A Sermon Delivered by ELIZABETH DUDLEY, Time and place not given.

Sermons Preached by Members of the Society of Friends. London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co., 1832, pages 16-24..

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

"The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patient waiting for Christ." Very precious is the apostle's language to my mind at the present season, as containing, as it appears to me, the very essence of what should be our desire, as individuals and a collective body thus met and assembled together, for the solemn purpose of divine worship, a duty which we are of ourselves altogether unequal to perform; but, for which, strength is promised and will be most assuredly granted unto the humble, tile waiting, the believing, and obedient soul. Would to God that we might each be of this number at the present time, that with one heart and with one mind we might be prepared to salute one another, whether it may be secretly or on the part of renewedly qualified instruments, in this language, "the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." In this state, my dearly beloved friends, brethren, and sisters, whom I behold with feelings of strong affection and solicitude, and thankfulness to God; in this state we shall be best qualified to receive heavenly instruction, to derive benefit from whatever may be the dealings of impenetrable unerring wisdom with us, as it regards those ministrations which are in the hand of the great and glorious head of the militant and of the triumphant church, who meteth out his blessings and favors as he pleaseth, and who instructs either immediately or instrumentally in accordance with that impenetrable and unerring wisdom, which he, our blessed Lord and Redeemer, is made unto his humble dependant followers; to whom Christ is made wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He has been made wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, unto many whom we have loved and known, who are now taken from the militant, and joined everlastingly unto tho triumphant church, where, beholding his face and partaking his glory, they are receiving the consummation of their faith and the fruition of their hope, wherein they traveled through the wilderness of this world, experiencing support consolation, and aid from him, who leadeth safely through the wilderness those who are happily disposed to follow his guidance, to submit to the restraints of his holy law, and to refrain from choosing, refusing, willing or running, so as to injure in any degree that precious rest which is the consequence of ceasing from our own works, and submitting to the leading, teaching, and direction of Him, who does undertake for them that fear him; who leadeth safely amidst the troubles, the vicissitudes, and cares of this transitory life, and unto that city of habitation where none of the inhabitants any longer say they are sick; where the people who dwell there are forgiven their iniquities. Ah! my friends, is it not well for us frequently to contemplate this blessed and condition? it is no less our privilege and our interest than our bounden duty so to do; to attend the concerns of time with reference to a ending eternity; to keep in view amidst our mortal engagements, and those pursuits and which it is right and consistent should have a portion of our time and care; to keep in that eternal inheritance, to remember that we but strangers and pilgrims upon the earth, that we glorify our God and Saviour in as there is a giving evidence in all that we do, in all that we say, and in the manner of conducting all our temporal concerns, that we seek a city, that we are mindful of that better country where our home is, where are our dearest possessions, and where many of us have cause to bless and praise God, for having interests that are calculated to strengthen our hopes and to quicken our diligence in seeking to make our calling and our election sure before we also go hence; that so instead of viewing death with gloomy feelings, instead of turning from the subject as that which would interrupt our present enjoyment and disqualify for the necessary objects and concerns of this life, it may be kept in view as that which is the end of our being, even the day for which all other days were made, and that the blessing will be pronounced with respect to all those who follow in the path of such as through faith inherit the promises, who are keeping an eye to the recompense of reward, whilst they are sensible that it is indeed of the free and unmerited mercy of God in Christ Jesus, that the reward promised to the righteous will be given. That we have nothing in and of ourselves but undeservings, shortcomings, deficiencies, frailties, and manifold infirmities, but are influenced to look from these and look steadily unto him who will give the victory, whether it be in a gradual or a more rapid way to all who are seeking to make a safe and steady progress in the way of righteousness and peace. And we are not to dwell upon a sense of our deficiencies and frailties, so as to disqualify us for using the strength that is offered, and which is increased like every gift and blessing of divine favor and love by use, by diligent cultivation, by looking for strength to be renewed, even unto Jesus the author and finish of our faith, through whom we shall be than conquerors, if we are happily disposed make use of the weapons that are freely offered our acceptance, and in the same way which led so many sons and daughters to glory thus follow on to know, to love, and to serve Lord, if this be happily our experience it will applicable with respect unto each of us as been with regard to many, that better is the day death than the day of life. Better indeed is entrance into joy, rest, and peace, than an continuance in warfare amidst vicissitudes, troubles, cares; yet whilst our Lord is pleased to lengthen out the thread of life, and whilst we are all for the purpose of his glory in order that we shall live in his fear, love, and favor, and be prepared glorify him, whether it be by life or by the great point is for us to know our hearts to directed into his love; that love which has been abundantly displayed towards us; that love which brought the dear Son of God from the bosom everlasting glory, to lead a suffering life, to die a painful and ignominious death, to pay the price of transgression, and to make atonement for the sins of a lost and fallen world, and not only so but to open the way to heaven and happiness which was lost in and by the fall. He led captivity captive, he hath ascended up on high, and purchased gifts for men, even for the rebellious also that the Lord God might dwell among them. Here is a most blessed and gospel privilege, my beloved friends; unto this we are invited to aim, for this we are enjoined to pray for the experience of such unspeakable blessings; and is it not as much our interest as our not only to pray, but diligently to seek for? Let us then on the present occasion, and a renewed sense of the goodness, and mercy, suffering of the Lord towards us, seek pray that we may experience them. But are there not in this company those who have great occasion to look back upon the year which is now to close, with a thankful commemoration of Lord's goodness and mercy vouchsafed to them in the supplies he hath granted, and the happiness blessings he hath bestowed; and is it not to yield to considerations and reflections of his kind, and to remember him who has been and merciful to us, and to seek to renew acquaintance with the pure and purifying of grace and truth which have come by Jesus Christ, which are so freely bestowed, and which, if used, would be more abundantly bestowed, for the Lord hath received gifts for even for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Oh! what a claim this on our gratitude, what a cause for unfeigned thanksgiving, and what an occasion humbly bow in deep self abasement under a sense and acknowledgment, that whilst that mercy and have been so freely extended towards us, many us are yet among the rebellious, are yet unwilling to bend, are yet flinching from the terms scribed, are desiring another and an easier way unto the kingdom than the way of the cross te path of self denial. But, my friends, let remember there will be no change; we are the last and lasting dispensation of God unto kind; therefore if we refuse to hear Him, having spoken on earth now speaks from how shall we escape, and whither shall we or fly in the season of extremity, in the when all this world bestows, could it be ours, fail either to afford support or grant any thing enjoyment; surely then, whilst the love of God Christ Jesus is thus extended, and whilst we a~ continued in a state of probation, whilst we may yet pray, whilst we may yet watch, and whilst may earnestly strive, Oh! let us be alive to the importance of not delaying the all important work, let us be aware of the infinite moment of improving the opportunities, privileges, and favors yet extended to us, and whilst the time is indeed swiftly passing, and whilst we can many of us look back upon the past year almost as a moment, so quickly has it fled away, so rapid has been its course, yet let us remember that a considerable period, and it may be a very large proportion of the term allotted to ns is passed away, and that which is passed is passed for ever; time which is gone cannot be recalled. And what is our future, verily nothing, the present time is all that is ours; let us then be of the number of the wise; let us know, when we may have the rod extended upon us or shaken as it were around us, let us know the rod and him that hath appointed it; let us not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when we are rebuked of him, but receive the rebukes of his Holy Spirit as proofs of his love and mercy, and as evidences that he hath not ceased to strive us, that he is still in effect uttering the language, Why will ye die! Ah! verily, if we die we shall have our death on our own head, our destruction will be of ourselves; for what hath not the Lord done, hath he not indeed spoken in mercy, and hath he not also again and again uttered his voice in judgment ? Oh! that his mercies and his judgments, which are like proofs of Fatherly regard, infinite compassion, and forbearing love, may have the effect designed, and may draw us to himself that we may know the blessed consequences of that great atoning sacrifice, and of the purchase of those gifts which are bestowed even upon the rebellious that the Lord God may dwell among us, that we may know the full benefits and blessings of that which is described as the new covenant dispensation, or as a most blessed part and consequence of it. "I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and they shall be my people and I will be their God."