Historical texts  >  Early Quaker Sermons  >  John Bowater (1693)


A Sermon

Preached by

Mr. John Bowater,

St. Johns-Street, March the 18th, 1693.


To as many as have received Christ Jesus our Lord, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.

Now, my Friends, they that have believed, are to wait to receive His power, according to the exhortation of our Lord Jesus Christ to His Disciples. Wait until you be endued with Power from on high, Luke 24:49. Many people make a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, but do not come to know His mighty power to work sanctification, redemption and salvation. Let all and everyone of you be concerned in waiting upon God, and attending upon Him, that you may receive strength, and power, and ability from Him, whereby you may be enabled to perform your bounden duty, which God requires of you; He hath showed thee on man what is good, and what does the Lord requires of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. Let everyone of us that have believed, wait for power to perform that which may answer the requirings of God, that we may receive ability from Him to enable us to perform our duty, that we may not only be Professors of the blessed truth, but Possessors of it; that we may not only be Professors, but Possessors of Life, whereby we may live to God through Jesus Christ, and perform our duty acceptably to God.

It is a blessing to be found in that which gives acceptance with God; now there is no acceptance with God, but as we are found in Christ Jesus, in Him that was the promised Seed, who, God promised, should bruise the serpent's head; the serpent beguiled Eve through subtlety: Now God promised, the Seed of the woman, that is Christ Jesus, should bruise the serpent's head; it is through Him that salvation and redemption are known; it is through Christ Jesus, the Mediator between God and man, that man becomes reconciled to God, and no otherwise: He tasted death for every man, and he died that he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil: It is through Christ the Mediator, that we are reconciled to God, and for this, says the Apostle, was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Sin in all Ages has been the work of the devil, and the devil is the author of sin; but the Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator, is the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him. So that whatsoever your profession may be of God, or of Christ, his servants ye are, to whom ye obey; now consider whose Servants you are, whether you are Servants of sin, or bought by Christ Jesus, and redeemed from an ungodly life, and from a vain conversation. We cannot serve two masters, where there is such a contrariety, as light is to darkness; you cannot serve them at one and the same time, there must be a cleaving to the one; see that you cleave and join yourselves to that which is good; to that Principle that God has placed in your hearts, and this will season your souls, this will leaven you to God, Luke 13:21. The kingdom of God is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

God does give to every man a measure of grace that brings salvation; Titus 2:11-12. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; yet too many People have not had regard to the grace of God given to them, but trample upon it, and do despite to the Spirit of grace; the grace of God in Christ Jesus is extended to all the children of men, without respect of persons, God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him, Acts 10:34-35.

Now, my Friends, we cannot work righteousness, but by the ability and assistance of the grace of God; now this grace is from Christ Jesus, For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ; the grace came by Christ that works sanctification. Now the law did not make the comers thereto perfect, nor purge the conscience, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw nigh to God. There is no drawing nigh to God, but through Christ Jesus, no redemption, but through Him; He is a complete Savior, He does not only redeem in part, but He saves to the uttermost all that come to God by Him; He is a complete Savior, He that has begotten good desires in our souls, whereby we breathe after Him, and are raised to pant and desire after that which is good; and as there is a giving up to Him that has begotten these good desires in the soul, the Lord, in His good time, will answer these desires; see that you be of humble and meek minds, and lie low before Him, and wait on Him, and He will in due time perfect the work which He has begun.

Friends, I testify among you at this time, there is not a living desire in the Soul to that which is good, but Christ is the Author of it, he is the Author of eternal salvation to as many as obey him. It is He that began the work, He met with us by His power and Spirit, when we were strangers to God. For we, as well as others, were in the broad way, going hand in hand with the multitude to do evil, and we did not seek God, till He did first seek us; we did not desire the knowledge of His ways, till He raised desires in our Souls; He met with us in the way of His judgments, causing terror to take hold of transgressors, so that we could not take delight in vanities and pleasures as we had done, because His terrors took hold of us, blessed be the Name of the Lord. It was good for us that we were afflicted, Before we were afflicted we went astray, but now we have learned His righteous judgments: Judgments upon the unjust, we have found to be mercy to the just. Blessed be the Name of the Lord that did seek us out, that met with us, that put a stop to us in our way, that we could not delight in vanity as we had done. The Lord brought us to a consideration of our ways and doings; He manifested to us, if I live and die in this way I am in, I am undone forever; I am miserable forever if I do not know redemption and salvation of Jesus Christ. The Lord manifested to us, by the shining of His divine Light in our hearts, that we were in the broad way that leads to destruction: We read of the narrow way that leads to life, and of the broad way that leads to destruction; we read of the narrow way, but we did not know ourselves to be in that way. When we saw the broad way that leads to destruction, this begat a breathing in our Souls, and a earnest desire that we might know the way that is pleasing to Him.

And there being many opinions in the world, many of us were hurried in our mind, and where we saw anything of sobriety and weightiness of Spirit, we were willing to try them all, that we might know the mind of God. Friends, God raised a travail in our Souls, and appeared farther to us; God that commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shined into our hearts; whereby a discovery was made of that which is good, and of that which was evil. This the Lord discovered to us, by the shining of His divine light and grace in our inward parts, so that we need not look abroad; we retired inward, we saw that we had business enough at home; we saw that when we had grieved the good Spirit of God, we had trouble for it; and when we answered the breathings of the Spirit, we had peace with us; so that we must distinguish between that which gave acceptance with God, and that whereby the Spirit of God was grieved from day to day.

Now, my Friends, we came under a travail; God by His light and grace discovered to us His way, so that now we are come to a certainty of the way; Christ is the way to God, and if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, he is born again, born of the Spirit. You should all of you be concerned, and consider what you know of a change wrought in you by the power of God, whether you have received virtue from Jesus to stop the bloody issue of sin. It is an easy thing to make a Profession, and to call yourselves Christians; but it is a weighty thing to be a Christian, to be so in reality, united to God through Jesus Christ. To be a Christian, is to be a Follower of Christ in the way of regeneration and self-denial; except a man be regenerate and born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. There are many People who would go to God's kingdom when they die, but do not mind being prepared for it; many have been pleading for sin in their life, but would go to God's kingdom when they die. Where must People be cleansed from sin, but on this side of the grave? There is no repentance in the grave, nor no redemption out of hell. This is the day of your visitation; God has prepared means whereby we may be accepted of Him. Consider of it, the gate stands open that leads to the holy City; there is none that can enter into God's Kingdom in their defilements, their hearts must be purged, their minds purified, they must know the work of sanctification if they will enter into God's Kingdom. Now the preparation of the heart, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord.

I do not question, but here are many tender-hearted ones, that have tender desires and breathings of Soul after God, that desire to know peace with God, and reconciliation with their Maker. Now, my Friends, there is not another Mediator besides Jesus Christ, He is the alone Mediator and Redeemer; it is He that gave Himself a Ransom for us; it is He that reconciles man to God, and we must be found in Him, if we will come to have acceptance with God: So let everyone of you consider with yourselves, how far you are broken off from your evil ways, we are all by nature children of wrath; consider how far you are broken off from the wild olive-tree, from that which is corrupt by nature, and whether you be grafted into Christ; if you be grafted into Him, you receive strength, and nourishment, and ability from Him: And for this end we have waited after we have believed, we have waited for Power, many a time we have traveled many miles to a silent Meeting; indeed we have had great encouragement to meet together, and we have traveled in great hazard and jeopardy; yet we have met together, and the Lord has made us living Witnesses of the fulfilling of that promise, That where two or three are gathered together in my Name, I will be in the midst of them. This was that which beautified our Meetings, and we were willing to wait; there was a disposition of Soul in us, that if the Lord did hide His face from us, we were troubled. If we did not enjoy the Lord, and find Him in the midst of us, it brought a great concernment upon our minds and Spirits, and we were willing to reflect upon ourselves, and examine within ourselves, what was the matter that the Fountain did not send forth its living Streams as at other times, and what was the reason it was withheld from us.

Friends, this was a great exercise upon our minds, but the Lord, graciously manifesting Himself, appeared to us, causing the cloud many times to vanish away, and the light of His countenance shined on us, and our Spirits were revived, and we were comforted; and this was a great encouragement to us, to wait upon God, seeing our own weakness to perform that which is our bounden duty, which God required of us; of necessity this brought a constraint upon us to wait upon the Lord, that we might renew our strength. Seeing our own weakness, insufficiency and infirmity, there was a necessity that constrained us to wait for a Savior, for a Redeemer, Isaiah 40:31. But 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; and they shall walk, and not faint.

My Friends, we have need of supplies from God everyday, we have need of our daily Bread, and God gives Bead to the hungry Soul, He filleth the hungry with good things; this is that we labor and travail for; now, those that are hungry God takes notice of, and gives Bread to; H has promised, That those that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. See what you are hunting after this day, what is it that your Souls do desire? You have presented your Bodies here at this time, what is it for? Is it to hear what a Man can say? To hear eloquence of speech, to hear some novelties, or is it your end to wait upon God? I would have everyone of you to wait for yourselves, you that have been acquainted with the manifestation of the Spirit, wait in it; feel your minds exercised towards God, wait at His footstool; this was Mary's choice, when Martha was cumbered about many things. Mary attended at the footstool of Jesus, her attendance was upon Him. So, Friends, let us all look to the Lord, and wait upon Him, wait for His appearance, and for His salvation to be manifested to us; wait that you may know that Arm of power that wrought tenderness in you, and did beget desires in your Souls after that which is good; wait that you may be strengthened in that power, that you may be a growing People, that you may grow in grace and virtue, that you may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; there are degrees of grace, and there are several statures and degrees of growth; you may read of several statures, 1 John 2:13. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

Now see how far you that make a Profession of the truth, are grown into the Life of it; see how far it has prevailed, so as to season your Souls, and to make you savory to God, that you may not only stand in a Profession, and be Professors of life, but Possessors of life, of the life of Jesus, that you may receive life and ability from Him everyday, so as to be enabled by His power, to perform what He requires of you. Now, there is no more required of us, but faithfulness according to the ability of grace given; the Lord God has been free in His love, and has communicated to us a talent or talents; now, it is those that are faithful in a little, that He will commit more to, but do not expect a greater talent, or more to be communicated, till you have been faithful in a little, which has already been made manifest to you; see that you be everyone concerned for yourselves, mind your travail, Hebrews 12:1-2. …let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which 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, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. If you do give up yourself to Him, He that is the Author, will be the Finisher of your faith, to the joy and comfort of your Soul, He will perfect the work He has begun in you.

I would have neither old nor young, to satisfy yourselves with an outside Profession of the truth of God; but see that you be converted, that you be broken off from the wild olive, and engrafted into Christ; see that there be a thorough reformation wrought in your Souls, and that you be separated from that which is evil: What does an outward separation signify, if there be not an inward separation? 2 Corinthians 6:17-18.Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Wait upon the Lord, and know an inward separation, for what will it signify to change the name, and retain the corrupt nature, and to live in pride, vanity, lust, covetousness, and other abominations? What does is signify to make a Profession of Christianity, while People live in these sins from day to day? Consider how it is with you, how you stand related to God: I do not question, but that all here make a Profession of God, and Christ, and true godliness; some are too much like to those that profess God in words, but in works deny him, being abominable, and to every good work, reprobate. I would have better hopes of you that are here present; there are many that make a Profession of Christianity, that are vile in their lives, and ungodly in their conversations; more like heathens than weighty, sober, solid Christians; their lives do not speak them to be Christians; they have the name of Christians, they are called so, but their lives speak them to be otherwise.

Now, Friends, I hope and believe many of you here present, do abhor those abominations that are acted among many that are called Christians; you that hate and abhor these abominations, do not you retain that which is evil in the least degree; but now there are some that may abhor to be seen in abominable pride, and yet there may be something of that nature that does in secret remain; and though they may seek to hide it from men in their Profession, yet God will find them out; If I regard iniquity in my heart, God will not hear my prayer. See that you be a clear People, a People redeemed to God; do not halt between two opinions, that so you may come forth clear for God; you whose understanding God has opened, see that you be preaching for God; do not keep correspondency with the spirit of the world, though you may have commerce and dealing among men; be watchful, keep yourselves from the evil of the world, as Christ prayed for His Disciples, John 17:15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. So that we must have a care that we partake not with them in their sins, lest we partake with them in their plagues.

Take heed of mixtures; this was an abomination in Israel; they were not to sow their land with mingled seed or grain, nor to wear garments of linen or woolen; take heed of the spirit of the world, do not mix with it, lest you be corrupted by it, and the enemy prevail: Sin will harden a People, the longer they go on in a course of sin, and the longer People take liberty in that which is vain, the harder they will grow, and the more stupid and benumbed, if they answer not the call of God, to come out of the abomination of the world: God calls us to purity and holiness, for without holiness, says the Apostle, no man shall see the Lord; they shall not see God to their comfort, to their joy and consolation: See that you be found in that holy Way which God has cast up; many men have been casting up ways of their own devising, but God has cast up a Way for the ransomed of the Lord, that the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein. The unclean beasts have not trod in this way; the ransomed of the Lord, those that are redeemed from their vain conversation, are they that walk in this pure and holy way, the way of righteousness and truth; see that you be joined to the truth, and that will be for your good; not that God has need of us, but we have need to be reconciled to Him: Man has need of reconciliation to God his Maker, for he has gone astray from Him, and has been separated by reason of sin, and had need be reconciled.

Friends, I would have you to prize the mercy of God, and the day of His visitation; he has stretched forth His hand, and His love and mercy have been extended to us; there are many good People, zealous People, that have desired to see the days that we now see, and have not lived to see them, but have died in the faith of this, that God would send forth more of His light, more of His grace to the children of men; and that the light of the moon should be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun as the light of seven days; many good People that are gone to their rest have died in the faith of it, though they never attained to see the days that we have seen. God has stretched forth His hand to the Nations, and sent forth His Servants, to declare the glad tidings of peace and salvation, to be perfected through Christ Jesus the Mediator. Now, God has made us Partakers of this grace and blessing; blessed be the Lord our God, who has made a Remnant Partakers of it, that have given up all, that they might enjoy truth, and be Possessors of the truth; and the Lord has preserved this Remnant through many tribulations, ever since we have been a People, the Love of God, and His almighty Power have surrounded us, and He has gathered us to be a People: Many of us have a living experience of the tender mercies and blessings of God; we cannot say that He has been a bad Master; He has not laid hard things upon us; He has fed His Flock like a Shepherd; He has gathered the Lambs with His Arm, and carried them in His Bosom, and does gently lead those that are with young, Isaiah 40:11. The Spirit of the Lord has led us on gently, and has instructed us according to our capacities. He has not laid hard matters upon us, when we were as weak Children, but He has nourished us by degrees, and fed us with the sincere milk of the Word, that we might grow thereby, that we might grow in grace, and in virtue and goodness, that you may be strengthened in your inward man. The outward man cannot long submit without outward food, but the Body without food will grow weak and feeble; nor can the Soul live to God, except it receive strength and nourishment from Him, who fills the hungry with good things, and sends the rich empty away.

Wait upon God, that you may be strengthened, and enabled to perform your duty, and what God requires of you; Obedience is better than sacrifice, and to obey the voice of the Lord, than the fat of rams. It is in Christ alone that we have acceptance with God, and He is the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him: Acceptance with God is of great value, and much to be desired; O! many an honest heart desires to have acceptance with God, and enjoy His favor; sin in all Ages has made a separation between God and us; sin has caused man to be driven out of the Paradise of God; you came to separation by sin, it was sin that separated between God and you, Thine iniquities have kept good things from thee; there is a partition wall between God and us made by sin, but Christ is come to break it down, and to finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness. This every particular man and woman is to wait for, to wait for the salvation of God, and to be in a travail of Spirit and Soul to know the way of truth. After the truth came to be made manifest to our understandings, and that we were at a certainty in the ways of God, we found a straitness in ourselves, a want of power and ability, to perform what God required of us; a want of enlargedness from God, and of love to Him. According to the certain knowledge we have of God, let us see that we be found faithful to Him, and wait upon Him for strength and ability to perform our duty.

Now, Friends, after there were good desires in our Souls, we have found ourselves at a loss, for want of watchfulness; the enemy has many times prevailed upon us, and drawn us to things that were not convenient, whereby we came to have distress upon us; and many times we were compassed with sorrow and trouble of mind, in seeing that there was such a shortness in ourselves, after we knew the truth, for to will was present with us, but how to perform that which was good we found not. Until we received ability from God, we found a shortness in ourselves, but a sufficiency when joined to the grace of God: So it was with the Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me; and he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness…. We have had a sufficiency of grace to withstand the motions of sin, when we came to Christ, we found Him a complete Savior, that he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him.

Be not content, my Friends, to sit down under bare convictions, lest your carcasses fall in the wilderness; but let all of you travail on, that you may possess the good land, the land of rest; that you may know peace with God for your immortal Souls. Israel had much travail in the wilderness after they came out of the dark land, the land of Egypt. Now God showed many signs and wonders for their deliverance, he fed them, and sustained them, and though they were many years in the wilderness, their garments waxed not old; God supplied them with food, and caused manna to be rained down upon them, they did eat Angels food; he sent them meat to the full, so they did eat and were filled, for he gave them their own desire, they were not estranged from their lust, but while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and their carcasses fell in the wilderness; and, for the hardness of their hearts, they never attained to the Land of Rest. Though they drew near to it, they did not enter into it. They hearkened not to those that brought good tidings, and brought the cluster of grapes from the brook Eschol, and said to Moses, Numbers 13:27-34. We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. Thus they hearkened to those that discouraged the People, and their carcasses fell in the wilderness; and they never went through Jordan with Caleb and Joshua to possess the land, who were men of noble and excellent Spirits, and followed the Lord fully, and brought news of the good land, saying, Numbers 14:7-9. The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not; but all the congregation bade stone them with stones; though the Lord had done marvelous things in the sight of their Fathers in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan; he divided the sea, and caused them to pass through, he made the waters to stand as a heap, and they passed through the seas as on dry land, and the waters covered their enemies, and there was not one of them left, Psalm 78 and 106:11. I will sing unto the Lord, said Moses, for he hath triumphed gloriously, the horse and the rider hath he thrown into the sea, Exodus 15:1. These faithful Men, Joshua and Caleb, remembered the Lord, subdued their enemies, and made them as ashes under the soles of their feet; and they went on and prospered, and prevailed till they came into the Possession of the good land.

Though many fall in the way, and though your exercises be much, as in the Wilderness; and though you may many times question the way, yet God has prepared a certain Guide for man, the Spirit of truth that Christ promised, John 14:16-17. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. Here is a certain Guide to lead you into the way of peace and righteousness, wherein you shall not go astray from God, he will bring all things to your remembrance; he will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; you must know him as a Reprover, before you come to know Him as a Justifier.

My Friends, God calls upon us, Proverbs 1:23-25. Turn you at my reproof: behold, 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 counsel, and would none of my reproof. Though God pours out His Spirit abundantly, and makes known His mind and will, yet many hearken not to the reproof of the Spirit of the Lord, but harden their hearts, and rebel against the light, against God's Spirit that strives with them. As God's Spirit did strive with the old world, so God will now be striving with the Children of Men by His good Spirit. If they will hearken to His reproofs, and turn at His reproofs, He will manifest Himself more abundantly to them. If People will hearken to His counsel, and obey His voice, and turn at His reproofs, He will make known His will to them. Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me, saith the Lord, and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit: Those that walk in the Spirit, shall be covered with it as with a garment, and be led into all truth;as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Try yourselves what Spirit you are of; there is a spirit in man, but it is the inspiration of the Almighty that giveth understanding. God has opened the understanding of many by His grace, and given them understanding to know Him that is true. They that are led by the Spirit of God, shall not only know His way, but have their hearts enlarged in His way. Here is our happiness, to travel on in the ways of God's commandments with enlarged hearts. God has sent forth His light and His truth, and has prepared a certain Guide for Man, that he might not mistake his way, as he gave to Israel a pillar of a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, to guide and direct them in their traveling and journeys in the wilderness.

Take heed lest the mystery of iniquity work in your minds and Spirits, work to a fleshly liberty, to liberty to sin. The Spirit of God works liberty and freedom from sin, and from the bondage of corruption, not to give way to it; If Christ hath made you free, then ye shall be free indeed, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, a freedom from sin. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, are not of the Father, but of the world: Many People indulge the lusts of their own mind, and embrace pride, vanity and arrogance, those things that are evil, and so corrupt themselves, and go out of the way of God, reaching after the pleasures of the world, and the lusts of it. Here People go astray; but by keeping to the Spirit, when a temptation comes to us to gratify our flesh, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against it. We have tried ourselves and our own Spirits, and in our own strength we could never get forward in the ways of God. We Have been convinced of it, that though our understandings have been clear to know the Way of truth, yet by our own striving we can never get forward by striving in our own wills.

Take heed that in your strivings, you do not set up self, but humble yourselves to the dust, and sit at the feet of Jesus; learn of Him to be meek and lowly; let him that is the chief among you, be the Servant of all; do not strive for high places, and for honor and dignity, and to be accounted of among men. If we may have favor with God, we should be content to dwell in a low place. To be a Doorkeeper in the House of God, we shall think sufficient. I doubt not (will a gracious Soul say) but God has a sufficiency in store for me, whensoever he calls me out of the world. Christ Jesus my Lord, is gone before to prepare a place for me, and He has also promised, I will come again and receive you to myself, and where I am, there shall my servant be. If Christ be gone to prepare a place for us, we need not question our reward, if the Spirit of the Lord bears witness with our Spirits, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.

Seek peace with the Lord, seek reconciliation with God in the right way. There are two ways, the way that leads to life, and the way that leads to destruction, the narrow way, and the broad way; be you in that way which God has cast up. If you are in Christ, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If you are in Christ, you are new Creatures. Consider what you know of a change, of dying to sin, and living to righteousness; put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Consider how it is with you, whether you live in sin, or in holiness and righteousness. All sin is of the devil, he is the author of it; Romans 6:21-22. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Here is a good change from being Servants of sin, to be made free from sin, through the Mediator Christ Jesus: Consider of it.

I do not design to enlarge, you have had testimonies upon testimonies, you have been put in mind of these things; there is a necessity and a constraint upon me to remind you, that make a Profession of the truth, of former things, of things that you have been told of, and been stirred up by the Servants of the Lord to remember; I see a necessity of reminding you of them. There are many that are in a Profession of the truth, that do not dwell in the Life of it; they are sunk down into the form of godliness, but they do not mind the power of it, they do part of the work, but they do not go through with it, they are for sparing some sins, that they will not mortify them; they are like Saul, they make a Profession of doing the will of God, 1 Samuel 15:13-15. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

Now, my Friends, there are many People which are willing to give themselves up to an outward Profession of religion, they would not be found in prophaneness, in that which is an abomination in the sight of God; they would not be found in abominable pride in the view of God's People, they will not be seen in that which is abominable and shameful wickedness; they will keep up a Profession of the truth, that they may be without rebuke: Though they are not so vain as to be for the fashions of the world, yet they are of the same nature and spirit with the Men of the world, and they conform themselves too much to the vanity, and custom, and fashion of the world, though they will not be seen in the height of it.

There are many other things that might be mentioned; in short, I would only mention this, whether you have not kept a secret reserve of some sins, and make a fair pretence for the use of them, this will be a sting to you: he that loveth anything more than me, says Christ, is not worthy of me, he that denies not himself, and forsakes not all that he hath for my sake, cannot be my disciple. When a trial comes all must be given up, and nothing vain and evil must be reserved, that is contrary to the nature of truth. The mind must be subject to the will of God, and subdued to the power of God. There must be a thorough change and reformation, we must know a mortification of sin, and not do the work only in part, but we must go through with it. Now that we may do this effectually God hath laid help upon one that is mighty. There are many weaknesses and infirmities that do attend us poor Creatures, that many times we are ready to faint: Have an eye to Christ, let us look to Jesus; God has laid help upon one that is mighty, and who is able to save to the uttermost, not only from that which is vile and contemptible, but He is a complete Savior, that will save to the uttermost all that come to God by Him: There is no coming to God, but by Him, and all that come to God by Him, shall have complete redemption for their immortal souls. He is the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him; he is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He that believes in Christ will submit to Him, and say in sincerity, Thy will be done: It is an ordinary thing for People to say, Thy kingdom come, and thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven; that is a good prayer that Christ taught His Disciples; there are many People that are often saying over these words, but they do not give up and resign their own wills to the will of God. If any trial, affliction, or exercise befall them, they are very apt to fret and repine: If God shall take away a near and dear Friend, or a Wife, or a Child, we must quietly submit to the will of God, who knows best how to dispose of them, whether it be by life or death: When God is pleased to take Children from Parents, or Parents from Children, People must not be discontented at the will of God, but submit to His afflicting Hand, God doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the Children of Men; he is not willing that any should parish, but that all should come to repentance. God calls upon sinners to repent, Isaiah 1:16-18. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 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; ….let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. See that you accept of His mercy when it is tendered to you, and answer when He calls, for He calls upon the children of men, Return ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings and love you freely; God does not delight in the death of a sinner, but rather that he might turn and live, and find favor with Him.

Man has a duty afforded to him by the Lord, and time and strength to do the work of the day; therefore work while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work. There is a day and hour wherein Man is appointed to do his work; some are called at one hour and some at another; some are called early, some are called at the sixth hour, and some at the eleventh hour: Now those that come in at the eleventh had their penny, had their reward as well as those that bore the heat and burden of the day: God will be a Rewarder of all them that faithfully give up themselves to Him, and answer His call in the day of His visitation; he that came in at the eleventh hour had his penny, as well as he that came in at the first.

Delay not, my Friends, for time is precious, those that were first bidden and made excuses, were not counted worthy to partake of the Supper: Make not excuses. While God works with you by His power, drawing and convicting you, join to it, and answer when God calls; lest it happen to you when you are in distress, and call upon God, that He answers you not, and hear not your prayers, because when He called you would not hear Him. Proverbs 1:24-28.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 counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. The foolish virgins had a day and a time, they made a Profession, they took their lamps, and took no oil with them; Matthew 25:4-13. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Friends, you see the foolish virgins came when it was too late, therefore prize your day, and keep your watch. I cannot but admire the mercy of God, that has extended a day of grace and favor to us; God has not only striven for a little time, but has continued striving; take heed that you harden not your hearts in this day of your visitation, lest it be said to you, The harvest is past, and the summer is ended, and thou are not saved. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, to will and to do of his own good pleasure: While it is the good pleasure of God to work upon your heart, give up yourself in holy obedience to Him, even while the good Spirit of God moves on the face of the waters: The day of your visitation is not yet over, yield up yourselves to the strivings of God's Spirit, that you may be found a willing People in the day of His Power; there is Balm in Gilead, there is a Physician of value there. Prize the love, mercy, and forbearance, and long-suffering of God, and bless God that has not cut you off in your sin, and in the midst of your iniquities, and that you have not your portion with the hypocrites, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.