A Sermon Delivered by ELEAZAR BALES, 7-22-1877, at Summit Grove Friends Meeting, Indiana.
Previously Unpublished Material Transcribed from Archival Manuscripts by Tom Roberts, Made available to the editor by Edsel Burdge.

This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 3: The 19th Century

Luke 11-9: "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you". We have the promise from the lips of truth that our seeking shall not be in vain if we seek aright. I have thought since sitting with you in silence to day that our remaining in silence is not time lost to us, if the mind is rightly engaged in profitable meditation, and seeking after wisdom and divine instruction, that we have the promise that we shall not seek in vain. I believe it is good for us many times to abide in solemn silence as David did and patiently wait upon the Lord. David says "I waited patiently for the Lord; and he incline unto me and heard my cry, he brought me also out of an horrible pit, out of the [miry] clay and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise [unto] our God". My meditation has been of a serious and solemn character, of the great kindness of the Lord to his fellow creatures here upon the earth. We have grown to become a [numerous] family, spreading the world over, and still increasing. It is profitable for us at times to meditate upon the many things which the Lord has done for his family here. By nature we are sinful, and the prophet says "The heart is deceitful and above all things desperately wicked". This is the condition of man while in a state of nature, but God in his love and mercy to us has given us a history through the medium of inspiration, telling us the cause of the deplorable condition that we are in; it was in consequence of sin, and sin is the result of disobedience to God. In the first place man was created pure and good, indeed every things else which God made was pronounced good. He made man in his own image, which we dare not call in question, full of holiness and purity. This was the condition of man when God made him. but history tells us that he lost this pure state through disobedience, it was not only confined to our first parents, but is transmitted to succeeding generation. The Lord knowing all things and seeing the condition of man through disobedience, he loved him because he had made him in his own image for a great and noble purpose, so he made provision by which he might free himself from that fallen condition which he was in, he devised a plant through which he might be redeemed from his fallen state. He also tells us through the same medium what this plan was, and the condition in which we are to stand in acceptance with God. The plan was the sacrifice of his Son as an offering for the sins of the world. It was his only begotten son that he offered as a sacrifice for the redemption of fallen man, and by and through this suffering he has opened a way for all his family here on earth again back as they were before the fall, pure and holy, denying sin in all its shapes and forms through the interposing arm of Omnipotent power. We are placed here now as we are, God permitting us to live in the flesh for a time while we have sinned and become alienated from this state of light and life. We are told there is no way but this of being found in a state of acceptance; the decree is past that unless we are willing to attend to the teachings of the grace of God, denying ourselves of indulgence in sin that our future hereafter is sealed. All the way through the bible we are told we are pure beings not as the other portion of the animal creation. We have bodies and souls by which we move and act, and when we leave this world, these bodies which are made of the dust of the earth according to scripture shall again return to dust, and the spirit to God who gave it. So we see plainly that when our time expires here, all these bodies must return again to dust, and the spirit which is to live forever goes back to God again. And through the provision which he has made, it may return to him in a state of acceptance. Christ is [the] door and by him we must enter if we get into the fold, but "he that climbeth up some other way the same is a thief and a robber." Are we not willing to comply with the terms? I know we have to sacrifice nature, but human nature is adverse to that way. If we were to undertake to enter with our carnal minds it would seem a little like "Satan casting out Satan." But God has promised to help his children, all who will walk in his ways, he has promised to be along as a guide and protector on the journey, going before and leading his children, his name is as a strong tower into which the righteous children are safe, so long as they will remain it is a permanent safe abiding place. I think I have known it to be so. It seems to me there has been in some measure a departure from that permanent abiding place, not having occupied it, running [well] for a time they soon become weary, or at least want more liberty and more privilege soon stepping away from the guarded path and entering into the broad way the fate of which is destruction Now Paul gives us some information in regard to this matter, he says, "They that have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they fall away to renew again [unto] repentance". We are left to do as we please in the matter. In the beginning man was left a free agent, and it so remains to the present time. When God has done all this and given us all the information we need, are we willing to sacrifice our eternal interest in a blessed home with our Lord and Master for a few days of indulgence here in a life of sin? Will we suffer ourselves to sell our interest there for a little something worth no more than a mess of potage, as it were. My heart has been filled with earnest desires for the welfare of the whole human family to day. You know there are many marks on me of my declining life, and I feel I cannot be with you much longer. Let us all be willing to live under the government of Christ who is the Prince of Peace. God has done all things well on his part and the Apostle says, "he is of long forbearance, not willing that any should perish". I do believe we suffer a great loss many times for want of solemn meditation. I want us to do as David did "Wait patiently on the Lord," for he is no respecter of persons and I believe he will incline unto us and hear our cries, not only this, but will remove from us this [thralldom] of sin and miry clay and place our feet on the rock and even put a new song in our mouth and praises to our God forever.