A Sermon Delivered by STEPHEN GRELLET, Date and Place Not Given.
London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co., 1832, pages 83-94.

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

On one occasion of our blessed Saviour's personal appearance among his disciples, the subject where with he discoursed with them, and for which he was endeavoring to prepare them, must have appeared unto them to be of a very gloomy and a very affecting description of mourning and woe; and very different from the views they might have entertained~ when, after having been sent to preach the gospel, and having done it, clothed with the power of their Father, in whose name they had been, and wrought the miracles which always followed; when after having enquired of them, "When I sent you without purse or scrip, lacked ye any thing?" they were fully prepared to answer, "Nay, Lord;" and moreover to acknowledge how even the evil spirits had been made subject unto them. But how discouraging must have been the subsequent address of him whom they obeyed as their Saviour and Redeemer--even he in whose power and whose name they had thus been enabled to show forth the love and the power of Omnipotence--when he told them, "But now I say unto you, he that has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." And evidently, we may apprehend they took it in a literal sense, even to have meant weapons prepared of their own arms, for defending themselves and protecting themselves; and that they were to have recourse to a very different means of protection and of power, to that wherewith they had been so eminently clothed; even under the influence of which they had been enabled to wage war in righteousness against the man of sin and perdition; even to cast out evil spirits, the agents, the servants of file wicked one--the evil one. And how discouraging, also, when in addition to this, they were foretold into what a state of reduction and of straitening they should be brought; even to forsake him, for whose sake they had left all, and forsaken all to follow him; for whose sake they: had not even counted their lives dear unto themselves; whom they had thus confessed before men; who had promised that those who thus confessed him before men, he would confess, also, before his Father, and his holy angels; and had forewarned them, that those who denied him before men, lie would also deny them before his Father and his holy angels. And yet they were now foretold, how that in that very night they should all be offended because of him; even how that Evil One, against whose power they had been enabled gloriously to work, even to cast out evil spirits, was now going to be at war against them, in such a manner as even to sift them. "Behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you even as wheat." Oh, how mournful this must have been; and this at the very eve when their blessed Lord--he in whom the whole of their hope and their strength was placed--was going, not only to be taken away from among them, but himself actually was to suffer--to suffer by the hands of sinners; was completely to be put to open shame; was himself to be crucified by the hands of men; that the evil spirit was to prevail over him, the eternal Son of God, thus shamefully to entreat him, to revile him, to crucify him! O then, no wonder that they themselves were also scattered, while the Shepherd, in their view, was thus smitten; and that after all their former experience, that each one should become scattered to his own way. Of all not one was left; even Peter himself, who had exclaimed, when his blessed Lord was informing him what they were going to do, not in a day very remote, but even that very night; "Though all men should forsake thee, yet will I not. Though I should die with thee, yet will I not forsake thee." O, how gloomy these words must have been to them; and how gloomy are they to, such of us who have made a good confession, even before many witnesses, upon this holy day; who have, many of us, very preciously acknowledged, even in our very hearts, the excellence of this divine, redeeming love; divine, eternal, power, that has wrought very excellently, very preciously upon us, even before many witnesses among those around us--witnesses, not only among those whose heads are covered with grey hairs, but also among many of the dear rising generation; many dear young friends, who can unite in their testimony, many of them according to their own measure, and answer to the question, whether they will live to him whom they well know to be their Lord, to be their Master, to be their all: whom they have known befit to have loved them, and proved himself to them as the God of all comfort and consolation; and the God also of their strength and salvation, so far as they have followed him in the path of his commandments, in which they have thus far followed him; and he says to them, "When I sent you forth without scrip or staff, or, any substance, in strippedness and abhorrence of yourselves, and no staff to lean upon, lacked ye any thing?"--I believe that there is the secret acknowledgment of many of you, remembering these things, giving the record to many such scenes; some more publicly, of which others have been witnesses, and many of you more secretly, but which, however, the soul knows right well. You can answer, "Nay, Lord; even the evil spirits, even the tempter has been made subject through faith in thy divine name, through thy divine and eternal power." Oh, but now the day of trial is come; but now, what trials await us, if some of us are yet prepared for those further operations of the day, even the day of the Lord; even a day of gloominess, a day of fearfulness, a day of terror, a day of trembling; and yet it is the day of the Lord. It was the day of the Lord then; it was the glorious day of the Lord, even when the very earth trembled, and the sun was clothed with sackcloth; it was then the day of the Lord, and a glorious day; a day to which the Christian will turn, and to which he can never cease to look-and to which he cannot look without being replenished with amazement and wonder, without being prepared to say, even under a sense of grateful acknowledgment, that this was the very day of the Lord; which was the day in the which the sun itself hid its face, and put on sackcloth; and yet it was the joyful day of the Christian; the day which, during the ages of eternity, will continue to call forth the united voice of praise from all the angelic hosts, and all the redeemed and renewed of our holy and blessed Redeemer, Christ, who was once crucified, and who now lives for ever and ever. Oh, friends, if there are further conflicts for us to endure; if, instead of having to sit at ease; if even war should be felt, after having come so far. Woe unto them that sit at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria; instead of sitting at ease, you are now called to sorrow; now to be preparing for that day of gloominess, that day of terror, of increasing conflict; even of increased sifting of the adversary. You are loudly, increasingly called upon to attend to the language uttered by our blessed Saviour to his disciples; "Can ye not watch with me one hour?" even one hour, at the very eve when that which had been told them was coming to pass? at the vert eve--I don't wish to alarm; I wish to be very careful in what I may say--but at the very eve of what may still more particularly be coming upon some of us; even some of those circumstances of more close trial; more close provings of our character; more closely calling upon us to show forth on what foundation we stand; more closely calling upon us to have our abiding in that state of watchfulness, prayer, persevering in well doing, standing fast in the evil day; and that after having done all, endured all, we may be enabled to stand. But, O, with such a gloomy description, and foretelling of what the Lord designs; when we know that we are going to be tried mightily; O, how consoling is this gracious promise, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world:" and again, when the enemy comes in and makes his assault; "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." O, in the very midst of the most gloomy prospect, and under the heaviest trials, what blessed, gracious words are these; "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not"-however closely sifted; however closely tried; however brought to see that all the past experience of divine aid, divine power, now fails, that the remembrance of it is not sufficient; that after having had power over evil spirits, and witnessed the evil spirit, the Evil One subdued and cast down by divine power, through faith, now again to be sifted by it, and faith to be so closely tried. O that I could open what a blessed view is presented to us in these words; "I have prayed for thee; and again; "He ever liveth, making intercession for us;" and he has promised, "I am with you," with you always. O that this promise may sink deeply, very deeply into our hearts. O let none be dismayed; though of ourselves we can do nothing. Yea, if we have been enabled, through his divine power, to do any thing, or to be any thing, it has been through his power alone, and not of us; and if this is withdrawn from us in any wise, if the cause of this withdrawment is enquired into, it may bring us to close searching of heart among us; if the cause of this withdrawment is in any wise to be attributed to our ownselves; to the presumptuous sins we have committed, or the sin of disobedience; whether the sins of omission or of commission have been committed; and whether there may be reason to utter, on our own account, the ancient language; "Oh, that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments;" that there had been a continuance so to do, even by such who had known his commandments, to be as a "light to their feet, and a lamp to their path;" who have known his commandments to be unto them life. " O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments, then thy peace had been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." But it is not so now; that peace which may have been known, even by some of you, my young friends, for days, for weeks, and perhaps for months, to have been as a river that was flowing without intermission, now is not so: What is the cause? is it in any wise to bo attributed, by any of you who ,walk by the same rule, and mind the same thing whereby ye are called? is it because any of you have concluded that now you might take your rest; that now the work was done, and there was no more need to be so much care; that there was no need to continue in such a state of dependance; that there was no necessity to abide so continually in watchfulness and prayer? Is it not because divers of you can no longer be pointed to directly, as having your abode in that state in which Saul was when it was said of him, "Behold he prayeth?" And it is a very precious description the Scripture gives of his conversion; and I believe, and I am grateful to believe, that this is the very description that might be given of some of you at the present time--Behold he prayeth, she prayeth. And, however, they may eat no pleasant bread; and though every day their bread may be mingled with prayer, and though these prayers may be accompanied with secret weeping; and though they may be in a situation where they themselves are made of no reputation; yet it is a situation very precious in my sight; it is even that very situation wherein the offering is acceptable in the divine sight, being the offering of the heart, broken and contrite; not by our own works; man has nothing whatever to do with this; it is the power of the Lord to make the heart soft and contrite; and yet it is an offering in which we naturally have no pleasure, and see no form, nor beauty, nor comeliness; yet it is well accepted with God. And I wish that each of you in whom such an offering is prepared, may remain under the divine arm; may keep your station; may keep to that very condition in which the Lord having heard you has ministered unto you. "Surely I have heard Ephraim cry, bemoaning himself thus; Thou art chastising me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke;" willing to have the reins in my own hand, not willing to bow my neck to the yoke of Christ. But what is the language of your supplication now, while thus feeling the chastening of the Most High?--"Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, for thou art my God." What is the language of each of you, after having been turned; after having known that the voice of your supplication was heard?--"When I was converted, I smote upon my thigh; I was ashamed when I remembered the sins of any youth." O, it is very profitable for us. I think it has been one of the most profitable lessons I have ever learned, though it is a very humbling one; when we remember that from our youth up, this depraved heart has continued to sin; for some of us may say, "the sins of my youth, and of my old age;" and when remembering them, may we be ashamed, yea even confounded. But, O the mercy, the compassion of God; in the midst of such confusion, such shame, he is pleased to speak comfortably unto us.

But, O friends, try to keep up a holy watchfulness, for there may be something coming, more closely to try the faith of some of us, than what we have seen yet; more closely to bring us to see the abundant need we have to repair always to the God of strength, to be always of the number of those who can be pointed to, and of whom it may be said, "Behold he prayeth." And thus I have desired that my friends and myself may be prepared for the hour of temptation; that we may be engaged renewedly to repair to the house of prayer; may be willing to keep more and more on the divine arm; and be brought more under this humbling, this repeated conviction, that of ourselves we can do nothing; that the remembrance of the past, the acknowledgment of the past is not sufficient for the present; and much less sufficient to that day of trouble, that day of gloom, that day of terror; that day wherein some of us may be brought very awfully to tremble, and to say, "My belly trembleth, my lips quiver, rottenness hath entered into my bones; for it is a day of terror." O, I wish our minds may be prepared for it; that we might find a place in the day of trouble: and there is a refuge for us, the word of promise is sure--"I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." O precious promise of the King eternal, immortal, invisible; he who was found of us, though we sought him not. O, he has led his people about, who have trusted in him, and kept them as the apple of his eye; and he hath said, "When thou passest through the waters they shall not overwhelm thee, for I am with thee." O, how precious is tie promise. And there is that which I apprehend may loudly call upon some of us, with increased watchfulness and prayer, to seek to have our refuge in Him who continues to be "a refuge in the day of trouble; a shelter from the tempest, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall."