They have expressed, in terms of anger and mortification, their dislike of Sunday schools. The very newspapers which they have engaged in the service of falsehood and toryism, have endeavored to discountenance, by malignant paragraphs, the progress of those patriotic institutions. Scribbiers of books and pamphlets, in the same vile cause, have intimated their apprehensions that the poor may learn to read political books in learning to read their Bible, and that the reading of political books must unavoidably produce discontent. A wretched compliment to the cause which they mean to defend! It is impossible not to infer from their apprehensions, that as men increase in understanding and knowledge, they must see reason to disapprove the systems established. These men breathe the very spirit of despotism, and wish to communicate it. But their conduct, in this instance, is an argument against the spirit which they endeavor to diffuse. Their conduct seems to say, The spirit of despotism is so unreasonable, that it can never be approved by the mass of the people when their reason is suffered to receive its proper cultivation. Their conduct seems to say, Let there be light, and the deformity of despotism will create abhorrence.

“Be the consequence what it may, let the light of knowledge be diffused among all who partake of reason; and let us remember that it was the Lord God Almighty who first said, ‘Let There Be Light.'”

“There is nothing which I can so reluctantly pardon in the great ones of this world, as the little value they entertain for the life of a man. Property, if seized or lost, may be restored; and, without property, man may enjoy a thousand delightful pleasures of existence. The sun shines as warmly on the poor as on the rich, and the gale of health breathes its balsam into the cottage casement on the heath no less sweetly and salubriously than into the portals of the palace; but can the lords of this world, who are so lavish of the lives of their inferiors, with all their boasted power, give the cold heart to beat again, or relume the light of the eye once dimmed by the shades of death? Accursed despots, show me your authority for taking away that which ye never gave, and cannot give; for undoing the work of God, and extinguishing the lamp of life which was illuminated with a ray from heaven. Where is your charter to privilege murder? You do the work of Satan, who was a destroyer; and your right, if you possess any, must have originated from the father of mischief and misery.

“Yet take a view of the world, and you will immediately be led to conclude that scarcely any thing is viler than human life. Crimes which have very little moral evil, if any, and which, therefore, cannot incur the vengeance of a just and merciful Deity, are punished with death at a human tribunal. I mean state crimes—such actions, conduct, speeches, as are made crimes by despots, but are not recognized as such in the decalogue; such as may proceed from the purest and most virtuous principle, from the most enlarged benevolence, from wisdom and unaffected patriotism; such as may proceed from mere warmth of temper, neither intending nor accomplishing any mischief; the mere effects of error, as innocent, too, in its consequences as its origin. But the despot is offended or frightened; for guilt trembles at the least alarm, and nothing but the blood of the accused can expiate the offence.

“Yet, numerous as are the innocent victims of the tribunal, where to offend the state is the greatest abomination that man can commit, they are lost and disappear when compared to the myriads sacrificed to the demon of war. Despotism delights in war. It is its element. As the bull knows, by instinct, that his strength is in his horns, and the eagle trusts in his talons, so the despot feels his puissance most when surrounded by soldiery arrayed for battle. With the sword in his hand, and his artillery around him, he rejoices in his might and glories in his greatness. Blood must mark his path; and his triumph is incomplete till death and destruction stalk over the land, the harbingers of his triumphant cavalcade.

“We hear much of necessary wars; but it is certainly true, that a real, absolute, unavoidable necessity for war, such as alone can render it just, has seldom occurred in the history of man. The pride, the wanton cruelty of absolute princes, caring nothing for human life, have, in all ages, without the least necessity, involved the world in war; and therefore it is the common duty of all mankind to abolish absolute power, and to discourage, by every lawful means, the spirit that leads to any degree of it. No individual, however good, is fit to be trusted with so dangerous a deposit. His’ goodness may be corrupted by the magnitude of the trust; and it is the nature of power, uncontrolled by fear or law, to vitiate the best dispositions. He who would have shuddered to spill a drop of blood in a hostile contest, as a private man, shall deluge whole provinces, as an absolute prince, and laugh over the subjugated plains which he has fertilized with human gore.

“What are the chief considerations with such men, previously to going to war and at its conclusion? Evidently the expense of Money. Little is said or thought of the lives lost, or devoted to be lost, except as matters of pecuniary value. Humanity, indeed, weeps in silence and solitude in the sequestered shade of private life; but is a single tear shed in courts, and camps, and cabinets? When men high in command, men of fortune and family, fall, their deeds are blazoned, and they figure in history; but who, save the poor widow and the orphan, inquire after the very names of the rank and file? There they lie, a mass of human flesh, not so much regretted by the despots as the horses they rode, or the arms they bore. While ships often go down to the bottom, struck by the iron thunderbolts of war, and not a life is saved, the national loss is estimated by the despot according to the weight of metal wasted, and the magnitude and expense of the wooden castle.

“God, we read, made man in his own image, and our Saviour taught us that he was the heir of immortality. God made no distinction of persons; but behold a being, born to a sceptre, though a poor, puny, shivering mortal like the rest, presumes to sell, and let out for hire, these images of God, to do the work of butchers, in any cause and for any paymaster, on any number of unoffending fellow-creatures, who are standing up in defence of their hearths, their altars, their wives, their children, and their liberty. Great numbers of men, trained to the trade of human butchery, are constantly ready to be let to hire, to carry on the work of despotism, and to support, by the money they earn in this hellish employment, the luxurious vices of the wretch who calls them his property. Can that state of human affairs be right and proper which permits a miscreant, scarcely worthy the name of a man, sunk in effeminacy, the slave of vice—often the most abominable kind of vice—ignorant and illiterate, debilitated with disease, weak in body as in mind, to have such dominion of hundreds of thousands, his superiors by nature, as to let them out for pay, to murder the innocent stranger in cold blood?

“What shall we think of the practice of what is called kidnapping? Is it to be allowed in a free country? Are not men bought, inveigled, or forced by it, as if they were cattle, beasts of the field or the forest, and capable of becoming the property of the purchaser or the captor? .If a nation should behold with patience such a practice increasing and encouraged by the great, would there not be reason to suspect that it had lost the spirit of freedom, and was preparing to submit its neck to the yoke of despotism? Is not an African one of the images of God? Is he not entitled to all the rights of nature, and the society of which he is a member? Does poverty disfranchise a man, rob him of his rights, and render his life a commodity to be bought and sold, or thrown away, at the will of a rich man, who is enabled to take advantage of his want, and add to the misfortune of indigence the curse of slavery? Are a few pieces of silver to be allow. ed, by connivance if not by legal permission, as the price of blood, when poverty, but not the will, consents to the sale?

“Even if boxing were ever to become a spectacle patronized by Congress, and encouraged by a people, there would be reason to fear lest man, as man, had lost his value; lest life were estimated of little price; and lest the spirit of despotism were gradually insinuating itself into the community. There would be reason to fear lest times, like those of the latter Roman emperors, were returning, and that men might be kept like wild beasts, to be brought on the stage and fight for public diversion, and to be murdered for the evening’s amusement of fashionable lords and ladies at an opera-house.

“The dignity of human nature, in despotical countries, is treated as a burlesque. A man is less dignified than a pampered horse, and his life infinitely less valued. But in a land of liberty, like ours, every man should learn to venerate himself and his neighbour, as a noble creature, dependent only on God, on reason, on law. Life, under such circumstances, is a pearl of great price. Every human being, under such circumstances, is of equal value in the sight of God, They, therefore, who, in consequence of civil elevation, hold any man’s life cheap and vile, unless he has forfeited his rights by enormous crimes, are guilty of rebellion against God and nature.”

“Men who undertake to defend any thing contrary to the common sense and common interest of mankind, may hurt the side they intend to defend by promoting a discussion, and calling forth common sense, excited by the common interest, to defend its own cause. Thus, Sir Robert Filmer’s book gave rise both to Sidney’s and Locke’s Defence of Liberty. Thus, Mr. Burke’s Reflections on France drew forth Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man, in which is much excellent matter. Thus, Salmasius’s mercenary invective against the republicans of England in the last century, provoked the great Milton, scarcely less eloquent in prose than in poetry, to defend the right of the people of England to manage in their own country their own concerns, according to their own judgment and inclination.

“Milton and Locke are great names on the side of liberty. But Milton has been treated contemptuously; and some have shown a spirit illiberal enough to detract from his poetry, in revenge for his politics. His last biographer, Dr. Johnson, who had many early prejudices which his most vigorous reason could not to the last subdue, was, by early prejudice, a violent Tory and Jacobite. I think there is reason to believe, that he would easily have been made a convert to popery. I venerate his abilities and virtues; but I cannot help remarking, that his high-church and high-prerogative principles led him to speak less honorably of Milton than he must have done if he had viewed him through a medium undiscolored. Milton was a greater man than Johnson, though I think he went not sufficiently far in his hatred to monarchy and episcopacy. Milton discovered a noble spirit of independence, and his writings contain some of the finest passages that ever were written in vindication of civil liberty. They contributed to raise that spirit which afterwards produced our happy revolution; and I have no doubt but that Milton would have rejoiced under the federal constitution of the United States. It is to writings and a spirit like his, mankind are indebted for liberty. If honest and able minds like Paine’s and Milton’s had not appeared on the part of the people, it is probable that no such thing as a republic would have been found on the face of the earth.

“Free spirits are therefore to be pardoned in some errors, which the propensity of human nature to err must ever render venial ; and the general tendency of their writings to make the mass of mankind free and happy, ought to secure attention to their doctrines and honor to their names. The enemies to the spirit of despotism have seen, with pain, the attempts to lessen these great men in the eyes of the world extended to writers of less renown, but of more recent date. They have seen men, good men in private life, and philosophers, whose discourses and letters have gained the notice and esteem of every enlightened country, reproached, vitified, persecuted, and almost destroyed, because, in consequence of that fine understanding which had done so much in philosophy, they made some discoveries in politics which must forever militate powerfully against the spirit of despotism. Paine, Voltaire, Rosseau, Raynal, Price, Priestley, however different their characters, attainments, and abilities, are all vilified together, (because they have written admirably on the side of liberty,) all involved in one discriminate torrent of obloquy. The partizans of monarchy would persuade us, not only that they were knaves, but fools. Some of them have very exceptionable passages in their works; but where they treat of civil liberty, they plead the cause of human nature. They have not pleaded it unsuccessfully. Political artifices cannot always stifle truth and common sense.

“The independent part of mankind, who detest parties and faction, and mean nothing but the happiness of their fellow creatures, will do well to be upon their guard against the misrepresentations of those who would vilify a Penn, a Locke, a Milton, and a Sidney. Let them read and judge for themselves. The men who are anxious to withhold or extinguish the light, may fairly be suspected of intending to do evil.”

“Civil government does not consist in executions, but in making such provision for the instruction of youth, and the support of age, (and the necessitous,) as to exclude, as much as possible, profligacy from the one, and despair from the other. Hence the cogent necessity of public seminaries of learning being established in the United States by the national and state legislatures. Instead of this, the resources of a country are lavished upon kings, upon courts, upon hirelings, imposters, and prostitutes; and even the poor themselves, with all their wants upon them, are compelled to support the fraud that oppresses them.

“Why is it that scarcely any are executed but the poor? The fact is a proof, among other things, of a wretchedness in their condition. Bred up without morals or information, and cast upon the world without a prospect, they are the exposed sacrifice of vice and legal barbarity. The millions that are superfluously wasted upon governments are more than sufficient to reform those evils, and to benefit the condition of every man in a nation, not included within the purlieus of a court.”

“Man is a progressive animal, and his advance towards improvement is a pleasurable state. Hope cheers his path as he toils up the hill that leads him to something better than he has yet experienced, on its gay summit gilded with sunshine. The labor of the ascent is a delight. But if he cannot help conceiving, from a sense of grievances which he feels, something excellent, to which he is prohibited by coercion from approaching, hope sickens, and ill-humor succeeds to complacency. Hence arises a disagreement between the governed and governors; and the governors, being possessed of the present power, use force and rigor to stifle the rumors of complaint. Coercion but increases the ill-humor, which often lies latent, like the fires of a volcano, for a considerable time, but at last bursts forth with irresistible fury. It is wise, therefore, as well as just, in all governors who have a regard for any thing but their present and private interest, to encourage discussion, to seek improvement of the system, and to reject no reform proposed by great numbers without a cool, a temperate, and a long deliberation. The reasons for rejection should be clearly stated, with the utmost regard to open and ingenuous behavior; and those who remain unconvinced, after all, should not be treated with asperity. Every individual, in a free country, has a right to approve or disapprove the system under which he lives, without peril or control, while he preserves the peace. His peaceable deportment and acquiescence in the opinion of others, contrary to his own conviction, renders him a very meritorious character. He may be won over by gentleness, but force only tends to excite the violence which it would imperiously repel.

“But to tell a man of sense, reading, and reflection, that he must not venture to entertain an opinion on political matters, or the existing government, different from that of the president, the consul, or the king, is an impotent endeavor to exercise a despotism over his mind against which nature revolts, and a manly spirit must rebel. Such a man can usually judge of governments, and all the institutions of social life, better than mere men of business, however high their rank or important their employments—far better than overgrown rich, occupied in vain ceremonies, and usually as little able as inclined to enter into deep disquisition.

“Despotism is so ugly in its form, and so hostile in its nature, to human happiness, that no wonder those who wish to diffuse its spirit are inclined to check and discourage among the people all political investigation. But let it be a rule among those who really value liberty and the rights of man, to use the more diligence in political discussion, in proportion as tories and traitors display a wish to suppress political writings and conversations, and disseminate the doctrine that things are so well constituted as neither to require nor admit any improvement. The representative system takes society and civilization for its basis, reason and experience for its guide.

“As this is the order of nature, the order of government must necessarily follow it, or government will, as we see it does, degenerate into ignorance. The hereditary system, therefore, is as repugnant to human wisdom as to human rights, and is as absurd as it is unjust.

“As the republic of letters brings forward the best literary productions, by giving to genius a fair and universal chance, so the representative system of government is calculated to produce the wisest laws, by collecting wisdom from where it can be found. I smile to myself when I contemplate the ridiculous insignificance into which literature and all the sciences would sink, were they made hereditary; and I carry the same idea into governments. An hereditary governor is as inconsistent as an hereditary author. I know not whether Homer or Euclid had sons; but I will venture an opinion, that if they had, and had left their works unfinished, those sons could not have completed them.

“Do we need a stronger evidence of the absurdity of hereditary government than is seen in the descendants of those men, in any line of life, who once were famous? Is there scarcely an instance in which there is not a total reverse of the character? It appears as if the tide of mental faculties flowed as far as it could in certain channels, and then forsook its course and arose in others. How irrational, then, is the hereditary system which establishes channels of power, in company with which wisdom refuses to flow! By continuing this absurdity, man is perpetually in contradiction with himself. He accepts, for a king, or a chief magistrate, or a legislator, a person whom he would not elect for a constable.

“It appears, to general observation, that revolutions create genius and talents; but those events do no more than bring them forward. There is, existing in man, a mass of sense lying in a dormant state, and which, unless something excites it to action, will descend with him, in that condition, to the grave. As it is to the advantage of society that the whole of its faculties should be employed, the construction of government ought to be such as to bring forward, by a quiet and regular operation, all that extent of capacity which never fails to appear in revolutions.

“This cannot take place in the insipid state of hereditary government, not only because it prevents, but because it operates to benumb. When the mind of a nation is bowed down by any political superstition in its government, such as hereditary succession is, it loses a considerable portion of its powers on all other subjects and objects. Hereditary succession requires the same obedience to ignorance as to wisdom; and when once the mind can bring itself to pay this indiscriminate reverence, it descends below the stature of mental manhood. It is fit to be great only in little things. It acts a treachery upon itself, and suffocates the sensations that urge to detection.”

“Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It has its origin in the principles of society, and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependance and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of a civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their law; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost every thing which is ascribed to government.

“To understand the nature and quantity of government proper for man, it is necessary to attend to his character. As nature created him for social life, she fitted him for the station she intended. In all cases she made his natural wants greater than his individual powers. No one man is capable, without the aid of society, of supplying his own wants; and those wants, acting upon every individual, impel the whole of them into society, as naturally as gravitation acts to a centre.

“But she has gone further. She has not only forced man into society, by a diversity of wants’, which the reciprocal aid of each other can supply, but she has implanted in him a system of social affections, which, though not necessary to his existence, are essential to his happiness. There is no period in life when this love for society ceases to act. It begins and ends with our being.

“If we examine, with attention, into the composition and constitution of man, the diversity of his wants, and the diversity of talents in different men for reciprocally accommodating the wants of each other, his propensity to society, and consequently to preserve the advantages resulting from it, we shall easily discover that a great part of what is called government is mere imposition.

“Government is no farther necessary than to supply the few cases to which society and civilization are not conveniently competent; and instances are not wanting to show, that every thing which government can usefully add thereto has been performed by the common consent of society, without government.

“For upwards of two years from the commencement of the American war, and for a longer period in several of the American states, there were no established forms of government. The old governments had been abolished, and the country was too much occupied in defence to employ its attention in establishing new governments; yet, during this interval, order and harmony were preserved as inviolate as in any country in Europe. There is a natural aptness in man, and more so in society, because it embraces a greater variety of abilities and resource to accommodate itself to whatever situation it is in. The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.

“So far is it from being true, as has been pretended, that the abolition of any formal government is the dissolution of society, that it acts by a contrary impulse, and brings the latter the closer together. All that part of its organization which it had committed to its government devolves again upon itself, and acts through its medium. When men, as well from natural instinct as from reciprocal benefits, have habituated themselves to social and civilized life, there is always enough of its principles in practice to carry them through any changes they may find necessary or convenient to make in their government. In short, man is so naturally a creature of society, that it is almost impossible to put him out of it.

“Formal government makes but a small part of civilized life; and when even the best that human wisdom can devise is established, it is a thing more in name and idea, than in fact. It is to the great and fundamental principles of society and civilization—to the common usage universally consented to, and mutually and reciprocally maintained—to the unceasing circulation of interest, which, passing through its million channels, invigorates the whole mass of civilized man—it is to these things, infinitely more than to any thing which even the best instituted government can perform, that the safety and prosperity of the individual and of the whole depend.

“The more perfect civilization is, the less occasion has it for government, because the more does it regulate its own affairs, and govern itself: but so contrary is the practice of old governments to the reason of the case, that the expenses of them increase in the proportion they ought to diminish. It is but few general laws that civilized life requires, and those of such common usefulness, that whether they are enforced by the forms of government or not, the effect will be nearly the same. If we consider what the principles are that first condense men into society, and what the motives that regulate their mutual intercourse afterwards, we shall find, by the time we arrive at what is called government, that nearly the whole of the business is performed by the natural operation of the parts upon each other.

“Man, with respect to all those matters, is more a creature of consistency than he is aware, or than governments would wish him to believe. All the great laws of society are laws of nature. Those of trade and commerce, whether with respect to the intercourse of individuals, or of nations, are laws of mutual and reciprocal interest. They are followed and obeyed, because it is the interest of the parties so to do, and not on account of any formal laws their government may impose or interpose.

“But how often is the natural propensity to society disturbed or destroyed by the operations of government? When the latter instead of being ingrafted on the principles of the former, assumes to exist for itself, and acts by partialities of favour and oppression, it becomes the cause of the mischiefs it ought to prevent.

“If we look back to the riots and tumults, which at various times have happened in England, we shall find that they did not proceed from the want of a government, but that government was itself the generating cause; instead of consolidating society it divided it; it deprived it of its natural cohesion, and engendered discontents and disorders, which otherwise would not have existed. In those associations, which men promiscuously form for the purpose of trade, or of any concern, in which government is totally out of the question, and in which they act merely on the principles of society, we see how naturally the various parties unite; and this shows, by comparison, that government, so far from being always the cause or means of order, are often the destruction of it. The riots of 1780 had no other source than the remains of those prejudices, which the government itself had encouraged. But with respect to England there are also other causes.

“Excess and inequality in taxation, however disguised in the means, never fail to appear in their effects. As a great mass of the community are thrown thereby into poverty and discontent, they are constantly on the brink of commotion; and, deprived, as they unfortunately are, of the means of information, are easily heated to outrage. Whatever the apparent cause of any riots may be, the real one is always want of happiness. It shows. that something is wrong in the system of government, that hires the felicity by which society is to be preserved.

“But as fact is superior to reasoning, the instance of America presents itself to confirm these observations.—If there is a country in the world, where concord, according to common calculation, would be least expected, it is America.

“Can we possibly suppose that if governments had originated in a right principle, and had not an interest in pursuing a wrong one, that the world could have been in the wretched and quarrelsome condition we have seen it? What inducement has the farmer, while following the plough, to lay aside his peaceful pursuits, and go to war with the farmer of another country? or what inducement has the manufacturer? What is dominion to them, or to any class of men in a nation? Does it add an acre to any man’s estate, to raise its value? Are not conquest and defeat each of the same price, and taxes the never-failing consequence?—Though this reasoning may be good to a nation, it is not so to a government. War is the Pharo table of governments, and nations the dupes of the game.

“If there is any thing to wonder at in this miserable scene of governments, more than might be expected, it is the progress which the peaceful arts of agriculture, manufacture, and commerce have made, beneath such a long accumulating load of discouragement and oppression. It serves to show, that instinct in animals does not act with stronger impulse, than the principles of society and civilization operate in man.”

“To meliorate the condition of human nature can be the only rational end of government. It cannot be designed to favour one description of men, a Minority of men, at the expense of all others; who having received life from him who alone can give it, received at the same time a right to enjoy it in liberty and security. This was the charter of God and nature; which no mortal, however elevated by conquest or inheritance, can annul or violate without impiety. All government which makes not the advancement of human happiness, and the comfort of the individuals who are subject to its control, the prime purpose of its operations, partakes of despotism; and governments which boast of a free constitution, the views even of statesmen and politicians who espoused the cause of liberty, have been too circumscribed. They have been attached to names and families. They seem not to have opened either their eyes or hearts to objects truly great, and affections sincerely catholic and philanthropic. 1 hate to hear public men, who certainly can have no right to their offices, but for the public good, professing themselves of the democratic party, the federal party, the quid party, and appearing to forget, in their zeal for a few distinguished persons, the great mass of the people, the party of human nature. The majority of men are poor and obscure. To them all party attachments to names and families, little known as public benefactors, must appear at once absurd and injurious. They are the persons who stand in most need of protection and assistance from the powerful. The rich under all governments, have a thousand means of procuring either comfort or defence. It is the mass, the poor and middling ranks, unknown to, and unknowing courts or kings, or senators, or legislators, who require all the alleviation which men enlightened by knowledge, furnished with opulence, elevated by office, can afford to lessen the natural evils of life, aggravated by the moral and artificial. Government possesses the power of alleviating and sometimes of removing, that moral and physical evil which embitters existence.—How deplorable, when government become so perverted, as to increase the evil it was designed to cure. Yet this has been, and is now the case on a great part of the globe; insomuch that the learned and judicious Dr. Prideaux, whose integrity is as well known as his ability, used to say, ‘That it was a doubt with him, whether the benefit which the world receives from government, was sufficient to make amends for the calamities which it suffers from the follies, mistakes, and mal-administration of those who manage it.’

“When it is considered how little the most boasted governments have been able or inclined to prevent the greatest calamity of the world, the frequent recurrence of War, it is natural to conclude, that there has been some radical defect or error in all government, hitherto instituted on the face of the earth. Violence may be used where there is no government. Governments pretend to direct human affairs by reason; but war is a dereliction of reason, a renunciation of all that refines and improves human nature, and an appeal to brute force. Man descends from the heights to which philosophers and legislators had raised him in society; takes the sword, und surpasses the beasts of the forest in ferocity. Yet, so far from thinking himself culpable, he deems his destructive employment the most honorable of all human occupations, because governments have politically contrived to throw a glossy mantle, covered with tinsel and spangles, over the horrors of bloodshed and devastation. If governments with all their riches and power, all their vaunted arts and sciences, all the mysterious policy of cabinets, all the wisdom and eloquence of deliberating senates, are unable to preserve the blessing of peace, uninterrupted, during the short space of twenty years together, they must be dreadfully faulty, either in their constitution or their administration. In what consists the fault? I think in the selfish spirit of despotism, pursuing the sordid or vain-glorious purposes of the governors, with little regard to the real, substantial happiness of the governed. Despotism in some mode or degree, has transformed the shepherds of the flock into wolves; has appropriated the fleeces, shed the blood of the innoxious animals, tore down the fences of the sheepfold, and laid waste the pasture.

“Where is the government that has distributed property so equitably, as that none to whom existence has been given should want the necessaries of existence; and where helpless age and infirmity, as well as helpless infancy, should find a pillar to repose on, and plenty to nourish it, without supplicating a Man, equal by nature, for the cold scanty relief of eleemosynary charity? The truth is, power gradually engrosses property; and the selfish spirit of despotism is ever striving to appropriate all the good, of every kind, which the earth is able to produce.

“The truth is, national glory, the trappings of a court, the parade of armies, the finery of external appearance, have been the silly objects of state solicitude; while Man was left to bewail, in the recesses of want and obscurity, that his mother had brought him into a world of woe, without means of comfort or support, with little other prospect than to labour without ceasing, to fight those who never injured him, and to die prematurely, unknown and unlamented. All his wretchedness has been aggravated by the insults of unfeeling pride; the neglect of aristocratic grandeur, which, under the spirit of despotism, mocked by the false pageantry of life, those who were doomed to feel its real misery. The vain pomp and glory of the world, held out the finger of scorn to that wretchedness which itself contributed to create, and would not relieve.

“After all the language of court adulation, the praises of poets and orators, the statues and monuments erected to the fame (of conquerors and rulers,) the malignant consequences of their actions prove them to have been no other than conspirators against the improvement and happiness of the human race. What were their means of conducting their governments, of exercising this office of Heaven’s vicegerents? Crafty, dishonest arts, oppression, extortion; and above all Fire and Sword. They dared to ape the thunder and lightning of Heaven, and, assisted by the machinations of the Grand Adversary of man, rendered their imitative contrivances for destruction more terrible and deadly than the original. Their imperial robe derived its deep crimson color from human blood; and the gold and diamonds of their diadems were accumulated treasures wrung from the famished bowels of the poor, born only to toil for others, to be robbed, to be wounded, to be trodden under foot and forgotten in an early grave. How few, in comparison, have reached the age of three score and ten, and yet, in the midst of youth and health, their days have been full of labor and sorrow. Heaven’s vicegerents seldom bestowed a thought upon them, except when it was necessary either to inveigle or to force them to take the sword and march to slaughter. Where God caused the sun to shine gaily, and scattered plenty over the land, his vicegerents diffused famine and solitude. The valley which laughed with corn, they watered with the tear of artificial hunger and distress; the plain that was bright with verdure, and gay with flowrets, they dyed red with gore. They operated on the world as the blast of an east wind, as a pestilence, as a deluge, as a conflagration, And have they yet ceased from the earth? Cast your eyes over the plains of Europe, the wilds of Africa’, and the gardens of Asia, European despotism has united with oriental, to unparadise the provinces of India.

“Thus, if God, in his wisdom, has thought fit to allot us a few evils for the purpose of discipline, the Great Ones of the world have endeavored to make the whole of life an evil to the despised and neglected Million. The world is now old, and may profit by the lessons of Experience. She has decisively declared, that Monarchy is the grand source of human misfortune, the Pandora’s box out of which every curse has issued, and scarcely left even Hope behind. Despotism, in its extreme, is fatal to human happiness, and, in all its degrees and modifications, injurious. The spirit of it ought therefore to be suppressed on the first and slightest appearance. It should be the endeavor of every good man, pro virili, as far as his best abilities will extend, to extirpate all arbitrary government from the globe. It should be swept from the earth, or trampled under foot, from China to Peru. But no power is capable of crushing the Hydra, less than the Herculean arm of a whole People.

“I lay it down as an incontrovertible axiom, that all who are born into the world have a right to be as happy in it as the unavoidable evils of nature, and their own disordered passions, will allow. The grand object of all good government, of all government that is not an usurpation, must be to promote this happiness, to assist every individual in its attainment and security. A government chiefly anxious about the emoluments of office, chiefly employed in augmenting its own power and aggrandizing its obsequious instruments, while it neglects the comfort and safety of individuals in middle or low life, is despotic and a nuisance. It is founded on folly as well as wickedness, and like the freaks of insanity, deals mischief and misery around, without being able to ascertain or limit its extent and duration. If it should not be punished as criminal, let it be coerced as dangerous. Let the straight waistcoat be applied; but let Men, judging fellow men, always spare the axe.

“For what rational purpose could we enter into life? To vex, torment, and slay each other with the sword? No, by the sweet mercy of Heaven! I firmly believe, that the great King of Kings, intended every son and daughter of Adam to be as happy as the eternal laws of Nature, under his control, permit them to be in this sublunary state. Execrated and exploded be all those politics, with Machiavel, or the Evil Being, their author, which introduce systems of government and manners among the great, inconsistent with the happiness of the majority. Must real tragedies be forever acting on the stage of human life? Must men go on forever to be tormentors and executioners of men? Is the world never to profit by the experience of ages? Must not even attempts be made to improve the happiness of life, to improve government, though all arts and sciences are encouraged in their progress to perfection? Must the grand art, the sublimest science, that of meliorating the condition of human nature, be stationary? No; forbid it reason, virtue, benevolence, religion! Let the world be made more and more comfortable, to all who are allowed the glorious privilege of seeing the sun and breathing the liberal air. Our forefathers were oppressed by priests and despots, and driven from their natal country to seek an asylum among the more merciful savages of North America. Let us explode that folly, that priest-craft, that bigotry which compelled them to embark on a stormy sea, and seek refuge in a howling wilderness; and let every mortal under the cope of heaven enjoy existence, as long as nature will allow the feasts to continue, without any restraints on liberty, but such as the majority of uncorrupted guests unite in agreeing to be salutary, and therefore conducive to the general festivity.”

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An Alphabet of Lesson for Youth: The New England Primer 1777

the-new-england-primerThe New England Primer was the first textbook ever printed in America. Printed in 1690 in Boston, it was used for two hundred years in America‘s schools. In addition to teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, there was also a moral, biblical and spiritual dimension to its content. Here are some examples of how the alphabet was taught:

[A] Wise son maketh a glad father, but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

[B]etter is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure & trouble therewith.

[C]ome unto Christ all ye that labor and are heavy laden and he will give you rest.

[D]o not the abominable thing which I hate saith the Lord.

[E]xcept a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

[F]oolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

[G]odliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come.

[H]oliness becomes GOD’s house for ever.

[I]t is good for me to draw near unto GOD.

[K]eep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.

[L]iars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.

[M]any are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth them out of them all.

[N]ow is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.

[O]ut of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

[P]ray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which sees in secret shall reward thee openly.

[Q]uit you like men, be strong, stand fast in the faith.

[R]emember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.

[S]eest thou a man wise in his own conceit, there is more hope of a fool than of him.

[T]rust in God at all times, ye people, pour out your hearts before him.

[U]pon the wicked, God shall rain an horrible tempest.

[W]oe to the wicked, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

e[X]hort one another daily while it is called to day, lest any of you be hardened thro’ the deceitfulness of sin.

[Y]oung men ye have overcome the wicked one.

[Z]eal hath consumed me, because thy enemies have forgotten the word of God.
Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Founder Benjamin Rush: A Defence of the Use of the Bible as a School Book

BenjaminRush

Founding Father; Doctor Benjamin Rush: Public School Advocate, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Founder of the first American Bible Society, dedicated to spreading the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Dr. Rush was an outspoken Christian, statesman, and pioneering medical doctor. He was a prolific author, and wrote the first America chemistry textbook. In 1777, he was  appointed Surgeon General of the Continental Army, and complained to Washington about the condition of the hospitals In 1797, President John Adams appointed Rush as Treasurer of the U.S. Mint, a position he held until 1813. He was another of the early advocates for the abolition of slavery, free public schools, education for women. He helped found the first anti-slavery society in America. He urged Thomas Paine to write Common Sense, a tract promoting American independence, and supplied the title. Dr. Rush treated over 100 patients a day during the yellow fever epidemics in Philadelphia, and his account of the epidemic of 1793 won him international recognition. At the time of his death in 1813, he was heralded as one of the three most notable figures of America, the other two being George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible

GOD GOVERNS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN Speech by Benjamin Franklin During the Constitutional Convention

A Defence of the Use of the Bible as a School Book: Addressed to the Rev. Jeremy Belknap of Boston, Mass. 1791 by Benjamin Rush

Dear Sir,

Tis now several months, since I promised to give you my reasons for preferring the bible as a school book, to all other compositions. I shall not trouble you with an apology for my delaying so long to comply with my promise, but shall proceed immediately to the subject of my letter.

Before I state my arguments in favour of teaching children to read by means of the bible, I shall assume the five following propositions.;

 I. That Christianity is the only true and perfect religion, and that in proportion as mankind adopt its principles, and obey its precepts, they will be wife, and happy.

     II. That a better knowledge of this religion is to be acquired by reading the bible, than in any other way.

 III. That the bible contains more knowledge necessary to man in his present state, than any other book in the world.

     IV. That knowledge is most durable, and religious instruction most useful, when imparted in early life,

V. That the bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life.

My arguments in favor of the use of the bible as a school book are founded, I. In the constitution of the human mind.

    1. The memory is the first faculty which opens in the minds of children. Of how much consequence, then, must it be, to impress it with the great truths of Christianity, before it is pre-occupied with less interesting subjects! As all the liquors, which are poured into a cup, generally taste of that which first filled it, so all the knowledge, which is added to that which is treasured up in the memory from the bible, generally receives an agreeable and useful tincture from it.

2. There is a peculiar aptitude in the minds of children for religious knowledge. I have constantly found them in the first fix or seven years of their lives, more inquisitive upon religious subjects, than upon any others: and an ingenious instructor of youth has informed me, that he has found young children more capable of receiving just ideas upon the most difficult tenets of religion, than upon the most simple branches of human knowledge. It would be strange if it were otherwise; for God creates all his means to suit all his ends. There must of course be a fitness between the human mind, and the truths which are essential to its happiness.

3. The influence of prejudice is derived from the impressions, which are made upon the mind in early life; prejudices are of two kinds, true and false. In a world where false prejudices do so much mischief, it would discover great weakness not to oppose them, by such as are true.

I grant that many men have rejected the prejudices derived from the bible: but I believe no man ever did so, without having been made wiser or better, by the early operation of these prejudices upon his mind. Every just principle that is to be found in the writings of Voltaire, is borrowed from the Bible: and the morality of the Deists, which has been so much admired and praised, is, I believe, in most cafes, the effect of habits, produced by early instruction in the principles of Christianity.

    4. We are subject, by a general law in our natures, to what is called habit. Now if the study of the scriptures be necessary to our happiness at any time of our . lives, the sooner we begin to read them, the more we shall be attached to them; for it is peculiar to all the acts of habit, to become easy, strong and agreeable by repetition.

5. It is a law in our natures, that we remember longest the knowledge we acquire by the greatest number of our senses. Now a knowledge of the contents of the bible, is acquired in school by the aid of the eyes and the ears; for children after getting their lessons, always say them to their masters in an audible voice j of course there is a presumption, that this knowledge will be retained much longer than if it had been acquired in any other way.

6. The interesting events and characters, recorded and described in the Old and New Testaments, are accommodated above all others to seize upon all the faculties of the minds of children. The understanding, the memory, the imagination, the passions, and the moral powers, are all occasionally addressed by the various incidents which are contained in those divine books, insomuch that not to be delighted with them, is to be devoid of every principle of pleasure that exists in a sound mind.

7. There is a native love of truth in the human mind. Lord Shaftesbury says, that “truth is so congenial to our minds, that we love even the shadow of it:” and Horace, in his rules for composing an epic poem, establishes the fame law in our natures, by advising the ” fictions in poetry to resemble truth.” Now the bible contains more truths than any other book in the world: so true is the testimony that it bears of God in his works of creation, providence, and redemption, that it is called truth itself, by way of preeminence above things that are only simply true. How forcibly are we struck with the evidences of truth, in the history of the Jews, above what we discover in the history of other nations? Where do we find a hero, or an historian record[s] his own faults or vices except in the Old Testament? Indeed, my friend, from some accounts which I have read of the American revolution, I begin to grow skeptical to all history except to that which is contained in the bible. Now if this book be known to contain nothing but what is materially true, the mind will naturally acquire a love for it from this circumstance: and from this affection for the truths of of the bible, it will acquire a discernment of truth in other books, and a preference of it in all the transactions of life. .

8. There is a wonderful property in the memory, which enables it in old age, to recover the knowledge it had acquired in early life, after it had been apparently forgotten for forty or fifty years. Of how much consequence, then, must it be, to fill the mind with that species of knowledge, in childhood and youth, which, when recalled in the decline of life, will support the soul under the infirmities of age, and smooth the avenues of approaching death? The bible is the only book which is capable of affording this support to old age; and it is for this reason that we find it resorted to with so much diligence and pleasure by such old people as have read it in early life. I can recollect many instances of this kind in persons who discovered no attachment to the bible, in the meridian of their lives, who have notwithstanding, spent the evening of them, in reading no other book. The late Sir John Pringle, Physician to the Queen of Great Britain, after passing a long life in camps and at court, closed it by studying the scriptures. So anxious was he to increase his knowledge in them, that he wrote to Dr. Michaelis, a learned professor of divinity in Germany, for an explanation of a difficult text of scripture, a short time before his death.

9. My second argument in favour of the use of the bible in schools, is founded upon an implied command of God, and upon the practice of several of the wisest nations of the world—In the 6th chapter of Deuteronomy, we find the following words, which are directly to my purpose, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

It appears, moreover, from the history of the Jews, that they flourished as a nation, in proportion as they honoured and read the books of Moses, which contained, a written revelation of the will of God, to the children of men. The law was not only neglected, but lost during the general profligacy of manners which accompanied the long and wicked reign of Manasseh. Put the discovery of it, in the rubbish of the temple, by Josiah, and its subsequent general use, were followed by a return of national virtue and prosperity. We read further, of the wonderful effects which the reading of the law by Ezra, after his return from his captiviy in Babylon, had upon the Jews. They hung upon his lips with tears, and showed the sincerity of their repentance, by their general reformation.

The learning of the Jews, for many years consisted in nothing but a knowledge of the scriptures. These were the text books of all the instruction that was given in the schools of their prophets. It ‘was by means of this general knowledge of their law, that those Jews that wandered from Judea into our countries, carried with them and propagated certain ideas of the true God among all the civilized nations upon the face of the earth. And it was from the attachment they retained to the old Testament, that they procured a translation of it into the Greek language, after they lost the Hebrew tongue, by their long absence from their native country. The utility of this translation, commonly called the Septuagint, in facilitating the progress of the gospel, is well known to all who are acquainted with the history of the first age of the christian church.

But the benefits of an early and general acquaintance with the bible, were not confined only to the Jewish nations. They have appeared in many countries in Europe, since the reformation. The industry, and habits of order, which distinguish many of the German nations, are derived from their early instruction in the principles of Christianity, by means of the bible. The moral and enlightened character of the inhabitants of Scotland, and of the New England States, appears to be derived from the same cause. If we descend from nations to sects, we shall find them wise and prosperous in proportion as they become early acquainted with the scriptures. The bible is still used as a school book among the Quakers. The morality of this sect of christians is universally acknowledged. Nor is this all, their prudence in the management of their private affairs, is as much a mark of their society, as their sober manners,

I wish to be excused for repeating here, that if the bible did not convey a single direction for the attainment of future happiness, it should be read in our schools in preference to all other books, from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and publick temporal happiness.

We err not only in human affairs, but in religion likewise, only because we do not know the scriptures.” The opposite systems of the numerous sects of Christians. arise chiefly from their being more instructed in catechisms, creeds, and confessions of faith, than in the scriptures. Immense truths, I believe, are concealed in them. The time, I have no doubt, will come, when posterity will view and pity our ignorance of these truths, as much as we do the ignorance of the disciples of our Saviour, who knew nothing of the meaning of these plain passages in the old testament which were daily fulfilling before their eyes. Whenever that time shall arrive, those truths which have escaped our notice, or, if discovered, have been thought to be opposed to each other, or to be inconsistent with themselves, will then like the stones of Solomon’s temple, be found so exactly ‘o accord with each other, that they shall be cemented without noise or force, into one simple and sublime system of religion. 

But further, we err, not only in religion but in philosophy likewise, because we do not know or believe the scriptures. The sciences have been compared to a circle of which religion composes a part. To understand any one of them perfectly it is necessary to have some knowledge of them all. Bacon, Boyle, and Newton included the scriptures in the inquiries to which their universal geniuses disposed them, and their philosophy was aided by their knowledge in them. A striking agreement has been lately discovered between the history of certain events recorded in the bible and some of the operations and productions of nature, particularly those which are related in Whitehurst’s observations on the deluge- in Smith’s account of the origin of the variety of colour in the human species, and in Bruce’s travels. It remains yet to be shown how many other events, related in the bible, accord with some late important discoveries in the principles of medicine. The events, and the principles alluded to, mutually establish the truth of each other. From the discoveries of the christian philosophers, whose names have been last mentioned, I have been led to question whether most harm has been done to revelation, by those divines who have unduly multiplied the objects of faith, or by those deists who have unduly multiplied the objects of reason, in explaining the scriptures.

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I shall now proceed to answer some of the objections which have been made to the use of the bible as a school book.

   I. We are told, that the familiar use of the bible in our schools, has a tendency to lessen a due reverence for it. This objection, by proving too much, proves nothing at all. If familiarity lessens respect for divine things, then all those precepts of our religion, which enjoin the daily or weekly worship of the Deity, are improper. The bible was not intended to represent a Jewish ark; and it is an antichristian idea, to suppose that it can be profaned, by being carried into a school house, or by being handled by children. But where will the bible be read by young people with more reverence than in a school? Not in most private families; for I believe there are few parents, who preserve so much order in their houses, as is kept up in our common English [free or public] schools.

II. We are told, that there are many passages in the old testament, that are improper to be read by children, and that the greatest part of it is no way interesting to mankind under the present dispensation of the gospel. There are I grant, several chapters, and many verse[s] in the old testament, which in their present unfortunate translation, should be passed over by children. But I deny that any of the books of the old testament are not interesting to mankind, under the gospel dispensation. Most of the characters, events, and ceremonies, mentioned in them, are personal, providential, or instituted types of the Messiah: All of which have been, or remain yet to be, fulfilled by him. It is from an ignorance or neglect of these types, that we have so many deists in Christendom; for so irrefragably [are impossible to refute] do they prove the truth of Christianity, that I am sure a young man who had been regularly instructed in their meaning, could never doubt afterwards of the truth of any of its principles. If any obscurity appears in these principles, it is only (to use the words of the poet) because they are dark, with excessive bright.

I know there is an objection among many People to teach children doctrines of any kind, because they are liable to be controverted. But where will this objection lead us ?— The being of a God, and the obligations of morality, have both been controverted [argued about]; and yet who has objected to our teaching these doctrines to our children?

The curiosity and capacities of young people for the mysteries of religion, awaken much sooner than is generally supposed. Of this we have two remarkable proofs in the old testament. The first is mentioned in the twelfth chapter of Exodus. “And it shall come when your children shall say unto you,” What mean you by this service ?” that ye shall say, ” It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.” A second proof of the desire of children to be instructed in the mysteries of religion, is to be found in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy. And when thy son asketh thee in the time to come saying,  What mean the testimonies—and the statutes—and the judgments which the Lord our God hath commanded you?” Then thou shalt fay unto thy son, ” We were Pharoah’s bondmen in Egypt, and the Lord our God brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.” These enquiries from the mouths of children are perfectly natural; for where is the parent who has not had similar questions proposed to him by his children upon their being being first conducted to a place of worship, or upon their beholding, for the first time, either of the sacraments of our religion.

Let us not not be wiser than our Maker. If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into our world, would have been unnecessary. He came to promulgate a system of doctrines, as well as a system of morals. The perfect morality of the gospel rests upon a doctrine, which, though often controverted, has never been refuted, I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God. This sublime and ineffable doctrine delivers us from the absurd hypotheses of modern philosophers, concerning the foundation of moral obligation, and fixes it upon the eternal and self moving principle of Love. It concentrates a whole system of ethics in a single text of Scripture. “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you.” By witholding the knowledge of this doctrine from children, we deprive ourselves of the best means of awakening moral sensibility in their minds. We do more, we furnish an argument, for witholding from them a knowledge of the morality of the gospel likewise; for this, in many instances, is as supernatural, and therefore as liable to be controverted, as any of the doctrines or miracles which are mentioned in the new testament. The miraculous conception of the saviour of the world by a virgin, is not more opposed to the ordinary course of natural events, nor is the doctrine of the atonement more above human reason, than those moral precepts, which command us to love our enemies, or to die for our friends.

III. It has been said, that the division of the bible into chapters and verses, renders it more difficult to be read, by children than many other books.

By a little care in a master, this difficulty may be obviated, and even an advantage derived from it. It may serve to transfer the attention of the scholar to the sense of a subject; and no person will ever read well, who is guided by any thing else, in his stops, emphafis, or accents. The division of the bible into chapters and verses, is not a greater obstacle to its being read with ease, than the bad punctuation of most other books. I deliver this stricture upon other books, from the authority of Mr. Rice, the celebrated author of the art of speaking, whom I heard declare in a large company in London, that he had never seen a book properly pointed in the English Language. He exemplified, notwithstanding, by reading to the same company a passage from Milton, his perfect knowledge of the art of reading.

Some people, I know, have proposed to introduce extracts from the bible, into our schools, instead of the bible itself. Many excellent works of this kind, are in print, but if we admit any one of them, we shall have the same inundation of them that we have had of grammars, spelling books, and lessons for children, many of which are published for the benefit of the authors only, and all of them have tended greatly to increase the expence of education. Besides, these extracts or abridgements of the bible, often contain the tenets of particular sects or persons, and therefore, may be improper for schools composed of the children of different sects of Christians. The bible is a cheap book, and is to be had in every bookstore. It is, moreover, esteemed and prefered by all sects; because each finds its peculiar doctrines in it. It would therefore be used in preference to any abridgements of it, or histories extracted from it.

I have heard it proposed that a portion of the bible should be read every day by the master, as a means of instructing children in it: But this is a poor substitute for obliging children to read it as a school book; for by this means we insensibly engrave, as it were, its contents upon their minds: and it has been remarked that children, instructed in this way in the scriptures, seldom forget any part of them. They have the same advantage over those persons,who have only heard the scriptures read by a master, that a man who has worked with the tools of a mechanical employment for several years, has over the man who has only stood a few hours in a work shop, and seen the same business carried on by other people.

In this defence of the use of the bible as a school book, I beg you would not think that I suppose the Bible to contain the only revelation which God has made to man. I believe in an internal revelation, or a moral principle, which God has implanted in the heart of every man, as the precursor of his final dominion over the whole human race. How much this internal revelation accords with the external, remains yet to be explored by philosophers. I am disposed to believe, that most of the doctrines of Christianity revealed in the bible might be discovered by a close examination of all the principles of action in man: But who is equal to such an enquiry? It certainly does not suit the natural indolence, or laborious employments of a great majority of mankind. The internal revelation of the gospel may be compared to the straight line which is made through a wilderness by the assistance of a compass, to a distant country, which few are able to discover, while the bible resembles a public road to the same country, which is wide, plain, and easily found, And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness. The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”

Neither let me in this place exclude the Revelation which God has made of himself to man in the works of creation. I am far from wishing to lessen the influence of this species of Revelation upon mankind. But the knowledge of God obtained from this source, is obscure and feeble in its operation, compared with that which is derived from the bible. The visible creation speaks of the Deity in hyeroglyphics, while the bible describes all his attributes and perfections in such plain and familiar language that “he who runs may read.”

How kindly has our maker dealt with his creatures, in providing three different cords to draw them to himself? But how weakly do some men act, who suspend their faith, and hopes upon only one of them! By laying hold of them all, they would approach more speedily and certainly to the centre of all happiness.

To the arguments I have mentioned in favour of the use of the bible as a school book, I shall add a few reflections.

The present fashionable practice of rejecting the bible from our schools, I suspect has originated with the deists. They discover great ingenuity in this new mode of attacking Christianity. If they proceed in it, they will do more in half a century, in extirpating our religion, than Bolingbroke or Voltaire could have effected in a thousand years. I am not writing to this class of people. I despair of changing the opinions of any of them. I wish only to alter the opinions and conduct of those lukewarm, or superstitious Christians, who have been milled [crushed or confused] by the deists upon this subject. On the ground of the good old custom, of using the bible as a school book, it becomes us to entrench our religion. It is the last bulwark the deists have left it; for they have rendered instruction in the principles of Christianity by the pulpit and the press, so unfashionable, that little good for many years seems to have been done by either of them.

The effects of the disuse of the bible, as a school book have appeared of late in the neglect and even contempt with which scripture names are treated by many people. It is because parents have not been early taught to know or respect the characters and exploits of the old and new testament worthies, that their names are exchanged for those of the modern kings of Europe, or of the principal characters in novels and romances. I conceive there may be some advantage in bearing scripture names. It may lead the persons who bear them, to study that part of the scriptures, in which their names are mentioned, with uncommon attention, and perhaps it may excite a desire in them to possess the talents or virtues of their ancient namesakes. This remark first occurred to me, upon hearing a pious woman whose name was Mary, say, that the first passages of the bible, which made a serious impression on her mind, were those interesting chapters and verses in which the name of Mary is mentioned in the New Testament.

It is a singular fact, that while the names of the kings and emperors of Rome, are now given chiefly to horses and dogs, scripture names have hitherto been confined only to the human species. Let the enemies and contemners [view with contempt; despise] of those names take care, lest the names of more modern kings be given hereafter only to the same animals, and lest the names of the modern heroines of romances be given to animals of an inferior species.

It is with great pleasure, that I have observed the bible to be the only book read in the Sunday schools in England. We have adopted the same practice in the Sunday schools [in America], lately established in this city. This will give our religion (humanly speaking) the chance of a longer life in our country [The United States]. We hear much of the persons educated in free schools in England, turning out well in the various walks of life. I have enquired into the cause of it, and have satisfied myself, that it is wholly to be ascribed to the general use of the bible in those schools, for it seems the children of poor people are of too little consequence to be guarded from the supposed evils of reading the scriptures in early life, or in an unconsecrated school house.

However great the benefits of reading the scriptures in schools have been, I cannot help remarking, that these benefits might be much greater, did schoolmasters take more pains to explain them to their scholars. Did they demonstrate the divine original of the bible from the purity, consistency, and benevolence of its doctrines and precepts—did they explain the meaning of the levitical institutions, and show their application to the numerous and successive gospel dispensations—did they inform their pupils that the gross and abominable vices of the Jews were recorded only as proofs of the depravity of human nature, and of the insufficiency of the law, to produce moral virtue and thereby to establish the necessity and perfection of the gospel system —and above all, did they often enforce the discourses of our Saviour, as the best rule of life, and the surest guide to happiness, how great would be the influence of our schools upon the order and prosperity of our country! Such a mode of instructing children in the Christian religion, would convey knowledge into their understandings, and would therefore be preferable to teaching them creeds, and catechisms, which too often convey, not knowledge, but words only, into their memories. I think I am not too sanguine in believing, that education, conducted in this manner, would, in the course of two generations, eradicate infidelity from among us, and render civil government scarcely necessary in our country.

In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament, that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the bible; for this divine book, above all others, favours that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and all those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.

I have now only to apologize for having addressed this letter to you, after having been assured by you, that your opinion, respecting the use of the bible as a school book, coincided with mine. My excuse for what I have done is, that I knew you were qualified by your knowledge, and disposed by your zeal in the cause of truth, to correct all the errors you would discover in my letter. Perhaps a further apology may be necessary for my having presumed to write upon a subject so much above my ordinary studies. My excuse for it is, that I thought a single mite from a member of a profession, which has been frequently charged with skepticism in religion, might attract the notice of persons who had often overlooked the more ample contributions upon this subject, of gentlemen of other professions. With great respect, I am, dear Sir, your sincere friend.

BENJAMIN RUSH. Philadelphia, March 10, 1791.

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DEEP-SEA FISHING

AncientMarinerDEEP-SEA FISHING A. H. F. FISCHER, D.D., Phoenixville, Pa.
Launch out into the deep.—Luke 5: 4.

THE accounts we have of the Master are but a very small portion of the things which he did. One biographer [John the Apostle] even states that if all were recorded the world itself could not contain the books [this is because Jesus was the first of God’s creation]. And yet there are no gaps in that comparatively short life. It moves along in perfect smoothness from start to finish. Now on what principle did the Spirit guide the sacred writers to omit what was not necessary to give us a succinct life and its work! On what principle did Christ enter the boat and tell certain men to fish where they had toiled all night and caught nothing, to go out into deeper waters, with such marvelous results! On what principle does Christ come into the life of tired disappointed men and fill them with encouragement and cheer! On the principle that he always does the right thing at the needed time. The early Church Fathers greatly emphasized the account of the miraculous draught of fishes. They said this story must never be allowed to die out, because it brings out one of the most encouraging lessons in human experience, viz., to work where we have failed and there meet success. It is a parable of the abiding influence of Christ in the world. Whenever you say to a man who is despondent, who feels he has been defeated, who has lost his grip and thinks everyone has deserted him and he has not a friend in the world, when you say to such a man, “Try again,” a sort of miracle of God occurs. New life and hope and energy enter the man and he faces defeat with a determination that means victory. Now the gospel is the voice of God to disheartened men. It says, get up and try again, there is a new fortune to be won where the old one was lost, a victory to be scored where our defeat was recorded. It comes to a man when depressed and tells him to take heart again.

This lake was a great place for fish. These men made their living catching fish and supplying the many surrounding towns with the product of their industry. They were accustomed to fish at night, for the fish then drew near the shore to feed. But they had a very unsuccessful night of it, a water-haul every time, and they had given it up and were drying their nets on the beach when Jesus appeared on the scene. A great crowd was there, and using Simon’s boat as a pulpit, he preached to them. Then, as if to reward him for the use of his improvised pulpit, he told Simon to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a draught. Tired and disheartened with the night’s failure, Simon said, “Master, we have toiled all night and taken nothing, nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” And the haul was so tremendous that the net broke, and they had to call another boat, and the catch almost swamped both of them. That is the story.

But what good is there in a fish story? First this. Our Lord sent these men back to the very waters where they had failed; sent these discouraged fishermen to cast their nets in the same place where they had been working all night and caught nothing. So God sends us not to other places or other work, but where failure faced us. Now the business of these men was to know when and where to fish. They were experts, and doubtless they expected to be successful just where they failed. Christ might have said, you failed where you were, now let us go to another place, let us try our luck there. And the disciples might have added, yes, we have fished at the wrong place, we must go to other waters. For the tendency of the human heart is to give a materialistic interpretation to all life’s successes and failures. This or that was the cause of the success or the failure, leaving God out of the question altogether. We can imagine a man saying, if I could only go off to some new place every time I get discouraged trying again would be a much easier thing: if I could be somebody else, or go somewhere else, or do something else, it might not be hard to have fresh faith and courage. We can imagine a preacher saying, if I had only gone to China or the Philippines, or to some other field of labor, or if I would connect myself with some other denomination, perhaps I would be more successful in my work. If I would leave my profession and go into business, or as the case may be, leave my business and prepare for some profession, I might find my real place in life. But the Master knows best. It is the same old net in the same old pond for most of us. The old temptations are to be overcome, the old faults to be conquered, the old trials and discouragements before which we failed yesterday to be faced again today. Yes, the old things will be there, the people, some of whom we almost hated and with whom it was so hard to get along— the same people will be there. And back to them Christ sends us. We must win success where we are if we win it at all, and it is the Master himself, who, after all these toil-filled disheartening efforts that we call failures, bids us try again. George Eliot once said that the ethics of Jesus were too effeminate, that they did not appeal to the heroic, and consequently the teachings of Christ made weak men. But what could be more heroic than the life of the apostles! We read how once the disciples put up a good fight. Peter and the other apostle when imprisoned and charged that they should no longer teach in Christ’s name, replied, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Peter, the same man who in the presence of some of these people denied with an oath that he knew the Christ, now defends him, and with imprisonment and perhaps death staring him in the face, boldly advocates his Master’s cause. And with what effect on the people? They perceived that these men had been with Jesus. They saw the firmness and the rock-like character of Jesus speaking out through them. That is the iron hand beneath the silken glove of the gospel.

Peter, the denier, the failure, goes back among the men before whom he failed, where he had proved to be a coward, and there shows himself a man of courage and unquestionable bravery. The ethics of Jesus too effeminate! Not when it transforms men like that and sends them back amidst old scenes, old failures, to face old enemies, and friends who proved treacherous, amongst old and adverse conditions, and there to make good, there to wrest victory out of former defeats. This is the nature of the gospel. Christ did not promise us anything else, but a life of battle, but it was to be accompanied by its compensating conquests. The nature of the gospel is to make man face difficulties until he is crucified with Christ; until he bears in his body all through life the marks of the Lord Jesus. He set his face like a flint steadfastly toward Jerusalem, his Calvary, but his place of victory, where before he could not do many mighty works: victory out of defeat. So the disciples went back to the lake again.

But it was Christ who sent them back. The followers of Christ should always remember, that, as soldiers, they are under orders. Whatever their work, and wherever their place may be, they are under the great Commander. Back of the disciples’ order was Christ. It is he whom they must obey. Nothing can be really failure which is obedience to his command; and some bright morning the great draught of reward will come. Worry does no good. It does not make the burden lighter, the road shorter, or the duty easier. The sensible thing to do is to face the fact that is discouraging or hard, and under Christ’s command go right on. He was a wise traveler who when his horse died, said, “I must walk now,” and trudged on with cheerful energy. A good many people would have sat down beside the dead horse and spent hours in worry. Happiness, content, and success at last; all doubts answered; all dark places lighted up; heaven begun here: this is the reward of obeying and loving Christ. In this world disappointment and tribulation; yes, but good cheer in spite of them.

And then though Jesus sent the disciples bark to the same waters, he sent them more deeply into them. “Launch out into the deep,” was the command. So men are to go back, but to plunge more deeply and earnestly into their work. It is what men keep back from Christ that is the cause of most of their trouble and the lack of their spiritual growth. The young man was willing to memorize and keep a few commandments, but he failed utterly in not consecrating himself and all he had. We consecrate only a part of our life. We give the Lord only a mite of our time and substance, an hour Sunday morning or evening, as is convenient, and a painfully small offering, reserving all the rest for self, and thus we rob God. Christ gave all. O, the depth of the riches of his grace which he has bestowed upon us! It is our shallow way of doing great things that is the torture. Shallow plowing produces scant crops. Plow deeply if you would have a rich and nourishing soil. There is a shallow way of serving Christ for the emoluments of the service, or to minister to our pride, or to have social standing, not rendering him our homage from the deep principle and motive of lore. Many a man presents the gospel in a shallow way because of a consciousness of his own inefficiency. Those in Corinth thought Paul was not rhetorical enough, not verbose enough, he did not “orate.” They thought his speech contemptible, and it disturbed Paul. He felt his weakness and thought some other might do better. But in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians he breaks away from all this and finds himself; finds the heart of all service, the true motive in consecration. He shows that there can be no complete consecration of all the powers of body, soul, and mind unless love be the strong under flowing current. If we were as anxious to be good men and women as we are to be good preachers, good teachers, good business men, good house-keepers and home-makers, we must go more deeply into self and into Christ.

A man was riding in a trolley car one day and he became very much interested in watching the movements of the motorman. Sometimes the car would run forty miles an hour, and then twenty, then ten, and then stand still. But he saw no corresponding motion on the part of the motorman. They were using the third rail system. So he went to the motorman and said, “I have been watching you for some time, and have noticed the variations of speed, but I cannot see how it is done.” The motorman replied, “When I lift up this lever the speed slackens; when I press down it goes; when I press half we skid the live rail. I just keep above it and the car runs by its own momentum.”

There are many professed Christians who just skid the third rail, the rail that furnishes the power. They work or run by their own momentum, as they feel or when they want to. They do not press down on Christ, the source of all spiritual power, the great dynamic of religious activity. And that is the reason there is so little enthusiasm and fire and activity and loyalty in Christian work to-day. Why is it that so many persons are victims of the tuberculosis germ? It is because they do not breathe deeply enough and there is so little lung or chest expansion. So many lung-cells are not used at all; and hence, not being strengthened, they are susceptible or subject to any and every microbe that floats in the air. Breathe deeply, that is the law of health physically. Launch out into the deep, that is the law of health and success spiritually.

And note too, that when Jesus sent the disciples out into deeper waters, he went back with them. Take Christ with you wherever you go. Take him as your silent Partner in every business, and your life’s work will never spell failure. Jesus never sends a man into deeper water, or calls to him for a fuller consecration, without going with him. “Lo, I am with you always,” will turn any apparent failure into success.

There is a story told of a Scottish minister, a man of delicate constitution, one of those peculiarly sensitively organized creatures who have the poetic insight and the prophetic vision, who see farther and deeper than others, a man who of God can do finer things than we of coarser fibre. As a student in college in taking his evening strolls he felt that he could never walk beyond a given point. He could not bring himself to pass it. At that point his energy seemed to fail him. One day he told it all in confidence to his dearest friend. The friend said, “Give me your arm; lean hard on me,” and leaning on that arm he walked past the point in victory. We are going back to our work again on the morrow, and what will we make of it—success or failure!

Back to the same old round of duty, to meet the same old faces, to do the same dull tasks of yesterday, to the same place where perhaps we failed yesterday. But if we are working along the line of duty, if we are engaged in the work for which we are adapted, then that is Christ’s call to us for deeper consecration, for a more thorough application of all our powers. Let us remember that we are under orders, that Christ goes with us, and he who works daily and hourly under the inspiration and consciousness of the divine presence and divine help will never go down, will never wholly fail, but will be crowned with victory at last. Over such a life the divine hand will write “Success” in golden letters when he sums up life’s total. “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” To strive with God is to succeed.

He cast his net at morn where fishers toiled,
At eve he drew it empty to the shore;
He took the diver’s plunge into the sea
But thence, within his hand no pearl he bore.
He ran a race but never reached his goal;
He sped an arrow but he missed his aim;
He slept at last beneath a simple stone
With no achievements carved about his name.
Men called it failure; but for my own part
I dare not use that word; for what if Heaven
Shall question,—ere its judgments shall be read,
Not, “Hast thou won!” but only, “Hast Thou striven!”

Source: The Homiletic Review – Volume 82 published 1921

AMERICAN FOUNDATIONS

DeMint_Quote

AMERICAN FOUNDATIONS
The Rev. ARTHUR J. PENNELL, New Haven, Conn.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God.—Matt. 6: 33.

A QUESTION often arises in the minds of men whether this country is a Christian country! The status of a notion is determined by its ideals. Ideals are found in the highest aspirations and noblest ambitions of a nation’s leaders. The artist of whatever school is judged not by his first operation in the dusting of the canvas, nor by the mixing of the colors for the dubbing, nor by the first effort of his brush; a Raphael is supreme because of his Madonna. So the test of a people is to be found in their highest conception of conduct as portrayed through life and transmitted by printed page or word of mouth to posterity.

In the days preceding the printing press, man was educated in the deeds of heroism through the minstrel, thereafter by copied pages of historic accomplishments. Now through the utilization of the minerals of the earth and the harnessing of the vapors a power-driven writer presents for man’s perusal and careful study the achievements of men and nations. History is the record of the world’s noblest, and the meridian splendor of the achievement by man was when the sublime manifestation of character was exhibited to mankind through Jesus Christ.

We are brought, therefore, to the conclusion that we can estimate the ideals of a nation by its heroes—those supermen, who in the strain and stress of life’s performances stood unabashed and unafraid before every element which sought to destroy the God-germ within them. Every nation has its heroes: a Kossuth, a Garibaldi, a Napoleon, a Cromwell, a Washington or a Lincoln, a King Albert, or n Foch; but these are, so to speak, limited heroes. The world needs one who transcends limitations, whose country has no physical confines, whose nationality is lost in its broad universalism. Such is the Christ. The record of his life is the newer portion of the world’s greatest historical record now extant—the New Testament—indissolubly bound up with that other volume which in combination forms the Guide Book for human destiny. It if herein that men have ever found their ideals. It is interesting, herewith, to note, that this book, which is the basic foundation of all Christian institutions, the hope of all Christ believing souls, the inspiration of all Jesus inclined mortals, was chosen for use in the recent inauguration of a new President because in the days of yesterday’s great American utilized this time-honored volume by turning to its pages and with sincerity of heart and nobility of purpose pledged himself thereon to preserve the Constitution and to uphold the laws of this youthful republic. Surely, if apostolic succession was ever fulfilled, it was on March fourth last—when the mantle of the first American fell upon the new President, the spirit of our immortal Lincoln and the beauty of the martyred McKinley were recalled in the simple ceremony of the inauguration of the twenty-ninth President of the United States of America. Foundations, whether individual or national, to be lasting must go down deep into the past and be linked to the great minds of by-gone days. The Bible opened before that great gathering in Washington was the book which had been consecrated by the taking of the oath of office by the “Father of his country” and carried in procession at the unveiling of that monument which like a noble character towers to the skies. It was the heritage of that people of whom we are compelled to think when the word America is pronounced.

Read the Bible—read the Bible, let no religious book take its place. Through all my perplexities and distresses I never read any other book, and I never felt the want of any other. It has been my hourly study; and all my knowledge of the doctrines, and all my acquaintance with the experience and realities of religion, have been derived from the Bible only.” William Wilberforce Early American Statesman and Leader of the movement to abolish slavery

One cannot talk of “American Foundations” without recalling the struggles of the Puritan Fathers, who with their Pilgrim associates fought out the battles of religious freedom, shackled the usurping powers of overbearing government, and “with a heart for any fate” journeyed forth “seeking first the kingdom of God” to launch their project of government where, unmolested by governmental edicts and churchly intolerance, man might live and thrive.

In their native land laws were enacted, limitations were placed, punishments were meted out, restrictive measures were enforced, until the soul of God-fearing man was trammeled, religion became a mockery, and will was but a machine. Hope kept alive in these heroic souls the thought of a newer and a brighter day. Each morning’s sun dawned upon a day of more oppressive measures and firmer determination to wipe out those obnoxious people whose wills were their own. Fleeing their own country, they waited with patience in a land of friends, and for eleven years passed their time in strengthening their organization. Unlike the Huguenots who had fled to Germany, they never contemplated the losing of their individuality or of being absorbed by their surroundings. It was this desire to maintain their separate existence which impelled them to journey to lands practically unknown. At home there was no freedom, abroad there would be no separateness; migration was their only hope.

Westward this band of Pilgrims wended their way, oblivious of dangers, fearless of terrors, undaunted by hardship. These heroes of early American life were buoyed up in their distress with the thoughts of such as Andrew Melville who, on being called in question for a statement made in a public address in which he had alluded to King James VI as “God’s silly vassal,” replied, “I tell you, sir, there are two kingdoms and two kings in Scotland. There is Christ Jesus the King, and his kingdom in the Kirk,[Kirk refers to the Church] whose subject James VI is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member.” And back of Melville was a people fully aroused to the conviction that there is an eternal law of God which kings no less than the meanest subject must obey. This kind grows only on the tree of Bible knowledge and religious freedom. Thus we see that the primal foundation of America is the Bible, for it was this book with these principles which the Pilgrims brought, which they utilized until they welded them into the very fiber of the nation’s life.

“The general diffusion of the Bible, is the most effectual way to civilize and humanize mankind; to purify and exalt the general system of public morals; to give efficacy to the just precepts of international and municipal law; to enforce the observance of prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, and to improve all the relations of social and domestic life.” Chancellor James Kent author of Commentaries on American Law

A second foundation of the American republic is education. Wherever the Bible is found as an open book there also will be found education for the people. Spiritual and intellectual death stalk in those lands where the Bible is closed. Those heroes of Americanism, realizing that freedom can not survive in ignorance, established America’s two greatest institutions at the same time and place. Wherever the meeting house was erected there also was the school house; and in the early days of this nation’s history most colleges and schools of learning could trace their beginnings to the inspiration of the Church. Wisely our early fathers emphasized the value and importance of mental development. The citizen of to-morrow is the student of to-day. Education enables us through reading and study to utilize the values of the past. Napoleon once said, “Show me a family of readers and I will show you the rulers of the world.” The effect of educational advance has not been confined to the little experiment in free government, but has extended its influence to the uttermost parts of the earth. Through the influence of those far-seeing heroes, penetrating into nations of different ideals, Western education has caused democracy to find lodgment even in lands hitherto uncongenial to it, and to-day the principles of our forefathers are seen in economic life and governmental reform throughout the world. So long as the institutions of learning maintain their proper position in the life of our country, the ideals of the fathers and the principles of our republic can never be lost to mankind.

A third foundation of this republic is equal opportunity. This question has ever been prominent in our history. This foundation was bought for American humanity as dearly as any privilege enjoyed by the human race. If 1776 saw the struggle for the conviction that “divine right” of government resides in the average citizen, we may as truly say that 1861-65 saw the struggle to make plain that in this republic the success of the individual does not depend upon the ability of the few to enslave the many, but that “the laborer is worthy of his hire,” and that no laborer is worthy to be hired unless he has ample opportunity to become all that is possible for him to be. As an institution, then, a false foundation was removed from under the structure of our heritage, and after reconstructing our building in harmony with those higher views, we set forth again upon the course of national life. Again in 1898 we declared to the world that the principles we held must be respected within the radius of our possibilities. The unlimited invitation which has been extended to the world’s oppressed has resulted in the gathering together within our borders of peoples whose ideals and principles are as distantly removed from ours as is the atmosphere of the frozen Arctic from the oppressive heat of the equatorial regions. This strange admixture of alien ideals with American foundations has resulted in much unrest and social disturbance. It has stirred up strife where only the peaceful waters of a summer sea had flowed. It has sometimes turned the honest workman into an avaricious traveler or into a guerrilla of social warfare and a destroyer of national industry.

“I deem myself fortunate,” said the venerable Ex-President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, “in having the opportunity—at a stage of a long life drawing rapidly to its close, to bear, at this place, the capital of the National Union, in the Hall of Representation of the North American people, in the chair of the presiding officer of an assembly representing the whole people, the personification of the great and mighty nation—to bear my solemn testimonial of reverence and gratitude to that Book of books, the Holy Bible. In the midst of the painful and perilous conflicts inseparable from public life, and at the eve of that moment when the grave shall close over them for ever, I may be permitted to indulge the pleasing reflection, that, having been taught in childhood the unparalleled blessings of the Christian gospel, in the maturity of manhood I associated with my brethren of that age, for spreading the light of that gospel over the face of the earth, by the simple and silent process of placing in the hands of every human being who needed, and could not otherwise procure it, the Book which contains the duties and admonitions, the promises and the rewards of the Christian gospel.”

At first glimpse one may possibly find in himself a feeling of pessimism; but think carefully! The foundations of this great nation are deeply rooted and well founded. When he who has been chosen by the multitude of bis fellows exercising their prerogative as citizens and voters in a land of democratic ideals steps forward to take his solemn obligation of service and to vow before God and men his determination to conserve the interests of the people; when with head bared and hand uplifted he stands before the open Bible, the basis of our Constitution, the inspiration of our fathers, the book of life’s principles; when with solemnity and with sincerity the chief executive—with no further ceremony, no pomp and splendor, no pretension or spirit of arrogance, but “with singlemindedness of purpose and humility of spirit—implores the favor and guidance of God, and can say with these, “I am unafraid and confidently face the future”—then Americans all, with one chief executive, one God, one confident hope, can rally, and imploring this same God of our American heritage, found in this open Bible of our inheritance, educated in and through our educational systems, strongly intrenched in the belief of opportunity for all, and, reiterating the injunctions of the past to the present and future, can pledge ourselves ever to uphold those ideals which were written into our life by Washington. We may resolve that the spirit of Lincoln shall ever live in us, and slavery of no race or color shall exist wherever the American flag shall fly; that ignorance shall never encircle the mind of our youth; that the Bible, which has been the spring of education, the spur to freedom of the individual, and has shown the highway to God in man’s search for the higher spirituality, shall ever be in this land an open book.

John Randolph of Roanoke, “I would not give up my slender portion of the price paid for our redemption—I would not exchange my little portion in the Son of David, for the power and glory of the Parthian or Roman empires, as described by Milton in the temptation of our Lord and Saviour—not for all with which the enemy tempted the Saviour of man….” Speaking of Randolph ex-Senator Thomas Benton in his Thirty Years’ View said; “The last time I saw him, which was in that last visit to Washington, after his return from the Russian mission, and when he was in the full view of death, I heard him read the chapter in the Revelation (of the opening of the seals), with such power and beauty of voice and delivery, and such depth of pathos, that I felt as if I had never heard the chapter read before. When he had got to the end of the opening of the sixth seal, he stopped the reading, laid the book (open at the place) on his breast, as he lay on his bed, and began a discourse upon the beauty and sublimity of the Scriptural writings, compared to which he considered all human compositions vain and empty. Going over the images presented by the opening of the seals, he averred that their divinity was in their sublimity—that no human power could take the same images, and inspire the same awe and terror, and sink ourselves into such nothingness in the presence of the ‘wrath of the Lamb’—that he wanted no proof of their Divine origin but the sublime feelings they inspired.”

Source: The Homiletic Review – Volume 82 published 1921

History of Jerusalem from 142 BC to 70 AD with the Closing Scene of the Fall of Jerusalem

Ancient Jerusalem source:OpenBible.org

Ancient Jerusalem source:OpenBible.org

NOTE: Who can deny the truth of the Bible, history is replete with the fulfillment of the prophecies contained therein, prophecies that are still being fulfilled today. I see many parallels with the United States in this day and time, it would be wise to be aware, and beware of the times that are upon us.

History of Jerusalem from 142 BC to 70 AD the Abomination of Desolation: With the Closing Scene of The Fall of Jerusalem; by Salathiel

 Political Independence Gained and Lost (142-63 B. C.)

Glance over 1 Macc. 9—16; Josephus’ Antiquities, XIII.

1. When Judas [Maccabeus] died, the Maccabean struggle for political independence was continued by Jonathan, his younger brother. Jonathan was a diplomat. He set up a rival government at Michmash, and was the first Maccabee to be made high priest (153 B. C). He thus became “the real founder of the Maccabean state.” His end was tragic.

2. Simon, the last surviving member of Mattathias’ family, succeeded Jonathan. “It was given to Simon to put the copestone on the work which had been begun and developed by the other members of his house” (Fairweather). His crowning task was the capture of Akra, the citadel of Jerusalem. This victory gave the Jews independent nationality (142 B. a). Peace and prosperity followed. Simon was “the David of his age.” But Simon, like all his brothers, met a violent death.

3. His son, John, surnamed Hyrcanus, succeeded him, and for thirty years (135-105 B. c) reigned over a kingdom almost as extensive as Solomon’s. But by his indifference to the priesthood he completely alienated the Chasidim, who were now known as Pharisees. From his time onward the Maccabean dynasty rapidly degenerated.

4. Aristobulus was John’s son and successor. He is celebrated because he was the first to call himself “king of the Jews.” During the one brief year of his reign Galilee was added to the Jewish state. His brother and successor, Alexander Jannaeus, was, perhaps, the most profligate king and high priest in all Jewish history. He ruled for twenty-six years (104-78 B. C). From him the Pharisees turned away in utter disgust, and longed for deliverance from self-government.

5. Very soon, however, the reins of government fell into the Pharisees’ hands and they rejoiced. Alexander’s widow, Alexandra-Salome, ruled in strict accordance with their principles for nine years after his death. These years are frequently spoken of as “a truly golden age.” Upon her death, bitter strife ensued, and the Maceabean, or Hasmonean, dynasty hastened to its end. The Romans were invited to act as arbiters. Pompey responded, but at the cost of Jewish independence. Many thousands of Jews were either massacred or deported to Rome. “Thus the independence of the Jewish nation, which had lasted for nearly eighty years, was brought to an end” (Ottley).

 The Roman Period till Christ (63-4 B. C)

Consult Josephus’ Antiquities, XIV-XVII.

1. The destinies of Rome, henceforth, determined the fate of the Jews. Julius Caesar generously allowed them to restore the walls of Jerusalem, which Pompey had thrown down. From 40 to 37 B. C. a certain Antigonus, the last representative of the Maceabean family, nominally ruled over Judea as king and priest. But while he was still in authority, the Roman senate appointed the Idumean Herod as king over Judea, and bade him conquer it. Herod did so, “sparing neither age nor sex.” He ruled from 37 to 4 B. C.

2. Herod was politic and born to rule. He was careful to keep the friendship of the Romans at any cost. The Jews, accordingly, doubted his motives. Even his splendid restoration of the Temple was not appreciated by them, because they dared not trust him. Yet some did, and formed a party known as the Herodians. See Mark 12:13.

3. Commerce flourished during Herod’s reign, but his government was thoroughly bad. His own heart was black with crime. It was he who slaughtered the children of Bethlehem, in order to put the infant Jesus to death. See Matt. 2:1-16. His reign is “perhaps the most convincing evidence that there are powers which are stronger than crown or sword, and that violence avails nothing against the spirit” (Cornill).

4. “But the importance of Herod’s life does not end with his personal history. He created, in great part, that Palestine which served as the platform on which the closing scenes of the Jewish and the opening scenes of the Christian church were to be enacted” (Stanley).

According to John 2:20, 46 years were spent in building the Temple of Christ’s day.

  The Times of Jesus (4 B. C—30 A. D.)

Consult Josephus’ Antiquities, XVIII; Wars of the Jews, II, 1-9.

1. Herod the Great bequeathed his kingdom to his sons as follows: to Archelaus, Judea, Samaria and Idumea; to Herod Antipas, Galilee and Perea; to Philip, the district of the northeast. Philip was kind to his subjects and ruled as tetarch thirty-seven years. Herod Antipas founded Tiberias, but is specially remembered because he beheaded John the Baptist (Matt. 14:3). Christ once spoke of him as “that fox” (Luke 13:32). He ruled as tetrarch forty-three years. Archelaus was a miserable tyrant, who, after a cruel reign of nine years as ethnarch, was banished.

2. Thereafter, Judea was governed by a Roman procurator who was directly subject to the imperial legate of Syria. The Jews had long desired this form of government, but they soon discovered that the Roman yoke was heavier than they anticipated. For the next sixty years these Roman representatives took a fiendish delight in showing their contempt for the Jews.

3. In due time a new party sprang into existence, known as the Zealots, who resisted vigorously Roman tyranny. More and more the Jews became divided into various rival factions. The strict Pharisees and their ascetic allies, the Essenes, were pitted against the Sadducees and Herodians, who were liberal in both law and religion. Their hatred for one another grew more and more intense to the very end of the drama.

4. One of these Roman procurators was Pontius Pilate, who is especially famous for having tormented the Jews from 26 to 36 A. D. The Jews, in return, hated him most cordially; and that, too, in spite of his having yielded to their desire to have Jesus condemned to death. See John 19:15, 16. He was insulting, abusive and barbarously cruel. For example, in suppressing a certain insurrection that had broken out in the Temple, he mingled the blood of the offending Galileans with their sacrifices. See Luke 13:1. His treatment of the Samaritans was so outrageous that they finally accused him to the emperor, who suspended him from office.

There were many illegalities in Pilate’s condemnation of Jesus. See Matt. 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 18:28— 19:16. Despite his wicked character, the Abyssinian Church, on the basis of Matt. 27:24, has canonized Pilate as a “Saint.”

  The Birth of Jesus Christ (4 B. C.)

Read Matt, 2; Luke 2. 1. “The appearance of Christ amongst men was the greatest event in human history; the relations of God to man and of man to God and of man to man underwent a change” (Vallings). His advent had long before been foretold. The “seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15), the “sceptre” of Judah (Gen. 49:10), the “prophet” like unto Moses (Deut. 18:18), the “priest” after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4), the “prince of peace” (Isa. 8:6), the suffering “servant” (Isa. 53), the “branch of righteousness” (Jer. 33:15), the “shepherd” gathering his scattered sheep (Ezek. 34:12), the “stone” cut out of the mountains without hands (Dan. 2:45), the “king” riding into Jerusalem upon an ass (Zech. 9:9), and the “fountain” opened to the house of David for sin and for uncleanness (Zech. 13:1), are all adumbrations of the True Light which was one day to break upon the world. And this Messianic hope of Israel kept growing stronger and stronger until His actual advent. But, unfortunately, the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would wield a sword like Gideon, break the dominion of Rome, and reestablish the kingdom of Israel.

2. Concerning the details of His early life, we know comparatively little. This is doubtless providential, to teach us to avoid the mistake of supposing “that we know Him in knowing the date of His birth and of His death and the outward circumstances of His life: He is to stand before us simply in his work” (Cornill).

3. He was the “Son of man” as well as the “Son of God.” He occupies a conspicuous place in the history of the Hebrews, because He is their culmination and consummate flower. Though He failed to influence, to any large extent, His own nation, yet, as Jean Paul has eloquently said, “With His pierced hand He has lifted empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” Most men are the product of their nationality, but Jesus “was not the outgrowth of His times, but their antithesis” (Lorimer). He even antagonized the dominating spirit of His times. His first recorded words are an index to His whole life and character. Look up Luke 2:49.

Whence the origin of the expression “Son of Man”? See Ezek. 2:1; Dan. 7:13.

Jesus, the Greatest of Israel’s Leaders.
Read Matt. 5—7.

1. “Never man spake like this man” was the verdict of the “officers” concerning Jesus. See John 7:46. “He taught them as one having authority and not as their scribes,” was likewise the testimony of the multitudes who had listened to that marvelous discourse known as. “the Sermon on the Mount.”

2. In that famous discourse we have the essence of His teaching. He begins with an octave of “Blesseds” upon those who would live the ideal life. Blessed are those who are without worldly ambition, who mourn on account of their sins, who bear injuries without resentment, who intensely long for character, who are forgiving and sympathetic, who are deeply sincere and are not satisfied with outward correctness, who promote peace, and who patiently endure reproach (Matt. 5:3-10). All such are to be congratulated, because they live the ideal life.

3. He then goes on to show the relation of the new Gospel form to the old Jewish standards. Jesus came not to destroy, but to unify and complete. The Gospel does not supersede the Law. The Old Testament is not to be abrogated by the New. Rather, as Augustine has suggested,

“The New is in the Old con-tained,
The Old is in the New re-tained,
The New is in the Old con-cealed,
The Old is in the New re-vealed,
The New is in the Old en-folded,
The Old is in the New un-folded.”

4. The glory of the Gospel is that it “magnified the Law and made it honorable” in the eyes of the Gentiles. See Isa. 42:21. Christ recognized that the new wine was bursting the old bottles when the Greeks came requesting to “see Jesus.” Look up John 12:21. The logical development of Christianity out of Judaism was, later, set forth more fully by the Apostle Paul, especially in his simile of the wild olive branch (the Gentiles) which has been grafted, contrary to nature, into the good olive tree (the Jews). See Rom. 11:24.

“In the days of faithful Abraham,
Who from Ur was led to flee,
God selected from the nations
One peculiar family-tree.

“This tree He grafted as an olive,
With His own almighty hand,
Causing it to grow and flourish
In fair Canaan’s fruitful land.

“But, alas! the branches withered
In the blight of unbelief;
From the stock they then were severed,
Not in anger, but in grief.

“Then our God, in His great mercy,
Grafted in the Gentile shoot;
Now the olives, wild by nature,
Draw their life from Hebrew root.”

Isaac Alcuzer.

From Jesus’ Crucifixion to the Siege of Jerusalem (30-66 A. D.)

Glance at Josephus’ Wars of the Jews, II, 11-16.

1. With the death of the Emperor Tiberias, Judea’s peace was practically at an end. Caligula indeed made Agrippa, a grandson of Herod the Great, “king” of his uncle Philip’s territory, and Claudius gave him the remainder of Palestine, so that in the year 41 A. D. there was once more a Jewish kingdom under a native ruler. But “the three years of his dominion are the last bright spot in the history of the people of Israel” (Cornill). Even Agrippa, in order to please the Jews, persecuted the rising Christian Church, and had the apostle James beheaded. See Acts 12:2.

2. Agrippa died suddenly at Caesarea (cf. Acts 12:23) and Judea passed again under the rule of Roman procurators, of whom several in succession vied with each other, as it were, in heaping insult upon their Jewish subjects (44-66 A. D.). Their terrible outrages drove the Jews to despair. Even Felix resorted to the most extreme forms of brutal violence, attacking the Zealots and sending their leader to Rome in chains. Another new party arose, called the Sicarii, who carried concealed daggers and assassinated all who sympathized with Rome. No wonder that Felix, who was largely responsible for such conditions, trembled when the great apostle reasoned before him at Caesarea “of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come.” See Acts 24:25.

3. Porcius Festus, who ruled about 60 A. D., was nobler; but his successors were little less than villains. Florus, especially, scourged and crucified the Jews without mercy. In a single day thirty-six hundred were condemned at his command. Bernice, King Agrippa’s sister, went barefoot to him, to implore mercy for her people, but she was rudely insulted and turned away. The Jews could bear such atrocities no longer. They ordered the daily sacrifices in the Temple for the emperor to cease, which was equivalent to a declaration of war (66 A. D.).

This is the time of Nero, who is said to have fiddled during the fall of the Roman Empire.

The Siege and Fall of Jerusalem (66-70 A. D.)

Consult Josephus’ Wars of the Jews, III-VI.

1. We now come to the final act of the terrible drama. The saddest feature of Jerusalem’s great catastrophe is the fact that the Jews turned upon one another, and butchered more of themselves than did the Romans. The ruin was complete.

2. The war party had their quarters in the Temple, while the peace party occupied the citadel of Akra. Blood flowed daily, and civil war raged in the streets of the besieged city. The Jews had made elaborate preparations, impressing even the historian Josephus into service, to drill the soldiers. But they were destined to be completely outmatched by Vespasian, a veteran warrior of the Romans, who was placed in command of sixty thousand of Rome’s best troops.

3. Hostilities began in the year 67 A. D., and by the end of that year all Galilee was in the hands of the Romans. In 68 A. D. the entire region east of the Jordan, except Machaerus, was conquered. Then Nero died and war was suspended for a year (69 A. D.). Vespasian was made emperor, and Titus, his son, was given command of the imperial forces in Palestine. He marched upon Jerusalem in the spring of 70 A. D., shortly before the Passover festival. The city was filled with Jewish pilgrims. Titus encamped on the Mount of Olives and began a systematic siege, blockading the city, throwing up defences and thundering with the battering ram, until, after many futile attempts, a breach was made in the outer wall, May 7th, and then in the second wall, May 16th. Famine began to be felt within the city. To escape death, many deserted to Titus, but were rewarded with tortures indescribable. “Crosses could not be found for all, and so Titus cut off their hands and drove them back into the city” (Josephus). Hundreds of thousands died of famine alone.

4. On July 2d the inner wall fell, and on July 5th still another new wall, which had been constructed during the siege. Only the Temple hill and the citadel remained to be taken. At last, on July 17th, the morning and evening sacrifices in the Temple, which had been kept up in spite of the famine throughout the siege, were suspended— never to be resumed. A soldier hurled a fagot through one of the open windows of the sacred edifice, and the sanctuary went up in flames. Titus barely rescued the holy vessels. Finally, on September 7th the walls of the citadel were scaled, and the destruction of Jerusalem was complete (70 A. D.) Of the one million one hundred thousand Jews who were imprisoned in Jerusalem during the siege, only seven hundred of the strongest were spared to grace the triumphal procession of Titus in Rome.

5. Thus the Jews lost forever their nationality. But they fell like heroes, and, even in their fall, they triumphed over their victors. “While Rome has long since passed away, and only ruins tell of its glory, Israel is still, after two thousand years, what it was. Rome, in a sense, has been conquered by Israel. For even Rome now confesses the supremacy of Jerusalem” (Cornill).

The Epistle to the Hebrews was probably written about 70 A. D. to encourage the Jewish Christians not to give up Christianity; the author’s thesis being that Christianity is greater than Judaism, and that it is the complete, and final, and eternal religion; Jesus Christ being the same yesterday, to-day, and forever (Hebrews 13:3).

 The following extract from Salathiel describes the horrors which prevailed in the doomed city the last night of the siege.

The fall of our illustrious and unhappy city was supernatural. The destruction of the conquered was against the first principles of the Roman policy, and to the last hour of our national existence, Rome held out offers of peace, and lamented our frantic determination to be undone. But the decree was gone forth from a mightier throne. During the latter days of the siege, a hostility, to which that of man was as the grain of sand to the tempest that it drives on, overpowered our strength and senses. Fearful shapes and voices in the air—visions startling us from our short and troubled sleep—lunacy, in its most hideous forms sudden death, in the midst of vigour—the fury of the elements let loose upon our unsheltered heads—we had every terror and evil that could beset human nature, but pestilence; the most probable of all in a city crowded with the famishing, the deceased, the wounded, and the dead. Yet, though the streets were covered with the unburied—though every well and trench was teeming—though six hundred thousand corpses lay flung over the ramparts, and naked to the sun—pestilence came not; if it had come, the enemy would have been scared away. But the “abomination of desolation,” the pagan standard, was fixed, where it was to remain until the plough passed over the ruins of Jerusalem.

On this night, this fatal night, no man laid his head on the pillow. Heaven and earth were in conflict—meteors burned above us; the ground shook under our feet; the volcano blazed; the wind burst forth in irresistible blasts, and swept the living and the dead, in whirlwinds, far into the desert. We heard the bellowing of the distant Mediterranean, as if its waters were at our sides, swelled by a new deluge. The lakes and rivers roared and inundated the land. The fiery sword shot tenfold fire. Showers of blood fell. Thunder pealed from every quarter of the heavens. Lightnings, immense sheets, of an intensity of duration that turned the darkness into noon day, withered eye and soul, burned from the zenith to the ground, and marked its track by the forests on flame and the shattered summits of the hills.

Defence was unthought of, for the mortal enemy had passed from the mind. Our hearts quaked for fear; but it was to see the “powers of heaven shaken.” All cast away the shield and spear, and crouched before the descending judgment. We were conscience smitten. Our cries of remorse, anguish, and horror, were heard through the roar of the storm. We howled to the earth to hide us; we plunged into the sepulchres to escape the wrath that consumed the living—we would have buried ourselves under the mountains.

I knew the cause, the unspeakable cause, and knew that the last hour of crime was at hand. A few fugitives, astonished to see one man among them not sunk in the lowest feebleness of fear, came around me, and besought me to lead them to some place of safety, if such were now to be found on earth. I told them openly that they were to die, and counselled them to die on the hallowed ground of the temple. They followed, and I led them through the streets encumbered with every shape of human suffering to the foot of Mount Moriah. But beyond that, we found advance impossible. Piles of cloud, whose darkness was palpable even in the midnight in which we stood, covered the Holy Hill. Impatient, and not to be daunted by anything that man could overcome, I cheered my disheartened band, and attempted to lead the way up the ascent. But I had scarcely entered the cloud, when I was swept downward by a gust that tore the rocks in flinty showers around me. Now came the last and most wondrous sign that marked the fate of rejected Israel.

While I lay helpless, I heard the whirlwind roar through the cloudy hill, and the vapours began to revolve. A pale light, that of the rising moon, quivered on their edges, and the clouds rose, and rapidly shaped themselves into forms, and battlements, and towers. The sound of voices was heard within, low and distant, yet strangely sweet. Still the lustre brightened, and the airy buildings rose, tower on tower and battlement on battlement. In awe, that held us mute, we knelt and gazed on this more than mortal architecture, that continued rising and spreading, and glowing with a serener light, still soft and silvery, yet to which the broadest moonbeam was dim. At last it stood forth to earth and heaven, the colossal image of the first temple, of the buildings raised by the wisest of men, and consecrated by the visible glory. All Jerusalem saw the image; and the shout, that in the midst of their despair, ascended from its thousands and tens of thousands, told what proud remembrances were there. But a hymn was heard, that might have hushed the world beside. Never fell on my ear, never on human sense, a sound so majestic, yet so subduing; so full of melancholy, yet of grandeur and command. The vast portal opened, and from it marched a host, such as man shall never see but once again—the guardian angels of the city of David! They came forth glorious, but with woe in all their steps; the stars upon their helmets dim; their robes stained; tears flowing down their celestial beauty—”Let us go hence,” was their song of sorrow. “Let us go hence,” was answered by the sad echoes of the mountains “Let us go hence” swelled upon the night to the farthest limits of the land. The procession lingered on the summit of the hill. The thunder pealed, and rose over the expanse of heaven. Their chorus was heard still, magnificent and melancholy, when their splendour was diminished to the brightness of a star. Then the thunder roared again— the cloudy temple was scattered on the wind and darkness, the omen of her grave, settled upon Jerusalem.”

Excerpts from:
Leaders of Israel: A Brief History of the Hebrews from the Earliest Times to the Downfall of Jerusalem A.D. 70. By George Livingston Robinson: and
The Scrap-book: Consisting of Tales and Anecdotes, Biographical, Historical, Patriotic, Moral, Religious, and Sentimental Pieces. In Prose and Poetry. Compiled by William Fields