A Beacon to the Society of Friends/Sermon VII
Quietism, as regards works.
"Jesus acted in the perfect wisdom of his heavenly Father; and in his perfect goodness, he did not leave them to guess, or examine, or search for themselves at all. But he called their attention out of all searches, works, and exercises whatever, into a state of resignation to the will of God." p. 155.
We know not where the Lord Jesus called his followers out of all searches, works, and exercises.
The Scripture lays the foundation of the Christian life, not in Quietism, but in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.—"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." But though it is a plain doctrine, that our good works are not the ground of our acceptance with God; the Scripture, nevertheless, cogently exhorts the believer to good works,—the genuine fruit and evidence of true faith; and tells him "We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" And moreover, it gives him the gracious assurance, that by these, is his heavenly Father glorified.—"Herein is my heavenly Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit"
What saith the Scripture?
"Preach the Gospel." Mark, xvi. 15.
"Write in a book, and send it to the seven churches." Rev. i. 11.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." Rev. xi. 11.
"Hear and understand." Matt. xv. 10.
"They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.—If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." Luke, xvi. 29, 31.
Is this like calling them out of searches, works, and exercises?
"Search the Scriptures." Jno. v. 39.
"Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine." 1 Tim. iv. 13.
"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them." 1 Tim. iv. 15.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not
to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim. ii. 15. "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." Mark, i. 15.
"My mother and my brethren are those which hear the word of God, and do it." Luke, viii. 21.
"Pray to thy Father which is in secret. Matt. vi. 6.
"Work out your own salvation,—for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do, of his good pleasure." Phil. ii. 12, 13.
"Strive to enter in at the strait gate." Luke, xiii. 24.
"Labour for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life." Jno. vi. 27.
"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven'" Matt. vi. 20.
"Exercise thyself unto godliness." 1 Tim. iv. 7.
"Do good to them that hate you, and pray for
them which despitefully use you." Matt. v. 44.
"If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out." Matt. v. 29.
"If thy right hand offend thee cut it off." Matt. v. 30.
"Mortify your members which are upon the earth." Col. iii. 5.
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain." 1 Cor. ix. 24.
"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Heb. xii. 1.
"Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Heb. vi. 12.
"By him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name." Heb. xiii. 15:
See under Ser. II. Ex. 7; Ser. V. Ex. 2; Ser. VI. Ex. 1; Ser. X. Ex. 1.
Quietism, as regards desire and thought.
"I am willing to unite with you in an ardent travail of soul, to sink out of ourselves, and every thing appertaining to us, and to come down into that state recommended to the disciples,—to keep out of all contrivance, and improper imaginations and thoughts, for we sin in thought. Therefore the most happy state that we can enjoy, is a state without desire or thought; for then we are the Lord's, we are in his hands, and here we are in a state of safety,—we have no excitement to do any thing but to stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.—Therefore, let us all stand still, and if we have power to pray to him at all, let it be that he may keep us in this state of resignation, till he shall come and enable us to glorify his great name above all, who is God blessed for ever." p. 172, 173.
"The most happy state is a state without desire or thought."—What absurdity! How entirely at variance with the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles. To what lengths are we not in danger of being carried, when we take not the Scripture for our rule.
Again, What saith the Scripture?
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." Matt. v. 6.
"From the days of John the baptist the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Matt. xi. 12."The law and the Prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom
of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." Luke, xvi. 16.
"Seek those things which are above." Col. iii. 1.
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Col. iii. 2."Covet earnestly, the best gifts." 1 Cor. xii. 31.
"He spake a parable unto them, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." [The parable of the unjust judge and the widow,] Luke, xviii. 1. "And he said, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves. And he from within shall answer,—I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend; yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask—seek—knock." Luke, xi. 5-9. "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not [only] against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all to stand. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." Eph. vi. 11-18.
"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Phil. iv. 8, 9.