A Sermon and Prayer Delivered by ELIAS HICKS, at Darby Meeting, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, November 15, 1826.
The Quaker, Vol. I No. 1 (Undated,) pages 1-22.

This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part Three: The 19th Century.

The Sermon:

We have no new doctrine, nor new gospel to preach; but the same that was preached at the beginning of the world, and has been preached to every rational creature in the world, from the foundation of it. It was preached to our first parents in the garden, when they transgressed and endeavoured to hide themselves among the trees of the garden--among those trees that they had the liberty of using the fruit of, and which they were to dress and keep. And although their liberty was so enlarged, yet there was a requisition that bounded their liberty; for there was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of whose fruit they were not to eat: "For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

There was the tree of life likewise in the garden, which they could only partake of as they lived in obedience to the divine commands. Now, what man was:it in the beginningswhat Adam and Eve was it that were accountable to God? Was it that animalsman--was it that poor external creature made of the dust of the earth? Do we not know that this is impossible? Flesh and blood are not accountable; for it is not in bones to think or flesh to reason. The animal nature of man is not accountable to God: for it has no capacity for it? What, then, was it that was to nourish that part which was accountable? What were the trees from which they were to draw fruit?

It was the soul--the immortal soul of man,--the invisible spirit, which was accountable to God the creator. And the trees that were placed in the garden for it to dress and keep, were not external trees made of the dust of the earth, but they were planted with the right hand planting of God Almighty--they were those many desires and propensities of the soul, that were requisite to create action and industry, to improve the soul, and to advance it from a state of mere innocency, a state of purity and without sin. Because where there is no law there can be no transgression. Therefore, the soul of man came pure out of the hand of God, and this soul was enclosed in an animal body, as a tabernacle in which it was to be proved and tried.

Now, my friends, we must come to know that this garden is the same that it ever was--that it stands in the same place--that it encloses the same trees, and that it is our business and duty to dress and keep all these trees, from whence we are to draw nourishment and strength to the Soul, and by which we may advance and grow in knowledge; thus extending and expanding till we are capable of comprehending God--till we are capable of knowing him and worshiping him in spirit and in truth. We are to dress and keep these trees in order. What does the gardener do? Does he not cut away every superfluous bud and leaf that would have a tendency to prevent the tree from bearing right fruit and good fruit? Is it not then the concern and the business of the immortal souls of the children of men to dress and keep these propensities within the limits of the commands of God, and not to let the desire after knowledge extend so far, as not to wait for the Lord to open instruction? Our first parents were not willing to wait for the Lord to show them good and evil; but undertook to decide for themselves in every thing that had relation to it.

Here, we see, that it was man's impatience, through a desire after knowledge, from whence the temptation arose. For he would exercise his own ability and judge for himself in contradiction to the divine commands. They were anxious to have their eyes opened so that they might become as gods, knowing good and evil, without the aid of God Almighty--without the aid of him in whom was all right knowledge of good and evil comprehended, and which he designed from the beginning of creation to continue and keep under his own prerogative and power. So that no man or set of men can know or distinguish between good and evil, in the sense of the Almighty, but by the instruction of his own spirit, by the instruction of himself: so that we, now, though we are not aware of it, eat more of the fruit of the forbidden tree titan our first parents did. We neglect to trim the trees of the garden; we neglect, under divine instruction to guard our propensities and desires, and to keep them within the bounds of righteousness and truth. So that we see where all transgression arises, and we see where sin and iniquity have their source; therefore we have no new gospel to preach, for the gospel was preached unto Adam and to all his posterity. And what is the gospel but the manifested will of God to man? And how is it manifested? We see every where by the testimony of those who have been inspired of God; we see what it is that gives to us a knowledge and understanding of things; "All things that are reproveable are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever makes manifest is light." Here we see, now, in the beginning of the work the truth of the scriptures; and the way is so plain that the way-faring man, though a fool, cannot err therein. Where is there a creature that is not sensible of the truth of this testimony, that if ever they have been reproved, it has been by something within themselves--something that has shown them they have dona wrong. So in things that appertain to the natural world. There is a two fold revelation. Every thing comes to man by revelation, according to the ordering of God. Take away the light of the sun and all is darkness; take it away and we cannot discover between men and trees, nor between horses and men. We have no knowledge of good and evil in temporal things, but by the light: and here we learn that it is so in spiritual things, that the soul has spiritual eyes, ears, and senses; and that nothing can teach or nourish the soul but what is spiritual, because corporeal matter can never strengthen the soul or give it an existence, for it is not the materials of which it is composed. It is invisible--the soul of man is as much so as God is. It can never be comprehended by our natural and external senses in any way. So that here we learn--for when the Almighty speaks to his rational children, he expects them to understand rationally, we learn that nothing can be a recipient for the spirit of God but the souls of men. Therefore, if we gather inward, as has been early recommended, we may learn and be instructed; for when we meet to wait upon God, unless this is the case, we can learn nothing. Therefore, if I have any work or part in the great work of the gospel ministry it is one principal part of my calling to urge upon my friends to rally to this everlasting and unchangeable standard of light and life in the soul, which was Christ's work, the work of the apostles, and which George Fox preached as the only means whereby we can ever be reproved or justified. Nothing else can truly or rightly reprove or justify the children of men but this light. And what is this light? The apostle tell us, that "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all;" and if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin?

Now how necessary it is for us to consider, what is the soul. Had it ever any material blood? Did its life ever depend on material blood? No such thing:--the material blood of the body has no relation to the soul. It can give it no life, nourishment, or activity. No. The life of the soul is the light and life of God--as we read: for when God created man an accountable creature, we see, as I have already observed, what part was to become accountable. It was no part but the immortal spirit. For we read that, "God breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living soul;" and had he not transgressed, this life would have continued as the blood of the soul; for the soul never had any other blood that could keep it alive in God. We sea here, that the blood is the life of the animal. For we find that the history contained in the Old Testament was given by way of simile. It makes use of the outward blood, which is the life of the animal, as a metaphor and calls the life of the soul blood, because blood is a great part of the life in man and in all other animals. So the life of God in the soul is the blood of the soul, the blood of God, the blood of Christ the Saviour; but not the blood of that outward man, born of the Virgin Mary, the son of Abraham and of David. They could never confer any such blood upon their offspring--it is done by Almighty God, and by him only. Here now we may see where the darkness arises that surrounds Christendom the world over. I have been ready to say, that there is more darkness in Christendom than in any other nation on earth. When we speak to the natives of our country, we have reason to suppose that they have a higher sense of this divine light of God in the soul, than the professors of Christianity generally have. They appeal to it in all cases respecting the soul. They appeal to it abundantly, as I have witnessed among those with whom 1 have had converse; especially those who have never had intercourse with any except their own nation. Now I want us to sink deep, and to be gathered to this everlasting standard. This has been my engagement and exercise ever since I have been in this ministry. It has been forty years since it was my principal concern to gather people home to this standard of light, and life, and peace. And it is the only thing which can ever save the soul, or cause it to be delivered from the darkness and death which it has brought upon itself by transgression. And it is one in all--the religion or Christ and the gospel is one in all the nations of the earth. And I have no doubt, that there are those in every nation of the earth who have the religion of Jesus--the religion of truth and righteousness,--and that they are saved by it, and by nothing else. You see how love works, but when the soul is destitute of love it is dead; it does not grow and increase in things that are good; but when the love of God is brought into it, when "we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all unrighteousness." This blood is its life. And what is the life? It is what it is declared to be the light of men. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men." And this is "the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." So, light is life and life is light; and as God is light, his light is all the light the soul ever had or ever can have. Here we see, then, what the blood of God is--what the blood of Christ is that cleanseth us from all sin. In this light it is qualified to draw that nourishment from the trees in the garden, that was intended should be drawn from them.

Here we have desires and propensities to pursue every thing that is good, and never to undertake to pursue any thing contrary to the divine commands, for we have no authority nor right to do it. And it is not only the propensities and desires of the soul that lead and guide us to those things that are necessary to know, and things that nourish the soul, and which propensities it is to guard, to dress, and keep, and to let nothing superfluous arise, nor undertake to do any thing contrary to the divine command, for this would be a breach of divine order; but we have desires and propensities stamped in our animal natures, which go on with the others, to constitute our probationary state. And what should we be worth, if it were not for these? Some consider it hardly consistent with the goodness and wisdom of Almighty God, that we should have these propensities which are to us the cause of so much torment; and yet it is the best possible situation that Infinite Wisdom could have placed man in. For what would he be without these propensities? They are all so good that man could never have made them himself--therefore they must have been made by God his creator, for no other power could have done it.

How easy this is to be seen, when we bring our minds to the light. For, what makes the drunkard? Shall we charge God Almighty with our drunkenness, because he has given us an appetite to drink, without which we could not live? Is not water a part of our very existence? Hence the Almighty has placed in us the propensity of thirst; and by the workings of our animal nature, in its, constituent parts, we are led at times to feel the want of additional moisture. Shall we lay it to Almighty God, because he has placed in us this propensity, and say that he is accountable for our drunkenness? Will we not in .humility acknowledge, that it is of ourselves? Because the immortal soul is an agent under God, placed in these earthen tabernacles to direct all their movements. There is nothing more passive than the animal body, it is passive to the soul of man,--as passive as it can be: therefore it answers the design of the Creator. By this, then, we see that the soul only is accountable for drunkenness: for it is the soul that is to guard and govern the actions of the body; and if this immortal soul--this immortal spirit, be in submission to the divine will to the divine light and life given to it as a rule of action, under the government of the Supreme Being, how it would restrain these appetites: it would be constantly dressing and keeping the trees in order, and were this universally the case, there would not be a drunkard in the earth. What could we do without an appetite to eat, and a desire to procure the things which are necessary for the support of the animal body for the little time it is on earth?

What makes a glutton? The immortal soul joining and enlisting with the passions of the animal body; and instead of acting as a head or governor, it becomes a servant to the passions; and sometimes admits the body to go to an extent in gluttony which destroys its existence as soon as it would have been destroyed by drunkenness. But now if man was attentive and would suffer this light to operate in right manner, how he would be strengthened and enlightened--how his soul would be enlarged and increased--how it would expand in divine knowledge, until it would finally be clothed with power to restrain every appetite of the animal man, and every desire of its own that would have a tendency to lead away from divine order, or aside from the government of truth and righteousness.

Now these two passions for drinking and eating seem simple; but let us look for a moment:--we know what our appetites and propensities are, and can we find one that is not necessary? No. There is not one that could carry on the great work of his creation without these desires and propensities: therefore we are not to murmur at Almighty God, nor to think hard that we have them; but in humility of soul, every enlightened mind will at once acknowledge, that they are one of the greatest blessings that God could have conferred upon his rational creatures, for they constitute our probationary state. And it is only through this state that we can rise from innocency into a state of virtue and of glory. You know that it is by conquest that effort, in a moral sense, gain and are exalted. They go through every .struggle and trial, for the glory, honour, and praise of men; and so it is in a spiritual sense, if we become rightly sensible of the righteousness of God in his creation, and in the workings of his providence among his creatures. We own every dispensation that he metes out to us--thank him and take courage:--we are engaged to see the accountable principle in the creature; and thus we find that it is nothing but the soul that is accountable to God. Here, as the soul is obedient, it learns and extends, not only in a knowledge and feeling of the nature of God, and all his attributes of love and mercy, wisdom and power; but by attention to the light and life of God in the soul, it grows up till it becomes fitted to be a communicant with God, and partaker of his divine nature, so as to be one with him, and with our great and blessed pattern, Jesus Christ. That prayer of his is then answered, when he prayed that his disciples might be one, as he andthe Father were one--" That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, .that they also may be one in us."

Here we find out tine errors of tine people, and in what they consist; instead of being spiritually minded, they are resting in a carnal mind; they are looking to outward blood as having a tendency to cleanse the soul,, when it is no more related to the soul than the dust of the earth: it has no part with it, nor can it take from or add any part to it. It never gave it any life, nurture, nor succour whatever.

Here, now as we attend to titis, we shall become spiritually minded; we shall understand the scriptures of truth and believe them. But there are those who are so blind as to say that they are the rule of faith and practice: but we cannot find from their fruits, that they believe them at all. We read that "to be spiritually minded is life and peace ;" but where is there any of these that know any thing of it ? "To be carnally minded is death." We are all carnally minded in the state of nature, from which we cannot rise till we leave all things that are behind, and lay hold of that which is before. Let us then cease to be talking of God as of a man, for nothing but the soul is a recipient for the knowledge of God, and there is no way in which it can be communicated but by his own light.

Here, now, all things would be spiritually interpreted; all those types would be opened to us; they would become beautiful figures to lead us on, from the beginning to the end of the Jewish dispensation; beginning with Moses, through all the prophets, and Jesus Christ the Son of God. That dispensation never ended till Jesus was crucified, till he ascended and was no more to be seen of men, in an external way. He showed his disciples that he must leave them, that there was Something else expedient-for them, that he must go away that the comforter might come, the comforter of the soul. But in his external manifestation, he was endued with the power of God to do outward miracles, to relieve the distresses of their animal bodies, that they might partake of the blessings of that good land, their outward heaven; for in that outward Jerusalem that flowed with milk and honey, there was nothing that could have a tendency to nourish the soul, but, being a blessing to their animal bodies, it was a figure. And as they cultivated the land and were obedient, he declared he would bless the land; but when they rebelled against his law, he suffered desolation to be their lot; so that they often suffered from want of food. But the soul was not affected by it, otherwise than as it departed from the line of duty, in an inconsistent ways to gratify the animal body; and as this was the case, as it separated itself from God, it felt his judgment for it.

But as we come to get inward with the light, we come to understand the difference between what gives life to the soul, and what gives life to the animal body; and we see how it is, how it proves the immortality of the soul, for this never can be satisfied with any mortal thing--this desire to seek happiness. Do we not find that titis desire in the soul after happiness can never be satiated but by God himself? There is nothing but the immortal, invisible, and only true God that can satisfy the immortal soul: look at Solomon and all his works; and at our own experience. Do we not find that all the riches and glory of this world are not sufficient to make one soul happy? Do we not know, that the more we seek happiness in this way, the more unhappy we are? This was the case with the great king of Israel, who was the wisest of men when he undertook to exert his wisdom and power to find happiness in outward things. In riches and wisdom he exceeded all others; and he tried it to the uttermost, but all his efforts finally ended in a full and complete disappointment; and under a sense of his disappointment, he cried Out, "Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, all is vanity." . Here he was led to see what was good for the children of men; and he could say this is the sum of the whole matter, "Fear God and keep his commandments, or this is the whole duty of man."

Here we see a beautiful path open to every man and woman; and so plain that the wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein, when we c6me to the right thing, the light which maketh it manifest; for we can get no right knowledge but through this light. As we have need of the light of the outward sun in temporal things, so we must come to know the inward sun, the inward light, to be that from which we must derive all knowledge of spiritual things, and all that relates to the soul and its nourishment--that which sustains and continues it alive in God, and which is the source of its happiness and joy.

Now could the children of men see these things, they would be ready to cry out, how can we be so blind ! I have often been astonished, that I could myself have continued in darkness so long as I did, when it is as clear as day; when the soul turns inward, all things open in that clearness that it cannot resist. Here we become true believers in that in which our salvation consists--believers in that light and life, that blood that cleanses the soul from all unrighteousness. Now the soul being united with the life of God, a birth is brought forth,--a birth of life in the soul. By Almighty power, through a union of the soul with the divine life, the soul is begotten into the likeness of God. Here it is, that he and the Father are One: for every soul begotten unto God, and brought under the influence of his power, can say, "I and my Father are one:" the soul having no desire, intention, or will of its own; all is swallowed up in the immensity of the power and the goodness of God; it is one with him in all his requisitions, calls, and commands; and not because it has got any higher than a son of God. It is not God. Yet we see, according to Jesus's testimony, that even under the law, those to whom the word of God came were often called gods. For, you may remember reading, that when the Jews accused him of blasphemy because he said he was the Son of God, he referred them to their own law, "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods. If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came say, ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, thou blasphemest; because I said, l am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not: but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works." Here we see it is not by what people profess or believe that we are to judge of them, but by their works and doings. If their works give evidence that they arise from the love of God; if they are clothed with his love, and wisdom, and humility, this exalts the creature, for it is only the humble soul that is exalted of God' And what encouragement, my friends, we receive through this medium, when we are brought by the light into a feeling of unity with our great pattern, Jesus Christ, and with God our Creator. Oh! see how we come up into an equality with him--we are swallowed up in his righteousness, having no will of our own, but always at his disposal, going on in file increase of a right knowledge of God's perfections and of his excellency.

Here, under these views, in submission to the inward principle of light and life, every man would come to know God without applying to any but him. And, as is declared, "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him ;" for there is no end to the divine perfections. And when we come into the greatest and fullest experience, even to be swallowed up in the divinity of God Almighty, with a full surrender of soul and spirit to him, every day we may be advancing in greater knowledge--greater divine knowledge; we may go on for our whole lives, and shall witness and know that, "day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." We may learn something every day--some new thing; and yet all in consonance with the old, under the leading of God. And we have no reason to doubt, that in another state of being, we shall be eternally rising higher and higher, for there is no end to the perfection and glory of God--they are not to be compassed in this state of being. Now, I mention these things, my dear friends, for our improvement: and I want us to know what it is that makes us happy--that makes the immortal soul happy? All the riches and glory of this world cannot satisfy the soul. There is nothing but that which is infinite, that which is immortal, that can nourish the soul, comfort it, or make it truly happy.

In this view, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit: for the his spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God." Here we see now how this speaks to our sense and our common understanding; and how plain the way is when we get into the right way.

Every man and woman must know, that no creature can understand the things of man, except as has been set forth in this conclusive argument of the apostle. So no rational being can know the things of God, but as he comes under the influence of the spirit of God, neither can he enjoy the happiness of God. Therefore it is, that the soul can never be satiated, till it comes under the influence of the holy spirit of God, till it is a partaker of his nature; then it can feel something that satisfies it--something that supports it, and this is immortal like itself. We can know nothing of God but as we are brought into his nature and spirit, no more than the animals below man can enjoy or know the things of a man.

Now this seems to be so explained in the writings called the Scriptures, that we might gain a great deal of profitable instruction, if we would read them under the regulating influence of the spirit of God. But they can afford no instruction to those who read them in their own ability; for, if they depend on their own interpretation, they are as a dead letter, in so much, that those who profess to consider them the proper rule of faith and practice, will kill one another for the Scriptures' sake. How abominable! And still they will not learn; for they are determined not to learn, but sit down in their own will. Some will set up a particular system, and tell much about old things, the prophets under the law, and about Jesus Christ in that outward body, asserting that his death made atonement for our sins: because his righteousness so offended the Jews that the wicked priests and Pharisees slew him. But by this he was made a perfect example to us, to show to us that for the testimony of God our creator, we must be willing, as Jesus was, to surrender up every thing unto God; and to do his will in every thing, even if it cost us our natural lives. For if we are brought into the situation that he was in, that we cannot save our natural lives without giving up the testimony that God his called us to bear, we have his example not to do it, though we may feel as he did, that it is a great trial. Yet it is not a sin to act as he did, to plead with the Father, that, if it be possible, he will let this cup pass from ns. The Lord Almighty will accept us in it, and he does not consider it a breach of duty. Here we find, that the Son of God saw no alternative; for, if he gave up his testimony in order to save his natural life, he could not be saved with God's salvation: hence he surrendered to the divine will rather than to lose his standing and favour with his Almighty Father;--and what a blessed example it was. Here now what a life of righteousness! The apostle says, that he is our example, that we should follow his steps. But if he had any more power than we have, how could he be an example to us? He had no more power than would enable him to do the will of God, and he had it in its fulness; and of this every rational creature has his proportion. He had more, because he had a much greater work to perform: as he who hath five talents must be faithful according to the knowledge received; and so must they who have but one talent, and then we shall be accepted by the beloved of our souls. And what astonishing ignorance it must be, to suppose that material blood, made of the dust of the earth can be considered a satisfactory offering for a spiritual being that is all spirit, and no flesh! I say, what astonishing ignorance! and yet what a display of goodness and mercy, to take the example before us as the one we must follow if we would be the children of God. Here he is exalted in his proper station, as a minister; as an outward Saviour to the Israelites by the power which he exerted in outward miracles. And the spirit by which he was actuated is that light and life which is the Saviour of the soul: and it was the same light and life which is the light and life of God; for he derived it from God his heavenly Father. And we derive a portion of the same, which is able to save the soul if properly obeyed. Here now lie was put upon a level; and for this reason, Jesus called the children of God his brethren: "Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the church will ! sing praise unto thee." He thus united with the church and with his brethren in singing praises to God Almighty; for he was not ashamed to call them his brethren: and so, When we come under the influence of this divine light and life, we shall feel him to be our elder brother, to stand before us--to sit first, at the right hand, as it were, like the oldest son in the family, who had always been faithful to the father and his discipline. But we are not to suppose, that God Almighty has any right hand or any left band. And when the mother of Zebedee's children requested that one might sit at the right hand and the other at his left, what did he say? He gave a lesson for us--"Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They began to think that they were able. He told them they should be baptized with it. By which it is probable, from the account, they were sacrificed as he was, and died for their religion. But he says, with respect to giving them a place on the right or left hand, it was not his to give, but that it should bo given to them to whom the Father saw meet to give it. We see now how limited he was in his power, how modest, meek, bumble, and lowly of heart. Oh! that we might keep Iris example before us, and endeavour to imitate it in all our works. Not that his humility would save us, unless we come to have it of our own; and I hope there are none here so ignorant as to suppose, that they can be saved by his imitated righteousness. How derogatory is the idea to the dignity of the Almighty; it rises neat-unto blasphemy. I greatly desire--yea, it is my prayer and exercise for us, that we may all be gathered home to the standard of light and life in the soul; for there is nothing else--and I believe, that all the men on earth cannot bring one substantial evidence against the assertion--there is nothing else by which the soul can ever be saved, but by an obedience to the manifestation of the will of God by his own spirit in the soul: it is the only thing needful. It is that which gives ns a knowledge of God and his will, and enables us to perform it; and therefore it is, that they who are willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land, and none other.


We read, that "the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not:" and it is a sorrowful thing that it is so much so, that, although flits light shines in darkness, there are too many that are unwilling that the soul should be regulated by it. Therefore it is these that Antichrist makes use of as the accusers of the brethren. And they cannot help but be so, poor creatures! There is no other way for them to act, without they would be willing to turn to the light and gather into it. But for the want of this, the scriptures are a sealed book. And instead of being useful, it becomes a curse to them while they are determined to put their own construction upon them: it keeps them in darkness. And there are those who assert, that I disbelieve the scriptures, and that I undervalue them! But there is not a greater falsehood expressed among mankind! And I will assure you, my friends, that what 1 say is truth. I have loved the scriptures of truth from my youth; I have delighted in reading them; and perhaps there are none who have read them more than myself. And, I presume, according to my knowledge, no man has received more advantage than I have and continue 'to have, from reading them. And I am at this time convinced, that wherever I have been called to be a mouth for the Lord, in the line of the gospel ministry, I need not make this apology or declaration. No individual ever brought forth more scripture to prove their doctrines, than I have when under the influence of divine love and truth, that gave forth the scriptures. Divine Wisdom, knowing the state of the people, that they would hardly receive my doctrines unless confirmed by scripture testimony, here immediately, without the necessity of seeking for it, a passage would rise up in consonance with my assertion or declaration. And I appeal to the people, where my lot has been cast, if it has not been my case. Then what infatuation to say, that I undervalue the scriptures! No, my friends, I do not undervalue the scriptures of truth; but I feel it a duty to set them in the right place, and I dare not set them above it. For if I do this, I shall offend my Creator--I shall offend against that light which is my faith and my governing principle, and in which I feel peace with God, and with the children of men every where.

For it is declared in the scriptures, "If a man's ways please the Lord, he will make all his enemies be at peace with him;" and I feel it to be so. In all the adversaries that I have met with, I still feel at peace with all these and with all the children of men. Let them be enemies to me as much as they can, they cannot make me an enemy to them: therefore the declaration is true that if a man's ways please the Lord. he will make all his enemies the same as friends to him. Therefore, when they asperse me, they become as a help meet to me, which I do with thankfulness to God acknowledge. For it may be a watchword to me, though it come from even the most hardy sinners. I feel nothing inimical rise up in my heart toward them. They cannot break my peace, nor is it disturbed by it; neither do I regard their evil reports or good reports; for I have nothing to do but to mind my leader, and to obey the light which speaks peace to my soul. I never dare lay my head down to go to rest, until I have consulted respecting the actions of the day, and feel approved of God: for I consider it a great presumption to lie down to sleep without knowing our peace made with our Creator; for how many are taken away in their sleep, and how very uncertain is life. Therefore, could I dare to go asleep till I feel peace with my God, and with all my fellow-creatures? No. I dare not do it. And I speak it not boastingly, for I am a poor unworthy creature, a worm and no man. I speak these things for your encouragement, and let it rest on your minds, and improve the time that you have: and let not a moment pass which you may be improving. I feel it in my own experience. I do not preach these things as mere idle tales, but as the things which mine eyes have seen, mine ears heard, and my hands handled. Those I declare unto you, that your faith may be increased~ and that you may be encouraged in the way of salvation, looking to the Lord--remembering that he who improves his one talent rightly will be as acceptable as he that has five.

The Prayer.

Most gracious and ever blessed God! Be pleased, O Lord, to receive the feeble acknowledgments of thy poor dependant servant, as a return of gratitude to thee for thy abundant mercy to thy poor backsliding creatures. Grant, O gracious God, seeing that thou hast been mindful of us at this season, that thou hast graciously, condescended to overshadow us with the wings of thy love, be please to seal instruction to every mind. And grant, O heavenly Father, that the feeble knees may he strengthened, and that the hands which are ready to hang down may he lifted up; that so we may all more and more put our trust and whole confidence in thee. Enable us, merciful God, to surrender all our hearts to thee, and to cast down all our crowns at thy holy footstool, that so we may he kept in that humiliation and self abasement that we feel ourselves reduced to from a sense of our own unworthiness. Create in us a right spirit, O heavenly Father, and renew in us a concern to worship thee in spirit and in truth; that so, gracious God, thy will and not ours may be done in all things, and that thy great and glorious name may be exalted above all. Grant that our knowledge of thee may be increased through the light and grace dispensed; that so it may not be ineffectual, O Father, of leading us off from all our false dependencies and trust in any thing but thee: and grant that the glorious light of thy countenance and thy holy spirit may be our leader; and that we may not dare to look away from it for any support, but that we may press unto it more and more--seeking more and more to be united with the full and powerful operations and aidings of thy grace. Enable us to bow before thee, and to go on rightly in the great work that thou hast called us to do; and that all may tend to thy glory, and to the peace and consolation of our souls. Unite us together, O Father, as the heart of one man, that we may join in praise and acknowledgment of thy goodness, and give glory and honour to thy great and excellent name, who remainest to be God over all, blessed for ever and ever more.