The Missing Cross to Purity


Sermons by Stephen Crisp Continued

Text in Light Blue or bold Light Blue can be "clicked" for backup in scripture or detail in writings.

Quaker ministers, such as Stephen Crisp, served without pay and never spoke from a prepared text or notes. Like the Apostles, the Quaker ministers only spoke or prayed under control of the Holy Spirit of God. All sermons were unrehearsed and completely extemporaneous. The early Quakers frowned on recording the spontaneous words of a sermon, believing they were meant for that time and audience only. For that reason, there are very few recorded sermons of the countless delivered. Steven Crisp's sermons were recorded in shorthand by a non-Quaker, who found his speaking to be particularly inspiring and instructive. For a description of a early Quaker worship service, see Proper Worship.

Sermon IV

THE STANDARD OF TRUTH

Delivered by Stephen Crisp at Grace-Church-Street, on July 29, 1692

There is a universal standard of truth, that God has set up over all the sons and daughters of men; he has given the knowledge of it in and through Jesus Christ; he has dealt it out to them, that they may be capable of joining and adhering to the truth, and to be delivered from eternal condemnation. This standard and measuring-rule is revealed and manifested in every man and woman, by the light that shines in their hearts, by which they are able to discern, and give a sound judgment (if they are only willing) upon all their own ways. A man or woman may know in every word they speak, in every action they do, whether they speak, or do, according to the truth, or whether they are justified by the truth, in what they speak and do.

I tell you, my friends, this is no small mercy, that mankind has obtained at the hand of his Maker, that he is brought into a capacity of not acting blindfolded, but that he may see his way, and his own inclinations, and pass judgment upon them, whether they are good or evil. Whether they will stand justified in the sight of his Maker, or whether they will be condemned.

I confess, the veil of ignorance, that is come over the sons and daughters of men, through sin, transgression, and rebellion, is very great. And I may say, as the apostle said, sometime you were in darkness. And what can darkness see? What can darkness discover? the Lord our God, that made us, has not left us in that state of darkness, blindness and ignorance, but through the riches of his mercy and goodness, has found out a way, to command that light should shine out of darkness, into peoples hearts, for all that the Devil did to darken man, to alienate and estrange him from his Maker.

The same Almighty Power, that said in the creation, let there be light, and it was so; he has shined into our hearts, and the way by which he has done so, is through the mediator, through Jesus Christ the Redeemer, in whom the fullness of the God-head dwells. He has receive power from his Father, not only to be a light and salvation, but to impart and communicate of the divine light to them, even to every one that comes into the world; so that by means of this, they may be delivered from their darkness, and ignorance of the mind of God, that they were liable to in the fall, and might be restored, through the mediator, to a capacity of judging of their own actions, and of the own words, and ways, and inclinations.

This is the standard which God has pitched in every one of our bosoms, for the trial of ourselves, either for our justification, or condemnation, of every word and action. Now, to make everyone sensible of the greatness of this blessing, consider, it is not only given to augment and increase knowledge, it is given on purpose to allure and persuade men into a liking of truth, into a love of truth. The apostle esteemed it a wonderful mercy that came by Christ; he has sent him to bless us, in turning every one of us from the evil of his ways. So that here is a capacity that the sons and daughters of men have, through the mediator of being turned from the evil of their ways and doings, to what is well-pleasing to God.

The next work, after God has wrought thus mercifully for the sons and daughters of men, is, that they would be good to themselves, and merciful to themselves, and take pity upon themselves, by a due improvement of the grace, and mercy, and kindness of God, that he has bestowed freely upon them and in bring all their deeds to that standard, all of their words and actions to that rule; so that whatever they may be, or however many, if they do not answer that standard and rule, they may deny, withstand and resist them, so that they may keep out of condemnation; for the apostle declared it plainly without a doubt, "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." If he had said, "to them that profess Christ Jesus," there had been a large latitude, especially for those nations; but the words are limited, and you will find so; that is, "to them that are in Christ Jesus;" and (as if he should say) that you may know rightly what I mean; "I mean such as walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." They that are in Christ, walk after his Spirit; for, those who walk not after the Spirit of Christ, are none of his; but those who are his, walk after the spirit the spirit of truth, and there is not condemnation to them.

It is not only the scriptures that ratify and confirm this doctrine, but you yourselves are all living witnesses of the truth of this, that so far as you do act and speak in obedience to the principle of truth, that God has planted in you, you feel no condemnation upon you: "Such a thing I did at such a time, and I had no condemnation." Why so? "Because I did it in obedience, and subjection to that measure of grace that God set up in me;" and, "such a thing I did, for which I was condemned." Why so? "because I did it according to the inclinations of my own corrupt mind, and in contradiction to the truth that opened in me."

My friends, I would have you in point of the doctrine of christianity, to be the better for what you read and hear. It is for me to preach the truth, and you may believe what I say, and you may read the Holy Scriptures, and have the belief of what you read; but if you come to a perceived feeling of the fulfilling of things you hear, you will give a greater seal to the truth of the doctrine, than by all you have read and heard. And you will grow wise to Salvation, by trying and experiencing the effect of everything you understand; and not like the carnal men of this world, who do not have faith, who attend to only their worldly profits and pleasures, such are earthly, sensual, and devilish; but I would judge of actions and words, according to truth, and according to the effect I find in me. "I did such a thing, and I had peace in the doing of it; I feel no reproach, no condemnation upon me." Here is a way for people to grow up in the life of christianity; to keep to the standard of truth. For whether men desire it or not, they must do it at last; and they may now, if they please, make a trial of their words and actions.

As for the most part of you, you have gone further than Pilate. Pilate could make that inquiry, "what is truth?" said he. And I confess, it is not long ago, it is within the memory of man, that a more serious and better sort of people were confounded with the darkness and ignorance of those times, that they were ready to cry out, what is truth? and where is truth? Their eyes were so blinded, and things were so jumbled and confused by the disputations that men raised, that made things so dark people could not see their way. But God who has commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has brought a glorious day; has dissipated, and scattered, and driven away a great deal of that darkness and mist, that overspread men's minds. As many as have sincerely sought the truth in the inward, they have found a divine principle of truth, that has a self-evidencing quality in itself, to convince the minds and consciences of the sons and daughters of men, that it is the truth. And to this the Lord has brought most of you, to be sensible of something that is truth in itself. There are many things that are true in the words of them; many true expressions; but there is truth in itself, the essential truth of God, which, as it is in God, is everlasting and eternal, and will stand over all errors, and falsehood and deceit. The truth, as it is in Christ Jesus, is a standard and rule for men to act by; he has given it to the sons and daughters of men; and as it appears in them, it is either a Judge to condemn them, or a savior to save them from their sins, and to justify them.

Now, what concerns us, is to find out the measure of truth, or manifestation, or principle of truth, which it has pleased God to reveal in ourselves. And whoever will turn their minds a little while inward, into serious search and consideration, how the Lord has dealt with them, they will find they are not quite destitute of truth. One that makes his practice to lie, cheat and cozen, is not utterly destitute of truth; for there is a principle of truth in him, that does check and reprove him for his theft, lying, and falsehood, and he lives under condemnation himself. He cannot draw near to the God of truth upon any occasion, but his lying and falsehood stand in his way. Now, if is so, that this liar is made sensible of a principle of truth in him, and will bring his words and actions to the truth, so much of it as he knows will make him leave lying and deceiving, and to practice truth to escape condemnation. If he will but leave lying and falsehood, and live in the truth, and speak the truth to his neighbor, he will find another state, condition and frame in his soul, than there was before. He is now more at peace, and has a clear and serene way, to come to God by prayer, and for pouring out his supplication, which he had not before; for he had barred up his own way by his sin, which lay continually at his door; if you do not well, sin lies at your door, said God to Cain. So, when you do evil, you cannot but know it. When you are drunk, or swear or tell a lie, and deceive you neighbor, and carry on the design for sinful profit, you know it, whether men know it or no, and God that made you know it; and there sin lies at your door, and blocks and bars you out, and you cannot offer your prayers to God with that clearness, as if you had spoken the truth. So that it highly concerns every one of us, to be waiting upon God, for the discovery of his truth to us; and then we must embrace, adhere and join to the truth, as our greatest good.

But some will say, this adhering and joining to the truth, is a hard lesson. It is pretty easy to find out a principle of truth, that stands against, and opposes all manner evil. Very few, now a-days, will deny a settled principle of truth in all men, that judges falsehood, and condemns deceit, and witnesses against it in others, and in themselves. But this same joining, and adhering to it, that cannot be done, without a cross to the carnal mind.

Now, if the cross of Christ is not taken up, there is no good Christianity among us. Where this is neglected, it spots and stains the profession of Christianity. It is so directly opposite to the doctrine of Christ: "he that will be my disciple, must" it is not, he may if he will, but, he "must take up the cross" of Christ and follow HIM. They were a sort of people, that were never likely to be made Christian, that wanted to be exempt from taking up a daily cross; therefore he presses it upon them to deny themselves, and take up his cross and follow him. No man is able to live a Christian life, without taking up a daily cross.

Now...when a light is broken forth, and men have a principle of truth in their own hearts, it comes to this; said one, "I ought to be holy, in all manner of conduct, and to be watchful over my words, and have my conduct honest and just, without deceit. See what a great deal I know, yet I can never live this life, even though I know it so well; I cannot take up a daily cross, which is so much against the contrary inclinations working in me. Then the question I put to myself is, shall I take up a cross or not?

It comes to this point with every man or woman, after they come to the knowledge of this standard of truth. If the world would but come to this rule and standard, there would be no more cheating nor cozening, no more fraud, deceit or hypocrisy, nor war and bloodshed; but if men would, in everything they do, answer the principle of truth in themselves, they would put the question to themselves, shall I take up my daily cross, or not? Shall I deny myself those pleasures that my conscience condemns; and those ungodly gains that I seek after by falsehood, by lying, prevaricating and departing from the truth? Shall I do this, that I may be rich and great in the world, or shall I not?

You know what I say, many of you, and have put this question to yourselves, and some have made a good answer to it: "I will take up my daily cross, by the grace of God; this stand of truth shall be the rule of my words and actions to my dying-day."

Those who have learned this lesson, and obtained peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, they have not only made a resolution, but performed it in act and deed. By the power of Christ's cross, they are purified, and sanctified, and washed from their old conversations, and have their conduct in heaven; that is, live after a heavenly life, live a godly life here upon earth, when they have come to this resolution, and also the practice of it.

I would desire, and it is my labor, that you that hear me this day, who are unaware of what I am speaking, namely, the standard of truth, the principle of truth, that unerring Guide, which is placed in the conscience of every man, and justifies, or condemns his actions and words: that, you who are come to be aware of this, may all come to this godly resolution in yourselves, so I would have this dispute carried on in every one's bosom. When the question is stated, I would have your really answer it; shall I guide my actions and words according to this unerring rule, or not? "I cannot tell what to say," say some, "there is danger in it." What danger can there be to answer what a man knows to be truth? I will tell you what danger. The world is perverse, and most men live out of truth, and the Devil is a cunning adversary, and he would have none live in it. He abode not in truth; and he would not have us live in it, nor regulate our words and actions by the truth in our own souls. What if most men in the world pervert the truth? What if so few walk in the narrow way, and so few come to life eternal; is than an argument that I must not come there? Should it not stir me to greater diligence, that by any means I may be of the number of that few that shall obtain salvation, and not go with a great company in the way that leads to destruction? If we improve our times, and seasons, and opportunities, and mercies, and blessings, that are vouchsafed to us, we at last may obtain life eternal.

But some may say, "I must sit down in despair, for I cannot come there of myself, though I do what I can to work out my own salvation. There is a decree against me; which, though I should pray ever so much, and spend my nights in grief and sorrow, if I am decreed to eternal damnation, there is not help for me, no hope that I should escape; and if I am decreed to salvation, though I take my liberty to sin, and be loose and wanton, as others, it cannot hinder me from attaining salvation at last."

For this reason, many have laid aside the spiritual warfare against corruption, and their spiritual travail, that they will no nothing to [gain] their everlasting happiness; therefore they think they might as well take their pleasure. But, my friends, the case is not so with us; let every soul among us praise the Lord for his mercy, in expelling that thick cloud of darkness, which is vanished and gone. This I know, and I hope you do all believe, that God does every where, and in every nation, call sinners to repentance, and that he delights not in the death of him who dies, but rather that they would turn and live; and in order to do this, he has given his Son, Jesus Christ, to be a savior and mediator; and he has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, to give direction to us in our own way. Now our duty is, to make improvement of those visitations of mercy, that God has bestowed upon us, in order to come to our salvation, and not live in rioting and drunkenness, chambering, and wantonness, strife, and envying, and following the fashions of the world. But we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

But some will say, "is this not already wrought by our savior and mediator? Christ has tasted death for every man, and laid down a price for the soul of every man."

But still there must be a change wrought in us; there must be a translation of our souls, from one state to another. This is called in the scripture, regeneration, and being born again; this is called being baptized into Christ, and described also by other expressions. But the real matter is, to change your life; for there is a sinful source of wickedness, that is stirred up by the motions of the powers of darkness, and our own concupiscence; but God is always ready to bring us under the government of his Holy Spirit, that will lead us into all truth; and this cannot be done without a Cross. But the question lies here, "shall I take up this Cross or not? If I do, it will crucify my affections to the world. Let me see, how much do I love the world? A great deal, but do I love the world better than my own soul? What will it profit me, to gain the whole world and lose my own soul? Or what shall I give in exchange for my soul? I cannot get to heaven without denying myself; let me take care of my immortal soul. I am a poor creature; I will serve the Lord my Maker, and make it my business to glorify and please him. He can snatch me away by death when he pleases; therefore will I labor, that my thoughts, words, actions, and conduct, may answer to that rule that he has set before me, as a standard of truth, to square and regulate my actions by. I will not live any longer in vanity, as many do. I do not know but my breath may be stopped today, before tomorrow; therefore today, while it is called today, I will hear God's voice, and not harden my heart, but receive that counsel, that is offered to me, for the benefit of my soul. I am bought with a price, I am not my own; I will live to him who died for me. I have more reason to live to Christ, and serve him, that shed his precious blood for the redemption of my soul, and to be subject to him, than to be Christ's enemy, to the prince of the power of the air, who rules in the children of disobedience. I will take up a resolution to serve God, but I can do nothing of myself; but the grace of God, which brings salvation, will teach me to deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live righteously, soberly, and godly; in this present world." Take heed of being deceived and beguiled, for there is no way [that] will bring you to Heaven, but a holy and undefiled way.

Therefore, come and take this standard of truth in your hands, to guide you in your way, that you may neither turn to the right hand or the left. This will show you the way that you should walk in, and be like a cloud and pillar of fire to the Israelites, in their journey to Canaan, which was a type of Heaven. The cloud they could see by day, and the pillar of fire by night. So this standard of truth will direct you in your travel to the heavenly Canaan. Let this be the rule and measure of your thoughts, words, and actions.

If a workman, that is a builder, has a rule to work by; and if he goes on and never examines his work by his rule, but makes his eye his rule; if he does not bring this rule to his work every little while, to see whether his work is right; if he works on, and never minds his rule, what a sad work will he make. But a prudent skillful workman will say, "I will not trust my eye too much, but I will look to my rule, my rule will not fail me; if there is bad work, it will discover it to me, that I may mend it before I go any further." Thus a discrete workman will often bring his rule to his work, and use his line and plummet, that he may make it workmanlike. He will say, "if I leave my rule alone, and not make use of it, but work as I please, and trust to my eye, no wonder if I make bad work, and what I build fall down again, and tumble about my ears."

You to whom God has given the standard of truth, as a rule and measure, to govern you thoughts, words, and actions by, let every thing be tried with it, before you die, and leave this world. If you do so, and make this your daily practice, then ask yourselves, and you will be able to tell yourselves, and tell me, and say, "I have now obtained more hopes of God's favor, and a greater sense of his life and goodness to me, than ever I had before." The apostle does exhort us, "to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming our time." We have spent a great deal of time in vain, let us now be wise, and improve our time, for our eternal advantage; let us walk circumspectly, that is, look round about us, consider our ways, and try all our thoughts, words and actions, by the standard of truth. Today (my friends) while it is called today, hear the voice of God, and harden not your hearts, and receive the heavenly counsel, that is tendered to you, that you may be partakers of the inheritance, among the saints in light.

The Prayer After

Blessed and eternal Father! You have brought forth your glorious name, and revealed your power and your mighty arm; and you have caused a remnant to bow and worship at your appearance. You are wonderful, your majesty is great; those who do behold you, will, with reverence, worship before you. Your power is gone forth, and has reached the hearts of your people; you have humbled them, and subjected them to your Divine, Almighty Power, that they might appear in the earth, to the praise and glory of your great name.

And, O Lord, as you have begun a great work in the earth, so you have committed this work to your servants and children that bear your name among the sons of men, that they should show forth your righteousness, among the inhabitants of the earth; and our souls have said many a time, who is sufficient for these things? All our fitness and sufficiency, our fitness and preparation is from you. Reveal your power, and make bare your Almighty arm. We have found your presence from day to day, and you have beheld them that know your love.

O glorious God of life! Herein we have encouragement to go in the work which you have called us to; hereby we are enabled to worship before you, and to offer up living praises to your great name, for that refreshment and consolation, which you have ministered to your people.

And, O Living Father! We have never waited on you in vain; whenever we have met together in your name, we have found your Divine Presence, and the opening of the treasure of your love, of your wisdom, and of your favor to your children. So that from day to day, and even at this day, you remember your people, and you give them fresh occasion to draw near to you, and receive their daily nourishment and strength, from the operation of your power.

O living God of Life! Gather up the hearts of your people more and more, and draw them into a nearness to yourself, that their understandings many be more and more opened to discern your will, and subject themselves to your wisdom, that every thought that is exalted against your divine power, and living voice, in their own consciences, may be brought down; so that all the nations of the earth may bow before you; so that your truth may reign, and your power be exalted, and the righteousness which you have revealed, may shine forth more and more, in the brightness and glory of it, and enlighten those who are afar off, that they may be brought to seek after God.

And, Living God of Life! Let those who are bowed down under the weight of sin, be supported and raised up; and those who are weary and heavy laden, let them have rest to their souls.

Powerful God of Life! Keep your people in a fresh and living sense of your love, and of your heavenly virtue, by which you nourish the children, and satisfy them from day to day; not only when they are met together, but when they are separated one from another. Let your people be preserved from the evil of the world, while they are in it, and let your wisdom and power give them victory over it, that you may have the glory of all the mercies and blessings, vouchsafed to them. For you alone are worthy, who are God over all, blessed forever and ever. Amen.

SERMON V

The Great Duty of Remembering our Creator

Delivered by Stephen Crisp at Devonshire-House, on April 6, 1692

THERE is only one living and true God, Creator of Heaven and earth, whom we are obliged to serve and worship. I have so much charity as to believe, there are none among us, but who will own and acknowledge this. And my soul wishes that this obligation would always rest upon everyone's mind - that they might remember their Creator, who has given us all life and breath, and continued all our blessings to us, that so everyone might apply their hearts unto that universal duty, that we are all convinced of.

And those who are thus employed and exercised, are considering how and by what manner they may complete and discharge their duty, performing obligation that lies upon them so that it may be accepted at the hands of God. I speak now of those who  considerate, not of those who go on in a form of religion, and matter not, nor regard whether they are accepted of God or not; but all who are conscientious towards God, they desire to serve God, and worship him, so that they may be acceptable to him, so to perform duties; and so that they may receive their reward, and that encouragement that God in all ages has discovered, and made manifest to be in his purpose towards those who truly serve him.

When people come to this consideration, how they may serve God correctly, and worship him acceptably, the Lord is near unto them, to instruct them, to teach them, and guide them in the way that is everlasting. And, blessed be his holy name, a great many in our days have met with this divine teaching and instruction; and are taught in this age, as in former ages, to understand the worship of God that he requires; that is, in spirit and truth; and do find, that the Father seeks such worshippers, and where he finds them, rewards them, and they have an answer of peace in their bosoms, and they are encouraged to go on in the worship and service of God, to the end of their days.

And it is a great mercy and benefit, a great blessing that God has bestowed upon a remnant, to open their understandings, to let them see and know the way of being near to God, that so they may know whom they worship for you have read  there have been worshippers who worship they know not what. As our Savior said to the woman of Samaria, you worship what you do not know; we know what we worship. So all who are taught of God, know what is the first lesson of Christianity, as the apostle said; he who turns to seek God, must first know and believe that he is; that is, people must first be sensible, that there is a God, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, before they can properly worship him.

Now, for lack of this knowledge, the world is scattered, and people are divided into a great many sorts of worships, and fashions, and ways of religions, for lack of the knowledge of the true worship, of the true and living God. So although men are universally convinced that there is a God, and that a worship is due to him from every one of us, yet people are confounded, scattered, and divided about the performance of their great duty; and in the day that the Lord has visited his people, he has come to answer this doubt and question for them. It has been the great question of the world, and is still of many thousands; they say, I know we should worship God, but I do not know the way and manner in which to find acceptance. The Lord has answered that question in abundance to those who have ears to hear; let them hear what the Spirit says, that is the short answer to it in all.

Let people profess whatever religion they will, there is no acceptance with God except through Christ. So that if people come to be of this, and that, and the other profession, and change their religion ever so often, and go from one religion to another, if they don't come not Christ, they fail to come to him in whom they may find acceptance. In him God is pleased with everyone; but out of him he is pleased with no one. The great mystery of religion lies in Christ; people must come to God by faith in him; for without faith, it is impossible to please God. Let people perform whatever so much service and duties, all must pass through the hand of the Mediator, before their performance will ever reach to God, or before peace and comfort will reach to any man’s soul. Therefore, it is the wisest way for everyone who would have acceptance with God to come to him in the name of the great Mediator. People would be glad to have acceptance with God and not to have their services turned back upon them, as Cain’s was. Now, every one who wishes to have acceptance with God must come this way; there is only one way, it is not the way that men have invented, trying to come by their works and merits. Some by their made-faiths, and made-beliefs, and by many articles and principles, holding this principle, and the other principle; but our Lord and Creator, he has shown one way, in his infinite wisdom, and unspeakable mercy to mankind, that was forever lost, and could never return to God, by all his sacrifices, offerings, and performances; he was never able to return into unity with his Maker, if God had not shown a way; and that way that God has shown, is by his beloved Son Christ Jesus. God spared not. He spared not what? He spared not his only begotten Son. Why, what did he do with him? He gave him for the life of the world; in him who God gave, there is life. It pleased the Lord that his Son should have life in him, as the Father had life in himself; for Christ was with the Father before the world began; in him was life, and the life was the light of men; John 1:1-4,9. It was no created life, the life that is in his Son; it is not a created life, but is an eternal life, and it was given for the life of the world, and the life is the light of men. This is the true light, which enlightens every man that comes into the world. So that here is the dignity of that life which God has bestowed upon us; we are endued with that life, which was with the Father through Jesus Christ, before the world was. Let us consider the dignity of that light, with which we are enlightened. The question is, whether we should obey this light, or not. It is the question of every one. I am enlightened, says a man, shall I obey it, or not? If I obey, I must take up a cross, and say goodbye to my beloved lust and corruption. No doubt of that; we must persuade people to do that, before we can bring them to Heaven and happiness, and fellowship with God. It must not be by the way they lost the life, but by the contrary way, by which God will bring men to happiness again. They lost it by transgression, and sinning against God; by this way and means men came out of the presence and favor of God. But what way shall they obtain it again? Shall it be by committing iniquity, and breaking God's law? No , here is the way that God has revealed to bring poor man back again to himself: by the sufferings and obedience of his Son, Jesus Christ. He has given to him all power in Heaven and Earth, that all should be subject to him; here is a dignity which Christ has obtained.

It comes to the question with us, whether we are enlightened? Now we know we are enlightened; God has bestowed something upon us that wars and fights against sin and iniquity. How did we come we by it? Is it any faculty in nature? No; nature is corrupted and defiled, because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be; yet there is something in me that answers the pure law of God, which makes me to hate things that are reprovable, namely, light. How did I come by the light? It is not natural, for then it would run parallel with the natural inclination that is in my soul, to lead me further and further from God. These are set in opposition one against another, the flesh and the spirit; the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. Here is part of an inward war, that you may all be sensible of. Now, these two warriors, the flesh and the spirit, make war one against another, and one of them is overcome. It is true, there is such a principle in me, that strives against sin and corruption. How did you receive it? If you believe the scriptures, I say, you came by it through the life, of the Son of God, that light which enlightens every man that comes into the world. Now, many have rejected and despised the light; I believe they did not think, at the same time, to mock and make a scorn of the life of Jesus, though that was what they did by rejecting the light. But if people come to a true esteem and value of the light that God has planted in the soul, then they will give more reverence and respect to it. It is this that brings those who preach Christ, to preach him in those terms, and under those denominations, that he is near them.

We do not doubt of Christ's being born of a Virgin, in the land of Canaan, and that he wrought miracles, and preached many godly sermons, and that he was crucified, dead and buried, and rose again from the dead, for these things are certainly true. But we would have him our Savior in this age, we would have a nearer knowledge of him, and a sense and feeling of the virtue of that power, by which he saved those who lived in former ages. He is not a Christ and a Savior of one age only, but of all ages to this day, from Adam, to the last man that shall live upon the earth. That age and generation that does not know not Christ, will not be saved by him, if there is ever any age in which he is not known. There is no other name under the heavens by which you can be saved. If you ask where is this Savior? Say not in your heart, who shall ascend into Heaven? That is, to bring down Christ from above; or, who shall descend into the deep, that is to bring up Christ again from the dead? Because the word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart; that is the word of faith, which we preach. He is near your soul, he is the Lord of life, and a quickening Spirit, if I know that quickening Spirit, after this I know the Lord Christ, when he comes to work in me by his power, changing my heart, and translating me from death to life, then I know the true Christ. God has manifested in all ages that it is the duty of people to come to the knowledge of the Son of God; for he has sent forth his Spirit to teach us, and to lead us into all truth.

For when Christ was with his disciples, he told those who he would pray the Father, and he would send the Spirit, the comforter; and when he came, he would be known by his divine and inward teachings and operations, guiding and leading them into all truth; that was his work to them. But what shall other folks do? He will be made known to others too. When he comes, he shall convince the world of sin. So that his work to his disciples was: to lead them into all truth; and his work to the world is: to convince the world of sin. Who will deny, but that there is a Spirit in our age, as well as in other ages, that will convince men of sin? Is this the Spirit of God, that convinces the world of sin, or is it the spirit of the Quakers only? When people come to consider really and truly, how they may serve God correctly, they will find there is no serving God correctly, unless they come to Christ the Mediator, that in and by him they may put up supplications to God, and through him, they may expect at the hand of God, peace and comfort; and there is no other way, nor ever will be.

The Jews, they had another way, they had an outward way of serving God that stood in various offerings, sacrifices, washings and observations; this was a way of worship of God's own institution to that people, but what came of it? When the apostle came to grasp it, he said, the comers to it, had not been made perfect. What were the transgressors of it then? Those who would sin on, and continue in sin, and not bring a goat, or a ram, or other oblation; those who did observe it, and came up to the point of the law, they did bring their offering when they were convinced of their sin. If a man sinned, he was to bring an he-goat, and to bring it to the door of the tabernacle; but when he sinned, the conscience of sin, the guilt of sin remained upon him. For it was impossible, said the apostle, that the blood of bulls and goats should take away the sin. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies, to the purifying of the fleshly, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works, to serve the living God.

When there is no hope of atonement and reconciliation with God, by all those offerings under the law, he tells you of one offering of the Son of God himself, through the eternal Spirit, by which he became a propitiation; for this will do; if I believe that Christ offered an holy offering to the Father for my sins. I believe he offered his body, and that through the eternal Spirit, that he might be a propitiation for sin, and take away sin, and have power over sin and death, and conquer death and darkness. The apostle drives the matter further; you must come to the inward work of this outward offering, this eternal offering, that was in due time offered to God. You must come to know the operations of it, by the sprinkling of the heart from an evil conscience, so that there was to be an applied faith for the offering of that. The way to a Savior was not made by man, no more than the way of salvation by Christ was found out by man; no more than the application of the benefit is effected by man.

When it pleases God to call a people by his grace, he calls them by his Son; not by this and the other form. No man comes to me, said Christ, except the Father, who has sent me, draws him. The first thing that a man or woman comes to be aware of, is the secret sense and feeling of the Lord's Divine Power upon the heart, to seek Christ Jesus;* as soon as they feel this, and embrace it, this is a token of the love of God. I hope all of this congregation will acknowledge, that they have sometimes felt his drawings, and that they have not embraced and closed with them so well as they ought.

[*this can also be a drawing to seek the creator, without really knowing his name. God will provide that hunger to know your creator; then, as Jesus said: If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. John 7:17.]

When people are aware of these drawings inwardly to holiness and righteousness, and are sensible that they should, with care and attention, close with them, for the good of their poor souls; and that it concerns them to be happy in the other world that is to come, and therefore resolve to be led by these drawings of the Spirit of God, these are not weeds that grow in the fields naturally; these are Sparks of Divine Fire, kindled in the hearts of men by God himself.  No man comes unto God, until God comes to him, and touches him, and gives him sense and motion. These are the motions and stirrings of God's Holy Power, in the hearts of many that are wicked and abominable; yet the Lord does not despise the work of his own hand, but reaches to such.

[Further, the word of the Lord within has said: "no one can come to me unless they have had a life-shattering experience." That life shattering experience can take many forms, but results in a man's loss of confidence in himself being able to control his happiness and satisfaction in life; and so, that man turns to God for help and answers to life.]

When the Lord meets with those who do not despise this wonderful grace, but highly prize and close with it, and are glad of it, such a person says: "I was fearful that the Lord had forgotten me, and had passed by me, and was done with me; but I see he visits me again, and he has visited my soul this day, inclining me to walk more answerably to his love; he has doubled his power upon me, and has kindled a holy fire in my heart, and caused me to seek after him; he has touched my heart, and I will pour out my soul in supplication, feeing he has touched me;  he will take hold of me by his power, and he will keep me from being any more, drawn away.  I will live in the sense of his power and mercy, that keeps me night and day, that I may increase in it, and grow in grace." When the Lord meets with such a one, he will draw him into the way that he has appointed. None can come unto me, said Christ, except the Father, who has sent me, draws him. If I am drawn, into what form shall I now go? What ordinance shall I take up now? This is all under feet; this is none of my work; I will come to Christ the Mediator, and he will take the government and rule of me. It is not my best way to study a form, and an outside religion; I will wait upon that power that has thus touched my heart, so that he may by degrees bring me to the obedience of Christ.

But some are ready to say, who, and what is this Christ Jesus that you are speaking of; that directly experienced Christ Jesus who is exists and present, that I am to have to be the object of my faith; that I may believe in him, and come to an acquaintance with him, that I may partake of the life of Jesus Christ, and have it communicated to my soul?

We have not a thought, or a word to speak, that may diminish the wonderful grace of Christ, who died in his person on earth for the salvation of our souls. Yet we must know, that the Lord Jesus Christ may be spiritually present with us, and take the government of us, and we are to be subject to him. How shall this be? I am speaking of one that has felt the Father's drawings, when he draws them to his Son, and draws them to something that is holy and pure. This God the Father has begotten. We read in scripture, that God has begotten Christ who is the only begotten of the Father. It is strange, you will say, to speak of begetting Christ again. God begets Christ again, that is, spiritually; he being the first born in many brethren, in every true believer, and there is a travail of soul that Christ may be formed in him. See what travail of soul the apostle Paul falls into the second time, for the Galatians. They were a brave people, they worshiped God in Spirit, and believed in Christ Jesus, and afterwards they came to be seduced by false prophets, and false teachers, that set them about their works, and told them they could not be justified and saved without their own works. These false teachers that came among them, were as bad as Popish priests and friars, telling them that it is not your obedience to Christ, and the Spirit [hearing of faith], that will save you, you must be doing [works of the law]. So these poor people were deluded and bewitched; and to give you the apostle’s own words, they were infatuated, and drawn away from the simplicity of the gospel, and they thought by the works of the law to obtain salvation. The apostle writes a letter to them, and tells those who he travailed in birth again, until Christ was formed in them. If this was not scripture, it would look like a strange work; there must be a forming of Christ, a birth there must be, and a begetting. Who must beget in this and that moment, but the same that begat from the beginning? The same is the Father, who begets Christ in all who believe and obey the gospel. He is begetting something in me that is holy, though I am unholy; the Father, by the operation of his divine hand, begets something in me that is holy. This I find, though I am not so good as I should be; I have had given to me given me, what will tell me, that the more I adhere and join myself in my desires and affections to this good principle, the more I will partake of the quality of it this good principle, though it starts like a little grain of mustard-seed, I cannot tell what to compare it to for littleness, in comparison of the great lump and mass of sin, corruption and filthiness, that wars against it; yet this will overspread all that is bad, and make me holy, as that is holy; pure as that is pure, and to have a love for him, from whom it came, even to Christ and God; it will gather the affections from corruptible things, and place them upon things above.

This faith tells people that it is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen; such a one lives by faith, such a one that comes to be joined to that, that is begotten of the father, he lives by the faith of the Son of God, and can do nothing of himself, but through Christ who strengthens him; he says unto God, I perceive I can do nothing without you; I cannot pray to you, nor serve you; of myself I can do nothing acceptable, but through Christ the Mediator; such a one becomes like a little child, and he must be led; and who must lead him, but the Spirit of Christ?

You cannot preach, says one to him, unless you be moved by the Spirit. You cannot pray until you are moved by the Spirit. How should I? No, without him I can do nothing. I cannot preach, or pray, or do anything acceptable to God the Father, but by Christ; and he has revealed him in me.

This is no new doctrine. We see the new and living way; it was an old way to old Christians, and a new way to the new; and so a thousand years from now, if the world lasts so long, men will see that they cannot do anything to please God, except as they are gathered into Christ.* They will see that their own righteousness, works, and doings, avail them nothing at all. This is all laid at the feet of Jesus, whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, to be Lord and King.

[*Do not confuse what Crisp is saying. Before we are gathered into Christ, we must do the work of denying our self interests, and carrying our cross to crucify the sinful human nature within us.]

Now, my friends, we are engaged in this age, abundantly engaged, to offer thanks to God, through Jesus Christ, that he has provided and opened a way for the sending forth the Spirit of his Son. And that God has gathered a people, and has made known to them the way of life, that they might walk in it; but there is no walking in it, but through a daily cross, and self-denial. It is not likely that a man should be brought back to God the same way that he went out from God; and the prophets and apostles do allude to this turning to God; when you turn aside to the right hand or to the left you shall hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way, walk in it. There is a voice that calls to people in our days, to look behind them, for they are out of the way. This prophecy is fulfilled in our day; we cannot turn away from the good ways of God, but that we hear a voice behind us, saying, "you are sinning against God, and breaking the holy law of God." Now, if people return, it must be by the cross. "I will not return to God," said one; "I have pleasure, profit, and honor, and whatever my heart desires in this evil way that I am walking in; if I return, I shall have nothing but shame and reproach; I shall be undone and ruined, and I fear the loss of favor and friendship of my friends and relations; I cannot return to God through a daily cross, and self-denial." What then? It is likelier to be the right way, by this bearing the cross. Christ tells us, if any will come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. This voice of Christ calls me to repent and turn from sin, and gives me a strong argument, that it is true; that it is the same way that will bring me back to God, by the Mediator. It brings its own evidence with it; we need no argument to prove that it is a right way; it is a right way, because it is the narrow way; it is the right gate, because it is the strait and narrow gate. Everybody can walk in the broad way with ease, without any cross.

When people have come so far, that they are convinced of their duty, when they are called to amend their lives and conversations, to forsake their lives and turn to the Lord, this is the great question: do I have the power to accomplish this? This question has caused a great many to stumble, when they have some beginning thoughts of turning to the Lord; and at last they have settled themselves in a belief that they can't do it. It is true, and nothing truer, that men, convinced of their sins, do not have the power to leave their sins by themselves. This is true, but not all the truth; to men that God convinces of sin, he gives them power to be made willing to forsake their sins. He has given power to all that are in Christ Jesus, to believe and become the sons of God; then they have denied ungodliness and worldly lusts if they are the sons of God, and live righteously, soberly and godly in this present world.

[Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. As we are charged with lusts and ungodliness, one at a time, by grace, we are taught the unrighteousness of them; we then repent of them, and grace gives us strength to deny them. Grace will also teach us how to conduct ourselves soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Do not mistake Crisp here to suggest once we decide to be a Christian, we can live without sin, as long as we have faith; this is a common error in Christendom and is not true. We have to be taught about the sin within us; we have to be shown in such a way that we are ashamed and motivated to change. We receive this teaching, purifying grace by silently listening for the voice of the Lord, hearing, and obeying.]

But what shall they do, who are sensible that they do not have the power to forsake their sins, until God is pleased to give them power? Such have nothing to do but to wait upon the Lord, for the giving of this power; and there is a duty incumbent on them then to answer this power. The apostle, upon this subject, tells us what people are to do for their own conversion. He ascribes the power of conversion to Christ Jesus. The prophets and apostles, they tell us, there is something for man to do, that is, if he does not have power, and he is willing to receive it. The apostle has a notable table expression to this purpose; he puts them in mind, how they used to do things by the devil, when they were the devil's servants; they obeyed his commands and yielded their members servants to unrighteousness. How did they yield? They did it heartily, with pleasure and delight. Thus you did when you did not know the power of God; but now you have come to the knowledge of the power of God, Neither yield your members to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but yield yourselves to God, as those who are raised alive from the dead, and your members for instruments to be used for righteousness by God. Rom 6:13. Let your minds, and wills, and affections, be joined to the power with which God has visited you; in love to God, give up your members as servants unto righteousness.

Here is something for man to do in the day of God's visitation, your people shall be willing in the day of your power; when they come to that, and experience that, this shows that they are the people of God. But those who are not a willing people, are none of God's people, God's people are so; and I pray God make you all so, to be a people willing to be God's people, when he gives you power, and it will not be long before he gives you power to forsake  your sins, to forsake  this, and the other foolish, proud, and vain actions and fashions. He has made Christ Jesus to be Lord and King, and he shall reign over death. He has made all things by Christ, and he is become the Savior of all men, but especially of those who believe; so that I would have a special salvation, and you would  have it too. Christ has made a way, and opened a door for us to be saved, that we might have an abundant entrance into his everlasting kingdom. But if I am to have a special salvation, which invests me with the love of God in my heart, before I die; it is to be had through Christ; therefore to him I will come. To him everyone must come, and every knee bow to his name, and every one must wait for his appearing in the Spirit. When Christ appears, truth stirs. Now, if a holy, divine life is in you, it is Christ; if a principle of truth stirs in you, it is Christ; the same Jesus, only in a smaller manifestation. He, who is faithful in a little, will be made ruler over much by Him. This is He, whom God has ordained to be the Captain of our salvation; this is what we preach in his name, and testify and declare to all people, that there is no other salvation, no deliverance from death and hell, but by and through him; in him there is a reconciliation and that peace which passes all understanding, and power over all those things which have captivated us, and made us disobey our great Lord and Maker. Let us wait for the coming of Christ; he is our King, our Lord and Law-giver, and he will save us. This was the cry of his people of old, for the glorious and great salvation he has given, and the work he has wrought. Let the prayers and supplications of all people, that desire salvation, be put up more and more, that he will visit the earth, and give power from above, and bring us into that new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; to whom be glory, forever and ever. Amen,

His Prayer after Sermon

MOST blessed and glorious Father, and Fountain of Life! and of all living blessings, whose glorious  day dawns; by your power you have brought the children of men out of darkness, that they might walk in the light of your power. Great joy, and strong consolation, have you brought unto your Israel, unto the people that you have gathered by your arm of power; then you have caused them, Lord, to take great delight in your ways; for you have caused the light of your countenance to be lifted up upon us, and your holy and divine presence has gone along with us, from time to time, through all those states and conditions, and through all those trials and exercises that we have met with, and that you have led us through.

The right hand of your power, O Lord, has been with us, and therefore we have not failed; and your heavenly blessings have been rained down upon us that have made your heritage to grow and become fruitful, to the honor of your great name, and the eternal consolation of our souls.

And, therefore, O heavenly Father! in the consideration and feeling of the great things you have wrought for us, and for the continuance of your love to us, our souls are always engaged to offer high praises, and humble thanksgivings to your great name; and the supplications of our souls, whom you have quickened and brought to life, are daily poured forth upon your altar, that as you have previously helped us, your holy and divine presence and power may still accompany us to the end of our days; and that in all the exercises, and trials,  which you are pleased we should meet with, we may find your presence with us, that your eternal, heavenly power may surround us, so that we may be more than conquerors, through Christ who has loved us.

And O powerful God of Life! Our souls rejoice, and our hearts are made glad to behold the progress of your power in our day, how you have brought down the mighty from their feats, and have exalted those who are of low degree; how you have laid the mountains low, and exalted the inhabitants of the valleys.

Blessed Father of Life and Power! Praises, praises wait for you in Zion; and dear Father, by the operation of your wonderful power, preserve and keep your children, whom you have gathered into a living sense of your presence, that they may bow before you, and be exercised in a daily, holy, divine worship unto you; that so, powerful God of Life, you may daily pour down your blessings upon us, and delight to manifest yourself to be our God; and let us live as becomes a people that are gathered unto you,

Lord God Eternal! Carry on your great work in the earth, and make known your power more and more; there are many breathing-ones, and many that cry to you daily. Living Father! It is the operation of your Spirit that has raised these breathings, and kindled these desires in them, and it is you alone who are able to answer them. Therefore, living God and Father, they are committed to you; the mourners, the bowed-down, and those who are laden with sin and iniquity, and that groan under the pressure and burden of it; let their burdens be taken off, and the yoke of Christ, that easy yoke, be put on, and let none of your commandments be grievous to them, that they may be made fit to enter into your kingdom; let them be brought through the labor and travail of regeneration, and let none be exalted into the airy vision and sight of things [presumption without possession], except by your living power, be rising to eternal life in their souls.

And Lord, we pray you, fit and prepare all your people for the work and service that you have been pleased to call them to, that so your name may be exalted over all, and your truth spread more and more; and let all error and darkness be expelled and let the power and influence of your name be great in the earth, that all your scattered people may be brought home, to reside in your house, that there may be unity and concord among them, and they may all with one heart and mind, return, and ascribe praises and honor, and glory to your holy name, for all your blessings, mercies and living refreshments, that we have received at your hands, for you alone are worthy, and God over all, blessed forever and ever. Amen.

SERMON  VI

The Divine Monitor; or, Light from Heaven

Delivered by Stephen Crisp at Grace-Church-Street, June 19, 1692

IT is a great privilege to the sons and daughters of men, that it has pleased God Almighty to open a way, how they may come to the true knowledge of himself. And O that there was a heart in every one of us, that could rightly prize this privilege as we ought to! For in the knowledge of the true God consists our true happiness; and without this, the mind of no man or woman can be good. There is nothing that seasons the mind and soul of man, and prepares and fits it for an everlasting well-being, except the divine knowledge of the living God who made him. And there is a propensity in the soul of man, even since the fall, to return again to God, and to have that acquaintance and communion with the Lord that man had before he fell. And those who have regard to that inward spark of divine love, which they find in their own souls towards God, will experience that the Lord is merciful and gracious, and propitious to what is of himself.

For though the soul is lost, and man is lost through transgression, and a great alienation has happened between him and his Maker, yet the mercy of the Lord endures forever; and his kindness and favor to lost man is such, that he stretches out his hand all the day long, and presents and offers to the children of men a friendship and acquaintance, and a communion again with him. And though by sin and transgression, there is a rebellious nature grown up in the sons and daughters of men, yet the soul of man is not wholly so. There is something that strives and labors in a contrary way, and persuades the soul to turn again unto the Lord, and to wait for the knowledge of God; and whosoever hearkens with care and diligence, to that divine Monitor, who is daily drawing and persuading people to seek after God, they come to understand, that the Lord is not so angry with mankind, but his love, and mercy, and good will, reaches towards all the sons and daughters of men; and the bar that hinders their communion with God, and peace with God, is not in the Lord, but it is in themselves; and therefore the remedy must be wrought in themselves.

This is evident to every eye, that there is something gotten into mankind, which the Holy God cannot own, and can never have fellowship with; that is, another contrary spirit has wrought upon the souls of people, and has seduced and drawn them out to what is unholy and contrary to God, and the terms of God's covenant to mankind, which is, that he should forsake what the contrary spirit has wrought in him. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Why should he forsake his ways? Because the Lord never led him into those ways. He who made him, never led him into them; but the devil, the enemy of mankind, seduced him into those ways. Therefore the Creator cries out to him, let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; I cannot have union with him, as long as he walks in his evil ways; I cannot dwell in his mind, so long as evil thoughts are in it. So may the Lord complain of the works which the devil has wrought, that man is carried away from God, by his evil thoughts, and the works of the devil.

Why does God not destroy those works, when he is Almighty, and able to do it?* Very true, God is so; but he has offered to mankind, through the son of his love, a way and means, how man may come to be purged, and cleansed from the evil that the devil has wrought in him, and how he may come to be reconciled to God. God has not chosen the way of coercion and force, and to work altogether by irresistible power, that man shall go to Heaven whether he will or not. There was no force used for his going to hell and darkness, but it was the choice of his will. The devil could not have forced him, and led him away out of covenant with God; he could not compel him to break the holy command of God, but the devil tempted him, and he yielded to the temptation. So man was driven out of the presence of God; yet God has found out a way for the sons and daughters of men, to turn again to him. What, by force and coercion, and irresistible power? No, but the scripture says that He has offered life and salvation to all men: He has freely given the Son of his love, out of his own bosom, who making himself an offering for sin, has presented a way and means for mans returning again to God.

[* There is another reason God doesn't just do away with the evil in us:

God will never take away our free will; and if he purifies us without our having learned to loathe and hate our selfish habits and addictions, once instantly purified, we would drift back into the same patterns of selfish behaviors that cause us to embrace sin. So in this life or the next, we have to: 1) discover the bitterness of the passions and pleasures that our hearts desire, and 2) over time suffer the consequences of our passions and pleasures, while longing to have them removed by desperately seeking the grace of God to be changed. In Hell, our passions are unrestrained, similar to how we are without restraint to lusts and violence in our dreams. For our passions are the worst of tyrants. When we are placed so that we are entirely given up to them, they will torment the heart, and, like a torrent, sweep all before them, and yet never be satisfied. We must discover that true liberty is to be found only in him, whose truth shall set us free, and who shall lead us to understand only in virtuous, righteous actions, (in serving Him), are we really free. In this way, when our heart's defects are removed, one at a time, we are certain not to return to sin in our free wills. Love never forces its own way, instead it helps us see the error of the wrong way, so we can choose the right way; and then rewards us with the grace of change, finally resulting in purity.]

How does God present Christ to us? He presents him to the view of every one's mind, to the understanding of every soul; he offers and presents him for salvation to the ends of the earth. There is a damnation come in by mean's being subject to Satan, but salvation comes in by his being subject to Christ; as damnation came in by his being defiled, so salvation came in by his being cleansed. As the devil is the defiler, so Christ is the cleanser, and man is the object upon which both contend; and those who have been defiled and corrupted (as we all have) by the unclean Spirit, can any of us give a reason they should not be cleansed by the Holy Spirit? We have lost our right to Heaven by sin and transgression, in the first Adam; and can any give a reason why we should not be restored, and redeemed, by Jesus Christ, the Second Adam? No reason can be given of our redemption, but that God is free in his love, and Christ is his offering. He has offered himself a sacrifice for sin. Every priest has something to offer; this man, the man, Christ Jesus, offered himself, through the eternal Spirit, a sacrifice for sin; and now the sacrifice is offered, and a door is opened, and a new and living way consecrated through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.

Now, who can be wise enough to find out a reason, why all men do not enter in at this door? Just as all men entered in at the other door, which the devil and Adam opened, to run from God; all could run in at that door. Why then do all not go in at that door which Christ has opened, and God has revealed, and which cost Christ so dearly to work our way back again, for mankind to return to God? If we go about to inquire into the reason, we shall find it very little, for there is all the reason in the world we should serve God, and seek our own happiness; there is all the reason in the world we should part with sin and iniquity, and with the devil’s work, which he wrought, if we only knew but how. Now this, I say, is a great privilege, that God has afforded to the sons and daughters of men, that they may know; for here the terms of the gospel and of salvation, are brought into a narrow compass, to a short sum, there is no need of a catalogue of them; those who will be ruled by the wicked one, must have their part with him; and those who will be ruled and governed by the Holy One, shall have their part with him, that where he is, there they may be also.

Is this in the power of man's will? No, there lies the mischief in the will of man, for you cannot but know by experience, if a man may have his own will, he will always run headlong to destruction, and run in the way of wickedness. And if ever he comes to turn out of that way, into the way of righteousness, he must do it in a way that is a cross to his own will. Some have said, because we have spoken of the free grace of God, in a way that is universal, of his kindness to mankind, through Jesus Christ, they have said, that we hold free-will, that men might be saved if they would; but alas, we have tried it, and we have an universal knowledge, that is able to convince us, and all the world, that it is far enough from our own will. Man is far enough from being able to save himself, from being saved by his own will. He can run on to damnation, there is a current goes with his affections, and with his corrupt desires, they go with the current and stream; as long as a man goes on in sin, he swims down the stream.

Now many, after they have long gone on in sin, and their evil ways, they think of returning to God; for they think there is a better way, a surer and safer way for their souls, than to go on in wickedness. So there is, if there be so, said the sincere soul, O that I might walk in it. Why do you not? I am convinced that I see a more excellent way than my way is, a better walking and conduct than my life is; but alas! it is too hard for me to walk in it. Why? What is the matter, what makes it hard? Because of my own will; I cannot walk in it and have my will. I cannot walk in it, and enjoy my affections and desires, and my interest in the world. This is no wonder that you tell me; now you are convinced of a better way, and would walk in it, and you cannot walk in it, but you must take up a daily cross; we might all of us say the same, and read [within] it before [taking the cross up]. I pray God you may come to read it within, what a cross it is you are to take up, and what way it is you are required to walk in. The cross is the way of God, the way that leads to Heaven; it is a narrow way; but the way that the devil would have you to walk in, is a broad way, there is no problem [of self-denial] in it.

O would you but once come to experience how hard it is to walk in that way that leads to life, you would find that you cannot do it without self-denial. It comes to this point; I have read of it before, but now I find it so. Such a man, or such a woman, will seriously apply themselves to live blameless, harmless, and inoffensive towards God and men; they will set a bridle, and a watch before their mouths, that they may not speak a vain word; they will take care of the frame and temper of their minds, that they sin not in their thoughts, that they sin not with their lips, nor with their hands. This is not as I was accustomed to do; I was used to having my liberty; now I find myself yoked, I dare not sin against God. Now I find, by experience, what I heard before, that no man can follow Christ, without denying himself, and taking up a daily cross.

I would have you experienced in this work; wicked men think it a pleasant life, to follow the devil's work, and to walk in the broad way; but the way of self-denial is uneasy, there is much strife and opposition in that way. If I have a mind to speak a vain word, I am limited; if I have a desire to wrong my neighbor, and cheat and defraud him, I am limited;I am not to do it, that belongs to the broad way. If a man will seek after the Lord, and walk in the way of holiness and righteousness, the end of which is peace, he will find it is a narrow way, in which he cannot enjoy his own will. Such a one must be a David, who said, I behaved myself as a weaned child; that is, as one that is afraid to be beaten.

But you will be ready to say, I am a man, and not a child. I have come now to be a man, a man of parts; I have seen much, and read much, and would you have me become a child? How great a man was David? If you speak of a man, he was a man of dignity and honor, a man of valor and experience; yet when he speaks with respect to the frame of his mind before the Lord, he said, he behaved himself as a weaned child, as one that feared to be beaten, feared to commit an offence. He feared the rod of his God upon him. He feared something of judgment upon his conscience. David was an old testament man, but he had regard to what never grew old, which is the same in all times, new and old: Alpha and Omega. Christ Jesus was his leader, before he was born of the Virgin Mary; his word was a light to his feet, and a lantern to his paths. David had acquaintance with God, who did lift up the light of his countenance upon him.

And when Christ himself came to preach upon earth, he said himself, everyone that comes into the kingdom of God, must be converted and become as a little child. He must become as a little child in simplicity and subjection [and innocent again]; he must be under government; he must become as a little child, or he must in no way enter the kingdom of Heaven; they must not think to enter into Christ's kingdom because they are men; men of parts, men of courage, men of understanding, learned doctors, masters of liberal arts and sciences.

That may help to make them men, but they must become children. All their wits, and parts and manhood, courage and valor, will do them no good; for little children, babes and sucklings, may understand more than they of Divine Mysteries, and have greater communion and communion between God and their souls than they; so that all who enter into Christ's kingdom, must become like little children.

So that here is a way provided by Jesus Christ, for man to come again into the favor of God, which is by Christ alone, not by anything that a man can do; Christ must be their leader and their counselor, he alone can give them the true knowledge of God. No man can know the Father but the Son and he to whom the Son reveals him. Men can never attain to the saving knowledge of God by study, and by argument, reading books, and listening to commentators or observers of matters of religion. Time would fail me to speak of the multitude of books that have been written about the knowledge of God. You must come to Christ for divine knowledge; theology, the knowledge of God, and divine and heavenly things, are from Christ. He shall have this divine knowledge, however simple a man may be, who comes unto Christ for it; he cannot have it any other way, for God has ordained this way. Said God, he shall have it of my Son, who is the Reconciler, the Mediator between God and man; he shall be beholden to Christ for all. All men's own works and labors will not justify and save them, for God has committed the whole work of salvation to Christ. One would think it should be no great matter for men to lay aside their own works and duties, and submit to Christ; but I tell you it is very hard, and I found it hard myself.

Men think by reading and learning, and hearing this and the other man's notions and opinions, they may be edified and profited, and come to the true knowledge of God, but while they are waiting upon God, in the way he has appointed, they may receive knowledge from Christ, and be more certain and infallible in that they do know, than by consulting all the wise men and learned doctors in the world. For no man knows all at once; and no man knows all things either. It is not a thing necessary that man should know all things in relation to God, for as he is in himself, he is incomprehensible. No man knows the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal him; yet what he knows of God, he may know it is certain and infallible.

Suppose a man know nothing of God, except that he is the searcher of the hearty and trier of the reins. There are many that have tried this, and say they know it, that yet doubt whether there is a God or not. But when God comes within them, and convinces them of sin, and searches them, and brings judgment upon them for what they have done, then they know infallibly, that God is the searcher of hearts. This is not a man's work, this is the work God; if I find God does approach my spirit, I know it is God's work; Now I have gotten some  knowledge of God; buy how did I get it?  Who gave it to me? No one but he who has all knowledge; he who was with the Father from the beginning, and was glorified with the Father before the world began; he gave me this knowledge; and how did he give it to you? By his Spirit; for he has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into my heart; and that Spirit of Christ searches the hearts, and tries the reins. He tells you this is evil that you have done, this is what God, who made you, has against you; this you must forsake, and this you must repent of; here I have an infallibility of what I know, but I cannot get rid of my evil.

Now, if I can believe in the power by which my heart is searched, and trust in him who has begun to deal with me, then his work is not only to reveal his light to convince me, but to put forth his power to convert me;* so that by the power of that truth by which my heart is searched, I come to be converted, and turned from my sin, and break off from it; and when I am broken off from it, I am sure, and have a certainty that it is so, that I am broken off from such a sin, and that my heart is turned against it; I am sure that now I hate it, and detest it, and that God has turned my inclinations another way. I am sure this is God's work, I can witness this infallibly, that something is now done in order to my redemption. But there is something yet remaining to be done. What then? If I will go step by step by following my guide, I shall be sure to be making some progress every day, to that state to which the Spirit of Christ will lead me. These persons come to a certainty of knowledge by their own experience.

[Without the power of God working in you, there is no victory, there is no overcoming. There are three sources to the power of God being released to purify you: 1) power in the true hope and gospel, 2) power in the inward cross of self denial, and 3) the power in the name of Jesus. This power of God works in us, and keeps us through faith to salvation, which is to be delivered from sin. Christendom today is without the cross and without the true hope; and so without the power of God, left only as a form (hollow shell) of the original Christianity, without the new life of the new creature, without holiness, wallowing in sin, boasting of their imperfection, perishing, whose end is destruction. For without the power of God released to change a man, his heart remains full of sin and unacceptable to God, whatever his lips may say in the form of worship. The only way to be changed is to carry the inward cross of self-denial with obedience to his spoken and heard words; when waiting on God, meditating on the name of Jesus; with the true hope in your heart: the combination of all, to access the changing, infinite power of God to work in you, cleansing you, purifying you, delivering you from all sin, and bringing you into union with God into his kingdom, while on earth and then forever.]

Some will say, take heed of being deluded and deceived by the Quakers, and I agree with them. Take heed of being deluded by anybody; if any go about to persuade you to believe what you know to be a lie, I am sure they are about to delude you. I would have everyone to have an evidence in themselves of what they believe.

Does a man believe he is is a drunkard just because the scriptures declare judgment against the drunkards? The scripture says, woe to the drunkards of Ephraim. There are judgments denounced against the drunkards in the old testament; consider the scripture does not tell such and such by name, that they are drunkards; but the Spirit of God, by a work and operation upon a man's conscience, singles him out, and charges him with the guilt of drunkenness [in unmistakable words easily understood].

There is a great condemnation pronounced against whoremongers in scripture, but it does not tell us who they are by name; but their consciences tell them so, and gives infallible judgment against them; and says, you are the man, you are a person that God judges and condemns. Whoremongers and adulterers will be judged by God, but that does not concern you or affect you, unless you are one. I may read about this a hundred times in the scripture, and not have a reflection in my own conscience, unless I am guilty. But when God meets with a guilty person, and judges and condemns him, there will be an infallibility in what such a person knows. If a whoremonger is rejected upon by his own conscience, if his conscience tells him he is guilty of whoremongering, even if the whole world would flatter him, and say he is not guilty, he would certainly know that they are telling him a lie.

So that here is no dependence upon any man's judgment, but upon an invisible judge in a man's own heart. Who shall delude and deceive this man who has an experiential knowledge [by God's judgment heard]? Those people who try to turn him from his evil ways are not trying to deceive him. These do not go about to deceive him, who will tell him he must listen to that principle of truth and holiness in his own heart; rather the deceivers are those who tell him he is converted and leave him in that state of sin, when he has not been converted. But when he is really converted and turned from sin to God, some will tell him he is deluded and deceived; I pray God every one of us may be so deceived. Said the apostle, we are [by evil report] deceivers, and yet we are true. All that are truly converted, though men cry out that they are deceivers, though they are called deceivers, yet they are still true; they have come to the favor of the knowledge of God, through Christ; and so shall certainly come to be partakers of the inheritance that is undefiled and that does not fade away.

Friends, you know that this has been the proposition of all the prophets, and apostles, from the beginning to this day; the thing that they have proposed to the sons and daughters of men, has been to inquire after the knowledge of the true God. It has been wonderful to consider, what the devil has done to present many doctrines that he has found out, and stirred up others to invent a company of Gods, that other people have adored and worshipped. It is hard to find any nation that does not worship some God; it is natural for man to desire to come to some God; he thinks he must come to some God, and cannot be happy if he does not come to God is some way. But the devil has invented many Gods, and set the people to worshipping of idols, the work of men's hands; such Gods that are so far from helping their worshippers, that they cannot help themselves, they cannot wipe off the dust from their own faces; and if they fall down, they cannot rise again.

But this is not our case, we have but one God preached among us, and but one Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator between God and man. Our condition is happy, in having but one God, in comparison of those who have many Gods.

If the true God, that you worship, were only trusted in, you would be the happiest people in the world. If you would inquire seriously, you will find that the devil has in this nation, and in this age, stirred up people to worship as many Gods, as he did in other nations in ancient times, among the Sidonians and Amorites, and others.

But you will say, we worship one God, and trust only in one God, and one Christ, and one Holy Ghost, the only living and true God.

Do not tell me what god a man professes to worship, but rather in what god he trusts; that names his god. Whatever a man trusts in, that he makes his God, whether it is gold or silver, or the honors and pleasures of this world; if he trusts in these things, he makes them his God. Let a man but search and try himself, and he will find something has gotten a place in his heart that he cannot part with for Christ's sake. He will be ready to say, I cannot part with my house  and land, with my wife and children, and my goods and possessions, because I have a confidence in them, and believe they will do me good, and are a defense for me; I trust that in times of peril those things may do me good. Here is a divine adoration, here is that trust, that confidence, that all true Christians ought to have in the true God, but instead their trust is placed in these earthly things. Now, wherever the trust and confidence is placed in transitory and earthly perishing things, these men trust in transitory Gods.

Nothing so shows that a man makes the Lord his God, as when he casts all care on him, and puts his whole trust in him, when he makes a profession and acknowledgment of his dominion and greatness, and of all his other perfections, that by his wisdom he can procure for them all that is good, and by his power, keep off from them, and secure them from evil. When I make the Lord my trust and refuge, and trust him for my God, I choose him before all the Gods of the heathen, and trust in him above all things under heaven, upon the account of the profundity of his wisdom, and the almightiness of his power. When a man has this sense upon him, he will walk before the Lord with resignation of mind, and be willing to be at God's disposal, and he will not only give up himself to God, but he will hearken to him, and hear his voice when he speaks to him.

[We must know that God is perfect, kind, pure, gentle, wise, and all-knowing. He loves us beyond our ability to measure; whatever he asks of us is perfect, is asked in love, is asked for our benefit, is the best possible thing we could ever do. We place ourselves in his hands, with no reservations, because we know he is far better able to guide us than we are by our own minds; in fact when we grasp his infinite love, wisdom, and power - then we rush to offer all to him, nothing held back. The only thing he asks us to forgo is what he knows is necessary for our progress to purity, holiness, righteousness, and a life of perfect noble words and deeds, here and then forever.]

God, who at sundry times, and in several manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his Son. But, where is his Son, you will say? He is in Heaven; but though he is the high and lofty one that inhabits eternity, yet he dwells with meek, humble, and contrite hearts, who tremble at his word. If I am one of the number of those who tremble at God's word, I have that promise that he will come home to me, and dwell with me. It is well for you, if the over-ruling power of God has prevailed upon you, that you can be willing to be at God's disposal, and say, Lord, what would you have me to do?

Therefore, friends, I would advise you all to love your own souls, that when God desires your hearts, you would give them up to him, that there he might delight to dwell, and have his habitation. Hearken to God's voice, and have regard to his word, which is a more sure word than any man's in the world. There is a more sure word of prophecy, said the apostle, to which you will do well to take heed. This will check you, and reprove you, when you do evil, and show you in what you have transgressed, and will encourage you, and be a comfort to you, when you do what is good. This will make you wise to salvation, and thoroughly furnish you, and give you understanding for every good work. This word will tell you what you must not do, lest you offend God, wound your conscience, and grieve the Holy Spirit; this word will help you so to speak, as to administer grace to the hearers; such a one as has regard to this word, has a chaplain in his own bosom, that will direct and teach him how to steer his course, and order his conduct among men, and how to serve God acceptably. This High Priest’s lips will preserve knowledge, even Jesus Christ the righteous, who speaks to us in his word; we can do nothing but by his direction. If you come to him to lead you into all truth, he will bring you to the Father, and reconcile you to him, that so you may obtain his favor and everlasting life. When one of Christ's disciples said, show us the Father, and it will satisfy us, Jesus said too him: he who has seen me, has seen the Father, so why do you then say, show us the Father? If you subject yourselves to Christ, and to the government of his Spirit, he will bring you to that life and immortality, that fades not away.

This has been our labor and travail from time to time, to preach Christ among you, and not to preach ourselves and gather a church for ourselves, but to gather a people unto Christ, who is Lord of Heaven and Earth. We would preach Christ Jesus the Lord; we would not have you admire men's words and sayings, and charge your memory with them; but we would have you remember the words and sayings of Christ, who is the great Mediator, to reconcile man again to God, that you may know him by his power, working effectually in your hearts; we labor for nothing else, and we want nothing else. We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you, in, Christ' s stead, be reconciled to God; That you may so live, that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, you may do it all to the glory of God, your great Creator, who has given his Son to die for you, and redeem you from all iniquity, that you might be a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Let God have all the honor and glory, for all his mercies and blessings; let us render unto him hearty praises, and thanksgiving, for his wonderful love, and acknowledge that it is a great privilege that we may obtain by Jesus Christ, even to be brought again to have the knowledge of the living God, which we lost by our transgression.

His Prayer after Sermon

GLORIOUS are you in your appearance, O Lord! And very wonderful is your power, and your ways past finding out. And in this your glorious day, you are opening a way for the sons and daughters of men to turn to you.

And, O Lord! Those whose eyes you have opened, rejoice and are glad, because they have seen the way of your salvation; and the breathings of their souls are, that their feet may be kept therein, and that they may make strait steps in their way to your kingdom.

O Lord! We are sensible that our strength, and our power, and our ability is only in you; and therefore are the souls of your children bowed and subjected to you, waiting for the renewing of your power, that as our temptations are renewed from day to day, you would make known your power in us, that we may feel the stretching forth of your hand to save your little ones out of the hands of the destroyer.

And so, powerful God of Life! Break forth more and more in your glory, and make known your power in expelling the clouds of darkness and ignorance, and bring the minds and understandings of your people to know you more and more, until they come to the blessed inheritance, among the saints in light.

Holy and powerful Father! Break in upon your people by your Almighty Power, and scatter the dark clouds of temptation, and cause the light of life to shine upon them; you that have commanded the light to shine out of darkness, do you shine into the hearts of the sons and daughters of men. Open their hearts, that they may receive the truth, and make tender their hard hearts, that they may live to you who made them, and give a comfortable account to you of their thoughts, words, and actions; and let them turn to the Lord before it is too late to repent of them.

Powerful God of Life! Your mercy and loving kindness does abound, to a little remnant who believe in Christ and trust in your name. You have been with them in their fiery trials and tribulations, and to this day you have been the glory of our assemblies and the joy of our meetings. We are sensible of your holy power working in our souls, and of your renewing your love upon us. All of those who desire a full sense of your love, who are seeking and crying after you for your love, O let them be brought to a due sense of you the living God! O arise for the help and the comfort of the sorrowful, the sighing, and the needy soul. Pour forth the treasures of your love upon those who follow hard after you, and breathe for deliverance; that so, powerful God of Life! praises may arise to you for all your mercies, and abundant blessings, for your goodness and loving kindness, bestowed upon us from time to time.

Most powerful God of Life and Light! Let the eye of your favor be turned upon this land of our nativity; spare the inhabitants of this city and nation, that they may seek after you; let them know the weight of your hand upon them, to bow them down to humility and brokenness of heart; give them repentance for their sins.

Living God of Life! Display your power to all, from the  highest to the lowest among us, and advance the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom you have given a name above every name; and let his kingdom and glory he exalted over all, and shine in the midst of us.

Blessed Father of Life! Give wisdom to our counselors, that they may counsel for you; make known your will, and send help from Heaven to all who stand in need and who wait upon you for it; give them your Holy Spirit, that they may be guided in your way. Let your Son Jesus Christ have the steering and governing of all things, and let glory be rendered to your great and worthy name, and keep us in the love of God and in union with one another; let the stroke of your power remain upon the hearts of all whom you have touched at this time; let them be bowed down always in your holy worship, and  remain in a belief of your truth, and cease to do evil, and learn to do well, and walk acceptably before you, so that transgression may be finished and sin and iniquity may be put an end to; and that truth and righteousness may be set up and shine among us, and that our souls may rejoice in you, that we may magnify and praise your power, and glorify your name; for you are worthy of all honor, praise and glory, and humble thanksgiving, for the manifestation of your love and power. All which we desire to offer you through Jesus Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever and ever. Amen.

SERMON VII

The Inward Preacher; or, the Office of Conscience

Delivered by Stephen Crisp at Grace-Church-Street, June 21, 1692

My Friends,

MANY have been sent among you and have declared their testimony for the truth from living experience so that you might all be brought to wait for the testimony of truth in yourselves. This is what will stand you in stead, to know the testimony of truth in your own hearts to be for you; therefore you are to wait, especially at such times as these, to hear the voice of truth in your own souls. For whatever the preacher preaches, if the truth in your own heart does not speak peace, it is not well with you. Whatever testimonies are born of the truth itself; it is the truth that must bear testimony of you, that unerring word, which gives to every one an infallible evidence of their peace with God, or against what hinders them.

You know our labor has been to persuade all people to hearken to the truth in them, and to make it their business, and travail, and endeavor, that they might have unity with the truth in their own hearts, that their consciences may not condemn them.

For such as you, in whom God has raised his witness and has exalted the truth for a judge, you are not ignorant or covered over with darkness, as many others are; you do not remain in doubt, but you know the truth, and have an answer of peace in well-doing, and a condemnation in evil-doing; not administered to you only by preachers without, but by the evidence and demonstration of the Spirit of God in your own hearts. This is that standing mystery which God has raised, which can never be put down again, but as each one may put it down in themselves.

I grant that men may put it down. You have read, and had it plainly witnessed to you, even killing the just and crucifying the Lord of Glory; and of spiritual Sodom, and Egypt. These things you have read of, and you that are turned to the light, know the meaning of those sayings, by woeful experience; for whenever you have turned aside, from a due subjection to the grace of God, by which we are convinced, then there has been a piercing, and crucifying of the Son of God afresh, and vexing and grieving the Holy Spirit, by which you should be saved to the day of redemption. Then there has been anguish and tribulation upon your souls; and if this is minded, it will plant a fear upon your minds, and make you afraid to do die like again; but where this tribulation and anguish is neglected and put off, there a habit of sin takes away the sense of sin. You know many have had more judgment at some time upon them for a vain word, or a vain thought, than afterwards they have come to have for the most abominable wicked action. How came this to pass? Was sin ever the better? Or has it changed its nature? No; but they are further off from the sense of the evil of it. This is the word of truth, to which you must stand or fall; this is the stone, that whoever falls upon it, shall be broken and tendered; but if they stay until the weight of truth falls upon them, it will grind them to powder.

They will have a life of liberty, regardless of what the truth says. I will have my liberty, and use my tongue as I like; I will be wanton and proud, and envious and malicious, though I know these things are of no value, and the witness in my conscience testifies that these things are wicked, and contrary to the will of God; yet I will have them. Whoever comes to this mind, the stone is near falling upon them, and they will be ground to powder; they are like to barren earth, which bears thorns and briers, and is rejected, and is near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. Therefore, friends, I entreat you to hearken to the word of the Lord, it is a holy word, and an old word; many have professed it. There are many preachers that will cry hearken to the word of the Lord in such a chapter, and such a verse. My testimony this day is, hearken to the word of the Lord. But where shall we find it, some will say? I tell you, it is written with the finger of God in your own consciences; and it is either for you, or against you. Let your profession among men be what it will, this Minister of the Covenant has no respect of persons, or regard to profession; he will not excuse this or that man, because he makes a greater profession of his name than others. This rather is his judgment, and his condemnation shall be more swift and sharp upon him who makes a profession of Christ's. If judgment begins at the house of God, what will the end of them be that obey not the gospel of God. Those who take upon them a strict profession, they do greater dishonor to God, than those who cry out there is no reforming; there can be no living without sin. These profess what they do, and they do as they profess. But when people come to profess holiness and righteousness, and profess a power also by which righteousness is obtained, but live not strictly according to their profession; these are those who cause the name of God to be blasphemed among the Heathen more than those who say there can be no living without sin.

Now this witness of God has no respect to, but has respect to the state and frame of the mind of a man or woman, that they serve God with, whether it is with sincerity and uprightness of mind, and with breathing desires, that they may know the good and acceptable will of God, and what is well-pleasing in his sight; and that they might perform what is according to his heavenly will. Where this sincerity is, where this cry of the soul is, the Lord has regard to it; but where people's religion is only to bear up a profession, and hold up an external fellowship and communion one with another; when this sincerity is lacking, the Lord abhors their worship, it is an abomination to God, and no benefit or advantage to themselves. It is not for the glory of God, that they make a profession, but for some design to themselves, and so they become abominable.

This was the state of Israel of old, and it is the state of a great many now, that think they do great matters, if they conform so far to the truth, as that outwardly they may not be charged with a lie, and that they are of such a society. It is well if some would come so far as to maintain their society with God's people, and their external profession; but if they have no regard to the truth in their own consciences, what is their profession worth? What will all your unity with them signify? If there is a breach between God and your own soul, who can heal that breach?  What will the profession signify and amount to at last, except, go you cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels? And all the reason to be rendered for it, is this; depart from me, you are workers of iniquity. He did not say in that sentence, you are liars, you never prophesied in my name, and you never preached in your streets; but He allowing what they said to be truth, that they had made a profession, and held communion with other Christians, allowing these things, yet notwithstanding it is, go you cursed; and the reason of the sentence is, you are workers of iniquity.

Let the dread of the God of Heaven rest upon you. My friends, it is another thing to make a profession of the Lord God of Heaven and earth, than most are aware of; let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from iniquity. What is iniquity? It is all things that men or women do to gratify their own wills, which is contrary to the will of God;* that is iniquity. Where did all men have liberty? Where had Adam and his sons their liberty to fulfill their own wills, and to contradict the will of God? Yet nothing is more common in nations, countries and families, than for people to assume a liberty to perform and fulfill their own wills, and to bring about their own interest, designs and contrivances, though at the same time they are convinced that it is contrary to the will of God. Where this liberty  is taken, there iniquity is wrought. Iniquity is unjust because it is committed against him upon whom we have all our dependence every moment for life and breath, for food and raiment, and everything we enjoy; we have a dependence upon that God that made us, yet vain men and women assume a liberty of gratifying their own wills, and setting up for the flesh.

[* For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another. So that you cannot do the things you wish. Gal 5:17

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any man desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow meMat 16:24

So that you should not live the rest of your time in the flesh in the lusts of men, but [live] to the will of God. 1 Pet 4:2

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but [only] he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Mat 7:21]

You may remember that passage of the good apostle, when he saw some libertine professors of Christianity, grow loose and careless; they thought it was well they did acknowledge God in their meetings and worship, but as to the affairs of the world, they had forgotten that God was concerned in those things. The apostle takes notice of such libertine looseness, go to now, you that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell and get gain; whereas you know not what shall be tomorrow: For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. For that you ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that. You ought to live in subjection to him who made you; you ought to have regard to God's honor in whatever you do. Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Is this not scripture? Is not this found among the apostle's writings? Do not we hold the name of Christians, which was given to them at Antioch? Yes, we are called Christians, and these writings of the apostle are holy writings, and what then is the matter that we take so little notice of them? That men do not apply these wholesome exhortations to the particularities of their conduct, but that they go from country to country, and from one place to another and do what they please, without having any regard to give their subjection to the great God. This looseness has brought into the minds of some, such a liberty, that they live without God in the world; when they go sometimes to religious meetings, and when they hear the name of God mentioned, it may be there is a little awe upon their minds; and they have some regard to that God that gave them breath and being for the present. But if there is not religion, if there be not a tie, (religion signifies a tie, a being bound to God), if men are not bound and tied to God, by what is made known to them, everyone will desire that which is good in their own eyes.

To walk after the imagination of your own heart is worse than worshipping idols. Jer 16:11-12
Yet they say to everyone who walks after the imagination of his own heart,
"No evil shall come upon you." Jer 23:17

Therefore it is necessary for you, my friends, above all people, you who have come to a measure of the ministration of the Spirit, to know and to mind what it speaks. Such a thing I did this morning, and I am reproved for it; such a thing I did well, and I am justified and warranted in the doing of it. Thus it is when a thing is well or ill done. Sometimes some men act two or three days together, and never bring their actions, to the rule; that is, like a man that is building and never minds his rule, so what he builds up, tumbles down again upon his head. You know there is something in you that has a speaking voice, an infallible voice, and gives judgment on your actions, and passes a sentence, either of justification or condemnation upon you. If you would live so as to answer God in what you do, you need not fear answering men. I do not fear answering men in all I do or speak. If I only answer to my own conscience, I fear no man, though he is of another persuasion and judgment opposite to me. If I keep peace in my own conscience, I shall answer the principle of truth in my adversaries consciences, though they hate me, and despise me, and seek occasion against me. If my actions answer the truth of God in my own heart, they will answer the truth in any man's heart. This makes a man as bold as a lion.

When the people of God obtain a reputation, to be true and just, and holy and righteous, all men will expect holiness and righteousness at their hands. What if I profess to be one of these people? If I do not have the truth in my own heart, though I put on this reputation as a cloak to hide my insincerity, the lack of that truth takes away my courage. It is truth that has a power in all men in the world, and it is the power of holiness and righteousness that makes wicked men afraid; and therefore the apostle argues upon that subject, the magistrate is clothed with power. What power does he have? the power of justice and the power of the sword. What sword does he have? A sword of justice; and he is a terror to evil-doers, but a praise to those who do well. It is true, if I have done evil, if I meet with a man that is but my equal; if in buying, and selling, and commerce, I have wronged him, and deceived him, though he is not aware of it, yet I am afraid of him, I am fearful that he will discover me and find me out. But if I speak the truth, and do what is honest in the sight of all men, I shall not fear any man. There is no nation under Heaven, but there is a principle of truth to be found among them in the hearts of men. If I act according to the principle of truth in my own heart, there is the same principle of truth in all men. If I walk up to the principle of truth in myself, I shall likewise walk up to the principle of truth in all men's hearts; if my own heart does not condemn me, all the world cannot condemn me.

If professors were resolved to answer the principles of truth in their own hearts, and adhere completely to what they profess, they might live courageously. Truth will crown them with victory. But if they do not live according to the rule and standard of truth, they are like salt that has lost its savor, which is trodden under the feet of men. But where all are one in truth, they are gathered into the truth, and they will live according to it, so far as they are convinced of it. If you would give them a world, they will not give away a hair's breadth of the truth which they have professed. When truth thus comes to have dominion, then truth shall overspread the earth, and the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ, and righteousness shall rule, and the scepter of it is swayed over the nations, and those who rebel against it, shall be broken by it,* and those who are found in it, shall have dominion, and they shall condemn hypocrites and dissemblers. Now if you wish to grow up in this dominion, you have an opportunity for it, because the truth is revealed in your own hearts.

[Crisp and other early Quakers speak of the time of righteousness spreading across the earth, all kingdoms be subjected to Christ, sin being done away with in the world. This has been spoken of by most of the prophets also. The time fast approaches when the world will be ruled by the Lord, through his presence in his saints.]

They who undertake to walk in the truth, merely from what they hear the ministers of truth preach, laying up in their minds a company of doctrines, notions, and tenets, they will stumble and fall; but those who will hearken to the truth in their own hearts, and regard the voice of it in all their ways and undertakings; these have a Minister at home with them, they have a chaplain in their own houses. If there is anything they do not know, and if they do not know what to do, they ask the Minister of the sanctuary; others will ask their ministers, but your minister is at home [in your heart] with you. Where has God appointed any man to rule over your conscience? No, God has appointed Christ only to rule and govern your conscience, to be the author of faith and the finisher of it too. You that have come to the dispensation of the Spirit of Christ, keep to the testimony in your own hearts; then you have fellowship with one another in the truth; and you have cause to bless God for it, that God has so opened the hearts of one toward another, that the suffering of one, is the suffering of all; and the consolation of one, the comfort and rejoicing of all. But alas! Who is in this fellowship? Only those who are in fellowship with the truth, in their own hearts, and really so. If a man shall break fellowship with truth in his own heart, he will make no bones of breaking fellowship with his brethren. As soon as men break fellowship with truth, they are unruly, heady, troublesome, and make no matter of splitting, and tearing, and rending of fellowship with others. How does this comes to  pass that you have done this; you did not do such when you feared sinning against the witness of God in your own heart. But when men have once made light of the great minister of the gospel in their own hearts, it is an easy matter to make light of the rest; if, as Christ said, they have done so to the green tree, no wonder that they do so to the dry tree. If they despise me (said Christ) do you think they will love you?

It is most evident in a great many at this day, they dispute against truth, they have taken a liberty to speak contrary to the truth in their own hearts, and then they cry down the ministers of it. Do you think they do so who keep their first tenderness? When they were convinced, the power of the Lord rested upon them; when the power of the Lord first wrought upon you, and brought you to yes and no, and to plain simple language and habit, this was with joy and delight for Christ's sake. Those who keep up this tenderness and simplicity of mind, there is no scattering, nor rending, or tearing among them, they keep the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, and they are kept together in one.

Friends, you have an opportunity in your hands; see that you make use of it. You may bear up, and not be deceived by men, or devils, if you keep faithful to the principle of truth in your own hearts. Let what reproach and persecution whatever come, here is a standard, a foundation and a rule, for you to be governed by, every hour of the day; search your hearts, and try your consciences by it. As you do this, and keep to the rule of the new creature, of the regeneration, being changed from a carnal birth to an incorruptible birth. If you are born of the incorruptible seed, the devil cannot corrupt you, evil passions cannot corrupt you; if you keep up that foundation that is incorruptible in itself, then nothing will corrupt you, nor your ways and manners. If you will live according to the simplicity of the gospel, you will serve God and be examples to others in the life of holiness and righteousness; and by this God shall be glorified. This is what will shine forth to the whole nation, and give a good report to truth. But if any who profess the truth, are found false to their profession, and are found unholy, and deceive and over-reach their neighbor, they lose by it, and the devil rejoices at it.

Thus we know the life of righteousness is brought forth through the Spirit of truth, and out shines all, and will reach God's witness in those who are afar off, and bring them near; and happy and blessed are those who are found in this divine work, conforming their lives and conduct, according to the new creature; peace be upon them, and upon the whole Israel of God. There is a Minister that abides with you, that goes home with you, it is his testimony that you must stand or fall by. If any one should be a false professor, and be cried up, if he is not sincere, he has no peace; though he flutters awhile, and makes a show, the worm of guilt gnaws and torments him; such as these do not have peace with God, nor fellowship with the church. Though they seem to be alive, yet they are dead; as it was with the churches in Asia, they had a name to live, yet they were dead; though they have an empty name, such a one is a living man or woman, they are esteemed friends to the church, but though they are commended and cried up, and have a name to live, yet they are dead. There are a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; they shall walk with me in white, said Christ, for they are worthy. I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead. See what Christ, the bright Morning-Star, could do: He could look into a meeting, and see whether few or many had only a name to live, or were really alive; if they were dead as to sincerity and truth, though they had been among the church, they would help to break it down, but not to build it up.

You who have this divine life still stirring in you, and feel the operation that first quickened you to God; prize this principle of the divine life above all. What is there can rob you of it? Value not the friendship of the world. Alas, what can it amount to? Count it as dung in comparison to Christ Jesus; look upon all things with a sound eye. Peace with God is of that concern, that you cannot be happy here or hereafter, without it; the friendship of the world I can be without, and the customs and fashions of the world I can be without, I can spare these things; but the favor of God I cannot be without, and grow in grace and the knowledge of cur Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and a sincere profession of the gospel; I cannot be without these things.

My friends, though you do not make a show and flutter in the world, as some others do, yet your glory is within, those who are living members of this divine body, the glory, and beauty and brightness of such, appears in the sight of God. If you grow in grace, you will be a comfort to one another; and as the apostle speaks, you are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men. The Lord preserve and keep you simple, keep you in all sincerity, in that truth that has wrought in your own hearts, that you may have acquaintance with your teacher, that he may not be driven into corners; for you may do it, and stop his mouth, and silence him too. If you let your perverse will of mind rule, you may slay the just; but there will come a day of his rising, then down you go. Whatever men may get by it at present, when truth rises, when the Just One that was slain has a resurrection in them, then most certain down they go. While you have an opportunity in your hands, and an interest in the covenant of life, walk with God according to the counsel and dictates of his Holy Spirit, that you may be brought to a heavenly fellowship, and to partake of the good things that God has prepared for his children.

My friends, pray prize your seasons, let no day slip away, for fear you miss a day at last; wait upon the Lord, and let his fear and a holy awe be always upon your hearts. Then peace will be upon you, and there will be acceptance of all that you do. Mark the imperfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace; when he can reflect upon his past life, and say, I have walked before the Lord with a perfect heart, and done what is good and well pleasing in his sight, and have not turned aside to the right hand or to the left, but the Standard of Truth has been the guide of all my spiritual and temporal actions. If truth has been your guide here, then truth shall be your portion hereafter. If truth guides you in your way, then you shall rejoice with the saints, and receive an inheritance with the people of God, and enjoy that glory and felicity which God has prepared for those who love him.

His Prayer after Sermon

EVERLASTING, glorious, eternal God of Life! Whose kingdom rules over all; your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; a glorious, blessed day has dawned, in which you are making your self known to the sons and daughters of men; and you have opened an eye in a remnant, (which the God of this world had blinded), to see the glory of this day. For though we have lived without God in the world, yet you are near to us, and you have called us to repentance, and inspired our souls with a desire to you, and to the remembrance of your name. Praise and everlasting thanksgivings belong unto you, who is the author of our salvation; who has reached out your hand and laid hold upon us, and sought us out when we did not seek you, and has made known your power and love for our redemption and salvation; and you will make it known more and more to every upright, sincere mind.

O powerful Father of Life! How has your power and goodness been revealed on our behalf for your own name’s sake? You have stood by us in all our trials and exercises, and we have found you a God near at hand, and you have brought a remnant to desire nothing so much as the enjoyment of your presence; you have brought them to be sensible, that without you they can do nothing; therefore, in all our assemblies and meetings, we desire to be acquainted with your power, to hear your word which speaks life to our souls, by which we may live.

And dear and powerful Father! The continuation of your goodness among us, does greatly engage the hearts of your children, to offer up praises and thanksgivings to you. You have inclined the minds and hearts of your people to wait upon you, and have opened their understandings to receive your heavenly truth, and those rich and heavenly treasures which you offer them, and have provided a cup of salvation to refresh the poor and needy soul.

O Living God of Life! Reach forth your hand, to support and save those who are breathing after you; those who are sensible of the lack of your presence, and are frequenting the assemblies of your people, with a hope and desire that they may enjoy a blessing from you.

Living God of Life! Touch their hearts with the finger of your power, let them know that you are ready to open the treasure of your love, and life unto them, through the Lord Jesus Christ, that their souls may be comforted, and they may offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving. And let all your children everywhere, render to your name, through Jesus Christ, blessing, and honor, and praise; you, who are God over all, blessed forever and ever. Amen.

SERMON VIII

Saving Faith, the Gift of GOD alone

Preached at Grace-Church-Street, March 8, 1687

YOU that are made partakers of that precious faith, which has brought you to an expectation of that redemption and deliverance that comes alone by Christ Jesus, your minds should be continually exercised in that faith which God has given you, for it is a great gift, a blessed gift that he has given to us to believe. This never came of ourselves, never was there a true believer in Christ Jesus, unless he received his faith of God; unless it was the gift of God; unless it was given to him to believe. Other sorts of believers there are in the world, that can communicate their faith one to another, but the only true believers have their faith communicated to them by the Spirit of Jesus Christ; it is given to them, who believe; and because it is so excellent and so heavenly a gift, and has such large privileges belonging to it, it is necessary that everyone who receives it, should have a continual exercise in it; that you may know what it is, and what it does for you, and so come to be experienced Christians. Now all that are partakers of it, they do believe, and know in whom they have believed, and for what they have believed, even for the saving of their souls.

The true faith, that is the gift of God, it is not at all short of a complete saving of their souls; those who truly believe, their faith stands in one that they know is able to save to the utmost; and so a true believer has a great comfort in his faith above all other believers in the world; for he knows that his faith reaches to a complete redemption, unto a complete sanctification, unto a complete fitting of him for the kingdom of God.

[Without faith in becoming free from sin, redeemed, sanctified, purified, holy, and righteous, the power of God is not released. But with faith in the true hope and gospel, which faith and gospel is given in revelation from God to a man, the power of God is released to leaven the whole lump, to grow the tiniest mustard seed to the largest of all trees, to bring a man to see the salvation of his God. From the Word of the Lord within: "Faith within purifies." This takes time and patience; you will see gradual improvement, untill finally you will have overcome the world and its lustsvictory over sin and the devil.]

Now there is no such faith that ever was made by men, there is no such faith that all the wise and learned men upon the face of the earth, have either preached or given forth to be received; for if you come to consider the many forms of faith that men have ministered, they will fall short of saving their souls, they fall short of redemption, they fall short of fitting and preparing them for the kingdom of God, and so they have not that comfort, that satisfaction, and that inward refreshment that belongs to the others, or that accrues to their souls, that have the faith of God's elect.

And in this has been the privilege of the people of God in all ages, as well as in our age; their faith has had a farther extent, it has reached farther in order to the good of their souls, than the faith of all others has done. What comfort can a serious Christian take in a faith that falls short of righteousness and redemption? Would it not make a man or woman's heart ache, to think I am a believer, but yet I have no faith that reaches to sanctification, and holy living, and redemption from sin? All my faith leaves me a sinner all my days; to my dying hour there is no mastery to be had, no getting victory over sin, it will prevail over me as long as I live.

This is not that precious faith that God's elect have been made partakers of, that works effectually in their souls; this is not that faith that can Minister real comfort to the poor soul that is laden with iniquity, and weary of sin. The faith that falls short of sanctification, and redemption from sin, is such a faith as God never gave his people; it came some other way into the world, and it has captivated most of the sons and daughters of men, and they have expelled the true faith (as much as in them lies) that saving faith that purifies and cleanses men from sin, and gives them victory over the world, and have got another faith in the place of it; and they live in their sins, and in their lusts and sexual desires, and still remain in captivity.

But God was pleased to hear and answer the cry of the souls of a remnant, (for which many of us have cause to magnify the name of our God), when we had traveled from mountain to hill, to seek where true comfort might be found, where one would say to us that we will be able to overcome. We know there is no eating of the tree of life until we do overcome; nor entering into God's kingdom until we are cleansed. Some told us that way was impossible, which made many of us to mourn. What, must we never be cleansed? Must this crooked heart, and perverse will, always remain? Must I be a sinner and a believer? Must I be a sinner, and yet call myself a child of God? How can these things hang together? These have made many to faint in their minds, and to say as David did in his distresses, one day I shall perish by the hand of Saul. One day this corruption will be my ruin, for all my prayers, and hearing, and other duties and performances, this sin will be my utter ruin at last.

After many have mourned, and been afflicted by reason of the burden that was upon them, it has pleased the Lord to visit a remnant, and to open their hearts to make known the precious faith, the faith of God's elect; the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Is this the faith that is worthy of an earnest contending for, and preaching for, and suffering for? Who was ever so mad as to suffer for such a faith that leaves a man under the power of Satan and his own lusts? No wonder that such have a faith that is not worth contending and suffering for. Who will expose themselves for such a faith that will never do them a kindness? Now that faith which belongs to a purified soul, to one that is sanctified, that faith delivered to the saints, it is called a shield; when once a Christian comes to make use of this faith as a shield, he will find the power of it. A shield is what is worn by persons that are among enemies; it is for the defense and safeguard of one that is beset with enemies; and a good Christian is so situated.

There is a sort of blind Christians, friends to the world; their Christianity is worldly, and their faith worldly; but all true Christians are in the midst of their enemies, inward and outward; and if they did not have the shield of faith to defend them, they would certainly be wounded every day, they would be slain and lose their lives. The faith that is called a shield, it is that by which a Christian is to be defended and saved from harm designed against him every hour; for the devil goes about like a roaring lion, continually seeking whom he may devour. The apostle speaks more particularly to believers; the devil, your adversary, he is an adversary in himself, but more especially your adversary who are believers;who have believed to the saving of your souls. If you that believe that Christ is sent of God, endued with power sufficient to break his head, and power to redeem you out of his service and bondage, the devil will be your adversary. Let him be so, if I have but my shield. This shield of faith is what, if a man uses it, will quench all the fiery darts of the devil.

If a man comes once to receive the faith, the true faith, faith in the power of God, this faith will remain victorious over temptation, but if you don’t keep your faith in a continual exercise, you don’t deserve the name of a true believer. If a man receives the true faith, and grow careless in his Christian exercise, will not this adversary, the devil, be about his ears? Will not he send forth his fiery darts at him; his temptations, and snares, and traps, to entangle him, though he is a believer, if he does not keep in the continual exercise of his faith? But a true Christian, that feels the power of the grace of God, and is in the continual exercise of true faith, he is like a watchman or sentinel, that has his armor on, and his shield ready. He knows he is on the borders of his enemies’ quarters, and he keeps himself in perpetual watchfulness, in daily expectation of the devil's fiery darts. He keeps his shield in readiness. I see a temptation lies in such a thing, but I see the Lord's power is able to keep me out of it. I see there is profit or pleasure in the snare; it is a hook that is baited, but I see the hook through the bait, blessed be God; and I have a confidence in his power, and that he is able to keep me from that thing, for all the baits of profit, pleasure, or the friendship of the world.

A believer keeps in the exercise of his faith, and considers that his salvation is nearer than when he first believed. The people that first believe, are not immediately saved for the work of salvation is to be wrought after they believe; for without faith, it is impossible to please God; nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure for it is founded upon the power of God. When a man believes, the work is begun; though some foolish professors tell us  that the work is done when the act is only in the mind. They will tell you what day of the month, and what a day of the year their conversion took place; but they do not know what they say. A man may possibly know when it was brought about: A man may know about the time when God communicated faith to him; but he must know after he is a believer that then begins the work of salvation. The believer is to be saved from this or the other enemy; he is not immediately saved from all. There must be warfare, a fighting the good fight of faith, before these enemies of his salvation are overcome. The devil will not give up just because I am a believer, and because Christ promised to break his head. The seed of the woman shall break the serpent's head. I am now but putting on my armor for the battle is not fought; I have not yet gone through the peril of the fight. I am now buckling on my armor; when the fight comes, if I do not have my shield and my armor ready, I may be slain for all this. Some have made shipwreck of faith; they have not held it, nor kept the faith, but given it away. But said the apostle, I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have gotten the victory.

Jesus, the author and finisher [perfecter] of our faith. Faith is revealed, Gal 3:23, by revelation to a person. Learning about Jesus, him being crucified, him being resurrected, and believing those events to be true, is not faith and is not believing in Jesus. Faith is hearing the word of God, (and believing it to be the Son of God who is speaking); hearing the word of God that is in your heart, so that you may obey it. Faith is listening, hearing, and obeying. Faith comes when you are led by the Spirit of God. Until you are led by the Spirit of God, you are under the law, which is your schoolmaster; Paul says in Gal 5:18 : if (and when) you are led (prompted, ordered, commanded) by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal 3:24. When you hear the Word of God in your heart, and when you obey the Word of God in your heart, then you evidence your belief by walking in faith.

Faith is a journey. It has a beginning and a finish [or a perfection of your faith]. Faith is a series of revelations. Listening to, and obeying Jesus, is him being the author and finisher of your faith. One does not hear the Lord speak to you once to be justified. You must keep hearing and obeying until your sinful nature has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, to then receive faith at part of the fruit of the Spirit, which frees you from the law and justifies you. Faith must be authored by Jesus, and he authors faith by revelation, but not just by your belief that the Bible truly states Jesus to be the Son of God. From the Word of the Lord within: "Until you can witness receiving faith from Christ, you are under the law." When you hear and witness Him author your faith, he lays the foundation of your faith on rock;

Whoever comes to me, and listens to my words and does [practices, obeys] them, I will show you what he is like. He is like a man who built a house, and dug deep and laid the foundation securely built on a rock; and when the flood arose, the torrent beat violently upon that house, but could not shake it because it was founded on a rock. Luke 6:47-48.

And when you hear Jesus speak his words to you, and you believe it to be him, the foundation of your faith has been set on rock, a rock so solid that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against it.

One does not hear the Lord speak to you once to be saved or justified. You must keep hearing and obeying until your sinful nature has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial, to then receive faith as part of the fruit of the Spirit, which frees you from the law and justifies you.

Jesus finishes [perfects
] your faith when you see him bring your salvation:

he will appear the second time, not to bear sin, but to bring full salvation to those who are waiting for and expecting him. Heb 9:28
For the grace of God that brings salvation ... Tit 2:11
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring eternal life. Jude 1:21
Receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls. 1 Pet 1:9
.

You are saved through faith, and by faith your hearts are purified; but obviously in the beginning of faith, you are not purified, neither are you saved. You must contend for the faith, grow in the faith, build up your faith, increase in faith, perfect what is lacking in your faith, fight the good fight of faith, until victory when your faith is finished by the finisher; faith is a process and a journey, the end of which is to see Christ bring your salvation, to bring your eternal life.

So people, after they are believers, they must wait to have their faith strengthened by renewed manifestations of the same power in which it first stood. They must wait upon the Lord, and he will renew the strength of their faith, zeal and courage; and as temptations are renewed, they have new courage, and new strength and new ability, and all by this divine, spiritual and Christian exercise; they every day come to see the work they believed, what their faith tended to, see the work in some measure wrought. They see some enemy of their souls brought down and slain, and they see their souls come up to a little more dominion than they had before; they see the devil's power is weakened more than before, and that he has not so much power as he has had over them. These things are some encouragement to rise up in a true Christian, living praises to God; seeing, by believing, he has found thus much encouragement by the working of the word. So why should he not wait on the Lord for the accomplishment of this work, that he may believe to the saving of his soul, that he may come to receive the end of his hope and faith, the salvation of his soul? Now, by thus keeping their faith in exercise, they know that their salvation is nearer now, than when they first believed.

It is not so with every one, for many who have believed, find their salvation is further away because of their negligence, professing one thing with their mouths, and doing another thing in their practice. There are some things which they believe and profess, and yet do the contrary; that puts their salvation further off, and draws them secretly into desponding, and into a losing their courage and zeal for God; the custom of sinning has at last taken away the sense of sinning. It is so with a man when he first transgressed the rule, he is somewhat tender, and does it with some regret; but after he becomes accustomed to doing it, he is pretty well at ease; and so by degrees he goes on towards the state of being past feeling. At last such sinners come to dying; they were dead once before, and were quickened through the operation of the Spirit of Christ Jesus; they were quickened, and they shall die again.

If you die a second time, pray remember it is a second time; you that are careless and ready to die, remember it is the second death that you are going to; and consider that if you die the second death, you shall have no part of the first resurrection. Better such had never been born at all, than after they have lived in hope, they lose it again.* This is what was upon my heart to commend unto you, that you may partake of this precious faith that has a tendency to the saving of the soul, and fitting you for the kingdom of God. Has God given you to believe? And will you not believe that you shall live without sin? If you do not come to obtain this precious faith, you will not believe that you can come to live without sinning against God, and have the light of his countenance shining upon you. He that truly believes, his faith reaches to this, and he will say to himself, "I am saved a little from the liberty of my tongue, and from many sins of an evil practice. God has redeemed me from my vanity, pride and passion, and other things that were troublesome; the Lord has redeemed me from them. I see the work is going on, and I am nearer to the kingdom of God than when I first believed. I have gotten victory over many of my spiritual enemies, and I hope the Lord will carry me on, and keep me by his power through faith unto salvation. Till now the Lord has helped me, I have not fought in vain; I have not been beating the air, but God has given me victory over the tempter inwardly and outwardly, so that he could not prevail, while I kept the shield or faith over my head; but when I have been careless, and not exercised my faith as a shield, I have been weak as other men."

*Those of whom it would be better if they had never been born: 1) they had the true faith, based on their belief in the power of God to deliver them from all sins, the true hope, 2) they failed to exercise their faith to build their faith more, 3) they sinned repeatedly until they seared their conscience, being past feeling regret for sin and twice dead. These are those of whom the Lord spoke: And that servant who knew his lord's will and did not prepare himself or did not do according to his will shall be beaten with many stripes. Luke 12:47. Since faith is authored by Christ, and is the gift of God, which not all men receive, to then fail to follow-thru to true salvation is worthy of greater punishment.

Until they have killed their conscience in sin, they can still hear and possibly be motivated to renew their efforts to exercise their faith; but for every act of disobedience they committed, after being convicted of some particular sin in the light, they must first effect the same number of acts of obedience before that sin is taken out of their heart. From the Word of the Lord within: "When the light shows you something to do, every act of disobedience has to be carried away by an act of obedience."

You are not called to weakness and feebleness, but to the power of God, that you may be exercised in it, and by it be kept from the evil of the world. There is a possibility of being kept, if you are faithful to him who has called you, that is, Christ Jesus, the Captain of our Salvation; if you follow him step by step, and do not run headlong all at once. When you see a great deal of sin and corruption before you, and seek to master it in your own strength, you will lose the victory. The same word that shows us our sin, shows us our own inability to overcome it, and that we can do nothing without divine assistance; though we lie long struggling under the weight and burden of sin, we cannot of ourselves get victory over it, we cannot bring judgment into victory. God must have the glory of it.* If you keep to Jesus, he will carry on the work; you did believe in him, for he did work this faith in you, and he will carry on his own work, and his own work shall praise him. All others that talk of faith, and make an empty profession, they dishonor God; they talk of perfection, and living without sin, but never experience it, and so bring dishonor to God. If you wait to see this work carried on , if you believe and exercise your faith for the overcoming of your sins, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God, you will hereby bring glory to God, who alone is worthy of all praise; who is God over all, blessed for ever more. Amen.

[*No man is able to change his own heart by fleshly efforts. Only the supernatural power of God can change a man. No man can even understand his heart; only the wisdom of his creator can show a man his true condition. We are saved by grace. No man can glory in front of God. All the glory of our salvation, the miracle of our change, the supernatural mercy freeing us from the bondage of sin, is to the glory of our creator, and his alone.]

His Prayer after Sermon

MOST blessed, holy, and unchangeable Lord God! You have visited us by your dear Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, to gather us to be a people unto you, who once were not a people, and once not gathered.

Everlasting Father! Your mercy is great, and your goodness is great, and to be greatly prized by us all; you had compassion on us to help us when we could not help ourselves; and you have laid help upon one that is mighty and able to save to the uttermost all that come unto you by him.

Blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! We give you thanks for your abundant mercy and goodness extended to us. Lord God Eternal! Extend your mercy more and more and visit the children of men in all nations with the knowledge of your truth.

Blessed Father of Life! We pray and cry to you, that your work may go on, and that it may prosper and increase, and let the day of your visitation be extended, and reach forth your Almighty Arm, that the children of men may be gathered unto you.

Blessed Father of Life! You have shown mercy to our souls, and we have seen the goings of God in his sanctuary; you have, by an out-stretched arm, gathered us to be a people to yourself. You have appeared for your people in all ages, and you have saved them cut of oppression, and stilled the fury of the enemy. You have cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon, and made way for your people Israel, so that they passed through the Red-Sea as on dry land. Lord. Do so for your people spiritually in our day, and make way for them, and open the door that your gospel may spread, and run, and be glorified, and have a free course among us; and that your worship may be set up, and pure incense may he offered up to you. Lord! This is the cry of your servants, and the voice of their supplications to you, that your Spirit may be poured out abundantly and operate upon them, that your word may he profitable and welcome to their souls.

Blessed Father of Mercy! You have blessed your children and people with spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. You have given us your pleasure this day; and blessed be your name, you have refreshed our souls at this season. Let our praises ascend as a sweet smelling savor, and acceptable service to you. And for all your mercies and renewed favors and blessings to us, and to all your people, both here and everywhere, let thanksgiving and living praises he rendered to you; for you alone are worthy of all blessing and praise, who are God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

<Sermons Continued>>>

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