I WILL BOW THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH
Delivered by JOHN CHURCHMAN, 19th of 12th Month, 1756, at East Nottingham
Journal of John Churchman. In: Evans, William & Evans, Charles, eds. Friends' Library,
Vol. VI. Philadelphia: Joseph Rakestraw, 1842, pages 243-244.
This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 2: The 18th Century.
I felt my mind in this meeting remarkably drawn from outward expression, and was commanded
to center in deep and awful silence, wherein there was such a flowing of good will to mankind, as
is scarcely to be uttered by tongue. Thus centering with diligent attention, I thought I felt a strong
power of darkness and stupid ignorance, seemingly combined to make war against this solemn
attention of mind; yet after patiently waiting some time, to my comfort I felt a secret victory, and
the darkness vanished. Then a voice was uttered in me, attended, I thought, with Divine authority
thus, "I will bow the inhabitants of the earth, and particularly of this land, and I will make them
fear and reverence me, either in mercy or in judgment." Hereupon a prospect immediately opened
to my view of a day of calamity and sore distress which was approaching, and in which the
careless and stupid professors, who are easy, and are not concerned properly to worship and
adore the Almighty, and have not laboured to witness their foundation to be laid on him the
immoveable Rock, will be greatly surprised with fearfulness. On the behalf of such, a cry and
lamentation ran through me, thus; Alas for the day! Alas for the day! Woe is me! And a voice
which seemed to be connected with the foregoing, said further; "Yet once more, saith the Lord, I
shake not the earth only, but also heaven. Not only the situation of those who know not any place
of safety or refuge, but that which is outward and earthly; but also those who assume a higher
place, and in the specious appearances and false pretences among men, do value themselves on
their assumed goodness, and would fain be accounted of the highest rank, and even place
themselves among the saints, and are by some accounted as stars in the firmament; yet in the day
of my power wherein I shall shake the heaven and the earth, those starts shall fall to the ground."
In the beginning, something within me was ready to say, Amen so be it! O Lord Almighty, cut
short thy work in the earth, in order that thou mayest put an end to sin and finish transgression,
that thy fear, and the knowledge of thee, may cover the earth, as they waters cover the sea.
Wherefore, my friends, the fervent desire of my soul is, that all present may with diligent labour to
have their minds truly centered and humbled before God, to know a being fixed on that
foundation which only standeth sure, that in a time of outward distress, which perhaps may come
in your day, ye may find a place of safety and refuge.
[All which with more to the like effect, was delivered in great humility and brokenness.]