A Beacon to the Society of Friends/Sermon III

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SERMON III.




EXTRACT I.

On man in his natural state.

"He has never made any distinction in the manifestation of his love to his rational creatures. He has placed every son and daughter of Adam on the same ground, and in the same condition that our first parents were in. For every child must come clean out of the hands of God." "The same principle, the same divine life which God breathed into our first parents, he has breathed into every rational soul under heaven." p. 54.

What saith the Holy Spirit by the Scripture?

"God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him.—And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good. Gen. i. 27, 31. And God commanded the man, saying, Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Gen. ii. 17. And the woman did eat, and gave also unto her husband, and he did eat." Gen iii. 6.

"And Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth." Gen v. iii.

"Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one." Job, xiv. 4.

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Ps. li. 5.

"The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." Ps. lviii, iii.

"As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that* all have sinned." "If through the offence of one many be dead." "As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation." "As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners." Rom. v. 12, 15, 18, 19.

"And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.—

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were, by nature, the children of wrath, even as others." Eph. ii. 1, 3.

Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John, iii. 3.

* Marginal reading—"in whom."




EXTRACT II.

Way to reconciliation.—Works, grace, and faith.

"It is only by gathering to this light that we can gain a place in his favour, and by endeavouring that all our actions should proceed from the movings of this life in the immortal soul—and as this comes to be our case we gain reconciliation with the Father. Now we see that all the holy men of old, have signified this to us in plain terms.—'Cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed.' All these are required, for till we do every thing in our power, by every means put in our hands, we shall not find support from God.—Then, not till then:—'Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.'—What bounty! what encouragement, my friends! every thing in me bows before it.—"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." p. 55.

"We gain reconciliation with the Father."—The Apostle testified of the Jews, "They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." And to attempt to "gain reconciliation," in the way pointed out in the preceding extract, is it not to go about to establish our own righteousness? Where is the necessity left for the righteousness of faith? or the doctrine of Christ crucified? which is the very ground of the sinner's hope. This system, therefore, is wholly foreign to Christianity.

What saith the Scripture?

"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men,—the man

Christ Jesus."* 1 Tim. ii. 5.

* How opposite to this doctrine is that which teaches that the light within is the mediator.

again.

"Jesus saith, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Jno. xiv. 6.

"I am the door of the sheep.—I am the door; by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved. Jno. x. 7, 9.

"According as he hath

chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of

his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Eph. i. 4-7.

"God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God; for he hath made

him to be sin [a sin offering] for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Cor. v. 19-21.

"In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren: that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Heb. ii. 17.

"God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven you." Eph. iv. 32.

See also under Ser. I. Ex. 2;—Ser. IV. Ex. 2.

"Till we do every thing in our power."—Must we then first make the fruit good, that the tree may be good?

What saith the Scripture?

"Make the tree good, and his fruit good." Matt. xii. 33.

"Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring

forth good fruit." Matt. vii. 16, 18.

"The Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, have not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? '

because they sought it not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law: for they stumbled at that stumbling stone; as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone, and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Rom. ix. 30—33.

"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Rom. iv. 4, 5.

"If by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." Rom. xi. 6.

"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Gal. V. 4.

"Abraham believed God,

and it was counted unto him for righteousness.—Now, it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Rom. iv. 23, 25; v. 1, 2.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."[1] Eph. ii. 8—10.

EXTRACT III.

Resurrection of the Body.

"The body returns to the dust,—to the bosom of its mother earth, and there it lies in eternal quiet—and it is not accountable to God; for it is not in bones to think, or flesh to reason." p. 57.

What saith the Holy Spirit by the Scripture?

"And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." Matt. xxvii. 52, 53.

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation."—John, v. 25, 28, 29.

"Many of them that sleep in the dust of the

earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Dan. xii. 2.

"If we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." 1 Thes. iv. 14.

"How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen.—And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.—But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be

made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.—But some man will say, how are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. So also is the resurrection of the dead: it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." 1 Cor. xv. 12, 13, 17, 20, 23, 35, 38, 42, 44.

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." Phil. iii. 21.




EXTRACT IV.

State of the Heathen.

"One greater than Moses is come, and has introduced a new covenant, or rather has called the people back to the first dispensation and covenant which God made with his creature man in the beginning, and which is written upon the tables of the heart[2] by the finger of God, and not upon tables of stone, but upon the very tablets of our souls."—"I will make a new covenant with them. Now this could only have been with Israel, because he had never given such a covenant to any except the Israelites, and all others were reckoned under the law of the first covenant, the covenant of love and life." pp. 60, 61.

"All others were reckoned," &c.—How is it possible to

reconcile this theory, with the declarations of the Holy Spirit, of the dark state of the Heathen, their ignorance of the laws of God, and liability to his judgments. If such sentiments are correct, missionary labours are useless.

But what saith the Scripture?

"They have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a God that cannot save." Isa. xlv. 20.

"None considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire;—and shall I make the residue thereof an

abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?" Isa. xliv. 19.

"I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard." Mic. v. 15.

"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Ps. ix. 17.

That the condition of the Gentiles, who had not received the Gospel, was not altered when the Holy Ghost was poured on the believers, at the day of Pentecost, we may reasonably infer,—

1st,—From the wonder of some of the strangers present, and the mockery of others,—proving that they were not partakers of the gift.

2nd,—From Acts, viii. 14-16:

"When the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God,

they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them that they might

receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet he was fallen upon none of them; only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

And v. 44-46:— "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them

which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."

3rd,—From the words of our Lord's commission to the Apostle Paul, Acts, xxvi. 16-18:—

"I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom

now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me."

And lastly,—From the affecting description, which he frequently gives of the state of the Gentile converts, before they received the word of the Gospel.—

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of

disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Eph. ii. 1-3.

"At that time ye were

without Christ, being aliens from the common wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." Eph. ii. 12.

"This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind; having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the

ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who, being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greedi-diness.—For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." Eph. iv. 17-19; v. 12.

"Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the gentiles which know not god." 1 Thess. iv. 5.

What an exact description have we here of many of the Heathen nations of the present day, except it be that, if possible, some of them exceed in ignorance those referred to by the Apostle!




EXTRACT V.

Christ the Saviour of all who believe.

"But what is this Jesus Christ? He came to be a Saviour to that nation, [the Jews.] He came to gather up, and look up, the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But as he was a Saviour in the outward sense; so he was an outward shadow of good things to come; and so the work of the man Jesus Christ was a figure.'—'What was it that was a Saviour? Not that which was outward; it was not flesh and blood: for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.—It was that life that was in him,[3] and which lighteth every man, and consequently every woman, that cometh into the world.'" pp. 68, 69.

Does E. H. obtain the information, that Jesus Christ "came to gather up the lost sheep of the house of Israel," from the revelation in the Scripture, or from his own pretended revelation? If from the former, does not the same authority declare, that Jesus Christ came to save the Gentiles, as well as the Jews?

"Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Ps. ii. 7, 8.

"It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel;

I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the end of the earth." Isa. xlix. 6.

"That he might reconcile both, [Jews and Gentiles] unto God in one body by the cross, having. slain the enmity thereby." Eph. ii. 16.

  1. This declaration of the Spirit through the Apostle is truly a compendium of Christian doctrine.
  2. Written upon the tables of the heart,—see under Ser. IV. Ex. 5.
  3. What was it that was a Saviour? Not that which was outward," &c.—See under Ser. II. Ex. 1.